MOVIE REVIEW: AMOROSA: THE REVENGE (Topel Lee, 2012)

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Bad, bad movie.

I pity Angel Aquino for subjecting herself to such an awful screenplay. I just hope she got a big paycheck for this.

The movie had one too many plot twists to distract you from the lack of a strong plot. It basically starred a ghost that seemed to pop up for no reason other than to scare the lead (by the end, you’d be questioning why she was doing that in the first place).

The Sophie’s Choice bit was idiotic and characters just kept making stupid decisions. One even developed amnesia after getting stabbed in the stomach.

I spent most of the time laughing instead.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published September 9, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: SAAN DARATING ANG UMAGA? (Maryo J. Delos Reyes, 1983)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Saan Darating ang Umaga?:

1. Meron talagang mga pelikula na marinig mo pa lang ang theme song maiiyak ka na. Nung pinanood ko ulit ito recently, hindi pa kumakanta si Raymond Lauchengco (as in instrumental part pa lang sa initial scenes) pero parang sasabog na ang puso ko. Na-picture ko agad si Joel (‘80s child star Jaypee de Guzman) na ngumangawa habang humahabol sa kanyang Ate Shayne (FAMAS Best Supporting Actress winner Maricel Soriano) pagkasoli sa kanya sa ampunan (more on that later).

“Bakit pa pinagtagpo? Pala’y maglalayo tayo sa ating buhay…” Hala, naluluha na ako ulit!!

2. Melodramatic siya to a fault pero sobrang earned yung tears. Ang daling mahalin ng Pamilya Rodrigo kasi they functioned like any normal middle class family during that time. I’m sure maraming oldies like me na makaka-relate sa everyday situations nila. Yung panahon na considered breadwinner pa ang mga tatay habang butihing housewives naman ang mga nanay. Tapos yung tuwing maririnig ng mga bata ang kotse ni tatay eh sasalubungin nila sa gate ng bahay at maghahanap ng dalang pasalubong.

Ang conservative pa ng values noon kaya nakakaaliw ang pag-ku-kuwento ng nanay na si Lorrie (the magnificent Nida Blanca) kay Shayne ng trade secrets to maintain a healthy partnership. Natawa ako nung sinabi niya na kahit ang tagal na nila mag-asawa, hindi pa siya nakikita ni Ruben (Nestor de Villa) na nakahubad para hindi ito maghanap ng iba. Very 80’s maybahay talaga.

Also, nakakatawa ang kulitan scenes nilang mag-nanay. Nung lumabas si Shayne na todo make-up before going to school (kasi in love ang ate mo), ang unang hirit ni mudang eh “Do you have a party today?”. Ayun napikon, sabay walkout at galit na galit ginaya ang nanay niya sa harapan ng salamin. Ganyan na ganyan ako kapag asar-talo.

3. Malungkot ang major themes on adoption, loss, and grief. Ang sakit sa puso nung sinabi ni Lorrie na “Bakit naman kasi kung sino pa yung gustong-gusto magkaanak, siya pa ang laging nakukunan?”. Makikita rin dito na for the privileged ang legal adoption. Magastos ang overall process at kelangan talaga na malinaw ang financial support. Obvious naman na can afford sila kasi ang lawak ng garden in their gated subdivision home (big enough para mag-sunbathing si Shayne dahil feel lang niya haha!).

Ang medyo naguluhan lang ako ay yung pagbabalik kay Joel nung dulo. Allowed ba talaga yun dahil nabaliw si Lorrie at in danger na ang bata kapag kasama siya? Nakaka-sad kasi parang hiniram lang siya na laruan tapos nung hindi na nila kaya alagaan eh isosoli na lang ulit.

I really liked the strong connection nito dun sa isa pang pelikula ni Maricel na Ama, Ina, Anak. Daming similarities including yung sibling rivalry, although that one wasn’t as tragic.

4. Speaking of sibling rivalry, believable talaga yung pagmamaldita ni Shayne out of jealousy lalo na at na-divert sa new bunso lahat ng attention. Na kahit ang laki ng age gap nila, ultimo pasalubong na chocolates eh nakikipag-agawan pa siya sa bata (di naman ako nagulat kasi even nung pabitin scene eh parang gusto niya sumali).

Sobrang paawa din kasi yung mukha ni Joel kaya natawa ako sa pasimpleng sipa sa kanya ni Shayne nung aerobics scene. At kahit ako uminit ang ulo nung puro drawings na ang favorite niya na plastic-covered copy of One Hundred Years of Solitude (first, kasi I really love that book, and second, kasi nangyari rin ito sa akin at nung nasira ang magazine ko na collector’s item, ako pa ang napagalitan ng parentals at sinabihan na babayaran nila, as if meron pang copy nun at may katumbas na price ang sentimental value haha bitter pa rin).

(Side note: Huy Shayne, binigyan ka lang ng book ng stalker mo tapos date na agad? Anyare sa conservative values na sinasabi ko kanina?)

Pero syempre naawa pa rin ako kay Joel nung binalibag at pinagsasampal siya habang tinatawag na ampon kasi alam naman natin paano si Marya sa iconic sampalan scenes niya.

5. Maganda talaga yung increased awareness regarding depression. Dati hindi ko maintindihan masyado yung immediate change of emotions ni Lorrie kay Joel after mamatay ni Ruben. Iniisip ko kasi na nanay pa rin siya at sobrang minahal niya yung bata so bakit ang bilis niya magpa-Sophie’s Choice kay Shayne na mamili sa kanilang dalawa.

Pero ngayon alam ko na kung ano ang severe adverse effects ng grief sa mental state ng tao. Posible siyang mangyari kapag nakaka-experience ng ganung trauma from a tragedy. Yung umaabot talaga sa point na kukuha ng scissors at pagsasasaksakin ang portrait ng isang bata.

(Side note ulit: After repeat viewings, napansin ko na ang ganda ng foreshadowing nung beach race scene lalo na kung intentional siya. Eto yung hinablot ni Lorrie yung “flag” kay Joel tapos tuloy-tuloy siyang tumakbo na walang pakialam kahit nahulog na yung bunso niya sa kinatatayuang bato. At very apt na si Shayne talaga ang tumigil para saluhin ang bata.)

6. “Minsan isang umaga babalikan kita.” One of the saddest final lines ever written.

Kung marami kang pent-up emotions today, panoorin mo na siya. Wag kalimutan ang box ng tissue.

Rating: ★★★★☆

MOVIE REVIEW: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DOOR (Johannes Roberts, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Other Side of the Door:

1. Mothers always make the toughest decisions in movies. Whenever a mother of two kids gets involved in an accident with them, you can expect a Sophie’s Choice moment where she has to decide and save (and therefore show her bias/favoritism/put more importance to) a specific child. She’s then subjected to endless guilt and shame on top of the overwhelming feeling of loss.

I last saw this happen in the local horror flick Amorosa where Angel Aquino had to decide if she should save Enrique Gil or Martin del Rosario. Tough call, right?

2. In this movie, Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori of The Walking Dead) was placed in the same situation and the consequences of her choice made her desperate to do anything to communicate again with the son that she lost. An Indian woman advised her that she could do this in an abandoned temple between the dead and the living (huh?) as long as she didn’t open the door (insert Ate Gay joke here) and let out the spirits saying hello from the other side (insert Adele joke here). Since this was a horror movie, you knew that door will be opened.

3. Why are most of the (good) scary stories set in Asia? Even Hollywood remakes tried to bring back the stories to their original settings because it just seemed more natural. The Grudge sent Sarah Michelle Gellar back to Japan. Even the recent horror flick The Forest had to use a Suicide Forest in Japan. (Wait, I’m visiting Tokyo soon. Should I be scared?) It must be the exoticism of the region that just made it more mystical. (FYI, this movie was an exception. Completely horrible.)

4. Most of the scenes were too dark that it was hard to see the apparently horrific things happening onscreen. The sound effects cued every scare, but nothing worked.

5. Do you still remember Flower Girl from Sukob? The one who reminded siblings not to get married on the same year? The one who left a trail of leaves whenever she made a surprise appearance? The only one that successfully killed Kris Aquino outside of her massacre movies? She has finally conquered Hollywood. I’m so proud of her!

6. I remember reading this short horror story where a father was trying to pacify his crying son who was saying that a monster was under his bed. When he peeked under, he saw his real son who shushed him and said that there was another boy on his bed. That was a real goosebumps moment. The movie tried to incorporate a similar scene but it was nowhere near as effective.

7. After an hour of terrorizing the family, how did they get rid of the ghost? The mother begged him to go away. Eh puwede naman pala pakiusapan jusko!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆