Yup, we’re actually doing this! Double-header Tagalog movie review? Aba, bakit hindi! Saktong sakto feel na feel natin ang pagiging makabayan natin kasi kakatapos lang ng elections! These two movies recently opened at more or less the same time kaya pag-iisahin na lang natin ang review. Malamang ang mapapanuod mo dito sa dalawang to ay mag dedepend sa kung sinong type mo kay John Lloyd at James Reid. Or kung lalaki ka kung sinong type ng girlfriend mo sa kanilang dalawa. E since dalawa silang napanuod ko, e di alam na! Type ko silang dalawa!
Real-life couple James Reid and Nadine Lustre star in this latest rom-com from Viva Films. In the movie, they play childhood friends who fall in love with each other while having to deal with the challenges of a long distance relationship. I’m sure marami sa atin nakaka-relate sa ganyang kwento kasi sa mga Pinoy hindi naman kailangang mag punta ng ibang bansa nung partner mo para maging LDR e. Sa traffic ng Metro Manila pag nasa Alabang yung girlfriend mo at taga Fairview ka minsan buti pa nasa Hong Kong na lang siya e. Sigurado may pasalubong ka pa pag nagkita kayo.
Okay in my defense pinanuod ko to kasi gusto ng girlfriend ko at hindi dahil fan ako ng JaDine. Oo nga! Bakit ayaw mo maniwala? Totoo nga! Fine, siguro kinilig ako ng konti sa commercials nila sa Jollibee pero konting konti lang yun ah! Truth be told, hindi naman ako kinaladkad para panuorin tong movie na to wala namang kalmutan at sabunutan na naganap papunta ng sinehan. Curious talaga akong panuorin to kasi binigyan ng Cinema Evaluation Board ng Grade A na rating. Ano bang ibig sabihin pag may Grade A na rating ang isang pelikula? Bakit ba nagbibigay ng ganun? Binibigay yung Grade A pag nagandahan yung CEB sa movie. Anong benefit nito sa filmmakers? Meron silang 100% tax rebate for the movie. So this is their way of encouraging homegrown filmmakers to make quality films.
So kung Grade A ang This Time, does that mean na maganda siya? Well the movie is okay. Napakatamad na adjective ng “okay” di ba? Pero yun talaga siya e. Pero kung pang Grade A siya, hindi ako sure. Ano nga ba kasi ang criteria ng pagiging Grade A ng isang movie? It’s mostly technical in nature and if you read up on the criteria, mostly pasado pa naman siya e. I actually like the fact that the movie played around with the cinematography a bit and if you’ve seen a lot of Tagalog movies lately, baka mapansin mo rin na there’s something different about this one.
But I think the film suffers from a lack of major conflict. Para siyang mahabang episode ng On the Wings of Love (oo nanuod rin ako nun don’t judge me) and maybe that was really what they were aiming for. Para siyang mahabang JaDine commercial ng Cornetto e. Puro pampakilig scenes lang siya with a few arguments in-between para magbati sila at magpakilig ulit. Sa loob ng sinehan naghihiyawan sa kilig yung mga magbabarkadang babae na kasabay namin manuod e. Tingin ko ginawa naman talaga tong movie na to with them in mind and for that purpose. Nahahaluan lang ng mga ilan-ilang boyfriend na nahatak ng girlfriend nilang may gusto kay James Reid (tulad ko). I think the performances all across the board were great. From James and Nadine, to Freddie Webb (perfect casting), to Candy Pangilinan and Al Tantay (super funny), and to more minor characters like the gay sari-sari store owner played by Ronnie Lazaro (very convincing). And at the end of the day it helps a great deal that James and Nadine are a real-life couple kasi there really is chemistry between them and they can afford to give the audiences what they want which is sometimes really just a an authentic kiss.
Verdict: 6.5/10. If you’re a fan, don’t miss it. If you’re not, skip it.
Just the 3 of Us
Dito hindi mo na ko kailangang kaladkarin. Si John Lloyd Cruz ang representative ng partylist naming mga lalakeng walang abs sa Pilipinas. Binigyan niya kami ng mukha nung ang mga sinisigaw na pangalan ng mga babae ay “Derek” at “Piolo”. In this movie, he’s paired with Jennylyn Mercado (on a hot streak lately) and with director Cathy Garcia Molina (worked with John Lloyd for the 1,232th time) at the helm. The movie tells the story of a bachelor pilot na “nakadisgrasya” hindi ng eroplano kundi ng babaeng nakilala niya one drunken night at a club. Trouble arises when the girl (played by Jennylyn Mercado obviously) suddenly shows up where he lives to tell him the news that he’s going to be a father. So kung ikaw ano gagawin mo kung lapitan ka ni Jennylyn Mercado at sabihin niyang nabuntis mo siya? Baka kahit hindi sayo yan akuhin mo na di ba?
As expected, okay siya. (Ayan nanaman yang “okay” na yan napakatamad na adjective talaga) If you’re going to be watching only one Tagalog movie this week, I think it should be this one. It’s just a much better film overall and that’s mainly because of the story. Pero siguro it’s unfair to compare the two movies kasi parang magkaiba naman ang purpose nila. If yung on-screen chemistry ni James Reid and Nadine Lustre worked to their advantage, I think the lack of chemistry between John Lloyd and Jennylyn Mercado (they only met during the first day of shooting) worked in their favor as well. Kasi in the movie hindi naman sila dapat magkakilala talaga e pero mapipilitan sila to co-exist somehow because of the possibility na may anak silang dalawa. And that’s how it is sometimes in real life with these things diba? Hindi naman lahat ng nagkakaanak magkasundo.
But I think this movie further cements John Lloyd’s place as the top serious mainstream actor in local cinema. Kung iisipin mo sino pa ba? Siguro si Piolo. Siguro si Jericho. Sila lang yung may malawak na range ngayon to play different roles e. Jennylyn was also great in this movie as the quirky love interest. She has that versatility to go from comedy to drama in just a matter of minutes. I personally thought na masyadong kengkoy yung ibang lines niya during some parts of the movie. Yung tipong iisipin mo na “parang di niya ata talaga sasabihin yan in that way kung totoong buhay to.” But I think that has to do more with how the character was written. One major complaint I have about Pinoy movies in general are the wigs of the actresses. Seryoso lang, bakit ba kailangan naka-wig sila na weird? Hindi ba pwedeng magpagupit na lang? Or sige kung hindi talaga pwede, bakit kailangan pa baguhin at all? I don’t get it.
If you’ve seen a John Lloyd-Cathy Garcia Molina movie before, then I’m sure you know what to expect from this movie in terms of plot, tone, and look. Their movies have that distinct feel to them. Alam mo na somewhere in the middle magkakaron ng matinding batuhan ng lines at magkakaiyakan. Siguro may sampalan. Alam mo rin na sometime after that magkakaron ng madramang dialogue between yung bida at yung veteran actor na parent niya (na sa movie na to ay si Joel Torre). Filmmakers use these archetypes para mas madalian ang audiences na intindihin yung pelikula. That can be a good thing but I think it would be interesting if they can also mix it up a little. Lahat naman tayo natutuwa sa resurgence kahit papaano ng local cinema, kaso parang puro rom-com or love triangle dramas na lang ang majority ng lumalabas lately e. Surely as Pinoys iba iba naman ang kwento ng lahi natin diba? Siguro we can’t blame the industry kasi ito yung mga movies na kumikita. For every critical and box-office success like Heneral Luna and OTJ, maraming mga movies na nag-flop. Pero siguro masyado rin silang nag-iingat? Hindi ko alam. We’re a very emotional people and we’re great storytellers as well so I’m sure marami tayong paghuhugutang kwento sa mga pelikula natin at marami namang tatangkilik kahit walang love triangle with Anne Curtis or Cristine Reyes involved.
But don’t you think it’s a good sign that two Pinoy movies went up against each other and was release a week away from Captain America: Civil War and both still managed to be successful? Isn’t that a good sign for the local film industry? I’m looking forward to the stories we’ll be telling next.
Verdict: 7.5/10. It’s more of the same, but that’s not so bad.