MOVIE REVIEW: THE LAST FIVE YEARS (Richard LaGravenese, 2014)



My notes on The Last Five Years:

1. Before the screening, a disclaimer was flashed onscreen stating that the movie was made up purely of songs (just in case one didn’t know that this was based on a musical). It also gave away the entire plot and basically spoiled the movie. Did we really need that?

2. Speaking of need, why did the movie have subtitles? I have never seen the stage play but I sure had fun singing along.

3. I’m sure the source material played better onstage. The movie was just several vignettes stitched together and shot without much movement. The storytelling was clever (two points of view told in reverse until they intersected) but it was a pain to sit through.

4. I have loved Anna Kendrick since Up in the Air and she was a fine actress here still. I was just not too keen on the constantly high pitch of her singing. Like she was always calling the birds to dress her up for the ball.

5. Jeremy Jordan played one of the most despicable characters in Smash. I didn’t hate him so much here but he was too bland.

6. Although there were some good lines (like that dig at Russell Crowe getting cast in a musical), I felt like the characters were just singing something banal all the time. I’m sure you do this a lot. You’re in bed and bored and you start humming and it becomes a full blown song…”Wala akong magawaaaaa! Anong gagawin kooooo!” Exactly like that.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published February 25, 2015.)

MOVIE REVIEW: MR. RIGHT (Paco Cabezas, 2015)

My notes on Mr. Right:

1. On the Anna Kendrick scale of movies, this one would be closer to Twilight than Up in the Air. In terms of her comedies, it would be on the side of Breaking Dawn, Part 1 rather than Pitch Perfect. I’m sure she has never heard the term pabebe acting (perfected by Kathryn Bernardo in She’s Dating the Gangster), but it seems to have invaded Hollywood as well through her performance as a hyperactive, kooky, childish woman who spoke ten decibels higher than the normal range.

As Martha, she wore Ariana Grande kitty ears, took selfies of her boobs (“They look like a butt!”), dreamt of dating Lex Luthor, and rawred like a T. Rex (“I am a T. Rex! I am invincible!”). It was all too cutesy (no, pa-cute) that I half-expected her to sing the line “Ikaw nga ba ang icing sa ibabaw ng cupcake ko?”.

2. Sam Rockwell had done a lot of offbeat roles and I immediately loved his Mr. Right character as soon as he started dancing Christopher Walken-style during the opening credits. But then he showed up in the next scene with a mosaic Hawaiian shirt (that not even Mayor Atienza would be caught dead wearing) and sky blue slacks and I immediately took back my heart.

3. The scenes that made my blood curdle from the icky pabebe-ness were:

• The meet cute in 7/11 where they bumped into each other and boxes of Trojan condoms flew in the air in slow motion like doves in a John Woo movie

• When Martha and Right had their first date in the park and a sloppy hitman started shooting at them and they ended up faux dancing to avoid the bullets

• Immediately after that scene, they were in matchy-matchy Bitch 1 and Bitch 2 couple shirts (trademarked by Tina Paner and Ramon Christopher) and heart-shaped sunglasses on the way to a club

• That god-awful jumping on the bed scene that came straight out of High School Musical

• A knife-throwing foreplay session (ugh!)

4. I could never eat inside the bathroom (much less the shower) even if it were the tastiest In-N-Out burger. The thought of the toilet staring at me while I chew would be enough to start my heaving. Gross!

5. Britney’s fans would be surprised to see Anson Mount in this movie. He was completely unrecognizable with the shaggy beard. If Brit was not yet a woman in Crossroads, she would definitely be one after she hitchhikes with this new Ben.

6. If anything, the lame but goofy action scenes (and all the gratuitous violence) were a bit fun to watch. To be perfectly honest though, I was rooting for the villains to kill the pabebe couple whose most romantic line in the entire movie was “I feel like I’m in a coma with you.” Shoot, shoot, shoot!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆