THE GREAT HACK (Karim Amer, Jehane Noujaim, 2019)

749C9F6F-597E-4036-8C36-1E851C398B32

So the internet gods are listening in on my private conversations with friends? That the microphones and cameras on my laptop and smartphone are picking up details that create my data profile for social media sites to accurately predict my behaviour and interests? It wasn’t merely a coincidence that after I mentioned a planned trip to Tokyo next year, my Facebook feed immediately got bombarded by sponsored Klook ads offering discounted tour packages? Oh, please!! We all signed up for this. We can’t make our lives public on the worldwide web and then fear that strangers know way too much about us, right? It’s time to admit that we’re basically living in a supersized Black Mirror episode.

Although this documentary didn’t contain a lot of new information (especially if one had been following all the discussions related to Brexit, the Trump campaign, Cambridge Analytica, and Facebook-gate), I was still fascinated by the thought that these so-called villains preyed on the “persuadables” and successfully swayed them to their desired results. Will that stop me from taking the next “Which Sex and the City character are you” quiz? My Miranda side is screaming “DON’T!!”, but I’m sure my gullible Charlotte side wins in the end.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Advertisements

‪SAKALING MAGING TAYO (JP Habac, 2018)

68137ed5-f0a7-47e8-b7f1-ffe3cbe4d6c0

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Sakaling Maging Tayo:

1. For a romance film to work, I needed to fall in love with the love story. I should find myself rooting for the lovers and wishing that they end up together because they were meant for each other. It just didn’t happen here.

Pol (McCoy de Leon) spent an entire night in a mini Baguio tour with his long-time crush Malaya (Elisse Joson) and yet he couldn’t find time to buy medicine for a sick parent (Bembol Roco). At one point he actually drove past a Mercury Drug store and I expected some sort of product placement, but no, he had far more important things to deal with. The only time he remembered his father was when he got his heart broken and needed a shoulder to cry on. But still no medicine.

There was an overwhelming sense of pettiness with these characters and their love problems that triggered my inner Titas of Manila. I was that person in the theater making the loud “Tsk tsk!” noise while muttering “Kids these days…”.

2. I didn’t know much about Elisse outside of her Burger McDo commercial (I couldn’t even remember her in the camp classic #Ewankosau Saranghaeyo, or maybe I just tried to repress all memories of that movie) so I was pleasantly surprised with her naturally charming performance here. Her beauty and talent reminded me of early Bea Alonzo and I could see her as a future star if given a much better project (and in this case, better partner).

She had enough spunk to pull off corny lines like “Mahal ko ang mga bagay na di masyado napapansin” and the right amount of vulnerability to deliver the heartbreaking “Sorry, okay ka sana kaso di ako okay eh”. Instant fan here.

3. Chai Fonacier’s character was unfortunately named Erna. If I was named after the slang term for shit, why would I still let people call me thay? Why not say, Poopie? As always though, Chai was in a league of her own and made even a throwing up scene (how gross could this character get?) look like a bid for another Urian nomination. (Also, Black Sheep people, I expected better from you.)

4. With all of the things that the lovers and their friends were able to accomplish during that single night (they went in every possible hangout in Baguio that included a visit to the creepy Teacher’s Camp), this should have been called Nagalit ang Buwan sa Haba ng Gabi… Ulit. In the end, Malaya was even able to catch the first bus trip out of the city. Oh, the wonders of cinema!

Pero ang ganda talaga ng Baguio at night. It once again served as a soothing backdrop that reminded me of that touching moment between Kiko and Yaya Diday in Kiko Boksingero. And speaking of, did Malaya live in the same house that was used in the horror-comedy Halik sa Hangin?

5. Two of the friends were gay characters so they obviously ended up together because they were probably the only two gay people that lived there. I suddenly remembered that episode in Sex and the City when Charlotte tried to set up a blind date between her gay bff Anthony and Carrie’s gay bff Stanford thinking that they were perfect for each other just because they were both gay. Uhh, not exactly how things worked, straight people. (Wait, didn’t the pair end up getting married in the movie sequel? More reasons not to like that stinker.)

6. Why was Malaya wearing the exact same dress that she was supposed to sleep in when she rushed to the club to confront her ex-boyfriend? Wala nang ligo-ligo kasi malamig naman sa Baguio?

7. So Pol brought his father’s taxi to the concert and Malaya mistook him as a cab driver. I really thought for a second that this would turn into The Night Of, but of course it didn’t because this was still a Star Cinema-ish movie.

8. Ang funny lang nung hipster jazz discussion (hello La La Land!) tapos biglang kumanta si Moira dela Torre in a succeeding scene. You know that 30-day Film Challenge where on a specific day you were supposed to name a movie where you liked the soundtrack more? This could be my entry. Sana soundtrack na lang talaga siya.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

HOW TO BE SINGLE (Christian Ditter, 2016)

12742384_10153897153908544_4230952678445493457_n

My notes on How To Be Single:

1. I initially hated Super Fun Night, the now-cancelled ABC series that starred Rebel Wilson as a single woman just wanting to have a great time with her other single girlfriends. The show got much better when it stopped trying to poke fun at the diverse characters’ unconventional lifestyles and just focused on letting them have their much-deserved fun.

2. I felt the exact same way about this movie adapted from a Liz Tuccillo novel (she was also a writer on Sex and the City). It had a good grasp of the joys and oftentimes (frequency depended on your bitterness level) loneliness of singlehood, but it also wanted its women to apologize for acknowledging that they might actually need a man after all. Nothing’s wrong with being single and nothing’s wrong if you’re single wishing to find the perfect partner, right?

3. Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York should be used in every scene with a person relocating to New York because it’s cheery fun and I’m a certified Swiftie.

4. Dakota Johnson would always be the 50 Shades of Grey girl to me so it was a bit jarring to see her having trouble keeping a relationship and constantly getting dumped by guys that didn’t even come close to the smoldering looks, astonishing wealth, or even kinky fetish of Christian Grey. If Anastasia Steele couldn’t even land a boyfriend in this movie, what more the common tao? (Funny that her name here was Alice Kepley. I know, I have the mind of a twelve year old.)

5. I found it off though that Dakota’s character was the typical helpless woman who needed a boyfriend to reset her router or remove the foreign subtitles on her TV. That wasn’t even a dependency issue. Call customer service. Or read the manual, girl. Magagalit ang Gabriela n’yan.

6. Rebel, as expected, was the movie’s effortless scene-stealer. She was a hoot and generated the loudest laughs whether she was owning the dance floor with an arrow pointing to her crotch, peeing in a Zen garden that she thought was a kitty litter, crawling out of a taxi window, or threatening to tit-punch someone for using an emoji.

The best moment had her describing the deprived privates of Dakota:

“You have a long-term relationship pussy.”
“It looked like you dropped a hairbrush and your vagina caught it.”
“Gandalf is staring at me. No penis shall pass!”

7. “For the record, this is not me leaving. This is you pushing me away.” Did this bring back a lot of heartbreak memories?

8. The Drink Number theory stated that two people should not exceed the total drink limit between themselves (in any combination) meaning if one gets drunk after two glasses and the other after three, then they shouldn’t go over the five drink total or something will happen between them.

This is definitely not true because we all know that “as long as there is alak, there is balak” and no drinking theory can ever stop that.

9. In one scene, a character bumped into her ex’s parents and the mother said “You’re better than her (current girlfriend)”.

If you’re already happy and in a relationship, you’d be brushing this off and just laugh. If you’re still bitter, your heart will be exploding with joy and probably planning another stalking session to get him back.

10. “The thing about being single is that you should cherish it.” Now wouldn’t this be the perfect Valentine’s Day movie even if you’re watching alone (but not lonely)? Cue Hailee Steinfeld’s Love Myself.

Rating: ★★★☆☆