Ganito talaga ang klase ng pelikula na dapat pinapanood sa panahon ng pandemic. Yung magpapa-realize sa iyo na napakaikli ng buhay para sayangin sa panonood ng pelikula ni Xian Lim na walang kalatoy-latoy umarte.

Muntik ko na nga hindi tapusin ang pelikula kasi nangangalahati pa lang sobrang naiirita na ako. Si Xian paulit-ulit ang bintang na stalker si Alex Gonzaga (na psychic kaya laging naka-gypsy-gyspsyhan outfit) pero more hatak naman lagi para magpatulong. Yung jowa niya na si Kylie Versoza “died of a car accident” daw pero nabangga ng jeep. Si Alex lang dapat nakakarinig sa multo na si Kylie pero more sigaw ang ibang mga tao tuwing nagsasalita siya.

May eksenang humakbang ang secretary ni Xian sa cable wire offscreen. Tapos normal naman magsalita si Alex pero tinanong sya ni Xian “how it works exactly” at kung sinasapian ba sya ni Kylie. Ha? Hindi naman siya nagboses Sto. Niño diba? Basta nakakairita lahat parang yung umlaut lang sa title. Hindi pa bagay sina Alex at Xian kaya ang apt lang nung Honey, Nasa Langit na Ba Ako? reference with the love team of Regine Velasquez and Janno Gibbs.

Ang daming quirky sound effects at animated doodles at bubbles na mapapaisip ka kung biglang lalabas ang paborito mong K-drama actor. Pero mukhang hindi lang yun ang obvious influence. Hindi ko nga alam kung may pinaglumaang DVD ng Ghost sa Viva office na pilit nilang pinapanood sa mga creatives nila kaya iba’t ibang variations lang nito ang ginagawa nila recently (perfect itong companion piece ng Hindi Tayo Puwede, lalo na sa basurahan). May isang scene pa na garapalang ginaya (ay, homage pala) sa Notting Hill na akala ko madudulas si Xian habang umaakyat ng gate at mapapasigaw ng Filipino equivalent ng “Whoopsie daisy” na “Ay kabayo!!”.

Kung naghahanap kayo ng nakakatawa, fast forward n’yo na lang sa end credits tapos pakinggan n’yo ang nakakarimarim na duet nila ng “Sasakyan Kita” kung saan parang na-impacho kumanta si Xian. Enjoy!!

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: ALPHA: THE RIGHT TO KILL (Brillante Mendoza, 2019)



My notes on Alpha: The Right To Kill:

1. You know how sometimes we would say something that wasn’t an outright lie, but wasn’t completely honest either? How we would do this to try and avoid any possible confrontation or drama because we knew that people would get upset with the truth? Well, I think I just watched the movie equivalent of a white lie.

Similar to his controversial Netflix series Amo, this newest “internationally-acclaimed” film by Brillante Mendoza couldn’t be accused of being blatant propaganda, but it wasn’t an accurate depiction of our country’s current war on drugs either. It wanted to appease both the DDS (the policemen had every right to kill these addicts!) and anti-DDS (look, corrupt cops ruining the system!) all while flashing disclaimers at the beginning and end that: a) it wanted to “present reality with no intention of maligning or besmirching the integrity of police officers”, and b) this was a “complete work of fiction and any similarities to actual people or events were purely coincidental”. It even had the audacity to state that “the task of ending corruption needed our utmost cooperation and that change should start with us”. Ermm-kay.

2. This was shot in Mendoza’s signature shaky cam style (read: gritty!) so newcomers should come armed with a dose of Bonamine taken an hour before the screening. Trust me, you would need it because several scenes involved a lot of running in eskinitas and on rooftops (like a more chaotic and migraine-inducing version of Buy Bust).

3. I saw this foreign language film several years back called Maria Full of Grace where a poor (literally and figuratively) girl named Maria (naturally!) was forced to become a drug mule. She had to swallow dozens of these drug pellets that needed to be transported from Colombia to New York and she was chosen because her pregnancy would exempt her from the x-ray inspection. Imagine carrying that much paraphernalia in your belly (along with a fetus!) with the possibility that any of them could rupture any time. Que horror!

No drug pellets were swallowed in this one, but the mules used were in the form of fruit (kawawang mangoes!), pigeons (lalong bumaba ang lipad ng kalapati!), and even baby diapers (shudder!). Yes, one drug pusher actually used his baby (unfortunately named Neknek) to deliver drugs so the movie made sure that he was severely punished for this horrific crime (kebs na daw sa human rights and due process, mamatay na lahat ng mga adik!).

4. Allen Dizon (dependable as always) was the sole corrupt cop here. Everyone else was just doing what the law required of them to do. In one scene prior to a swat operation slash drug raid, one officer said, “Gagawin natin ito para sa bayan at para sa mga susunod na henerasyon!”. I couldn’t remember exactly, but he just might have been one of the awardees of the Medalya ng Katapatan sa Paglilingkod during the closing ceremony attended by real PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde. His team deserved a commendation because they were able to properly arrange a row of dead bodies (all nanlaban).

5. The head drug lord that was protected by a community of users and pushers (“Di lang livelihood, cottage industry na ito!”) was played by Baron Geisler to further lose every ounce of sympathy from the viewers and force them to collectively moan, “Gahd, we hate drugs!”.

6. There were a few (both intentional and unintentional) comic moments here that did make me laugh. One pusher with blonde curly hair was nicknamed Santo Niño. In another scene, an officer was documenting the events that transpired earlier while banging furiously on his desktop keyboard, but the words on the monitor were not moving.

But the funniest one had to be the poem that was recited by a kid towards the end of the movie that went “Pulis ang aking tatay. Tapang na walang kapantay. Tagapaligtas ng ating bayan. Blah blah blah kaayusan ay ating makamit.” Was it called Oda sa Wala?

7. So the entire moral of the story was that as long as people didn’t do drugs, they would be fine (PNP: We gotchu fam!)? Wow, I feel extra safe living in this country already!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆