MOVIE REVIEW: GODZILLA (Gareth Edwards, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Godzilla:

1. “The Philippines, 1999.” My heart skipped a beat.

2. I bet it would have been a much better movie if they kept Juliette Binoche and Bryan Cranston until the end credits. The first 20 minutes had some really good performances from these veterans.

3. Aaron Taylor-Johnson may have kicked ass in Kick-ass but he was so bland in this movie. I’ve never seen a worse lead in a disaster popcorn flick since Taylor Kitsch in (choose any of his 2012 movies).

4. So Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen play husband and wife here and then twins in Avengers: Age of Ultron. What is up with these weird casting choices (see Divergent/The Fault in Our Stars)?

5. I’ve always liked Olsen ever since Martha Marcy May Marlene. Also because she’s the only Olsen sister that probably enjoys a plate of bacon.

6. Why did I feel like I just watched a lame Jurassic Park sequel? Oh, if you liked Pacific Rim I’m 99% sure you’ll like this one, too.

7. Godzilla didn’t come out until an hour into the movie. Pfft! They could have removed all the scenes involving Taylor-Johnson and it wouldn’t have made any difference. That train scene? Cut! That skydiving scene? Cut! That stadium reunion? Cut! Who wanted all of this human drama anyway? To recap: humans boring, monsters awesome.

8. Was Cloverfield a rip-off (or homage) of Godzilla? Now that one I really liked.

9. I just realized that I’m no different from Godzilla. I’m chunky, I’m cranky, I create chaos, I take long naps, and I wake up with atomic breath.

10. Did the dog die?! I was too woozy to remember. But did it really die? Isn’t it a rule in movies that dogs should never die?

11. Am I overthinking this or is Godzilla really a bitter and cynical beast? Why is he so against two creatures falling in love and creating babies? Is he simply jealous? Is this the monster version of The Legal Wife?

12. Hero?! Ok. Now I don’t regret sleeping through most of it.

13. The sequel should be set in the Philippines. I bet Godzilla’s enjoying his sweet ol’ time under the Payatas dumpsite.

14. Stay until the end credits. You’ll see a preview of…darkness.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published May 20, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE DUFF (Ari Sandel, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The DUFF:

1. According to the movie, the DUFF is the Designated Ugly Fat Friend: the nice, approachable, unsightly one that people exploit to meet the pretty ones in the group and that if you don’t know the DUFF of the group, then it’s most probably you. I honestly can’t relate because all of my friends are gorgeous. Oh wait, does that make me the DUFF? But I’m not fat!

2. If you’re a fan of every teen movie from John Hughes to Olive Penderghast, you’ll find this very derivative and familiar. It doesn’t mean it’s not as funny, though.

3. Bianca (Mae Whitman) was so far from being ugly or fat. She was a classic case of a Rachel Leigh Cook ugly duckling character that only needed a wardrobe makeover. Besides, if she were really that horrible-looking, why would her attractive and popular friends want to be associated with her Juno Garofalo?

4. Ken Jeong was funny in some of the Hangover movies. He was just extremely annoying here.

5. Can we officially retire Boom Clap now please? The Fault in our Stars officially owns that song.

6. Was I the only one bothered when Robbie Amell (as the cute jock) proclaimed that he watches a lot of Project Runway and he was in charge of the makeover montage? And speaking of Amell, I suddenly missed his dimwit character in 1600 Penn.

7. Allison Janney was simply wonderful. Please watch Mom.

8. That short gag about Bianca playing Bosley when there were three Charlie’s Angels was a hoot.

9. I could easily relate to the scene where she stopped a make-out session to write her article. If you’re really not into it, why even bother? Let your creative juices flow instead.

10. This movie was the ultimate loser’s fantasy. Everybody would know this because there’s a loser in all of us.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published April 27, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: DIVERGENT (Neil Burger, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Divergent:

1. Although the take on factions was interesting, almost all of the elements here were seen and done in previous, more superior movies.

2. I might have missed the explanation but what were the tests for if everyone had the right to choose their faction? Where was the Sorting Hat when you needed it?

3. If the Dauntless group was the cool crowd, why weren’t the rest joining them? I know I would have even if I could barely lift my right leg. Who wouldn’t want to be popular?

4. Was I the only one bothered that brother and sister Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort will next play dying lovers in The Fault in Our Stars? Now that was one way to ruin another adaptation.

5. Tris and Four make seven. But seriously, will this make sense in the sequels? (You can PM me the details.)

6. I was happy to see Shailene flex her acting muscles here, making her character more empathetic. I still think she was robbed of an Oscar nomination for The Descendants.

7. Shailene and Theo James had really good chemistry. I wish the movie didn’t have to push for those cringe-worthy, Twilight-y lines. Oh, and Theo reminded me so much of Christopher Gorham.

8. Of course, Kate Winslet will always be the best thing in any movie (obviously a fanboy here). It must have been refreshing for her to be fully clothed all throughout the movie.

9. I really liked the songs by Ellie Goulding and Zedd, though.

10. FITZ!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 24, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: G! (Dondon Santos, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

If you’ve ever wondered kung anong mangyayari if nag-combine ang The Fault in our Stars at American Pie, then here’s your answer. If mas iniisip mo naman kung alin ang mas cute between Jameson Blake’s dimples and his pwet, then this one’s for you.

Enjoyable naman siya as the usual barkada movie. Believable yung friendship ng apat na leads (that included a charming performance by McCoy de Leon). Sana lang hindi na naging pa-suspense/thriller yung dulo kasi maayos na ang bucket list plot. At napakasama naman ng ginawa nila sa character ni McCoy who already had stage 3 cancer to begin with.

Basta masaya ako that retro short shorts are back in style.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: IF I STAY (R.J. Cutler, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on If I Stay:

1. Chloe Grace Moretz is so much better than this movie. Can we say that an actress is actually overqualified for a role?

2. Mireille Enos is so much better than this movie. Can we say that an actress is actually underutilized in a movie? Watch the first season of The Killing instead.

3. The guy who played opposite Chloe was such a bad actor that I didn’t even bother to Google his name.

4. The premise of this film reminded me a bit of The Lovely Bones. I hated that film adaptation because I really loved the book. Should I bother reading this one?

5. Everyone knows that I’m a cryer. I cry even when there’s no reason to cry. I did not cry one bit in this one. Maybe The Fault in Our Stars desensitized me already. All the girls in the theater were sobbing their eyes out, though.

6. The soggy, cheesy, diabetes-inducing love story almost made my eyes roll out of their sockets.

She gets her hand stung by a bee and he sucks the stinger out in front of her parents. This is a young girl’s fantasy? Eww.

7. If you force your boyfriend to watch this chick flick, don’t be surprised if you’re single after.

8. It was so bad that it reached a point where I was wishing she’d just die already. I’m going straight to hell.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 29, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: LOVE YOU TO THE STARS AND BACK (Antoinette Jadaone, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Love You to the Stars and Back:

1. As a kid, I believed everything that my mother told me. I would immediately take a shower after getting drenched in the rain to avoid getting pulmonya. I would forego that extra cup of rice during dinner lest I end up dying of bangungot. I never went to bed with wet hair because I didn’t want to wake up crazy and dragged all the way to the basement of Makati Med. I was proud of my huge ears because they meant that I would live a long life. I also ate an entire roasted lizard because it was supposedly a cure for my asthma.

I wasn’t surprised at all that young Mika (Julia Barretto) swallowed up all the alien talk of her soon-to-be-departed mother (Carmina Villarroel). I mean it would be nice to believe that E.T. (yes, as in “E.T., phone home!”) would one day abduct me and bring me to the stars so I could observe EDSA traffic from above. In Mika’s own words, “Walang imposible sa mundong ito. Kelangan mo lang maniwala.”

2. So Mika decided to look for aliens in Mt. Milagros (fictional place, right?) somewhere in Batangas and the very first thing she bought as supplies were…Choco Muchos?! Please tell me this wasn’t a blatant product placement (similar to that succeeding Oppo selfie) and that she was really a junk food junkie. Also, would Sapporo now be considered the official beer of Pinoy love stories? Better luck next time Red Horse Litro.

3. Leo Martinez had always been the token Batangueño character in Pinoy cinema and his accent (read: punto) would always be played for laughs. I was happy to see a different version here represented by Caloy (Joshua Garcia, another true-blue Batangueño), but I wish he kept the accent all-throughout the film just for authenticity (sadly, the ones by the supporting cast were spotty at best).

Joshua made up for it though with such a strong performance that displayed his versatility. The John Lloyd Cruz comparisons made during Vince & Kath & James were even more obvious (and justified) here. Naiiyak ako habang pinapanood lang sya umiyak, whether he was telling the story of how his father abandoned them over a plate of tapang kalabaw, or peering through the gate while getting rejected by said dad, or calling his mom to assure her that he was okay. Nanay pa niya si Cherry Pie Picache so wag na umasang di ka maiyak.

(I think the only weakness of Joshua would be his fake laugh because, well, it felt fake. Bawi naman sa pa-karug. Har har.)

4. I loved how the characters here bonded over the grossest things, making them more human and their relationship more relatable. Their meet cute moment actually involved pooping and pissing in a talahiban (another mother’s advice: always say ‘tabi tabi po’ to prevent the wrath of a nuno) and since a significant part of the movie had them inside a car, I was happy when somebody actually farted (with a round of finger-pointing after, of course!).

5. Wait, so Caloy was sick and he decided that the best way to go from Lemery to Calaca (this would be like going from Southmall to MOA ba?) was on a bike?

6. The manong manok character was definitely me to millennials: “Ang babata n’yo pa, ang lalandi n’yo na!”

Mika was able to provide a good defense though: “Bakit kung uso na ang cellphone nung EDSA Revolution, hindi rin ba kayo mag-selfie?!” Touché!

(Another Titas of Manila moment: my brain kept screaming “Eyes on the road!” while they kept making landi in a moving vehicle. Ay josko ka!)

7. Goldie, their pet chicken, was left in the car while they ate lunch. Buti hindi naging Chickenjoy pagbalik nila.

8. I was never really fond of Julia because of her rumored kaartehan and perceived brattiness (I read a lot of FashionPulis, sorry!), but she definitely proved her mettle here. Not only did she look and sound very much like her Aunt Claudine, she actually acted the exact same way.

I especially liked her in that bridge scene where all of her emotions just felt raw and natural. Any lesser actress would have disappeared amidst the powerful presence of Joshua. She also had this really cute (albeit bittersweet) scene with Mika imagining that Caloy was still in the passenger seat. All it needed was her playfully saying, “Mukha kang chewing gum na masarap nguyain.”

9. Although it had elements similar to The Fault in our Stars (and even Your Name), the film overall was still distinctly Jadaone. Iba pa rin ang magic niya kapag usapang pag-ibig. She always knew the right blend of kilig and drama.

I really liked how this was able to differentiate itself from TFIOS by showing the ugly side of cancer. It would be hard to forget that heartbreaking scene with Caloy all covered in his own puke and blood, trying to pretend that nothing was wrong with him. Also, it had one of the most unromantic (pero damang-dama pa rin) declarations of love in cinema. Move over, Ansel and Shailene!

10. “Walang sigurado pero minsan kelangan mo lang maniwala.” I now believe in you, JoshLia. Elyen!!

Rating: ★★★★☆

MOVIE REVIEW: EX WITH BENEFITS (Gino Santos, 2015)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Ex With Benefits:

1. Why did the “10 Years Ago” Derek Ramsay look exactly like the present old-looking Derek? And did the movie really expect me to believe that he only had a 4-year age gap with Coleen Garcia? Really?! Also, was he wearing eyeliner?

2. Was this supposed to be a sex comedy? The “I Love You Always Forever” montage was cringe-worthy. And how horny were these two to actually make-out in a theater showing Feng Shui? Kris Aquino and Lotus Feet as aphrodisiacs? Eek!

3. This was another one of those petty people with petty problems movie. In one scene, Derek defended the pagkababae of Coleen by punching another student. After he got suspended, he immediately lashed out at her and blamed her for what happened. Huh?! Why should I be rooting for their love story?

4. In another scene, Derek was supposed to take his revalida and asked the proctor for two minutes to talk to Coleen. The proctor kept saying, “Kapag nag-umpisa na, wala na pwede pumasok” and yet several students still kept entering the classroom. How’s that for conflict?

5. Rayver Cruz’s constant use of the word “Bro” will forever haunt me in my dreams. Am I the only one annoyed by this term? It reminded me again that hindi lahat ng paminta ay nasa adobo.

6. My biggest problem with the movie was that Coleen’s character was a smart and beautiful girl and yet she had to use her body to get her way in life. And did she really have to do the nasty with the Dean just to save Derek’s future career? Iha, matalino ka. Gamitin mo naman utak mo.

7. I wonder how med reps will react to these spiteful lines:

“If you can’t be a doctor, date one.”

“Wag utak doktor. Dapat utak med rep.”

8. 50 Shades of Grey, Gone Girl, The Fault in Our Stars. The screenwriter loved pop-culture references.

9. If you’re watching for the sex scenes, be warned. It consisted mostly of Derek rubbing his face on Coleen’s various body parts.

10. There were so many lines that made me (unintentionally) laugh.

On the idea of romance: “Babalik ka na parang fungi.”

On jealousy: “Kulang na lang eh hubaran mo siya!”

On pain: “Kelangan nya masaktan para malaman nya na buhay sya.”

By the way, the last line was about a newborn na pinalo-palo ng nurse so it would cry.

I told you the movie was a hoot.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT (Robert Schwentke, 2016)

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My notes on The Divergent Series: Allegiant:

1. I have no patience for any movie where lovers still have time to kiss, make-out, and whisper sweet nothings to each other all while in the face of danger. If an enemy base is under attack, everyone’s on red alert, and you are both trying to escape, there is just no time for landian. Get your asses out of there and use your Victoria Court privilege card (with complimentary chicken after the first 12 hours) as soon as you’re free. Being based on a Young Adult novel is still no excuse.

2. It’s not really a requirement to see Divergent and Insurgent before seeing this one, but it would sure help. At least you won’t be like the noisy girls in front of me that would gasp at non-revelations (when Theo James’ Four called Naomi Watts’ Evelyn “mother”) and ponder on basic plot points previously discussed (“Ano yung mga factions? Paano kung gusto niya lumipat?”). They should be thankful I was Team Amity that day and I had no patience to drag them out of the theater and conduct a Theater Etiquette lecture.

3. I still couldn’t get over the fact that Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort played siblings Tris and Caleb in this series. Whenever they stared at each other, I would always remember the scene where Hazel Grace mounted Augustus and they made PG-13 love with nose tubes and all. This movie was so bad that I would have preferred to see them instead in a lame The Fault in Our Stars sequel where their dead characters meet in heaven and read An Imperial Affliction on a park bench.

4. The wall-climbing scene reminded me so much of that tense-filled moment in Jurassic Park where Sam Neill and the two kids only had a few seconds to go over a high electric fence. Only here it wasn’t that exciting and I just said meh. And when a character was killed after, I was like meh. (Yes, this movie temporarily turned me into a goat.)

5. If Tris ever joined The Hunger Games (or if you’re a hipster, Battle Royale), she would be the first to get slaughtered. I laughed really hard whenever Shailene had to run because she looked really funny and wobbly and slow. Did she forget to take her vitamins that day?

6. I kinda liked the Mad Max-inspired bleeding rain dystopian scenes. I have always feared acid rain ever since I read about it in our first and only volume of Collier’s Encyclopedia (long story short, my mother just couldn’t say no to the nice salesman so she agreed to buy one volume because that was all she was willing to spend or maybe what she could afford that time and we ended up owning only Vol. 1 “A-B”).

7. I am tired of this double standard requirement of having women in nude shower scenes. Why couldn’t it have been Theo or Ansel (or heck, even Miles Teller’s Peter)? Right?

8. Wouldn’t it be great to have bar codes on our arms and it would serve as our personal information database instead? At least we won’t need to bring a license and passport whenever we’re asked to present two valid IDs. It would also save us the time of endlessly lining up in the SSS/NBI/GSIS/PRC offices.

9. Tris had to wear white all the time to show everyone that she was pure. Which was funny because after all of her make-out sessions, she couldn’t even wear white to her wedding.

10. For a supposedly high-tech facility run by the top tier, the Bureau had terrible security and the most inept personnel. The central elevator was compromised and yet Four was still able to reach the hundredth floor penthouse. Soldiers kept dropping like flies while none of the Divergent gang were even injured. In one scene, Jeff Daniels’ David used a simulator to harass Tris and proclaim that he had full control on all doors and room access, and yet all Tris had to do was shoot a wall to destroy the target. How lame could this movie get?

11. Could someone explain how those green protection fields worked? How could the Divergents’ bullets go through when they were the ones firing the guns and yet it shields them from gunfire of enemies? Was it a one-way shield? This had been bugging me since yesterday. Help!

12. “There can be no change without sacrifice, no peace without struggle. The world doesn’t work like that.” Tell us something we don’t know.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆