Archive for September 2011

BEST AND WORST: MTV Video Music Awards 2011   2 comments

Okay, another late post, but I was really lazy to come up with a top ten. After all, there were only a few people who attended the VMAs unlike its glory days when it is still the coolest party in town. I decided to do a top five for female, top five for male, plus two trendsetters for the night.

Ladies first, and here are my top five picks in the women division. Lots of black all around. This is the VMAs ladies, not a funeral! Though you’re all probably mourning over the fact that MTV does not play music videos anymore. LOL.

5. Zoe Saldana in Barbara Bui

The Colombiana star was there to promote her film, and she did it by looking chic in this black Barbara Bui dress. The casual look works for her, IMO.

4. Britney Spears in Moschino

Okay, I still feel bad for Britney since she was blatantly used by MTV to boost in ratings pretending to give her the Video Vanguard (which they actually gave) but at the same time, introduce Beyonce. Really, MTV!?!? That was tacky. Oh well, at least she looked happy that night though a better pair of shoes is advisable.

3. Adele in Burberry

Oh well, I’m a big Adele fanboy, what can you say? But yeah, Adele looks solid in this Burberry dress and big hair. I won’t say anything bad at her because she does not deserve it, and I’m afraid that long nails will scratch me til I die. LOL.

2. Victoria Justice in THEIA

I guess the sparkling dress is still a trend for young stars but Victoria edged out Demi Lovato in a battle of the sparkles. She looks so pretty in this sparkling cocktail. Plus points that she’s singing all throughout the Amy Winehouse tribute. Haha.

1. Beyonce in Lanvin

She already stole the red carpet pre-show when she announced her pregnancy. Moreover, she also gets to stand out at the red carpet with this orange Lanvin dress. This diva really knows who run the world (and the red carpet).

As for the men:

There’s not much any variation about the men who attended the awards night. It’s either the’re too casual or they’ll go with the formal look. I’ll take the latter anytime, thus the top five picks. Taylor Lautner and Chord Overstreet were interchangeable with a white shirt inside the coats, some jeans, and brown shoes. Lautner has the better shirt but Overstreet tried to button his coat. LOL. Bruno Mars gets third place position because he tried to bring color (together with his back up) during his Amy Winehouse tribute performance. I ranked Foster the People guys in second place because they tried to dress not the rock star way. Somehow, it showed class and made me take them seriouisly. Surprisingly, best dressed man of the night was Mr. International and career-saver Pitbull who look dashing in his all black ensemble. Love how shiny his belt was. Haha!

As for the trendsetters, I ranked one male and female who truly made waves with their outfits.

LMFAO, this is not an Elvis impersonation contest. Also, shame on you for your promotion of Party Rock in your shoes. You think I did not notice that eh? The boxers is also disgusting. Hahaha! With so many zippers in your outfit, you could have zip that outfit altogether.

As for Nicki Minaj, Toy Story 3 was so last year. Poor kid whose toy box was stolen just so you can come up like this at the VMAs. I appreciate you trying to audition for the role of Mrs. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, but take note, never wear the props. HAHAHA.

Anyway, who are your best and worst dressed of the night? Pitch them in! 🙂

Posted September 5, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, Lists, Music

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REVIEW: The Help   Leave a comment

“The Help” is a  tale of how white employers co-exist with black servants in 1960’s Mississippi. The movie talks about how how trivial one’s skin color affects one’s perception of another. Based on the 2009 book of the same title, young woman Skeeter (Emma Stone) decided to make a book that features the experiences of black servants during their time. It was her way of acknowledging their existence, as provoked by how her friends treat their black servants with prejudice and disgust. If you have seen that before, think of  The Blind Side and replace Sandra Bullock with Emma Stone, and the Aaron Quintin with Viola Davis.

For what its worth, the movie is just fine. It’s more of a comedic with some dramatic scenes every now and then. However, this is no Best Picture material. The movie tried to insert everything it can; thus, resulting to a very lengthy 2 hours and 26 minutes. There are some story lines that didn’t go anywhere and could have been edited out of the movie altogether (Skeeter’s lovelife) to pave way for a shorter and more compact output.

Given that, the movie is elevated by the acting of the whole cast. The director managed to make each and every one from the cast stand out despite the differences in screentime. Take for instance the magnificent Cicely Tyson, who appeared in as much as the time that Ruby Dee did in American Gangster, yet she was still memorable in that very short scene. Alison Janney proved once again how she is one versatile actress who delivers one after the other whether in TV or in the big screen. Sissy Spacek is a personal favorite of mine, and she lights up the screen EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. She probably is the one I’m looking forward to see while watching the whole  film. Bryce Dallas Howard was effective in a predictable role, and gave justice to her role.

Emma Stone continues to have the best resume among young actresses in Hollywood. She nailed the performance of Skeeter with so much enthusiasm and optimism that her whole portrayal just  translates well to the viewers. Octavia Spencer is probably the crowd favorite roles as far as all the characters go. She was effective as the loud mouth and talkative Minnie, and while her loud scenes were undeniable, it was her silent acting after she sent her daughter to the bus that stayed with me the most. This is the type of performance that garners an Oscar mention, and here’s hoping Spencer gets one.

It’s a crime that Jessica Chastain only get discovered at this point in time. Chastain’s fun blonde with a heart role is also another favorite of mine, and here, she gets to add another layer to a been there done that role. She solicits a connection with the viewers that will make you root for her. This plus her Tree of Life performance show how versatile and how lazy Hollywood is in looking for the next best actresses. But above all, it is Viola Davis who sticks the whole movie together. I find her vastly overrated in Doubt, but her turn as Aibeleen is honest and raw that she commands the screen in all of her scenes. The dedication that Davis gave to her character is very well acknowledged. An Oscar is well deserved for her.

There are many LOL moments in the film, and is pretty much effective all throughout. I don’t get why black people screams at the film as “racist” only because it portrayed a white woman helping black servants when in reality, the black servants (such as Davis and Spencer’s roles) were pretty much a heroine of themselves as well.

Moving and enjoyable, indeed, but the movie  is still a throw back to a chick flick 60s style.

Grade: B+

Posted September 5, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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REVIEW: Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington   Leave a comment

This film has sparked my interest the moment I saw its teaser way back in January. For months, I was waiting for it, and I felt that it would already been scrapped since the movie just disappeared like a bubble.  But apparently, patience is, indeed, a virtue. After months of waiting, the movie was finally shown, and much to my delight, it delivered big time. 🙂

Remington (Escudero) is a boy who makes fun of gay people when he was still a child. One time, he finally met his match when a gay man cursed him that he’ll also be gay when he grows up. What follows next is a combination of nightmares and dreamscapes, zombie invasions, and a woman in rolling skates in between.

I’ve always been a big fan of Jade Castro’s previous efforts and while I’m sure that he’ll elevate the material, he still exceeded my expectations. He was able to balance the overall atmosphere of the film while also bringing out the best in his actors. A good director can bring out the best in a mediocre script, but in this case, there’s no problem to cover that anymore as Raymond Lee and Michiko Yamamoto’s script held up on its own.

While, this is an ensemble cast, no one tried to stay safe and as is, the chemistry of the whole cast helped to bring each other’s performances. Roderick Paulate’s role was short but sweet, Eugene Domingo makes the most out of a limited role, and John Regala defied odds with an interesting twist in his role. Lauren Young and Janice de Belen were capable but did not stand out from the cast. However, three people gave the three most memorable performances for me: Kerbie Zamora (who played Remington’s best friend) complimented the character of Remington without overpowering and upstaging him. Indie actress slash my officemate (woot woot! :)) Angelina Kanapi as Mimi, the scene-stealing sidekick of Janice de Belen. This woman really has it in her. I must argue that she has the most memorable start and end scenes among the whole cast. And of course, Remington hismelf, Mart Escudero in a “A star is born” type of performance. How his comedic talent gets to be undiscovered before this is so beyond me. He deserves to collect most (if not all) Best Actor awards so far.

If anything, the weakest aspect of the film is the zombie storyline itself. Somehow, it feels unattached and rushed but not that bothering. The mere fact that it has Zombadings 1 on the title makes me feel assured that if there’s a part 2 out there somewhere, they’ll probably tackle this part more.

While reading the whole credits, I can’t help but feel that this is indeed a major triumph especially for people of the local indie scene. Almost every indie film I can think is a part of this project, and for that alone, I’m thankful and proud that this movie materialized. There is no need to compare which is better between this and “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” as both films were done well and are receiving the break that they should really have.

As a whole, there are only rare incidents that a comedy gets to dig more than what it should have. I actually like that the whole gay aspect is interpretative. When Remington tries so hard to fight the demon that is boggling him, it goes deeper than that. It makes him more open to the different relationships existing around him. Whether he’s involved or not is another issue. But at least he recognizes their existence. This is a must for film buffs OF ALL GENDER out there. Highly recommended! 🙂

Grade: A

Posted September 2, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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REVIEW: Wedding Tayo, Wedding Hindi   5 comments

Jose Javier Reyes’s latest offering is a comedy that deals about two ironic situations of cousins Belay (Toni Gonzaga) and Precy (Eugene Domingo). Precy is filing for an annulment after she discovered that her husband, Ben, spent literally everything in their bank account. Belay, on the other hand, comes back to the Philippines to get married with her boyfriend of three years, Oca, the Social Studies teach er of Barangay San Isidro Labrador. What happens in between is a lot of complications in different comedic situations.

Reyes never lost the steam to write a very funny script. While there are times that you know he’s blatantly trying to make a scene funny, you’d be surprised that it actually works. Everyone in the theater is laughing their ass off. The laughter is pretty hysterical. I find myself laughing loud as well. There is wit in the script and as always, it always goes a step farther than what it really should talk about. There are some cliches here and there, but forgivable since Reyes can connect simple situations such as reading paperback novels to love, and pamanhikan to religion.

I was somewhat bothered by the poor technical issues such as transitions, editing, and lighting. I acknowledge the fact that this is not the film’s strongest suit, but a better quality wouldn’t hurt it. There’s literally a scene where in the color of the camera changed during the same scene after it changed angles.

More than the writing, the film’s strongest aspect is the acting. After all, it’s an actor’s film. Eugene Domingo didn’t offer anything new here but was consistent through out the film. She shined during the moments where she needs to and played support if it wasn’t her scene. Toni Gonzaga continues to impress me as the role suits her perfectly. Between this and My Amnesia Girl, she is one underrated actress. Even Toni’s accent literally makes me laugh so much. Her babaeng bakla is every inch effective and consistent. The chemistry between Eugene and Toni is the film’s foundation and they both delivered. Zanjoe Marudo and Wendell Ramos weren’t required to do much but they complimented their partners really well. The whole supporting cast were actually good especially Irma Adlawan’s religious zealot and Odette Khan’s selfish mom. Nikki Valdez plays a very caricature and been there done that character but she wasn’t neded int he majority of the film so I’m okay with that. Teddy Corpuz’s scene stealing role also gets consistent laugh from the audience.

This is no Kasal Kasali Kasalo, but the movie is enjoyable in many levels. Recommended to those who wants to have a good and relaxing time. The movie is effective and is the best mainstream local comedy so far.

Grade: A-

Posted September 1, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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ANALYSIS: Emmy Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series 2011   6 comments

*Nominee pictures were taken from their submitted episodes. :)

The nominees are:

• Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” (Good Cop, Bad Dog)
• Chris Colfer, “Glee” (Grilled Cheesus)
• Jon C ryer, “Two and a Half Men” (The Immortal Mr. Billy Joel)
• Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family” (Halloween)
• Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family” (The Kiss)
• Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family” (Mother’s Day)

This is probably the hardest among the comedy acting categories to predict. There’s literally any case for each of the nominees to win this one. But before that, let’s all commemorate the lack of justice given to Neil Patrick Harris for How I Met Your Mother and Nick Offerman for Parks and Recreation. Both would have been competitive for the win and were criminally snubbed. I would have traded Colfer and Cryer for them, and we’d probably have the best batch of nominees in this category in a decade.

Ty Burrell submits his best work finally with Good Cop, Bad Dog and I consider him very competitive for the win. He gets to play the strict Dad for this time and with Phil Dunphy, that just screams for laughs. This is a good storyline in paper that translated well enough to the screen.  Burrell combines physical comedy with delivery scene after scene after scene. Chris Colfer is the star of Glee in its sophomore season. In his tape,we get to see him battle his issues with religion when his Dad suffered a stroke. This will certainly play well with voters who are looking for something else. He also gets to sing a Beatles song in the middle of the episode. However, most of his scenes featured constipated close-ups of him trying his best to produce some tears. Jon Cryer ended up with having the last laugh when everyone predicted he’ll get the shaft this year. I actually feel people are underestimating his chances before the nomination. He’s a past winner who gets his fifth consecutive nomination, and he gets to deal with the Charlie Sheen brou-ha-ha. There goes your Emmy nom, Mr. Cryer. Sadly, his episode (where in he pretended to be Charlie) was so contrived and unfunny, but that didn’t stop him from winning two years ago. ANother underestimated nominee is Jesse Tyler Ferguson. He managed to stood out this season and proved that his surprise nom last year isn’t a fluke. He probably has the funniest storyline among all the nominees this year, and while I think he submitted his best performance, he gets overshadowed by the ensemble nature of the episode. Ed O’Neill finally gets his overdue Emmy nomination this year. All the sudden love can propel him to a win this year. It wouldn’t hurt that he submitted a very funny and touching episode with The Kiss. He’s slapping chickens while screaming for God’s sake. If that’s not funny, then I don’t know what is. Lastly, Eric Stonestreet doesn’t have a Fizbo type of episode this year. But, he was able to submit his best work in Mothers Day, where he wants to prove that he isn’t the woman in his relationship with Mitchell.

The tricky thing with this category is that the tapes aren’t edited down and that there are four Modern Family actors who have four tapes competing. This is the first time in the history of this category that there are four actors competing from the same show. The last time that happened was in the Miniseries category in 2004 when Angels in America actors battled with one another. Before that, it was in the Drama category in 2002 with The West Wing Guys. Both of the winners eventually ended up from the shows mentioned above. Thus, I expect a Modern Family guy will take it. Burrell has the critics and the season-long performance behind him (the fact that he was a front runne rlast year wouldn’t hurt as well), O’Neill has the tape and the sentiment, and Stonestreet can easily repeat since his is the type of role that wins multiple Emmys (think of Garrett and Piven). With that, I’m giving the advantage to Ty Burrell.

Tape rankings:

1. Ty Burrell
2. Jesse Tyler Ferguson
3. Ed O’Neill
4. Chris Colfer
5. Eric Stonestreet
6.  Jon Cryer

Prediction Rankings:

1. Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” (Good Cop, Bad Dog)

2. Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family” (The Kiss)

3. Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family” (Mother’s Day)

4. Chris Colfer, “Glee” (Grilled Cheesus)

5. Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family” (Halloween)

6. Jon C ryer, “Two and a Half Men” (The Immortal Mr. Billy Joel)

Posted September 1, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, TV

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MTV Video Music Awards 2011   2 comments

This is a pretty late post, but since it’s raining and there seems to be the obligatory VMA review, I’ll dedicate a post to this year’s VMA. A for starters, this is a big improvement from last year’s snoozefest. While there are no hosts assigned for the night, they still managed to went overtime again. I still have this theory that the reason why Best Direction wasn’t given at the red carpet was because it was really supposed to be at the main show and will serve as Adele’s moment (which she deservingly won). However, due to time constraints, they decided to just skip it altogether. Screw you, MTV.

Also, Katy Perry won the much coveted Video of the Year, so for the fifth year in a row, a female artist has won the top award (Cue: Beyonce’s Run the World). Rihanna, Britney Spears, Beyonce, and Lady GaGa has won the same moonman for the last four ceremonies. As a sidebar, Madonna got hers on 1998, Lauryn Hill in 1999, Christina Aguilera in 2001, and Missy Elliott in 2003.

Moving on to the main event, I’ll just share a few thoughts here and there about the performances from last night. They ranged from excellent to good actually. Specifically, here’s my grade sheet for last Sunday’s VMAs.

Lady GaGa : You & I

I decided that I’ll grade this performance based on the start of her performance. I’ll voluntarily skip her opening monologue which, as seen from the audience, looks ridiculous as it can gets. GaGa tries so hard to maintain this creative, innovative persona but what she lacks during the monologue is the music. If that wasn’t GaGa doing that shitty man alter ego, I bet that person will be trashed instantly. But since it’s GaGa, she gets free pass. This isn’t even creative. This is bothering. As for her performance, no doubt that she really has the talent to pull it off. Her vocals is always on point, and she gets to have Queen’s Brian May as a special guest. Now, that is genius. Anyway, bottom line is, she could have done the song without that alter ego thing going on, and it would have been much better.

Grade: B

Jay Z and Kanye West : Otis

This isn’t one of my favorite songs from Watch the Thrones so I would have wanted another song to be performed. But, of course this is the current single. Even I couldn’t resist the star power that these two rap powerhouses exude so while this is in no way outstanding, this is also not disappointing.

Grade: B

Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Nayer : Give Me Everything

I don’t get why they were given a performance slot that night. This song is too old by the time they performed it. However, the song is still undeniably catchy. Everyone is still jamming in the crowd and even the people watching at home. This is a similar performance like what they did on The Voice. I’m bothered by how Ne-Yo is so hitting on that woman performer as if he’s so dying to f*ck her right after they went off stage. LOL.

Grade: C+

Adele : Someone Like You

Oh boy, hands down, the best performance of the night. Ballads are rarely performed during the VMAs especially since it’s one big party after all. If they work, they really do get to stand out (Christina Aguilera, Hurt (2006)), but if they don’t, they’ll be overshadowed (Taylor Swift, Innocent (2010)). Fortunately, Adele rocked her performance. Everyone was just cheering while she’s singing. I personally had goosebumps while watching it. Plus, she got a standing ovation at the end. it goes to show that all you don’t need too many gimmicks to stand out. This goes down as one of the best VMA performances ever.

Grade: A+

Chris Brown : Yeah3x, The Beautiful People

It is really difficult to follow up Adele’s performance. So, the best way to do it is by giving a fully entertaining performance. Chris Brown might be lipsynching throughout the whole performance, but who cares? He’s flying all over the Nokia Theater. That is so awesome. It’s so sad that he got overshadowed with all the woman beater and homophobe accusations against him, because he, indeed, is one hell of a performer. He might not be singing at all, but this is the perfect follow up to Adele’s vocally challenging performance. Oh can I say that I died that Jessie J followed this performanc eby singing “No Scrubs”?

Grade: A-

Britney Spears tribute

First, I’m glad that all the speculations that Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Rihanna, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, and Janet Jackson (of all people, really?!?!?!?) giving a tribute to Britney isn’t true. That would have been a disaster in the vein of her Gimme More performance. I’m glad that MTV is giving her the tribute by people who won’t upstage Britney, but when you reward her with a Video Vanguard, the least they could have done is to include all of her videos, and not just chosen ones. All in all, a decent performance but what I didn’t like was that they used her as a segue to introduce the next performer.

Grade: B-

Beyonce : Love on Top

I’m not the biggest Beyonce fan on earth (god knows how “creative” she is) but this is probably one of my favorite Beyonce numbers ever. She’s just glowing the moment she sang the first line of the song. Also, she made a good choice of singing a song that suits her emotions that moment. I love when she said “I want you to feel the love inside me.” There are parts where she wasn’t singing (she had prepared version) and she’s singing it simultaneously with the recorded version, but I won’t complain. Also, love how the audience was so into the song. Adele was even singing. Love the shot of her in the audience. But more so, the finale shot when she rubbed her tummy, and everyone from Gaga to Tony Bennett, Kanye to Jay Z were just jumping with joy. Very memorable performance!

Grade: A-

Young the Giant : My Body

I know that you’re thinking “Who?” but for a VMA debut performance, this is an awesome performance. I know how big of a deal getting a slot at the main show is for some indie band who doesn’t have a solid fanbase yet. But, heck, I enjoyed the performance, and here’s hoping they’ll get a bigger break after this. How I wish Foster the People were asked to perform as well.

Grade: B

Bruno Mars : Amy Winehouse tribute, Valerie

At first, I was hesitant. Why him? Really, of all people?!?!? Bruno Mars?!?!? But boy, did he really deliver! This is a good performance of Valerie, and for what its worth, he gave justice to the song. I love the “clap your hands for Amy part”. The video of Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse opening this performance made it bittersweet. Seeing Amy’s pop-art photos while Bruno is performing is so very touching. I guess I’m a big Amy fanboy because I was in tears near-the-end. Adele was so sad, and so is Russell Brand. Anyway, really good performance that I’m sure Amy was very proud up there. 🙂

Grade: A

Lil’ Wayne : How To Love, John

For years now, the VMAs always end their show with a rap act (Jay Z in 09, Kanye last year) and while Lil’ Wayne was good in his How to Love part, he suddenly went crazy during the John part. This is an okay performance but everyone’s just oh so excited to go home or rest already. LOL. This is a good promotion for his album (which will debut at number one next) though.

Grade: B-

That’s it. The VMAs, while it wasn’t able to reach its peak years anymore, still provided one hell of an entertaining show this year. Til next year folks! =)