Archive for July 2013

9th Cinemalaya Film Festival Review: Part 2   9 comments

Hi everyone! The 9th Cinemalaya Film Festival is still on going so in case you still want to watch this year’s entries, you can do yourself a favor by going to CCP, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, or Alabang Town Center. So far, there’s some really good stuff from what I have seen. Anyway, I will now share with you the second batch of my reviews. Yesterday, I already tackled Gil Portes’ Liars, Mikhail Red’s Rekorder, Carlo Obispo’s Purok 7, and Jeffrey Jeturian’s Ekstra which you can access here. Now I’ll add three more reviews in the list:

Director:Adolf Alix
Cast: Angel Aquino, Carlo Aquino, Yul Servo, Rosanna Roces
Competition: Director’s Showcase

An assassin, a porn dubber, and a transgender. Three souls, on explicit illusion: to find the ultimate joy in their lives. A safe haven, where passion and love means enlightenment and the soul is the ultimate arbiter of the truth.

Coming off from Kalayaan from last year’s Cinemalaya, it’s somewhat of a hard task to see what Porno will bring to the table. The trailer doesn’t give a clue on what this is about, though the title does give one. There’s actually a lot to like about Porno. For one, Alix’s style has continues to evolve over the years, and this one is yet a new addition on the list. Then you also have the riveting performances of the cast with everyone delivering an array of performances from Angel Aquino’s physically transformed role, up to Carlo Aquino’s bold one and the sensual chemistry of Yul Servo and Rosanna Roces. Alix’s production design is also a stand out here, particularly the one in the earlier motel scenes. The heart shaped mirror with the shining curtains and the blue lights set the mood in the beginning of the film. I like how it’s contemplative that the porn in the film goes far deeper than the erotica of the human body, especially in Angel Aquino’s storyline, but this is probably a case of me acknowledging the film’s merits than loving it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Director: Leo Abaya
Cast: Eugene Domingo, Yuki Matsuzaki, Luis Alandy, Rico J. Puno
Competition: New Breed

In order to solve a personal predicament, Bechayda (Eugene Domingo), a wardrobe assistant in TV commercials pretends to be pregnant.

Instant Mommy has a really good story in it. Bechayda’s predicament when she pretended to be pregnant was a highlight in this film. However, in order to get to the good story, you’d have to go through weaker ones first. That’s what pulls the film from achieving what it actually intends to do. It suffers from a lot of tonal inconsistencies and you’d get confused with where they want to bring the story. While there are certainly humorous scenes in the film (with the birth giving scene a top highlight), the uneven writing makes it difficult to identify where the film wants to stick. At times, it’s a glimpse of what happens in advertising agency, then it shifts to Bechay’s problem, then it shifts to loyalty issues between her and her Japanese boyfriend. I’m also probably nitpicking here, but there are very visible goofs within the film (with the taxi direction standing out a lot). If anything, watch out for Eugene Domingo who gives a very humanizing performance here that perfectly balances comedy and drama, but even she can’t save this one.

Rating: 2/5

Director: Alvin Yapan
Cast: Paulo Avelino, Mara Lopez, Ramona Raneses, Roy Dominguiano
Competition: New Breed

Mando (Paulo Avelino), a Bikolano devotee of Ina, Virgie ng Penafrancia, injures himself in the middle of the forest. A mysterious woman, Saleng (Mara Lopez), found and nursed him back to death. They soon fell in love. But when Mando invites her to come with her to the plains, Saleng refuses. She holds a secret that will devastate Mando’s love for her.

If there’s one word that I’d describe the film, it’s hypnotizing. I like how straight forward the film is: we just follow the film and watch Mando at the beginning with what he’s doing, until he meets Saleng and how he was smitten by her, and what the implications of this to both him and her were. The movie rests solely on the shoulders of Paulo Avelino and Mara Lopez, but they sure did one hell of a job in doing so. So far, Avelino is 2/2 when it comes to his performances from Yapan’s direction, and I’m looking forward to more collaborations. Mara Lopez is an inspired casting choice as she was perfectly suited for Saleng’s character. The movie also boasts of really impressive technical achievements with the captivating cinematography and visual effects. I always have a penchant for directors who include big crowd scenes (such as the Nazareno feast in Brillante Mendoza’s Tirador), and Alvin Yapan does the same feat here in the near end with the Ina, Virgie ng Penafrancia. Supported by the haunting musical score of Teresa Barrozo, the juxtaposition of the feast and the final scene is one that speaks volumes about the faith and acceptance we have of a certain thing – may it be love or commitment or just one’s mere existence. It’s definitely one of the best so far from this year’s batch.

Rating: 4.5/5

There you have it! I am to release the third batch on Friday. And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

9th Cinemalaya Film Festival Review: Part 1   8 comments

Hi everyone! It’s Cinemalaya time of the year again. It’s the time when we get to see some of the most exciting and most promising independent films produced by directors both veterans and new ones. This year’s crop of films are really interesting as they varies from different genres and with more big stars having their first Cinemalaya entries (coughVilmaSantoscough). Over the next few days, I’ll be posting my reviews of this year’s entries, and weigh in my thoughts about the ninth batch of indie films. Let’s get the ball rollin’ shall we? 🙂

Director: Gil Portes
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Jan Harley Hicana, John Michael Bonapos, Arnold Reyes
Competition: Director’s Showcase

The film tells the story of journalist Eloisa (Alessandra de Rossi) whose expose’ of the truth results in life-changing consequences to a baseball team of poor boys. It is inspired by a true story.

It is interesting to note that the director claims that the movie is a fictional take just based from a true to life story that happened in 1991. While the whole film gives you a lifetime TV movie of the week feels, this is a familiar territory that combines two concepts that Gil Portes excels at: children and inspirational story. The tandem of writer Senedy Que and director Gil Portes already did it before in Mga Munting Tinig, and they successfully did it again with Liars. The story, as told from a series of flashbacks, recounts the step by step process of the fictional Smokey Mountain team, though what’s special with this is that the two main characters (played by Jan Harley Hicana and John Michael Bonapos) were given ample attention in the story and they certainly delivered. Alessandra de Rossi was dependable as always, and the ensemble consisting of Arnold Reyes, Cris Villanueva, and Sue Prado were all given moments to work on. The movie is not something that hasn’t been told before, but it goes on point with the message that it wants to deliver successfully.

Rating: 3/5

Director: Mikhail Red
Cast: Ronnie Quizon, Mike Lloren, BuboyVillar, Earl Ignacio
Competition: New Breed

The film tells the story of a former 1980’s film cameraman who now currently works as a movie pirate operating in present day Manila. He routinely smuggles a digital camcorder into movie theatres in order to illegally record films. One night, he records something else… and the footage goes viral.

The premise of this film is one that simply strikes me as interesting when I first read the synopsis. But I guess that ended up as its strongest downfall, as it did not live up to what I was expecting to see. Helmed by Raymond Red’s son, Mikhail Red, there seems to be a lacking in terms of storytelling. The perceived impact of what Maven (Ronnie Quizon) has captured did not totally live up to the build-up of the film’s intensity. With that said, the style of the direction is commendable here, and if anything, Maven was written and portrayed as a complex and intriguing character that really holds your attention. I like the film’s opening and ending shots, and for some reason, some of the earlier parts with the police reminded me of Lawrence Fajardo’s Posas from last year. Quizon was awkward but that’s what made his performance engaging and convincing, and his portrayal gave justice on how his character was written. If only the viral video was more engaging, it would have been an overall better film.

Rating: 3/5

Director: Carlo Obispo
Cast: Krystle Valentino, Miggs Cuaderno, Arnold Reyes, Julian Trono
Competition: New Breed

The film follows Diana (Krystle Valentino) and her younger brother as they strive to relieve their longing for a family.

Pronounced as Purok Siyete (or its English translation “Zone 7”), the movie depicts and creates an atmosphere of its own – something that gives you a clear description of how it feels like for Diana and her brother. The concepts of waiting and longing to be a part of a family were on full display effectively, thanks to the endearing performances of both Krystle Valentino and Miggs Cuaderno. I admit that this is one of the few great surprises I have seen so far, and most of it is credited to director and writer Carlo Obispo. Diana’s character is one that is probably more known in movies: the optimistic barrio lass who despite the trials and being the breadwinner of her and her brother do not lose an inch of hope that someday, they too will finally get what they long have wanted. What makes this one different though is that Diana was more humanized; she’s very much transparent that it’s easy for the audience to smile, laugh, and feel for her. I also like how this one ended when it puts the whole story on a full circle. And yes, let me reiterate that you have to pencil in Krystle Valentino bas she showcased one of the best performances of the year by far.

Rating: 4/5

EKSTRA (The Bit Player)
Director: Jeffrey Jeturian
Cast: Vilma Santos, Tart Carlos, Marlon Rivera, Vincent de Jesus
Competition: Director’s Showcase

A socio-realist drama-comedy film, it follows a seemingly usual day in the life of Loida Malabanan (Vilma Santos), as she embarks on yet another shooting day of a soap opera as an extra.

Probably the most buzzed about film in this year’s batch, Ekstra will surely go on to be one of the more prominent and memorable films this year. On one hand, it gives us a glimpse of how it feels like to be an extra – how they’re treated in TV production, what they do in between takes, how they get the roles that they do among others. It’s this kind of “backstage peek” that makes the audience get really interested in. And Ekstra showed that comprehensively in a funny and humorous manner. On the other, if you’re not into that kind of thing, then this one is not for you. It’s too overstuffed that it just went on and on and on. There are parts that can still be trimmed down from it, and it just felt too long. The truth is despite the normal people enjoying the glimpse of what it’s like in a soap opera set, it does cater more to those people who are really a part of it with inside jokes thrown endlessly left and right. With that said, this is a Vilma Santos vehicle, and Santos certainly delivered. More than the witty one-liners or the endless lines, one thing that I’ve always like about her is her great physical acting, and she does that lot in here. She really commands the screen, and it’s nice to see her show it again. I guess my favorite is the one near end of the film when the camera just stares at her – that’s when her emotions are on full display, stripped of the environment where she was just the day before. This somehow reminded me of Ang Babae sa Septic Tank¸ and while both contained impeccable lead performances, it just tends to go beyond the line of too much over the top every now and then. If anything, I enjoyed Antoniette Jadaone’s solo feature Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay as a better vehicle to see a day in the life of a bit player.

Rating: 3/5

Expect the second batch to come during the next few days. And as always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

MTV VMA Video of the Year Winners: Worst to Best   6 comments


The MTV Video Music Awards is always regarded as the coolest party of the year. While it wasn’t once the most anticipated show as compared to its peak during the 90s and early 2000s, a lot of people still tune in and wait for possible iconic moments that the show can possibly offer. In the last decade alone, we saw a three way liplock between Britney, Christina, and Madonna, a bleeding Lady Gaga performing, and the infamous Kanye-Taylor incident. Moments like these make the VMAs a must watch every single year.

Last week, nominations for this year’s telecast have been announced with Justin Timberlake and Macklemore with Ryan Lewis leading the nominations. As for Video of the Year, the nominees were Bruno Mars for Locked Out of Heaven, Justin Timberlake for Mirrors, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for Thrift Shop, Robin Thicke, Pharell, and TI for Blurred Lines, and the only rose among the thorns, Taylor Swift for I Knew You Were Trouble.

As you may all know, the Video of the Year is the biggest and most coveted VMA. In the show’s 29 years, it has gone to the likes of Aerosmith to Madonna, Eminem to Rihanna, Pearl Jam to Lady Gaga, and both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Now we’ll be ranking the past 29 winners and see which one is the best among the rest in this precious group of winners.

You can click the image to link you to the actual music video. 🙂


29: Britney Spears, “Piece of Me” (2008)
Director: Wayne Isham

Britney Spears has created some of the most engaging music videos among her contemporaries including the now iconic Baby…One More Time in 1999. However, it’s sad to know that her only win for VotY comes from 2008’s Piece of Me. It was not bad video per se, but it’s very obvious that the win was mainly political. After the backlash she received a year prior when she opened the show for Gimme More, MTV made up to her by giving her a mini sweep the following year which included this win for top plum.


28: Don Henley, “The Boys of Summer” (1985)
Director: Jean Baptiste-Mondino

A black and white video that shows the metamorphosis of man in some of the most crucial stages of his life is the main concept of this Don Henley single. While it’s black and white approach helped it, one can’t help but wonder how this, in any way, is the best music video of that year? Even Don Henley can’t help but poke fun at the idea by stating that he won an award for riding in the back of a pick up.


27: Eminem, “Without Me” (2002)
Director: Joseph Kahn

While Eminem’s Without Me video is fun and colorful like any of his past videos, this win gives a been there done that film especially since he already won for a similar and more fun parody video just two years ago for The Real Slim Shady. And while the Survivor, Moby, and Batman jokes were fun in general, it just does not live up to a lot of videos in the list. What’s surprising though is that this also won the Grammy for Short Form Music Video so maybe I’m alone in this train?


26: INXS, “Need You Tonight/Mediate” (1988)
Director: Richard Lowenstein

This music video which combined two INXS singles in one is probably seen as a huge technical achievement during its time. Relying on a lot of visual effects (and an interesting one at that), this win results from the impact it made when it was released more than the longevity it has now. Still, it’s a catchy fun video to watch.


25: Neil Young, “This Note’s for You” (1989)
Director: Julien Temple

In what to be one of the more controversial videos of that year, Neil Young’s video which pokes fun at the concept of rockstars and advertising. It also included a Michael Jackson look-a-like setting fire on his own hair, This Note’s for You was initially banned at MTV as per the request of Jackson’s lawyers. Not only did MTV reconsider their decision, they also decided to reward it with the highest honor that year, ultimately beating Michael Jackson’s Leave Me Alone for the win. How’s that for a one two punch victory?


24: Katy Perry, “Firework” (2011)
Director: Dave Meyers

Every now and then, we see music videos that try to make a statement to the world. That’s what Katy Perry’s Firework exactly did as it addressed issues of homosexuality, confidence in one self, and standing up against others to name a few. Add in some colorful fireworks and the wonderful view of the Buda Castle. But come on, who are we kidding? If there’s one thing you’d remember from this video, it’s Katy Perry’s breasts spewing fireworks left and right. Now how’s that for a statement?


23: Van Halen, “Right Now” (2011)
Director: Mark Fenske

Right Now is a strong song on its own, but with the video containing lots of political statements all throughout, it somehow overshadowed the actual song. It’s a case of two great components (in this case, the song and the video) not bringing the best and ultimately dismissing each other. But yes, it will pass for a great PSA.


22: The Cars, “You Might Think” (1984)
Director: Jeff Stein, Alex Weil, Charlie Levi

The very first winner of the Video of the Year title happens to be CGI heavy one with model Susan Gallagher always seeing the members of the band everywhere she goes. It’s a very tongue in cheek approach for a video, but one that is clearly fun to watch especially with all the technological advancements now. It’s actually not bad for the neophyte win for this category.


21: Panic! at the Disco, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” (2006)
Director: Shane Drake

With 2006 being the first fan voted VMAs when it comes to determining the winners, we’re sure in bound for a surprise. And yes, we did when newbie rock group Panic! at the Disco winning the top plum for I Write Sins Not Tragedies. On one hand, it’s actually a decent video with the group crashing a circus themed wedding and featured lots of lavish costume designs and art direction. On the other hand, the mere fact that this is the only category they end up winning speaks volumes on the overall perception to the video.


20: Green Day, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (2005)
Director: Samuel Bay

It’s surprising to think that Green Day has only won the Video of the Year once, thanks to their career resurgence in 2004-2005. Their win comes for the music video of Boulevard of Broken Dreams which was also their biggest song during this era. What’s particularly striking about this video is the approach that director Samuel Bayer to give the dusty aged feeling of it. It definitely clicked well with the MTV people, as it won five other awards aside from VotY.


19: Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Mya, Pink, “Lady Marmalade” (2001)
Director: Paul Hunter

It’s sad to think that Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice lost this award after sweeping the technical categories that year, but with this once in a lifetime moment to reward this diva collaboration by four of the in demand artists during that time is too hard for MTV to resist. That of course, and the fact that they were wearing lingerie through out the video definitely sealed the deal. As Christina Aguilera mentioned in their speech… “The big hair paid off!” Yes honey, it definitely did.


18: Eminem, “The Real Slim Shady” (2000)
Director: Dr. Dre, Phillip Atwell

Eminem’s first win in this category was for the more controversial video of his 2000 breakout song. Making fun of the popstars those days, a humping couple, and hundreds of Eminem clones among others are seen in the insult-filled version of The Real Slim Shady. While he was mostly in hot water during this moment, it also made him a household name during that time, so if there’s ain instance of controversy bringing in the good stuff, it’s definitely this.


17: Rihanna featuring Jay Z, “Umbrella” (2007)
Director: Chris Applebaum

From one two time winner to the other, Rihanna’s first time win here is still for her most iconic song to date. Umbrella, which was a major phenomenon during that time, not only promoted Rihanna from those R&B starlets to a star of her own, the video of her covered in silver paint also garnered positive praises from critics and the public. That’s why it’s no such surprise that it was chosen as 2007’s Video of the Year.


16: Missy Elliott, “Work It” (2003)
Director: David Meyers

Work It gave Missy Elliott a lot of firsts. Not only is this her first video which showcased her immense weight lost, the first single off her Grammy Album of the Year nominee Under Construction, but it was also her first video to win an MTV moonman. Missy might not look like a Halle Berry poster (as mentioned in the song), but she sure is firing in this video, and she can’t help but scream off excitement when she won VotY.


15: Madonna, “Ray of Light” (1998)
Director: Jonas Akerlund

Probably one of the most innovative female divas when it comes to music videos, it is really surprising that Madonna’s only win in this category is for 1998’s Ray of Light. I mean after Like a Prayer, Vogue, and even Take a Bow, this is what gave her the moonman for VotY. While one can easily think of it as a career award, this video which showed Madonna dancing while the whole world is moving behind her makes it an easy call that this merits her a much deserved win.


14: Sinead O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)
Director: John Maybury

It’s easy to dismiss this video as simply a close up of Sinead’s face, but what’s magnificent about it is the gamut of emotions that she showed as she sings the lyrics that reminded her of her relationship with her mother. This has been an inspiration to a lot of succeeding music videos showing only the singer’s face, but nothing parallels to the expressions shown here. Plus points to the random Paris shots in the video.


13: TLC, “Waterfalls” (1995)
Director: F. Gary Gray

The 90s has been notorious for making statements and narrating stories through music videos. TLC’s Waterfalls is definitely one of those who benefited from that. Packing in two stories that tackle HIV and drug selling, the sentimental feel of the video plus the shot of the girls dancing in the middle of the ocean (and later in the waterfalls) is a nice throwback of different 90s music video trends.


12: Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris, “We Found Love” (2012)
Director: Melina Matsoukas

The current title holder of this category is once again, Rihanna, only this time, her win comes from her lead single off Talk the Talk. This video with matching narration at the beginning is obviously a throwback to her once relationship with Chris Brown (with the leading man even a spitting image of him), and it went on to depict the relationship she once had with him. Set against the beautiful background of Ireland, this is probably Rihanna’s best video to date and a very deserving second win for her.


11: Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing” (1986)
Director: Steven Barron

In 1986, a completely animated music video is already seen as a big achievement, and I think that’s what pushed Dire Straits for the Video of the Year win. If you watch the music video, you will also be wowed with the technical achievement that it possessed given the time frame of when this was made. Director Steven Barron also helmed two other groundbreaking videos that year, and for that, one can’t say that this one is undeserving of the top prize.


10: Aerosmith, “Cryin’” (1994)
Director: Marty Callnar

Before videoke backgrounds decided to portray stories to accompany the lyrics, 90s rock music videos are also guilty of that. Aerosmith’s Cryin, which tells the story of a teen Alicia Silverstone whose heart was broken by Stephen Dorff, is probably one of their most requested videos. The shot of Silverstone jumping over a bridge and ending up giving a finger to Dorff is still one of the most iconic moments in music video endings. Give yourself a pat on the back if you identified Josh Holloway as the one who stole Silverstone’s bag in the cafe.


09: Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance” (2010)
Director: Francis Lawrence

There’s no better way to start this decade of music videos than with a big bang as Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance won the first Video of the Year for this decade. With dance steps inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller and containing some of Gaga’s stripped bare looks, not only does this video ended up with seven moonmen during the VMAs that year, but it also went on to be one of the most viewed Youtube music videos of all time. Not bad for a bad romance.


08: Pearl Jam, “Jeremy” (1993)
Director: Mark Pellington

With a very haunting video that portrays the character “Jeremy” being eaten by peer pressure and dysfunctional families which ended him into taking his own life is probably too much for a music video, but then again, it’s one that perfectly suits the nature of the song. This video has been banned and has been blamed for the cause of non-stop school shooting rampages that happened in the US, which is unfair for the music video. One can argue its connection but one cannot argue the effect it has.


07: OutKast, “Hey Ya!” (2004)
Director: Bryan Barber

Throwing a homage to The Beatles and their 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show is the primary thing that you’ll notice in this very colorful OutKast music video. Now how this duo managed to portray everyone in the band might involve some visual effect tricks, but it also tripled the fun of the final product. How a fun song can be upstaged by a more fun video is definitely a testament of a great Video of the Year win.


06: Beyonce, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” (2009)
Director: Jake Nava

Sure, it’s easy to credit Gwen Verdon’s dance routine over at The Ed Sullivan Show as the inspiration for this music video, but we all know that Beyonce surely did bring something to the table that made this an iconic music video with everyone from Justin Timberlake to Queen Latifah to First Lady Michelle Obama jamming to it. It maybe the dancing, it maybe the continuous effect, but whatever it is, it surely made Kanye West believe that “it’s one of the best videos of all time… OF…ALL..TIME!” Okay, Kanye, you win.


05: Peter Gabriel, “Sledgehammer” (1987)
Director: Stephen Johnson

Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer is definitely in for the books as one of the most famous and iconic music videos ever. By 1987, it already paved the way for music videos to be memorable and unique and be outside the box in terms of creativity. Combining claymation, pixilation, and stop motion format, it broke barriers and held its own in music video history. There’s a reason why it won a record breaking nine MTV VMAs (a record he still holds until now) and as the most played music video in MTV history. And Brit Gabriel did it by just sitting down in his video. Spell awesome.


04: Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)” (1999)
Director: unspecified

As the 20th century comes to end, it’s nice to see that the last Video of the Year award for the 90s ended up with Lauryn Hill’s Doo Wop video. For one, it’s a bold statement about the role of women as she juxtaposed a 60s Lauryn on the left of the screen to a modern day 90s Lauryn on the right part. Not only does she present the message via the song, she made it clear what business she wants to say via the video.


03: REM, “Losing My Religion” (1991)
Director: Tarsem Singh

REM not only made a trademark song with Losing My Religion, but they also accompanied it with a dreamy and haunting music video. It’s dramatic, it’s dark, it’s bold, and one that will prompt you to watch for a second and third time. Seems like it was the intention all along which ended up not only with positive word of mouth, but also six MTV Video Music Awards including 1991’s choice for Video of the Year.


02: Jamiroquai, “Virtual Insanity” (1997)
Director: Jonathan Glazer

You know how sometimes after watching a music video, you’d ended up saying “Cool. I wanna try that too.” That’s what Virtual Insanity ended up doing to a lot of those who saw the song’s video. With some sliding floors, animated roaches, and moving sofas, it’s one that every child wants to try. I might not speak for everybody but that’s what I felt like after the first time I see it back when I was still seven. If ever they intend to put hidden meanings among these, I’d never realize, but one thing’s for sure: I’d love to try a moving floor.


01: The Smashing Pumpkins, “Tonight Tonight” (1996)
Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Sometimes, the best ideas are those that accidentally pop up. The first idea for this video ended up not happening since it’s similar to a Red Hot Chili Peppers video that was just recently launched. This prompted them to go with another that will focus on the audience interpretation of the song, but that quickly fizzled too. The last and final idea that they used is a throwback to the silent film A Trip to the Moon. With limited materials and costumes to use, who would have thought this will end up as a Video of the Year winner and my pick as the best in the show’s 29 year history? Aside from VotY, it also ended up winning five other moonmen making it as the biggest winning video of 1996. Sounds about right.

There you go! What are your favorites among the list above? And which video among the five nominees this year will join the ranks of those above? With the fan voted concept, it’s hard to dismiss Taylor Swift especially since the last six winners here are all pop solo female and she’s the only one who fits the bill. But then again, I can see them finally giving an overdue VotY win to three time nominee Justin Timberlake who is still winless for the top prize. Right now, I’m leaning on JT though I won’t be surprised if it ended up with Taylor winning.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

REVIEW: Tuhog   7 comments


Skylight Films, the indie army of Star Cinema, does their own celebration of the film outfit’s 20th year by coming up with a comedy that plays with intertwined fates of three strangers. Written and directed by Veronica Velasco, and starred by Eugene Domingo, Leo Martinez, Enchong Dee, and Jake Cuenca, Tuhog is a take on the connection of me, you, and everyone else you know.

Due to a highway bus accident, three strangers Tonio (Leo Martinez), Caloy (Enchong Dee), and Fiesta (Eugene Domingo) are literally connected by a piece of steel bar; unfortunately for them, the small hospital where they were directed has only two operating rooms, and before the decision can be made, we get a glimpse of their own lives prior to the said incident. There, we see Tonio, a retired family man, whose aim is to put up a bakery.  Fiesta is a cranky female bus conductor who’s being haunted by her past, while Caloy is a typical college student whose world revolves with the notion of finally having her long distant girlfriend deflowered.

On the outside, it’s easy to dismiss the definition of the film’s title from the main conflict that the film presented. If you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, you’ll have a clear idea of what I’m referring to in the Season 2 episode Into You Like a Train. However, it goes deeper than that. We were then presented that even before the accident, there were already instances where the three characters have intertwined in the past. And I think that’s where the movie clearly succeeds – that there were already some puzzle pieces even before the picture was made.

Veronica Velasco really knows how to connect the story to the audience and vice versa. I like how each of the backstories were tackled, though it’s safe to say that Caloy’s story was the weakest of the three. Not because it was the lightest, but because it’s the one that comes close (but definitely didn’t) from being a filler. The most interesting one is hands down the first one with Tonio. It’s stories like his that personally strikes the most interest for me because it’s  a scenario that others can possibly see themselves at. Fiesta’s segment is the perfect middle story; it might not be the most original story, but it is successful in what it presented, and the crowd I was with definitely ate all of it up. If anything, the only thing I wasn’t particularly fond of was the resolution part as it tends to become preachy, and it seems sort of out of place to what the build up did.

I’ll dedicate a paragraph of my review to say this, because I want them to get the much deserved props, but the visuals in here is really fresh and well thought. The opening credits is one of the best I’ve seen in local cinema for a long time, and it is talents like such that convinces me that we need more avenue to expose them because the talent is clearly there.

With three different stories to tackle, a large ensemble is needed, and for the most part, I think all of them were okay. I don’t remember anything that strikes as an odd man out. Eugene Domingo was her typical charismatic self, and while most people know her for her comedic skills, her dramatic ones were equally good too. Enchong Dee is the definition of a boy next door and this role plays right up his alley. My favorite though is Leo Martinez, as one who is still in denial of his current state and simply aims for his dream to push through, you’d feel for him and what he’s going through. Martinez together with his barkada in the film (Bodjie Pascua, Jon Achaval, Menggie Cobarrubias) is one of the most enjoyable portrayal of friendship I’ve seen.

Tuhog is a very competent and inspired take on life’s many possibilities and how fate can possibly bring us to see that. It’s one that can make you ask questions about yourself despite not getting the answers instantly.


65th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions Part 4: Drama   Leave a comment

Hi everybody. I’m here to post the missing piece of my Emmy predictions this year. As what I already mentioned, the nominations for the 65th edition of TV’s highest honor will be revealed on Thursday by Kate Mara of House of Cards and Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad. If you have been following this blog, I have been slowly revealing my predictions during the past few days as I already covered reality and variety, the TV movie and miniseries, and comedy genres. To finally complete it, here are my predictions in the drama categories:


drama directing

• Boardwalk Empire, Two Imposters (Allen Koutler)
• Breaking Bad, Fifty One (Rian Johnson)
• Game of Thrones, The Rains of Castamere (David Nutter)
• Homeland, Q&A (Lesli Link Glater)
• House of Cards, Chapter 1 (David Fincher)

Sixth nominee: Downton Abbey, Episode 4 (Jeremy Webb)

After last year’s surprising Directing upset, it is not safe to dismiss Boardwalk Empire at all in this category. While both the finale Magrate Sands and Two Imposters are very competitive, I’d go with Allen Koutler’s directed episode as their nomination. Breaking Bad really finds it difficult to penetrate the Writing series, but the same can’t be said in the Directing ones. The Rian Johnson (yes, of Looper) helmed episode is also their most buzzed eligible contender, so Fifty One is a good bet for the nod. After the Blackwater snub last year, one can say for sure that Game of Thrones  is no shoo-in here, but the critical and overwhelming buzz for the Rains of Castamere episode will definitely do the trick for the show. Current series champ Homeland can expect a nom here too, and Q&A is their safest submission. And to close this one out, Oscar nominee David Fincher can welcome an Emmy nomination for his direction of the pilot episode of House of Cards.


drama writing

• The Americans, Pilot (Joe Weisberg)
• Homeland, New Car Smell (Meredith Stiehm)
• Homeland, Q&A (Henry Bromell)
• Mad Men, In Care Of (Matthew Weiner, Carly Wray)
• Thew Newsroom, We Just Decided To (Aaron Sorkin)

Sixth nominee: Downton Abbey, Episode 4 (Julian Fellowes)

There are two types of episodes that click well in the writing categories: pilot shows and episodes of Emmy drama series champs. With that said, favorite Aaron Sorkin is back in contention for penning the pilot episode of The Newsroom. While the series is a hit or miss, the pilot episode is enough to seal the nomination in this category. The same can be applied to Joe Weisberg and his pilot of The Americans which is one of the lauded pilots the past television season. Perennial favorite nominee Matthew Weiner can still sneak in another nomination despite Mad Men slowly fading away from Emmy radar. I’m going with the season finale, though any Weiner episode can actually fill its place.  As for the remaining two spots, after their surprise win in this category last year, I’m predicting a one two punch of nods for the back to back episodes of New Car Smell and Q&A from Homeland to complete this category.


drama guest actor

• Dylan Baker, “The Good Wife
• Michael J. Fox, “The Good Wife
• Rupert Friend, “Homeland
• Harry Hamlin, “Mad Men
• Nathan Lane, “The Good Wife
• Ray Romano, “Parenthood

Seventh nominee: Jim Beaver, “Justified

Drama guest actor is one of the most difficult categories. You don’t know if the Emmys want to reward character actors or movie stars in it. Sometimes they prefer the former, and the other times, they’re in the mood to reward the latter. With that said, I’m sensing that The Good Wife will once again dominate this category. Michael J. Fox and Dylan Baker are nominees from last year that can easily repeat (Specifically Fox). I also see Nathan Lane’s upstaging role to give him another Guest Actor nod this year, only this time in the drama genre. Rupert Friend is one of the most memorable additions to Homeland the past season, and with the show definitely expanding its acting nomination, I can see him getting in along the ride. A Mad Men actor has always been present too since the show’s inception in 2007, and I feel the tradition will continue this year as Harry Hamlin gets nominated. The last slot is between three actors: Matthew Perry in The Good Wife,  though four guys from the same show is overload here, Jim Beaver in Justified though let’s see how the reception for that show is. I guess I’ll stick with multiple Emmy winner Ray Romano for his turn in Parenthood to get the last nom.


drama guest actress

• Stockard Channing, “The Good Wife
• Joan Cusack, “Shameless
• Jane Fonda, “The Newsroom
• Shirley Maclaine, “Downton Abbey
• Martha Plimpton, “The Good Wife
• Diana Rigg, “Game of Thrones

Seventh nominee: Linda Cardellini, “Mad Men

This category is full of big names this year, and they can easily fill up the list for the final nominations here. As for starters, Oscar winners Jane Fonda and Shirley Maclaine will easily get in for their turns in The Newsroom and Downton Abbey respectively. Last year’s winner Martha Plimpton is in for another round of nomination in this category, and the same is predicted for Shameless’ Joan Cusack. Stockard Channing is too much of an Emmy favorite for her to get snubbed in an actors show such as The Good Wife so I can see her easily getting in. The last spot is for past Emmy winner Dame Diana Rigg who is one of the most lauded parts of the third season of Game of Thrones.


drama supp actor

• Jonathan Banks, “Breaking Bad
• Rob James-Collier, “Downton Abbey
• Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones
• Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland
• Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad
• Corey Stoll, “House of Cards

Seventh nominee: Sam Waterston, “The Newsroom

This is a category that I see can go to many directions, so it’s really difficult to come up with a final list here. Aside from the past two winners in this category Aaron Paul and Peter Dinklage, I think everyone is possibly vulnerable to be snubbed. Mandy Patinkin, who was surprisingly snubbed last year, benefits from Homeland winning the top drama category, so he can easily get in this year. Like last year with Giancarlo Esposito, I think another character actor from Breaking Bad will get in alongside Aaron Paul, and this year seems poised for a Jonathan Banks nomination. Corey Stoll is a scene stealer in House of Cards and if the Emmys throw a lot of support to the show, then you can expect him to be nominated too. As for the last spot, I can easily see it to TV veteran Sam Waterston since his name alone can easily attract buzz, but with the WTF results this category gave last year, I guess they’ll still nominate one of Downton actor, and Rob James-Collier’s is the type of role that they love to reward. and thus, I’m going with my guts and predicting him.


drama supp actress

• Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
• Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad”
• Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”
• Elizabeth McGovern, “Downton Abbey”
• Monica Potter, “Parenthood”
• Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”

Seventh nominee: Archie Panjabi, “The Good Wife”

Dame Maggie Smith, Christine Baranski, and Anna Gunn are all safe bets for nominations this year. I actually think Christina Hendricks is safe for another nomination, though the real issue is if her season long performance merits it. But then again, it did not prevent others from getting extended Emmy nos for their shows. I also think that Elizabeth McGovern’s shift in the supporting categories will do her favors and receive her second Emmy nod for the show for this season. I’m skipping 2010 winner Archie Panjabi for the mere fact that her storyline this season received unanimous negative criticisms, and I think it will instead open up a slot for another actress. I predict that the final slot will g to Monica Potter as her arc this season received major waves of buzz, and with critical support to push her in, she can be the face of network shows in this category. I do think though that getting the nomination is her biggest hurdle, but once she gets in, she can be very competitive for the win. With this as NBC’s only shot in the drama categories, I see them doing all the means for her to get in.


drama lead actor

• Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire
• Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad
• Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom
• Jon Hamm, “Mad Men
• Damien Lewis, “Homeland
• Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards

Seventh nominee: Matthew Rhys, “The Americans

Lead Actor doesn’t seem to have much of a shake up as compared to the other drama acting categories this year. After all, Steve Buscemi, Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, and Damian Lewis are all sure bets to be nominated again this year. As for the last two spots, I’m expecting the movie star factor plus the juicy role makes Kevin Spacey a shoo-in to be nominated for his House of Cards performance. As for the last spot, while Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville or Dexter’s Michael C. Hall are both eligible, they might go with veteran Jeff Daniels who already reaped Golden Globe and SAG nods for his performance in The Newsroom. If not him, then watch Matthew Rhys of The Americans to be the other newbie here.


drama lead actress

• Glenn Close, “Damages
• Claire Danes, “Homeland
• Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey
• Juliana Margulies, “The Good Wife
• Elisabeth Moss, “Mad Men
• Kerry Washington, “Scandal

Seventh nominee: Keri Russell, “The Americans

Now this one has a plethora of contenders that all have legit chances of making it in the final line up. But since only six will be nominated, I’ll probably start filling them up with current champ Claire Danes who will likely end up with the win here as well. Aside from her, I expect another past winner Julianna Margulies to come back again for her fourth bid in this category. Then we have perennial nominee Elisabeth Moss as another sure bet to hear her name being called here. Michelle Dockery has benefited a lot since her nomination last year, and she’s likely to be in here as well. Kerry Washington’s big narrative on how a black woman leads a primetime network show is too big to ignore, and I can’t imagine the outcry and backlash that will happen if she fails to get nominated this year. That’s why I think she will get in. Then there’s Tatiana Maslany. Maslany is really in a weird position; the nature of the show hurts her as others can see it as too gimmicky and the network isn’t big enough to push her. However, she certainly has the buzz and is making rounds of mentions among different pundits. As for the last spot, the trio of newcomers Keri Russell in The Americans, Robin Wright in House of Cards, and Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel is really too tempting to predict, but expect the voters to throw a bone to 2x winner here and consistent nominee Glenn Close for her final season in Damages.


drama series

Breaking Bad (AMC)
Downton Abbey (PBS)
• Game of Thrones (HBO)
Homeland (Showtime)
House of Cards (Netflix)
Mad Men (AMC)

Seventh nominee: The Americans (FX)

There isn’t much of a stiff competiton in this race as compared to its comedy counterpart. Five nominees from last year are sure to be back with only Boardwalk Empire in mixed position. To be fair, Boardwalk Empire did solidly well in the different television guilds earlier this year that if it gets in for a third time, it’s not something that will shock us. However, there are two strong competitors for that last slot. First, we have the FX show The Americans. The difficult thing with The Americans is that no one can gauge how the reception of Emmys will be to the show. I can see a scenario where it gets in for Series, Lead Actor, and Lead Actress, but at the same time, I can also see a picture where in it miss all three. If only they made a more aggressive campaign, then they can easily reserve a slot here. Maybe next year? Or in a seven show race? In the end, I’m giving my last slot to Netflix’s House of Cards. I think at least one Netflix show will be in contention for the top genre award and while both Arrested Development and this one can get in, I think House of Cards has more things going for it such as the star power of the people involved and the overall reception to the season. That factor pushes it over both Boardwalk Empire and The Americans for that elusive sixth slot.

Finally done! Whew! Who are you rooting for in the drama categories? Can The Americans actually penetrate the main categories? How many The Good Wife actors will be nominated in Guest Actor? And can Vera Farmiga, Keri Russell, or *gasp* Tatiana Maslany actually happen? :)

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

65th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions Part 3: Comedy   Leave a comment

Hi everyone! It is still Emmy season over here at Tit for Tat, and I’m currently doing a four part blog post on who can find themselves nominated for TV’s top honor. As you may all know, the nominations will be revealed on Thursday, July 18 by Emmy winner Aaron Paul and Kate Mara. Since we’re done tackling the reality and variety, as well as the TV movie and miniseries genres, it’s time to move to the two biggest ones: comedy and drama. For this part, we’ll be focusing on the funny antics of television’s comedies.


comedy directing

• Arrested Development, Off the Hook (Mitchell Hurwitz, Troy Miller)
• Girls, On All Fours (Lena Duham)
• Louie, New Year’s Eve (Louis CK)
• Modern Family, Goodnight Gracie (Steven Levitan)
• 30 Rock, Hogcock!/Last Lunch (Beth McCarthy-Miller)

Sixth nominee: Modern Family, Party Crasher (Fred Savage)

Last year’s nominees Lena Dunham and Louis CK can find themselves nominated again this year for both of their directorial efforts in their respective shows. Louie has the advantage of submitting only one episode, but while the same cannot be said about Girls, Lena’s only directing submission can tower their show’s other submission. The finale episode of 30 Rock is also a safe bet for a nomination; after all, Beth McCarthy-Miller, despite 0 wins here, has been nominated multiple times already. Like Louie, Arrested Development only submitted one episode here, which makes them a shoo-in already. As for the last spot, it is the director’s branch that continuously loves to embrace Modern Family giving the show six nods in its first three seasons. I feel the lovefest will be continued as its season finale will reap up a nod for creator Steven Levitan.


comedy writing

• Arrested Development, Blockheads (Mitchell Hurwitz, Jim Vallelly)
• Girls, One Man’s Trash (Lena Duham)
• Louie, Daddy’s Girlfriend Part 1 (Louis CK)
• Modern Family, Goodnight Gracie (Steven Levitan, Jeffrey Richman)
• 30 Rock, Last Lunch (Tina Fey & Tracey Wigfield)

Sixth nominee: 30 Rock, Hogcock! (Jack Burditt & Robert Carlock)

Surprise, surprise. But I’m predicting the same five shows to be nominated for both Writing AND Directing Emmys this season. This means that my prediction is off base already. But then again, it seems like the Academy will be going for the same mindset as well. After being snubbed last year, I expect current winner Modern Family to be back in this race with their season finale episode, which is reminiscent of their stronger seasons. The pair of actor slash director slash write combo of Lena Dunham and Louis CK is still hot in Emmy’s eyes, and that results to at least a piece of Writing nods for their shows Girls and Louie respectively. Following their strategy in the Directing category, Arrested Development only submitted one episode here too, which makes it a shoo-in among its fans in the community. The last spot I give to the series finale of 30 Rock as the show is well loved by the writing block giving it lots of nominations and wins over the course of the show.


comedy guest actor

• Will Arnett, “30 Rock
• Matthew Broderick, “Modern Family
• Bob Newhart, “The Big Bang Theory
• Martin Short, “Saturday Night Live
• Justin Timberlake, “Saturday Night Live
• Patrick Wilson, “Girls

Seventh nominee: Ben Stiller, “Arrested Development

Will Arnett is the definition of a staple in this category. Over the years, he has been nominated multiple instances already for his role in 30 Rock, and I see them giving him one last nod for the show’s final season. There’s always an SNL performer nominated in this category ever since they start including them here, and for this year, alum Martin Short and 2x Emmy winner in this category Justin Timberlake are their best shots. Aside from SNL, Modern Family does really good with their guest actors in the show with the likes of Nathan Lane and Greg Kinnear getting nominated. This year, I expect Matthew Broderick to be the show’s rep in one of their most memorable episode this season. Still Emmyless TV legend Bob Newhart is finally in contention to have his first Emmy for his scene stealing role in The Big Bang Theory. The last slot I usually reserve for a movie star who does some buzz worthy memorable TV performance of the past season, and this year it’s Patrick Wilson for his controversial turn in Girls.


comedy guest actress

• Kate Hudson, “Glee
• Melissa McCarthy, “Saturday Night Live
• Liza Minnelli, “Arrested Development
• Sarah Jessica Parker, “Glee
• Elaine Stritch, “30 Rock
• Kristen Wiig, “Saturday Night Live

Seventh nominee: Elizabeth Banks, “Modern Family

I’m warning you now. This is one big mess of a prediction in this category. But let’s try to digest. First, just like last year, Melissa McCarthy’s SNL hosting duties is a shoo-in for a nomination. Add the fact that she might be snubbed for Comedy Lead Actress, and this is the perfect venue to nominate her. Joining her last year was SNL alumna Maya Rudolph, but this year it is four time nominee Kristen Wiig. Then we have Elaine Stritch. Yes, she was snubbed last year, but with how empty this category is, they might go back to one of its previous winners. Then we’d have Liza Minnelli. It’s interesting to note that the show has never garnered any Guest Acting nom. Yes, you’re reading it right. So the likes of Henry Winkler and Charlize Theron and Julia Louis Dreyfus have all been snubbed. But why am I predicting her? Lucille is a staple character in the show, and this might be Emmy’s way of correcting that past mistake. I’m not predicting any Louie actresses because I don’t know if the Emmys love the show to the point of nominating someone else whose name is not Louis CK. I’m not predicting Elizabeth Banks as well because of the fact that while Modern Family does great with their guest actors, the same can’t be said about their guest actresses: Shelley Long, Ellen Barkin, Minnie Driver. So if Elizabeth Banks didn’t make it during her first eligible year, then I don’t know how she’ll make it this year. That leaves me with… Glee. I know, I know. But this is the only category that loves that show the last few years and they always have a nominee in this category for its first three seasons. This year, I’m going with Kate Hudson’s buzzworthy turn as the NYADA instructor Cassandra July, and Sarah Jessica Parker’s comeback Emmy nod after her 2004 win.


comedy supp actor

• Will Arnett, “Arrested Development
• Ty Burrell, “Modern Family
• Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family
• Max Greenfield, “New Girl
• Ed O’Neill, “Modern Family
• Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family

Seventh nominee: Bill Hader, “Saturday Night Live”

Probably the most crowded category this year, I can name five or more actors that can still find their names in the final list. As for starters, there’s Simon Helberg in The Big Bang Theory, Jeffrey Tambor in Arrested Development, Tony Hale in Veep, Adam Driver in Girls,  and even host Neil Patrick Harris  in How I Met Your Mother. However, I’m sticking with the four Modern Family men in this category. The Emmys are always a season or two late when they do category overhaul, and last year proved that the show still has its clout in the Academy. The only thing that will convince me to remove any of them is when the Emmy start to actually do so. Until then, all of them are predicted here. Max Greenfield continues to be filling the scene-stealing over the top character that Neil Patrick Harris once filled, so it is safe to say he’ll be back again. And with many Arrested Development guys in contention, I’d be sticking with the one that has the flashiest performance in the group, and that happens to be Will Arnett.


comedy supp actress

• Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory
• Julie Bowen, “Modern Family
• Kaley Cuoco, “The Big Bang Theory
• Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family
• Jessica Walter, “Arrested Development
• Alison Williams, “Girls

Seventh nominee: Jane Krakowski, “30 Rock

We all know by now that the two Modern Family women are safe, so there’s no point in discussing that. With The Big Bang Theory getting even bigger as each season passes, I’m expecting last year’s surprise nominee Mayim Bialik to retain, and fan favorite Kaley Cuoco to finally be nominated along the ride. Jessica Walter is a past nominee for her performance in Arrested Development and she can fill in the TV veteran slot of the group. The last spot I give to newbie Alison Williams. it is pretty much destined that Girls will expand their acting noms in their succeeding seasons (just like how the other HBO female comedy Sex and the City did), so for now, I’m adding one Girls star and I think it’ll be Williams. I don’t know what to make of Krakowski’s chances, especially since they snub her strongest season last year for the likes of Merritt Wever, so while even if this is the show’s final season, the Emmys have a habit of forgetting you completely once they’re over you.


comedy lead actor

• Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock
• Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development
• Don Cheadle, “House of Lies
• Louis C.K, “Louie
• Jon Cryer “Two and a Half Men
• Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory

Seventh nominee: Matt Leblanc, “Episodes

For this one, past Emmy winners in this category Alec Baldwin and Jim Parsons can be counted as locks already. The same can actually be said about Jon Cryer. I have come to the conclusion that maybe the Emmy voters really see something in his performance that they keep on nominating him year after year after year after year. Once they finally drop him is when I’ll start to drop him in my predictions too. If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you’ve noticed that I keep on reiterating that Louis CK is very much loved by the Academy, so that makes him a shoo-in as well. The last two slots can either go to any of three past nominees. The strange thing about it is that they’re all one time nominee only, so it’s hard to gauge how the Emmys will respond to them. But I’m going with Jason Bateman with the Arrested Development residual love, and movie star confidence vote in Don Cheadle. If all else fails, see Matt LeBlanc reap up his second nod for Episodes.


comedy lead actress

• Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl
• Lena Dunham, “Girls
• Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie
• Tina Fey, “30 Rock
• Julia Louis Dreyfus, “Veep
• Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation

Seventh nominee: Melissa McCarthy, “Mike and Molly

Basically, if there’s anything that our seven women lineup last year taught us, it’s the fact that you just have to choose who to drop here.  The triumvirate of SNL alumnae of current winner Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler are sure bets here. The same can be said for the “female Louis CK” Lena Dunham. Then you have Edie Falco, who’s like the perennial Emmy favorite, and I don’t see her being dropped by the Academy this year. That leaves us with Zooey Deschanel and Melissa McCarthy. It’s actually easy to say that McCarthy has the upper hand since she’s a past winner in this category and she’s the only representative of the traditional comedy set up. However, they can also reward her in Comedy Guest Actress. With that said, I’m sticking with it girl Zooey Deschanel whose show received major buzz for its second season.


comedy series

• The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
Girls (HBO)
Louie (FX)
Modern Family (ABC)
30 Rock (NBC)
Veep (HBO)

Seventh nominee: Arrested Development (Netflix)

First, let me say that I’m expecting that the final line up will actually consist of seven nominees. But I’m sticking to six just because it’s really the actual number of nominations here. Okay so where do I even begin? Let’s go with current champ Modern Family. I don’t see a scenario of it getting snubbed. Period. The same can be said for CBS’ The Big Bang Theory. With its huge ratings, it is very much expected that it’ll also get in. 3x Emmy champ 30 Rock is another sure contender. After all, it is the final season of a once Emmy favorite. You can’t go wrong with that. Then you’d have Girls. As much as it is a very polarizing and divisive show, the Emmys has showered it with love last year, and as HBO’s watercooler show, I expect it to be in the final six too. Now here’s the part where it gets confusing. On one hand. there’s Arrested Development. It’s 2004’s Best Comedy Series winner, has a cult following, and the Emmys are one of the firsts who basically embraced it. However, its Netflix airing plus its puzzling critical reception makes it vulnerable for the top slot. On the other, you have Veep. It is a current nominee with high caliber Emmy magnet names that surround it. With that said, one can’t avoid seeing it as the Julia Louis Dreyfus show. If it gets nominated, I can’t see where it expands its nominations. It’s not a top contender for writing, directing, and not even acting. Where will the support come from then? Then you have Louie. Everything Louis CK touches makes it an Emmy contender. Everything that is, except getting in the Comedy Series category. Last year, we saw it even win Writing and getting nominated in Directing and Acting, and it has the critics on its side but it still failed to grab a Series nod. With no current season buzz to help it, I can’t help but think that it can follow the same trajectory as Roseanne. A show where in they love everything Roseanne related, but it still wasn’t able to get that Comedy Series nod. In the end, I dropped Arrested Development, as it’s the only show where I can see a scenario where in it gets a lot of nods but barely missing the top category.

Ooh that was long! Who are you rooting for in the comedy categories? Can Bob Newhart finally win an Emmy? Will all Modern Family guys make it in Supporting Actor? And what do you think among Arrested Development, Louie, and Veep will get the boot? 🙂

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

65th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions Part 2: TV Movie and Miniseries   Leave a comment

Hi there! As what you have previously read, this is the Emmy week celebration for Tit for Tat. With nominations on the cusp of being unveiled by Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul and House of Cards’ Kate Mara, it’s time to guess who will end up being nominated on Thursday. I already posted the first part which covered the reality and variety categories here. This part, however, will focus on the TV Movie and Miniseries categories.


movie miniseries
American Horror Story: Asylum (FX)
Behind the Candelabra (HBO)
The Bible (History)
Parade’s End (HBO)
Phil Spector (HBO)
Top of the Lake (Sundance Channel)

Seventh nominee:  Political Animals (USA)

There are four shoo-in contenders in this category: Cannes entry Behind the Candelabra, Sundance series Top of the Lake, FX’s American Horror Story and The Bible from History. They are also the top priority contenders of each of their networks. As for the two remaining slots, it can either go to USA’s canceled Political Animals though there have been no canceled series that made it in this category since they were allowed to do that. The same can be said for Showtime’s The Big C  finale. So two slots will likely be between four HBO contenders: Mary and Martha, the Hitchcock related The Girl, but I guess I’ll go with Phil Spector just for the names involved in the project, and Parade’s End which seems to be right up their alley.


movie mini lead actor

• Benedict Cumberbatch, “Parade’s End
• Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra
• Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra
• Toby Jones, “The Girl
• Al Pacino, “Phil Spector

Sixth nominee: Kenneth Branagh, “Wallander

This is a pretty empty category in general, though four slots are already reserved in this category. The pair of Oscar winners Michael Douglas and Matt Damon are sure to find themselves nominated here for their work in Behind the Candelabra. The Same can be said for 2x Emmy champ in this category, Al Pacino, for Phil Spector. Toby Jones deglammed look as Alfred Hitchcock in The Girl will also be nominated. The last spot leaves us with Kenneth Branagh who has been nominated before for a previous Wallander performance, but I’m going with last year’s nominee Benedict Cumberbatch to latch on a consecutive nod, only this time for Parade’s End from HBO.


movie mini lead actress

• Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Asylum
• Laura Linney, “The Big C
• Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector
• Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake
• Sigourney Weaver, “Political Animals

Sixth nominee: Hilary Swank, “Mary and Martha

After her win in Supporting last year, Jessica Lange movies in this category this year for her role as the crazy nun in American Horror Story: Asylum. Biggest winner in this category Helen Mirren is also back with another bid this year alongside Al Pacino for Phil Spector. Elisabeth Moss can find herself double nominated this year, aside from her Best Actress Drama nod, as the lead in Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake. Sigourney Weaver already reaped Globe and SAG nods for her performance in Political Animals, so this Emmy nod is already expected. For the last spot, a vote splitting between Mary and Martha co-stars Brenda Blethyn and Hilary Swank can result to 3x Emmy winner Laura Linney benefiting for a last shot for The Big C.


movie mini supp actor

• James Cromwell, “American Horror Story: Asylum
• Rob Lowe, “Behind the Candelabra
• Peter Mullan, “Top of the Lake
• Zachary Quinto, “American Horror Story: Asylum
• Jeffrey Tambor, “Phil Spector

Sixth nominee: Dan Aykroyd, “Behind the Candelabra

As the scene stealing supporting actor of the show, Peter Mullan is already expected to receive a nomination for his Top of the Lake performance. The same can be said for multiple nominee Rob Lowe in his role in Behind the Candelabra. If Arrested Development won’t give him the nod in Supporting Actor: Comedy this year, Jeffrey Tambor can still end up as a nominee as he’s a shoo-in for his Phil Spector role. The last two spots go to a pair of American Horror Story: Asylum contenders: James Cromwell for his role as former Nazi Dr. Arthur Arden, and with his current movie success, Zachary Quinto a.k.a Dr. Oliver Thredson.


movie mini supp actress

• Ellen Burstyn, “Political Animals
• Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Asylum
• Holly Hunter, “Top of the Lake
• Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Asylum
• Alfre Woodard, “Steel Magnolias

Sixth nominee: Imelda Staunton, “The Girl

The Supporting Actress line up will likely be composed of Oscar and Emmy veterans this year. First we have the controversial Ellen Burstyn who makes her comeback in the same category that gave her major controversy seven years ago. This year though, she’s really competitive for her performance in Political Animals. Two of last year’s nominees here can find their way as consecutive nominees this year, and both are from American Horror Story: Asylum. Frances Conroy sneaked in a nod last year, and I expect the same to happen this year. Meanwhile, Sarah Paulson’s scene-stealing journalist is also a shoo-in nomination. Oscar and Emmy winner Holly Hunter is deglammed in pal’s Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake,  and that already equates to nomination. Closing the category is Emmy favorite Alfre Woodard, who gets in for almost anything, and an empty category like this just gives her another nod in her resume.

There you have it! Who are you predicting to get nominated in the movie/miniseries categories? Can we see a Jessica Lange really steamroll her way to another win or is Elisabeth Moss finally destined for Emmy gold? Is Michael Douglas really unbeatable? And can The Bible really make its way to the nominations? What do you think?

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

65th Primetime Emmy Awards Nominations Predictions Part 1: Reality and Variety   1 comment

Hey everybody! How are you all doing? It’s time again to reward the best of the best in the small screen, as the Emmy nomination announcement take place five days from now. Come July 18, House of Cards‘ Kate Mara and 2x Emmy winner Aaron Paul of breaking Bad will have the honors of unveiling this year’s nominees. Last year was really a sucky year for me in terms of my nominee prediction results, so I don’t know what’s in store for me this year. My prediction for the predictions will, once again, be divided into four parts: reality and variety, TV movie and miniseries, comedy, and drama. For now, let’s begin with reality and variety.


reality competition


The Amazing Race (CBS)
Dancing with the Stars (ABC)
Project Runway (Lifetime)
So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Top Chef (Bravo)
The Voice (NBC)

Seventh nominee: Survivor (CBS)

There’s a big chance that we’ll be getting the same set of nominees as last year in this category. 9x winner The Amazing Race is still safe for another nom (and perhaps a win too). The same can be said for the only other winner in this category, Top Chef, perennial nominees Dancing with the Stars and Project Runway. Nigel Lythgoe’s American Idol seems settled on being not nominated again, but worry not as his So You Think You Can Dance can easily reap a thrid consecutive nom. The Voice, which is the biggest singing show in TV nowadays, is also poised to receive another nod and even a bid for the win. If any of these choices falter, then maybe another Mark Burnett show can sneak in, as Survivor is a past nominee in this category too.


reality competition host


• Carson Daly, “The Voice
• Tom Bergeron, “Dancing with the Stars
• Cat Deeley, “So You Think You Can Dance
• Phil Keoghan, “The Amazing Race
• Ryan Seacrest, “American Idol

Sixth nominee: Betty White, “Betty White: Off the Rockers

Current winner Tom Bergeron, Cat Deeley, and Phil Keoghan are all safe for the nomination now. American Idol might have fallen off the ATAS’ radar, but Ryan Seacrest is still a big TV personality, and I can still see him sticking in for another nomination, at least this year. As for the last spot, I won’t be shocked if it goes to Betty White. After all, Betty White is still a household name that they can easily check, or to Jeff Probst after snubbing him last year. However, I’m going with Carson Daly. While the coaches grab the buzz in the show, I’m expecting an increase in nomination for The Voice, and it might carry Carson Daly to a nod.


variety comedy series

• The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
• The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
• Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC)
• Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (NBC)
• Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
• Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Seventh nominee:  Conan (TBS)

I’ve learned my lesson. Never ever predict a Real Time with Bill Maher snub until it actually happens. Until then, sorry Conan, you have to sit this one out.


variety special


• Betty White’s Second Annual 90th Birthday: A Tribute to America’s Golden Girl (NBC)
• Kathy Griffin: Kennedie Center On-Hers (Bravo)
• Kennedy Center Honors (CBS)
• Louis CK: Oh My God (HBO)
• Rod Stewart: Merry Christmas, Baby (Great Performances) (PBS)

I just patterned this year’s batch of nominees from last year. You know they’ll reward Betty White somewhere, and this might be it. Kathy Griffin is a staple here, as well as the Kennedy Center Honors. Louis CK has been an Emmy darling the past few years, and you know they’ll find this way to nominate him some more. For the last spot, I’m predicting one of PBS” Great Performances this year, though a Mel Brooks nomination is also expected if one of them falters.

That’s it! First batch of predictions over. Next part will consist of the TV movie and miniseries categories. You can also write your predictions in the Comments section. 🙂

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

86th Oscars Predictions: July Edition   4 comments





supp actor

supp actress

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

100 Sexiest Women for 2013   Leave a comment

Welcome to the latter part of the year! It’s July now, and while it’s more known as the official start of the rainy season (here in the Philippines at least), it is compensated by the country’s favorite poll. July is the official “100 Sexiest Women” month by FHM, as we await on who will be unveiled as the country’s finest, as voted by the fans.

This poll which started way back in 2000 has definitely gone a long way already. In its first few years, it’s filled with Hollywood actresses dominating the list, as compared to now where they are struggling to even make the list. Among those who made the list are Oscar winners Halle Berry (topping in 2003), Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, Hilary Swank, and Natalie Portman.

News personalities like Rhea Santos, Vicky Morales, Cheri Mercado, and Pia Guanio also had their share of moments in this annual list, and even the likes of Kris Aquino (in 2001), Sharon Cuneta (in 2002), and Ruffa Gutierrez (both in 2000 and 2002)  have been included here. Singers Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, Natalie Imbruglia and Andrea Corr  have been mainstays during the early years as well.

With the release of the 14th issue this year, 1400 spots have been gone to 300+ women who have, in one way or another, made mark as part of FHM Philippines history. Let’s first give a spotlight to sixteen impressive mainstays who frequent this list for a long time already.



Six women have been in the list for a decade already. Starstruck first batch alumnae Katrina Halili, Jennylyn Mercado, and Cristine Reyes all have stayed in the chart since their debut way back in 2004. Between the three of them, they all share three #1 titles, 20 Top 10 spots, and eight covers. Pretty impressive eh? More impressive than that though are hosts Toni Gonzaga and Iya Villania who maintained in the charts as well in the same time frame as the three previous women with no FHM covers to boot. Among the prominent female group Viva Hot Babes, it is the petite Maui Taylor who had the most number of appearances with ten starting from 2002 up until this year, only skipping 2008 and 2012.


Next up are five women with something in common: all have been in the FHM Sexiest Women poll for eleven years now. Let’s start with the only FHM cover girl in the bunch, Angel Locsin. With four covers under her belt, Angel has already made her own FHM record. She’s the only ever in the history of the poll who have been in the Top 10 ever since her debut in 2004 (when she debuted at #10) up until her eleventh year this 2013 where in she was third placer. Really impressive eh? Alongside her though in this group are ABS-CBN stars Bea Alonzo, KC Concepcion, and Kristine Hermosa (none of them who graced the covers… yet) and Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez who has four Top 10 placements (with her #8 spot in 2010 as her most recent).


Now next in line are those who have been in the charts for a dozen times already. What’s more impressive about these four women is that they all achieved this feat in simultaneous years. Let’s divide them in pairs and start with two past FHM cover girls. Maureen Larrazabal is one of those who can proudly say that she’s one of the original FHM Sexiest Women gals, as she started her stint in 2000. Two covers and 11 more appearances, and she ended her reign in 2011. On the other hand, original FHM darling Diana Zubiri is still going strong in the polls with her appearance #12 in this year’s list. She might not have coveted the top spot, but she was 2003’s Philippines’ Finest just behind global champ Halle Berry. As for the other two women in the list, let’s just say that they definitely belong to FHM’s best frustrations, as both didn’t give the magazine a chance to headline them, yet that didn’t stop both Anne Curtis and Heart Evangelista to slay these charts since their debut in 2002 up until now. With fifteen women down, do you have any idea on who tops our list?


And the longest staying woman in  this list is none other than Rufa Mae Quinto. Peachy has made the list every single time since its beginning way back in 2000. With three covers under her belt, what’s shocking about this is that she wasn’t able to reach the Top 10 in all fourteen years, as her closest was #11 back in 2004. Since she showed no signs of stopping, maybe she can finally enter the coveted group in the succeeding years.

Now I know you want to know who made this year’s list, so as per tradition, here’s the top 20 in pictures (and in code names):

20-16   15-11   10-06   05-01

As for the rest of the poll, I’d let you find out that by yourself by grabbing a copy of the FHM July issue with Alodia Gosiengfiao on the  magazine cover and Roxee B (that’s Roxanne Barcelo for you, folks) on the Top 100 cover. Just to give you a clue, you’ll be seeing Jessy Mendiola, Andi Eigenmann, and Jodi Sta. Maria in the list but not the names of Sarah Geronimo, Iwa Moto, and Jasmine Curtis Smith in it.

Congrats to those who made the list this year!

And you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl