GLASS (M. Night Shyamalan, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Glass:

1. Unbreakable was supposedly a play on the yin and yang elements between superhero David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and villain Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson). One was just discovering his superpowers (and in turn his kryptonite: water!!), one was searching for his polar opposite slash ultimate foe (blowing up trains and buildings in the process), and both of them were trying to determine their purpose in this world. Although Elijah’s story was integral to the whole superhero lore, his evil character still played a supporting role to the real bida of the first film.

I was really excited to hear that the third installment to this Eastrail 177 Trilogy was called Glass because it should place his character front and center (considering that the movie was named after him, right?). Well, not exactly. He didn’t even show up until almost an hour into this bloated movie. If I were a secondary character in my own film, I’d probably feel the need to create a lot of chaos as well.

2. Even worse, it gathered three really interesting superhero comic book characters (that also included Kevin Wendell Crumb aka The Beast and twenty-something plus other personalities called The Horde, all played by the terrific James McAvoy) and decided to keep them locked up in a psychiatric facility for majority of the running time. They were only set free to interact with each other during the final act showdown (and yes, one of them actually explained how a showdown worked in comic books for the non-nerds) which still made little sense.

Side note: When we had some American clients come over for a visit, they were creeped out when I informed them that they would be staying at The Bellevue Hotel Alabang. One of them later on explained that Bellevue’s a popular mental hospital in the U.S. At least her family and friends had a good laugh when they learned where she was checked in.

3. Sarah Paulson played a doctor straight out of her American Horror Story wheelhouse who kept trying to make the three believe that they were merely suffering from delusions of grandeur. Wait, who was she trying to convince? It couldn’t possibly be the audience that knew the truth from the first two films. Oh, it was all just a setup for the requisite twist in the end with the Clover Chips Organization.

Also, given the nature of these patients, why was security so lax in that place? If Elijah (with the most brittle bones and in a wheelchair) could easily get out of his room, shouldn’t they have more people manning the place? Oh, also part of the twist. Pfft and pfft!!

4. It was a treat to see a grown up Spencer Clark (wink, wink). I just wish his acting skills matured as well (that wide-eyed kid look could only take him so far). He did have one of the funniest lines here when he mentioned the catchphrase, “We’re gonna salt bae your ass!”. Now if only Robin Wright returned as well… (It was nice to see some of the old/unused footage from Unbreakable, too.)

5. The lines that made me cringe:

• “Only the true version of love can heal (him).” Eww! So all this time, Kevin could have been cured by true love’s kiss? What’s next, Elijah proclaiming the wonders of a happy working song?

• “You’re fighting for the broken. You found your purpose.” Not enough space for the eyeroll emojis.

• “This is not a limited edition. This was an origin story the whole time.” Keep explaining for the non-nerds at the back, Elijah!

6. The lines that made me happy:

• The cool delivery of “First name Mister. Last name Glass”.

• “Have you ever been to a comic book convention? They sell teen TV shows there!” LOL!!

7. Burning questions:

• Wait, so Elijah Price who wanted to be the best (or worst?) antagonist in the world ended up as a hero? Why??

• How deep was that puddle?

• Was I the only who thought that every single one of The Horde personalities would get a chance to have its own tearful goodbye? (That was a really long dying scene, no?)

• In that final train station scene, how did they know it was the CCTV footage that was going viral and not say, the news about Kim and Kanye’s new baby?

8. M. Night Shyamalan created his own cinematic universe so he made sure of his Stan Lee-like cameo in almost every one of his movies. Or was he trying to be Hitchcock instead? (Insert possible twist here.)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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SPLIT (M. Night Shyamalan, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Split:

1. I wasn’t even surprised that M. Night Shyamalan (arguably the King of Twist Endings) decided to tackle dissociative identity disorder in his latest movie. Having a character with multiple personalities seemed like such a convenient way to mess with his audience’s brains. Except that the lead character Kevin Wendell Crumb’s (James McAvoy) condition was already revealed in the trailer so one was left to wonder what else he had up his sleeve.

Without completely spoiling the ending, let me just say that the reveal was nowhere close to what I expected, but it still felt like a huge letdown for such an interesting premise.

2. McAvoy looked like he was really having so much fun in the role of a man with 23 (and counting) different personalities. He was so good that he single-handedly played every character of John Cusack and company in the movie Identity.

My favorite persona was nine year old Hedwig (“Etcetera!”) that required him to do his best impression of Sean Penn in I Am Sam. A rewatch of Atonement should definitely be in order.

3. I liked that the three girl victims initially didn’t simply cower in fear and wait for a saviour (“That’s victim shit! The only chance we have is if all three of us go crazy on this guy!”).

What I didn’t like was that when they were faced with the actual threat, they still reacted like any of the dumb blondes that were viciously mocked in the Scream film series. Seriously, who would hide inside a locker to escape a predator? Or grab a walkie talkie and just stay inside the same space with the man that you’re running away from? Or helplessly cry in an isolated room and wait until the very last minute to find a way out? Anyare mga bes?

4. If it wasn’t blatant enough that the lead victim Casey (Anna Taylor-Joy of Morgan) was a survivor in life, we had to see a back story involving her tragic childhood of sexual abuse. I was surprised they didn’t purchase the rights to use Destiny’s Child’s Survivor as a theme song. Too expensive?

5. Worst cameo: Shyamalan himself as a security guard proclaiming that for Asian people, music aids digestion. I would like to suggest Yakult instead.

Best cameo: Bruce Willis as David Dunn, naturally. Unbreakable (the cracked glass on the poster should have been a giveaway!) has always been one of my favorite superhero films and although it was a stretch to link these two movies, it was still a refreshing nod to the pre-hack Shyamalan days (please note, I really liked his last film The Visit).

6. Speaking of, I was reminded of Unbreakable in the scene where Kevin placed flowers outside the subway that I secretly wished he wouldn’t turn out to be an accomplice of Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price (aka Mr. Glass). At least half of it came true.

Also, was I the only one reminded of Red Dragon during The Horde’s beastly transformation? Will this be the start of a Shyamalan superhero universe ala Marvel? Can we have someone with mental health issues be the hero next time (Casey!)?

7. “The broken are the more evolved.” Wow, so there really was a silver lining in all of those failed relationships!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

DEADPOOL (Tim Miller, 2016)

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My notes on Deadpool:

1. As promised, it was indeed a different kind of superhero movie from the hilarious opening credits, the outright mockery of the genre, the constant breaking of the fourth wall, the gratuitous sex and graphic violence, and down to the silly send-up of post-credits scenes. The actual structure of the movie didn’t stray that far from the superhero formula (origin story, cheesy love story with a damsel in distress, group of super friends, climactic battle scene with a felonious villain, acceptance of new identity) but the occasional profanity, crude humor, and immense self-awareness actually worked to its advantage. In the end, it was a very entertaining Marvel movie. (Were the jokes as funny after repeated viewings? Could fanboys confirm, please?)

2. Has there been another movie with opening credits of this kind? It was fun trying to match the stereotypes with the actual characters and actors (“God’s perfect idiot”, “a hot chick”, a “gratuitous cameo” that shouldn’t be a surprise to Marvel fans). The movie might have been directed by a “douchebag director” that was also an “overpaid tool” but all that money didn’t go to waste. (Kudos for acknowledging that the “real heroes here” were the writers.)

3. Inasmuch as I liked Ryan Reynolds as Van Wilder, I really thought that he could never recover from the Green Lantern disaster. After that, it was just one box office bomb after another that I already said RIP to his career after RIPD. Similar to Robert Downey, Jr., it took just one perfect role to jump-start his resurgence (US opening weekend at $135M, the biggest for an R-rated film). The fact that he openly and so gamely made fun of himself (requesting that his supersuit not be green, references to being the Sexiest Man Alive, joking about his obvious lack of talent) just made everything even funnier.

4. When is the next season of Silicon Valley? T.J. Miller (he played the bartender Weasel) may have bombed as the host of the recent Critics’ Choice Awards but he would always be one of my favorite TV geeks. And speaking of TV, I have seen the full glory of Morena Baccarin’s breasts on Homeland and they still looked glorious on the big screen (hey, I was also entitled to an R-rated comment!).

5. In one scene, Deadpool (“That sounds like a fucking franchise!”) mentioned a “fourth wall break in a fourth wall break, so that’s like 16 walls!” and my favorite ones would have to be:

• When Colossus asked him to see the Professor and he deadpanned, “Stewart or McAvoy? These timelines are so confusing!” (Preach!)

• When he visited the X-Men mansion and mentioned that he only kept seeing Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Colossus as if “the studio couldn’t afford another X-Men”.

6. The aforementioned cheesy love story (“Your crazy matches my crazy”, huhubelles) seriously reminded me of that Lorna Tolentino early 90’s movie Gaano Kita Kamahal. I probably alienated all of you fanboys with this reference but I swear Christopher de Leon also had the same burnt face and it was a remarkable true story of love and acceptance (and thankfully no dialogue that he had a face that she could sit on). I might need to dig up my VHS copy of that film and find a working player so I can rewatch.

7. I would never look at a dish soap brand the same way again (wink, wink).

8. Can someone explain why people start leaving as soon as the end credits roll when they know for a fact that this is a Marvel movie and has a 99% chance of a post-credits scene? Please tell me that I’m not the only one annoyed whenever the said scene would start playing and then people that have already stood up would suddenly stop and block the view of those that are still seated and patiently waited for it. End of rant.

P.S. Loved the “What were you expecting? Sam Jackson in an eye patch?” joke. I do hope they cast Keira Knightley as Cable.

Rating: ★★★★☆