MOVIE REVIEW: ME BEFORE YOU (Thea Sharrock, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Me Before You:

1. It must have been Girls’ Night Out Tuesday here in Perth because ninety-five percent of the packed theater during the last screening were women of all ages. The remaining four percent were grumbling dates/boyfriends/husbands that were forced to see this chick flick. I think I was the one percent that actually wanted to watch this and even dragged my little sister along with me. I definitely regretted that decision. While the cinema got flooded with tears by the end of the movie, I was laughing from all of the awfulness.

2. The pre-accident Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) reminded me so much of Christian Grey: handsome, incredibly rich, bursting with abs (in high definition during that upward shower shot), but minus the kinkiness (handcuffs, I missed thee). He was the type of guy so oblivious (or was it too self-aware?) of his sexiness that he took a walk in the rain while on the phone, like he was in some kind of Calvin Klein commercial (that later turned into a Public Service Announcement on how to properly cross a street).

3. On the other hand, Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke) was like a poor man’s Zooey Deschanel: literally poor, always on a sugar high, and dressed like Doris Bigornia with an insect fetish (or a “leprechaun drag queen”, as one character put it). When she initially appeared onscreen with her yellow-orange knee-high stockings, I actually thought she had jaundice and she and Will would really make a tragic couple.

4. Clarke’s eyebrows deserved second billing because they did all of the acting for her. I swear they were moving non-stop from start to finish and wiggled like crazy even if the scene only required her to glue pictures on an album. Shame, shame, shame Daenerys!

5. I got the Dying Young meets P.S. I Love You meets Everything About Her feel while watching this. Speaking of the latter, I was surprised this wasn’t a Star Cinema rom-com given all of the familiar elements: the manic pixie girl and the snotty guy, the meet cute (involving a torn skirt with a flat payoff), the doting family requiring financial assistance, the Dimples Romana BFF dishing words of wisdom, the token disposable boyfriend (Neville Longbottom in really tight tights, staying true to his last name), trips to exotic locales, etc. The only thing different was the sad ending, but Star Cinema did it first in Forever and a Day.

6. Neville chose a Will Ferrell movie over Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother. Bad guy alert! Dislike of subtitled films should be an automatic dealbreaker. (But then again Will loved Armageddon so I couldn’t trust his taste as well.)

7. Horse racing? Watching a Mozart concert? Flying to Mauritius? Why did I feel like she was able to take advantage of his wealth and used a quariplegic to fulfill her own bucket list and enjoy the luxuries of life? Pera pera na lang talaga?

8. It was hard to root for Louisa since she was annoying in the following scenes:

* When she was rude to a maitre d’ for not letting them in a high-end members only restaurant (since when was it funny to mock someone who was just doing her job?)

* When she barely elicited excitement after getting the pendant gift from her boyfriend but screamed with delight (in front of her boyfriend!!) after seeing the bumblebee stockings given by Will (how considerate of her)

9. I felt bad whenever a scene chose the basic disregard of Will’s health just to create something romantic. How could I feel kilig when Louisa sat on Will’s legs knowing how weak those were from non-use or when she removed the oxygen mask so that he could talk to her or when she agreed to leave the villa doors open during the rain after being told that he had weak lungs and just recovered from pneumonia? Also, how was he able to maintain those abs after years of non-movement? Did his therapy include crunches and Ab Roller sessions?

10. In the end, Will chose to terminate his life through assisted suicide. If a man would rather kill himself than reciprocate another person’s love, how was that even romantic? Saklap.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: THE VISIT (M. Night Shyamalan, 2015)

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My notes on The Visit:

1. I had some serious doubts about this film because of two things: a) it used the no longer novel shaky cam/found footage style that was only scary because of the migraine that it might cause, and b) it was directed by then genius filmmaker turned gimmick auteur M. Night Shyamalan.

I could still remember the sight of Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel kissing in a field of swirling pollens to save their lives from (spoiler alert!!) the deadly greenhouse effect in The Happening. Yes, it was a tree-hugging horror movie that Leonardo DiCaprio would probably be endorsing soon. I was so mad that I wanted to take revenge on nature and eat a bowl of salad after watching all that awfulness.

(And then he made the execrable The Last Airbender and I promised that I would never pay to see his movies again. I lied. I still watched After Earth. In love and in movies, I just never learned.)

2. The premise was so simple and ordinary and maybe that was what made it more scary. Two kids (Becca and Tyler) were sent to live with Nana and Pop Pop, the grandparents they had never met, for a week as part of Becca’s documentary. They followed the normal house rules (curfew at 9:30pm, never go to the basement, eat all you want, have fun and enjoy) and everything was going fine until the oldies started displaying some unusual and disturbing behavior (read: screaming nonsense, crawling around the house at night like an animal, projectile vomiting, you know, the usual stuff that grandparents do).

3. After watching countless horror movies (both good and bad), I had grown immune to the scare factor. No amount of limping ladies that never had a haircut or crying ghosts or monsters lurking under the bed could easily scare me. I was pleasantly surprised with the goosebumps moments in this one, especially since these were real people. If it happened to them, it could easily happen to us (and by us, I meant me), too. I swear after this, I would probably freak out if I see my grandmother holding a kitchen knife.

4. Even with all the lingering strangeness, there were still a lot of funny scenes because of the playfulness of the kids. I loved how Tyler (played by the amazing Ed Oxenbould) was a germaphobe, thus further lowering his survival rate, and how he would use the names of singers as curse words (Shakira! Shania Twain! Sarah MacLachlan!!). My favorite bit was when he saw Nana naked and scratching the walls and he still had time to joke (“I’m blind!!”).

5. The biggest concern with these found footage films was that the characters didn’t drop the camera even in the face of danger and this was no exception. The kids were chased everywhere and they still needed to record everything. Why?! (Oh, otherwise there wouldn’t be any movie.)

6. If you live with your grandparents or if you’re planning to visit them soon, here are some questions that might help you decide if you should watch this one:

a) Has any of them ever asked if you mind getting inside the oven to clean it?


b) Do your grandparents not use a mirror since they’re too scared of their reflection?


c) Have there been instances of them rocking in a chair while laughing hysterically?


d) Do they stand quietly outside your door at night?

Now you decide.

7. Would it be a big spoiler if I told you that since this was a Shyamalan movie, there would be a big twist at the end? Really?! How many Shyamalan movies have you seen? Anyway, this one crumbled a bit after the big reveal, but it was still worth the ride.

8. Lesson of the day: “Shit does not taste like chicken.”

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

MOVIE REVIEW: YES MAN (Peyton Reed, 2008)

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Do you still remember the last time that a Jim Carrey movie actually made you laugh out loud? This movie definitely didn’t do the trick. Although he tried his best to contort his face and do an even more manic version of his usual characters, this was nothing more than Liar Liar Redux. And incredibly less funny.

There was an inspired bit involving Carrey singing Third Eye Blind’s Jumper to a man on the ledge but everything else was just ho-hum. Even the adorkable Zooey Deschanel looked depressed to be in this movie.

I’d gladly settle for another Ace Ventura sequel.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆