Month: June 2016

Love Me Tomorrow (Gino Santos, 2016)

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Why did Love Me Tomorrow rake in millions at the box-office? Was it because of the surprise appearances? Did people find the movie refreshing because of the rave and beach party scenes in it? Were they reminded of the mechaclone The Prince in Bioman when they saw Tim Yap?

It’s a glossy world and the movie’s technical aspects did not belie that fact. It’s actually showy too about how generation Y-ish it was, with scenes of the main characters using a gadget, having three-way video-chatting, and similarly, in somehow pimp-spotting Spotify.

Most of Carole King’s fans might not like the disco treatment of their idol’s classic ballad in the movie though. But Dawn Zulueta as Christy tried and expressed her appreciation for it. She slightly enlarged her eyes with wonder in response to a pouty-lipped Piolo Pascual’s  DJ disc-spinning JC, who twisted and turned the song danceable that time with his console, blasting Christy’s fave to the public as a declaration of his love.

Such gesture would sure flatter any woman, especially Christy, who had been a widow for more than a year, had two children overseas too independent, too old enough to agree to be cuddled. She had no one but a dog in their house and a household help. The offer to have an affair was not a bad proposition. Why not she’s not cheating on a spouse unlike her horny newfound batchmate friend played by Carmi Martin. Knitting and gazing at spools of threads and piles of linen would not be her only preoccupation anymore. At night she had the option to have a stake ordered then served upon her boytoy’s abs.

Things were slowly heating up until the distractions. After the get-to-know-you phase, the movie dragged on, lost focus. The relationship felt to have turned into a mere accident and each of the lovers went their own way, with facing their personal issues or entanglements becoming top priority. Never did the couple go someplace far, like OOC or Ilocos Norte to celebrate and fortify their togetherness. There was no montage with them in the park, HHWW, no Christy with queenbee shades looking stylish and JC with  tight-fitting Topman shirt on, not wearing a nipple tape underneath. There were no more sex after the tender lovemaking they had, no raunchy or even naughty scenes that would show how passionate they were for each other. I mean what’s the point in showing us something that was neither a showcase of a memorable romance nor a  rendering of great love ?

Apparently, Christy was not thinking long-term with her new relationship. She might smirk or play deaf if in case JC would propose to hire a surrogate mother to carry their baby like what the Belo couple did.  She didn’t even think of adopting but JC did. They mostly talked. In this case where there was already that burden to create a sexual-romantic connection, to convince us that there was something really special between them, words weren’t enough.

The affair looked doomed midway the movie. No forever. No catfights and impassioned exchanges after Christy saw her boyfriend kissing his fuck buddy. Most of the time, Dawn projected her character as someone sure and composed despite the ‘complications’, rich and still a stunner at age 50. She didn’t look like she’s enamored with him. Her words particularly lacked intensity, flirtatiousness and desire when she spoke with him, so that there was a big part in us which didn’t care in some supposedly crucial moment, like their breakup. There when Christy said she loved JC as he was crying buckets of tears, we were tempted to shout Liar. But it’s Dawn. We remembered her wearing ternos in the State of the Nation Addresses and Vin d’honneurs, which doused our hotheadedness and flabbergastation.

It was a relief that the cameo appearances happened–a nice break and a quick scene to terminate a dragging, aimless second act and a lame climax. The 90’s showbiz couple which approximated the essence of those Harlequin Romance novel covers in local movie release still delivered thrills and must be the one many people had talked about. Viewers still found exciting cinematic possibilities in that team-up.

Just The 3 of Us ( Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2016)

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One day I just got curious if watching another rom-com movie would make my cheeks fluster, that was despite the andropausal hot flashes and the vestiges of a bitter traumatic breakup. I had high hopes it would happen specially with the news of a movie of a once dreamed-of pairing. Two of the hottest rom-com stars. I was able to watch their team-up finally, and it was just o.k.

Jennilyn Mercado as CJ Manalo had this persistence to require John Lloyd Cruz’s Uno Abusado to support her pregnancy, which was a result of their one-time big-time sex in the restroom of a bar. It’s one unusual place to procreate but that was not extraordinary to happen. Captain Uno initially showed a ‘pretense’ of apathy towards the mother-to-be, but John Lloyd eventually shape-shifted into the kind of lover boy whom we are familiar with based on his old outputs (plok!). Some distractions and complications in the middle. Then the pair got reunited, with ‘airplanes’ around them crashing one by one, ‘fittingly’ when the movie ‘Just The 3 of Us’ ended. The crashes neither emitted nor transferred heat to me since the expected ‘explosions’ didn’t come.

This is not to say that the movie was incapable of eliciting laughter, tears, and wonder. It was. The change of setting was commendable too. Airports. Pilots. FA’s arriving and departing. The psychological and social make-up of the would-be-lovers though struck us as not different from what we already knew would come from Star Cinema. Some said it’s a rehash. What drastic change was there to expect from a director and a movie outfit focused on one genre? The change of physical milieu was fine, but I guess it’s not really the surface change that was flawed.

Jennilyn appeared to be in another effortless reincarnation of her previous roles, this time with a ‘baby in her womb.’ We wouldn’t have believed because her tummy never enlarged, but the pregnancy was confimed by the doctor so nothing misleading there. She was endearing, a little silly. She wore wigs also, again, making me think what that ubiquitous items symbolize in Cathy Garcia-Molina’s filmography. Is the director elevating her women to the level of barristers? Ha. Does it underscore the ‘truth’ about this movie, that it is indeed a fairytale? Or are their presence mere authorial stamp?

For John Lloyd, I read that many found his Uno Abusado another well-handled and -emoted character. Probably. ‘Perfection’ achieved through habituation. Perfect that his unmistakable boyish charm felt overused already, not different whether it’s a Sarah Geronimo, Bea Alonso, Angel Locsin or Luis Manzano who faces him. It’s not actually a character I saw portrayed by him but it’s John Lloyd acting instead, projecting his star quality, at times delivering a type of acting for TV, with a tinge of fakery, of trying to be cute. His style and delivery of dramatic lines were no different from his ‘heavy’ moments in his other Rom-com stints. I thought I even heard him recite, recycle or repeat an old dialogue. One of those negatively impacting deja vu moments.

How his character’s family background was disclosed was a surprise though. The way Garcia-Molina hid that secret until the day when Uno had to let his hurt out to his unwitting hero-antagonist, was done expertly. The father-son drama was sufficient enough to complicate John Lloyd’s character. Its effects were established at the onset that when we finally learn about his pain’s source, we understand him more. It clarified his previous actions. The other extraneous and unnecessary addition, the one which was supposed to balance things out and add conflict to the relatonship and put some pressure on Jen’s character didn’t fit the movie well.

When Baron Geisler appeared, the movie reared it’s biggest flaw. It shifted to the opposite of what could be an amiable audience reaction overall. His entrance felt like an afterthought, as if it was added to increase the screen duration and to set up more dramatic highlights. Or it must be because it was Baron. We already knew his purpose. He was too black and white, obviously evil. Some actor who looked harmless would have perfectly slid into the story, without the unnecessary jolt. With Baron, the storyteller and viewer’s connection and trust felt breached. We became suspicious of what’s next from then on. Good thing the movie was really about to end.

How could I forget an incident, inside an FX taxi. Seated behind me was a talkative teenage girl who looked and acted like someone who just had her first-time trip to Mandaluyong. She was jolly until after thirty minutes of travel time elapsed. Then I heard her scurry which was followed by the rustling of plastic. She let out tempered sounds, cries like from an animal being bled or cut into half, slightly muffled quacks. A whiff of the pungent smell of spoiled cheese and vinegarish spaghetti sauce permeated the air for about two minutes afterwards. I fainted.

Then this dream sequence. Baron Geisler loomed uninvited in one birthday party dressed like Captain Hook-slash-Jack Sparrow. He asked around if we saw his mother Wendy–we were inside a branch of a famous fast-food chain of the same name. When he didn’t find who he was looking for, he slammed open a plastic vat half filled with liquid, and as a result splattered almost everyone in the area with catsup.

The movie was like that,  fun with some sour and offensive parts. It didn’t sponsor a story that would, without force, disbelief, and doubt, lead us into falling in love.