Monday, July 29, 2013

Wolverine-san, big in Japan

“The Wolverine” is a solid, straightforward solo adventure, the popular titular mutant still consistently portrayed by Hugh Jackman after all these years. Thirteen years after his debut as the archetypal feral antihero in “X-Men,” the actor continues to play Logan with savage panache, but this sixth time lets him show a vulnerable, more human side to the Marvel character.

This second Wolverine movie directly connects to “X-Men: The Last Stand,” the third and least satisfying part in the original trilogy. Be that as it may, what “The Wolverine” does well is dealing with the repercussions. The deceased Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) recurringly haunts his dreams, while the world-weary Logan has been dealing with his guilt for some time in the Canadian wilderness.

Drawn out by an incident, Logan is kept from engaging in a bar brawl by a Japanese fighter, Yukio (Rila Fukushima), who dramatically ends the would-be fight, and whisks him to Japan to meet his dying friend Ichiro Yashida (Haruhiko Yamanouchi). Logan soon meets the billionaire’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), who is targeted by sinister factions.

Directed by versatile filmmaker James Mangold (“Walk the Line,” “3:10 to Yuma”), “The Wolverine” benefits from the back-to-basics approach; this reinterpretation of the source material allows for a more focused characterization. Concentrating on the character’s rehabilitation and rejuvenation, the film is less flashy than 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” but is definitely the superior film.

Gripes like Yukio’s iffy mutant power and the drab, requisite villainy of the Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) aside, “The Wolverine” mostly entertains, and expands the cinematic X-universe further with the inclusion of Jean Grey and the surprising end-credits scene (it looks like it’s connecting to the rebooted X-mythology of “First Class,” as well). As a solo flick, it’s quite sturdy; taking Logan out of his element and making him adapt is always fun, a truism “The Wolverine” understands, and translates well.


Ladytron, a.k.a Maxine Manchester, from Alan Moore and Travis Charest’s  WildCATs run. I actually started sketching this last December, but only got interested in it again only recently.

Love Machinery, Twenty

"Hulk liked 'The Wolverine!' No Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool! And Hulk liked that part where..."
"No spoilers, bub!"
UXM 183. I remember being ten and just loving this. It's the Kitty-Peter breakup issue. I started looking for back issues after this.

"Well! A Superman-Batman movie. Congratulations. But tell me, will you be killing enemies together?"
"F*@k you. And Batman doesn't kill enemies, he just won't save them!"

Buffet! I grilled my own bacon-wrapped stuff and mushrooms, and ate tempura. And had these for dessert. ‪#‎graphicfoodpic #cakefiend

Hellshock. I vaguely remember the story. I think he's a half-angel. Jae Lee's art used to be rough and scratchy, but it later evolved into a cleaner, more elegant style.

Controversial Avengers issue. Mockingbird lets the Phantom Rider--who drugged and assaulted her--fall to his death. Back when superheroes resorting to killing (or letting enemies die) was a big deal.

Tangled Web. Creators like Duncan Fegredo, Paul Pope, Jim Mahfood, Zeb Wells and Ted McKeever interpret Spidey and his amazing friends (and foes).

Deathblow-Wolverine, 1997. Fantastic, intricate art by Aron Wiesenfeld. Where is that guy?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vivid velocity

Zooming just a little past clichés and stock situations, “Turbo” is clean and cute, an adequate cartoon about pursuing and achieving dreams. The underdog dreamer this time is a snail, Theo, who becomes the unstoppable super-speedster Turbo (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). He hopes to compete in a car race that’s never had non-human contenders (and victors) before.
“Turbo” is a feelgood caper; it keeps us interested in its quirky characters, even when we’ve seen them in other incarnations countless times before. The snail as the ultimate underdog works; we get to witness their “culture” and how they’ve just accepted their place in the food chain. Turbo getting powers (primarily super-speed and light projection) makes the impossible dream attainable, but it requires everyone to help out. Achieving this particular goal needs the participation of his brother Chet (voiced by Paul Giamatti), the human brothers Angelo and Tito (Luis Guzman and Michael Peña), and other characters.

There’s sibling revelry, expectedly, even after the more sensible siblings attempt to convince their younger, optimistic brothers to abandon their “foolhardy” ventures. It’s very predictable, but it’s still quite enjoyable; a bright and playful palette is used, and character designs vary and coexist well. Also, the aging race car champ Guy Gagne (Bill Hader) is an amusing, super-competitive rival and a nice foil to the humble and hyper-fast Turbo.

Stunning wildlife encounters vivify ‘North America’

(Published July 29, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Traversing the vast continent, the Discovery miniseries “North America” captures rare and stunning footage of wildlife and environmental imagery.

The seven-episode series required the dispatching of several camera crews across North American tundras, forests and deserts, where they discovered unexpected animal behavior and other natural occurrences along the way.

“We wanted a real diversity of habitats,” said Christine “Chris” Weber, Discovery’s VP of development and production for specials, during a teleconference.

“The shows are really divided by habitat, so there’s a show that’s based primarily in the desert, one that’s on the coastline, one that’s on the plains, and one that’s on the mountains. So it was looking for animals that have really adapted to those environments,” she explained.

The “North America” team set out to look for new stories “iconic” to the continent. “We want big animals like bears and bison, but also small animals,” she said. “There are some wonderful stories about spiders, prairie dogs and humming birds!”

Narrated by actor Tom Selleck, “North America” was conceptualized five years ago, Weber revealed. “We do a lot of outstanding coproductions with the BBC, but this one we’re doing on our own, so this is a real big deal for us,” she said.

Weber described the cinematographers as “a hardy bunch of people” because they’re often camping, and have to deal with extreme weather conditions and environments. The size of film crews varies but there are instances when there is just one cameraman.

Weber added: “In natural history, you don’t want to disturb the animals. You’re going to really difficult places. Sometimes it’s just a cameraman or a cameraman and an assistant, or a cameraman and a sound man, but they tend to be very, very small crews.”

It can also get dangerous; the crews were nearly attacked by bears. But another beast was harder to capture on film.

Weber related: “The bison ended up being very difficult because [the crew] wanted to film it ‘in rut,’ and that’s a time when the bison all gather together and the males fight each other … they’re these huge animals that aren’t looking around them when they start fighting. So [that’s] a fun thing … it’s a wonderful little sequence!”

She hopes viewers will also watch unused, valuable footage posted on the Discovery website ( She stressed the importance of the miniseries: “[The most important things are] protecting the habitats of these animals and how remarkable and well-adapted they are to this extreme continent … the land is so spectacular that we want to save it for our children and grandchildren so they can see it, too.”

("North America” airs Tuesday, 8 p.m., on Discovery Channel.)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Monster Hunters

Monster Hunters. A temporary team of monster-slayers from the Alamat multiverse: Andoy (Skyworld), Basilio (Trese), Ben (Dark Colony), Nikolai (Dhampyr), and Kadasig (Underpass). I imagine them facing hordes and hordes of creatures and winning. 

Anonymous, Autonomous

I’m glad that Blogger is detecting spam automatically. When I started blogging in 2005, it was still okay to leave the comments section open for anonymous feedback. A few months into it, that’s when various unwanted comments flooded in—totally unrelated to topics, sometimes with suspicious links—just minutes from each other.
I activated the setting preventing anonymous posters from commenting. It did stop the bot-slaught, but eventually, anonymous people with Blogger accounts would comment, sometimes troll, and leave links. I activated the comment notification, which gave me the option to screen all of them, and identify potentially dangerous ones.

I’m okay with people commenting about what’s posted here as long as they don’t do it anonymously, or hide behind a fake name. I have no time for attention-deprived name-callers. So yeah, I’m glad Blogger’s automatically detecting potentially bad comments now, and informing me about it.

Another thing about blogging. I post my published newspaper articles here, as mentioned before, because they add a formal tone to my blog. Some may wonder why, when I could easily post links to the site? Well, why not? I’m okay with showing them here. I wrote them; they’re by me. I’ve been doing it since 2007. Sometimes I wish I started posting them even earlier. I’m confident enough to show them.

At least I’m not posting something that’s reposted ad infintum by other bloggers. That exact same thing, press releases fed by film, TV, or food companies, mirrored all over the blogosphere--I'm not into that. Well, that’s blogging for some of today’s online practitioners for you. I wish they’d put their spin on them, give them a creative take, instead of just presenting them as is. But that’s totally their prerogative. 

Thursday Whatchamacallem

Me, circa 1994. #ihadhair #freefromschool

Roles and Real Life

The week or so that was, compiled.

July 15. Galing pala magdrowing ni Tom Rodriguez. Wow.
July 18. Just thankful. For a good life. For generous people. For being given opportunities to do things that I want.
July 18. "There are people I’ve met that I admire for a zillion different reasons, but I don’t have any desire to become real close friends with them, even when there have been opportunities that allow that. I can honestly say that I’ve outgrown many of my school friends, but I still respect them and wish them well, even when I don’t feel particularly concerned with them anymore. I suppose that’s pretty normal; my priorities, like theirs, have changed, just like our personalities and some predilections. I still feel a kinship with others who share my interests, in the fields I’m immersed in, but I’m okay with just being acquainted with them." I wrote this for my blog in 2007. I still feel this way.
July 20. Finally, Shatterstar's true origin revealed. I like it.
July 20. Impromptu room-cleaning yielded two plastic bags worth of garbage: leaflets and brochures I kept for some reason, pieces of paper with names and landline numbers that I don't recognize, and folded toy packages. Found interesting notes describing events that I don't remember. And a marked 1996 calendar. Reminded me of long, solitary days before I met the Internet.
July 21. Facebook Graph Search, I want to take the tour but you still won't let me. C*cktease.
July 21. Strange that religious articles appear in Google News' entertainment section. Religion or faith should have its own section. I don't want it intruding in my feed, and those religions' followers probably wouldn't want their articles to be classified under entertainment.
July 21. Hmm. Hugh Jackman's played Wolverine six times in 13 years. That includes the cameo in First Class.

'Sofia the First' not your typical Disney princess

(Published July 19, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Refreshingly contemporary, “Sofia the First’s” lead character has no wicked stepparents or stepsiblings—although she had to deal with a jealous new stepsister at first.

And, unlike other Disney princesses, Sofia is really a young girl who suddenly becomes part of a royal family after her mom marries a kind king.

“The modern twist was the blended family,” said writer and executive producer Craig Gerber during a phone interview. “When Disney Junior came to me, they wanted a show about a young princess.”

The character’s modern family was inspired by Gerber’s own familial history. “[My] parents divorced when I was young,” he said. “They both remarried so I grew up with stepparents and stepsiblings. I thought it would be really interesti  ng to tell a Disney fairy tale about a young girl who becomes a princess and winds up with a stepfamily—and how they would all get along.”

Sofia first appeared in the well-received TV-movie “Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess.” There was a brief guest appearance by classic Disney character Cinderella.

Other previously seen characters like various animals and magical beings from Disney’s old films, who also appeared in the movie, will be in the “Sofia the First” series.

“It’s actually one of the most exciting things about the show for me—we created this world where practically any of the Disney characters could show up,” Gerber enthused.
Princess Sofia’s rags-to-riches tale introduces the lead character to a variety of relatable situations that will define her unique qualities. “One of the fun things about Sofia coming from a village and not a castle is that she’s more inclined to ask why there are certain rules,” Gerber said. “Sofia’s a very independent thinker, raised by her mom to be independent. She will remain ultimately true to herself, even as she encounters situations where she may feel she has to change how she acts or who she is.”

Although Sofia was a “school-age princess” and role model, she was not just for girls, he said. “I think everyone has been pleasantly surprised that a lot of boys in the United States have tuned in to watch the show. It’s very popular with girls, but there are also a lot of boys watching [because] we set out to tell stories that both boys and girls would enjoy.”

Gerber is confident that the new series will also be well-received in Asia and will stand out in the competitive cable cartoon arena.

“We try to tell an emotionally engaging story that is both entertaining and has a positive message for young viewers. As a parent with children, I have watched a lot of television aimed for a young audience and I always appreciate a show that has [that]. Telling these stories with a fantasy setting makes it a very unique experience!” he said.

(“Sofia the First” premieres July 20, 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., on Disney Channel and will air in September on Disney Junior.)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Pacifying ‘Pacific’

Fantastic behemoths punching and tearing each other apart have long been seared into viewers’ minds, but a fresh, effects-layered take makes it differently awe-inspiring. Godzilla-esque monsters wreak havoc but are challenged by ginormous robots in “Pacific Rim,” a fun and unrelenting summer flick directed and co-written by Guillermo del Toro.
The unprecedented attacks of otherworldly creatures dubbed Kaiju devastate parts of the planet (including Manila!), but are eventually stifled by the Jaeger robots, created and unleashed by a unified humankind. The Jaegers are commonly piloted by two partners, intensely trained and telepathically bonded. But sharing consciousness can be a serious problem when even one of the operators harbors repressed traumas. Raleigh (Charlie Hunnam) and Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) are survivors of harrowing ordeals, but must overcome their troubles if they are to defend mankind during the latest Kaiju onslaught.

As with previous del Toro films, “Pacific Rim” is visually spectacular; the filmmaker’s always been very specific with his vision and imagery, but moreso now when he’s allowed to create even bigger spectacles. The colossal fisticuffs are exciting, exceptionally choreographed and jaw-dropping (no hyperbole). 

But even when the humans take a back seat to the thunderous clashes, they’re actually still well-developed, if predictable. Hunnam, Kikuchi, Idris Elba (as the human fighters’ leader), Robert Kazinsky (as the arrogant brute), and Charlie Day (as a hyperactive scientist, who’d have thought?) stand out and are cohesive with the bigger, effects-flavored scenarios.

And “Pacific Rim” deserves a similarly epic sequel, hopefully one that has better-looking Jaegers with more distinct weaponry, and less predictable human drama. For now, it’s worth watching repeatedly, as it’s easily an escapist, fantastically realized and conflict-heavy world, perhaps your childhood fantasies coming to vivid and stunning life.  

Angry Axman

An old pencil drawing of my character, originally illustrated on 11" X 17" vellum. Drew this in April, 2000.

True love redux

Still tightly written and enlivened by snappy dialogue, the romantic drama “Before Midnight” follows the tradition set by predecessors “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset,” also directed by Richard Linklater and costarring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

Still “minimalist” and quotable, it intimately unloads the psyches of older lovers Jesse (Hawke) and Celine (Delpy), and we get to see how they’ve progressed, several years after the 2004 sequel. Much has changed, and it’s especially elating to see both characters reach a significant turning point once more. Delpy and Hawke are aging beautifully, now playing dutiful and somewhat weary parents.

Co-written by the three frequent collaborators, “Before Midnight” treads both tranquil and disconcerting paths; we get to listen to Jesse and Celine's enlightening talks about hopes, fears, and heartbreaking moments, years after getting together and having children. The lovers have grown tremendously together, their momentous conversations recapping their lives so far, and hinting at where they’re headed. And we care for them even more.

It’s not for the uninitiated, but it’s talky—actually, it’s dialogue-rich enough for casual viewers to become acquainted with the two characters. But it’s not a standalone film, and will be appreciated more by those familiar already with the enduring and growing relationship of Jesse and Celine.

Stylish freebooting

Mostly subdued but oddly alluring, Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” recalls the real-life burglaries committed by chic teens, who broke into several unguarded celebrities’ homes and helped themselves to various expensive belongings. Fresh-faced Israel Broussard and enigmatic Katie Chang play the inseparable Ring-leaders, complemented quite nicely by Emma Watson, who plays their similarly daring accomplice. It’s almost surreal in its realness, but also strangely cathartic, even when the looters aren’t likeable, or worth caring about.

Julie and Ethan, 2004

(I watched "Before Midnight" a few days ago. I'm really glad to see the old characters again. Here are my old exclusive interviews with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for PDI's Entertainment and Super sections. Time flies! I edited the Ethan one for length, by the way.)

Julie Delpy: I'm a very strong, independent woman
| November 02, 2004 |
Byline: Oliver M. Pulumbarit, Contributor

FRENCH actress Julie Delpy has appeared in a few Hollywood endeavors such as "Three Musketeers" and "An American Werewolf in Paris," but she has opted to do relatively smaller art house films that do the rounds in festivals all over the world.''

She has garnered acclaim for her roles in Krysztof Kieslowski's "White" ("Blanc") and Agnieska Holland's "Europa Europa," and continues to be involved in as many facets of her artistic career as she possibly can.

In a recent telephone interview with Inquirer Entertainment, she discussed her involvement in the Richard Linklater romantic film "Before Sunset," the sequel to the 1995 film "Before Sunrise," in which she starred with Ethan Hawke. The new movie explores the bittersweet reunion of two strangers who fell in love in the span of a day nine years ago.

This time around, Delpy, who is single in real life, shares co-writing duties with the director and her co-star. This shared responsibility has, she claims, helped the strong-willed character Celine become easier to relate to.

"We made it kind of a joke in the film that the single woman is living alone with her cat," says Delpy. "The work was to put it together. Basically, I wrote her so there's so much of myself in her. But I can never be an environmentalist. I never can understand, and stand, the corruption of the world's politics.

"Basically, I'm like Celine because I'm a very strong, independent woman," she adds. "I'm financially stable. But the truth is all my girlfriends can relate to her because I wrote her with them as inspiration, too."

Being reunited with Linklater and Hawke is a very comfortable experience, since the three of them have formed a sturdy rapport with their prior collaborations. The trio last worked together on the surreal animated flick "Waking Life" in 2001.

"We're such good friends," she offers. "That is just pure fun. We basically have fun filming. I loved working with those guys again."

And yes, she considers her talented co-star charming off-screen as well as on-screen, which made for a renewed working chemistry.

"Ethan's really a wonderful person, a very laid-back guy. I'm hanging out with him a lot lately in New York. He's a lovely guy. We laugh a lot!"

The tight, intricate script of "Before Sunset" didn't allow for any improvisation, she reveals. "There are no cuts a lot of the time. There can never be any improvisation, because if you're looking for words, they'll see that. We couldn't f-k around with it. There's timing to consider. We had to work really hard to make something mundane like dialogue really exciting."

Julie has lived in Los Angeles for over a decade now, as opposed to online information that she has lived in New York since 1990. But the 34-year-old actress, who spoke English fluently with nary a hint of any European accent, admits she did study film for a few years in New York. Performing and being involved in the creative process came naturally for her, because her childhood was deeply steeped in the arts.

"My parents are theater actors, so when I was 12, I put out my picture for auditions. Then, (director) Jean-Luc Godard hired me in France for "Detective." People started noticing and called. Directors from France, Spain, and from all over Europe wanted to work with me."

She has learned so much from these various filmmakers that she was inspired to make short films herself, including "Blah Blah Blah" in 1995 and "Looking for Jimmy" in 2002.

"I like directing," she claims. "I have trained at the New York University Film School. It's one step further than acting. I enjoy picking the locations and songs. Editing is the sum part; that's my favorite [in the whole process]. Directing isn't such a big step. It's like working with a bigger team than when you're acting."

Julie also surprises audiences with a soothing singing voice in "Before Sunset.” She has three songs included in the soundtrack. She has released a self-titled album that she has been promoting in Europe since early this year.

"It's soft pop-rock. I didn't expect to get signed. It's just very fulfilling. It's more immediate than when you write a script, [because] you have to wait for financing. I started writing my songs, picked up my guitar and started singing for my friends and myself. I guess it came from a need to express myself more. It's a more personal, intimate kind of quest."
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Super! Exclusive interview with Ethan Hawke

(Oct. 23, 2004 From Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Byline: Oliver M. Pulumbarit, Contributor

ETHAN Hawke has, slowly but surely, carved a name for himself as an actor's actor and an all-around creative person, and he shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Almost 20 years in the business has allowed him to hone his thespic abilities, as well as other talents in related aspects of his career.

But make no mistake, the man is no dilettante. Ethan has received nominations from his peers at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as the Academy Awards for his portrayal of a rookie cop in 2001's "Training Day." He has authored best-selling books, appeared in theater and television, and directed a feature film. And his creativity has, once more, found an outlet in the new romantic movie "Before Sunset," the sequel to 1995's lauded "Before Sunrise."

Ethan recently talked about his extensive involvement in a phone interview, arranged by Warner Brothers, while in Toronto, Canada. He shared that he co-wrote the screenplay with friends and frequent collaborators, director Richard "Rick" Linklater and co-star Julie Delpy. He found it easy to do because he had worked four times with the director before, and twice with the US-based French actress.

"I think when you work with people over and over again, it helps with your confidence," the 34-year-old actor says. "You feel respected that way; you feel more creative. It feels like we're in a band together. I actually haven't been in a band but it probably feels that way. I like Rick. It's great to work with him and Julie again."

He relates that doing the sequel is a justified move, an effort that critics and audiences abroad have been raving about. "I'm crazy about it a lot. We wouldn't have signed up again if we weren't crazy about each other. It's been unlike any other film I ever made. It's a unique experience."

Ethan has been associated with the archetypal Gen-X slacker in "Reality Bites,” but the return of his character Jesse has allowed him to infuse maturity and a natural progression into him. "Jesse is one-third me, one-third Rick, and one-third Julie's fantasy man. I guess I learned a lot to collaborate, because it's been easy to work with them," he says.

And yes, sassy Julie Delpy emits radiant charisma on- and off-screen, which makes her a trusted friend and colleague. "Absolutely. Julie is remarkably breathtaking. She's bright, she's crazy and fun. She's a unique person... Well, everyone's a unique person, but she's special. She's one of my closest friends," he offers. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Love Machinery, Nineteen

'90s Image sourcebooks. Angela was in the Spawn Bible. And the Wildstorm Universe was still creator-owned. Also, cool that Eliot Brown has technical drawings of bases and vehicles in most of these.
Deadpool and Warpath. Have yet to free them from their "prison." 2010 Xmas gift.

"We were kind of in this together, against the world. Everybody was so unsupportive of Joss. He had never directed anything before, he didn't know camera angles, and we had a crew that was terribly unsupportive. I remember thinking 'You jerks, you're going to be really sorry.'" --Sarah Michelle Gellar on the early days of Buffy, Entertainment Weekly, 2003
Man of Steel objectified! Well, it's a Benes cover, so not really. He’s popping outta a cake during the bachelorette party, but it’s the women who are sexualized.

Nothing quite captures the coolness and attitude of the '80s X-Men like this John Romita, Jr. cover.
JLA-Avengers, 10th anniversary: Quicksilver and Flash
"Getting tired, Pietro? Try to catch up."
"Damn you and your Speed Force!"
Early 2000s avenging! The Avengers arrive at the lair of former X-foe Kulan Gath, an old wizard with a knack for transforming present-day cities into his Hyborean kingdom. The arc featured a new roster, with more women than men.

Corner of First and Amistad

Strange day updates, compiled.

July 14. Uncanny Avengers. Why is Captain America complaining about Wolverine eliminating the young Apocalypse? Didn't Cap and Iron Man offer him membership because he was a "samurai" who was willing to do what they couldn't, which is kill? Also, didn't Cap and the Secret Avengers kill some people for the greater good during the Ellis run? No continuity. Argh. ‪#‎capisajerk ‪#‎no616continuity
July 14. Weird dream. I ended up as a cooking contest finalist somehow, but the dream stopped just as I was about to reverse-engineer a strawberry pie and make my own. Felt scared because I really don't know how to cook.
July 14. Man. Cory Monteith. I'm shocked and saddened. Will miss him, and his unique energy and charisma, a lot.
July 14. Sad that there's no endgame for Finchel, but even sadder that lovers Cory and Lea had to part ways for real.
July 15. Been unfriending and unfollowing people. Feels liberating. 

Sketch Undoodled

From my ancient sketchpad. Drew this in 1990. Teenage WTF-ness.

Slow the Circles Down

Seasons going round and round, et cetera.

July 9. I need a drink. And pizza.
July 9. Aaaand there's a downpour. Great.
July 9. Nauwi sa luncheon meat ang craving. Pwede na... for now.
July 11. Finally ate a few slices of pizza earlier. Tasted meh. Anyway, I got the usual Bodhi combo meal at the mall. The viands were fakemeat asado and nuggets with rice, plus pancit. Found out later that my mom bought me the exact same thing.
July 12. My Husband's Lover. After much eyerolling at the characters--which are quite likeable, by the way--I was pleasantly surprised at the sudden turning point. Finally. That's more like it.
July 12. Pacific Rim. So much fun! Glad that Charlie Hunnam's transitioning nicely to the big screen. And Charlie Day as a science geek! Who'da thunk?
July 13. MHL. Applause. Now we'll see if they have stories left. Be a shame if they don't milk it.
July 13. Assorted Miniatures: Krackel>Hershey's Milk Chocolate>Mr. Goodbar>Special Dark. But I'll eat them in any order.
July 13. Sometimes plagued by self-doubt, but I believe enough in my art to say "f*ck it, I'm doing it!"

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Loving and Living

Psychic Love! Drew this on the back cover of a blank variant yesterday. 

As ‘Apprentice Asia’ winds down, Filipino marketer still in top 5

(Published July 10, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit
“The world is looking at Asia and the show is helping bring out some really great people,” said Mark Lankester, one of the advisers on “The Apprentice Asia.”

The CEO of Tune Hotels Group was at the press viewing event of the latest episode held at Dillinger’s Greenbelt last Wednesday.

Describing the talent in the Philippines as “absolutely first-class,” Lankester is “humbled” by Filipino contenders Jonathan Yabut and Celina Le Neindre: “I think both Jonathan and Celina have represented your country remarkably!”

Celina and Jonathan
(Photo by Oliver Pulumbarit)
Twenty-seven-year-old Yabut, an award-winning marketer, has made it to the Top 5. Le Neindre, a 30-year-old food and beverage consultant who was in the final six, was “fired” by magnate Tony Fernandes, the group CEO of AirAsia, in last week’s episode.

Recalling chores he had to do before shoots, Yabut likened “The Apprentice” to college. He kept himself visible and competitive during the game: “I did [verbalize] that I wanted to be project manager but it was edited out … everyone’s strategy is to stay under the radar, but if you watch my performance, I never settled for third or fourth person position; I’m confident always being the right-hand guy.”

Le Neindre, who worked as a commercial model and waitress before starting her pasta bar business, said that getting past the testing and casting process required more than smarts.

“I think people were looking for that passion, that fire that you have, and whether you’re book-smart or street-smart, when you have that drive, you can make it,” she said. “Everyone was above average, for sure.”

“And you need to have a story,” Yabut added. “For example, you’ve got the girl (Celina) who’s got beauty and brains, who rose from the [ranks] and worked her way up. I think that shone the whole time she was there.”

“I don’t come from a rich family,” Le Neindre said. “My modeling paid for my studies. It paid for culinary school, where the tuition is almost P1 million a year.”

“We shot the whole series in 35 days, nonstop—no Saturdays or Sundays,” Lankester recounted. “[The contestants] woke up at 5 every morning. So everyone was tired. Sometimes your judgment calls and strategies can be a little bit flawed. But that’s the whole idea, to put you under a lot of stress, to see if you perform well [nonetheless].”

“The Apprentice Asia” is a spin-off of the successful US reality game show starring business luminary Donald Trump. Contestants vying for the apprenticeship strictly had “zero contact” with the outside world for the duration of the shoot. Those who fail at certain tasks are “fired.” Episodes of the Asian show were shot in Malaysia and Singapore early this year.

“We ourselves are learning … it’s a little bit different from what you see in the United States version,” Lankester said. “For Season 2, we are casting a wider net. I’m confident you’ll find people coming from Cambodia, Laos and so on … We’re getting the right mix. The key is, the producers have to make it entertaining [while keeping it] real.”
The Filipino contestants hosted the viewing party after the dinner. Episode seven also aired on AXN the same night. In the episode, Yabut and Le Neindre were on opposing teams assigned to redesign the uniforms of AirAsia flight attendants and other employees.

Le Neindre enthusiastically conceptualized most of her team’s proposed uniforms, but the group lost after some of the designs were criticized as “old-fashioned.” She was seen on the verge of tears shortly before she was “fired.”

After the screening, she revealed that it was the first time she watched the episode. Despite remembering her initial disappointment, she expressed appreciation for the “Apprentice” experience. “After watching it, I respected myself more,” she said.

(“The Apprentice Asia” airs on Wednesdays, 9 p.m. and 11:50 p.m. on AXN.)

Grand Entrance

"Be my all-American boy tonight." Steve Grand is an out country artist, singing the song from the perspective of a gay guy. It's hardly anything new, as the Indigo Girls and Rufus Wainwright have sung about their gay experiences before. But it's still honest and brave, and a very good song.

Blogging, Recapped

I’ve been rereading my old blog entries from years back. I find it fascinating to have opened myself enough to speak about a number of things I felt passionate about. When I started in the mid-‘00s, each of the blogs I discovered and frequented had a unique, insightful tone; they were alternately analytical and confessional, inspiring enough to make me start sharing about my life and my interests.

Over the years, I’ve read some inspiring stuff by peers. We all had to adapt to shifting formats, changing trends. But gradually, people stopped updating. Only a few of those that I followed still continue with writing enlightening posts. I assume people got busy with work, or are enjoying their lives more fully that documenting it online isn’t as important a priority anymore.

Fast-forward to 2013. I still write for my blog, although what I do now are the exclusive movie reviews and micro-commentaries on stuff I’ve accumulated over the years. I compile status updates from elsewhere, too. It’s for myself, mostly, to remember how I’ve felt over some topics, or just to remind me of things I've seen or wondered about. The more concise updates serve their purpose, but I do periodically miss the longer, more personal blog entries where you could elucidate and be eloquent.

I also repost my published articles, which occasionally add a formal tone to my blog. These are usually from the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Entertainment section. I do TV reviews and interviews for the paper. And speaking of credentials, I’ve been contributing to PDI for over 11 years now. I spent my first six years writing mostly movie reviews before I became exclusively assigned to cover TV events. I also did film reviews for The Fortnightly periodical for almost a year (2011-12). Writing for publications keeps me on my toes, certainly, and I can honestly say that I keep learning new things about the rules of grammar and editing styles.

It’s changed radically over the years, but blogging is about my thoughts and feelings, stuff that’s about me or by me. It’s my space. It’s where I can vent, celebrate, rave and rant.

In recent years, “non-traditional media” practitioners have come out of the woodwork. A number of them are good, capable of writing their own articles and reviews, and I respect and admire them for that. But there are those blogs that are just awfully written. And for some, blogging is shilling, as more publicity-centric blogs have become platforms for company-fed materials. Well, to each his own; that’s how some people approach their journals.
Anyway, I’ll keep posting stuff by me, whether they’re writings or illustrations. I’ll post more personal, lengthier entries from time to time, as well. I draw the line at oversharing, though, and besides, TMI isn’t my style. I hope to elaborate on stuff that I haven’t yet in the history of my blog. Thanks, and keep reading.

Friday, July 05, 2013


My thanks to Benjamin Canapi/Psycho Cow for an awesome LNA review. It’s been nearly a decade since it was released, but I’m glad new readers still connect with it and find it relevant.

 “Oliver Pulumbarit, the creator of LNA, has a unique form of storytelling that gets the job done. He eschews the chronological format to adapt a more freeflowing, almost stream-of-consciousness approach. While others have failed miserably using this technique (It’s not a form to be trifled with), Oliver makes it work… And if Oliver did not pull punches during LNA’s first run, he’s on all cylinders here. LNA:SDRR is more blatant, in-your-face, and brutal with its messages, and again, that’s a great thing.”

Bad Bromance

Spidey wants to shut Deadpool up. Deadpool likes asphyxiation. 

Memory Lane, Paths Just Taken

My side of cybervanity.

June 28. Creating a comic book from scratch is a challenge. Restraint is important. Speaking of which, I intend Psychic Love to be readable by both teens and grownups. No peen drawing this time. But there will be other things that will bother and/or entice.
June 28. Useful advice my late editor Louie Camino texted in 2003: "Think many times before using superlatives or being amazed. Just because you were invited doesn't mean you can't be critical."
July 1. Glad the typhoon didn't stay long. Just spent Sunday reacquainting myself with my bed. Haven't slept in ages.
July 3. Listened to Christmas songs while drawing.                             
July 3. Oh-no-he-didn't moment sa MHL: tinawag ni Eric si Vincent na "duwag na bakla."
July 4. Nice childhood memory: I walked from school to my house every afternoon. Good exercise. Did that for seven years. Got used to the sight of roadkilled frogs, though. Weird. Sometimes I borrowed books from the library, or comics from my classmates, and couldn't wait to get home to read them.
July 6. 'Pag nagna-narrate si Lally, naalala ko si Suresh ng Heroes. Masyadong obvious.

Witty gals on ‘The Talk’

(Published July 1, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Its five-woman roster meshing nicely after a few seasons together, “The Talk” has gotten livelier than ever, discussing timely topics from multiple perspectives. The nearly 3-year-old talk show’s hosts are a watchable and eclectic group, each with considerable knowledge and experience amassed through years of work in different fields of show biz.

'The Talk' hosts with Sigourney Weaver
Created by former “Roseanne” actress Sara Gilbert, “The Talk” has grown into a more cohesive show after a controversial lineup change in 2011. Gilbert currently hosts with reality show icon Sharon Osbourne, game show host Julie Chen, actress Aisha Tyler, and comedienne Sheryl Underwood.

Chen, usually the moderator, presents a chosen subject for a segment in a very clear and news magazine-esque manner. Chen has cohosted news programs and the US version of “Big Brother,” but she can be informal and open in sharing personal accounts.

Osbourne is often brutally honest but she’s also surprisingly relatable and tender when sharing thoughts on familial issues. Gilbert has a milder-mannered tone, but is nevertheless able to present insightful analyses and ideas to her cohosts.

Tyler and Underwood are valuable additions to the group, both animated and expressive when giving their two cents worth. Tyler was hilarious as E!’s “Talk Soup” host years back, and it’s gratifying to see her make her mark alongside other vocal and intelligent women. The sassy and self-deprecating Underwood, meanwhile, manages to turn more serious gab fests into hilarious discussions, often injecting her inimitable wit into conversations.

Unlike the hosts of “The View” (who’ve had resounding clashes among themselves), it’s obvious that “The Talk” hosts genuinely like each other. While not everyone has the same viewpoint, they’re all respectful enough to listen to each other’s opinion, however diverse.

They’re also supportive of each other; that’s been most apparent in recent episodes, such as when Gilbert talked about her engagement to her musician girlfriend Linda Perry. In another episode, the gal-pals “pressure” Underwood into removing her wig to reveal her gray hair. She immediately got hugs from Tyler and guest host Donny Osmond (and cheers from the others) for being a good sport.

The hour-long format allows short segments devoted to lifestyle expert guests and various beauty products, but the most interesting and empowering parts will always be the roundtable chats. The group took the bold step of appearing on the show sans makeup a couple of months ago, and dissected societal and Hollywood norms pertaining to beauty. And in a more recent episode, the hosts comically dressed up as stereotypes, which led to a spirited discourse about gender and cultural identity.

(“The Talk” airs Tuesdays to Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Solar News Channel.)

Equality Now

Yay, USA Supreme Court, for striking down DOMA and Prop 8! I hope the Philippines becomes similarly enlightened on gay marriage someday. The Anti-Discrimination Bill keeps getting blocked by bigots and is gathering cobwebs. Anyway, stuff I found last week: