Movie Review | Coco

Synopsis

Join young aspiring musician Miguel on an extraordinary journey to the Land of the Dead as he attempts to break his Grandma Coco’s long disdain of music, prove his true talent, and ultimately unlock the real story behind generations of family history.

Running Time 2 hours and 10 minutes
Genre Animation
Cast Edward James Olmos, Alanna Ubach, Benjamin Bratt
Release Date November 22, 2017

(Source: SM Cinema)

I was never a fan of animation. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, this is the first time I’ve sat down a movie house to see one – if not for the invitation of my colleague Mae who was willing to watch it for the second time. She said it made her and her boyfriend cry. So, I thought it was a dramatic Thai film until it rolled and flashed the Disney and Pixar intros.

Oh well, I told myself I can just kill that girl the next day if the film wouldn’t be worth my 270 pesos and going home late on a Thursday.

After the first 15 minutes

I was glued to the screen. Still aware I am seeing a film I didn’t signed up for, but there is something with the narrative. It will make you interested. The cinema was quiet as Miguel introduces his life, family, and their tradition. But still, no hint of drama and I’m starting to question Mae’s promise that it would make me cry.

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Fast forward to halfway through the movie, you’ll realize you are with Miguel on his attempt to get his own way. The situation is familiar and Miguel’s character is heavily relatable. As the real conflict of the story built up, I realized this movie is exceeding my expectations. I underestimated it’s capability to highlight serious issues. To add, I didn’t see the twist coming!

Coco tackled some major elements of life: family, dreams, regret, and memories.

Family

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Miguel belongs to a close-knit family that is extremely traditional. The elders say how you should live and leave life, and although it doesn’t sound right, you can tell it’s out of love and concern. I didn’t know Mexicans are familial like that. The regard for family and women is same with us Asians. Like me, you may not share the same beliefs with Miguel’s family, but you’ll see all the details make sense in the end.

Dreams

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I like how Miguel honors his dream and believes there is no other way, but where it leads. If only more people would have that passion of a 12-year old, more lives would be meaningful. However, the movie also showed what happens when you badly want your dream to materialize, you’re willing to step on others. You become selfish and unconsciously, do things you’ll regret later on.

Regret

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It is extremely saddening. Can you think of any cure for regret? Coco featured regret in two forms: regret of a father who left his family and of a boy who didn’t listen to his elders. Suffering from regret is inevitable when you’re very much guilty of acting out of emotions. What I liked in the movie is how the characters owned up their mistakes, stayed strong, and didn’t give up until they made it right.

Memories

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“I cannot forgive you, but I shouldn’t forget you.”

-Imelda to Hector

Since the movie deals with life and death, it banked on how memories keep something (or someone) alive in a way. In the movie, you’ll realize that forgetting someone you loved dearly is impossible. They will be part of you forever, until your last breath. It doesn’t matter if they left you with a good or bad memory. If they’ve touched your soul, you’ll carry their story wherever you go, even pass it to the next generation.

I cried

I’ll skip the details and proudly say, I cried. There was this scene when all the issues build up and you’ll feel like letting out a loud “HUHUHU.” I saw how everyone in the movie house reached for tissues – even the guys in front of us! My heart really melted when Miguel was about to resolve the conflict like a grown up man. I saw Mae crying quietly also and understood why she wanted to watch it twice in the cinema.

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The takeaways

For me, the morals of Coco are:

  1. Never let yourself be bitter.
  2. Life goes on even after someone you love leaves you.
  3. Your family only want the best for you.
  4. Love is supporting the other person in chasing his/her dreams.
  5. When you realize you messed up, don’t dwell on it, be responsible, then make it right.

Good job to Disney and Pixar for coming up with an animation adults would love! How often do you cry watching a cartoon? It takes a really good script, a universal conflict, and an unpredictable twist.

Watch it!

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Movie Review | ‘Last Night’

I have never laughed so hard while watching a movie, until this. I and my friend were laughing like it was the last night of our lives because we didn’t understand what was happening.

Have you seen the trailer? What are your thoughts? Did you have a clue on what the movie is about? Well, I bet you didn’t. I thought I was going to figure out the story after seeing it, but still, no.

Expectation Vs. Reality

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I expected a Piolo-level dramatic movie, some ala ‘Starting Over Again’ hugot, sakit-sa-puso love story, and of course, something fresh and remarkable like ‘Kita Kita.’ Well… I didn’t know. Not much reviews about it, and, now I understand why.

Intro

Fifteen minutes and I’m still not engaged. I was trying to connect with the characters, enjoy the exchange of lines, and it felt like work. For fifteen minutes I was convincing myself this movie is something. That it was worth my money.

It was different with ‘Kita Kita.’ The latter gets exciting minute by minute and I wasn’t forcing myself to laugh. I also loved the lead female character played by Alessandra, unlike this one. It was like Toni was trying to be Kdrama-cute. So unnatural for her 29 year-old character.

Piolo, on the other hand, did his best as usual. His acting was convincing he has a big problem that he wanted to die, yet for some reason, I didn’t think his story was sad enough. I didn’t feel heavy after listening to (his character) Mark’s story.

Body

After the first fifteen minutes, I kept on convincing myself the plot would develop into something, “Wait lang kasi, may twist ‘yan.”  I was giving it a chance and trying my best to imagine myself in the characters’ situation, but failed. I cannot be Mark and I’m still guessing Toni’s story.

Until it became romantic, or should I say, cheesy. I am not a fan of instant attraction love stories. I always want to know how it developed, so I can hugot later on. To add, I don’t remember any tweet-worthy line, painful scene, whatsoever.

And yes, an hour later I still don’t like Carmina (Toni’s character). Maybe because they tried so hard to make her mysterious, and positive and light at the same time. I was confused, not curious. Until Mark asked why she doesn’t change her dress and I had the idea who she is, or what she is.

Ending

The story behind Carmina began to unfold and to my disappointment, I guessed it right. But what truly turned me off is they explained it too much, like no audience would have known it will happen. Worse, after they revealed the twist, they extended the story with unnecessary details and scenes.

Well, I’m not perfect. I just have a degree in Communications Arts and not Film. But, I can say I’m quite easy to please when it comes to movies. I’d even go for entertaining than smart most of the time. This movie, though, it failed in the one thing I look for in a film – good script. The lines were corny.

“Parang nakita ko na rin naman ang langit sa mga mata mo.”

“Pang-ilan na ‘kong ginago mo?!”

“Bakit mo pinaramdam sa’kin ‘yun?”

Would you have this conversation with a gh***? Seriously?! Huhu so sorry for spoiling, I just can’t.

Conclusion

I love Spring Films. I love Bb. Joyce Bernal. I love Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga. I just don’t dig this movie. I appreciate the effort to again, experiment with an unusual plot, but they really failed in ending it. All the songs are also good. In fact, so good that the movie doesn’t deserve it anymore.

Do I want my money back? Yes.

Movie Review | ‘Kita Kita’

I liked it. I would recommend it to my friends. But, I wouldn’t watch it again.

Lea: “Matangos ang ilong mo… may bigote ka. Feeling ko ang pogi pogi mo!”
Tonyo: “Bulag ka nga.”

After seeing the trailer long ago, I found it cute, yet it didn’t go to my personal list of movies to watch out for this year. Why?

  • I am shamelessly one of those women who like leading men to be good-looking. Dapat type ko.
  • I knew Empoy can do comedy, but I doubted he can do romance. With Alessandra De Rossi, really?
  • The trailer I saw gave me the impression it is just another true love drama between a blind woman and a guy who sticks with her.

Until my professor friend asked us to watch with her this Friday, July 21.

The script

I was excited to see it. Although I didn’t have any expectation in terms of hugot lines unlike when I watched Camp Sawi. Maybe because of the positive reviews, or simply bliss of uncertainty. I also like Alessandra so much, given that she has played every role she’s ever in really well.

There’s nothing special about the first few scenes, as well as the lead character. She introduces herself, what her life is like, and that she has lived in Japan long enough that she’s almost a local. Alessandra was a natural – she bagan throwing off funny lines and suddenly, all of us in the cinema were laughing. Until she started isinuating the first conflict in the story, which was typical. BUT, the script is good – it’s honest, witty, and really funny, not trying hard to be.

I really liked the confrontation scene where Lea didn’t even have to open her mouth. That part convinced me the movie was worth my money and I’m up for another hour or two.

Funny, indeed

I won’t be a spoiler and tell you the next scenes. But, 30 minutes after the film rolled, all of us in Gateway Cineplex were awake, all-eyes on the screen, and laughing out loud. It’s been so long since I’ve laughed that hard in a movie house. While Lea’s (Alessandra) wit got our attention, Tonyo’s (Empoy) talent sustained it effortlessly. It was pure comedy, until it started bringing out the feels.

But, you’ll cry

An hour later, it became dramatic. However, the producers were really good that the mix wasn’t awkward. I liked the flow and the pacing – how it went from being funny, to dramatic, back to funny, then to dramatic again. I guess it’s the honesty of the characters. Genuineness would get me every time.

Tonyo: “Isang beses lang ako nagmahal. Pero yung isang beses na yun ang sumira sakin.”

(Not verbatim. But that part was real hugot for me. He he.)

Conclusion

Alessandra and Empoy were equally excellent in this film. I loved how Lea becomes teary-eyed and I’d find myself about to cry as well. You would feel her pain even though she says nothing at all. Empoy, on the other hand, is a breath of fresh air. He may not be the dashing leading man we’re all used to see, yet he is the perfect one for the role. It would have been corny if it wasn’t Empoy.

Messages of the story

  • Promises are pointless because people change
  • No matter how nice you are, life will break you
  • But God appoints friends to help you get by and even enjoy somehow
  • There are many seasons in one’s life – it isn’t short

Again, I would recommend that you watch it, as we don’t always get to see movies with script as good as this. Kudos to Spring Films and thank you for steering clear of the mainstream. My friends say the ending was predictable and I agree. Yet, I don’t mind, as I liked the rest of the movie a lot. Also, for me, it was the proper ending – I wouldn’t want it any other way.

I, however, won’t watch it again because punchlines can only be funny once. The conflict in the story, as well as Alessandra and Empoy’s chemistry, are also not haunting enough.

Because I Watched It Again: ‘Camp Sawi’ Full Movie

Found myself watching it again (first time was last full show, first day of showing in Megamall) and for some reason liked it more! Twice the crying and laughing… I ended up looking like a crazy person with tissues in my hand, but smiling.

It’s really different when you watch a movie alone. Maybe I didn’t appreciate it as much before, as my companion was a woman whose love life isn’t that dramatic, hehe. So, if you’re a girl who REALLY went through the motions of a breakup… with that person you wanted so much, this movie is for you!

Also, the cinematography was superb! Showcasing the beautiful Bantayan Island in Cebu. I’d definitely go there! Doesn’t matter if friends would join me or I’ll go alone.

I didn’t relate to a particular character, yet all their pain were familiar. I cried a lot! (Especially on that Bella Padilla-Dennis Trillo closure scene huhu!!) What I like the most were the scenes that were supposed to be dramatic, but would make you smile instead. I don’t know… maybe because the script was so real, so raw!
The actresses did a great job of portraying different types of women taking pain on their own terms. I love them all! Despite the diversity, though, the characters were like sisters who respected each other’s pain and hoped for each other’s restoration.

Such a great message, right? A recovery movie with a twist. Watch it!!! 

Yes, I Watched ‘How To Be Single’ Just Now

I saw the trailer last year, heard ‘Worth It’ by Fifth Harmony, and I knew immediately it is my type of movie! It’s just that I just was too absorbed in being in a relationship in 2016. Lol

Shame on me for seeing it just now!!

I love Rebel Wilson. I love Anastasia Steele… I mean, Dakota Johnson. They make the perfect bestfriends! Rebel is crazy and fly, while Dakota looks like a serious, deep, hopeless romantic. They played their roles well – one character to teach the other how to be single.


It was funny. The kind of funny that would make you replay some scenes to laugh at it again and again. The acting was superb. The script was smart and real.. also a bit deep, surprisingly. You wouldn’t know the movie would leave you with some realizations as it ends.

I don’t remember seeing any GOOD coming-of-age movie after ‘Love, Rosie’ until this. It tackled the chaos of being a 20-something struggling to have a good life, love life, and career without being corny.

Well, I know my life right now couldn’t be as wild as those living in New York, but still, I did relate to the characters – that’s why I liked it so much!!

But, did it teach me how to be single? Hmmm. I think it made me realize how I want to be single.

I recommend it to women my age. To the single.. and not so single! Even… I mean, ESPECIALLY to those who want to be single!!

Movie Review | I’m Drunk, I Love You

I’m Drunk, I Love You will put me to bed and lull me to sleep tonight, smiling.

Saw the trailer during the MMFF season and I knew right then I would watch it. I was right, although Paulo Avelino and Maja Salvador are mainstream, the story is not. Yet highly relatable.

Seen it 3 hours ago and I can’t remember the first scene, really. Maybe because what will stick with you is the development of the story, the characters, the ending. The open-ending that is effortlessly nakakakilig for me. Isn’t exactly a happy ending, but it was just right. You wouldn’t want it any other way.

How I hope Filipino romantic movie makers – specifically – would all learn how to do that kind of ending. Not the usual love wins, the predictable resolve, as such ruins the entire thing. Viewers should be given the room to finish off the story in their own heads, whichever way they like it.

Back to the movie, the Paulo-Maja tandem really works for me. They play the characters well and their acting skills make them believable as UP college students. No cheesy-ness, just pure chemistry.

You’ll love Maja’s character, Carson. You’ll smile with her, cry with her, laugh with her, and love with her. Carson was stupid, but you’ll understand why she never learned. At one point or another, we were all her.

And Paulo was the perfect Dio. (I lost my breath in the bagong ligo scene btw. Huehue) While Jason Ty is the lovable gay bestfriend we all once dreamed to have.

I wasn’t really wasak, but I understand why the rest of the guys who have seen it were. Maybe I would if I am a college student, but I’m not. Add also the fact I studied in Miriam and I didn’t go out of the campus often.

IDILY didn’t need much dialog and drama to be emotional. I’ll give it 4 stars and recommend to those, at the moment, struggling with unresolved feelings and the need to let go. It’s like the movie is talking to you, and listening to you also!

Cool. Funny. Tagos sa heart! Watch it!

Review | The Unmarried Wife

“He didn’t hurt you because he didn’t love you, he hurt you because he is weak. And when men are weak, we women have to be stronger.” 

Haven’t seen a Filipino movie this good for a long time. Real characters & situations, EXCELLENT SCRIPT, and great acting. Hugot lines and feels all throughout. Forever an Angelica-Dingdong tandem fan. Still Dingdong over Paulo for me, lols!