grub + travels + perspectives

Weekend Movies #16

Last year, I aimed to watch 100 films (managed to see 101, actually), and although it was every bit entertaining, I've put much pressure on myself to see a movie a day or if not, a whole bunch during the weekend. I was glad to do it (because I really love films) but a big part of me is really glad it's over. Haha. This year, I decided not to do that anymore and just watch whatever film I wanted. So now we're already halfway through the year and the total movies I've seen are just *dun dun dun* 25. If Cats Disappeared from the World was my 2017 starter the latest one I saw was Shift, which is included in today's list.

Obviously, I'm still in love with Asian films and it's all I could think of watching right now. Out of those 25 movies, I think only 4 or 5 were Western ones. You just head on to KissAsian and you got a plethora of Asian films ready for your consumption. Here's a few of my favorites; may not necessarily be your cup of tea but I think still worth viewing. I'll try to not spill too much about the films listed. Enjoy!

1. Sleepless. I think I've fallen in love with this film the first time I saw its trailer. I was really impressed with the cinematography because they made nighttime Manila look so beautiful and poetic. I was finally able to see it after missing a couple of opportunities before when it had its theatrical release. This slacker film may appear subdued and mundane, but that's where the ultimate reality of life is: the little details, the reds and the blues, being the best but staying safe, the going through the motions of the corporate world, the quiet moments, the simplicity but relatability, the silliest conversations over cup noodles, the little everyday tragedies, the mediocrity. I think in one way or another, we're all a Gem and Barry. We just want to get through this life without the melodramatic cliches, just the quiet fulfillment we've always longed for.

2. Ruined Heart. It took me a few attempts before I was able to finish this film because I always end up doing something else and forgetting the movie was on. So if you're going to watch this piece by Khavn de la Cruz, be sure to keep your eyes glued on the screen. I picked up this movie because for one, Tadanobu Asano (!!!) and also, cinematography was by Christopher Doyle (!!!) There's actually a lot going on in the film, it was fast-paced, there's love, sex and violence, great music, and the gorgeous shots and pop of colors of the alleyways and slums of Manila from the perspective of Christopher Doyle. The only thing it almost didn't have: dialogues. For me, it was both the strong and weak point of the film. Strong because the actors were forming relationships and telling stories through their gestures and body language; weak because it makes the film difficult to follow at times. This movie caters to a specific audience, but if you're in the mood for something different, you may want to put this on.

3. Destruction Babies. I've been following Nana Komatsu's career for a while now and I just have to say she's got pretty interesting film role choices under her belt. Destruction Babies is certainly one of them. She was shy-cute in Kin Kyori Ren'ai and I was wowed by her performance in The World of Kanako, I figured with something titled Destruction Babies, her role would be something extreme on this film. If you don't like violence and blood, you may want to sit this one out. Just in the first 30 minutes of the film, there were a lot of fist fights, vicious confrontations and street brawls already. The film reminded me a bit of Fight Club at first, but nope, nope, nope, it was definitely nowhere near that story by the end. Destruction Babies is in-your-face unapologetically violent, will make you uncomfortable with every turn of events, but is so damn compelling, you'll just have to watch it til the very end. (Here's a nice review of the film you can read after watching it.)

4. Monster. Mishmash of crazy is probably how I'd describe this film. There's the ultraviolence, some drama and comedy. One minute, you're in knee-deep blood and gore, the next, you can't help but laugh at funny scenes. It's cruel because it makes you change your feelings to the extremes and most of the time, throughout the film, I never saw the point of the characters' violence. It's my first time watching Lee Min-ki (I only knew him when he was supposed to be cast with Shin Min-ah in Tomorrow With You) and I must admit, he did a really great job being a monster. Kim Go-eun played the mentally handicapped Bok-soon, where she perfected tiptoeing around overacting without giving in. After all the blood bath, I wondered was that violence just for the sake of violence?

5. Helter Skelter. I really, really enjoyed watching this movie! It was provocative and beautifully grotesque. Originally saw it because of Kiko Mizuhara but I was really impressed with Erika Sawajiri's acting chops. Some scenes were really bizarre and twisted but I loved the colors all throughout the film! The music was totally on point too! 👌👌👌 I made a thread of my favorite scenes from the film and some comments:

6. Shift. It was no surprise to me that Felix Roco would do great in this film. On the other hand, Yeng Constantino, I found, was a revelation. In fairness talaga, she was the perfect fit for the role! I really love that they had great palpable chemistry throughout the movie, tipong after watching it, sana IRL sila na lang. Haha. I enjoyed every bit of the film! It was funny, sad, kilig and very contemporary. I especially connected to the scenes where Yeng's character, Estela, had internal battles if she's going to stay or leave work (That's so me 5 years ago!) I'm sure a lot of people related to the film kasi very now: call centers, the graveyard lifetyle, the use of social media, feminism, and you know, this big gaping hole of uncertainty in our lives. Hahaha. Ultimately, their (Estela and Roco's character, Trevor) unconventional friendship paved the way for an impossible romance that kind of breaks your heart because you can't help but root for them to end up together. As Zig Marasigan's Rappler review stated: "If Shift tells us anything, it is a subtle reminder that we do not choose who we love." So true, so true.