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Ang titser kong pogi (1995)
Bong Revilla plays an undercover who poses as a teacher in a small town school to hunt down a murderer on the loose.
This movie shamelessly rips off Kindergarten Cop. It would have been acceptable had the script been remotely funny but it seems to have been written by a child attending kindergarten class. The acting is awful, even the kids are terrible. They try so hard to be cute but nothing in the script could make them do anything that's close to cute. They end up being the most annoying class of any year.
No wonder Bong Revilla wants to limit the number of Hollywood films being shown in the Philippines. He clearly doesn't want Filipinos to find out he's been stealing the plots of Hollywood films. He ought to blame the success of Hollywood in the Philippines on himself. When audiences see how lazy Filipino filmmakers are, they stay away in droves and watch the original instead.
Mano po III: My Love (2004)
A wealthy Chinese businesswoman reunites with a former lover who tries to rekindle their romance. But she's reluctant to leave her husband..
Vilma Santos plays the prominent businesswoman who is widely admired and respected in Manila's Chinatown. Christopher Deleon is her former lover. Jay Manalo, as the clueless husband, completes the triangle.
Mano Po 4 isn't a movie about the Filipino Chinese community. It's just another typical Vilma Santos movie that has her reciting a litany of lines that had been written with hopes that they would be added to her gallery of overwrought dramatic scenes. She's given one big scene that requires her to scream for help after a car mishap in a deserted street in the dead of night. She's done this before, several times.
She even has a big Meryl Streep scene that has her shamelessly aping Streep's moving scene in the car from The Bridges of Madison County. But audiences aren't moved by Santos since it's just Santos trying to outdo Streep. For Santos, that means overacting it to the hilt.
Christopher Deleon gives his trademark hammy performance. His acting is more mannered than ever. These two veterans ought to get acting lessons from Jay Manalo. He doesn't need talky dialog or histrionics to get the quiet anguish of the husband across. And still he looks much too young to play Santos' husband. (They were supposed to be high school sweethearts!) The film is dominated by talky scenes. It doesn't seem to go anywhere, not specially under the unimaginative direction of Joel Lamangan.
Even the script's attempt at being socially relevant is forced. Santos, as the leading businesswoman in the Chinese community, is a staunch activist who publicly bewails the crimes being committed against Chinese businessmen (kidnapping, extortion). With the way this angle is sloppily handled, the "relevance" tastes like bad medicine. It doesn't taste good and it doesn't do anything to cure the flaws of this movie. Not even if it's forced fed on us.
The Reunion (2012)
Four young men search for their former girlfriends who dumped them when they were in high school.to break a curse that had been cast on them..
The contretemps is already preposterous but the execution is even more ludicrous. This is supposed to be a teen-age comedy but the laughs are few. And yet the script is overwritten and overloaded with lines designed for cheesy greeting cards.
The story is supposed to pay tribute to the music of a great but defunct band. The musicians of this band should sue. Their songs have been used for a lame story that has the four men in various misadventures as they search for their elusive girlfriends.
In fact, the creators of The Avengers also ought to sue. The superheroes are spoofed by the four lead actors in a completely unfunny fight scene. A lot of other Hollywood screenwriters should be calling their lawyers as well.
None of the actors are talented enough to rise above the script's shortcomings. Although Enrique Gil, cast as the playboy of the bunch, manages to coast along with his charms, nothing he can do can make the situations believable. The movie's only curse is the laziness of the writers.
Man of La Mancha (1972)
Imperfect but watchable
The material of Man of La Mancha is so perfect, not even bland direction and poorly staged musical numbers can ruin it. It remains completely watchable and entertaining.
What peeves me is much of Aldonza's songs have been cut. Sophia Loren did well with the songs and she should have been allowed to sing the entire songs.
Overall, this movie musical lacks the charm and sparkle of the big musicals that preceded it. It failed to match the box office success of Fiddler on the Roof (over 80 million dollars in grosses), Hello, Dolly! (38 million) and Camelot (over 35 million).
While three musicals won several Oscar nominations, Man of La Mancha won just a couple. Yet I'm glad there's a film version of Man of Lamancha and this version, while not perfect is quite acceptable and far from the disaster critics say it is.