Archive for September 2011

REVIEW: No Other Woman   3 comments

“Ang mundo ay isang malaking Quiapo, maraming snatcher.”

Is September the official cheating month? After My Neighbor’s Wife last week, Star Cinema gives their obligatory infidelity drama of the year. This time, it’s Derek Ramsey and Cristine Reyes who plays husband and wife, only to be disturbed big time by Anne Curtis. Ram (Ramsey), a furniture designer,  is married to Sharmaine (Reyes) whose father still does not approve of him even if they are already married for years. He was contacted to be the supplier of a new high posh resort owned by the dad of Cara (Curtis).  What happened enxt is a whirlwind romance that featured a lot of kissing, name-calling, and even an act of poisoning.

The story was set up very nicely. It did not try to add some twist with regards to the storytelling and just presented the story directly. Like in any Star Cinema film, the lead characters always have a problem with any of the member of the family (this time, it’s the father) which served as the B plot back story on why the characters act in such manner. Fortunately, it worked here since the small plots served as real back stories that did not sound forced nor contrived. What I like about the film is that no one claims to be a saint. Everyone knows what they’re doing and that they’re just taking advantage of the situation given to them. The location of the film does look too posh (and costly), and it gave the director and the cinematographer some opportunities for very nice shots, which they took advantage.

Of course, people are gonna be raving about the lines. Oh boy, the audience is really receptive every time Carmi Martin throws her lines. The whole crowd is going crazy. Additionally, it’s the subtle hints that both Anne and Cristine give to each other that will end up in all local movie confrontation lists. In relation to that, the real star of the show is the cast. Derek Ramsey was physically (and emotionally) fit to play the role of Ram. Cristine Reyes was a bit hammy in her supposedly “shining moments” and the audience isn’t sympathizing with her. But she played the role good enough that it didn’t ruin my movie watching experience. Ultimately, it was the Anne Curtis movie. Everything about her screams the role she’s playing. This is an all time best performance from her, and I doubt she’ll be able to top this.

ALSO: The scene where both Cristine and Anne are in their bikinis beside the pool is already worth the admission price!

This is nowhere the best film of all time lists but for the camp factor alone, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this. Everyone will love to watch all the confrontation scenes over and over again. Plus, It’s Anne and Cristine in bikinis! Oh, and the story too. 🙂

Grade: B+

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Posted September 29, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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FASHION REVIEW: 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards   Leave a comment

Wow, TV’s biggest night is officially over. As we say hello the the new TV season (and goodbye to the previous one), the Emmys are the perfect transition from the former to the latter. I managed to do well with my predictions (15/25, then 20/25 if you count spoilers). I also won the Goldderby Emmy Prediction game! Yay for me! Anyway, here is my mandatory annual fashion recap. Last year, Dianna Agron was my top choice for Best Dressed. Let’s take a look at those who stand out from the red carpet for this year!

16. Kristin Wiig in Zac Posen

Wiig’s chocolate brown dress with a very plunging neckline is a very big improvement from her past two Emmy dresses. For once, she finally dresses like a movie star.

15. Sarah Hyland in Christian Siriano

Hyland who’s inside a brawling controversy (with Lea Michele’s fans) still looked awesome in this coral ensemble reminiscent of her “older sister”‘ Mila Kunis’s SAG dress.

14. Kate Winslet in Elie Saab

Winslet’s dress has a been-there-done-that feel and is reminiscent of her blue SAG dress in 2009. However, she still looks every inch a movie star in this red Elie Saab ensemble.

13. Cat Deeley in Monique Lhuillier

The Emmy nominee matches her dress with a messy do which compliments the patterns of this beautiful Monique Lhuillier creation.

12. Jennifer Carpenter in Tony Ward

First year after her divorce with co-star Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter sizzles the red carpet with a Tony Ward dress that highlight that leg of hers.

11. Aubrey Plaza in Juan Carlos Obando

Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza channels old school Hollywood in this white Juan Carlos Obando dress that is something that April Ludgate will never wear.

10. Christine Baranski in Zac Posen

After wearing a tux last year, Baranski plays more with her feminine side wearing this elegant Zac Posen outfit that is fit for an Emmy winner.

9. Gwyneth Paltrow in Pucci

This year’s winner of the love-it-ot-jhate-it award, I’m impressed by Gwyneth’s Pucci choice that works well in a laid back ceremony such as the Emmys.

8. Mireille Enos in Zuhair Murad

Enos took the time to change her sweaters and move on with this red Zuhair Murad ensemble that made her look like a TV star of her own rights.

7. Lea Michele in Marchesa

Sporting a new bangs and looking slick as ever, Lea Michele actually looks a lot better if she stays away from the train dresses she love to wear. This red Marchesa dress is a good example.

6. Connie Britton in Maria Lucia Hohan

Best Actress nominee Connie Britton shies away from her housewife role and is vavavoom in this red gown that impressively shows all her assets.

5. Anna Torv in Vera Wang

Looking like a combination of Cate Blanchett and Kate Hudson, Anna Torv’s black Vera Wang outfit looks very good on her. She could have chosen a better shoes, but I wouldn’t complain much.

4. Nina Dobrev in Donna Karan

Dobrev’s dress might be too busy for others but I guess that the overall aim of the dress is to highlight her figures, which it successfully showed.

3. Evan Rachel Wood in Elie Saab

Another one channeling old school Hollywood is Evan Rachel Wood who’s sporting a shorter do and is literally a glowing figure in this Elie Saab ensemble.

2. Sofia Vergara in Vera Wang

For once, Sofia did not resort to showing her cleavage and still looked every inch sexy in this coral Vera Wang dress.

1. Martha Plimpton in Zac Posen

And my choice for this year’s Best Dressed is Martha Plimpton. This shining shimmering red Zac Posen gown she wore will not give you any hint that she plays a white trash on a Greg Garcia show. LOL.

Now, who are your choices? I’d love to hear it. 🙂

Posted September 20, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, Lists

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PREDICTIONS: 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards   Leave a comment

Due to a very busy schedule, for the second year in a row, I wasn’t able to finish my individual assessment of all the individual acting categories for this year’s Emmy awards. Last week I got 2/4 in the Guest categories correctly guessing Gwyneth Paltrow and Justin Timberlake. I got Paul McCrane and Loretta Devine in my second position. Good performance, I must say. Anyway, here’s my prediction for the biggest night in television:

Drama Series: Mad Men

Spoiler: Boardwalk Empire

Drama, Lead Actor: Jon Hamm, Mad Men

Spoiler: Timothy Olyphant, Justified

Drama Lead Actress: Juliana Margulies, The Good Wife

Spoiler: Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Drama Supporting Actor: Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Spoiler: Josh Charles, The Good Wife

Drama Supporting Actress: Margo Martindale, Justified

Spoiler: Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire

Drama Writing:  “The Suitcase” Mad Men

Spoiler: “Always”, Friday Night Lights

Drama Directing:  “Pilot” Boardwalk Empire

Spoiler: “Winter is Coming”, Game of Thrones

Comedy Series: Modern Family

Spoiler: Parks and Recreation

Comedy, Lead Actor: Steve Carell, The Office

Spoiler: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Comedy, Lead Actress: Laura Linney, The Big C

Spoiler: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Comedy, Supporting Actor: Ty Burrell, Modern Family

Spoiler: Ed O’Neill, Modern Family

Comedy, Supporting Actress: Jane Lynch, Glee

Spoiler: Betty White, Hot in Cleveland

Comedy Writing:  “Caught in the Act” Modern Family

Spoiler: “Poker/Divorce”, Louie

Drama Directing:  “Halloween” Modern Family

Spoiler: “Live Show”, 30 Rock

Movie/Miniseries: Downton Abbey

Spoiler: Mildred Pierce

Movie/Miniseries, Lead Actor: Edgar Ramirez, Carlos

Spoiler: William Hurt, Too Big To Fail

Movie/Miniseries, Lead Actress: Kate Winslet, Mildred Pierce

Spoiler: Diane Lane, Cinema Verite

Movie/Miniseries, Supporting Actor: Tom Wilkinson, The Kennedys

Spoiler: Guy Pearce, Mildred Pierce

Movie/Miniseries, Supporting Actress: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Spoiler: Evan Rachel Wood, Mildred Pierce

Movie/Miniseries Writing:  Downton Abbey

Spoiler: Mildred Pierce

Movie/Miniseries Directing:  Mildred Pierce

Spoiler: Carlos

Reality/Competition: Top Chef

Spoiler: The Amazing Race

Variety, Music, or Comedy Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Spoiler: The Colbert Report

Variety, Music, or Comedy Writing:  The Colbert Report

Spoiler: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Variety, Music, or Comedy Directing:  Saturday Night Live

Spoiler: American Idol

What are yours? 🙂

Posted September 19, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, TV

REVIEW: Miss Universe 2011   5 comments

So yesterday is what they call the most beautiful day of the year. I wonder when the ugliest is. Anyway, Miss Universe is celebrating its 60th year this 2011, and there’s no other place better to celebrate it than in the wonderful city of Sao Paulo in Brazil. A record-breaking number of 89 delegates joined this year, and as we all know, Miss Angola’s Leila Lopes (pronounced as Lowps as in one syllable) was crowned of the title and serves as the first win for her country and the last black woman since 1999 when Botswana’s Mpule Kwelagobe nabbed the title.

Who didn’t giggle during the compeititon when the background voice said “their lifelong dream of fame…” and “Those friendships are put aside as they go head to head tonight…”. Way to promote women as fame whores and obsessed with titles. HAHAHA.

As fun as it was, there are really certain moments that stood out from above the rest in yesterday’s telecast. And none of them involved the actual competition. Here are some of them:

Croatia? Costa Rica? Poor girl, her name wasn’t introduced to the rest of the world.

FUN FACT: Croatia with “s” forms COSTA RICA. Hahahaha!

Doesn’t she look like Heather Morris from Glee? 🙂

Raise your hand if you think this is Kelis (look at the name) whose milkhshake brought the boys in her yard.

Just for this introduction alone, Miss Trinidad & Tobago deserves a spot in the Top 16. She really showed no signs of pressure when introducing her country.

Now these two women provided the majority of fun last night. If you’re bored, they surely did entertain the hell out of you. Here are some of their commentaries during the announcement of the Top 16:

FRANCE – Oh my god we love France

COLOMBIA – Now this is amazing! (beauty and brains.. that’s what we love here)

CHINA – Yihee! Now China is one of my favorites

ANGOLA – Yay Miss Angola!

AUSTRALIA – My Aussie! I love this girl!

PUERTO RICO – Oh my gosh! I’m so happy!

NETEHRLANDS – Oh Miss Netherlands

PANAMA – I love Panama! She’s one of my favorites from the beginning!

COSTA RICA – Oh yes!

Now, pretty Miss Portugal got in the top sixteen for the first time since they joined the pageant.

Look how the commentators spoiled the fun:

PORTUGAL – Talk about luck, this woman won the online fan vote.

And this is what host Natalie Morales said before announcing the top sixteen:

One woman was selected to join the top sixteen through online voting  and we won’t say who it is…

Who didn’t attend the rehearsals!?!?!? HAHAHA.

Judge Connie Cheung, I want you to meet botox. Oh, you have met already!?!?!?

Still the best Miss Universe reaction ever.

Now Miss Universe Ximena Navarrete comes and announces that there are top fifteen winners for National in Costume Design. Two things:

1. I’m still waiting for the other five.

2. The scriptwriter isn’t helping beauty queens to erase people’s perception that they’re bad at math.

Now, it’s swimsuit time. And there’s no other person (literally) chosen to perform than Claudia Leitte who wasn’t given a memo that the performer is not required to wear the swimsuit too. Once again, two things:

1. The performer must not upstage the delegates.

2. I know the time span is pretty different from Brazil to here, but I’m pretty sure it’s not Friday night there. So no one’s ready to fight.

You bet they’re really dying to throw her.

And the commentators begin: France is setting the bar high.

Uhm, 3.9 is setting the bar high? Once again, you’re not helping the beauty queens are bad at math theory.

Commentators say: She’s kinda in the middle.

3.9 is setting the bar high yet a 5.6 is kinda in the middle. The scoreboard tends to disagree.

Commentators say: She looks tall? She is tall. She’s 6’1.

STOP STATING THE OBVIOUS.

Commentators say: Fans aren’t feeling her but it’s up to the judges in the end.

Way to go and discredit the audience. But okay, I’ll agree here. 1.6!?!? SHE’S ON FIRE!

Commentators were shocked and emphasized that Miss Australia reads the newspaper.

What happened to the beauty and brains you said earlier?!?!?

Commentators say: Oh my, that’s it! Done! Done done!

Seeing that Alyssa Campanella didn’t survive the top ten, she’s really done done done for the night.

More statements from the commentators before the top ten (above) was announced:

Ukraine – Oh you know what? She loves reading poems. And you know what? She doesn’t know how to swing her sarong. It’s sarong but it’s so right. (Nice try for some wit there)

Portugal – This is one lucky lady and she better be thanking the stars because the judges didn’t actually have her in the top fifteen. (Go rub it more that she’s not deserving to make it).

Commentators say: Another disappointment? Venezuela. She’s done so well. Two Venezuela winners in the past two years. Look how the crowd has gone wild. Speaking of the crowd – Venezuela, home town girl made it in.

Okay, so it’s not only math, but geography as well. Is somebody selling maps outside the venue?

Now Bebel Gilberto sang “You can close your eyes, and you’ll never be alone” more times than Beyonce did Single Ladies when she promoted it in 2009. But for what it’s worth, I’m giving her an A performance. A for awful  awesome.

Now, what you are seeing in front of you are the silhouettes of the ten ladies who made the Evening Gown competition. Poor Costa Rica (second above) as the light didn’t shine on her. It seems that serves as an omen seeing she didn’t make the top five.

Now I know that Miss Brazil has issues; thus, the love-hate relationship she had towards the crowd, but did someone tell her she’s Brazil’s representative? Try to tell her that, because it seems she didn’t expect that as well.

Now Miss China seems a very sweet girl, and I’m happy that she made the top five. But based on this look when answering the question, she knew she had no chance in hell to grab that crown. A case of a bad interpreter.

Now this one’s a case of a good interpreter. Take a look at this picture and tell me that you’ve imagined that the interpreter is a child, the two hosts are his parents, and Miss Brazil is his coach. What a set of proud trio.

Now, just when you thought that it’s over for the two commentators, they suddenly appeared at the end when the top five ladies are doing their one last walk before the announcement. Here’s what they said:

Last year she made the top five, will we see a repeat tonight?

Uhm, she’s already in the top five. Unless you’re watching a delayed telecast right there from the balcony.

Anyway, that’s it. Congratulations to all the winners especially to the newly crowned Miss Angola Leila Lopes (once again, pronounced as Lowps as in one syllable). Until next year! 🙂

Posted September 14, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Reviews, TV

REVIEW: Thelma   3 comments

Minsan kailangan natin isakripisyo ang mga taong mahal natin, at ang mga bagay na mahalaga sa atin para maabot ang ating mga pangarap.”

That’s what the film exactly did. Just when you thought that this is your typical Maalalala Mo Kaya episode or a Lifetime movie of the week feature presentation, there’s something about the presentation that made the movie a very good one and an enjoyable film to watch. Inspired by true events, Thelma is the story of a young woman who literally ran away from her dreams in order to make them happen.

I was swept away by this film on so many different levels. The story, albeit not being original is not cliched as well. I actually feared that some scenes will be too predictable and too melodramatic, and I’m glad they they didn’t go that route. I was more surprised with how good the technical areas are. The transitions are cleverly inserted, and does not serve as literal transitions only, but give meanings to the scenarios as well. The score is effective, though there are scenes that don’t need background scoring yet were inserted. Also, the editing was sharp and my favorite is probably the cinematography. The windmills, the tracking field, the beach, looks as if they came straight from a magazine.

Maja Salvador is probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest, among her current contemporaries. She was able to carry the film, play the role well, and leave maximum impact to the audience. She cries, and you cry. She closes her eyes, and you’ll feel her pain. She smiles, and you’ll get motivated. She’s perfect for the role of Thelma and I’ll assure you that she is really great here. Eliza Pineda, John Arcilla, Jason Abalos, and Tetchie Agbayani played support effectively, and not any of them were forgettable. They all share chemistry with Salvador well.

Above anything else, it was director Paul Soriano whom I’ll give the most credit with this film. You can clearly feel the passion with every shot and frame while watching. I’m not familiar with his previous works prior to this one, but it made me want to look for it and watch it. When there are so many good aspects in a film, the director has a tendency to overdo it. However, Soriano was able to contain everything and maintain it well. I’m more than excited to see his future projects.

All in all, this movie really surprised me and knocked me off my feet. This is probably my favorite local film of the year. It makes me wonder why this didn’t make the top six for RP’s Oscar entry this year. Story is good, technical aspect is good, acting is good. They only come rarely. Thus, I hope you can still catch this little gem of a film. 🙂

Grade: A

Posted September 11, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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REVIEW: Contagion   Leave a comment

Doctor: Unfortunately, she did die.

Matt Damon: Okay, so can I talk to her?

The movie starts with Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) who came from a business trip from Hong Kong. After coming back, she starts to feel that something’s wrong with her, and as you can see in the movie poster, she died. What happened next is a jumping multiple storyline that involves how her husband (Matt Damon) dealt with the death of his wife. Dr. Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne) has a very surname but more than that, he starts an investigation about the random cause of death (that started with Beth) of different people in different parts of the world. With him is Dr. Erin Mears who conducts the actual investigation of it in Minneapolis, and from World Health Organization is Dr. Leonora Orantes who went to Hong Kong to trace the virus itself. To complete the list is blogger Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) who thinks that this is just one whole conspiracy.

Steven Soderbergh is no stranger to large ensembles, and this is definitely no exception. He gets to squeeze the best among his casts and once again, he proved that there are no small roles for big actors. While Paltrow dies at the start of film, her presence is still felt until the last scene in the film. Laurence Fishburne and Matt Damon gets to have the meatiest roles and the longest screen times. It would have been better had they given more focus to Marion Cotillard as that seems to be the weakest among all the stories in the film. That’s my major issue aside from the too much scientific lingo that will either send you to sleep or to confusion.

Technically though, the film can brag everything about it. The cinematography is awesome, and I love how playful Soderbergh is with some of the shots in the film. Editing is also commendable as the film shifts from one story (and country) to another, and the whole atmosphere of the film is fantastic. My favorite, though, is the musical score. It was riveting and intense. The sound brings life even in the simplest scenes in the film. The score brings energy and suspense to what could have been quiet scenes, thus, fulfilling a very convincing and remarkable addition to the overall output.

There are scenes that has been there-done that marked all over it, but they’re pretty forgivable. I don’t understand the need to IMAX this film though since the film is shot in 3D, and all you will see are Gwyneth Paltrow’s pores (decent) and Laurene Fishburne’s (horrible). Also, you get to see how ugly Jude Law’s teeth were (though they say it’s not his real set used in the film). The movie is very timely and effective I also like how the movie went full circle in the end.

To sum it up, this is the type of film that relies on a story and though it could have done better, it still delivered. No one from the cast is award-worthy, but all were good in it. It is one big paranoia experience that will left you feeling uneasy after watching it.

Grade: B+

REVIEW: Bridesmaids   Leave a comment

Men, you have to sit this one down.

It’s the ladies’ turn this time as Judd Apatow and team take on a cliched yet clever take on the theme of wedding preparations, evil bitches, lifetime friendship, some party pooping, and Brazilian infested food in between. Sounds crazy? That’s because the film is crazy itself. Crazily funny to be specific. In Bridesmaids, Annie (Kristin Wiig) plays a 30-year old single lady who’s still recovering from a failed business and a boyfriend dumping. It was her only bestfriend Lillian who keeps things normal for her. Now when this Lillian suddenly got engaged, Annie plays the maid of honor role, only to find out that someone has been snatching her wigs to get the major role.

The strongest selling point of the film is its script. Despite ticking in at two hours and ten minutes, it’s hard to notice that when you’re already dying and laughing scene per scene per scene. I love how some scenes were too over the top as it gets to blend well with the situation that Annie has been into. Notable highlights were the plane scene where in we see a drunk yet terrified Annie, and the hysterical breakdown that involves some cookie punching. My favorite though is the speech scene at the earlier part of the film where in I was literally laughing like there’s no tomorrow as Annie and Helen take turns in upstaging each other.

The film isn’t as raunchy as one might possibly think. There is no nudity involved, though some sex scenes involving (the very hairy) Jon Hamm and Kristin Wiig were just obviously, terribly funny (and awkward). The most gross part I think is when they were in the bridal gown shop. That alone will make you fart one after the other that it will make you go hysterical and probably poop some. Hahaha. Imagine Maya Rudolph giving runaway bride a new twist in the middle of the street while wearing a wedding gown.

There is something about the way Saturday Night Live women play parts so charismatically that you can’t help but room for them: Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler. Now add Kristin Wig and Maya Rudolph to the list. Rudolph plays Lillian (the best friend) so naturally that her chemistry with Wiig will never ever be questioned. She plays supporting like what she’s asked to but gets to shine on her own as well. Jon Hamm plays a small cameo role, but it makes you so excited to see him venture into comedy as he makes the most out of a limited role. I love how Rose Byrne isn’t the “totally annoying” annoying character in the movie. It makes her somewhat difficult to root against. Glad that she’s up to the challenge of doing her scenes with a comedic pro such as Wiig. I finally understand why Melissa McCarthy received that damn Emmy nomination; it’s all because of this film. She has the scene stealing role and while she gets to steal the scene, she does not let anyone suffer from it. If this is all about effective portrayal, which she totally commits in, then be shocked because yes, an Oscar nomination is really deserved (ala Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder). Of course, at the end of the day, this is still a Kristin Wiig film and she totally delivered. She proved that she’s also worthy to get lead roles and boy I’m so happy that she is now a  movie star!

In a summer filled with sequels, prequels, sci-fi movies, and superhero flicks, it is rare to see a comedy that gets to stand out among the rest. There isn’t anything to dislike in this film; thus, making it my top pick as the comedy of the year.

Grade: A-

Posted September 9, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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