Movie Review: The Annulment starring Joem Bascon and Lovi Poe

The Annulment (2019), directed by Mac Alejandre and starring Lovi Poe and Joem Bascon, was a drama film about the fallout of a married couple, Gari (Poe) and Sherwin (Marudo). This film gave good commentaries about factors one should consider for marriage.

Lovi Poe and Joem Bascon in The Annulment

For starters, Gari and Sherwin’s relationship started with both of them having strikingly different expectations. On Gari’s part, she did not see Sherwin as someone she would marry, at least at the start. Meanwhile, Sherwin already felt sure that he wanted to marry Gari. However, his very first worry was the difference in their social status. And this is one theme that was consistently explored throughout the film – the effect of each party’s financial stability and security before and during the marriage. Gari came from an upper-middle-class family but adopted a financially independent character, whereas Sherwin was from a simple, working-class background.

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Film Review: Woke Up Like This (Vhong Navarro and Lovi Poe)

Woke Up Like This (2017), was a comedy film starring Lovi Poe and Vhong Navarro under the direction of John Elbert Ferrer. The film’s general premise revolved around the body swap between Sabrina (Poe) and Nando (Navarro) after both characters independently wronged Apo (Lou Veloso), a mysterious homeless.

Woke Up Like This Movie Poster (Vhong Navarro and Lovi Poe)

First of all, the use of frames in the introductory sequence provided good contrast between the lead characters’ lifestyles. It showed Sabrina being a socialite who works as a top endorsement personality and model. On the other hand, Nando was a breadwinner and a remarkable basketball player from a working-class family in Tondo, Manila. It would be good to note that Nando’s family also took in his former love interest’s son after passing away in a vehicular accident. The striking similarities Sabrina and Nando have, however, were their rudely inconsiderate behaviors and sharp tongues, so much so that both of them were so full of themselves. It was even mockingly funny that for a team sport, Nando was no team player. Then, that one fateful night, which also happened to be the night the two celebrated their birthdays, one blow to their birthday cake candles set things in motion.

This film utilized body-swapping as its main storytelling device. Numerous media have already used this storytelling device, popular ones of which include Freaky Friday and 17 Again. For Woke Up Like This, specifically, living in the other’s body made the two lead characters experience the superficial and materialistic mundane, as well as the complex and profound reality of life. On the more personal level, Sabrina and Nando also learned to appreciate each other’s hustle and goal-driven character. From being self-centered and selfish, Sabrina and Nando learned to value family, friendship, sacrifice, and humility.

All in all, Woke Up Like This was a light watch. As a comedy film, Woke Up Like This used usual street humor, language-based hilarity, and well-executed parodies of popular movies and advertisements. But embedded amidst the comedic storyline were life lessons around bettering one’s attitude. It was also such a comforting touch that the male lead did not end up with the female lead. That would outright be predatory beneath the surface, as body-swapping between two heterosexual characters opens room for sexual harassment. Instead, the male lead fell for the female lead’s friend, starting on friendly terms and banking on a steady development from friends to lovers. On the technical side, the editing for the scene where Sabrina and Nando swapped back was worth complimenting – kudos to the creative team and editors.

For long-time fans of Lovi Poe, this film will absolutely be a breath of fresh air. We’ve all been used to seeing Poe give life to sexy and alluringly beautiful characters. Meanwhile, we’ve known Navarro for starring in comedy, horror, and drama films, but more heavily as a comedian. So, a collaboration between these two stars could only mean either one of these two: we would see Poe in a horror film, or we would finally see Poe star in a leading role in a comedy film! How lucky are we to get the latter?! Who would have known or expected Lovi could act very “siga”  and boyish. And if it wouldn’t be a far reach, her well-done performance was quite reminiscent of her father, Fernando Poe Jr. “Da King.”

You can now watch the film on Netflix!

MALAYA: A Reflective Movie Review

Malaya (2020), a film by Connie Macatuno starring Lovi Poe and Zanjoe Marudo, tells the story of two lovers, Malaya (Poe) and Santiago (Marudo), who just don’t seem to get the perfect timing to be with each other freely.

From the start, Malaya, a Filipina immigrant, was established to be a character devoted to her family and focused on building her career up from the ground after completing a degree in Mass Communication in the Philippines. Meanwhile, Santiago, nicknamed Iago, was an Italy-born Filipino chasing a financially-stable life. Unlike Malaya, Santiago’s character seems to be “freer” from filial duties due to a strain on his and his father’s relationship.

Looking at their story in retrospect, when circumstances lead you to meet someone over and over again even after parting ways several times, you’re bound to think that maybe – just maybe – you’re destined to be together, that maybe, you’re “it” for each other. However, love doesn’t work entirely on timings. As cliché as it may sound, love works on chemistry, effort, and choices, too.

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Hindi Tayo Pwede: Lovi Poe’s First Film Under Viva Films

Written by Ricky Lee and directed by Joel Lamangan, Hindi Tayo Pwede is a romance drama film that will take you to a roller coaster ride of emotions. It’s not your typical love triangle story as it makes a supernatural plot twist.

Lovi Poe stars as Gabby, Tony Labrusca as Gabriel, and Marco Gumabao as Dennis. Gabby and Dennis are best of friends right before she met the love of her life, Gabriel. However, Dennis has a secret admiration for Gabby but hesitant to confess to Gabby.

Tony Labrusca, Lovi Poe and Marco Gumabao in ‘Hindi Tayo Pwede’

In a night out, Gabby meets Gabriel and the two instantly fell in love. They had a few dates before finally deciding to get married. The two are already engaged when the tragic night killed Gabriel. Gabby is so devastated after losing her fiance in the accident.

While grieving, Dennis makes sure his presence is felt by Gabby. But no one knows that she can still see and touch Gabriel as his spirit remains by her side. The unbreakable bond between the two makes it even more difficult for Dennis to win Gabby’s love.

Lovi in Her Lead Role

Performance wise, Lovi Poe’s acting skills really outshine in the movie. It was much different from the roles she played in her past projects. She was more mature in Hindi Tayo Pwede—sexier and definitely more gorgeous. Lovi is a solid eye candy in Lamangan’s film for Viva.

However, the chemistry between Lovi and Tony isn’t as intense as with Marco. When it comes to mature scenes, Marco did a better job in making the drama more interesting. The two male leads were hot enough to make the intimate scenes even more steamy, but you can really tell whose more appealing.

At the end of the film, you will notice the lousy ghost character. It made the movie a little bit off-putting as it makes you think of the 1990’s film, Ghost by Jerry Zucker. This ghost love story exudes a unique charm, but not as exciting as you might have expected. Good thing Lovi made a good portrayal of Gabby’s charm which gave Hindi Tayo Pwede a nice cinematic appeal.

Wrapping It Up

The storyline may have some crappy parts, but the entire movie is undeniably one of Lovi’s best projects in the recent years. It could be the start of a more promising career with Viva Films for the beautiful, talented actress. What do you think?