No goodbyes.

Aka. A (hopefully) spoiler-free mini-review of Hello, Love, Goodbye

I wasn’t prepared to write about Hello, Love, Goodbye this early.

I went to last night’s by-invitation-only premiere with the intention of just showing my support outside the cinema, as I don’t have a ticket. Then, a friend informed me that another friend was able to pull some strings and managed to score tickets at the last minute. I was one of the lucky few who were able to see the movie ahead of the general public. Hence, this mini-review.

I’ll try my best to keep things spoiler-free for those who haven’t seen the movie yet.

1. Let’s talk about the technicals first. The utilization of a Thai film production house for post-production is very evident if you’ve been regularly watching movies produced by Star Cinema. The color grading is different. I’m used to seeing vivid colors in Star Cinema films. On HLG, the colors are more on the subdued, sepia side. Which, for me, perfectly captures what the story is all about, as well as the real feel of Hong Kong. From the way the scenes are framed up to the production design, even the songs included in the soundtrack, everything fits.

2. Cancel out whatever theories you’ve formulated in your head based on the teaser and trailers. If you’ve heard stories – fabricated or otherwise – about the plot or certain scenes, throw them out of the window. This is a love story, yes. But love stories aren’t limited to romantic love, and this is exactly what the movie is saying. There’s family love, and also self-love. It’s not one-dimensional.

Also, while the movie is not short on hilarious and kilig moments, it’s not a rom-com. And it’s most definitely NOT pabebe.

3. Speaking of pabebe: Kathryn’s critics have branded her as a pabebe actress, and to be quite honest, I agree to a certain extent. This is coming from someone who has seen practically all KathNiel movies. Prior to The Hows Of Us, the one whom I’ve always thought to have grown so much in the field of acting was Daniel Padilla. Then THOU came along, and while there was a very noticeable change in Kath’s acting, the one who still caught my attention was Daniel. Despite two Best Actress trophies won for THOU, I still didn’t see the “bagong Kathryn Bernardo” that they were talking about. (Sorry, just being honest here.)

For me, the “bagong Kathryn Bernardo” has truly arrived in Hello, Love, Goodbye.

I mean, WOW. The sacrifices that she had to endure to fully absorb the Joy character really paid off. One look at her eyes and you’ll feel her pain. One look at her face and you’ll see her changing. Even her diction which I had always found to be pabebe-ish is gone. Now I can truly say that Kathryn Bernardo is one of the best actresses of this generation.

4. As for the one who’s also being called a Pabebe Actor by his critics: well, I’ve always known Alden Richards to be one heck of an actor. It’s the reason why I became a fan. I know what he can do and he is most certainly more than just Pambansang Bae. After seeing HLG, I’m like looking at a brand new actor. Yes, he CAN do more. He has mastered the Art of Pakilig, but it’s a different kind of pakilig here. It’s not just the charms. As Ethan, there’s a certain mystery in his aura that when he finally let go and opened up, you just find yourself being uncontrollably drawn towards him the way Joy has.

Also, if you’ve only known him as Alden Richards of Kalyeserye in all his wholesome goodness, prepare to be in shock for like, 20 minutes or so. Actually, it’s been several hours and I still couldn’t get over it. This, despite me knowing that KSAlden isn’t really the real Alden. I’m shocked because I didn’t expect to see it on this film.

5. Come to think of it, it’s the same with Kathryn. Frankly, I was totally floored that I spent the first quarter of the movie clutching my armrest and screaming internally because I couldn’t take what I’m seeing on the screen. In a good way. It was raw, it was totally unexpected from these two actors, and one particular scene was so beautifully (and shockingly) executed, you’d end up hungry and wanting for more (in Ethan’s words, “nagutom ako”).

But all that shock factor is just an introduction to the characters. They let us in to their pain and struggles, and when they had to go through the ordeal of choosing what to do with their lives, we, the audience, also go through that same ordeal. We felt their pain. Director Cathy Garcia-Molina is not just a master storyteller, she’s also a genius in drawing out raw emotions from her actors. Kathryn and Alden delivered master performances under her helm.

6. I’ve seen majority of Star Cinema’s previous movies about OFWs, particularly Anak which was also set in Hong Kong. It might be the same scenario but the stories are definitely different. HLG truly has a millennial feel.

As with all Cathy Garcia-Molina/Carmi Raymundo films, HLG is filled with one-liners that will end up on the list of Classic Movie Lines that becomes the film’s trademark. Although I cringe at some of Ethan’s pick-up lines, but I think that’s the point. We’re supposed to cringe at his random cheesiness.

7. Supporting cast: you could never go wrong with ever-reliable actors like Joross Gamboa (trademark one-liners galore), Kakai Bautista and Jeffrey Tam. Maymay Entrata is endearing as Joy’s cousin Mary Dale, and Lovely Abella certainly didn’t look and act like a newbie beside Kakai and Kathryn. We should see more of Maricel Laxa; she had two scenes in the movie but it didn’t go unnoticed. The revelation for me was Jameson Blake. It’s my first time to see him act and I was pleasantly surprised that he was able to duke it out in the acting department alongside Alden and Lito Pimentel, who are both amazing actors. Jameson just has to improve on his delivery of Tagalog lines (he still has a hint of American twang) and he will go much further as an actor.

The thing that I like about HLG is, everyone in the cast is indispensable. If you take out one of them, it won’t work as well as it did.

8. That ending.

Echoing what most of the people who came out of the cinema after the movie said: can we have the sequel by tomorrow? Please? Don’t make us suffer like this! :cry:

As I was traversing my way home, I was pondering on what other movie had the same feel as how the story of Joy and Ethan unfolded. I came up with…

Sana Maulit Muli. Yes, the Aga Muhlach-Lea Salonga starrer which is now a cult classic.

Do you agree?

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I don’t love you.

Random Thoughts on the full trailer of the Alden Richards-Kathryn Bernardo movie, Hello, Love, Goodbye:

1. My train of thoughts is still incoherent even a couple of hours after my initial viewing of the trailer. I casually waited for it during FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano; a sort of sacrifice on my part because the drama series that I religiously watch on primetime is now airing on that same time slot and I had to give it up for tonight. Siyempre, si Alden ang priority. :grin: I tuned in at around 8:20pm because they said the trailer was scheduled to be launched at 8:30pm. FPJAP went into commercial at around 8:25 and BOOM! The HLG trailer just came out. I just stared at the TV. Then another BOOM! Alden Richards was shirtless in a scene. :whoa: HOMAYGAD. Then I just stared and stared at the TV and after it ended, I just sat there, asking myself what just happened. I felt a lump on my throat and my eyes started tearing up. I initially chalked it up to that last scene of Kathryn and Alden where she said, “kung mahal mo ako, bakit pinapapili mo ako?” Her delivery of that line just pierced me through my entire being.

Then I realized, no. It’s not that. It’s because, finally, after all this time that I’ve been out of the loop because of… reasons, it all sunk in. Alden Richards is in a Star Cinema movie. With Kathryn Bernardo. Under the team of writer Carmi Raymundo and director Cathy Garcia-Molina. It’s not just a major film project, it’s a DAMN GOOD major film project.

I’ve been heavily criticized – nay, bashed – by the loveteam fandom for always saying that I want to see Alden in a project where more people, especially those who didn’t know him prior to AlDub, can see his true worth as an Actor. This is it. We waited three, four years for this.

I’m feeling so emotional that viewing it three times is enough. I can’t replay any further because my heart can’t take it anymore.

Funny, though, that I’m feeling this way towards just the TRAILER. I wonder what I’ll do when I watch the actual movie? Should I bring a towel because tissues won’t be enough?

2. The one thing I love about Star Cinema is this: they sure know how to create HYPE for their movies.

First off, they released teasers of the teaser. It certainly peaked our curiosity. Then the one-minute teaser came out, and we all got shookt at the iconic exchange:

Ethan (Alden): “Baka nagugutom ka na?”
Joy (Kathryn): “I love you.”
Ethan: *nods and did not say anything*

The Hugot Generation took notice. All sorts of memes and reaction videos came out. On top of it all, people noticed the electrifying onscreen chemistry. It was such a shock because, when the movie had its first story conference, Alden and Kath were still in their awkward stage and the chemistry wasn’t evident yet. People had doubts. Then the teaser came out, and we’re like, WOW. Where did that come from? People started realizing that this is a team-up that we never knew we wanted.

Just when you thought you know everything about the movie from just seeing the teaser, out came the full trailer. And everything you thought you knew about the movie from the teaser just got thrown out of the window.

Well played, Star Cinema. Well played. :clap:

3. Of course, since this is a Star Cinema movie, you can count on it having at least one iconic line that will surely make a mark with the audience.

With this trailer alone, I counted… I dunno. So many. :lol:

That “I love you – I don’t love you” exchange will surely generate a number of memes. But I think the one that truly made a mark is the last scene. You know how dramatic we Filipinos can get. The lines by itself pierced through the heart. All the more because Alden and Kathryn delivered it with so much pain.

Side note: I just love it that, on this trailer, not a single voice was raised even in confrontation scenes. :thumbup: It’s such a refreshing change from the traditional sigawan-sampalan-sabunutan fare that we usually get from Filipino TV shows and movies. Just eye-acting is enough. This is Alden’s expertise, and I am truly grateful that the general public is finally seeing it.

4. Aside from Hello, Love, Goodbye being a good movie with great actors and a formidable production team, I believe that this movie is a must-watch for this reason: For the first time, the two rival networks ABS CBN and GMA are working together to give us this movie. While this is mainly a Kapamilya project and this is not the first time that GMA loaned one of their top artists to their rival, I think this is the first time that both networks banded together to promote the same movie. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Alden is the first GMA Artist Center talent to work at Star Cinema? The others (Dingdong, Marian, Jennylyn, etc) are Kapuso artists but are not managed by GMAAC.

If you’re one of those who, like me, are sick and tired of this stupid network war, you should support this movie.

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Two less lonely people.

Mini-Review: Kita Kita

With all the hype surrounding this year’s surprise box-office hit, I felt that I *must* see Kita Kita. You know, just to see what the fuss is all about. Also, to see with my own two eyes if people are really coming to theaters in droves just to see the movie. Well, we saw its last full show at Megamall, and the theater is full. The hype is real, people. No paddings there. ;)

I’ve read several socmed posts about the movie, analyzing it using deep prose and profound meanings. You’re not going to see that here. See, the main thing about Kita Kita is it’s simplicity. It’s very Japanese, and I’m not just talking about the filming location. The story, the execution, the “feel” of the entire film is very Japanese. If you have seen a Japanese romance movie, you’ll get what I mean. I can’t even describe it as “Korean” because Korean romance movies tend to be on the dramatic, borderline hysteric side. Japanese romance movies are simple and subdued. Kita Kita has a very simple story with a very simple execution, but that’s what makes it beautiful. It’s the type of movie that will make you cry and laugh and cry and laugh and then stab you right through the heart. And then, when the end credits roll, your thoughts about the movie will be reduced to one word: AWWW. :dream:

The movie only has two major characters and a smattering of supporting ones. Alessandra de Rossi, an actress who is famous for her indie-type underacting is perfect for this. Her characterization of Lea is just flawless. As for the newest heartthrob in town, comedian Empoy Marquez as Tonyo stripped down his usual antics and came up with a performance that will, for some reason, make you fall in love with him. It’s strange, but true.

On the technical side, the cinematography is breath-taking. It captured the beauty of Sapporo – Hokkaido, in general (thanks to my friend Mavic for the correction) – that you’ll just find yourself adding it to your bucket list.

I won’t be elaborating much further. Just give in to the hype and see it for yourself.

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