Saturday, June 14, 2014

An Early Look at... ugh... MMFF 2014

Last time we covered our impressions on the scant information about the upcoming Cinemalaya film festival. Now, has released the films submitted for consideration to the 2014 MMFF, which is about as radical a paradigm shift as it gets around these parts. So I'll be forming completely unjustified comments based only on the title and who's in it. Why? Just because. Note that not all of these entries will be officially considered as entries, as the MMFF only picks like 8 to 10 films for its roster.

1. Bonggagster starring BB Gandanghari and directed by Val Iglesias
Ideally this would be: a movie about a badass gay gangster roving the streets of Manila along with his all gay gang, doling out amounts of ironic JUSTICE to evildoers. For enemies he REALLY doesn't like, he has them raped by his muscular enforcer using a barbed cock ring. Oh wait, it isn't titled "Bonggangster?" Well fuck.
In reality: A comedy film about BB Gandanghari doing stuff that is only funny because he used to be a guy.
Will it be shortlisted? Maybe.

2.Kid Kulafu starring Cesar Montano and Alessandra de Rossi; directed by Paul Soriano
Ideally this would be: a film based on the comic about a Tarzan like dude played by Cesar Montano, going through the forest and meeting with rich, hoity toity, cultured Alessandra de Rossi. In the Jungle starts playing...
In reality: Kid Kulafu was once the ring name of Manny Pacquiao, so it's not a stretch to think this is about his early career.
Will it be shortlisted? I hope so. Cesar Montano has done some ok films for MMFF in the past.

3. Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2 starring Dingdong Dantes and Isabelle Daza; directed by Erik Matti
Ideally this would be: A sequel to the first film where in the last minutes, Dingdong is revealed to be an Aswang all along. DUN DUN DUN
In reality: ...A sequel to the first film.
Will it be shortlisted? I fucking hope so, the first one was entertaining as hell.

4. Above the Clouds starring Ruru Madrid and Pepe Smith; directed by Pepe Diokno
Ideally this would be: a film about a celestial war between the forces of Heaven, led by an Angelic General (Ruru Madrid) facing off against the Lord of Darkness, played by none other than Pepe Smith. And it's a Rock Opera to boot.
In reality: Some dramatic movie thing with Pepe Smith as the dad or playing himself and Ruru Madrid as the son.
Will it be shortlisted? Compared to the other fluff here, not likely, but if it does get in the official list, I'll probably take a look because I like the director.

5. Bonifacio starring Robin Padilla and Iza Calzado; directed by Lawrence Williams
Ideally this would be: a balls out actionfest with a Badass Robin Padilla kicking Spanish and American Ass and takes liberties with history, ending with him teabagging Howard Taft and Emilio Aguinaldo's corpses. Full disclosure: I WOULD TOTALLY WATCH THAT SHIT. Like, a hundred times. Somebody make this movie NOW.
In reality: probably a rather tame historical epic with some action about the life of Bonifacio with a smirking Binoe leading the cast. Much like Jorge Estregan's Aguinaldo biopic a few years back.
Will it be shortlisted? You bet.

6. Whistle-blower starring Nora Aunor, Cherry Pie Picache, directed by Adolf Alix
Ideally this would be: knowing the director, this is probably an omnibus film about a transsexual who is the world champion of blowing whistles. She is disgraced from her political job due to a sex tape, goes to a remote island where she receives a blowjob from a mermaid - and everything is an allegory to the current government corruption scandal.
In reality: A most likely fictionalized account of a government whistleblower with some added intrigue and social commentary.
Will it be shortlisted? It has Nora Aunor so hell yes. At least I fucking hope so.

7. Kung ang Hanap mo ay Ligaya sa Buhay starring Boots Anson-Roa and Ronnie Liang, directed by Elwood Perez
Ideally this would be: In the year 2054, happiness has been banned by a cyborg Bong Revilla. Boots Anson Roa plays a failed resistance fighter who trains the perfect rebel (Ronnie Liang) in order to spark a cyborg revolution.
In reality: Some drama thing, like Boots Anson Roa is a rich lady who falls in love with young hunk Ronnie Liang but cannot follow through because of their age difference. This actually can be good given the right script.
Will it be shortlisted? I'm going to say maybe, leaning towards no. This actually feels like a good movie, so MMFF probably won't select it and choose some piece of crap that sells well instead.

8. Magnum Muslim .357 starring ER Ejercito and directed by Jun Posadas
Ideally this would be: just as fucking balls out crazy as his previous entries to MMFF.
In reality: this would be just as fucking balls out crazy as his previous entries to MMFF. Yes, the same thing as ideal.
Will it be shortlisted? Boy Golden was a great fun film but tanked at the box office. I hope they give this one a chance.

9. Praybeyt Benjamin 2 starring Vice Ganda and Richard Yap, directed by Wenn Deramas
Ideally this would be: Praybeyt Benjamin joins the War on Terror and is sent to Pakistan to kill Zombie Osama Bin Laden. Along the way, he's mistaken for some poor lady and becomes the victim of a completely baseless stupid honor killing. However, he reanimates as a Zombie and the two fight in a Zombie showdown to the death.
In reality: Same old story as the first.
Will it be shortlisted? Are you kidding? Of course.

10. Feng Shui 2 starring Kris Aquino and Coco Martin, directed by Chito Roño
Ideally this would be: a movie where Kris Aquino is horribly killed in the first few seconds and doesn't show up for the rest of the film.
In reality: a somewhat unrelated sequel to the first film. Chito Rono is a great director, but Kris Aquino....
Will it be shortlisted? I'm going to say yes.

11. My Big Bossing's Adventures starring Ryzza Mae Dizon and Vic Sotto. Directed by Joyce Bernal, Marlon Rivera, Tony Reyes
Ideally this would be: a film that does not exist and will never be made.
In reality: It takes THREE DIRECTORS to try to keep this together!? I'm guessing an anthology. People watching this film is like that scene in Salo: 120 Days of Sodom. Or like the movie clip 2 Girls 1 Cup.
Will it be shortlisted? Unfortunately, Yes.

12) Shake Rattle & Roll starring Dennis Trillo and Carla Abellana, directed by Jerrold Tarog
Ideally this would be: Scary.
In reality: As scary as a Care Bear.
Will it be shortlisted? This is a staple of the festival. Of course yes.

13) English Only, Please starring Angeline Quinto and Sam Milby, directed by Dan Villegas
Ideally this would be: in an alternate Philippines where Americans annexed us and ruled us with an iron fist instead of giving us a Commonwealth/Transitional government, Sam Milby and Angeline Quinto are rebels in a Westernized world, trying to protect the last remnant of our country's heritage: our language.
In reality: A schmaltzy, trite rom-com that appeals to the lowest common denominator where Sam Milby is some dude from America who comes to the Philippines and meets plucky, spirited Angeline Quinto who teaches him a thing or two about our country... and love.
Will it be shortlisted? I'd say it's likely.

That's it. Tune in to this blog to see if any of our wild predictions come true. Until then... stay frosty, you bastards.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Querido Epic Review Final Chapter: All's Well That Ends Well... so this is not well

In the last episode of Querido Epic Review, our story kind of came to a close as Mystica resolved her main dilemma with balancing her life as a businesswoman with her showbiz career. It, of course, left a lot of other hanging plot holes that will never get resolved. But in the grand scale of things, it probably doesn't matter. Despite the main story wrapping up, there's still an hour and five minutes left. Join me as we finish watching Mystica's epic genius masterpiece, Querido.

The final part of Querido starts with a talk show-like segment where Mystica talks about problems and issues important to you the viewers.

She also advertises something in this segment...
Mystica talks behind her numerous awards (that she awards herself?) about sneaky business propositions that get you to do stuff. You know, like when people invite you to some event, buffet or seminar just to show that it is actually an opportunity for them to sell their shit to you. I've actually been witness to this sort of thing, and thankfully we didn't bite the thing that was offered to us. It's good advice, but this is just weird to watch especially in the middle of a movie with Macho Dancers, sex tapes and Mystica. It seems that she's experienced this sort of scam before, so she's speaking from experience.

She then tells the story of how she was involved with this company (after explicitly telling us that she isn't going to name any specific names) and how she was hoodwinked into spending money to get condos for cheap.

This moment is totally weird and has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. It's as if Mystica suddenly forgot what she was doing, decided that the last five hours were enough, and filled up the rest of the time with... this.

Another part of the movie is where Mystica is preaching to us about how we should all repent and pray to Jesus or whatever to get salvation. Not kidding.

There's something wrong about that bottommost sentence...

Again, this moment has little to do with the rest of the movie. In a separate video, Mystica even takes this to be the real meaning of the movie we have just watched. Hey, all I saw was Gangnam Style, Violence, Sex and Spicy Facebook. If there really was anything that I got from the movie, it's this:

Querido is about a woman, while still married, gets into multiple relationships out of wedlock (Proverbs 6:32, Hebrews 13:4) makes a sex tape with her boyfriend (1 Corinthians 6:18), is alternately proud and ashamed of the tape, even shunning her adopted child (Matthew 18:5, Hebrews 2:11) because he was concerned about her honor (Exodus 20:12) while her other wards regularly beat up anyone who gets in their way instead of seeking justice normally (Ezekiel 25:17). Also, she kinda seduces a news reporter who only wants to get into her computer (Proverbs 7:21).

And nowhere in the main story do we ever see Mystica's self-character repent for any of what she did. No lines of her separating from her husband, no lines of her regretting doing the sex tape, etc etc etc.

But the movie did have these two mooks doing a Dating Daan spoof, so they've got that going for them, which is nice.
Mystica talks about the "second level" of our lives, meaning the afterlife. So I guess the moral lesson is, if you want to go to heaven, don't do anything that anyone does in this movie.

That makes up about 28 minutes of the running time for this part. The rest of this segment is made up of footage of Mystica's wedding... to Kid Lopez/Troy. So I guess extramarital boyfriends do win in the end, if we are to take this scene to be still part of the movie. If not, then I wish them all the best.

I actually remember seeing a segment on this in the news.
So now Kid Lopez is Mr. Mystica. And the wedding footage (and the movie) ends with Mystica's rendition of Mariah Carey's A Hero Lies in You. THE END.

There's one thing I want to say before we move on to the director's cut: I want to punch this guy in the face.

look at this guy. LOOK AT HIS SMUG FUCKING FACE. He looks like Dana Carvey from Master of Disguise.
If you ask me why, I couldn't give you a straight answer. Things just happen. And thankfully, there's no honeymoon footage.

And here ends 6 hours and 52 minutes of crazy wildball insanity. I was pleasantly surprised and entertained by this film, but as I said in the previous part, probably for different reasons.

... So I was telling you about the extended cut to Querido, which is eight hours long. While most of the parts stay where they are, there are some minor differences. Part 6 of 7 of this cut has this scene where Mystica teaches her talents how to do the splits. But first, SPICY FACEBOOK IS BACK!!

she kinda looks like Jill Rose from the Mang Kanor videos.

Okay, back to Mystica teaching her talents the spli-
...what the fuck?

 Part 7 has more of Mystica's talk show segments, with her interviewing her friends with the environmental group, news clips of her and the policeman who hit her car, Mystica talking about her Citizen's crime watch thingy, and there's this bitchin' clip with her and her talents dancing on a bridge:


There's also boring footage of her talking and giving out awards, and it's obvious that this longer cut doesn't feel as complete as the seven hour cut of the film. And that's where it ends, I'm afraid. Thanks for sticking around. Our proverbial Dante has made it out of hell, climbing up Lucifer's body and ending among the stars. There may be other hidden gems like this, in the shadows, gems that, when viewed, can drive one truly mad. But I will be there, watching them and walking you through them. Because I'm the hero Philippine cinema deserves, but not the one it needs right now So I'll watch  movies like Querido because I can take it. Because I'm not your hero. I am a silent guardian, a  watchful protector... 

A Macho Dancer in the Dark.


Monday, June 09, 2014

Present Confusion Essays: Alone in the Wilderness

March 2014. It's a cold Saturday afternoon. Last time I checked it was 1:20 pm. I'm traveling through the streets of Ikebukuro, Japan. theres a sense of waiting in the air. In the seat of the bus meant to take me home, I look out the window. A few stray raindrops fall from the side window like small tears.  A comforting female voice drones from the speakers on the bus, saying words I barely understand.

Suddenly it's sometime in August, 1994. this picture was taken along a remote path in the Alaskan wilderness. A visibly emaciated man is seen smiling at the camera. The picture was undeveloped; the camera found only after moose hunters find his corpse and his possessions.

I've just finished a journey to this country, alone, and I'm absorbed by this book I checked out in the bookstore before leaving for good. It's worth a few hundred yen more than the book, but the cover haunted me. It was this picture: where, in the last weeks of his life, Christopher McCandless spent his time hunting and foraging for food in the Alaskan wilderness, trying to survive. Completely alone, he was on some sort of trip to liberate himself from society.

This book is Jon Krakauer's Into The Wild, an account of McCandless' journey through America to find himself. Along the way he meets different people whom he changes, mostly for the better. He's depicted as an idealistic young man with a passion for adventure, well read and very intelligent, but very much a risk taker. Despite many offers to settle down, the way of the road becomes his way, and he finds himself in the perfect spot: the Alaskan Wilderness, a spot that proves fatal.

Looking at it from a certain standpoint, our decisions in life are diametrically opposite; he's decided to live out his life and escape civilization, and here I am in one of the largest cities on earth. But in a way we have something in common. He went to the wilderness to find himself after the void of life post college graduation. He wanted to be free. I went to an unfamiliar land to find myself as well, as by this time my life was full of its own uncertainties. Despite the throng of people surrounding me, I was alone, left to find myself.

But at the same time, his own journey is one that resonates with so many people, because many experience that same sense of isolation and disconnect. We are given so many choices in the course of our lives that we tend to slide into a sense of ennui and false complacency. Before we know it, we're in the thick of something we are not entirely familiar with, lost in our own lives. We all take steps to mitigate or correct this. People gain wanderlust; some quit their jobs and go their own way; some create a small nook for themselves. I lose myself in solitude, in a society alien to me. McCandless chose the Wilderness.

It's quite admirable that he decided to react to his situation in such an extreme way, and his story touched a lot of people, among them Sean Penn, who decided to adapt the book into his own feature film (also titled Into the Wild) in 2007. Largely based on the book but fictionalizing some parts, it almost seems that McCandless is painted as some sort of visionary who knew something about the world that we don't.

It's hard to judge McCandless by his actions. While some may see him as this saint who threw away everything that he had to become one with nature, others may see him as an idealistic man with misplaced intentions at best, an ill-prepared, selfish fool at worst, underestimating the power of nature, not as a caring mother, but as an unfeeling force that takes away, much like Timothy Treadwell and his bears.

A differing view comes from Ron Lamothe's documentary The Call of the Wild, which was made almost parallel to the production of the Penn film. Lamothe retraces McCandless' footsteps and makes many of the same observations as I did: of a youth, wandering and aimless, desperately trying to find himself in a world that is quickly losing meaning.

Lamothe also tackles the rather disputed circumstances of McCandless' death. Krakauer and Penn attribute it partly to misidentification of the local flora, mistaking a poisonous plant from its edible counterpart. Lamothe submits a simpler theory that he simply died of starvation from a lean diet bereft of the essential carbohydrates and fats that would have fueled his life.

He also casts aspersions on McCandless' total abandonment of his previous life, as his wallet, social security card and even some cash were found in his possessions where he died. Perhaps 'aspersions' is to strong a word. But however one may interpret this man's actions, the real Christopher McCandless died that summer over twenty years ago, and we may never know what he really wanted, or if he had achieved his goal in the end.

I'm back in the bus and there's an hour and a half left in my trip to the airport. Sleep begins to take me.
I close my eyes and it's suddenly two days ago. Shinjuku, the red light district, ten in the evening. The soft buzz of electrical wires and signs overtakes me. Softly, I hear a tout mumble something behind me, perhaps soliciting me for something.

"What are you looking for?" he asks in Japanese.

I am suddenly lost in myself, walking, disoriented. Where am I exactly? I do not know for sure. The ground seems to give below me. And I ask myself:

What am I looking for?

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Querido Epic Review Part 5: Con Los Terroristas

In the last episode of our Querido Epic Review, the drama escalated up to eleven and the violence was kicking up a notch. Now it all comes to a head in this part, which I consider the climax of the entire film.

Still depressed after her talk at the end of Part 4, Mystica takes a fuckton of pills and downs them in one go.

these aren't Flintstones' Chewable Vitamins, that's for sure.
She lies down in her bed and quite obviously dreams that Troy is having sex with her. If you take this scene to mean that she is really dying and this is her dying dream, then this is a tragic event, and in a normal dramatic movie it makes the whole thing poignant in a way. But of course, this is Querido, not some normal dramatic movie.

Troy and Mystica proceed to do the horizontal mambo and are interrupted by none other than reporter guy... at gunpoint! While Mystica is horrified, Troy, not realizing the situation he is in, keeps on pumping his girlfriend. He FINALLY gets Troy's attention by smacking him in the head with the butt of the pistol (which he will do, repeatedly, as this scene goes on.)

Troy is dragged off by the Mystic Champs and watches as news reporter guy tries to rape Mystica. He doesn't seem to be really into it as he doesn't kiss Mystica as you would expect a rapist to rape someone, he just kinda pecks Mystica lightly on the cheek and arm as he threatens her.

He does get more willing participants as the bald/shaven member of the Mystic Champs (alas his name is not Vince Bopis, he's Neil Nilaga) decides to do the rapey deed while news reporter guy talks if Mystica likes incest (remember that all of Mystica's talents call her mommy).

The rape scene goes on for like ten minutes and it's meant to be uncomfortable. At the end, news reporter guy decides that enough is enough and shoots Troy in the head!


But of course this is just a dream and Mystica wakes up screaming, the numerous sleeping pills she ingested probably absorbed by her Mystic healing powers. She has a second chance.

Mystica then talks to her talents and tells them that she might have to let them go because of what happened with her foreign employer. They are in trouble for sure. The scene kinda segways into a moment where they're practicing acting again and are making scenes for the film.

After this Mystica meets with Neil Nilaga, the dude who raped her in her dream. She tells him that Troy was using her and that she's hung up on him about it. Neil tells her good advice: that she should move on and focus on herself and her family from now on. Relationships aren't just sex; they're when people love each other and share and do all of that hokey stuff. Mystica agrees, and decides that the whole affair was just a fluke and that she should focus on what is important.

Neil then takes Mystica out on a date and they go out ballroom dancing. From their dance moves they are in all fairness, good ballroom dancers:

So... this is the end? It's all over?
But then we go to a twist: we see that the whole ballroom scene is something that Mystica is watching on Youtube. She turns around to Patrick Bernard, her EMPLOYER (!!!) and tells him that she still loves Troy and loves the job, why can't she have both? Bernard, tired of her antics, says that she's made her point and just gives her this look that oozes "Oh, you..."
"oh you crazy bitch you..."

And the scene ends. This is a perfect ending to the movie, to be honest, but it leaves so many questions. So that movie that ends with the ballroom scene actually Querido? So what the hell is this movie that we are watching right now? When did this take place in the movie's chronology? Why is Patrick Bernard still here as he's supposed to be in the States with his wife?

Are we watching the end of the movie that shows scenes about the making of the movie while the movie of that movie is still going on? Have any of your heads exploded by now?

But there's around 50 minutes left to see. What could these 50 minutes possibly be about?

For starters, there's a performance by the Mystic Champs to "Jumbo Hotdog" and clips where Mystica gives out her own awards to her own people, which sounds like the biggest circlejerk in existence. But most of the remaining running time is occupied by an episode of a GMA 7 show about Mystica. Here she talks about several things that explain some of the questions we have about the earlier parts of this movie:
1) she's a part of a global company whose aim is reforestation, which explains the meetings she had with those foreign dudes about buying trees. Truly an environmentalist.
2) she has had three failed marriages abroad
3) she's managing a stable of talents who call her mommy

Why didn't they show this beforehand? I guess because it should have been common knowledge. The scene is actually  a perfect epilogue to the film we just saw, seeing everyone happy and doing well. It's also evident that this was recorded by placing a camera to the TV, because it's so avant garde to record a clip of a show instead of splicing it in from somewhere else. How do we know this is recorded from a TV?

Exhibit 1:

I guess the volume wasn't loud enough.

and Exhibit 2:

so this was recorded on two different TVs or was the hue out of whack?

There's also an unhealthy amount of Harlem Shake videos, done wherever she could do one. One in her house, two in Baywalk, in a school garden and in a gym. Also, in one of these Harlem Shake videos, Kid Lopez/Troy is wearing this weird green lizard/blonde wig combo:
It's the best he's looked in this entire film. And to his credit, he's wearing clothes.

The rest of the movie is nondescript except for this last part where the Mystic Champs and (gasp) REPORTER DUDE are hanging out. I guess they've made amends? The Champs want to go out or rest, and reporter dude suggest the spa everyone's been going to since the beginning of the movie. It's basically a product placement scene. And by the end we get the reminder that this little commercial was:

as if we didn't know already.

And that ends Part 5. To be honest I believe the movie really ended with that last scene with Patrick Bernard and the rest of the run time is fluff. Part six is more of the same environmentalist preaching, so there's almost nothing new about that part. The Epic Review of our little movie truly ends here.

With a bit of editing, this seven hour abomination could have been trimmed into something more sane, something more manageable. But it is the undiluted weirdness that makes this movie shine. The one thing that saves this movie in the eyes of an avid movie watcher like myself is how wonderfully bizarre it is. For the most part, the movie caught my attention. I now know more about Mystica than I did before I started watching. I now know the names of the Mystic Champs and many of Mystica's talents. I can tell the difference between Rex Adobo and Vince Bopis (and I still can't get over that name.) So, to my abject horror (or delight?) this movie has done its job.

May God have mercy on us all.

There's something I have to tell you about before we get into the final part of this review... there's ANOTHER CUT of this film and it's almost EIGHT hours long. Although most of the parts are the same, the ending is not. So I'll be talking about the relatively sparse last part of this film, and the last part of that cut, as we go into the last stretch!

In the last part of our Querido Epic Review... an Ang Dating Daan homage!? alternate cuts! the TRUE meaning of Querido!!! four weddings and a funeral (not really)! and... Jesus!?

Querido Epic Review Part 4: Mystica Take the Wheel

In the last episode of our Querido Epic Review, we saw the movie reach levels of action and drama so intense that it burned the sun. Yes, a G2V type star was burned by the intensity of this movie. What lies in store for our cast of characters? What happened to Spicy Facebook? And how will this work of pure genius end???

Part 4 kicks off running as Mystica confronts one of her lackeys. It seems that the distribution of the sex tape was not Mystica's fault and he was the one that introduced her to the reporter dude (aka the dude that was also flirting with Mystica in an earlier part to get her sex video information from her computer, a dude she rebuffed for not being gentlemanly enough.)

She confronts her aforementioned lackey, her photographer, her videographer and her driver, who seems mildly amused by the fact that he's acting in Mystica's epic film:

hi mom, I'm in a movie hehehe
Now she tells that that she trusted all of them with the sex tape, and that it can only have come from one of them. Now I can imagine that Mystica would trust her photographer and her videographer with this information. since they were the ones who probably shot the whole thing. Maybe I can even believe her confiding in her talent about the shoot. But her DRIVER!? Why would anyone in their right mind give out information regarding their secret sex tape to their driver!?

Of course, all of them deny ever distributing the tape, but Mystica's detective skills see through this and she tells them that she's been seeing these guys together and they're up to no good. Videographer guy tells Mystica that it couldn't have been him since his computer is secure. I'm betting he's not yet aware of hackers and password cracking or any of that advanced mumbo jumbo.

Lackey then confronts videographer dude and they get into a tizzy, with this weird awkward cutaway to the driver doing something with his hands:

it's a cut made for no reason whatsoever.
and naturally this devolves into a fistfight, right in front of Mystica.

"Stop doing that thing with your hands!"
We'd expect that this scene would show them making up, or being escorted out by Mystica's other talents, but that's not to be. Instead, it cuts to Mystica's other talents eating... then meeting these four on the street. Being the protective talents that they are, they accost Mystica's videographer, photographer, talent and driver, at gunpoint (!!!!!) and steal the CD containing the sex tape.

no calling the police or anything, either. Just straight up ass kicking.
Three of the four go back to news reporter guy, proving Mystica right that they really WERE in on distributing the sex tape. Bruised and bloodied, they could have filed a report with the police or something, but again that's not the case. News reporter guy berates them for not getting the CD with the sex tape details, as it's set to be shown in a few days and it's his ass on the line if he doesn't show anything. He swears that he'll drag these poor guys down with him to hell if that video doesn't get shown.

We now cut to Red, Mystica's biological son who, in the last part, knocked up his girlfriend. He's now working at a gas station and the adjacent Burger Machine (!) and earning some cash for his family.

I'm honestly surprised these are still around.
One of the customers asks him why he's working here as he's handsome and can get a career as a someone else. One of the other customers seems to recognize him and he denies it. He goes to ANOTHER job serving customers in a small restaurant and it's evident that this guy REALLY took Mystica's advice to heart. He comes home, understandably tired, and he gets into a fight with his girlfriend, who accuses him of playing around since he came so late. You know since there isn't anything like texting or calling in this universe.

She asks him if they could ask Mystica for financial assistance,  but Red is too proud to do that. He then accuses her of not being careful enough with the sex, which is what lead to the pregnancy. I've been sympathizing with the guy ever since I saw him working at Burger Machine, but here he's just an asshole.

The scene then cuts to Troy consulting with his former confidant/bar manager person/whatever for advice. it seems that this guy is the go to person for advice in this movie. A little research shows that he's Donne Tan, who codirected this movie. Troy's confused that Mystica went through a whole fight scene just to reject him for using her. He gives Troy advice and assures him that he will support him.

The scene returns to Red and his girlfriend, or rather lack of girlfriend, as she's nowhere to be found. He finds their child in the care of a neighbor (!) who heard the kid crying. No, she didn't leave him in the neighbor's care, Red's girlfriend left the kid in an unlocked house to fend for himself; the neighbor came along and was concerned.

Any sane person would call the DSWD or something, and Red is really pissed off. Red's girlfriend comes back from a gay bar (in the middle of the day!?) and they get into a fight because she's a bitch that wouldn't take care of their cute kid. Before doing so, however, Red leaves the care of the baby to one of Mystica's talents (who just happens to be the irritated gay person from part 3.)

his name is Michael (!) and he likes backless clothes.
They get into a round of slapping each other and this time Red has a point. Also by the time he slaps her for the third time (done with successive cuts no less) his girlfriend is bleeding from the mouth (!!) the argument ends with him pushing her off and sending her crying, in the worst scene of running off and crying I have seen in the past 15 years. Red then goes into a frenzy, almost stumbling over in the attempt:


It also doesn't help that he holds his foot and cries out in pain afterwards.


The next scene sees Red being accosted by a couple of his old friends who want to invite him to a round of boozing. Red, being the changed man that he is, doesn't want to go along, but his friends insist. Of course, this must only end in violence as Mystica's talents beat these two up just like they did those three dudes earlier.

to be fair, violence does solve a lot of problems.
Cut to a meta scene where Blue (Mystica's adopted son) is practicing acting for something, followed by a dance scene by one of Mystica's groups (the Mystic Groovers?) and now moves to a news clip of one of the most bizarre scenes in the entire seven hour film. 

The clip from a channel 7 news report claims that Mystica healed her (long estranged) husband, suffering from cancer, using only her God-given powers.

uh.... huh....
The film reenacts what happened as Mystica uses her hand to heal him, despite not having much knowledge of anatomy. She asks one point where his lungs are so she can hover her healing hand over them and fill it with healing power. Enervated by this realization that she can HEAL THE SICK, Mystica used her healing powers on other people, like her secretary, and her brother.

Her hypertensive brother complains of having a weird sensation on his scalp while combing his hair, and immediately connects it to a symptom of hypertension. I'm sure this miraculous connection of scalp pain ---> high blood pressure is something only a genius like Dr. House can achieve. As a doctor by profession, I find it a bit, well...

I'm sure Ylvis would ask "what would the duck say?" By now.
His scalp is touched by Mystica and the bad feeling goes away (not sure if he's still hypertensive as he didn't have his blood pressure taken again afterwards.) Why isn't medical science researching this right now!? It's a miracle!!!

After another rant by our heroine during a show with Ali Sotto, a stranger comes into Mystica's house bringing a baby. It turns out that it's Red's kid (!) but it's not the kid that we've been seeing since the start of this hour, it's ANOTHER KID from another woman, who happens to be one of Mystica's former talents!

Mystica hears this woman's story, and rather than showing any hint of skepticism towards the woman and this baby who comes out of nowhere, she accepts the child into her household and hires the woman who brought the baby, who she does not know personally at all, to be the child's nanny. I'm surprised no one has broken into their home or anything by now.

We then cut to Troy singing some videoke song, and some guy trying to sing with him. This guy makes Troy sound like Luciano Pavarotti to be honest, but at least he's not like that asshole from Part 2.

also, Troy has been wearing a shirt for this entire hour. That's progress.
Finally, we get to another dramatic scene. It's... Spicy Facebook!?

so... did Mystica heal her from that pedestrian accident!?
Alas, it's not Spicy Facebook, it's one of Mystica's other talents, namely the mother of the kid that came to Mystica's doorstep minutes earlier. Spicy Facebook doesn't appear anywhere else in a dramatic scene for this film, which means we won't be saying Spicy Facebook's name anymore. That's a sad thing.

This new person (Rosalinda De Amor) wants her kid back, but Mystica's playing hardball. It appears that this person was in Japan trying to raise some moolah for her kid, but somehow the kid found its way to Mystica without her knowing. After some twisted logic they reach an amicable settlement and the kid remains at Mystica's house.

After this is a dream sequence where Troy (now shirtless again) ambushes Mystica in the bathroom, dressed in his getup from the opening credits of the movie. The hue changes sporadically and we see that without makeup, Mystica is a sight to behold. And by 'sight to behold' I mean when you behold the number of wrinkles in your genital wart.

a picture for all our readers using mobile. Note distinct lack of shirt.
 Here's the scene in its entirety for those masochists out there:

Now it's evident from this scene that Mystica is still in love with Troy, and that's going to come into play later. I think.

Mystica then wraps up the hanging storyline with Red and the multiple children popping out of nowhere, coming out of the woodwork and getting into her home: She talks to Red's girlfriend and agrees to support their kid, and she also agrees to support Red's other kid. Red also makes amends with Blue about their fight earlier in Part 3, and Blue wants to introduce his new girlfriend to Red. Case Closed.

The last dramatic scene of the movie occurs with Mystica talking with a friend. It appears that Mystica's foreign boss (unclear if this is Patrick Bernard, but it probably is) has unfriended her on Facebook. ON BOTH HER ACCOUNTS!!! horrors beyond horror. It stems from the fact that she still wants to be involved in showbusiness, and he wants none of that. He also wants to stop Mystica from making this movie (that we are seeing right now - so meta!!) or he'll fire her by December. The financial support from abroad has dried up as well.

She makes the point that he shouldn't judge her by her movie if he hasn't seen it yet - that it's not all about sex scenes. In a way, I take it as her speaking to the audience as well. Don't hate something if you haven't tried it. I'm going to be honest here and say I was entertained by this movie. (Probably not in the way it was meant to entertain, but still entertaining.) Mystica is hella depressed by the end of this conversation.

And with this very meta self reflecting moment, Part 4 ends.

On the penultimate installment of Querido Epic Review... It rhymes with grape and is a bad bad thing! Too much Harlem Shake for my taste!! and... a show within a show!?

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Querido Epic Review Part 3: No Shirt Sundays

In the last installment of Querido Epic Review, we saw an escalation of meta, the beach, filler scenes galore and pick up lines from the depths of Cocytus. This part looks to be the most epic yet. Will Mystica find true love? Will we get out of this movie unscathed? Lets find out...

Part 3 starts out with the Mystica Champs bothered by the newfound success of their new member Troy, not to mention the fact that he's obviously boning the boss. This scene is preceded by around 25 seconds of awkward waiting around.

After the last member arrives, it seems that the group is a bit jelly by the fact that the new guy is a bit arrogant after getting the pussy. In this movie, everyone wants Mystica for some esoteric reason. They make the conclusion that the only thing to make things right is not to talk to the guy and tell him he's getting out of hand, oh no. Instead, they agree to kick his ass. Oh yeah, ACTION SCENE!!!!!

But of course, we don't get an action scene... yet. Instead, they show up at Mystica's place where they are met with a half naked Troy.

Turns out he's showering with Mystica (no doubt another half hour water wastin' session set to Gangnam Style). It seems that common sense has taken over the Mystica Champs or whoever these guys are (they might be a different faction), and they just want to talk, because rumors are flying around that he's becoming a bit of a douche. Now, you'd expect Troy to at least put on a shirt, right? Nope.

He talks with these goons, still clad only with a towel, and they warn him to be careful because he seems to be getting over his head. One thing I noticed with this scene is the insane amount of cuts between actors. It's dizzying to see the scene cut from one person to another after EVERY SINGLE LINE, with no time to register even their facial expressions. Not that there's anything to register in the first place thanks in part to wooden acting that hasn't been seen since massive deforestation efforts in the 1970's.

A filler scene comes next where Mystica sings her rendition of 4 NON BLONDES' What's Up? (it's actually NOT called 'What's Going On?' I learned something new! How's that for a review of a groundbreakingly insane movie?) All's well and good until Troy Macho Dances around her AGAIN. It seems that Macho Dancing is this guy's superpower. Then, everything is ruined when this asshole shows up and "sings" with Mystica:

on the left: loser douchebag. on the right: visionary genius.
This man doesn't sing with Mystica, he makes stupid faces, and is as funny as a murder scene. He doesn't even try to harmonize, because he knows he can't keep up with the Split Queen. After we are rid of him, there's a short filler club scene and then we cut to one of Mystica's kids watching a Youtube "news" video:

Zimbabwe has a better newsdesk than this.
The man is talking about Mystica's "Sex Tape," which is also titled Querido. Is he talking about the movie we are watching right now? Is he talking about ANOTHER movie within a movie that is also called Querido? Has your mind already been blown to smithereens? Mine was. Somewhere in the spacetime continuum, a large temporal distortion is forming because of the events of this movie.

The news man warns viewers of the sexual content of that/this film and that children should not see it... seconds before going ahead and SHOWING THE ACTUAL SEX FOOTAGE. Imagine if this were TV Patrol and Noli De Castro warns us of a sex tape with Mahal and Jimboy, then just goes and shows the footage anyway, to millions of innocent children, just because.

Seriously, when have you ever seen someone saying that children should be "assisted" while watching actual fucking? Only with fucking pedophiles, that's where! You have actual sex on screen, you shove little Bobby and Jenny TO THEIR FUCKING ROOMS, NOT ASSIST THEM AS THEY WATCH LIVE SEX!

But the actual sex is edited, showing one 'pump' a cut. Also there's superimposed footage of Troy Macho Dancing in the background.Your mileage may vary if that's ultimately a good or a bad thing. I still probably won't show it to my kids... unless I'm an evil sadist who wants to scar them for life.

Like any decent human being, Mystica's kid is disturbed.

We then cut to Spicy Facebook still being disturbed too. It seems she's looking at Troy's Facebook (ha!) pics from the beach pictorial from part 2.She prudently prints out the pictures, goes to Troy and confronts him. She calls Mystica her "mommy" (all the talents from Mystica's stable call her that, imagine how disturbed we would be if we didn't know that) and calls him out for being an asshole (which is right.)

did I mention he STILL isn't wearing a shirt? For the love of God, someone donate shirts to this man.
Troy tells Spicy Facebook to her face that he's only using Mystica for her money, ostensibly as a sugar mommy, and that if he wants, he'll stop using her. This is understandable given the history in part 1 where he frankly tells people about how he uses sugar daddies to get ahead. One notable thing in this scene other than the distinct lack of shirts is that the toilet is DIRECTLY ADJACENT TO TROY'S BED.

I can only imagine how this smells like after a bad shit.

We then see one of Mystica's talents (?) or some other guy flirting with Mystica. Instead of being faithful to her boyfriend/boylet/sugar baby Troy, she seems to accept his advances. They go to the bed, she tells him to take off his shirt, she tells him to take off her shirt... then she resists him!?

Mystica tells the understandably confused person that she wants to be loved tenderly (implying that she still wants the D, but the method was wrong.) The dude calls her out, saying that she was the one who invited him here, calling her a 'worthless bitch.'

We've seen Mystica leave her foreigner husband, have an affair with another foreigner who is married, want to continue the relationship because "she told all the newspapers," then sleep with some random macho dancer she is managing, THEN tries to sleep with this random person and turns him down at the last minute, not because she doesn't want the D, but because she wants only a certain technique. There's a word for this kind of person... but I don't know what it is.

The next scene is between Mystica's other son, girl in black, Mystica's other other son who was watching that news report on the sex video, and... this irritated gay person.

"Why the fuck am I even here?"
Mystica's news watching son (I'll call him Blue from now on) and Mystica's son with a girlfriend (I'll call him Red) fight. From a moral standpoint, it's obvious that Blue is in the right: he's legitimately concerned about his mother, since the rumors are spreading about the sex tape and he doesn't want an image like that propagating about her. Red just says that he doesn't understand that their mother is whoring herself out because of them and that he should shut up because he's gay and has no girlfriend. So Blue punches Red and beats the shit out of him for being an asshole. Justified, right?

Well, in the weird world of Mystica, this is not so. Mystica stops the fight and SIDES WITH RED, SAYING THAT BLUE IS ADOPTED (!!!!!!) and that she picked him up from some random whorehouse (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) because she wanted to give the man she was HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH AT THE TIME (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) A SON.

I literally had to pause in the middle of watching this scene.
Blue then talks to that gay dude who owned the club where Troy once stayed and I think was his sugar daddy (for some reason.) He tries, using the twisted logic of this universe, to tell Blue that his mother was right and that he should try to understand her. The dude might have a point, but it's lost when it's obvious that he's reading from a script. Blue is clearly listening to this guy, but he suddenly tells him to listen...?

Blue's friends come from behind (apparently they were just sitting nearby) to offer their emotional support, which leads to Blue coming around and accepting that their mother releases random sex tapes and has affairs with scores of men because it's her job, dammit.

After that, Red comes in with his girlfriend... and lo and behold - she's preggers! Mystica gives some legitimate advice and tells Red to go get a job and leave the house. Red takes this advice and guess what? He becomes a Macho Dancer in Troy's old place! Troy introduces Red to gay dude and we are now treated to this masterpiece of screenwriting, (translated,) part 2:

gay dude: You're so young and you got a girl pregnant!
Red: I'm just going with current trends.

Yup. I'll just leave that there.

just a reminder that he's still topless.
On to the next scene. Troy, still only in his boxers, is flirting with Mystica as she makes food. Troy has been either topless or naked for about 90 percent of the past hour, so why stop now? Suddenly Spicy Facebook appears and calls him out for using Mystica for her money and connections!! Spicy Facebook runs away, with near naked Troy and Mystica in pursuit:

yup, still topless. This is more exploitative than a bad gay film.
Spicy runs out to the street where she runs into a car!!! No, a car doesn't run into her. A car stops, then she kinda runs into it.
Note that the car is almost at rest.
Mystica and Troy come to the aid of Spicy Facebook, but it is too late: the tangy social media named starlet is bloody. Troy and co. take Spicy Facebook into the car and drive off, implying that the car that hit her belonged to Mystica all along...

I bet he's going to step out and get some clothes once he puts Spicy Facebook in-
Of course, we should be able to know what happened to Spicy Facebook afterwards, right? Nope. Instead we get... AN ACTION SCENE!!!

After a psychedelic jump cut we see Troy (thankfully now in clothes) getting the shit beat out of him by Vince Bopis (heh) and the Mystica Champs. While we see him bruised and bloody on the ground, we see Mystica in some park reminiscing her relationship with Troy (set of course, to sex scenes in a blue tint with superimposed Macho Dancing.) and then... ANOTHER ACTION SCENE!

Like a crazed hyperactive Tazmanian devil Mystica dispatches her attackers with ease. The fight choreography looks like it was done by a bunch of 12 year olds during a boring birthday party. There are no pictures to do this justice, so I'm leaving a video after the text.

Watch the fuck out, Yuen Wo-ping. There's a new girl in town and her name's Mystica.

If you watched the video below, then you know what happens next: Troy jumps in and beats up the dudes (and girl) attacking Mystica. Then, inexplicably, MYSTICA ATTACKS TROY WITH A FLURRY OF PUNCHES! What next, Mystica Night Shymalan!?

Troy tackles his lover and they roll over the grass while the attackers stand up and... applaud them. WHAT THE FLYING FUCK!? Now comes the biggest twist of the entire action packed hour: These guys are in cahoots with Mystica, and they did this together so that Troy would save her and Mystica would... tell him off. Yep.

A defeated Troy walks away, obviously confused at the bipolar antics of this person.The people who attacked Mystica (The Mystic Groovers,) try to comfort their diva and tell her there are many other fish in the sea. Mystica then tells them that she is still in love with Troy.... THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU TELL HIM TO GO AWAY?

And the third part of Querido ends with a rendition of "Ang Gusto Kong Lalake."

Parts 1 and 2 were crazy in their own right, but this latest part completely transcends all of my expectations. In the universe of this film the laws of nature are topsy turvy. Perhaps, only a madman or a future robot from 2984 can understand it completely. To sum up my thoughts about this film, I call my venerable viewing partner:

"na-buang ka na Mystica." - anonymous

In the next episode of Querido Epic Review: More Fighting! More DRAMA! More delicious twists! More nonsense! More... SPICY FACEBOOK!?