Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Review: La Mala Educación

I know I'm supposed to be on a blogging hiatus and everything but because of the goals that I set for myself this year, I had to take a little break to talk about some movies I saw. In my idle time, I was counting how many films I've seen since my last review* and I realized I had to start writing or else I might have to post fifty reviews all at once. So anyway, here's me breaking away from my little hiatus to bring you a couple of movie reviews.

La Mala Educación (Bad Education)
Released: March 19, 2004 (Spain), September 5, 2004 (US)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥
[official website] [wiki] [imdb] 

I first heard of Bad Education back in 2005* and I ultimately dismissed it as yet another gay European film. I posted a picture of the lead actor, Gael García Bernal, in drag and back then, I didn't feel like it was a serious movie so I didn't bother looking for it. Four years later, a friend lends me his copy and I finally get the chance to see it. I was surprised to see that there's more to the story than just gay Europeans flailing about. It tells the story of Enrique and Ignacio, two boys who met and fell in love in school only to be separated by a gay priest. Seems like a mouthful but considering that the movie was ambitious enough to include several controversial themes such as gay priests, drug abuse, transexuality, betrayal, blackmail, child abuse in the Catholic church and murder, the last statement barely scratched the surface.

Bernal is a great actor, that much is clear. Anyone who's seen Y Tu Mamá También, El Crimen del Padre Amaro or the Che Guevarra biopic Motorcycle Diaries can attest to that. I just never saw how brilliant he truly is until I saw this movie. He plays Juan, an ambitious actor who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. The character was actually patterned after Tom Ripley who was extremely evil but had an angelic face. He really stretches his acting muscles in this movie, proving to everyone just how flexible an actor he can be.

As my first Almodóvar film, I must admit I expected a lot. He is known as one of the most succesful Spanish filmmakers and just like Madonna, he's so cool he only needs one name. Many cinema freaks swear by him as much as I love Wong Kar Wai. I was amazed at how brilliantly he was able to execute the movie despite the fact that it was very complicated and that he usually works with a predominantly female cast (this movie was a first for him because most of the characters were men). He worked on this story for an entire decade and anyone who sees this movie can attest that those years were not spent in vain.

It's a story that will have you hooked from beginning to end. The film in itself is very suspenseful and thought-provoking. If you're a fan of foreign cinema or murder mysteries, this is definitely a worthy see. 4/5.

Monsters vs. Aliens. I saw this movie alone (because no one wants to watch cartoons anymore. Boo.) and I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The characters were extremely adorable and the plot had me hooked from the first frame. My favorite monster has got to be B.O.B. (voiced by Seth Rogen of Knocked Up fame), a huge Jell-o figure that was created when a genetically-altered tomato was injected with this weird salad dressing. He was so adorable, I think I might just see this again when it comes out on DVD.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I'm not a huge fan of How I Met Your Mother but I must admit that whenever I catch it on TV, I find myself hooked. This movie was written and starred by Jason Segel (who plays Marshall in HIMYM) and tells the story of a guy who just lost his girlfriend of five years to an annoying British rock star. It was pretty funny although I was a bit disturbed by the large amount of male nudity in the film. It's almost like Segel flashed the audience every chance he got. There's a scene at the end of the film where authentic Muppets act and sing out Dracula's story. In the DVD's special features, it is revealed that Segel came up with the concept when he was in his early twenties. Talk about screwed up. That scene alone is well worth the price of admission.

 Fast & Furious. This is the fourth movie of the Fast and the Furious franchise and supposedly takes place between the second and third movie. I was a little curious because it's pretty rare to see a movie's original cast all coming back to reprise their roles (especially when they weren't part of the other sequels). I remember I really liked the first movie. It was like this generation's version of The Godfather. The fourth installment was incredibly disappointing. The scenes seemed forced, the car scenes barely exhilarating and the plot mundane and a bit preposterous. You can't pay me to see this movie again.

Beauty Shop. Disclaimer: I did not set out to watch this movie. I was watching Velvet and it suddenly came on and before I knew it, the end credits were rolling. I actually sat through the whole thing! Queen Latifah is always a pleasure onscreen although it must be said that it wasn't the story that got me hooked. It was the fact that they were trying so hard to send out a message that African Americans are strong and hard-working and all that but at the same time, they engaged in racial stereotypes and at certain points seemed a little racist (to the white characters). The movie's not going to win any Oscars soon but seeing Alicia Silverstone with a fake southern accent dropping it like 'it's hot' is enough to keep you in stitches for weeks (for all the wrong reasons, of course).

The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela. Carlo made me see this movie and I initially thought it was a quirky little indie film about a tranny (or a gay Ai-Ai film). Much to my surprise, the film was actually a documentary. They say the best movies are the ones that take you on a journey and this movie does that and more. You get to walk in the (fierce) shoes of Queen Raquela, a tranny from Cebu as she sees the world in search for her ever beloved Paris. The film won many awards and I must say they really deserved it. Not only did it show such a unique Filipino sub-culture, it also explored the economics and emotions that go into the webcam flesh trade.

So that's all for today. I'm quite tired. I'm currently stuck in the procrastination phase of my writing so once I finish cleaning my room and sorting my clothes, I'll probably post something fresh here.


  1. I watched this when it first came out on DVD. I liked the movie. A number of my friends didn't like the ending because it didn't resolve the ethical dilemma. But, perhaps for Almodovar, that is the truth of victims of child molestation -- there is no resolution.

  2. zomg. i'm dying to watch the movie of Queen Raquela but i was way too busy with errands kasi. kaenessss

    sayang! Insectosuaros will always be OUR love hehe. i already watched the Beauty SHop and it's somewhat good na rin.

    F&F i heard was a prettyy good movie.

    i want to watch the 1st movie you featured tuloy. intriga ako.

  3. Aaaaaaaaaay burn mo ako ng copy ng bad education... hahahahaha.... gusto ko ring mapanood yan.... mahal na mahal ko si Gael... siya na susunod na jowa ko hihihihihi

    wit ko bet yang fast and the furious na yan... feeling ko sasabog nanaman fuse ko pag pinanood ko yan.....

    queen latifah is remarkable jan sa Beauty shop.... sexy pa niya jan... hehehehehe

    and yes.... we love insectosaurus!!! hahahahahaha

    ilabas na yosi... pangsindi... tagay na ng.... KAPE... hehehehehe

    salamat sa suporta friend.....

  4. MVS - "I think I might just see this again when it comes out on DVD." You mean MCS DVD? hehehe...

    FSM - that schlong is huge man... and it was still limpy. hehehe.

    FAF - just watch it and you'll enjoy. don't think too much or you'll be so disappointed.

    BS - drop it like a tot...

    I wish to find a copy of bad education too...

  5. @LOF - yeah, the ending seemed a little rushed but at the same time, i couldn't figure out a different/better way to end it. i guess no one can really solve the ethical dilemmas although the angle of death as a way out was also explored.

    @EJ - kakaaliw yung raquela. you would've liked it. as for f&f, sure ka?

    @YJ - we're always here for you. lam mo naman yun. hehe sige next time na magkita tayo, dalhan kita. balak ko rin bumili ng sarili kong kopya eh.

    @Juby - oo, mcs dvd. or ate dvd. haha tara hanap tayo ng dvd nito. may nakita ako noon when we went mega dvd shopping. it's an entertaining movie.

  6. I dunno, I just don't have any love for Gael Garcia Bernal. Didn't like his acting in Blindness (Starring Julianne Moore). My favorite film critic Noel Vera calls Almodovar as the Spanish Joey Gosiengfiao. But the latter being funnier. I have yet to see an Almodovar film.

    I loooooove Monsters VS Aliens. Kaso I saw it on dibidi. Hihihi, bad me. And I also love Seth Rogen's character. I actually love the actor. LOL! =)

  7. it was also my first almodovar. i can't really form a concrete opinion kasi 1 palang natatapos ko. i'm in the middle of watching volver with penelope cruz. pareho kasing pinahiram nung friend ko. so far okay naman. he's got a unique way of painting his characters.

    as for gael, didn't see blindness either pero yung mga movies na napanood ko na andun siya, okay naman. dito lang ako sobrang nabilib sa kanya. parang yung role niya dito di kakayanin ng kung sino sino lang.

    as for monsters vs aliens, cute siya!!! hehe babaw lang pero may message siya underneath. :D

  8. May pag-asa pa naman si Gael saken. Ganito rin ako dati kay Michelle Pfeiffer, pero ngayon super duper fave ko sya. =)

  9. i'm sure you've seen y tu mama.. kung di ka naimpress sa kanya dun, try mo yung padre amaro. galing din siya dun.

    as for mama michelle, love ko rin siya!!! super perfect siya sa white oleander. :D

  10. Ay, di ko pa napanood Y Tumama Tambien. I'll try one of these days pati yung Crime of Padre Amaro. Thanks! =)

  11. go! you might actually like it! but i suggest if you don't like y tu mama tambien, see it again after a few days. when i first saw it kasi, i totally hated it pero after some time, maganda pala. :D i still see it every now and then and i always find another angle na di ko nakita before.

    if you saw the jesse mccartney video ng beautiful soul, heavily influenced yun ng y tu mama.

  12. Hey, I noticed that you don't have that much filipino film reviews here. Why? And have you seen classic filipino films from the Golden Age of Philippine Cinema (mid 70s to early 80s)?

  13. i'm not a huge fan of filipino movies. i watch the occasionally comedy but apart from that, i don't really find them that interesting. as for the golden age, i was too young to appreciate it although i consider temptation island to be one of my favorite movies. ;D

  14. @cb. perhaps we should trade geographic places! i am frustrated by the capital-intense aspects of keeping up with my philippine cinema addiction. if you were to watch one golden age film, i'd vote for Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang or Himala, although there are a lot of really good films.

  15. nanood ka pala movie mag isa hehe di ko pa na try yun!

  16. I so want to talk to the late Joey Gosiengfiao. Did he really make it intentionally funny? Hehehe. So campy.

  17. @parteeboi - Camp is Joey's forte. He is a legend. Too bad he already passed away. They say that his other film "Bomba Star" is better and campier than "Temptation Island".

    I agree with LOF, cb. Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang is a great film. And Himala too! I will lend you my DVDs (which I bought from Powerbooks) and tell me what you think after seeing it. =)

  18. Mr. Scheez, can i borrow ur dvd's too? lol.

  19. Sure sure! No problem. I charge for PHP50/day. LOL! =)

    Joke lang. Will lend you some of my DVDs (Insiang (1977) and Batch81 (1982) - Cannes Film Festival Directors' Fortnight entries of the Philippines) when we meet. =)

  20. Guys, just found out that "Insiang", "Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang", and "Himala" is in YouTube. =)

  21. @LOF if you're a fan of torrents, there are dozens of filipino movies there. that's how i got to see temptation island.

    @Mac Callister try mo. masaya siya. a little liberating.

    @Juber it's strange kasi the movie is funny in a different way. haha (in ana's voice) "ang beach-y beach-y mo naman!!!" hehe

    @Mr Scheez go!!! perham! hehe if i like it i might just get my own copies, too. Maganda daw yung Insiang ah! diba yun yung first entry natin sa Cannes?

  22. Yeah, Insiang boasts of the distinction of being the first Filipino film screened in Cannes. Hilda Coronel even gave the Best Actress winner a run for her money during the deliberations because the French jurors/viewing public were so amazed with Hilda's performance. =)

  23. i had to use similar means to get a hold of Love of Siam, No Regret, and Daybreak because I just couldn't get a DVD copy when they came out last year. netflix is slowly getting a larger classics and golden-age tagalog variety, but its slow and uneven. i typically just wait to when i visit family and then stop at every music store at every mall we go to and comb the domestic DVD section (i think i clocked about 6 hours of combing over 15 stores this last january and i was rewarded with Vhagets -- a surprise -- and fulfilling my entire wish list except Dose and Love birds which were not yet available).

  24. I think I have a new hobby, panic buy old movie dvd's before they become pricey.

  25. @parteeboi - Tama ka jan! Hehehe =)

  26. @Mr. Scheez I was never a fan of Hilda Coronel but I suppose she's been in the biz for a long time for a reason. Note to self: must watch insiang.

    @LOF Vhagets? Is that like Bagets? wow! hehe I feel a little ashames because I live her and everything but I have yet to make my first local DVD purchase (na original at least)

    @PB tara! MCS tayo!

  27. hahah... Vhagets is a very cute little gay movie about the growing up of this little gay barkada somewhere in MM. I have been puzzled that no one has seen it (and that it was readily available at odyssey or astro or music one or wherever I ended up buying it). The movie is by Joven Tan.

  28. googling it now.. seems familiar. hanapin ko.

  29. thank you for following...am stalking you now...hehehe

  30. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! gael garcia bernal and wong kar wai????!!!

    friends na tayo hahaha!

  31. you love wong kar wai too!!! we should totally have a wong kar wai party. i just need a beige coat, a blonde wig and big-ass shades! who will you be?

  32. wow 31 brain farts! haha dami comments :)
    wow ginawan mo din ng review ang the amazing truth about queen raquela :)

  33. actually nagulat din akong dumami siya ng ganon. hehe

    oo naman! hehe i thought it was a nice movie. sayang lang talaga sila dahil sa pesteng miscommunication. hehe