MUMBAI LOVE: THE MOVIE (Benito Bautista, 2014)

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My notes on Mumbai Love: The Movie:

1. It was hard to take a love story seriously when the lead actor wore more eyeliner than the lead actress.

2. This was no different from a typical Star Cinema movie where the location played a mere backdrop for a travelogue montage.

3. I still think that Solenn Heussaff looked great onscreen and given the right project might actually be a fine actress.

4. And the trend of me not liking a movie with Miles Kanapi continued. I couldn’t blame her though since she was such a committed actress.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published January 24, 2014.)

LOVE IS BLIND (Jason Paul Laxamana, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Love Is Blind:

1. Could a hottie like Derek Ramsay actually fall in love with a nottie like Kiray Celis? If we were to believe this movie, the answer would be a definite no. Unless of course one used the power of gayuma, because a conventionally unattractive woman has no chance of being loved by her Prince Charming without any dark magic involved. That was the single joke here stretched for an hour and and forty minutes.

2. In this movie, Derek named Wade actually had a beautiful girlfriend in Maggie (Solenn Heussaff), an unrefined artist who gets a bit wild inside a club. She was so nasty that she actually wiped her wet armpits in public because well, nobody’s perfect (except for Solenn of course, an actress so game that she would do any silly thing and still end up looking endearing).

In one scene, he asked her to undergo crystal peeling because he was embarrassed to bring her in his high school reunion (“Kasi hindi pantay ang kulay mo”). Seriously? The gorgeous Solenn Heussaff still needed a cosmetic procedure to look presentable? Prince Charming was actually Prince Shallow and Obnoxious.

3. Kiray played Fe, an intern in Luxent Hotel and the idea of her being a front desk officer and barely reaching the counter was supposed to be funny. She was joined by a group of hotel friends that also defied the perception of beauty, making them all too desperate to buy magic rings (worth 7k!!) just to have a lovelife (“Ang hopeless natin!”).

Fe was the richest one because she was willing to spend 20k for a gayuma that she could probably buy in Quiapo for 100 pesos. But hey, the movie needed a fantasy so let’s forget any logic here.

4. Speaking of Luxent Hotel, it was a good thing they allowed their brand to be used considering that the hotel staff in the movie were all evil (on top of being caricatures). A supervisor shrieked at Fe in front of guests (and did a Linda Blair headspin while stepping out of the room because the movie just wasn’t corny enough), a manager rudely interrupted dinner (“Hoy babae!!”) and gave Fe a scolding in public, and somebody from housekeeping slept on the bed with his headsets on right in front of the hotel guest. The bosses here were so heartless that when Fe developed a self-induced allergic reaction (that looked more like measles), they didn’t send her home and instead assigned her to clean rooms. I didn’t even touch on the fact that the staff could easily get inside rooms without the use of a keycard.

5. Granted, Wade drank the gayuma and saw a Maggie lookalike in Fe (tattoos and all), how would that explain his physical contact with her whenever they were together? The height difference was blatant and Fe didn’t have a Blusang Itim (or Shallow Hal) transformation so it was just a matter of Wade’s perception. If that were the case, then his arms would be in thin air whenever people would see him with Fe, right? Was I putting too much thought into this?

6. The said allergic reaction turned into pimples in later scenes because Fe apparently just wasn’t hideous enough.

7. If there was one good thing in this movie, it was the message that farmers were noble workers and that the agriculture industry should be given high regard. Now if only it didn’t portray one agriculture person as a simpleton that didn’t even know a Powerpoint presentation.

8. I probably laughed really loud once during the entire movie and that was when Kiray finally looked in the mirror, saw Solenn in her reflection, and ran away screaming in horror. In fairness, siya pa talaga ang natakot.

(In retrospect, the movie had a good trailer that contained most of the funny bits. You could watch that one for free.)

9. Did Kiray and Derek kiss in the movie? Yes (and it drew the loudest groans from the other 6 people inside the cinema). I guess that was my biggest problem with the entire movie. It wanted the audience to laugh at the absurdity of the situations but also wanted them to feel guilty for doing so.

10. The movie ended not with Kiray and her true love Kean Cipriano kissing (loud groans) but with Derek and Solenn having fun in a pineapple plantation because batuhan ng soil wouldn’t look as fun and romantic if the leads weren’t so darn pretty.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

LAKBAY2LOVE (Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Lakbay2Love:

1. I didn’t have a lot of good memories with bicycles. I learned how to bike after several scrapes and bruises because I didn’t have one with training wheels and my grandfather’s idea of teaching was letting go after five steps and pushing as hard as he could to propel me forward. When I was six, I had the unfortunate luck of biking on a street with rabid dogs that tried to chomp on my then skinny legs (friends, now you know why I’m also scared of dogs). As a teen, my mountain bike got stolen even if we had high walls and it was safely parked in our dirty kitchen. On that day (and with the loss of belief in the goodness of society), I swore off biking in my life forever.

2. Solenn Heussaff played Lianne, a girl that also swore off biking after her father abandoned them for good and left her crying on the gutter under the dramatic pouring rain. She then engaged herself in the world of biking towards a journey of love and self-discovery. Lianne’s tragic life story was boring (“I’m torn between Dennis Trillo and Kit Thompson! Oh, poor me!”). On the other hand, the introduction to the world of biking was awesome. Now why didn’t they make this one a documentary instead?

3. If the Yolanda reference, climate change discussion, and scenes of deforestation weren’t obvious enough, this was an environmental advocacy movie. Lianne was completely right when she mentioned that her problems were so petty compared to the themes being presented here. I wish there were less “Ang pagbibisekleta ay parang lovemaking. Pag nagawa mo na, di mo na makakalimutan” and more of “Kapag maraming alitaptap, ibig sabihin malinis ang hangin.”

4. I really believe that Solenn is one of our underrated actresses. Her performance here was so natural that it was like watching outtakes of the entire shoot. She was just being herself and she (and her flawless armpits) looked even lovelier amidst the gorgeous sunset and luscious rainforests. Who else could deliver a line like “Ang sakit sa pechay!” and still look classy and respectable?

5. If Victor Basa and Rami Malek had a child, it would be Kit Thompson.

6. In one scene (and as if she wasn’t unreachable already), Solenn spoke in fluent French. Dennis (playing Alamat, a cyclist so passionate that he even wore t-shirts with bicycles on them) then joked “Akala ko kasi di mo lang masabi ang mamon nung bata ka pa eh.” I told you we didn’t need this love story.

7. To further drive the point, here’s another groaner delivered by Dennis:

“Relak! Baka ka mag collap. Wag ka ten.”

8. Why are feminine hygiene products so versatile? I’ve seen tampons used as nose plugs and here they used a pantyliner as first aid to a face wound. How absorbent were those things? (Obviously, very.) Talk about a happy period.

9. I loved the scene where the chismosa relatives started spilling the childhood secrets of Alamat (“Naku nung bata yan, hindi yan naliligo!”) A family reunion wouldn’t be complete without any form of embarrassment.

10. It was my first time to hear a version of the Eraserheads’ Overdrive as a biking theme. “Magba-bike ako hanggang Bicol” made me reach out for my inhaler.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆