Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dead men running

Spectral incursions and cartoony violence adequately mix in “R.I.P.D.,” starring Ryan Reynolds as a recently killed cop, Nick Walker, whose soul gets recruited into the Boston division of the Rest In Peace Department. It’s “Men in Black” meets “Ghostbusters,” as dead agents investigate cases involving monstrous spirits, and deal with them accordingly. Nick is partnered with a blunt, no-nonsense lawman from the 1800s, Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges).

The organization depicted in the movie feels a lot like the super-covert defenders of “Men in Black.” It’s a well-organized group that equips certain individuals with special weaponry and paraphernalia (including Indian food, yes), and goes after targets disguised as humans. It feels a whole lot like “MiB,” up to the odd couple/good cop-bad cop dynamic. The Nick-Roy pairing, however, relies heavily on the latter’s over-the-top ways. Reynolds plays a more subdued character, just when you thought he’d play the same goofy, wisecracking guy again from most of his movies.

The characters are somewhat interesting: Nick was an erring cop, although nowhere near as rotten as the obviously shady colleague (Kevin Bacon), and he’s guilt-ridden enough to consider rectifying his mistakes as a phantom. Roy is a take-charge fellow overly attached to his hat, and is vocal about a fetish. As a team, though, they go through the motions; it really is a simple plot with the usual stakes and underwhelmingly familiar scenarios.

A few things make it just okay. The humor connects, however shallow it may be (Nick and Roy’s earthly forms are good for a couple of laughs); the drama is just right (Nick’s attempts at revealing himself to, and his reunion with his widow); the melees are big and studded with effects (the climactic battles have a proper, semi-apocalyptic feel to them). “R.I.P.D.” offers nothing new, but it’s a decent enough time-killer, an average fantasy-actioner that has its own escapist bits.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Universal Upheavals

So Ben Affleck was picked to play Batman in the upcoming Superman-Batman movie. Like many people, I have my doubts about it. He wasn't very memorable as Daredevil 10 years ago. But we have no choice but to wait and see; who knows, maybe things will be different this time. Michael Keaton wasn't a popular choice back when it was first announced that he was cast for Tim Burton's live-action film. Let's just hope that Affleck will prove naysayers wrong, eventually.

Back in the comics, the revamped DC Universe has a new controversy. Just hours after the casting announcement, the new design for the iconic bounty hunter Lobo was released. Reactions were mostly disgust and confusion, or both. Lobo, who became known for being DC's foul-mouthed, savage space biker merc, is now sporting short hair, an average superhero physique, is wearing spandex and body armor, and is just generally cleaner. Frag. Twilight-ized, New 52'd. Maybe he's still foul-mouthed. We'll know when the book comes out. But the pretty boy look just doesn't work. Well, I don't feel like posting that picture. Except for some of the Bat-titles, this rebooted DC Universe really isn't that interesting to me. I miss the eclectic-looking DC that preceded this more style-unified realm. 

Generation X

Generation X, the Massachusetts Academy students: Synch, Penance, Husk, Jubilee, Chamber, Skin and M. Their teachers were Banshee and Emma Frost.

History’s ‘Vikings’ dispels misconceptions about legendary conquerors

(Published Aug. 26, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

“There’s a huge interest in Vikings at the moment … it seems that [they] are in the zeitgeist and everybody’s curious about their culture,” said “Vikings” creator, writer and executive producer Michael Hirst during a phone interview.

The scripted History Channel series partly aims to dispel the myths and misconceptions about Viking life by using their perspective, according to Hirst, whose previous writing credits include the period drama series “The Tudors” and the film “Elizabeth.”

“There were many prejudices I wanted overturned and challenged,” he said. “I wanted to show that Vikings had a deep, complex and interesting culture.”

Vikings sailed from their homelands in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) to raid distant coasts around 700 A.D. The nine-part series shows them as more than just conquerors and pillagers.

“Everyone thinks of them as terrible, terrifying raiders from the North who killed and plundered without conscience— that picture of them was painted by hostile witnesses,” Hirst revealed. “In other words, what we think we know about the Vikings came from the Christian monks, who wrote about them and who had every reason to attack their paganism and to exaggerate their faults.”

During his research, Hirst was “astonished” to discover their unique traits: “They were a much more democratic society than the Saxons, the Franks or other societies at the time. Their attitude toward women was positively enlightened. Women could divorce their husbands. They could own property. They fought beside their husbands, brothers and sons. They could rule!”

Casting the legendary Viking Ragnar Lothbrok was difficult, but producers found the perfect actor in former underwear model and Australian celebrity Travis Fimmel.

“[Ragnar] is not a conventional hero,” Hirst clarified. “He’s an intelligent and thoughtful man. I wanted him to have that stillness and depth, which I feel is true to the Scandinavian character. We didn’t get anywhere. And one day, just as we were getting desperate, Travis sent a tape of himself that he made in his kitchen in Australia. He didn’t pretend he was a Viking. He didn’t overact. He read the scene absolutely intelligently … I’m proud of the choice we made.”

Describing the “Vikings” actors as a “truly wonderful cast of people,” he explained that they had to prepare extensively, and were given the option to know more about their roles.

“They had to learn to row … they had to work out. They had to train with weapons. Some of them already had an interest in Vikings, and some of them were Vikings. We cast quite a lot of Scandinavian actors. It’s nice to have the real thing. Immersing themselves in Viking culture was up to them. My research material and books are available in my office. They could grab what they needed. Some of them visited sites from the show, so there was real immersion.”

Hirst was given the freedom to elaborate on Ragnar’s exploits while reconciling them with historical research: “[History said,] ‘We trust you, but we understand it’s a drama as well. This is not a documentary.’”

(“Vikings” will air Sept. 29, 10 p.m. on History.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

X-Men, Circa 2002

The Xavier Institute teachers: Cyclops, Beast, Jean Grey, Professor X, Emma Frost, Xorn and Wolverine. The school expanded to teach more young mutants, and the faculty had to deal with students abusing a power-boosting drug, ruthless villains like Cassandra Nova, and a scandalous (astral) affair. 

Weather, Whether

Recent thoughts.

Aug. 15. Kick-Ass 2. Shocking and funny. Faithful to volume 2 of the comics, save for a few major changes.
Aug. 15. Gay prisoners wore pink triangle badges to identify them in Nazi concentration camps, as homosexuals were considered felons in the 1930s and 1940s. It's scary that being gay now in Russia, or just being supportive of them, comes with a heavy price. They're being rounded up because of some hateful anti-gay laws. What the hell is going on in that country.
Aug. 15. MHL. There've been episodes where I just go, "boring, boring, ugh, nothing's happening." And then there's tonight's episode. Holy $#!+!!
Aug. 15. Discovered that Milli Vanilli beat the Indigo Girls in the Grammys' Best New Artist category in 1990. Hmm.
Aug. 17. Getting used to friends asking if I fell asleep while watching a movie. When I squint, my eyes look closed, just horizontal lines with lashes, especially from the side. My seatmate Wanggo thought I was asleep during the first part of last night's movie. But no, it was a creepy film, and I was wide awake, even though I really lacked sleep. #scarymovie #verafarmigawasawesome #squinting
Aug. 17. Maganda yung pelikula pero panay ang bulungan, dinig na yung kuwentuhan, sasabayan pa ang mga character magsalita. O kaya, OA na pagtili at pagcomment, di pa makuha sa sitsit.
Aug. 19. Stormy Monday. I have plans, but I dunno how the day will go. Anyway, stay safe, fellow Pinoys.
Aug. 21. Still raining. Cities still immobilized. Hope it ends already and doesn't happen again any time soon. Despite the rain, though, I'm glad things are comfortable at home.
Aug. 22. Flashbacking to college, to the times when I had no choice but to wade in flood waters just to get home. Man. That weird feeling of getting parts of your body submerged, then drying as you get stuck in horrendous traffic. I don't miss it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

'Louie': Free-flowing, scathing hilarity

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

Not a traditional, feel-good sitcom, “Louie” is the acclaimed half-hour comedy series created by and starring former “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” writer Louis C.K.

C.K., whose actual surname Szekely is pronounced “seekay” in Hungarian, brings his uniquely scathing and disarming wit to the show about a divorced stand-up comic raising two daughters in New York.

The comedian, apart from portraying a more problematic version of himself, also writes and edits the show, giving the similarly named comedian character a lot of familiar, even bizarre situations that aren’t always inspired by C.K.’s own experiences.
Several self-esteem issues and relationship foibles form the backbone of the series’ first season. A somewhat disenchanted Louie attempts to date again, but for one reason or another, things don’t work out for him. It’s the opposite of his character’s status quo in his short-lived, adult-oriented sitcom in 2006, “Lucky Louie.”

But this current show lets C.K. cut loose and experiment, wryly tackling topics such as sex, politics, racism and religion. Its darkly comic situations are sometimes bookended by his stand-up routines made exclusively for the show.

Through these short but effective bits, the comedian gets to examine and dissect everything from the minutiae of home life to his health issues, the self-deprecation and sharp observational tone consistently inspiring giggles. But C.K.’s humor almost always conjures up things to seriously think about, whether they’re stand-up routines or the situational parts.

And the heavier episodes of the first season easily stand out. In “Bully,” Louie gets intimidated by a teen thug, but later discovers disturbing reasons for his tormentor’s abrasive behavior. In another episode, “God,” it’s revealed that Louie unnecessarily carried extreme guilt back when he was a boy because of the misguided actions of a religion teacher.

Recurring guests like Ricky Gervais (as Louie’s odd, pranking doctor) and Pamela Adlon (who co-starred in “Lucky Louie”) keep some arcs running even though continuity isn’t always focused on (hence the personality inconsistencies of some characters). Other episodes benefit from the guest appearances of Matthew Broderick and “Smash’s” Megan Hilty.

Similarly accomplished comics like Joan Rivers, Robin Williams and Chris Rock eventually appear as themselves in subsequent seasons of “Louie,” subdued but sublime presences complementing C.K.’s unusual but welcome brand of hilarity.

(“Louie” airs Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m. on Jack TV.) 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Faith and Disaster

Members of a substitute JLA assembled by Batman, the telekinetic-empath Faith and the chaos-manipulating Major Disaster served during the Obsidian Age event and subsequently became part of the team’s main roster.  

Vigilante verve

Shocking, moving and funny, but not necessarily in that order, “Kick-Ass 2” is based on volume 2 of Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.’s violent comic book series. But one needn’t be familiar with it to appreciate this sturdily concocted sequel; it does make the experience better if viewers at least saw the first film. Then again, those who read the recent series will just as heartily appreciate the close adaptation, its major alterations still consistent with the established movie continuity.
The main movie character is way more likable than the comic version, largely because of Aaron Johnson, showing considerable growth and comfort as the now-giddy costumed vigilante. But Chloe Moretz gets to be even more likeable than when she first appeared as Hit-Girl, her breakout character a more endearing, well-developed teen this time. And Jim Carrey contributes well as Col. Stars and Stripes, looking strikingly similar to Romita’s drawings. Director-screenwriter Jeff Wadlow’s foray into comic book mythology shows promise; his laudable work on “Kick-Ass 2” augurs well for his next project, Marvel’s “X-Force.”

Big Barda

Formerly an outstanding member of Darkseid’s Female Furies, Barda eventually married Mister Miracle and joined the Justice League, and later, the Birds of Prey. 

Chilling contrivance

“The Conjuring,” directed by James Wan, is downright eerie and disturbing, reportedly based on supernatural events in Rhode Island in 1971: a family unknowingly moves into a haunted abode, unaware of its dark history before experiencing some blood-curdling occurrences. The horrified Perrons enlist the aid of renowned paranormal investigators, the Warrens, to identify and stop the manifestations.
Wan has better material to work with; it's certainly focused, unlike the somewhat laughable “Insidious,” and he’s helped enormously by a powerhouse cast that “The Conjuring” ends up a considerably more solid, more satisfying film. Yes, once you get past the title font and some creepy apparition designs that look heavily and unmistakably inspired by “The Exorcist,” it’s easier to appreciate it as a horror flick with its own merits. And despite the heavy reiteration of the supposed importance of Catholic rites and beliefs, it’s easy to get into the urgency of the story, thanks to a proper melding of toned-down effects and fine acting.

In that regard, Lili Taylor is tremendously helpful as the embattled Carolyn Perron, mother of five similarly shaken daughters—and they all react impressively to well-timed disturbances. Also giving necessary dimension is Vera Farmiga as the unyielding psychic Lorraine Warren, attuned to the unseen but still occasionally vulnerable. And “The Conjuring,” while sometimes derivative and quite predictable, succeeds as a substantial chiller, able to conjure up scares with simpler technical trickeries and just superb acting.

The film will be in Philippine cinemas starting August 21.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Uncanny Constellation

Shatterstar, Dazzler and Longshot, possibly the Marvel U’s strangest non-family.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Objectifixation, One

Love Machinery, but with a new name! Will make that a tradition, change the name of my hobby-related photo posts after every 20 uses.

"How do you like your new origin, Longshot?"
"It's insane, Mojo. Batsh*t, oedipal crazy. I love it!"

UXM 281. By Whilce Portacio and John Byrne. The Gold Team's roster included Storm, Jean Grey, Colossus, Iceman, Archangel, and eventually, Bishop.

Butterball! The super-invulnerable Initiative trainee eventually became an Avengers Academy student.

Rift by James Jean. Gorgeous paintings enhanced by metallic inks.

Relic from 21 years ago. Toad the Wet Sprocket's 'Fear.' Powerful album, gifted band.

Before the Ages of Apocalypse, M and X, there was the age of Kulan Gath. The Hyborean wizard transformed Manhattan into his barbaric kingdom, but was opposed by its semi-amnesiac heroes. I don't remember where my two original issues went (I think I swapped with friends), so I got these reprints.

To quote Hawkeye, "Oh, man! Not another alternate reality!" But the three-parter was a nice way to bring back the Avengers in 1998. Wanda resurrected Wonder Man in this issue. She wore the spandex-less costume on a regular basis after reality was restored.

"Two Marvel movies! Take that, Flash!"
"Quicksilver's gonna kick butt in the X-Men film, Cap."
"No, Cyclops, he'll be a star as an Avenger. And he won't be a mutant!"

Good jobs, okay job

40-something besties (Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) were seasoned watch salesmen, forced to start anew and try their luck at Google, where the best interns are given high-paying and secure jobs. It’s fish-out-of-water time again, but “The Internship,” despite its milking of generation gap jokes, manages to connect with its tried and tested duo, and the freshness of its chosen setting.

Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) are smooth-talking and passionate partners trying to fit in with a bunch of intelligent strangers, young men and a woman who can’t seem to form a cohesive team. With years of experience and tons of pop culture references, the older men motivate and transform the underdogs and misfits into a unified group, while fending off attacks from a condescending mega-nerd (Max Minghella).

Directed by comedy-honed Shawn Levy, “The Internship” replicates the two leads’ working rapport; as older brother-types this time, Vaughn and Wilson are rightly goofy and awkward, ably energizing a pretty typical script. Just as important are the quirky kids, among them the abused Yo-Yo (Tobit Raphael) and the antisocial Stuart (Dylan O’Brian). Rose Byrne enlivens her simple mentor-love interest role, but some of the memorable moments involve appearances by hilarious Will Ferrell and Rob Riggle. Still, Vaughn and Wilson have charm and synergy working for them, making them just right for the job.

Wild, wild, wet

This sequel to 2010’s “Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief” mostly leaves its predecessor’s attention to more momentous, revelatory moments behind to pursue a simpler, more action-focused tone. But it works just fine, as it’s still an important phase in the life of teen hero Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman). And a few new (if simpler) enigmas are still introduced.
In “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” the demigod child of Poseidon continues his training at the secret camp for mythical beings, now besieged by the first film’s antagonist. Percy and his close friends and fellow trainees Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) seek a mystical object that will repair their camp’s security system. The young heroes, however, are joined by Percy’s half-brother Tyson (Douglas Smith), an awkward cyclops that makes Percy question his place and title as the sole direct descendant of the old gods.

While the characters aren’t as intriguing as when they were introduced, “Sea of Monsters” nonetheless moves Percy’s saga forward. There are no appearances by Zeus or Poseidon, which helps in giving the teen characters a sense of independence, the presence of Dionysus (Stanley Tucci) and the centaur Chiron (Anthony Stewart Head) notwithstanding.

The plot is somewhat similar to “The Immortals,” in that there is a scheme involving the resurrection of a long-forgotten Titan. It’s actually an overused trope, the revival of an old power, but it’s decently executed, if toned down for the tween-teen set. Directed by Thor Freudenthal (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid”), the film has competent action scenes and effects; the teen demigod performs familiar and new feats, expected perks of being Percy, but he's a heavily unsung hero in this part.

This sequel isn’t earth-shaking, but it’s still adequately done, and leaves our curiosity piqued enough for the unraveling of the new puzzle next installment.

Mixed Metamorphosis

Status updates, et cetera. 

Aug. 5. Hmm. Older 12th Doctor. I wonder how different/similar the personality will be to the previous one.
Aug. 5. Roi Vinzon's MHL character better have a fitting comeuppance. Soon, I hope.
Aug. 7. Nice that Raven Simone and Ben Whishaw came out. The world really is changing; things were very different for celebrities just a decade ago. But sadly and shockingly, in Russia, bigots are now empowered, bullying and rounding up gay people and those who support them. Shame.
Aug. 8. I saw karting champ Marlon Stockinger at the gym a few days ago. Unless it's another guy wearing a shirt that says "Marlon Stockinger" on the back.
Aug. 11. Finally. Choppy net connection fixed, for good, I hope. That took weeks. I surprised myself, though; I kept patient. By my 26th call to the repair hotline, that's when I expressed my annoyance. Glad it's finally fixed.
Aug. 12. Change is good. I will embrace change. Not just yet. But soon.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Straightforward peek at homosexual heartbreak

(Published Aug. 2, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

GMA 7’s hit soap, “My Husband’s Lover” (weeknights, 9:30 p.m.), has all the familiar tearjerker trappings, but it’s in a decidedly unique position, sharply dissecting the dynamics of an unconventional love triangle.

Two manly guys represent the titular philandering husband and his paramour, recalling “Brokeback Mountain”-ish scenarios where the masculine gay dudes secretly get together behind their spouses’ backs. While it’s utterly tame in comparison when it comes to intimate scenes, MHL’s serial format allows it to tackle its sensitive topics in detail.

We get a straightforward, if sometimes cliché, recipe for homosexual heartbreak: Vincent (Tom Rodriguez) is a family man, married a decade to devoted Lally (Carla Abellana), with whom he has two kids. But he’s not entirely happy, as he’s secretly still in love with his recently resurfaced old flame, Eric (Dennis Trillo).

Vincent’s situation is painfully reflective of many real closeted gay men’s problematic lives. With a severely homophobic father (Roi Vinzon) and a demanding mother (Kuh Ledesma), it’s no surprise that he keeps his thoughts and predilection to himself.

The show’s gotten really interesting, especially now that Lally has discovered the lie and is dealing with it. Despite some eye roll-worthy and cheesy moments before getting to that point, there are many things that the series is doing right.

It has presented three, fleshed-out characters that you root for, at some point or another. Actually, the show has well-developed supporting figures that complement the beleaguered trio, as well. Lally was raised by a strong single mom (Glydel Mercado) after her father abruptly left for another woman. But a “mother of the year” award can just as easily be given to Eric’s mom and staunch ally (Chanda Romero), a liberated painter who kept dissuading the gay men from pursuing their affair.

It’s been well-acted, so far; Abellana’s grief is palpable, more so now that she’s on the warpath. Rodriguez is an astonishing revelation; he and Trillo share undeniable chemistry, just as there are sparks between him and Abellana.

The storytelling is also laudable. Images often seamlessly transition into each other: a wedding ring fades into a basketball ring; a crying Lally morphs into a broken doll in a flashback, and so on. And speaking of flashbacks, none is wasted, as every glimpse into the past has valuable parallels to the characters’ current predicaments.

The uneven part, however, is Abellana’s narration. Initially informative and emotional, it has become a robotic belaboring of the obvious in recent episodes. Also, the two overplayed songs— Ledesma’s “One More Try” and Jonalyn Viray’s “Help Me Get Over”— blare intrusively into most dramatic scenes that they’ve practically lost meaning, 30-plus episodes later.

Even so, an inevitable rapport has formed between viewers and characters. We feel exasperation for Vincent’s spineless and wishy-washy ways, but applaud him when he faces his truths. We sympathize with Lally, who now understandably feels inadequate. And we feel for Eric, who’s often starry-eyed, but keeps ending up a blubbering mess.

Whichever character you may side with, “My Husband’s Lover” is audacious, creatively presenting timely, piercing commentary on gay situations and societal biases. Let’s hope that it keeps exploring that opportunity—and its relatable trio—wisely.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Jet and Zuko

Jet and Zuko, Avatar’s rebel warrior and exiled prince, crossing swords.

Widely Read Reads

My articles very rarely land on this list, which is okay. But it's just cool that three of the most-read entertainment stories of the day (Friday) are mine, numbers 1, 3, and 5. Thankful.

You’re hired! Filipino wins ‘Apprentice Asia’

(Published Aug. 2, PDI-News)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

“You can never be too small to dream big.”

Jonathan Allen Yabut, the winner of the first season of “The Apprentice Asia,” posted this comment on his Facebook page Thursday morning, hours after his victory was announced in the final episode of the reality show that aired on cable channel AXN.
Yabut, an Economics graduate of the University of the Philippines, bested 11 other contestants from different Asian countries.

Jonathan Yabut and Celina Le Neindre (Photo by Riz
“The Apprentice Asia” is based on the American reality show featuring US mogul Donald Trump who searches for an appropriate apprentice, “firing” hopefuls who perform poorly at the tasks he assigns.

The 27-year-old product manager won a yearlong apprenticeship under AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes, the show’s “Donald Trump.”

“Looking forward [to] my first day with the big boss, Mr. Tony Fernandes,” Yabut said in the same post. “Got 14 days to go before my first day and I’m so excited!”

In the season finale, Fernandes chose Yabut over Andrea Loh Ern-Yu, a Singaporean lawyer.

Mark Lankester, CEO of Tune Hotels and one of the show’s advisers, praised Yabut for his conduct during a charity auction organized for AirAsia Foundation, which was shown in the same episode.

“This man is slick,” Lankester said. “This is a very different Jonathan … very, very impressive. This man is in it to win it.”
During the final deliberation, Fernandes said that choosing between the last two contenders was difficult.

“But on the balance of everything that has been put in front of me, seeing you perform, hearing your passion … Jonathan Yabut, you’re hired,” Fernandes said.

“The win is for the Philippines,” Yabut told the Inquirer in a phone interview yesterday. “This is for the Filipinos. It means that however humble your beginnings may be, you can aspire to be better.”

He is likewise proud to have been pitted against tough contenders. “I think that aside from Andrea, both Sam (Nallaraj, from India) and Alex (Bauduin, from China) could’ve been [my last competitor]. They were very deserving,” Yabut said.
Other Filipino participant

The other Filipino participant, Celina Le Neindre, was eliminated in the seventh episode. But Yabut was grateful for her presence, even when they competed with each other during certain tasks.

“Celina is the epitome of beauty and brains,” he said. “She’s very strong, she’s a go-getter. Her being a Davaoeño came into play. She’s a very strong and creative person.”
Le Neindre, a commercial model-turned-food and beverage consultant, was ecstatic about Yabut’s victory.

“I’m absolutely proud, not just because he’s Filipino,” she told the Inquirer in a separate phone interview. “I’m proud of his accomplishments. I share [the victory]. It’s unique to be able to contribute to the success of Filipinos. It’s amazing… he always credited me for the hard work I did.”

Jonathan Yabut (Photo by Riz Pulumbarit)
Yabut, the 2012 recipient of the Mansmith Young Market Masters Award, will be receiving a salary of $100,000 and will move to Kuala Lumpur in two weeks to start the apprenticeship under the aviation tycoon. He and the other “Apprentice Asia” contestants are currently working on publicity campaigns for AirAsia and Tune Hotels.

The first season of “The Apprentice Asia,” an original production of Sony Pictures Television, ran for 11 episodes. Both Le Neindre and Yabut were thankful to have been chosen to participate.

“It’s transformed me in many ways,” Le Neindre said. “I’ve learned so much. I think I’m a better-rounded person now. I have more drive and passion. I’m definitely going in that direction. It was a good opportunity to dream big.”

“It’s been 11 weeks of tasks,” Yabut said of the “tough” competition. “I was asked, would I do it again? No! It’s like 10 stressful years of corporate challenges compressed in 11 weeks.”

Yabut is very much appreciative of the experience and the show’s Asian viewers: “I think it’s nice that [apart from singing tilts], there’s a show like ‘Apprentice Asia’ and audiences have the social maturity to watch such an inspiring and different show.”

Karolina and Julie

Lucy In The Sky with Lightspeed.

Sensory Sensitivity

Things from the week or so that was.

July 25. Been dealing with a chest-rupturing cough and an on-again, off-again headache. Begone, sickness.
July 28. Well enough to work out again. Fueled by orange and calamansi juice.
July 30. Craving peanut better. And there's strawberry jam. Perfect.
July 30. Some of my best childhood memories: I had epic action figure scenarios, back when He-Man was kinda new. I remember enough stuff in the background at different times--my older brother playing his Duran Duran record, my older sister watching American movies on Beta, my younger siblings playing outside and eating ice candy. It wasn't always summer and sunny, but that's how I remember growing with, and being part of a big family.
July 31. Phoner rescheduled because of technical difficulties. Bummer. But my editor unexpectedly called and asked me to write breaking news about something else. Cool. I am now eating slices of cake (Happy Wedding Anniversary, Mom and Dad!). Chocolate and peach something something cakes. Yum.
Aug. 2. The Bodhi near my place just closed. It was there for over a decade. I'm gonna miss the affordable and tasty non-meat meals. It feels like the end of an era.

Filipino finalist wins ‘Apprentice Asia’

(Published Aug.1, inquirer.net)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

After competing for 11 weeks on “The Apprentice Asia,” Filipino product manager Jonathan Allen Yabut is hired.

Manila-based Yabut, 27, a University of the Philippines graduate, bested 11 other hopefuls from the region, concluding the debut season of the show inspired by the US reality program starring business luminary Donald Trump.

Declared the winner of an apprenticeship under AirAsia group CEO Tony Fernandes, the show’s version of Trump, Yabut competed with contestants from China, Singapore, and Malaysia, among others. He and entrepreneur-model Celina Le Neindre were the Filipino contenders. Le Neindre was “fired” in the seventh episode.

At a viewing event for the press earlier this month, Yabut recalled enjoying household chores behind the scenes, and described sharing food and appliances with other “The Apprentice” contenders similar to life in college.

As part of his strategy in the early episodes, he kept himself visible and competitive. “I did [verbalize] that I wanted to be project manager but it was edited out,” he said.
Yabut was the recipient of Mansmith Young Market Masters Award in 2012, recognized as one of the top seven Filipino marketers below 35.

In episode 11, Yabut was chosen over Andrea Loh Ern-Yu, a litigation lawyer from Singapore.

“I think I deserve it,” he said in the final episode before he was hired by Fernandes.