Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Best and worst of 2016

Hi all,
I've neglected blogging and it seems blogging is on the decline worldwide, which is a shame since some of the best tips I've read have come from blogs....
I had a really wonderful experience last year. I went abroad for the first time in my life. And it was amazing. I had never even considered flying to another country because there were still so many places in the Philippines I hadn't explored. But when the opportunity presented itself, how could I say no?

the problem is, I think I'm in love with Canada now, so my best and worst list is heavily biased in favor of Canadian stuff.

Best: Paul a Quebec.
Adapted from a Bande  dessinĂ©e (comic book) by Michel Rabagliati, it tells the story of Roland, a patriarch dying of cancer and how the family deals with it.(As seen through the eyes of son-in-law Paul)
It's very Pinoy in the sense that it's very sentimental. My cousin gave me the book as a gift and by the end I was in tears. When I saw the movie, I was already tearing up by the first act.
They added lots of other details to make Paul more rounded, and they took out a lot of details from the book but I still loved it.
Honorable mentions:

  •  C.R.A.Z.Y. -Another moving film about a special boy and his struggle to be accepted by his father. 
  • J'ai tue ma mere -My first movie from Xavier Dolan. Searing with emotions that seem too real for comfort. this is my favorite dolan. All the rest seem too stylized.
  • Les Etres Chers- About a man burdened with inexplicable depression, this movie really bummed me out. I had to eat some chocolate right after.
  • Incendies-Another movie that will either make you suicidal or make you feel better about your life, knowing that some people's lives are truly f***ed up

Worst: Le trois p'tits cochons 1 and 2.
Juvenile films about cheating men. Imagine American Pie for the middle-aged. But the first was successful so they made another one.

Dishonorable mentions: Gods of Egypt, Dirty Grandpa (coincidentally, they were showing on my plane ride)

Bonus: Short reviews of other quebec films I saw:

  • Felix et Meira-about an agnostic and a Hasidic Jewish woman who fall in love. There's a beautiful scene near the end but the rest is just meh.
  • Ville-Marie-it's intersecting lives because of an accident like the movie "Crash" but it felt hollow
  • La Passion d'Augustine: a beautifully-made movie with even more beautiful music. But I guess the ending of non-Hollywood movies are more subdued for me
  • Polytechnique: Denis Villenueve loves to disturb viewers. This one about the mass killing of female university students is even more terrifying than Incendies because it's based on a true story
  • Tu dors Nicole: A lovely film with light touches of comedy about a girl who has to accept the realities of adulthood
  • Tom at the farm: A very Hitchcock-like suspense movie about the dysfunctional relationship of a gay man and his dead lover's brother
  • Cafe de Flore: Hypnotic movie set in two different times about two loves which seem like they have no connection to each other, until the end, when it takes a supernatural turn.
  • Les amours imaginaires: Very stylish and entertaining movie about a gay man and his female best friend who are in love with the same guy. nice to look at but just popcorn fare.
  • Bon Cop, Bad Cop: A hilarious buddy cop movie about stereotypical Canadians from the English and French sides of the country.
  • Starbuck: Touching movie which was a little too saccharine sweet for me. 
  • Monsieur Lazhar: Another subtle movie about students and their teacher dealing with death and loss
  • Laurence anyways: A more substantive movie from Dolan about the love between a woman and a transvestite man. It has its moments of brilliance especially that meet-cute at the end,  but it really was too long.
  • Mommy is at the hairdresser's : I was expecting a comedy but instead got a very dramatic movie about a brother and sister who deal with their parents' separation
  • Les demons: It's really about a boy who starts to realize that the world is not perfect. then the director puts in a second story about a very disturbing teenager
  • Guibord s'en va-t-en guerre: A political comedy about a small-town representative and his intern from Haiti. Reminds me a bit of "Mr Smith goes to Washington"
  • Mommy: It's like Xavier dolan's follow-up to his first film, but now he casts a more sympathetic look at the mom of a troublesome teen. The square screen felt gimmicky, though
  • French immersion: Loved the premise of Anglophones who go to a village in Quebec to learn French. the actual work is a little corny and predictable

Best: Game of thrones
It started slow and kinda boring but as it careened to the finale, it was must-see TV once again. You should have seen my face when I found out  on the day of the finale that my aunt in Montreal did not have HBO. Luckily, wifi is blazing fast there and some good soul streamed the episode right away!
Honorable mention:  Fresh off the boat is still great.

Worst: Enkantadia remake
Not  only were the new leads (except for Glaiza) bland, the story got really dumb. How many times does a queen or a princess have to be killed in her own palace before someone fires the guards?

Hands down, it has to be "Apres on va ou?" form Paul a Quebec.
you could tell the song was really made for the movie and not just something they thought would go nicely with it.

Milo "Energy Gap" I hate James Reid's voice. The guy refuses to take voice lessons because he said it made him sound like his voice teacher, and he wanted to stay as he is. Wow.

I love Paul a Quebec so much because it has opened my eyes to how comic writing doesn't always have to be about superheroes or jokes. It can be a poignant way to tell your story.
BUT... Best book goes to 12:01 by Russell Molina and Kajo Baldisimo for coming out with a very relevant book about Martial Law and the repressive regime this current government is trying to santitize.


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