kita kita

Napanood ko ang trailer months ago at kahit ayokong ngumiti hindi ko napigil. Arte lang. Hindi kasi talaga ako mahilig sa love story. I'd really rather watch serial killers skinning people alive than be confronted with my own emotions (sabe?) Pero dahil natuwa ako sa napakasimpleng trailer I said, It's a Yes from me.


Ang istorya ay tungkol kay Lea at Tonyo, na sumasalamin sa istorya ng napakaraming "mismatch" couples na nakikita natin sa Facebook. Alam mo yun? Yung mga mapapaisip ka, Wow love is blind talaga. Ang ganda ni Ate mukhang dyosa tapos si Kuya, mukhang mabait. True love bes. Walang halong pretensions. Walang alarm walang anything.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE!

Tour guide si Lea sa Japan. Proposal na lang ang hinihintay niya sa boyfriend nyang Hapon nang makatanggap sya ng isang anonymous tip at natimbog nya ang Hapon na nakikipagtukaan sa iba. Sa sobrang stress nya, nabulag sya. I don't know if this really happens in real life, kaya iiwas na lang ako sa stress kasi greatest fear ko ang blindness, next to erectile dysfunction.

So nag-aadjust si Lea sa buhay bulag. And then Tonyo enters the picture. Bagong kapitbahay sya at madalas nyang pagmasdan si Lea na nakasimangot sa garden nya. Araw-araw nyang dinadalhan ng pagkain si Lea kahit sinusungitan siya. Hanggang sa nahulog na ang loob ni Lea sa kanya. Siguro it helps na bulag sya? Is this the point of the story?

So they got closer, pasyal-pasyal sila sa Japan (both of them jobless by the way so I'm not sure where the unlimited funds are coming from, ito ang concern ko talaga). Muling nahanap ni Lea ang saya niya, so nawala ang stress nya. As a result, bumalik ang paningin nya. Sakto naman right that very moment, the first thing she sees is Tonyo... na nasagasaan ng ten-wheeler truck or something.

OK so he died. Tragic diba.

And then here we go sa second half ng pelikula, ang point of view ni Tonyo. Tulad ni Lea, brokenhearted rin sya at ang lupasay moments nya ay humantong na sa homeless person levels. Personally, ikinakatakot ko itong mangyari sa akin. Paano kung di ko namamalayan palaboy na pala ako sa kalye dahil lang sa pag-ibig? Ang baho ko na nun, baka ang maging movie ko ay Amoy Kita.

Nakakatawa right... until it happens to you.

Matagal na palang inii-stalk ni Tonyo si Lea. Siya yung anonymous whistleblower sa extra-curricular actvities ng boyfriend ni Lea na Hapon. Siya yung nakasama ni Lea na naglasing in a banana costume (ang saging ay sumasagisag sa... saging I guess). At siya yung homeless person na binibigyan ni Lea palagi ng food. And all this exposition via a conveniently placed love letter.

Hala tulo ang luha ni Lea oh. Di ako naiyak I swear to God hindi talaga yuck ha. Sus. Wala, hindi talaga Bimb. Fuck you.

Ang ending, binalikan ni Lea lahat ng lugar na pinasyalan nila. Somehow hindi nya makita ang ganda nila, until she puts on a blindfold, at doon nya naramdaman ang presence ni Tonyo. Then we all realize, minsan nasa harap na natin hindi natin pinapansin. Kapag hindi natin nakikita, saka natin nararamdaman. Sabeee.

Liked:

All the subdued pastel colors - para kang nanonood ng isang mahabang Instagram video na may faded filter.

Lea's character - masusubaybayan mo kung paano siya na-develop kay Tonyo.

Alessandra de Rossi - she's infectious. Just when you thought nakita mo na lahat ng pwede nyang i-offer and she's a bit old for the role, here she is looking all cute. You just can't help but smile when she laughs (candidly I assume) sa mga ad-lib jokes ni Empoy

Empoy - surprisingly likeable. OK lang sa akin yung humor nya on TV, which he somehow brought to this movie at an acceptable level. You can almost always tell when he's ad-libbing. I think the strength of this acting is his gameness to play this "ugly guy" role. He really embraced it pero hindi naging degrading sa kanyang pagkatao. Nabanggit ko nga you can almost see in him yung mga guys sa Facebook na binabash dahil napakaganda ng kanilang GF - mga members ng www.gayuma.com

Simple Plot - nothing unncessary was added onto it. Not even yung sister ni Lea, na magpahanggang sa huli ay nanatiling boses lamang sa phone. Walang extra people and extra storylines. Next to Tonyo and Lea, ang major character na siguro eh yung bartender.

Satisfying ending - since inevitably tragic ang kanilang love story, at least nagkaroon si Lea ng quiet moments sa pagbabalik nya sa mga lugar na pinasyalan nila to reminisce, and we the audience are given some time to take it all in as well.

Didn't like:

Yung Count-to-ten! I agree na kapag galit ka, bumilang ka hanggang sampu bago magsalita para mapag-isipan mo ang mga sasabihin mo at hindi ka makasakit ng kapwa (I agree but I don't do it especially since ang goal ko ay masaktan si kapwa). Ngunit hindi ako agree dun sa actual na pagbibilang with meaning attributed sa bawat number, like "Anim - anim na beses kong pinigil ang ihi ko noong gabing yun dahil ayaw kong mawala ka sa paningin ko kahit sandali" something like that. It's too... I don't know... it's the stuff of high school love letters. I should know kasi nagawa ko rin yang kalandiang love letter na yan noon. Sampu - sampung beses akong nag-cringe.

Two Less Lonely People In The World - for a movie whose strength is its subtletly, biglang full blast ang awiting ito. Not for me I guess. Pero hindi naman nakasira. Nag-stick out lang.

Tonyo's character - although I'm not sure kung ilang percent si Tonyo and ilang percent si Empoy - it feels like they built the character just for him - nakakaaliw si Tonyo dahil sa pagka-Empoy nya. Puta, first time pa lang ipakita si Tonyo si screen, wala pang linya, lumingon pa lang, nagtawanan na ang mga tao eh.

My problem is, you'll have to think, patulan kaya ni Lea si Tonyo kung hindi sya nabulag? Did he take advantage of her blindness? Is this tantamount to emotional rape?

Things happen just like that - sa bilis at simple ng plot, may mga bagay na nangyayari na lang basta-basta, nothing is explained. Nabulag si Lea. Nasagasaan si Tonyo, (which by the way felt too contrived for me - iniwan nya si Lea - si Lea na bulag - mag-isa sa sidewalk, may binili sya sa kabilang side ng kalsada, tapos nung patawid na sya pabalik kay Lea, saka sya nasagasaan - sana hindi nya na iniwan si Lea para di na nya kailangang tumawid pabalik right?) But what do I know though. I'm just a viewer.

Honestly nagustuhan ko itong movie. LOVED. IT. BES. Huli kong naramdaman ang ganitong pagkagusto noong napanood ko yung movie na may Arrow with a vagina pierced through it or something. Mas gusto ko ito.

Thanks Kids bye see you next post ko next quarter.

wonder woman

Hindi ako masyadong mahilig sa superhero movies (except X-Men, because X-Men). Nakatulugan ko sa sinehan sina Batman, Iron Man, Captain America, at yung pagsasanib-pwersa nila ng mga Avengers. Pati nga si Logan, nakatu-Logan ko rin. Hindi dahil sadyang komportable ako sa sinehan. Kapag lumipas na ang intrigue at puro na lang sabugan at hampasan ng mukha, nakakatulog na ako around 2/3 ng pelikula.

Iba itong Wonder Woman - nakatulog ako sa bandang 3/4.

Spoilers ahead. Nga pala HINDI ITO MOVIE REVIEW!

Namulat si Diana (played by Gal Gadot) sa kwento ng Nanay nya na siya ay hinugis lamang sa putik at binigyang buhay ng hininga ni Zeus. Nakatira sila sa isang lihim na isla na puro mga Amazona lamang ang nakatira - no boys allowed.

Pinili nilang manirahan sa islang ito dahil nag-away away ang mga Gods sa simula. Ngunit matapos ang ilang negosasyon, ito'y matapos na mag-disperse sila, pagkatapos nito, ah, hindi na sila nag-away, nag-away sila sa simula, pagkatapos nito'y nagkaroon na sila ng, ah, pag-aaway na sa simula (channeling my Michael Fajatin storytelling skills here).

Basta yan na yung back story. Sabi ng Nanay ni Diana, Hindi ka pwedeng mag-training as a fighter, I forbid it! Ang pagkaka-intindi yata ni Diana sa salitang "forbid" ay "encourage" dahil kung ano ang finorbid ng Nanay nya ay siya namang ginawa nya. Samakatwid, nagkaroon ng isang training montage to illustrate na nag-training siya sa simula, pagkatapos nito'y nagkaroon na sila ng, ah, pag-training na sa simula.

Gustong-gusto ni Diana na magtraining bilang mandirigmang Amazona dahil 1) Wala naman syang ibang career choice sa isla nila and 2) yung kwento ng Nanay nya about Ares, the God of War, na isang threat sa kanilang isla, ay tunay na inspiring. Ramdam ni Diana na dapat nyang puksain si Ares.

Sabi rin ng Nanay ni Diana huwag na huwag nyang gagalawin ang "God Killer", ang tanging espada na makakapuksa sa kaaway nilang God of War na si Ares. Hindi raw para sa kanya yun para pakialaman pa.

One day may nag-crash na eroplano mala-Lost (yung TV series) at niligtas ni Diana yung piloto. Matapos ang konting pag-aaway nga sa simula (SHET DI KO NA MAALIS SI MICHAEL FAJATIN) nalaman nila sa pilotong yun kung ano ang tunay na nagyayari sa outside world: the war. Not just a war, but the war to end all wars. Merong konting war nga sa simula.

Sure na sure si Diana, kagagawan ni Ares ang gyerang ito, at kailangan nyang sumama sa pilotong si Steve (played by Chris Hemsworth Evans Pratt Pine) pabalik sa outside world para tapusin ang gyera. Pero bago ang lahat, sinilipan muna ni Diana si Steve, bale first time nyang makakita ng etits.

Sabi ng Nanay ni Diana, "Nope not gonna happen I forbid it" so syempre alam na, yun mismo ang ginawa ni Diana. At yung kabilin-bilinan nyang "God Killer" na sword na huwag papakialaman? Yun lang ang binitbit ni Diana.

So what follows are "fish out of water" scenes kung saan nanibago si Diana sa mundo ng mga normal na tao at chinallenge nya ang existing norms and fashion choices and you get the drill. Before you know it, papunta na sila sa war!

May nadaanan silang mga war victims doon tapos may tinatawag na No Man's Land kasi walang makatawid doon sa area na yun dahil bantay sarado yun ng mga Germans, so kahit gustuhin nilang iligtas ang mga civilians doon, hindi nila magawa. Sabi ni Steve kay Diana, You can' go there, I forbid it.

"Watch me whip" sabi ni Wonder Woman sabay labas ng latigo.

So yun lakad sya sa putikan pero hindi sya napuputikan. Samantalang ang mga hamak na tagalupa sumakay lang sa MRT sandali, paglabas ng tren hulas hulas na. Si Wonder Woman, hindi pumapangit. Parang kahit subukan nyang pumangit hindi nya kaya.

Konting effort lang ubos na ni Wonder Woman yung mga kalaban. Dito yung part na medyo nilalabanan ko na ang antok. Syempre biglang magkakaroon ng party, at kahit inaasikaso nila yung gyera, kailangan pa rin nilang umattend. Dito nakilala ni Diana yung isang high ranking sundalo at malakas ang kutob nya na yun si Ares, God of War, who is trying to sow ill will and discord among people.

So may habulan bugbugan and female empowerment. Lilipad sa ere ang sipa ni Wonder Woman sabay zoom in sa eyes, tapos slow-mo, tapos may sasapakin sya tapos zoom-in sa lips, tapos hair flip. Tapos kapag patay na yung kalaban, strike a pose.

Then na-corner na ni Diana yung sundalo tapos sinaksak nya tapos strike a pose, tapos wala naman nangyari, may gyera pa rin at kasamaan sa mundo?

Ito yung huling naaalala ko. Nung nagising ako, patay na si Steve!

And then nalaman ni Diana na yung isa palang sundalo rin na tumutulong sa kanila, siya pala talaga si Ares, God of War. At yung "God Killer" na espadang pinagmamalaki ni Diana, dinurog lang ni Ares in seconds, diretso sa junkshop. It's obvious, ang God Killer ay si Diana, dahil anak sya ni Zeus!

"Wait so you mean yung sabi ng Nanay ko na nag-blow si Zeus sa putik at nabuhay ako, hindi totoo?"

"Nag-blow si Zeus pero hindi sa putik wink-wink."

Tapos ayun na labanan na sila ng liwanag. Eto yung part ng movie na mga energies in the form of light na lang ang naglalaban tapos may sasabog na something. In this case, ang nakapagpasabog kay Ares, God of War, ay ang April Boy Regino pose ni Wonder Woman.


Sana kanina mo pa yan ginawa!

So napatay na nya si Ares, tapos strike a pose, tapos wala naman nangyari, may gyera pa rin at kasamaan sa mundo? Pagkatapos nito'y nagkaroon na sila ng, ah, pag-aaway na sa simula. THE END.

Sabi nga ni Wonder Woman,

"It's not about deserve, it's something else but not deserve."



Wala lang. Bye.

bliss

We all know what happens with hype: a product gets too much attention (good or bad, it doesn’t really matter), our interest is piqued and we all want a piece of that product, and then the hype dies down and we all suddenly hate the product.


Bliss went through this little lifecycle. One day everybody wanted it, everybody gave the MTRCB flak for marking it with an X rating and essentially banning it from cinemas, everybody wanted for it to be shown. Now those who have seen it seem to regret seeing it, they hate it so much, they want their money back. Is hating Bliss the new hype?

If all that X-rating and intense publicity did not happen and we just watched Bliss like we would any other movie, will we still hate it so much? Is it really THAT bad?

I like Bliss. I’m not about to defend it, but here’s what I want to say: I like it as a Pinoy movie, it’s a well-thought-out story, excellently acted and smartly executed. I think it still needs improvements as a thriller. I have some ideas on how it could have been scarier, but that's just my opinion. How good and how bad Bliss is depends on what you compare it to. If you stick with recent local movies, it definitely shines. If you compare it with Korean or Hollywood thrillers, it’s a little too ambitious. But it’s an overall nice attempt, better than what we’re used to seeing.

I get why people don’t like it: it leaves an overall feeling of “That’s it???” But if you know what to look for, it’s actually almost like a little Easter egg hunt. So what do we look for? We'll look for recurring themes.

Spoilers follow.

Bliss is about a burnt out movie star, Jane, who takes on a big project which is seemingly about her life. While filming, she suffers an accident and wakes up in a lonely house, with just her husband and am abusive nurse present. She feels trapped and as days go by, she notices that the same day repeats over and over again, with just a few variations. Eventually she realizes she is stuck in a nightmare, a phobia she has had since childhood. Eventually she wakes up to a nurse raping her unconscious body.

Very simple plot right? Now let’s take a deeper look and see just how much effort they put into that simple plot. These are the reasons why I appreciate Bliss:

Bliss pays homage to Misery (being held hostage by a nurse) and maybe even Inception (being stuck in a dream state), with both movies specifically mentioned. But beyond that I think there are other movies it pays respects to, like Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (the lead character’s name is Jane, and she moves around in a wheelchair – at one point she contemplates going down the stairs in her wheelchair, a major scene in the older movie). I also see elements from Kill Bill, where the comatose Bride is molested by a medical staff and she wakes up at that pivotal moment, At one point Jane wears a bridal gown, and later on, in a violent bloodshed she kills the nurse, again reminiscent of Kill Bill's blood fiesta.  But that just might be me stretching it out.

There are many recurring elements in Bliss which allude to being stuck in a dream. The dilemma is that Jane realizes she is dreaming the same day over and over again, a perpetual loop of events that she can’t seem to escape from. This circular process is visible in clues – little "circles" - peppered throughout the film:
  • The trailer actually said "Time is a circle".
  • The talent agency where Jane auditioned as a child is called “Circuit”.
  • Jane’s hit song includes the lyrics “Ikot nang ikot nang ikot”.
  • Every time Jane wakes up, the first thing she sees is a smoke detector mounted on the ceiling, a circular object.
  • A perpetual motion paperweight in the director’s office also appears in Jane’s dream, its metal loops endlessly turning.
  • The books in Jane’s room include one entitled “Loops”.
Now going beyond the physical/visual circles, Rose Madlangbayan, the rapist nurse, was herself sexually abused as a child – this cycle of abuse is in itself a circle.

A fellow movie enthusiast observed that the movie did not seem to care about twists – there were no attempts to hide Jane’s dream state. It becomes obvious early on. And I agree:
  • The first time Jane wakes up to have breakfast, she can’t taste her coffee - in our dreams our senses don't always work properly - an early indication that something is off. Later on, she stabs her own leg with a knife and doesn’t feel the pain.
  • One of the books on Jane’s shelf is entitled “Prison Dream”.
  • Aside from Jane discussing her phobia of being trapped in a dream, a “brain expert” guy discusses dreams in a documentary.
  • Jane’s co-star tells her that she needs a totem so she can differentiate her reality from her dreams.
  • Jane supposedly wakes up in a quiet house to recover, but her mother, husband and director keep showing up at a hospital - this disconnect is a big clue.
The above observations seem to answer people who see the movie as predictable: there was no concealment to begin with.

Jane’s dream environment is built around her memories and is affected by external stimulus that her comatose body picks up:
  • The house where Jane wakes up to recover is where they shot her film.
  • Aside from the perpetual motion paperweight, Jane in the dream also drinks from the same coffee mug seen in her director’s office before she had her accident.
  • In her dream state, Jane smells something burning, which turns out to be her director’s cigarette smoke when he visits her in the hospital.
  • She also keeps smelling lotion – turns out her nurse uses the same lotion when she violates her comatose body.
  • The conversations she has with the people in her dream are one way (her mom and her director just keep on talking and do not respond to her statements) – because they are actually just talking to her unconscious body, and as she hears their voices her mind works it into her dream.
  • The sprinklers turn on in her dream – in reality it’s raining outside.
  • In the dream, Jane starts to float from her bed – in real life she is having an orgasm.
Another probable theme, which was observed by a fellow cinephile (thanks Sir) is bad mothers:
  • Jane’s mother is greedy and selfish and doesn’t really care about Jane, she only cares about her earnings.
  • Rose’s mother becomes physically violent when she fails her audtion.
  • A neighbor, a supposed maternal figure, swoops in and sexually abuses Rose.
  • Emma, Jane’s PA whom her husbad got pregnant, wants an abortion (I don’t condemn abortion, it’s her choice, but if the only reason she wants an abortion is because her boyfriend will "kill" her, that’s just shallow and irresponsible).
I’m echoing a note made by another reviewer: the whole theme might be an awakening – a sexual one. While Jane is a straight female, she is unable to achieve orgasm with a man, she needs to touch herself. However, the final scene shows Jane waking up from an orgasm brought about by another woman, Rose.

I also like how the dream version of Rose, Lilibeth, is always shown carrying a vase of dead flowers – could this be an allusion to her attraction to Jane’s dead (comatose) flower? The final scene, where Jane catches Rose eating her out, is cut before Jane could react. Does Jane reject Rose? Or does she embrace the new dimension to her sexuality?

Bliss is self-aware (and not blissfully ignorant) of itself, and blatantly so:
  • The movie director, Lexter, has high ambitions of getting into Cannes and snobs the Metro Manila Film Fest - they probably already know how the movie will be received locally?
  • Jane says she needs to get a trophy after the movie is done – and she does so in real life.
  • The Assistant Director, after getting verbally abused by the director, puts into words what everyone probably thinks – “Akala naman niya, tatanggapin sa Cannes itong kabaduyan niya.”
So many lines from the film seem to anticipate audience reaction:
  • The director, frustrated with the pace of his workers, keeps screaming “This is a nightmare!”
  • Jane, realizing she’s trapped, whispers “Puta, eto na naman,” and later on screams “Palabasin nyo ako dito!”
  • The director is being mean to his Assistant Director. Out of the blue he says “Gerry, ‘disappointment’ is an overrated word for you” to which he answes, without missing a beat, “Thank you Direk.”
The running gags in the movie are also a nice touch. The Director’s assistant just can’t seem to get his beverages right. She served cold coffee and got a tongue-lashing. Then she served warm juice and got dismissed. Finally she is seen, in a split-second shot, spitting into the director’s drink. It happened so quickly, now I’m not really sure if it really happened.

For me, the best clue to this movie’s self-awareness is demonstrated with Jane’s story about her childhood nightmare: her mother holds a box and tells her it’s empty, but Jane is obsessed by the idea of opening it. She searches for the key, and in her frustration, stabs her mother with it. When she gets to open the box, it is empty, just as her mother said.

The moviemakers did not promise us anything. Even as the story unfolds, they did not give us any indication that there's something more for us. They basically told us the box is empty. As moviegoers, we looked out for twists, assigned meaning to events, searched for a deeper experience. As the credits roll we ask, “Yun na yun???”

Because the box is empty, just like they said.

Thanks to the peopleI I watched the film with and discussed with. Dami kong na-pick-up!
Poster image from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6608136/
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