ADAN (Roman Perez, Jr.)

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Ganitong-ganito ang mga softcore Viva movies nung early 2000’s starring Maui Taylor (who interestingly played a nanay role here) and Rica Peralejo na directed by Yam Laranas or Erik Matti. Yung kunwari may story pero obvious naman na excuse lang para mag-kamison ang mga bidang starlets at matupad ang sexual fantasies ng mga kalalakihan.

Yung matutuwa ka na 18 years old ka na kasi mapapanood mo siya sa SM Cinemas nung hindi pa sila nagpapanggap na family- and values-oriented. (Btw, I saw this in Southmall because it was shown under the guise of an R-16 film. Oh, the irony!!)

Medyo awkward panoorin ang sex and nudity scenes kasi hawig ni Rhen Escaño si Yasmien Kurdi tapos si Cindy Miranda naman parang sultrier Kathryn Bernardo.

Bilang certified chimbies, syempre ang paborito nila kainin ay sinabawang tahong. For future local lesbo films, I suggest gawing nilagang mani, mainit na monay, adobong pechay, or malagkit na kalamay para maiba naman.

For the problematic straight male crowd na gusto sumakit ang puson, go nuod lang.

(And Lolita Carbon, why?!?)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

THE DEBUTANTES (Prime Cruz, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Debutantes:

1. I still haven’t forgotten about the clunky twist of last week’s Last Night and now we get another movie that hinged on the big reveal of an ‘imaginary’ being. Are our writers running out of original ideas to surprise the audience?

It probably would have been more acceptable if the said twist wasn’t so obvious the moment you see young Jona Soquite (or at least who I thought was her). Seriously, why would ‘siblings’ with a huge age gap have that twinning kind of severe BANGS (yes, nagsusumigaw) anyway? The only mystery left was whether she was the evil side of Carrie, er, Kate (a competent Sue Ramirez), or a completely different entity altogether (answer: sadly, the latter).

2. I had this discussion recently with a filmmaker friend on the lack of creative main titles in recent films (especially Star Cinema ones). We would usually see the same old cast names in red (or white) Times New Roman or Comic Sans fonts that clearly revealed the lack of originality or how much the final product was rushed.

One good thing about this movie was that it had a good opening credit sequence with blood flowing/dripping endlessly on various objects like a flower (cattleya?) or on the lips that would figure prominently later on. Reminded me so much of the Emmy-winning design for Six Feet Under.

3. Although the bullying and the public humiliation reminded me of Carrie, the similarity ended there because it was hard not to sympathize with the Mean Girls when this was obviously not an outright revenge flick. How could I cheer for the eventual deaths of young, irritating girls when Kate wasn’t the one doing the killings?

I never really rooted for a maligno, except for this one time when the Undin hid in the toilet bowl and preyed on the loudmouth landlady played by Vangie Labalan.

4. Speaking of Mean Girls, I couldn’t get why Ivy Aguas wannabe Jenny (Jane de Leon) was considered the Queen Bee. She didn’t look or speak the part and Michelle Vito as Candice had more of the Regina George vibe (although the latter was also a terrible actress so maybe that was the reason?).

To be fair, the Jenny character was a hoot. I laughed out loud when she said, “Hey guys, as you all know it’s my birthday. Yeeeees! Happy birthday to meeeee!!”.

5. I also couldn’t understand how Miles Ocampo ended up with this group of bitches considering that her Lara character seemed like the typical goody two-shoes. Sure, she lived alone in a humongous house and had an annoying fringed bag that screamed social climber, but her personality just didn’t seem to fit with the group. Was it because she was too dumb to know the difference between Geometry and Calculus and the group needed a budget Karen Smith?

6. Why would Kate agree to wear a revealing halter top when she had visible scratch marks on her back? Also, why didn’t she even bother to check how loose those strings were prior to attending a party full of privileged brats?

In this day and age of social media prominence, who would still post a public status of them embarrassing other people? Have these kids already forgotten about Ate Amalayer, or the Kuya that threw a hissy fit in Alfamart and got knocked down by a loaf of Gardenia, or the Sisteret that wanted to hog all the chairs in Starbucks? A documented case of bullying sounded like an instant lawsuit to me.

7. This was a Prime Cruz movie so of course it looked good. I really loved the use of saturated colors and I hope that it wasn’t just a product of SM Cinemas’ poor projection. I kinda missed his cool soundtrack though and the songs were mostly utilized during the end credits.

8. I really don’t get how these onscreen characters would cut their own hair and they’d always end up with salon gorgeous looks after. If I were to handle my own haircut, my mother would most probably ask if I recently had ‘tipus’ (uhm, thyphoid fever).

9. Why would a traumatized Kate immediately attend the wake of one of her bullies? Was it because we needed a scare scene involving a coffin? And why was Candice wearing a stylish cover-up and pekpek shorts there? Jenny should really have risen from the dead and slapped her silly for stealing the limelight (and for lack of respect, naturally).

10. Most of the horror elements were familiar tropes (they basically replaced the hair braid coming out of Naomi Watts’ throat in The Ring with a necklace; the jump scene when somebody would open a fridge and a person would be standing behind it was used twice, the other with a locker; the setup where the ghost would pull on the blanket of a sleeping person looked straight out of The Conjuring) and even impressive scenes like when the engkanto came out of Kate’s mouth looked similar to the one in The Possession (or one of the Ouija movies). I spent most of the time chuckling at how bad the death scenes were staged.

11. That was one dirty toilet bowl. Candice, please ask your maid to check the Coke hack on Facebook pronto.

12. This was the type of horror movie where a person in a pool would see the moo moo and decide to swim to the other side instead of getting her ass out of the water and fleeing for dear life. Congratulations Shayne (Chanel Morales) for winning this month’s Darwin Award!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival 2016 Scorecard

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Two things about Sinag Maynila 2016:

1. Although I was happy (and grateful) to see SM Cinemas supporting an indie film festival, its strict rules on movies with adult themes clearly affected this year’s batch. You could actually feel the strain in adhering to an R-13 rating and it ended up as a form of self-censorship. I understood the wholesome image that the SM Group wanted to uphold, but some films were just not meant to be family-oriented (thus the R-18 rating). How about a compromise?

2. If these films were also meant to cater to a wider audience (read: non-Pinoys), I hope the filmmakers would put enough time and effort on the subtitles. I hate to be the Grammar Nazi (especially since I’m also in need of a good proofreader), but when you get to read multiple (!!) errors on the usage of whose and who’s (or your and you’re, and were and we’re) and you see lines like “Why did I let you stole the rice?”, it just isn’t right.

Anyway, I was able to do a marathon of all five feature-length films in one day (and survived to tell the tale).

Here’s my festival scorecard:

Best Feature-Length Film:

1. MRS. – ★★★★☆

2. DYAMPER – ★★★☆☆
3. EXPRESSWAY – ★★★☆☆
4. LILA – ★★☆☆☆
5. TPO (TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER) – ★☆☆☆☆

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:

1. ALJUR ABRENICA (Expressway)
2. ALCHRIS GALURA (Dyamper)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:

1. ELIZABETH OROPESA (Mrs.)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:

1. TIMOTHY CASTILLO (Dyamper)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:

1. LOTLOT DE LEON (Mrs.)

Until next year!!