Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Double Film Review

.:Film Review: Who’s That Girl?:.

Standees rule!

Who’s That Girl?
Sometimes, life is easier if you actually just explained.

Can’t believe that I went on two dates this whole week with the incomparable Jazminne Huang, but I’m glad that we went to two fairly okay movies, so that I didn’t feel like I actually wasted my time with her when we could’ve done something like bowling instead.

You’d be surprised, but this film review is relatively spoiler-free.

“Who’s That Girl” is a pretty fun and light-hearted romantic comedy featuring the ever-reliable Anne Curtis, the indisputably hilarious Eugene Domingo, and of course, the loveteam/career kiss of death leading man himself, Lucky Manzano. With other great people like John Lapus in the equation, there was no doubt that at worst, the movie was going to be worth a few laughs, and it certainly provided just that.

I guess the storyline was pretty obvious by watching the ridiculously lengthy trailer from the get-go: Bea (Anne Curtis) had a longtime crush on John (Luis Manzano), and aside from the obvious fact that it’s a reference to John Lloyd and Bea Alonzo, the creepy flashbacks to Bea’s past are hilariously overplayed. Without ever expecting to see him again, Bea blossoms into a gorgeous woman who is desired by many, and she ends up crossing paths with him when she finds an obituary announcing his death.

Except it wasn’t his death, but his father. You see, John Eduque is a jr so that means she made a fool of herself when she arrived there, causing a scene at the wake. She makes it worse by trying to make a run for it without explaining the miscue, and this sends John’s mom (Eugene Domingo) into a spiral of depression, believing that her husband cheated on her. John vows to find this woman who has destroyed his family. Hijinks ensue.

A simple premise, with a paper-thin plot, and overplayed gags you could see coming a mile away. This wasn’t a shining moment for Philippine film, but there is no question that the movie still has a lot of good things going for it, starting from the unmistakable chemistry between Anne and Luis, who played off of each other pretty well, and had enough acting talent to salvage the terrible script. This is testament to the acting talent of the two lead stars. They did well despite the material they had to work with.

This was, without a doubt, a film made for its kilig factor. It wasn’t ingenious, it wasn’t special, but it was a perfectly serviceable film, and in my opinion, a film I had less problems praising than the last Tanging Ina instalment. Overall, I liked watching the film, but if you compared it to other recent romantic comedies, Who’s That Girl isn’t anywhere near as good as them. It gets even worse if you tried to compare any other movies Eugene Domingo starred in to this one.

Fun Evaluation: B+/A-
Critical Evaluation: C+

.:Film Review: Sucker Punch:.

Role reversal!

Sucker Punch
Eye candy but not much else? Okay lang.

So last weekend, during another K-Pop con, I managed to steal away a couple of hours from Jazminne and her two friends, Jessica and Jemina (Triple J?), so we could catch Sucker Punch, which I’ve been curious about for a while already.

That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Now, while some reviewers have given great insights that reveals how deep Sucker Punch actually is, I assumed that turning my brain off to watch the film was the best course of action, what with Jamie Chung and Vanessa Hudgens in the cast, not to mention the lead star, who normally shouldn’t even appeal to me, in the first place. I’m not so sure if that was the best course of action, since with four different things they needed to get, there were four distinct huge action scenes in the film, and each one got more and more boring as time passed. The eye candy could only get so far.

The characters were walking stereotypes, and only Baby Doll and Rocket actually felt anywhere near fleshed out, which made their choice of characters who made it to the end of the film intact rather... questionable.

The film was all about a girl who ends up in a mental asylum thanks to an abusive stepfather, who ends up getting a lobotomy. At least, that’s how the film starts, but then, the storyline shifts without any spoonfeeding into the whole thing being a theatre bit, and now, instead of asylum patients, they’ve turned into cabaret dancers or something. All well and good, except even within that, more fantasy sequences are played out in the mind of the apparent lead character, which just gets increasingly frustrating because we actually wanted to see Baby Doll dancing. She was winding up for it already, but instead, we’re treated to a CGI smorgasbord that is awesome to behold, but indisputably leaves the viewers cold afterwards.

I feel that if we had to make an in-depth analysis to show why Sucker Punch is actually a great movie, then it’s either failed at getting the point across, or we’re just guilty of giving the filmmakers too much credit. Even if you can’t quite articulate why a film is good or bad, you should at least get an overall feeling, regardless of a technical analysis, and ultimately, what matters is whether or not you actually enjoyed the film.

Given that Sucker Punch was an action-packed film that had pacing issues and very poor characterization, I have to say that while I liked the concept of the film, the execution really, really left me cold. With my companions actually audibly declaring they were bored by the time they were fighting cyborgs, I realized that the film, from the trailer alone, was misleading the potential audience about everything except the promise of lots and lots of eye candy.

The film failed because it made an implicit promise that you will enjoy this movie if you actually turned off your brain and just handwaved away any shortcomings from within. It made this promise, and yet the storyline actually demanded a lot of thought from the viewer, and expected one to be able to enjoy all the gratuitous violence and cheesecake while taking in the pseudo-philosophical ideas the movie was tossing at you. It was a bad combination and it didn’t work. It was trying to be both a mindless and deep film at the same time, and for that to happen, you needed to excel on both levels. Sucker Punch excelled at neither end of the spectrum.

Would I recommend you to spend your hard-earned money on this film in the cinema? If you’re a hot-blooded male who wants to look at hot girls kick some righteous behind, sure, go for it. But if you don’t fit that demographic, I strongly suggest you wait for the DVD, because it might be more fun to watch the film if there are some insights behind the scenes being thrown into the discussion.

Fun Evaluation: B+
Critical Evaluation: B-


skysenshi said...

Re: Sucker Punch. Same here, I turned off my brain.

JORI said...

Actually, you "need" brain to watch this movie. The problem with the film, the action and visuals are too kick ass that we didn't bother look pass it.

Sucker Punch is so far this year's "Inception".

Marcelle said...

@Jori: Exactly my problem. I came into the movie with the wrong expectations. :|

I guess that means I need to watch it a second time.