grub + travels + perspectives

Weekend Movies #17

Photo by Myke Simon on Unsplash. I wish cinemas here in PH looked this good as well.

1. Little Forest. I looooved Kim Tae-ri in The Handmaiden. I loved Ryu Jun-yeol in Reply 1988. I saw the poster that he was carrying a dog! So I figured I must watch this. I think others would find this film to be on the boring/dragging side because there's really no major conflict in the story. The plot mainly focuses on the protagonist's healing and reconnection with nature and life, in general; her taking the time away from everything and retreating to her hometown. Oddly enough, that was also my favorite part of the film. Kim Tae-ri's character cooks a lot and farms a lot the entirety of the movie and I really enjoyed how those scenes were captured. The cooking scenes were beautifully shot (I took a screenshot of all the dishes she prepared!) and I adored how she eventually became self-sustaining because everything she needed was literally right in her backyard. Watching this film feels something like lying on your back while watching the clouds traverse the blue skies. A literal breather.

2. Us and Them. I am a sucker for anything sad so the premise of the film automatically drew me in. This is one of my favorite films on Netflix right now and I just have so many feelings about it. I guess, at one point, I related to the characters (though my main issue is the MPDG angle of Zhou Dongyu's character, Xiaoxiao, left her void of character development) and all their struggles about making relationships work. From the flashbacks (shot in beautiful black and white) to their present setting (that hotel room scene was heartbreaking, Jing Boran was amazing), it had this tug in my heart because some of those emotions portrayed were all too familiar. Although we have all seen this story line before, the performances of all the characters were really amazing, couple that with the wonderful music and even the breathtaking cinematography that added more layers of emotions to the film, it was worth sitting through 119 minutes. Please see it.

3. BuyBust. I saw this Erik Matti-directed film as soon as it was in cinemas because a favorite film reviewer of mine highly recommended it. It was a bloodbath and a maze of a film, literally. I may or may not have gnawed on my nails the entire time and I felt a little anxious whenever there were scenes that they looked and feel so trapped. Initially, I had a hard time focusing because the way it was shot made me a tad dizzy, BUT it certainly proved to be a good watch as the movie reached the end. My favorite parts about BuyBust were, number one, the musical scoring. It was perfect and just hits the spot every time (LOL-ed when Hanap-hanap by James and Nadine played faintly in the background of one of the scenes). Second was Arjo Atayde. His performance in this struck me more than the leads. Last is the story. Okay, to be honest, at one point while watching the film, I was looking for /that/ pivot. As I was beginning to drown with all the fight scenes in all their bloody glory, I kept asking, "Where is this going?" The final act did it for me. THE FINAL ACT WAS EVERYTHING.

4. Our Times. I've seen some tweets floating around about Our Times and how it kept being compared to You Are the Apple of My Eye (it is only now I realized that I haven't blogged about that film!) because of the similarity of their stories. You Are the Apple of My Eye was one of my best film discoveries for 2016, I recommended it to everyone asking me feel good movies! So I thought if this film was in any way, form or shape tantamount to YATAOME, I must watch it! Feedback: First off, the leads had great chemistry. They were very effective and I was feeling all warm and fuzzy all throughout the film. But the thing is, I've already seen tons of coming of age films and Our Times somehow was not able to lift itself so much from the sea of cliches and predictable story line. Added to this is the fact this was already precedented by YATAOME, so seeing the similarities can't be (and I honestly think YATAOME is better). Anyway, I still consider it an okay watch if you want something nostalgic, light and heart-warming. Sometimes, we all want to be reminded of the feeling when we first fell in love.

5. Brother of the Year. I loved Sunny Suwanmethanon in Heart Attack, and last year's Bad Genius by production studio, Gross Domestic Happiness, left a lasting impression on me, so I was really excited to see this film. A friend and I saw this while we were in Hong Kong last June, and it's to be shown here on the first week of September. (I just also learned that Sunny and Manasaproy were in Manila last Saturday, they held a special screening at SM Megamall, the day when I decided to be active in Zomato once again and spent the day in Tagaytay! The timing really did suck!) Anyway, I recognized Yaya Sperbund because I remember her being in a photo with Sehun during the Louis Vuitton Cruise Show 2019, and of course, Nichkhun of 2PM. 

Okay, the film. I was expecting the film to be on the comedy side but it got really heavy on the drama on the latter part. I loved the dynamics of the main cast because they pulled off all the dog-cat fighting, love-hate relationship all throughout the movie. Sunny and Yaya were perfect as siblings but somehow Nichkhun as the boyfriend, Moji, kind of blended in the background. Sunny as the inferiority complex stricken man-child, Chut, was fit to a T and Yaya as the overachieving sister, Jane, was very believable. The movie doesn't have a very big conflict or grand premise but it is relatable through and through, at least for me, because I do have an older brother and some scenes in the film struck memories of our childhood; the unspoken competition, the mental spar and just overall sibling rivalry. Towards the end of the film, somehow drama was kicked into high gear, I was crying so much because, one, I am a softie (LOL); two, I related to the story; and three, it made me miss my brother. Please watch this movie once it hits the theaters locally!

6. Love in a PuffHo-Cheung Pang's romcom trilogy ('in a Puff' was the first one, this was followed by 'in a Buff' then 'in a Cuff') was raved by someone I follow on Twitter, so I was really curious about it. It was really hard to find of copy of these movies so I just say bless you, Netflix for finally including it on your roster last month! The setting of Love in a Puff's story started with a group of people who meet in an alleyway to smoke during their breaks. Jimmy (Shawn Yue) and Cherie (Miriam Yeung) start a conversation, become smoking buddies and the rest progresses from there. It's simple and realistic, something that indeed happens everyday. Everything in this movie just felt natural. I love Cherie's purple hair and her sass, complementing Jimmy's somehow nonchalance about a lot of things in his life. I'm just gonna go ahead and quote this review I read because they said it better than I ever will:
What makes Love in a Puff enjoyable is the film's authenticity. It's characterization is spot-on, perfectly capturing the behavior, rituals and dating etiquette of local Hong Kongers, from their dependency on text messaging as opposed to real conversation, or their predilection for late-night fancy dress Karaoke. The script is also chock-full of crude, offensive and often hilarious Cantonese euphemisms and slang that can't always be accurately translated but can be heard bandied around in the offices, restaurants and of course, around the communal ashtrays throughout the city.
And I guess that's what made me fall in love with it. It's not over the top and complicated, there's no grand tropes and fancy dialogues. Less is certainly more with this film. A very enjoyable and relatable film with great performances from the cast. After seeing this, please watch Love in a Buff as well! Both are available on Netflix. :)