Movie Reviews

Glorious (Concepcion Macatuno, 2018)

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I would not pass judgment on the sex scenes. Because when it comes to them, I am not as experienced. To say if such a scene is photographed realistically or not, if an actor looks unquestionably aroused or, if he or she’s just faking it, i’d rather not comment. I have not seen as many adult films as a lot of you have to make acute distinctions haha. I carry no badge of expertness in this category so I would keep my lips pursed on the director’s and the actors’ execution of those delicate acts.

But the movie Glorious is littered with such intimate scenes. And they prolong the duration of this simple story. It is about a 52-year old woman, Glory (Angel Aquino), who falls in love with Niko (Tony Labrusca), a young, stubbled, lightly-tanned chinito. It is also about Glory’s small circle of domestic relationships. She is separated from her husband (but he still visits the house to provide financial support?), with a teenager son and daughter in her care, with a set of ‘loud’ friends who ocassionally accompany her. Ultimately, it is about her personality and outlook changes after this young handsome home decor lights salesman succeeds in making her fall for him, against social conventions.

We are set up to expect more intimate scenes between the lovers at the onset. In relation to that, the movie also promotes that older women should have no qualms in expressing their sexuality and affection, like in holding their young man’s hands and body or planting wet kisses, whether in public or in the privacy of their bedroom. No woman of Glory’s age should still have fears or guilty feelings for being aroused or feeling sexy. Glory learns these lessons. We will see her explore her body more as a result of her revived sexual activity. For the movie to tackle these is commendable.

It takes a long time though, after watching a lot of shots of romancing and making love, before the crack and tension in the Glory-Niko relationship would appear. Probably at the last one-fifth of its duration is when the problems show up: insecurities rise and the characters’ flaws become more apparent and destructive to the affair. Because of those, when the movie climaxes, we feel the hump, and it’s not the best way for a narrative to make an impact. In Glorious, the ‘foreplay’ takes a big chunk of time that it feels like an overkill.

Angel Aquino looks deglamorized and is made older in a few scenes, especially in the key scene where she is running away from Niko’s place, with those loose, drab pants and blouse that she does not deserve. But generally, she’s okay. Even cool. I am trying to figure out what went wrong. Why is Glory’s character not as memorable as her supporting and cameo performances in other movies when on second viewing, she looks well-lit and we sense her level of trust and commitment to the project. Similarly, we sense it in her co-stars.

It could be because of my biggest turn off about the film. When we close our eyes, when we listen through our earphones, we hear the characters converse and the sound is old fashioned and familiar. The intonation patterns, the manner the dialogues are delivered, and the actual register of voices in recordings, they collectively sound like from a radio soap, like AM drama. They hurt whatever realism the movie tries to project. They also add to the feeling that the movie was inexpensively made. That’s why in hindsight, when we recall the well-celebrated Labrusca tongue in the French-kissing scenes, when we recall it flicker on Angel’s tight belly, teasing her belly button, when we hear Angel’s gasps, there’s this other side in our brains that flashes drone shots of houses, of mountains of Benguet, and of Baguio city landscapes that had been captured a lot better by YouTube vloggers–they bring back the thought of mornings with an arhytmic series of caws. And the caws either dissipate or kill the urge to have sex.

~Robert Cerda

Glorious is available for free streaming at IWantTV

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Exes Baggage (Dan Villegas, 2018): Makes Me Think I’m a Plant or Vegetable

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Exes Baggage stars Angelica Panganiban as Pia and Carlo Aquino as Nix, in a love story that revives and capitalizes on this couple’s past relationship. What’s weird for me to feel though is, despite the witty exchanges and the casual delivery of lines believable and nostalgic, I could still not erase the image of this pair as kids and of their puppy love. Hence, when they kiss, it does not arrive to me as too sexual. Or have I really turned asexual?

There are no other backstory strains for us to cling to. There are no family angles, no funny or marked cliques to stand as the couple’s conscience. The movie is generally just about man and woman, discovering each other, exchanging details and bits of who and what they were in their past relationship and eventually having to talk about what went wrong.

Crucial is the fact that Nix seems to be still enamored or has not moved on with his relationship with his ex-fiancé, Dwein. Dwein Baltazar, for everybody’s information, is the name of the scriptwriter. It’s wickedly smart that she disallows her male character to move on from what could be an overt representation of herself. It’s a clever ‘curse’ that she has given him. Because usually some writers gets drawn into or fall in love with their creations. They are the ones enslaved, even obsessed with their inventions that when it’s time to let them go, to release the book or realize and finally see them on the big screen, such writers experience separation anxiety with their ‘babies.’ Dwein turns it upside down. Her strategy feels like a form of revenge to that ‘phenomenon’, a form of ‘getting even.’

That could be taken as well as part of her declaration that here the women are the stronger sex: assertive (Pia started the conversation with Nix, delivered the pick up line), perfectionist and superior (Dwein checked the alignment of chairs), more experienced in relationships (Pia had 7 boyfriends, Nix just had one–or he lied), more organized (the condo unit of Pia versus the workshop-pad of Nix), more financially stable (symbolized by Ogie, Pia’s car). At the end of the movie, we will be convinced that women are emotionally stronger than men.

That also seems to be a recurring theme in the romance genre movies of Dan Villegas (The Break-up Playlist, Always Be My Maybe, Hintayan ng Langit, to cite some movies of his I’ve seen). He tells stories of women who are the stronger ones in their relationships, (the male, either immature or tentative). It’s a cool position that Villegas has consistently taken. Reminds me of Kurt Cobain in his peak wishing more woman-bands in the music business, supporting a few women groups by making them front acts to his band Nirvana’s concerts and gigs.

I have lost track of the names of cinematographers whom Dan Villegas had worked with, but the combination of colors green and red here and in his other films (sometimes neon versions of the two colors) must be the director’s more than the d.o.p.’s choice. It catches my attention. Colors of life and love, of abundance and passion, proving that the basic color theory for those hues really works magic on the frames. These are little but essential visual details that could also stand for both male and female. But why not blue for the male? Perhaps, (spoiler alert!) it will happen when Vilegas makes the switch and when he does not end his movie like a fairy tale does.

~Robert Cerda

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QCinema 2018| Masla a Papanok (Gutierrez Mangansakan II) : Mythic Movements

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Masla a Papanok begins with the appearance of a Muslim princess who escapes her arranged marriage and who hides inside the convent. She has to learn Spanish and Christian prayers and practices as a consequence of staying with the nuns. But she is a free spirit. There is ‘wildness’ to this young woman, in the manly strength she exhibits when she throws stones and aims accurately– hits and falls a fruit from a tree, in her sneezing, breaking the solemnity of a group of nun’s prayer, in her lying on grass and getting herself drenched in the rain. One day, one of her people tries to abduct her. That is followed by her people’s burning of buildings in the monastery, the act actually anticipated by the Spanish army, waiting for it to legitimise a counter-assault. The focus on the princess ends there (and is transferred to her young cousin and people). The black and white cinematography stops.

The second act gives us examples that show the relationships of masters and slaves, what distinguish them–like clothes and other ‘suggestions’ of power. Also, striking are two incidents which contrast Filipino and colonial masters: while a Muslim prince likes to play with slaves against the gentle reminder of his parents not to, a Spanish captain shows cruelty to a Filipino slave; he wants the latter to forge ahead in their mission, when the Filipino screams in pain from a leg injury.

In the last section, the bird finally shows up, and its apparitions are followed by deaths.

Masla a Papanok, a unique take on the story of a great bird that is believed to bring bad luck, is faulted by many critics for its abrupt transitions that splices the movie into two. But the ‘looseness’ adds to the mystery. The story also is linked by the aural accompaniments (birds sounds are present in many scenes even before the actual haunting cries of the great bird), by the camera angles, and by the appearances of the Muslim princess.

If we review the movie’s opening actions, the princess comes out tired from running, the hijab and robe hugging her petite features, the cloth like a thin skin, like a film, like a placenta, as if she were a fully-developed woman who has just been born, breaking a lush scene where a white horse grazes–that first frame mythical and paradisiacal.

What follows is a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the princess collapsing (her ‘fall,’ the black and white photography, and her flagellating herself later in front of the altar suggest the position of the creators on her ‘defection’ from her Muslim religion), then the nuns rush to help her. That camera shot substitutes for something or someone–a bird or a god observing the events in this woman’s life from an exceptionally high tree. Soon she will be an instrument to an act of retribution–as I would like to think she becomes. From symbolically being a ‘baby,’ she returns later, her back framed magically, arms positioned in such a way that they look like they are to unleash energy, her body shape outlined by moonlight. That could be her ‘transformation.’

The movie seemingly mystifies more what’s already mythic and tantalizes with its seeming ambiguity. But I think the film also underlines this misconception about the bird’s presence, our prejudices, our black and white concepts of darkness and beasts getting in the way of how we should interpret those bird cries and sightings. It is not the crying or the predatory bird sound or an image outerwoldly or our superficial ideas of spirits that create or dictate the next terrible events. The movie also tells us that the bird signs are there so we can prepare, the bird is actually on our side. In the present context, the film substitutes for the bird, to warn us of something more terrifying than our past or today’s violence: and that is, (also as the explicit final phase of the ‘movement’ of the princess) our forgetfulness of events. Remembering should have saved us from a lot of today’s and future miseries and injustices.

~ Robert Bryan Cerda

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QCinema 2018 |International Filmfest Competition Films, Short Takes (Part 1 – Oda Sa Wala & Hintayan ng Langit)

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Oda Sa Wala (Dwein Baltazar, 2018)

Sonya is an embalmer-mortician of a self-owned dilapidated funeral parlor housed at a two-story bahay-na-bato. She has an estranged father living with her and a loaner who visits her frequently to collect her payments, their land title and house pawned. But business is not that good, and the pawner’s pressures compound the personal struggles of our main character. One day, a dead body of an old woman is brought to Sonya by people who sound and do business like hoodlums. They assure her that she wouldn’t have any problems accepting to work on it, at the same time giving her an irregularly bigger sum of money than what she usually charge. The cadaver of a nameless old-white-haired woman will change Sonya’s life.

The movie in all film aspects is consistent with its theme. The set design captures the feel of things old and neglected: rusty-framed photographs, dilapidated wall panels, anything that spell out decay. The cinematography is drab gray, monochromatic, and you would not remember or notice any musical score. That’s how lonely and eventually creepy this production is. Except for that old Chinese opera track, which starts the movie and plays during Sonya’s birthday. It’s a brave, unique, and so deeply sad a premise: a woman longing for love and affection, and getting it from a cadaver. A mute mommy substitute.

Its script is well-written. I like that we nearly wouldn’t have known the name of the main character until mid-way the movie (or did I miss hearing it earlier), as if even the name needs to be forgotten. I like those long waiting time where we have to stare for minutes at a dining table without people, perfectly underscoring the blankness and drabness of the female protagonist’s life.

I like the emotional journey that the actress Marietta Subong has to bring us along with. She tempers the loud Pokwang in her. We learn about her desires and fears. And then in one magical scene, that dance to the tune of a Chinese opera song, she lets us peek at that right amount of merriment, that rare insane sunny disposition, that funny, energetic promise that her character has kept hidden to us for so long that it feels like we are given grace that moment– that is one mark of a good performance, filling our memories with those moments. This maybe Pokwang’s all-time best performance.

Dwein Baltazar keeps us hooked in spite of the seeming uneventfulness, the morbidity, the despair and loneliness of the scenes. I remember the opening frame, moths circling, a close-up of a flourescent bulb. It’s a visual ‘graphical’ match and a ‘decoy,’ an inversion of expectations, a representation of what the main character feels and thinks of herself: a sub for flies attracted and circling around a lump of human or animal excrement.

Hintayan ng Langit (Dan Villegas, 2018)

I must be out of touch with what this generation likes. In watching Hintayan ng Langit, people buy the one-liners that Gina Pareño as Lisang throws. Even her curses. And when she delivers hugot lines or displays her flirtatiousness, the audience reacts. I overhear my seatmate keep on telling himself, “‘rupok” (literally ‘brittle’ in English, figuratively ‘easy to give in’) when there is a romantic line or scene that makes the audience comment or sigh in unison.

I am not one of them, not similarly moved. In fact, I feel a little skeptical. Eddie Garcia as Manolo and Pareño as his old flame, in this rom-com set in purgatory, capitalize on what they are popularly known for: the manoy delivery and charm, the loudness and more pronounced physicality of acting that Pareño usually does in her earlier comedy-camp films, although not as vulgar here compared to, let’s say, her role in Ishmael Bernal’s Working Girls.

Her character feels like eagerly needing attention from Manolo, and from us. We would know why–due to a painful event, a botched romance. Such acting could still have been tempered for me, too ‘commercial’ and ‘loud.’ I’m not complaining if that’s what’s required of them all. But I’m also not raving.

It is a gamble and a rare experiment to have senior stars animate a movie which has the regular rom-com and hugot imprints in it. That move is laudable. And based on it’s audience award and the full house screenings, then so far the movie is a success. It’s not as memorable as it could have been for me though primarily because of the performances (excepting Joel Saracho’s).

If you are a millenial you’d probably enjoy it like the audience did. So, go watch. But if you’re hard up and looking for something that great cinema could give, stay at home, read a book in bed or do crochet or cross-stitch work instead.

-Robert Cerda

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Alimuom (Keith Sicat, 2018)

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In Alimuom, Hope is like a bottled secret, a shrub with little tendrils and a disproportionately sprouted bulb.
The movie is set in the future. We are in an enclosed dome, under the conspiratorial rule of the government and capitalists. Farming is forbidden. Magtanim Ay Di Biro (Planting Rice Is Never Fun) is a song of dreamers, and Bahay Kubo (My Nipa Hut), a song that enumerated vegetables, is like a relic sung with a mix of genuine longing and innocence.

The soil outside our enclosed guarded area looks poisonous, littered with shales, marbles, and little rocks. Merely looking at their red, violet, orange, and yellow hue grades could seemingly scald skin like laser does or could implant polyps that grow into variegated cancers.
Starring in this space drama is Diwa. Professor-scientist. Daughter of an ailing experimenter who had researched on how to grow plants again. She was approached by a head of Ministry of Agriculture, to offer her a job, to uncover mysteries of something they found which could give a clue to this new life that the government seemed to be too frightened about, and secretly, use the findings from that research to destabilize and exterminate whatever rebellious groups have managed to survive the outskirts of the ‘protected section’ of the earth.

The narrative is steady, peaking appropriately when expected. There might seem diversionary passages, like the dance of the spider woman. But no, that is necessary, one magical, representational scene even, skewering a variety of female reactions and desires, excellently staged, impressive, considering some people weaned the Hollywood way would expect bizarre creatures peopling a space bar-room or disco sequence.
Ina Feleo gives her character fullness and complexities of a woman: sexual, intelligent, caring. It’s a well-embodied and -rounded human, showing her aspects as sister, daughter, romantic partner, mother, workmate, intellectual. Her vocal inflections are on point, like how piercingly sardonic her “brain drain” comment registers as her reply to her students who all raise their hands when she asks them if they plan to be OFWs (Outerspace Filipino Workers). You feel genuine longing in looking into her eyes, her genuine fear and desire. How mesmerized they were when she witnesses that solo dance number of a seductive woman. That moment, she could have been a slave of Sappho, entranced, short time.

For the actors, the dialogues could be challenging to remember, specially the scientific jargons, and to deliver them convincingly they must commit and understand them. There is a scene where I felt Dido dela Paz (as Diwa’s father) struggled with his words. He could even be reading the lines from a cue board, especially with the way his eyes were angled and captured, a little tentative and shaky at times.
But overall, everyone did a great job, from Kiko Matos as guard-agent who could be unwittingly sending with his performance a tinge of cyborg, with his expressionless, mannequin-looking face, to Elora Espano, the renegade woman, mystical especially on her final shot, her face wrapped in a red shawl, at her back, the sun.
The aesthetics is convincing and impressive too. This movie proves that no amount of money or advanced CGI could beat Filipino inventiveness and artistry. Composition, set design, lighting and color grading did the trick. Some familiar sculptures by Julie Lluch Dalena also appear and punctuate that sexual female: a spiritual mix of vulva and flower, hard, curving, tactile, representing strength, freedom and fearlessness, which Diwa embodies as well.

The film still has a good versus evil theme overarching all those personal drama in it, but the dark force is not as pronounced and visible as in Star Wars or any memorable movies of the same genre. I think they are only mentioned twice: the capitalists. They are the ones who control the government. They could be the ones who promoted and pushed to have it decreed that the soil is lethal and unsuitable for planting. In spirit, it is still the age-old class conflict that impinges on the family and all types of relationships.
Finally, in one pivotal scene, we find Diwa’s father open and close a cabinet, his face lit by the light from the cupboard. He was placing inside some grown plants, some violet flowers. It could be the Hope I speak of awhile ago. To be hidden. ‘Silenced.’ If that time then were today, I wish that those plants grow up soon like giants, like from the Little Shop of Horrors. To symbolize our disgust with the current government, a regime whose moral foundation and roots are questionable and shady in nature. The seedlings should grow and rise up to defend the peasants, farmers, and workers. In times like these, it’s probable that monsters are the only ones who could kill monsters.

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Ang Nawawala (Marie Jamora, 2012) – Not Really A Review: A Rambling/Practice

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There’s so much warmth and past and memories and color and coolness and celebration and heartaches in one serving that you’re sucked into the movie’s many charms and pains, into its strands of sequences and makes you ask, “where is The Strangeness now?,” and makes you miss the old Cubao and your turntable and the vinyl records your now wasted aunt who’s turning 55 this year bought when she still spoke at rallies decades back as a student leader in FEU, and you were still a boy, and when you were a little older she gave you a few albums: FOGHAT, Queen’s A Night at the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Deep Purple’s Machine Head, and you played those big discs, stacked them up, put them in carton boxes, until a big flood caused by one hell of a tropical storm came and destroyed them and suddenly you couldn’t play Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live album anymore, couldn’t re-imagine lighting candles in the living room and playing Within You, Without You in the cassette tape player, couldn’t dream of puppy love, because you also got kicked out of college and you had to babysit your cousins (and draw naked figures using charcoal on the walls of your cramped room near the restroom) as self-punishment, your space lit by an incandescent bulb and introduced by that drying smell of turpentine and gas, and the Mabait would peek once in a while to plan to steal in the really dirty kitchen a piece of some nights’ leftover fried fish, and your world was so disorganized and your life was close to a mess morphing into a pauper’s at night, and your future was uncertain, but you never had the same trauma as Gibson’s, but you had bits of bullying from your relatives which could be worst than what the movie’s lead character had, and you hadn’t seen Hi-Fidelity yet, or any Godard film, or Kashiwahara’s Magandang Gabi Sa Inyong Lahat, and at times the next day could be horrifying but you kept a little bit of that coolness in you and you had some cheap MP3 player to keep you sane, some termite-bitten pages of stacks of old, dog-eared books, and that somehow kept you alive, now you’re far better than you were during those years and each day you’ve turned wiser, turned more patient of the world’s whipping, more certain of your importance, more self-assured, that no matter how many buckets of tears you shed after watching beautiful movies like this, you’d never feel dehydrated in spite of the day’s heat and the film’s ‘well-placed intensities’ because inside you there’s a, uh, well, that never dries up.

Originally posted on Facebook in 2017

Mga Anak ng Kamote (Carlo Enciso Catu, 2018)

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The absurdist and political, the bravest yet exquisite film entry in the ToFarm Filmfest 2018 competition Mga Anak ng Kamote, opens like a terrifying mood piece. The sounds accompanying its main character’s movements and glances cue the terror. Are militaristic. Mixed with or highlighted by animal and jungle noises. When I try to recall the sounds now, they ‘implant’ in my head a torture scene, where somebody bony and naked is violated by men in uniform, deep in a dark, dank dungeon, the victim whipped by bamboo sticks and electrocuted.

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Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (Jerrold Tarog, 2018)

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It would be childish of me to dismiss Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral just because it’s from the same production team of Heneral Luna, the movie I didn’t like. Especially after seeing the trailers, news, and mini-documentaries which showed us of what Mr. Tarog had set himself to do, a more brain wracking challenge in terms of scope and expectations. This new attempt must have given him more pressure than the first.

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Signal Rock (Chito Rono, 2018)

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Ten minutes na lang bago magsimula ang Signal Rock, nasa pila pa ako ng takilyera. Starved, haven’t taken my lunch yet. Pa-ala-una trenta na nuon. Iyong matabang MTRCB deputy na una sa akin, pinagbuksan pa ako ng pinto—pareho kaming humangos papasok ng sinehan–thank you po, sir. Good thing at kasisimula pa lang: eksena doon sa malaking batong parang giant palaka sa Biri Island. Ang ganda ng drone shots!
Sì Christian Bables ang bida. Nasabi ko sa isang kaibigan na may agam-agam ako na baka hindi magampanan ng mahusay ni Christian ang role niya rito. Bagito pa kasi siya at Barbs ng Die Beautiful pa din talaga ang naiisip ko on hearing his name. Although, nabalita naman na mahusay daw talaga si ser dito, di pa din ako naniwala hanggat hindi ko napapanuod. In fact, yung imahe at dedikasyon sa paggaya ng aktor ng pisikal na dating ng mga transgenders ang pinakapinuri ko nuon sa review ko sa award-winning supporting role niya:

“… his body was exposed many times. He wore short shorts. He flaunted his shapely, womanly legs, his biceps well-toned yet non-muscular. He’s a doll in skimpy outfits. When he walked wearing high heels, his posterior profile boasted of a woman’s waist, his behind like a rocking pear on a bough, and that straight imaginary line on the soil punctured by his lady shoes seemed to have surfaced when he passed by.
… His sharp-pointed nose recreated in our minds how Pauleen Luna or Aubrey Miles must have inhaled and relished the smell of bouquets of fragrant flowers. It’s one of those rare miracle of a performance for such a role where the exterior gelled with the interior. If he were really acting here, then he must forgive us if we believed he’s not, if we thought he’s gay.”

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Kiko Boksingero (Thop Nazareno, 2017)

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For a title that suggested a brutish sport, Kiko Boksingero fortunately delved into sensitive themes. Kiko (Noel Comia Jr.) was a boy who dreamed of becoming a boxer, knowing that his absentee father, George (Yul Servo), was one. He lived with his nanny, Diday (Yayo Aguila), and went to a school where the usual challenges of growing up happens. He found where his dad lived, cleaned the boxing gloves and equipments he saw. Then one day his dad returned and Kiko made an effort to know him more.

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Bona (Lino Brocka, 1980)

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The milk brand Bona brings up the image of a woman holding that pot of boiling water, from the movie with the same name–a thing that evokes memories from the past, specific images, sounds, tastes, smells. The same way the smell of soap dish and the sound of a boiling beef stew casserole do. Also like grandma’s old sari-sari store, with bottles of assorted candies, with a transistor hung on the ceiling held by steel wires. Its incandescent lamp was like a humble spotlight, its brightness decorated by an amazing set of spiderwebs, the 1.5 square meter enclosed space my fantasy land in my childhood. We punctured its awning G.I. panel sides with tall nails inside to secure the store when it is closing time, the nails as tall as the ones they used on Christ at the cross.

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Partee (Jill Singson Urdaneta, 2016)

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Partee is a producer’s gamble. A movie primarily based on an idea. It was not the type that would draw audiences in. For that reason, I was tempted to tap the creators’ backs at least for what seemed like a good intention: to be original.

But good intentions are not enough. A movie since we expend both money and time should be worth our efforts. Whatever vision there was it should be well-executed. Partee felt too simple. Literally the story was like sticks and bones. Three characters: lovers Troy (Kiko Matos) and Carla (Angela Cortez ) and an ‘outsider’ Eric (Felix Roco), met and had a private party: a sex, drugs, booze, and lights trip. Two secrets were revealed before the movie wrapped up. At the middle, it relied on editing tricks for its duration. It was like padding the screen time but not advancing the story. In the end it felt cheap. Scenes were rewinded, inserted, and looped. The editing irritated and frustrated, because we were for a prolonged time making sense of what those were for, only to be disappointed.

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Sid & Aya – Not A Love Story (Irene Villamayor, 2018)

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Anne Curtis snapped out of character in Sid & Aya (Not A Love Story) twice when she said ‘joke.’ She said it the way she delivers it at her noontime show, It’s Showtime. Smart and brief little highlights they were if we consider this film as aiming for realism, with its muted colors and tone. It could be the film’s two blinks of self-reflexiveness–confirming within split-seconds that this was all role-play. I preferred that she had not spoken it though. It lumped me right into the middle of the stage where her lanky, gaudily-dressed TV co-host threw offensive questions and it was really a very scary place to be in.

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Never Not Love You (Antoinette Jadaone, 2018)

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Despite seeing some movie posters and clips, I still imagined a royal treatment for James Reid and Nadine Lustre before watching their latest flick: He in a black suit, and she in a svelte gown, with a tiara on her head. A spotlight followed their parade while the paparrazi flashed their cameras and a mad crowd trailed behind.

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Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2017)

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By mentioning the jewelry shop Cartier at the start of this conversation, the brand later figuring in Personal Shopper, I’m giving a little away. I don’t want to rob from you the pleasure of discovering that ingenious symbolism of a thing in the movie’s climax, so, no, I won’t elaborate. I’ll begin by introducing Kristen Stewart as Maureen instead. Central character. Spirit medium who checks and ‘classifies’ the ghosts that inhabit places. Her ‘gift’ is sampled in the house about to be sold by the wife of her dead twin brother. She thinks that she could find his soul there too as he should’ve reached out to her as part of their pact: That whoever dies first would confirm their existence in the spiritual world.

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