Archive for December 2011

30 Best Songs of 2011   6 comments

After doing my 10 Best Local Shows of 2011 and my 25 Best Red Carpet Looks of 2011 list, here’s the last of my three yearend lists for 2011. Believe me, I still have lots of lists prepared, but I have no time to do all of them. This list will now focus on the top and best songs that were released this year. This has been a tradition I did since 2004, and it has evolved since then. Here are the champions of the past seven years:

2004: Usher, Lil Jon, “Yeah”
2005: Mariah Carey, “We Belong Together”
2006: Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, “Promiscuous Girl”
2007: Rihanna, Jay Z, “Umbrella”
2008: Leona Lewis, “Bleeding Love”
2009: Lady GaGa, “Bad Romance”
2010: Florence + the Machine, “Dog Days Are Over”

Here are the 30 songs that made the list this year:

30: SURE THING (Miguel)
Album: All I Want is You

Despite the very underwhelming year for R&B this 2011, Miguel’s debut single “Sure Thing” stands out as it reminds ufsof the old R&B singles such as Usher’s “U Got it Bad” and TQ’s “Westside”.

29: WITHOUT YOU (David Guetta featuring Usher)
Album: Nothing But the Beat

David Guetta has gone very mainstream this 2011, and though he wasn’t able to recapture the magic of “When Love Takes Over”, his collaboration with Usher this year reminds us that he’s still not a lost cause.

28: REMIND ME (Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood)
Album: This is Country Music

Country acts collaborating is not a new idea, but they still hit it out of the ballpark when two of the biggest country stars collaborate and come up with a very remarkable song, as is the case of Remind Me by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

27: THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (Katy Perry)
Album: Teenage Dream

Two years after the release of her sophomore album, Katy still spawns out hit after hit after hit. Now her last single in 2011 talks about the one that could have been and bitter sweet memories from the past. With the wonderful Diego Luna in the music video, this can be Katy’s most important hit of her career.

26: LOVE ON TOP (Beyonce)
Album: 4

In order to avoid cases of judging the book by it’s cover, Beyonce’s album this era might have underperformed, but Love on Top is one of those perfect throwback R&B songs that you might miss if you altogether dismiss the album.

25: HOW TO LOVE (Lil Wayne)
Album: The Carter IV

While Lil Wayne is the one who asks listeners to li-li-li-lick his lollipop, he showed his softer side in this rare time event that he performs a ballad that teaches everyone just how to love.

24: WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU (Kelly Clarkson)
Album: Stronger

It’s easy to dismiss the notion that Kelly Clarkson just loves to sing about songs that talk about bitterness especially when you hear her croon songs such as What Doesn’t Kill You. This is the perfect revenge inspirational song, if you get what that means.

23: YOU & I (Lady Gaga)
Album: Born This Way

Gaga’s Born This Way era has a lot of expectations after that perfect Fame Monster period. And while she wasn’t able to recapture and dominate the year as what most people think she’ll do, she still was able to produce excellently written songs such as You & I.

22: FUCKIN PERFECT (Pink)
Album: Greatest Hits… So Far

Pink’s ballad about loving yourself might be cheesy enough for everyone’s taste, but she does give this song a raw and appealing touch that one can’t simply resist listening to it over and over again.

21: SO IN LOVE (Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton)
Album: The Light of the Sun

Jill Scott spurned out of the best albums of the year by far, and songs such as this one with Anthony Hamilton prove why after all these years, Jill Scott remains to be one underrated R&B artist.

20: SHAKE IT OUT (Florence + the Machine)
Album: Ceremonials

Last year’s champ Florence + the Machine might not come up with an equally classic song such as Dog Days are Over, but Shake it Out from her ner album Ceremonials prove that she is in no way, a one hit wonder.

19: CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND (Robyn)
Album: Body Talk Part III

It’s good to know that more and more people are developing a love and respect for Robyn; after all, she’s one of those the blue dance and electronica artists who can maintain both critical and commercial appeal. Call Your Girlfriend is a living proof of that.

18: WE FOUND LOVE (Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris)
Album: Talk the Talk

I know, I know. Rihanna does not stop releasing a new album every single year. And though that is already enough to call her as an overexposed artist, we can’t deny the fact that she still knows how to capture an audience such as this 8 time Billboard #1 hit, We Found Love.

17: GOOD LIFE (One Republic)
Album: Waking Up

They started bursting out into the scene in 2006 with Apologize; years later, Ryan Tedder and the rest of One Republic is still acing it with hit singles such as Good Life. Remember how it totally fits into the trailer of the Anne Hathaway movie One Day?

16: BODY AND SOUL (Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse)
Album: Duets II

One of 2011’s biggest loss in music is Amy Winehouse. It is a bit comforting to know, though, that she still left us with one last classic that will showcase her undeniable talent. This is through a collaboration with Tony Bennett called “Body and Soul” and is now a Grammy frontrunner for Best Pop Duo, Group or Collaboration.

15: MOVES LIKE JAGGER (Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera)
Album: Hands All Over

The biggest and most successful collaboration between two Grammy Best New Artists winners happened this year when Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera teamed up to produce one of the year’s most addictive track. You all know you’ve been hooked the moment you hear the whistle.

14: IN THE DARK (Dev)
Album: The Night the Sun Came Up

Indie artist Dev’s “In the Dark” is an underrated dance track that will make you move and party all night until the sun comes up.

13: SUPER BASS (Nicki Minaj)
Album: Pink Friday

Arguably the catchiest song of the year, Nicki Minaj did a solid 180 when people started to notice her and the industry took her seriously after she released this single. There’s no catchier line of the year than “Boom Ba-doom bom, boom ba-doom-doom bass, he got that super bass.”

12: LOTUS FLOWER (Radiohead)
Album: The King of Limbs

Radiohead will always be one of those legendary rock bands that will never ever go out of style. The good thing about them is that they’re not primarily after commercial success. In their Grammy nominated new album, King of Limbs, we get to hear one of the year’s best songs entitled Lotus Flower.

11: SOMEONE LIKE YOU (Adele)
Album: 21

The whole world already knows what Adele feels for the man who broke her heart, and everyone just feels for her once she started out singing the first few lines of the song. This is indeed, turning out to be, one of the most poignant songs in recent history, and we all know that when she first sang it on Live on Jools Holland of September last year, and as the final song ever heard on the finale of British sex series Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

10: HOWLIN FOR YOU (The Black Keys)
Album: Brothers

The Black Keys made their consecutive Top 10 appearance in my list. This time, it’s for the epic cool song entitled Howlin for You. You’ve probably heard  this song accompanying a lot of TV shows the past season. Also, take note of the awesome music video of this.

09: PARADISE (Coldplay)
Album: Mylo Xyloto

Everyone wondered if Coldplay can live up to the greatness of their past album Viva La Vida. There’s only one word that answers that question: Paradise. With that, it is evident that Coldplay never lost any of its magic all these years.

08: LET ENGLAND SHAKE (PJ Harvey)
Album: Let England Shake

PJ Harvey’s music might be too European to a lot of people, but it is some of the best she has ever produced. The lead single “Let England Shake” of her latest album of the same name did not only shook England, but the rest of the world as well.

07: IF I DIE YOUNG (The Band Perry)
Album: The Band Perry

While this is a 2010 release, this song did start to smash up during the earlier part of the year. The Grammy Best New Artist nominee released one of the saddest yet most honest song of the year with If I Die Young. As a testament, it stayed for almost a year at the Billboard Hot 100.

06: NIGGAS IN PARIS (Kanye West and Jay Z)
Album: Watch the Thrones

When two of the biggest names in rap music collaborate, there’s nothing to expect but pure music brilliance. That is what both Kanye West and Kay Z did when they recorded Niggas in Paris this year.

05: STAY YOUNG, GO DANCING (Death Cab for Cutie)
Album: Codes and Keys

Now on their seventh album, Death Cab for Cutie still produces top notch alternative quality music in their latest album Codes and Keys. Major props is given to the second single “Stay Young, Go Dancing” which is probably like my wishlist now that I’m getting old. LELZ.

04: PUMPED UP KICKS (Foster the People)
Album: Torches

One of the best written songs of the year, Foster the People’s launching single is a dark take on the importance of life. Pumped Up Kicks made people appreciate the band even more.

03: GROWN OCEAN (Fleet Foxes)
Album: Helplessness Blues

It’s probably better that Fleet Foxes remain as an under the radar act, as it gets to produce and showcase us raw and effective music to listen to. Probably one of the most relaxing and comforting albums of the year, Helplessness Blues features the third best song of the year: Grown Ocean.

02: HOLCOENE (Bon Iver)
Album: Bon Iver

Now this one finally gets the break he needed after all these years from obscurity. I’m still mixed bag about his sudden mainstream fame, but one thing I won’t question is the greatness of the Grammy Record of the Year and Song of the Year nominee Holocene.

01: ROLLING IN THE DEEP (Adele)
Album: 21

I used to have a one single per artist per song policy, but I can’t make a 2011 best of the best list without fearing multiple songs from artist of the year Adele. Rolling in the Deep is probably one of the most versatile songs ever, as it appeared on the most number of Billboard charts since its inception. Also, it received a lot of covers from John Legend to Linkin Park, from Nicole Scherzinger to the Glee cast, and American Idol and The Voice finalists. This is a true testament as to how Rolling in the Deep has made its mark to be one of the best and most memorable records ever.

Now I ask you, what are your picks for this year? How about the year of music in general? And what are you expecting this 2012? 🙂

Posted December 31, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Lists, Music

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25 Best Red Carpet Looks of 2011   2 comments

After my 10 Best Local Shows of 2011, here’s another of those year end lists.  This year, we’ve seen lots of golden red carpet sightings from the Golden Globes to the SAGs, Grammys, BAFTAs, Oscars, and Emmys. There were also lots of fashion highlights from different red carpet premieres this year. And though we don’t get an Elizabeth Hurley pin dress, Halle Berry’s red Oscar gown, or Penelope’s pink ostrich ensemble, here are 25 Red carpet looks that got a yay in my book:

25. LEA MICHELE in Escada at the Met Gala Awards

Lea’s known for her very dramatic long trains as what she wore at this January’s Golden Globes, but she managed to stay away from that and maintained a slick, mature look at this year’s Met Gala Awards in this red Escada gown.

24. MARTHA PLIMPTON in Zac Posen at the Primetime Emmy Awards

Raising Hope star Martha Plimpton might not have won the Emmy this year (Melissa McCarthy did), but she’s an instant winner that night in this sparkling red Zac Posen creation at the Primetime Emmy Awards last September.

23. CLAIRE DANES in Louis Vuitton at the Screen Actors Guild Awards

Claire Danes has a banner year this year winning trophies for her performance in Temple Grandin, but her blue floral Louis Vuitton icy queen look at the SAG awards last March is another winning performance fashion-wise.

22. ANNETTE BENING in Marchesa at the BAFTA Awards

Annette Bening might have played a lesbo in her Oscar nominated performance in The Kids Are All Right earlier this year, but her red carpet appearances have been nothing but very womanly, just like this ethereal look she had in this white gown at the BAFTAs.

21. TINA FEY in Oscar dela Renta at the Screen Actors Guild Awards

For funny woman Tina Fey, it is very rare that we see her not wearing a black or dark colored gown. So it’s a breath of fresh air when she stepped out in this red Oscar dela Renta creation at January’s SAG Awards. See Tina, wearing something outside of dark colors won’t make you look laughable.

20. EVAN RACHEL WOOD in Elie Saab at the Primetime Emmy Awards

Nominated for her role as Kate Winslet’s rebellious daughter in Mildred Pierce, I don’t see anyone who’ll rebel with the notion that this sparkling black Elie Saab outfit that Evan Rachel Wood at the Emmys is one of the year’s red carpet highlights.

19. ZHANG ZIYI in Christian Dior at the Rome premiere of Love for Life

Zhang Ziyi does well with ball gowns, as proven by her memorable yellow Golden Globe dress in 2005. Here’s another that you can add to the list: her blue Christian Dior dress at the Love for Life premiere in Rome.

18. CATE BLANCHETT in Givenchy at the Academy Awards

Blanchett is probably known as one of the best dressed actresses of her generation. While this dress is very much polarizing, I think she has earned her spot in this list for the white Givenchy ensemble she sported at the Oscars last March.

17. ROSIE HUNTINGTON-WHITELEY in Naeem Khan at the Berlin premiere of Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Replacing Megan Fox is a very big task to do, but Rosie Huntington-Whiteley seems to be up for the challenge. Her silver sparkling outfit at the Berlin Transformers premiere definitely sealed the deal. Megan who?

16. OLIVIA WILDE in Marchesa at the Golden Globes

One of the most fashionable young actresses we have, Olivia Wilde surprises everyone with each of her red carpet looks this year. This includes her show stopping dress at last January’s Golden Globes.

15. HAILEE STEINFELD in Prada at the Screen Actors Guild Awards

Steinfeld gets my props for bringing something new to the table with each red carpet appearance, but her colorful SAG outfit gets the most points as it showcased her dressing by her age perfectly. Well done, Hailee!

14. EMMA WATSON in Oscar dela Renta at the London premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

We’ve seen Emma Watson since her early Hermione days, but this Oscar dela Renta gown that she wore at the London premiere last July is probably her all time best red carpet look.

13. CATHERINE ZETA JONES in Monique Lhuillier at the Golden Globe Awards

Lots of personal issues came both Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones this year, but none of that were transparent once Catherine strutted in this moss green Monique Lhullier creation at the Globes. here’s hoping that the next time Zeta wore one of her creations, she better know the pronunciation of her name.

12. GWEN STEFANI in L.A.M.B at the Cannes Film Festival

Gwen Stefani is probably one of the most fashionable women on earth. And isn’t this amazing that this amazing look she had at the Cannes came from her own creation and design L.A.M.B? Gwen does them all in one, yet she still looks every inch amazing.

11. EMMA STONE in Lanvin at the Met Costume Gala

Blonde Emma is not the Emma Stone that I prefer, but she’s so sass and chic here in this Lanvin gown she wore at the Met Gala Ball. I’d give her an easy A for Awesome.

10. ANGELINA JOLIE in Versace at the Cannes Film Festival

Angelina Jolie has a very good fashion history with Cannes. Remember the green dress when she was pregnant? How about the yellow one? Now, you can add this chocolate Versace gown to her historic Cannes red carpet moments.

9. NINA DOBREV in Donna Karan at the Primetime Emmy Awards

Nina Dobrev might be too shallow for the Primetime Emmy’s taste, but she’s doing it like a pro in her red Donna Karan ensemble that she wore last September. Too bad she wasn’t able to grace the stage that night, so that the world can see her best dressed look.

8. MILA KUNIS in Vera Wang at the Golden Globe Awards

Green was the highlight of this year’s Globes with everyone from Christina Hendricks to Angelina Jolie to Catherine Zeta Jones all glamming up this earthy color. Mila Kunis takes the cake though, in this asymmetrical one shoulder Vera Wang creation.

7. BEYONCE in Lanvin at the MTV Video Music Awards

Beyonce surely knows how to make a baby announcement. By wearing this orange Lanvin gown at the VMAs this year, Beyonce just let the whole world know that she is pregnant in the most fashionable way.

6. JENNIFER LAWRENCE in Calvin Klein at the Academy Awards

This fashion statement has been said many times already, but there’s something about Oscar Best Actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence that made this a striking and memorable outfit for this year.

5. TILDA SWINTON in Haider Ackermann at the Cannes Film Festival

Blue is my favorite color. Period. Now, seeing Tilda Swinton rock this blue Haider Ackermann gown at the Cannes Film Festival, I’m pretty sure that everyone’s thinking “We need to talk about Tilda.”

4. BLAKE LIVELY in Chanel at the Met Gala Institute

Blake Lively is definitely one of the world’s sexiest women. Nude photos or not, one can’t help but be interested when she keeps on sporting this fabulous looks such as this Chanel outfit at the Met Gala Institute. This is what you’ve been missing, Leo.

3. NICOLE KIDMAN in Jean Paul Gaultier at the Grammy Awards

The Grammys might be music’s biggest honor, but fashion wise, it was Nicole Kidman who wowed the event in this Jean Paul Gaultier creation. Hands down, her best red carpet look in years!

2. REESE WITHERSPOON in Armani Prive at the Academy Awards

Reese opted for the classic black with a hint of white in this Armani Prive dress she wore at the Oscars. Add the Julia Roberts hair do, and then you have a memorable Oscar look.

1. ANNE HATHAWAY in Armani Prive at the Golden Globe Awards

And Armani Prive does a back to back. Her hosting stint at the Oscar might have fizzled, but Anne sizzled in her Golden Globe backless look which is my top red carpet moment of 2011.

Do you agree with this list? What are your own choices? Go to the Comments section and list them down. 🙂

Posted December 30, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Lists, Red Carpet

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Tit for Tat’s 37th Metro Manila Film Festival Personal Picks   4 comments

The 37th Metro Manila Film Festival Gabi ng Parangal already happened last night at Resorts World Manila, and I must say that despite all the hullabaloos and late controversies, this is one of the best batch of winners ever. The Manila King Pin: Untold Story of Asiong Salonga won Best Picture together with ten other awards last night. However, this post is dedicated to my own personal nominees and winners for this year’s MMFF.  So let the recognition begin:

BEST CHILD PERFORMER:

Bugoy Carino, “Shake Rattle and Roll: Tamawo”
Xyriel Manabat, “Enteng ng Ina Mo”
Sofia Millares, “Segunda Mano”

Sofia Millares was decent enough to outshine supposed to be stepmother Kris Aquino in Segunda Mano, Xyriel Manabat was better in last year’s Tanging Ina movie, so without a doubt, my winner is…

Winner: Bugoy Carino, “Shake Rattle and Roll: Tamawo”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Baron Geisler, “Manila Kingpin: Untold Story of Asiong Salonga”
Ronnie Lazaro, “Manila Kingpin: Untold Story of Asiong Salonga”
John Regala, “Manila Kingpin: Untold Story of Asiong Salonga”
Jericho Rosales, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”
Philip Salvador, “Manila Kingpin: Untold Story of Asiong Salonga”

Jericho Rosales has his own shining moments in the film, but his overacting moments can’t save his decent ones. As for the four Asiong supporting cast, each of them has their own moments in the film, and all would have been deserving winners, but since I only get to choose one, I’d go with the flat out leader of the pack.

 

Winner: John Regala, “Manila Kingpin: Untold Story of Asiong Salonga”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Carla Abellana, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”
Eugene Domingo, “My Househusband Ikaw Na”
Bangs Garcia, “Segunda Mano”
Agot Isidro, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”
Lovi Poe, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”

Both Carla Abellana and Love Poe proved they have the chops to level up and stand out in an ensemble drama. Bangs Garcia is the clear standout and the only bright acting spot in her film, and Agot Isidro proves that she can play any role given to her with so much finesse and class. Still, this is an easy choice, and my pick for the win is someone who easily played a character with so much depth and provides a flawed human character without bordering on being caricature. My Supporting Actress winner is…

Winner: Eugene Domingo, “My Househusband”

BEST ACTOR

Ryan Agoncillo, “My Househusband Ikaw Na”
Dingdong Dantes, “Segunda Mano”
Zanjoe Marudo, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Tamawo”

Definitely the weakest acting category this year, it’s very difficult to come up with decent nominees for this year’s batch. Dingdong Dantes gave his career best performance and showed that he is capable given a good material. Zanjoe Marudo is one of the underrated young actors we have, and he definitely led the good ensemble cast of the Tamawo episode. In the end, I still think that Best Actor, hands down, should have gone to a performance that is so natural, he really deserves the win.

Winner: Ryan Agoncillo, “My Househusband”

BEST ACTRESS

Kathryn Bernardo, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Parola”
Eugene Domingo, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Rain Rain Go Away”
Maricar Reyes, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Tamawo”
Judy Ann Santos, “My Househusband”
Maricel Soriano, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”

Maricar Reyes continues her streak of good performances with the Tamawo episode; however, her material isn’t meaty enough for the win. Eugene Domingo aces her role well showing her versatility in the Rain, Rain Go Away episode. Kathryn Bernardo’s performance instantly joins the  best SR&R performances ever in Parola. I’m confused with whom to give this award as both Judy Ann Santos, who flairs her comedic and dramatic skills in My Househusband, and Maricel Soriano, as the cold-hearted confused mother who was affected by a tragedy in her personal life. Both excellent performances, and by a hair I’m choosing…

Winner: Maricel Soriano, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”

BEST DIRECTOR

Chris Martinez, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Rain Rain Go Away”
Jose Javier Reyes, “My Househusband”
Jerrold Tarog, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Parola”

Both Martinez and Reyes wrote very good screenplays of their film, but because he was able to capture the old Shake, Rattle, and Roll feel, my hands down choice for Directing is…

Winner: Jerrold Tarog, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Parola”

BEST PICTURE

This batch of movies is a mixed bag, but I must be thankful that there are still movies worthy of seeing here in this year’s film fest. Here are my three choices for Best Picture:

 

Winner: “Manila Kingpin: Untold Story of Asiong Salonga”
2nd Place: “My House Husband”
3rd Place: “Shake, Rattle, and Roll 13”

OTHER CATEGORIES

Best Screenplay – Jose Javier Reyes (My House Husband)

Best Story – Chris Martinez and Marlon Rivera (“Rain Rain Go Away,” Shake Rattle and Roll 13)

Best Cinematography – Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story

Best Theme Song – “La Paloma” by Ely Buendia (Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story)

Best Musical Score – Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story

Best Sound Editing/Mixing – Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story

Best Editing – “Parola,” Shake Rattle and Roll 13

Best Production Design – Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story

Best Visual Effects – Ang Panday 2 

Best Make-Up – “Tamawo,” Shake Rattle and Roll 13

Of course, the MMFF will not be complete without the following:

SPECIAL AWARDS:

Best Actor in a Cameo Role: Ronnie Lazaro, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Tamawo”
Best Actress in a Cameo Role: Malou Crisologo, “My House Husband”
Worst Actor in a Cameo Role: Ervic Vijandre, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Tamawo”
Worst Actress in a Cameo Role: Yayo Aguila, “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”
Best Product Placement: Fundador, “Manila Kingpin”
Worst Product Placement: Magnolia Cheeze Squeeze, “Enteng ng Ina Mo”
Best Acting by a Non-living Thing: Red bag, “Segunda Mano”
Worst Acting by a Non-living Thing: Kris Aquino’s forehead, “Segunda Mano”
Best Accent: Maricar Reyes’s fluent Tagalog, “”Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Tamawo”
Worst Accent: Ara Mina’s English, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Parola”: Parola”
Most Confused Film: Segunda Mano a.k.a one of the best comedies of the year

How about you? What are your picks? 🙂

 

Posted December 29, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Awards, Films

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REVIEW: Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga   10 comments

The promotion of  this movie focused on the premise that this is the comeback of Pinoy action film. After all, when we’ve lost the likes of FPJ and Rudy Fernandez, the action film industry has also vanished. I wouldn’t count the fantasy action movies of Bong Revilla as they’re more on fantasy and special effects. With that said, this is my most anticipated movie this film festival, and I’m pretty sure that this will be the most underrated film.

In this version, George Estregan plays the coveted role of Asiong Salonga. The film covers his first days when he starts to be Tondo’s darling. Together with his friends (Yul Servo, Dennis Padilla, Ketchup Eusebio, Ping Medina, and THE Amay Bisaya), he becomes Tondo’s Robin Hood. Of course, no action film is complete without a flat our kontrabida. This side of the group is where John Regala, Joko Diaz, and Ronnie Lazaro enters. We also get a glimpse of his family life with his brother Philip Salvador (who’s ironically a cop), mother Perla Bautista and father Robert Arevalo. His own family, on the other hand, involves faithful wife Carla Abellana, and their two kids. There’s also this part when he was in jail with Jay Manalo.

It is not surprising that Asiong’s life is, indeed, colorful and interesting to say the least. However, the time frame of the movie is very inconsistent. Most of the time, it’s just scenes jumping out one after the other with no clear direction or flow of when was this or what part do they belong. That, perhaps, is my biggest problem with the film. The editing seems to jump from one scene to another with no clear transitions, and that will probably reflect to the movie’s sketchy narrative. Nevertheless, the highlights were clearly featured, and you know which parts they want to showcase the most.

Other than that, all the other things were done excellently. My favorite seems to be the cinematography. This is the first time that I’ve seen a black and white film on the big screen, and it was too awesome. The art direction is spot on, and it really gives you the 50s feeling of it. Costumes and make up were slick, and choreography of fight scenes was well executed. I have some reservations with the lead star (he’s too old to play a 25-28 year old character, and no amount of make up can conceal that), but I understand that this is his passion project, so I won’ focus on that. Between this and her other filmfest entry, I’m now a complete Carla Abellana convert. it’s a good decision to be a part of this film. Most supporting parts were underutilized, but it’s a treat to see them on the big screen.

There’s a lot left to be desired in this film, truth be told; however, one can’t help but admire that with everything against its way, it still did good. There’s a lot of things going for it: kalesa chase scene, Ketchup Eusebio in a bicycle, Mad World musical scoring, it’s all worth it. The mere fact that you get to see almost every action film character actor in the film blasting out guns left and right is a good start to revive the action film genre. For what it’s worth, it’s a very satisfying and recommended movie experience.

Now, if only we can see Tikoy Aguiluz’s version…

Grade: A-

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

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REVIEW: My Househusband… Ikaw Na!   1 comment

The third big screen team up of real life couple Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo with Jose Javier Reyes is something that they already have (somehow) covered up in their past two efforts. The good thing about this is that they have already mastered and we’ll be assured that there’s quality in the production. The bad thing about this is that comparisons to the previous movie is inevitable. Plus, there’s no Bronson here.

Rodrigo (Ryan Agoncillo) is the breadwinner of their family while his wife Mia (Judy Ann Santos) works as a part time in an insurance company as she is in charge of their household and their two kids. Due to some buying out, Rod resigned as he felt he was demoted in his job. Tables turned now as Rod becomes the house husband and Mia starts to be the breadwinner of the family. He developed a friendship with infamous neighbor Aida (Eugene Domingo), which made Mia jealous at some point.

It is already a given that partners in life Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo will have amazing chemistry. It was very evident in all of their scenes together. What elevated the film though is their perfect chemistry with third wheel Eugene Domingo. Domingo’s character was written not as a cardboard character but as a piece of the puzzle. Her character was fleshed out, and that gave Domingo room for her character to be as human as possible. If anything, the same can be said to the characters of Mia and Rod; they’re human and they actually exist. The situations they live in were very real and possible, all thanks to the effective script by Jose Javier Reyes. His direction isn’t anywhere near his best, but he’s consistent in it.

Aside from the characters of Agot Isidro, Dante Rivero, and Boots Anson Roa, most of the minor characters here were clearly extras. The movie can revolve with only the three main characters in it.  There are times when you feel that you’re just watching an extended version of a TV sitcom about husbands and wives role reversals, and the set up of the situation is somewhat slow, but there isn’t anything that will turn you off in a major way.

Judy Ann Santos has mastered doing comedy and drama taking turns as what the situations ask her to do. In the movie, one can notice how she does not hog the spotlight and does not skip a beat in it. Ryan Agoncillo has came a long way now, and he has already made a mark so that he won’t be upstaged by both Domingo and Santos. His is probably one of my favorite performances during the whole festival. I also think it’s his best. Eugene Domingo could have lazily played the character of Aida in an overacted and cliched manner, but she refused to take that route; instead, she went for someone that the audience will enjoy yet feel for. Sure, there are some theatrics every now and then, but she’s so convincingly good in it. If she can win for her roles in Bahay Kubo and Tanging Ina nyo Last Na ‘To, then the award should be hers in a cakewalk.

What can I say? Direk Joey Reyes did it again. Mainstream movies rarely portray “real life” consistently, and this is one of those times when it actually did. If you want to take a break form the overrated horror films, the overacted dramas, and the fantasy films, My House Husband is the little gem that could. Definitely a must see this filmfest!

Grade: A-

Posted December 28, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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REVIEW: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow   1 comment

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow is the necessary drama movie this MMFF. Jun Lana’s  entry is a family drama that has issues that made things more complicated than what they actually are. The family is headed by now disabled TV tycoon Donald (Ronaldo Valdez) whose eldest daughter Mariel (Maricel Soriano) heads the TV company. She’s now annulled with her former husband Gary (Gabby Concepcion) who is now married to Charlotte (Carla Abellana). Mariel’s daughter Eunice (Eula Caballero) is close to Charlotte and that irks Mariel big time. Her younger brother, Jacob (Jericho Rosales), is married to Lori (Lovi Poe) who gave up her dreams of being a singer after she got married to him. Now Donald’s new family involves wife Agot Isidro and daughter Selene (Solenn Heusaff). Agot’s boy toy is Derek (Dennis Trillo) who is the apple of the eye of Selene as she wants to ditch her current squeeze, Vincent (Paulo Avelino). Sounds tiring already? Well of course it is. Then add to the drama, a tragedy that affects them all and changed all of their lives instantly.

To be fair though, despite all the complications of the various situations, the movie’s not that hard to follow. It’s very straightforward and easy to understand. Character 1 does something, character 2 gets mad about it, then character 1 gets even. And then they cry. It’s a big mix of chopsuey characters that either you’ll feel pity for them, or you’ll get tired seeing the same mistakes over and over again. The situations are somewhat contrived and predictable; it’s a screaming cryfest after all. But what makes me feel less for this movie is that despite the melodrama that you know will happen in the movie, it still topped itself by bringing a more exaggerated melodrama than one can expect. It seems that director Jun Lana is stuck in the 80s type of drama since everything that one can expect is here. A baby? Check. Death scenes? Check. Slapping confrontations? Check.

I also want to say that the tragedy instantly reminded me of Babel, as how a single incident affected many lives in the process. However, in this case, it seems as if there’s only one family who was the most affected by it. The way the characters were written leans more on the pathetic side instead of the human one. A movie character making a stupid mistake (that one saw from the beginning) does not make him/her more human, it makes the writers look lazy and uninspired.

Nevertheless, the acting in the film is still the movie’s biggest (and only) selling point. Headed by the very versatile Maricel Soriano, one can’t help but notice how she’s still acing it all these years. This is far from her best performance, but she delivers when it is needed, and she still does it in top form. Other top players include Agot Isidro, who’s one of the most versatile character actresses we have, Lovi Poe, who keeps on getting better per every new movie released, and Carla Abellana, who has to be the receiving end of Maricel’s character. Jericho Rosales and Dennis Trillo are somewhat hit or miss; Jericho overacts in some scenes while Dennis has been stagnant and has nothing new to offer. The rest are  not remarkable enough to get special mentions.

In its entirety, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow is a family drama that offered nothing new. It has some of the most pathetic characters in current movie dramas, and one can’t help but feel apathetic more than sympathetic with them. It is understandable though that it’s target audience are mothers who will be all over it. In that regard, the film is successful. In case you decide to watch it, do it for the superior performance of Soriano.

Grade: B

Posted December 28, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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REVIEW: Enteng ng Ina Mo   1 comment

When two of the biggest movie franchise combine, one must not expect some quality (well, ANY quality) at all. Take the case of the “Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote” last year. Also, when a franchise announces that they’ll be ending for a particular year, that automatically means it willl be back next year, as is the case of the Tanging Ina series. Now, what happens when Ina and Enteng join forces? Box office domination of course. But us it necessary? Never mind.

Enteng Kabisote (Vic Sotto) finally wants to live a normal life after his several adventures already at Encantacia. Ina Montecillo (Aiai delas Alas), despite constant denying, still itches to have a man in her life. When Ina Magenta (Amy Perez) was captured in Encantacia, there’s no one  left to replace her than Faye (Gwen Zamora). Even with the disapproval of Enteng, Faye decides to accept the title and stay there. Over at the Montecillo household, Ina starts to feel that she needs to focus on her family, but much to her surprise, everyone’s going already leaving her alone. Due to a spell cast to Enteng, he’ll fall in love with the first woman he’ll see, and that happened to be Ina. He “falls” in love with her, and when he learned that it was all but a spell, Ina and her family were already in danger. And then there’s the battle scene and the obligatory happy ending.

First things first, if you’ve seen all the Enteng and Ina movies with passion, then what’s wrong with you? you can just revisit them again. There’s nothing new here. They’re less funny versions of the previous ones. They did a lot of parody of past Star Cinema movies (My Amnesia Girl, You Changed My Life, A Very Special Love, and No Other Woman), and only the last one worked.  The story’s thin as a shanghai wrapper, and most, if not all, jokes are recycled. And not until the last twenty minutes or so will the actual Enteng and Ina unite. The first hour is like a two-in-one feature that separates the two stories.

It is undeniable though that Vic Sotto is still as charismatic as ever. If there’s someone who’s allowed to recycle his jokes over and over again, it’s him. Aiai delas Alas is in her usual overacting self once again, so one can expect an automatic PMPC Best Actress award for her. All the supporting cast were just okay, as they were mostly underutilized. Eugene Domingo is funny as ever, but she wasn’t given a material that will equate to her great talent. Not even her can save this disaster. There was this funny scene with her during Ina’s breakdown scene that is my favorite throughout the movie. The movie has some passable effects, I must say, but it will still boil down to the “nothing new offered” category.

So, while I understand that this is the most family friendly film of this year’s MMFF, this does not mean that it’s a must see. You can skip it, and you won’t miss a thing. This film was just obviously made just so they can say that they had a collaboration. It’s a rehash of a rehash of a rehash of the past installments. Now, brace yourselves if you see a Tanging INAgimat next year.

Grade: C

Posted December 28, 2011 by Nicol Latayan in Films, Reviews

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