MA (Tate Taylor, 2019)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Ma:

1. In most (if not all) of her films, Octavia Spencer displayed such an amiable and trustworthy aura that one wouldn’t suspect that her character might be a few fries short of a Happy Meal (or in the case of The Help, that she was already feeding you the most delicious shit pie). I would usually have problems with films that made me sympathize with demented people (read: psychotic murderers), but it also spoke a lot about the brilliance of the actors that played them (e.g. Anthony Perkins in Psycho, Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Kathy Bates in Misery, to name a few).

In one scene from this ridiculously trashy yet insanely enjoyable psychological thriller, Sue Ann aka Ma (Spencer) was smiling inside her car when a bunch of kids threw beer at her window. It brought back memories of being bullied in school and feeling like a pathetic loner slash loser that she just spontaneously burst into tears. Needless to say, I cried along with her, completely forgetting that she lured underaged kids in her basement and emotionally tormented one of them with a loaded gun just a few minutes earlier. Why’d you do this to me, Ma?

2. If that wasn’t enough to make you an instant fan of Spencer, she also had this FaceTime scene where she said “Why wait for the weekend? It’s five o’clock somewhere!” then let out a deranged cackle that both creeped me out and made me laugh out loud. I hadn’t even touched on Ma’s crazy dance moves that included the Funky Town robot and some can-crushing set to Kung Fu Fighting. It was easy to understand why these kids (that weirdly resembled a grown-up version of the Stranger Things cast) would party with this stranger. I mean I could be best friends with Ma, hideous maroon beret notwithstanding.

3. Diana Silvers (also good in Booksmart) looked like a cross between Anne Hathaway and Gaby Hoffman, no? Ooh, time for a Now and Then rewatch.

And speaking of lookalikes, the girl that played Ashley who would always pretend to pass out in parties could pass as Marilyn Manson’s daughter (ironically enough, she played a pastor’s daughter in this movie).

4. “You can smoke until you’re twenty-five and then quit and nothing bad will happen” sounded like an advice that I’d give as a parent. Which would also explain why I probably didn’t have any kids.

5. I had never seen this many number of syringes piercing the skin since Amanda was thrown in the Needle Pit during Saw II. I was just thankful that I still had quick reflexes to shield my eyes or I probably would have passed out in my seat.

(And don’t get me started on those stitched lips.)

6. Seeing a naked Luke Evans almost getting his penis cut off reminded me so much of that schlocky local revenge film Loretta, where Ruffa Gutierrez played a version of Lorena Bobbitt. Yes, it was the “Take it! Take it!” role where her MMFF Best Actress win lasted for a good thirty minutes (RIP Viveka Babajee).

But going back to that penis, was it prosthetic? Should I assume that Evans didn’t have the guts to have his real manhood anywhere near a kitchen knife unlike the fearless Carlos Morales in Laro sa Baga?

Also, what was that canine blood transfusion for? Was it because he was being such a bitch to her in high school?

7. So Sue Ann aka Ma worked as a veterinary technician/assistant. Please tell me that wasn’t the reason why her dog only had three legs huhu. (That moment when she was holding a pair of clippers made me feel really queasy. For nothing, but still.)

8. Speaking of Kathy Bates, one scene here reminded me so much of her Annie Wilkes. It was when Sue Ann aka Ma arrived from work and noticed that her cat figurines weren’t facing in the direction that she left them. Was that kind of attention to detail and obsessiveness a sign of being a murderous psycho? I could relate because I would also turn into one whenever people messed with my stuff. You have been warned, pakialameras!!

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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KUNG FU PANDA 3 (Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Alessandro Carloni, 2016)

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My notes on Kung Fu Panda 3:

1. Do any of you still remember that scene in Maalaala Mo Kaya the Movie when Chin Chin Gutierrez came back from Japan to reclaim her son from sister Aiko Melendez, who took care of him while she fulfilled her role as the best pabayang ina? In that highly-charged confrontation, Aiko clutched at her blouse and wailed, “Iniluwal mo lang siya, Marissa! Ako ang bumuhay sa kanya!”, then cried even more when Ruffa Gutierrez stole her Manila Film Festival Best Actress Award via the Take It, Take It Scam. (Why do these Gutierrezes love taking things from her? Also, RIP Viveka Babajee.)

2. I was expecting that same level of emotions when Po’s long-lost father came back and took him away from good ‘ol Mr. Ping, so I was a bit disappointed that there was no telenovela acting involved here. I could just imagine how hard it would have been for a goose to balance his work in the noodle factory and raise a species not his own. And for the real father to just barge in their lives and take away their shared happiness, that was just unacceptable. Wait, why did I care so much? Besides, having two dads seem to be the new normal so I should stop complaining.

3. The animation was impressive to say the least. It had been one of the strongest points of this franchise (even in part 2, a movie I didn’t particularly like). The watercolor feel just went really well with the overall tone of the movie and delivered the promised cheeky fun (I was laughing as soon as I saw Po on the Dreamworks logo) and gorgeous kung fu sequences.

4. One character finally asked the question that had been bugging me after all my years of watching those Saturday afternoon Chinese movies on TV, “Do we have to strike a pose every time we land?”.

5. Dreamworks hit the jackpot with that panda village. It could be their own Minions. Seriously, they could create a spin-off for any of those distinct, lovable characters. Who wouldn’t want to see them in an adventure where they wouldn’t walk, but just roll? My favorite one would have to be that smirking panda in need of dental surgery.

6. I would always have a soft spot for characters that were fat or had asthma. When Po asked, “Do you have panda asthma, too? Does it run in the family?”, I just adored him even more.

7. Words of wisdom from Master Shifu: “If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now.” Whoaaaaahh! Skidoosh!!

Rating: ★★★★☆