MOVIE REVIEW: CINCO (Frasco Mortiz, Enrico Santos, Ato Bautista, Nick Olanka, Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2010)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

Anthology of five horror shorts kyemerut. Parang pa-bibong Shake, Rattle, Roll with its two additional stories pero hindi naman nakadagdag sa scare factor.

BRASO (Frasco Mortiz) – ★☆☆☆☆

Tungkol sa baklang braso na nag-break free sa pagiging closeta at dinakma ang yagbols ni AJ Perez (RIP).

PAA (Enrico Santos) – ★★★☆☆

Tungkol sa isang nanay (Jodi Sta. Maria in full batas ng isang api mode) na hindi marunong magpagpag kaya sinundan ng multo ng batang ninakawan niya ng sapatos.

MATA (Ato Bautista) – ★★☆☆☆

Tungkol sa isang babaeng (Maja Salvador) trapped in a Groundhog Day nightmare kung saan jowa niya lagi si Rayver Cruz. Saklap.

MUKHA (Nick Olanka) – ★★☆☆☆

Tungkol sa bitch from hell na boss (Mariel Rodriguez channeling Kimmy Go Dong Hae) na ginamit ang mukha ng kawawang office janitor to test their new photocopying machine. Naghiganti tuloy ang kaluluwa nito na galit sa mga DDS tulad ng asawa ni boss na si Robin Padilla.

PUSO (Cathy Garcia-Molina) – ★★☆☆☆

Tungkol sa isang chakang perya performer (Pokwang) na desperadong magka-lovelife at sa kasamaang-palad ay zombie ang nagayuma. Hindi na rin masama kasi mas mukha pang mabango ang naaagnas na si Zanjoe Marudo kesa sa mga People You May Know ng Facebook.

Saan banda ako dapat matakot?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: CINEMA ONE ORIGINALS 2019 SHORT FILMS

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LAST 2 3 4! (Genevieve Ofania, 2019) – ★★☆☆☆

Oh, it has already been broughten!!

Kung pep squad ang short film na ito sa UAAP Cheerdance Competiton, sigurado ako na ito ay Ateneo Blue Babble Batallion.

*****

SA AMONG AGWAT (Don Senoc, 2019) – ★★★★☆

Napanood ko na ito nung Cinemalaya. Maganda pa rin.

*****

ANG LUMUNOD SA ATIN (Sonia Marie Regalario, 2019) – ★★★☆☆

Pwedeng 90’s episode ng Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Syokoy. Gusto ko yung implication na nalulunod ang bata sa kanyang fantasy world kakanood ng mga paborito niyang pelikula tulad ng Ang Panday, E.T, at The Neverending Story. Hindi ko lang talaga ma-take yung isang eksena na suminghal ang nanay niya sabay sabi ng “Wala ka talaga pakialam sa pamilyang to eh. Sana ikaw na lang ang… (ultra-contrived dramatic pause).”

***

THE SLUMS (Jan Andrei Cobey, 2019) – ★★★★☆

Satire kung satire. Dami kong tawa dito. Sobrang scathing criticism sa mga exploitative docus and news features romanticizing poverty (including subtitles na walang kinalaman sa totoong sinasabi ng mga interviewees). Walang nakaligtas kahit ang silver lining speech ni Catriona, delivered by the syokoy boy sa taas na naging baklang kanal dito.

“Kung mahirap po kayo, bakit po kayo mataba?” sabay focus sa cellphone. Hala grabe siya! Napaisip tuloy ako bigla kaninong side ba ako.

*****

SA GITNA NG LUNGSOD (Ivan Cortez, 2019) – ★★☆☆☆

Nagsusumigaw ang filter ng SERIOUS DRAMA!! Sana lang hindi chaka umarte si kuyang Martial Law victim.

*****

ANG GASGAS NA PLAKA NI LOLO BERT (Janina Gacosta, Cheska Marfori, 2019) – ★★★★☆

Lakas ng tama sa puso ng kwento na ‘to. Napakahusay pa nina Dido dela Paz at Soliman Cruz. Sobrang nagustuhan ko yung ambiguity ng desires and motivations nila habang more bonding sa love for music. Ganda!!

MOVIE REVIEW: HENERAL LUNA (Jerrold Tarog, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Heneral Luna:

1. The disclaimer at the start of the movie was scary for two reasons: a) for a biopic slash historical epic, we don’t know the extent of cinematic license used in the movie, and b) indeed, a fictionalized history (or work of fiction inspired by true events?) doesn’t take away the fact that this is still a clear representation of the truth (both past and present).

2. Jerrold Tarog has always been a competent filmmaker. He’s the kind of director that can make a Shake Rattle and Roll episode end up better than most of the full-length Pinoy movies shown that year. (Also, watch Senior Year!!)

3. I think everyone will agree that the movie had one of the best ensemble casts in any Pinoy film. I loved how the receding hairline of Epy Quizon was put to good use as Apolinario Mabini. In terms of acting, Mon Confiado (as Emilio Aguinaldo) and Nonie Buencamino (as Felipe Buencamino) were clear standouts. I hope none of them show up in Felix Manalo or I will start getting confused.

4. One of the best lines in the movie:

“Para kayong mga birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng isang puta!!”

I wonder when I can deliver this line in real life.

5. I particularly liked the Manifest Destiny scene because it stirred up emotions that shouldn’t even be there in this day and age (I so hated the American soldiers that I almost swore off eating burgers.)

6. A lot of reviews have pointed out that the film is a farce. I guess I’m being a purist then because I still want my History lessons all serious and dramatic. The rich content of Philippine History alone will never be boring. I guess I just didn’t understand all the funny quips despite the current situations (hey, it’s just war, people are just getting blown up, let’s all be like Cesar Montano and throw a witty one-liner or two!).

7. I was happy to see Antonio Luna portrayed as a deeply flawed character (never liked biopics that glorify their subject matter) but did it go too far? I could barely remember him in History class and now all I could think of was that he’s no different from Anger in Inside Out. Just about everything seemed to irk him to no end and everyone around him just looked completely dumb or incompetent. John Arcilla was fine in the lead role but I kept imagining him invoking the spirit of Captain Jack Sparrow in every scene. I hate to say it but it bordered closely on caricature.

8. Did we really need that gratuitous head shot for shock value? If they were depicting the reality of war then why was Luna shown as someone invincible? He just kept saying his lines while walking close to enemy lines without getting hit. Maybe he had an agimat that we didn’t know of? (Was it the magical coin pouch that saved his life?)

9. In one scene, Luna was trying to talk to an American soldier and ended up saying something like, “Hulihin nyo na yan. Naubusan na ko ng Ingles” all for comic relief. I was surprised he didn’t just say “Nosebleed!”. Why didn’t they really get Montano for this role?

10. I remember one of my History teachers saying that when Rizal got shot, he tried to face the firing squad as a sign of pride and dignity. Is this correct? (I’m only asking because the Rizal here just waited to be shot at the back. Wait, that didn’t sound right.)

11. In another scene, Luna was strumming his guitar and he was shown to have perfectly polished nails. With this, I will always remember that even in trying times, one should never forget to have a manicure.

12. Why is Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata the song of choice for war flashback scenes? I first heard this used in Madrasta with Sharon Cuneta’s grandfather recalling the war with Japanese soldiers. (Ooh, I need to watch that again.)

13. Old people love hitting tables for emphasis. (If you’ve done that recently…)

14. The scene that I abhorred the most would have to be the one where Luna was killed and the movie turned into a comical Carlo J. Caparas movie. Luna was betrayed and stabbed and shot several times (and had a hole carved in his right eye) by Filipino soldiers and I should have been appalled and angry by the betrayal but I was instead preventing a huge fart from trying not to laugh. Sure, History books would say that he was stabbed 30 or so times and that he continued to flinch after his death but I’m sure it didn’t say that he was Fernando Poe, Jr. (or a horror movie villain that just won’t die).

15. I remember Aguinaldo getting a bad rap for apparently ordering the assassination of Andres Bonifacio. He was portrayed the exact same way here with fingers directly pointed at him for giving the directive on the ambush of Luna. I never knew our first President was such a villain. Has anything changed since then?

16. The burning flag scene in its entirety covered everything that the movie was trying to say in two hours. Such powerful imagery.

17. There’s a mid-credits sequence!! In the same way that Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo had a Heneral Luna teaser, this one hinted at a Gregorio del Pilar spin-off (meaning more Paulo Avelino!). Move over Marvel, we have our Pinoy superheroes!

18. How many times did I mention History?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published September 16, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL 8 (2006)

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13TH FLOOR (Rahyan Carlos) – The hokey back story couldn’t support this more (unintentionally) comical, less scary episode of the 8th installment. It was the kind of movie that was able to drag down veteran theater actors like Robert Sena and Isay Alvarez into Roxanne Guinoo’s level of acting. The scares happened really early and yet the Scooby Doo gang continued to stay in that haunted condo. If I see flying hotdogs on a cabbage or spirits of dead children, my first instinct would be to run as far away as possible. I guess these people really just wanted to be scared to death.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

YAYA (Topel Lee) – The biggest hurdle of this trilogy has always been the runtime for each episode. Forty minutes is just too short to tell a good horror tale and if you focus on atmosphere and special effects, you end up rushing the story. Iza Calzado makes a great manananggal but the material doesn’t give her much to do. Sheryl Cruz’s awfulness definitely doesn’t help. I had more fun watching Kris Aquino get terrorized by THE Lilia Cuntapay in the far superior Yaya episode of the 3rd installment.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

LRT (Michael Tuviera) – This episode offered the most scares among the three although it seemed to be in such a hurry to kill off its big cast (among them, the usually noteworthy Eugene Domingo and SRR staple Manilyn Reynes). We weren’t given enough time to care for these characters and since some were completely unlikable, I ended up waiting for them to be killed. The killer’s look came straight out of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village that I’m surprised he didn’t sue. Can we ask for more originality next time, please?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆