"First, Black Widow. Then Elektra. Typhoid Mary, Echo... now Felicia?! What the hell, man?!"
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Sept. 17. Gym. Nood. Sulat. Pagod. Zzzz.
Sept. 17. Tumalab ang paracetamol sa sakit ng ngipin.
Sept. 18. Finally watching Community season 3. Love the "6 timelines" episode. So dang funny!
Sept. 20. Craving cheese.
Sept. 21. Body clock confused. Head hurts. Must catch some z's.
Sept. 21. Libel. Pshh. Let's keep criticizing and protesting incompetent and abusive politicians.
(Published Sept. 21, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
For some people, the end of the world is nigh. There are also those who not only believe it; they’re also preparing for it!
The National Geographic series “Doomsday Preppers” focuses on Americans anticipating different catastrophic scenarios that, they believe, will drastically alter life as we know it. The people featured on the show have contingency plans for nearly everything, whether it’s an upheaval in the form of an electromagnetic pulse or global chaos caused by financial collapse.
Launched at the Best Western Premier F1 Hotel in Taguig last week, the show illustrates how far some “preppers” would go. The first episode, “I Hope I Am Crazy,” screened during the event, shows varying theories on how the world might end. Ways to store and preserve food are detailed by the featured doomsday planners.
Jude Turcuato, Fox International Channels territory director for the
Philippines, told the Inquirer that the program was timely, 2012 being believed by certain groups to be the year that the world would end.
Future episodes tackle the possibility of pandemics, bomb attacks, and massive earthquakes.
“Each hour-long episode features three to four groups,” Turcuato said, “and each one believes the end is going to happen in a different way. So there are dozens of scenarios.”
He added that the new show fits into the channel’s new direction. “National Geographic is now focusing on personalities and characters while telling stories of real people — unlike before when it was [perceivably] stoic and aloof.”
“Doomsday Preppers” airs Mondays,
The adventures of the ring-wielding DC Comics superhero come to the small screen with “Green Lantern: The Animated Series,” airing Saturdays, on Cartoon Network.
High-ranking executives or owners of companies disguise themselves as new employees in the reality show “Undercover Boss,” airing Sundays, , and Mondays, , on Talk TV.
Airing Sundays, on
2nd Avenue, “The New Normal” stars Justin Bartha and Andrew Rannells as a gay couple hoping to have a child of their own. The show is created by Ryan Murphy (“Glee,” “Nip/Tuck”).
Monday, September 17, 2012
Bogeymen bonanza! The monstrously hysterical “Hotel Transylvania” revamps classic creatures into friendly and caring beasties that gather at a haven designed to satisfy their relaxation needs.
The all-ages animated comedy centers on the rapport between an over-protective Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) and his sheltered vampire daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), who’s celebrating her 118th birthday. Bumbling into the gathering is the human backpacker Jonathan (Andy Samberg), unaware that all the attendees are actual monsters and mythical beings.
Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (“Dexter’s Lab”) and co-written by Peter Baynham (“Borat”) and Robert Smigel (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog puppeteer), “Hotel Transylvania” is a rare delight, captivating with its endearing, well-shaped “monstrosities” and their rib-tickling interactions.
The movie manages to poke fun at the inherent absurdities of various monster concepts. There are a few similarities to “Monsters, Inc.”—primarily the angle pertaining to kind-hearted but scary otherworldly beings—but “
Transylvania” explores different paths altogether. It’s also a fresh take on the outsider-changes-society concept; Jonathan pretends to be “Johnnystein,” almost effortlessly challenging the established order of monsterkind by introducing unheard-of behavior and practices.
Design-wise, the bogeymen are sleek and kid-friendly, each having distinct qualities and movements. It’s especially fun to see Dracula as a kind, giving father with over-the-top gestures and really emotive expressions.
“Hotel Transylvania” will be in Philippine cinemas starting Sept. 28.
“ParaNorman” easily stands out in the contemporary cartoon crowd with its dark, discomfiting qualities, but it’s still an accessible and periodically hilarious spook-fest.
Psychic protagonist Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) sees dead people (and pets), making him quite the outcast at school. Very few people believe he has paranormal abilities, but he sees and converses with the departed quite clearly.
An embarrassment to his unaccepting father and targeted by bullies,
Norman nonetheless tries to get by. He eventually receives a warning that his sleepy Massachusetts town is in danger of being attacked by the undead, as part of a restless entity’s revenge scheme.
Animated using the stop-motion technique, “ParaNorman” has a visually textured world. The subdued palette enhances the mood, and its character designs possess a sketchy, deliberately imperfect quality to them.
It has situations and dialogue that may appeal more to teens and older viewers. The dad’s disconcerting use of the word “limp-wristed,” and the idea that
Norman’s teen sister keeps photos of shirtless guys clearly confirm early on that this isn’t a squeaky clean, exclusively kid-geared Disney project. Interestingly, there’s also a revelation that clarifies a character’s sexual preference later in the movie.
As for the movie’s villains, they’re a complicated bunch. The implication that someone similar to
Norman suffered a grave injustice in the past is quite disturbing.
Despite its affecting darkness, though, “ParaNorman” still uplifts, tackling acceptance and forgiveness while the main character tries to survive third eye-related binds.
An uninspired author discovers that his dream girl has miraculously transformed into a real, flesh-and-blood human being in “Ruby Sparks,” co-directed by the filmmaking duo of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (“Little Miss Sunshine”).
The young renowned author Calvin (Paul Dano) wrestles with finding the next subject, but the only thing giving him inspiration is literally a girl from his dreams, a character he subsequently names “Ruby Sparks.”
Ruby (Zoe Kazan) is exactly how Calvin imagined her: quirky, flawed and complex. Convinced that this miracle is real, Calvin manages to have an actual, if imperfect relationship with her, succumbing to the temptation of making tweaks and alterations along the way.
Kazan, “Ruby Sparks” is just as quirky as the titular character. The manifestation of the fictional being is an understandable fantasy, rife with potential for role-playing and god complex situations. The film manages to realize both, while entertaining with its more traditional rom-com traits.
There are sparks between Kazan and Dano that make them an effervescent onscreen couple, but the story gets a tad too predictable at times that the relationship isn’t one you particularly get invested in. Still, it reaches an acceptable, plausible resolution, tying up its inevitable complications quite sparklingly.
“Ruby Sparks” will be in Philippine cinemas starting Sept. 19.
Snappy updates and minutiae.
Sept. 12. Oh, Taylor Swift. I don't really care who you're dating or who broke your heart for the nth time, but keep 'em catchy songs coming.
Sept. 12. Finally watched Paranorman. I think there were less than ten people in that last screening. I enjoyed it; it's pretty gloomy and gruesome. But it's also cute, and a surprisingly thought-provoking pre-Halloween treat.
Sept. 12. Baffled that some people from school have become overzealous, judgmental parrots.
Sept. 12. Rearranging stacks of comics. I keep stopping to look at those old Mutant Massacre issues. The Marauders are still fricking scary!
Sept. 14. Two different preachers handed leaflets, 20 minutes apart, in a jeep and in a bus. They pretty much had the same message of guilting you into giving some of your hard-earned money for their "mission." The second one even sang; she sounded like a gargling robot. Neither paid for their fare.
It’s “Julie & Julia,” but with spousal abuse! Well, kind of. The Madonna-directed “W./E.” connects two women separated by eras; Wally (Abbie Cornish) is fascinated with the story of Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough), the married American that King Edward (James D’Arcy) surrendered the throne to be with.
Wally imagines Wallis’ famous story while visiting an exhibit housing the historic family’s erstwhile valuables at Sotheby’s. The similarities in Wally and Wallis’ tales are easily made apparent through parallel scenes, pointing to unhappy lives with inadequate and/or abusive spouses.
“W./E.” adds dimension to the illicit romance and abdication angle that was prominently featured in “The King’s Speech.” Facing the enormity of her situation, Wallis accepts her new role and lives the rest of her days with the former king.
Wally, meanwhile, struggles to be happy, but all she’s left with is fantasizing about could’ve-beens while admiring Wallis’ old, exhibited keepsakes.
While it’s not exactly as intriguing as it should’ve been, the connected story of the two women does absorb periodically. The film is unnecessarily long, however; Madonna certainly knows what she wants to show, but that's not always what's needed.
Still, the film can be considered adequate. Actors Cornish, Riseborough and Oscar Isaac give competent performances, adding much-needed depth and tangibility to their quietly struggling and constricted—but ultimately unengaging—characters.
“W./E.” is an Ayala Cinemas exclusive.
(Published Sept. 14, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
The much-anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed animated series “Avatar: The Legend of Aang” continues the mythic saga of the reincarnating titular character, set several decades after the original story’s conclusion.
In the latest show “Avatar: The Legend of Korra,” the new Avatar surfaces after Aang’s death as the rebellious teenager Korra—a competent waterbender (a person who has control over water and other liquids). Also trained in earthbending and firebending, Korra must now master airbending under Aang’s son Tenzin.
Korra’s world is a huge departure from the previous series. While the original show’s visuals largely drew inspiration from bygone kingdoms and cultures from all over the globe, the new series’
stuns with its merging of steampunk-era designs and distinctly Asian artistry. Republic City
The initial season, “Book One: Air,” primarily introduces Korra as the eager but impatient student who nonetheless learns more about her importance and duties when she discovers firsthand the various thrills and dangers of
. Republic City
Her arrival and activities, however, are being monitored by the Equalists, a group of non-powered individuals demanding a bender-free city. Korra and her new allies face the threat posed by the Equalists’ masked leader Amon, who claims to be the survivor of a firebender attack.
Fans of the first “Avatar” will be pleased to see old characters return. “Korra” also immediately introduces descendants of the original heroes, who also distinguish themselves through the course of the first season. Previously unrevealed secrets of the older characters connect heavily to “Korra’s” current mythology, but new heroes and villains keep it fresh and accessible.
The Korra-Equalist conflict is reminiscent of the mutant-versus-human dynamic of the “X-Men” comic book and movies. Still, that new element to the drama is the next logical phase for this culminating world, which brings together “regular” people and those who openly wield their elemental powers.
As for Korra, she’s no gentle, focused Aang. While she’s usually smart and confident, she can be stubborn and reckless. Korra rectifies mistakes and learns from them, only to meet new challenges like boys and other relatable dilemmas.
“Avatar: The Legend of Korra” airs September 28 at on Nickelodeon.
‘Ultimate Cake Off’
“Ultimate Cake Off” returns for a second season on TLC. The show, hosted by George Duran, pits teams of renowned pastry artists against each other, tasked with making themed cakes every week. The show airs Wednesdays at
History Channel’s “Special Forces” provides a glimpse of the extensive training of Philippine Marine Corps Recon recruits. The episode airs on September 16 (), and September 30 ().
‘What I See’
Professional photographer Francisco “Paco” Guerrero, a balikbayan, explores parts of the Philippines in the weekly series “What I See,” airing Sundays (7:30 p.m.), Mondays (6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.) and Saturdays (11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.) on Talk TV.
(From the Sept. 1 issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Interestingly enough, the official poster of “The Healing” doesn’t look like it’s touting a violent horror movie; those who haven’t seen the trailers or cast interviews can easily assume that since it’s a Vilma Santos-starrer, it’s most likely a relentless tearjerker about faith healing in the country.
Well, it isn’t. It’s good that the poster designers practiced some restraint and kept it spoiler-free. The faces of most of the actors are there, but they’re half-faded in the background, and they’re not immediately noticeable.
Directed by Chito Roño, “The Healing” is mostly a tightly told, if derivative horror flick that benefits immensely from a number of competent actors.
Santos emphatically plays Seth, the daughter of a stroke patient, Odong (Robert Arevalo). She brings him to a reputable faith healer, Elsa (Daria Ramirez), who miraculously cures him with a combination of inexplicable supernatural powers and a herbal concoction.
Word of Mang Odong’s unexpected recovery quickly spreads that Seth’s friends and neighbors—who either have debilitating or embarrassing maladies—hastily talk her into accompanying them to the healer. Her teen son Jed (Martin Del Rosario) has a seriously ill half-sister, Cookie (Kim Chiu), who also desperately asks for her help.
After their healing sessions, however, the miraculously cured begin having nightmares and, one by one, they begin exhibiting odd behavior, which is almost always witnessed by a befuddled Seth.
“The Healing” ably presents a discomfiting but recognizable reality; it establishes the familiar presence of the faith healing scene and phenomena, which are questioned by a vocal skeptic (Allan Paule).
But because it’s a supernatural horror flick, it doesn’t really focus on the mechanics of the unexplainable. It utilizes familiar mythologies’ take on life and death, as well as on steep prices for quick fixes, and does so inventively.
As for scare tactics, the plot devices and scene structures aren’t anything you haven’t seen before. It typically has its creepy-crawlies that slide across shadows when characters aren’t looking, and the chronology of certain events leaves little for genuine shock. There are gory parts, which succeed in grossing out and jolting the viewer for longer periods than necessary.
Still, like their more popular Asian horror bogeyman kin, the antagonists here look freaky. Excellent effects make them spine-tingling, although there are also instances when the more flashy digital effects look clunky, such as when figures “vanish.”
Anyway, the actors collectively add to the atmosphere of escalating eeriness. Aside from the aforementioned
Santos, Janice De Belen, Pokwang, Cris Villanueva, Ces Quesada, Joel Torre, and Ynez Veneracion manage to conjure up disconcerting and disturbing moments that overpower the sickly components of “The Healing.”
(From the Sept. 1 issue of The Fortnightly)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Disasters test the affected communities’ mettle and can break their collective spirit. But during these natural or man-made catastrophes, some individuals are brave enough to step up and make a difference. Some films cite examples of nigh-superhuman feats by ordinary people:
Competitive brothers pursue similar careers in firefighting, following in the footsteps of their late father, who perished while performing his duties. The more focused Stephen (Kurt Russell) and the impatient Brian (William Baldwin) also contend with an arsonist and his deadly handiwork in the effects-aided thriller directed by Ron Howard.
As “storm-chasers,” the protagonists literally run after tornadoes. A meteorologist and a weather reporter (Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton) deploy a device in the path of a destructive twister, hoping that it can record valuable information on its structure. The gathered data can be used in the detection of impending weather disturbances. Heart-tugging connections between the characters keep the film afloat.
’ (2006) World Trade Center
Oliver Stone’s film poignantly celebrates the heroism of responders to the September 11 attacks. Cops played by Nicolas Cage and Michael Peña, among others, brave the chaos and join the rescue efforts, but get trapped in the process. A few of them survive being buried under heavy debris for several hours.
A careless mistake sends a freight train speeding away from its operator, its container cars carrying tons of dangerous chemicals. Based on a real incident, “Unstoppable” centers on an engineer (Denzel Washington) and a newly hired conductor (Chris Pine), initially uneasy co-workers who must set aside their differences and keep the situation from becoming catastrophic.
A plague devastates the world, taking the lives of countless unwary victims in a matter of weeks. One of the casualties is Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet), who studied and investigated the mysterious illness before succumbing to it herself. Another character investigating the disease is the compassionate Dr. Leonora Orantes (Marion Cotillard), forced to live in a Chinese village until a vaccine is handed to her captors. These are among the film’s most affecting portrayals.
Monday, September 10, 2012
(Published Sept. 6, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Already busy with physical activities during his 14-hour work days,
US actor Philip Winchester admits that getting in shape for the action-drama series “Strike Back” is a challenge.
“I probably put on about 15 pounds of muscle for the show,” said
Winchester, who plays British Sgt. Michael Stonebridge in the Cinemax series.
“More than the workout and the running, it’s the eating,” he revealed to the Inquirer and other Asian publications in a recent phone interview. “It’s hard to eat that much food all the time. My wife helps out; she packs my lunch. I need 5,000 calories a day when we shoot!”
The actor, whose mom is English, grew up in
Montana but frequently visited England, and later studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Currently playing “Strike Back’s” tough sergeant and mentor figure,
Winchester co-stars with Aussie actor Sullivan Stapleton, who plays US soldier Damien Scott. Both characters are operatives of a covert British antiterrorism group. Winchester admitted that it took time to get used to his role. “This year, it’s much easier to step into the show, the relationships and the military work,” he said.
The addition of Brit actress Rhona Mitra as Capt. Rachel Dalton changed the show’s dynamic, according to the actor. “I came into the season thinking that [Scott and Stonebridge] are the guys in the field and right away in the first episode, Rhona was out there with us, doing her military stuff,” he said. “It was great because we have this dynamic again that immediately challenged [us]. It was kind of lovely … these characters develop, over time, a respect for her as our leader, but there was also a lot of banter behind her back!”
(“Strike Back” season two will air on Fridays, on Cinemax, starting Friday.)
“Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu” is an animated action-adventure series utilizing Lego figure designs. The show airs on Fridays, and on Saturdays, on Cartoon Network.
The well-received sitcom “Awkward,” starring Ashley Rickards and Beau Mirchoff, returns to MTV Asia for a second season. The new episode premieres on Sept. 16,
Recording sessions at the famous Abbey Road Studios in
London resume in the show’s fourth season. Artists include Blondie, Brandon Flowers, and Foster the People, among others. The show airs on Sundays, on 2nd Avenue.
Reading Morning Glories by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma requires patience; there are tons of characters and the mysteries take time to unravel, but it’s an awesome and worthwhile book.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Some status updates.
Aug. 24. I love it when drawings end up better than I imagined them.
Aug. 25. Saw 'Katy Perry: Part of Me' earlier. Love that bit where she talked about being exposed to Christian music only since she was a kid, and how hearing Alanis Morissette's 'You Oughta Know' for the first time blew her mind.
Aug. 26. High school batchmate dropped by the house, again, to ask for financial assistance, yet again. Different reasons this time. I dunno what to believe anymore.
Aug. 29. Blogging bill? Kaululan.
Sept. 1. Enjoyed my workout. Used more exercise machines and equipment than usual. Now my body hurts like heck.
Sept. 4. Wish my brain didn't dump those shorthand writing lessons from high school.
Sept. 5. Deadline week done! Time to unwind.
Sept. 5. Diyoskupo. Walang katapusang pangongopya.Sept. 5. I Do Bidoo Bidoo. Saya. Love how the Apo's songs were assembled to create a sensible, fun story. First heard about the movie when I interviewed Ogie Alcasid last summer (it was during a break from shooting; Sam Concepcion walked in, charming and awkward as his character: "Hi, excuse me, sorry po"). Oh, and I love the artificiality of the organized clutter in the background!
(Published Sept. 5, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
The annual Cine Europa Film Festival celebrates its 15th year with 21 films from several participating countries. And as in the preceding festivals, admission to every screening is free.
The featured movies are from
Austria, Spain, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom, among others. The fest will be held starting tomorrow, until Sept. 16 at in Shangri-La Plaza . Mandaluyong City
Julian Vassallo, political counselor at the European Union Delegation to the
Philippines, described this year’s selection as illustrative of “what makes Europeans tick.” Vassallo elaborated: “We are wearing our heart on our sleeve for the Filipino public. We are exposing our dreams, our hopes, our hang-ups. Cine Europa [offers] a large and eclectic selection that I believe Filipinos appreciate. They like to be challenged by what is different from the mainstream. Once in a while, we all enjoy a good Hollywood blockbuster with its heroes and happy endings, but European movies offer something different.”
He noted that Filipinos had become appreciative of many European films’ complexity and unpredictability. “[The films] often reflect that … life is rarely neat and tidy, and that sometimes, the most moving stories can be found where you least expect them,” he said.
As part of this year’s festivities, there will be roundtable talks on filmmaking, film appreciation, analysis and financing. Organized by the European Union Cultural Group, Cine Europa continues to be accessible to the public.
Filipino films in this year’s roster include “Paglipad ng Anghel,” “
Kano,” “Bakal Boys” and “MNL 143.” Vassallo praised the films, which were previously screened in, or are scheduled to premiere in different parts of Europe. He expressed optimism about the blossoming bond between Filipino and European filmmakers.
“I hope that the educational component of the festival that we have beefed up this year will grow into an opportunity for Filipino film enthusiasts and professionals to connect with their European counterparts and facilitate Filipino-European coproductions and boost creativity on both sides,” he said.
After the Sept. 6-16 leg of the festival at Shangri-la Plaza, Cine Europa goes to Ayala Center Cebu, Sept. 21-24; Liceo de Cagayan/Cagayan de Oro, Sept. 27-30; FDCP Cinematheque Davao, Oct. 4-7; FDCP Cinematheque Baguio,Oct. 11-14; and FDCP Cinematheque
Iloilo, Oct. 18-21.
(Published Aug. 28, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
Although naturally athletic, Simon Yin had “zero training” as host of the new History show “Hidden Cities: Extreme.”
Yin said he neither practiced nor received lessons for the different tasks he had to complete in several Asian locations.
“I think the training comes with my own life experiences,” he said during an interview at New World Hotel, a day before he flew to
Cebu for the first episode.
A spin-off of the successful History series “Hidden Cities,” the new show aims to further explore Asian territories and cultures. One of the finalists in the search for the original show’s presenter, Yin was later asked to host “Extreme.”
He said: “When they called me back, they asked me all these things: ‘Have you ever ridden a horse, shot a gun, driven a race car, rock-climbed?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve done all those things!’ I wasn’t an expert in any of those activities, but apparently I was a good match for the show.”
Yin, 35, born and raised in
Michigan, lived for several years in . Atlanta, Georgia
He related: “I was a Business major out of college. I became an investment banker for a year. It’s the worst job ever! I spent so many hours in front of a computer. I thought there was more to life that that. One day, I saw a small advertisement for comedy classes. I went and I just loved it!”
Yin pursued a full-time career in entertainment, eventually landing a hosting job on MTV for nearly three years. He later started his own production company and directed music videos, corporate videos, documentaries and the feature film “Super Capitalist,” a “financial thriller” shot in
New York and Hong Kong.
Yin has been living in
Hong Kong for four years, and is excited to experience other cultures through the six-part History series.
“What’s ironic these days is that my mom, who’s from
Taiwan, tried so hard to get out of Asia to bring us to the States so that we can have a great upbringing, to be doctors and whatever,” he said. “And now we’re flocking back to Asia, because this is where the opportunity, the energy is!”
“I’m going to be customizing my own jeepney. I’ll be driving it and picking up people,” he said before he left for
Cebu. “We’re also going to make coconut wine. I have to climb a tree and learn how to make it. I’ll be spear-fishing. And I’m trying out balut (fertilized duck embryo)!”
Seems he got to do all those things—or at least the jeepney part (see above photo).
The new History host, who considers himself a “sexy, funny man,” is now looking forward to scheduled visits to
Malaysia, Indonesia and China. He also hopes to get acquainted with other countries’ customs in future seasons.
Asia is so huge that I don’t think we’ll ever run out of hidden treasures and cultures,” he enthused. “I think it’s so vast and magical that it will never run out of secrets!”
(“Hidden Cities: Extreme” will start airing in October. For schedule announcements, visit facebook.com/hiddencities.)
‘Men At Work’
Created by Emmy-nominated writer and actor Breckin Myer, “Men At Work” is a new sitcom about a bunch of 30-something friends. It stars Danny Masterson (“That ’70s Show”) and James Lesure (“
Las Vegas”), among others. The show airs weeknights, on beTV, starting Sept. 3.
‘Life’s Too Short’
A “faux documentary” on the fictionalized life of Warwick Davis (“Star Wars”), “Life’s Too Short” premieres Sept. 3 at on HBO and on HBO HD.
‘Grimm’ Season 2
The hit fantasy-drama series, starring David Giuntoli as the Brothers Grimm’s cop descendant Nick Burkhardt, has returned for a second season on Jack TV, Mondays at 9 p.m.