Archive for the ‘2013 Year End Lists’ Category

Top Local Movies of 2013   3 comments

Last year, I opened my list by saying that 2012 was an enjoyable year in local cinema. Turns out, I was speaking way too soon because 2013 turned out to be an even better one. To say it is great is probably a hyperbole, but at the same time, I say it with much conviction (and even an understatement). The medium of cinema has never been more exciting and adventurous in the past few years than what the 2013 batch has offered. That goes without saying that it didn’t have its share of misfires and mess, but then again, this year is too strong to focus on that. Three titles you wouldn’t see on the list, however, are Lav Diaz’ Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, Alvin Yapan’s Mga Anino ng Kahapon, and Sigrid Andrea Bernardo’s Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita, because I was foolish enough to miss them during their run. With that said, here are my 15 picks for the best in 2013 local cinema:

15. Tuhog

15. TUHOG (Veronica Velasco)

Maindie is one of those terms that sounded so forced you don’t want to hear it ever again, but this Veronica Velasco film of three intertwined stories connected by an unfortunate incident gives it a free pass to be used just this time. Each of the three sub-stories provided interesting characters and back stories that any of them could have been further fleshed out to a whole film. But then again, maybe that’s one of the film’s asset? The movie also boasts of a fitting soundtrack to its story, and the end result is one of 2013’s most fresh mainstream or in this case, maindie, offerings.

14 Otso

14. OTSO (Elwood Perez)

Otso is director Elwood Perez’ first film in ten years, and in this case, it is really worth the wait. I think that doesn’t apply on waiting for Elwood’s comeback only, but for the film as well. Otso started in scenes that were still in multicolor, but it just sets up for an even better film once it turns black and white. I don’t think I’ve necessarily picked up everything that the film wants to show, but it’s part of its appeal. It lures you to its world where the crazy and the wicked happens, and you’re simply hooked.

13. Babagwa

13. BABAGWA (Jason Paul Laxamana)

One of the two Audience choice winners at last year’s Cinemalaya, it’s easy to see why a lot fell in love with this film. Its humor is one that appeals to everyone. But digging deeper, I think it speaks a lot to the curious and inquisitive nature of ourselves. In here, we see two people fleshing out two different personas of each, and we, as the audience, are the witness to all of it. It’s such an engaging scenario that by the time the slow reveal at the end happens, you probably have an idea of what’s about to happen yet you still want to see it happen. It also boasts of an inspired screenplay and one that speaks of the current times.

12. Boy Golden

12. BOY GOLDEN SHOOT TO KILL: The Arturo Porcuna Story (Chito Rono)

I’ve been quite dismissive of this MMFF entry just because it’s Jorge Estregan with a leading lady almost half his age yet again, but I guess surprises do come when you least expect it. Not only does this film serve as a perfect throwback to the yesteryears of enjoyable action flicks, we’re also served with its topnotch technical achievements. The twists and turns of thew characters here, plus that out of nowhere scenes that provided the camp makes it a good reminder that every now and then, never judge a movie by its horribly made poster.

11. Kabisera

11. KABISERA (Alfonso Torre III)

Yes I’m not here for that Breaking Bad comparisons simply because they are two different films that happened to have some similarities. it happens, but I don’t see any “copying” between these two. In Borgy Torre’s directorial debut, Kabisera shows us how one family man’s dreams happen and its good and bad repercussions not only to him but to the people around him. Anchored with a commanding performance by Joel Torre (one of his two this year) and a really great supporting ensemble, Kabisera is really thrilling as it can get.

10. Quick Change

10. QUICK CHANGE (Eduardo Roy Jr.)

Eduardo Roy Jr.’s follow up has a dark humorous tone in it that is simply irresistible. Just like how the characters in the film get totally pumped over having those “shots” that lead character Dorina provides to them, we are really drawn and addicted to what happens. It gives us a peak into this world which not many of us are particularly adept about, and it does a great job in doing so. That of course, and lead actor Mimi Juareza’s haunting turn in it.

09. Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na

09. BUKAS NA LANG SAPAGKAT GABI NA (Jet Leyco)

One of the common themes I noticed among the Cinema One Originals entries this year is that the films are more experimental in nature. Jet Leyco’s Bukas Na Lang Sapagkat Gabi Na provides a mysterious atmosphere that makes you more interested as the film goes on. It is weird and eerie and that’s what make it work. The film, in its own nature, has a great grasp of what it wants to show in a really inspired manner (the handheld camera effect, black and white parts, gunshot sounds), and it  makes the whole viewing more enjoyable. It’s one film I think I’ll enjoy more in repeat viewings.

08. Purok 7

08. PUROK 7 (Carlo Obispo)

A portrait of an optimistic girl living in small rural town was vividly depicted in Carlo Obispo’s debut feature Purok 7. As we follow the story of 14 year old Diana and her younger brother, we were given an escape, thanks to the eye catching scenery of the country side. But more than that, we witnessed and felt the agony of two kids who have long wanted to be a part of something and be a part of a family. The simplicity of it all is what makes this whole thing fresh, endearing, and leaves a lasting impression.

07. Transit

07. TRANSIT (Hannah Espia)

As the overall winner of last year’s Cinemalaya New Breed category, Hannah Espia’s debut effort Transit is an achievement on so many levels. Not only does its display of technical achievements noteworthy, but its storytelling was also seamlessly interwoven. It’s not everyday that we see this kind of potential on a first time full feature, but for this particular effort, Espia manages to hit the right buttons. And as a bonus, it even ended up as the country’s Oscar Foreign Language Film submission.

06. Blue Bustamante

06. BLUE BUSTAMANTE  (Miko Lovelo)

OFW movies have been done to death already during the past decade, but first time director Miko Livelo puts a new spin on it in his Cinema One Originals entry Blue Bustamante. The expected dramatic scenes were instead replaced with an earned sentimentality that just wins you over. As main protagonist George, Joem Bascon was such a delight to watch as he finds a replacement work in Japan that will not only bring in the money but an even closer bond to his son and family who are miles apart. It’s definitely one of the most fun times I had at the movies for 2013.

05. Debosyon

05. DEBOSYON (Alvin Yapan)

Hypnotizing right from the start, this tale of one’s faith and acceptance  – may it be because of love or commitment or just one’s mere existence – is one that lingers even after the credits roll.  The film, which also is aided by minimal dialogues but really magnificent visuals, takes its viewers to some breathless imagery. The movie rested solely on its two lead’s but they did more than what they were asked for. Plus, the last 20 minutes of this film is still one of the bests I’ve see for this year.

04. Iskalawags

04. ISKALAWAGS (Keith Deligero)

Like OFW films, coming of age films have been done to death now, but Keith Deligero’s refreshing approach in the Cinema One entry Iskalwags puts a more inspired approach to it. It’s not hard to fall for the film as it certainly evokes an environment that is light and not totally sentimental. It sparks a certain touch of youth and playfulness that is rarely captured this well on screen. The voice over also adds a more interesting spin, and it features an ensemble whose innocence translates in a totally natural manner.

03. On the Job

03. ON THE JOB (Erik Matti)

Probably one of the most buzzed films of the year, this picture depicts a setting of a dirty and very complex government; one which needed more than just a person who has an optimistic view to eradicate it and start anew.  It is through this core notion where these characters live and breathe, as Erik Matti gives us a more than satisfying crime action thriller that is gripping and at at the same time, really, really timely. It’s one of the rare movie experiences that makes you even sadder as you come out of the theaters because of how easy one can reflect and connect it to what’s really going on.

02. Sana Dati

02. SANA DATI (Jerrold Tarog)

The cinema has given us lots of love stories. Most of them with happy endings, while some were flat out tragedies.  In Jerrold Tarog’s closing effort to his camera trilogy, he uses the notion of whether to stay stagnant or to let go as a path to understand how love really works. In the case of Lovi Poe’s Andrea, it’s a hard task, especially when you’re ready to move on yet a reminder of the past shows up hours before you’re ready to take the jump. Sana Dati is one of the best stories about love I’ve seen in a long time. And there’s no other way to end the film that with Up Dharma Down’s Indak.

01. Badil

01. BADIL (Chito Rono)

At one point, it doesn’t even seem that this would make it at the Sineng Pambansa festival last August. But thankfully, it did. Chito Rono’s entry which focuses in a small Samar town on the eve of election day is as arresting as one can get. Like On the Job, it’s a depiction of what’s wrong in a society, but this one is less technically polished but of the same, if not even more, intensity. It’s a film that has a lot of long continuous shots, probably making the whole experience more captivating. It also has a good ensemble with a very intense Jhong Hilario leading the ship.  Badil was an entry in the All Master’s Edition of the Sineng Pambansa, and with his controlled and almost restrained direction, Rono definitely lives up to the challenge.

You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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Entertainers of the Year 2013   2 comments

Hi everyone! We’ve passed the latter part of the month, and Christmas is really around the corner? One of the things I really love about December is coming up with my year end lists! And there’s no better kick off to that than by posting my list of Entertainers of the Year list. Inspired by Entertainment Weekly’s same title, I came up with 15 names whose 2013 is a breakout year in local pop culture scene. Last year, Nora Aunor topped the list which also included Janice de Belen, Iza Calzado, and married couple Zoren Legaspi and Carmina Villaroel. Here are 2013’s batch of entertainers:

15 doris bigornia

Photo courtesy of: twitter.com/DorisBigornia

And she’s bacccckkkk!!! After long years, the one and only Mutya ng Masa graces our screen again with her strong and feisty presence. Whether it’s asking the taumbayan questions for senatoriables, going back and forth with people on the street on their opinions of things, or showing her natural flair of humor and comedy on Gandang Gabi Vice, hers is a presence that was greatly missed. As if that’s not enough, she also serves as a fairy godmother very Tuesday afternoon in her own public service program, 2013 reunited us with this lively lady muse.

14 angeli bayani

Photo courtesy of: philstar.com

Sure, the Philippine independent cinema has been roaring and peaking as each year passes, but aside from the movies that we see, we’re also showered with the great talents that we witness. And this year, indie figure Angeli Bayani is definitely the queen of festivals. You can find her participating in the Cinemalaya entry Purok 7, Sineng Pambansa entries Lauriana and Tinik and in the CineFilipino entry The Guerilla is a Poet. As if that’s enough yet, she shares the same distinction this year with Marion Cotillard and Carey Mulligan: all three of them graced the Cannes Film Festival multiple times as she’s a part of Lav Diaz’ Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan, and Singapore’s Oscar entry, Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo. 2x Oscar Best Director Ang Lee summed it best, when he said Angeli is a national treasure.

13 alden richards

Photo by Jojit Lorenzo from http://manila.coconuts.com

Ever since his breakthrough in One True Love last year, Kapuso actor Alden Richards is definitely primed to be the next big leading man of its network. As a proof, he participated in two Kapuso series this year (Indio, Mundo Mo’y Akin), starred in his own Magpakailanman episode, and will soon be seen in the Metro Manila Film Festival entry 10,000 Hours alongside Robin Padilla. That’s more than enough confirmation that this mestizo hunk is definitely being groomed to follow the paths of Dingdong Dantes and Richard Gutierrez among others. Oh, and who would forget his Cosmopolitan Bachelor Bash stint this year?

12 kathniel

Photo courtesy of: bidakapamilya.blogspot.com

If there’s one love team who definitely takes the cake as the most remarkable this year, no question that it’s the team up of Kapamilya stars Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo. Collectively known as Kathniel, they have managed to sweep the whole nation’s feet and surge into their best year yet as a love team. Last March, they had their launching movie Must Be Love which performed greatly at the box office. And as before the year ends, they’ll once again star in the lone horror MMFF entry Pagpag which will be another of their blockbuster. But aside from that, their follow up teleserye Got 2 Believe not only is a consistent top rater, but it’s definitely on Twitter’s trending topic worldwide EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT. It’s definitely a career peak for both of these teens, and we’re waiting what’s next for them.

11 teng brothers

Photo courtesy of: philstar.com

The most prominent siblings in collegiate basketball the past season, the whole UAAP men’s basketball finale was all about one surname: TENG. Elder brother Jeric Teng of the UST Growling Tigers competes with younger sibling Jeron Teng of the DLSU Green Archers during the best of three series. And while it’s Jeron and the rest of the Green Archers that added a championship trophy in their mantle, the biggest winner from this are parents Alvin and Susan Teng whose hundreds of interviews and guesting stints this season have already emphasized how proud of them of their kids. The good things doesn’t stop there though, as Jeric easily got drafted by Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the PBA while Jeron, if not doing guest stints in Got 2 Believe, continues his stints everywhere.

10 beauty queens

Photos courtesy of: sashfactor.info, normannorman.com, abs-cbnnews.com

2013 is probably the best year in a long time for Philippines in the pageant world, as it’s a year of firsts, fabs, and fun for this pageant loving country. Megan Young clinched the country’s first ever Miss World title when she won last September. Weeks before, Mutya Datul also gave us our first Miss Supranational title, and just two days ago, Bea Rose Santiago clinched us out fifth Miss International title (just one crown away in tying the best performing Venezuela). As if that’s enough yet, Ariella Arida continued the winning streak of our Miss Universe contenders by placing in the Top 5 for the fourth consecutive year. Both Cindy Miranda and Angelee Forbes also ended up as semifinalists in Miss Tourism Queen International and Miss Earth contests respectively. Then Ali Forbes also ended up as third runner up in Miss Grand International. And to cap this fantastic year, Gil Wagas is 4th Runner Up in the Mr. International pageant. Whew!

09 atom araullo

Photo courtesy of: twitter.com/atomaraullo

As if he’s not on anybody’s list yet, ABS CBN’s in house reporter Atom Araullo suddenly became the country’s top leading man. Only this time it’s not for the movies. His commendable and brave coverage of the Yolanda incident last month gave new meaning to the word professionalism. Not only did he turn out to be the unsung hero of the incident, it also gave birth to memes such as the Man in the Rain and ATHORM Araullo. But what’s more impressive about it is that you know the man is not doing it for the acclaims or the buzz, but more of the human intention of helping other people. Apart from that, he continues to be a reason women wake up in the morning – literally that is – via Umagang Kay Ganda and creeping us every Friday afternoon with interesting stories in Hiwaga.

08 vivian velez

Photo courtesy of: sssip.wordpress.com

Definitely one of the prettiest faces in the biz then and now, Vivian Velez made 2013 a perfect comeback year for her both in television and movies. In the small screen, she starred  in two series for two networks with Misibis Bay in TV5, and as Malvina Sancuevas in the local adaptation of famous Mexican telenovela in Maria Mercedes in ABSCBN. In the big screen, her short but memorable stint as the female boss in On the Job made her the fierce female boss, but more than that, her participation in the Cinema One Originals entry Bendor not only gave her her first lead role status in years, but also a Best Actress accolade in the said festival. What a comeback indeed.

07 abra

Photo courtesy of: musicweekly.asia

Rap music continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the Philippine music scene, after the likes of the late great Francis M., and Gloc 9 kept it alive the past few years.  The latest addition and poster boy of the said genre is 23 year old Raymond Abracosa, more familiarly known as Abra. Initially a part of the hiphop group LDP (Lyrically Deranged Poets) back in 2010, the rise of the fliptop sensation introduced him more to the general public. Last August, Abra launched his first concert and has performed in over 25 different TV shows the past year in the three largest networks of the country from ABS CBN’s Gandang Gabi Vice and Minute to Win It to GMA’s Celebrity Bluff and TV5’s Wowowillie. Now a certified household name, I’m pretty certain it takes more than a gayuma or an ilusyon on why he’s one of 2013’s entertainers of the year.

06 ryzza mae

Photo courtesy of: Yes! Magazine Facebook page

Big things come in small packages. Or in this case, big talents come in small eight year old girls. Ryzza Mae Dizon is probably as cute as a button but I’m sure you’d be wowed by all her achievements thus far. Hosting her own talk show The Ryzza Mae Show everyday then going straight to Eat Bulaga! right after, that’s just a part of Aling Maliit”s daily routines. She has also covered magazines, starred in a lot of advertisements. and won awards left right from Child Star of the Year up to Best Talk Show Host. And she’s ending this year with a bang by starring in her own MMFF entry My Little Bossings. Her 2013 alone can definitely be considered as one of the greatest in the history of child stars.

05 jessy mendiola

Photo courtesy of: Esquire Philippines Facebook page

What a year for this pretty mestiza actress! Not only did she step out from being one of the second tier actresses in her station, she carved a name for herself as one of 2013’s biggest breakthrough stars. Probably the greatest thing that happened to her this year is that she went single as it opened a lot of new doors for her career wise. Playing the coveted title role in Maria Mercedes, Jessy not only showed us her amazing salsa skills, she also highlights her acting chops amidst the great veteran actors of the show. And of course, the endless magazine covers she had (even twice in the same month!) and appearing as Pokwang’s daughter in Call Center Girl. But I guess if there’s one visual image that Jessy left her stamp in 2013, it’s that ordering a McSpicy meal hasn’t been sexier the way she did it in her commercial.

04 the voice coaches

Photo courtesy of: talentscoops.com

Certainly one of the best things that happened to Philippine singing shows, The Voice of the Philippines just murdered all these other local adaptations of foreign singing shows by coming up with an inspired coach line up. On one hand, you have apl.de.ap, a part of the prominent Grammy winning group Black Eyed Peas. Then there’s rocker Bamboo whose fanbase continues to grow as his years in the industry grows as well. Then there’s Pop Royalty Sarah Geronimo who still remains as the best output of her generation. And to complete the quartet, Tony winner and definitely on a league of her own, Lea Salonga. Aside from their natural chemistry, one of the best things they produced are their different coaches collaboration which we got a lot this year from Imagine to Man in the Mirror and even up to the official Christmas soundtrack. I mean if you’re gonna be coaching people in a singing competition, then you better show them how it’s actually done.

03 tom rodriguez

Photo courtesy of: latestcelebrityupdate.blogspot.com

Ever since he entered show business way back in 2009, there’s no doubt that 2013 has been the best by far for hunk Tom Rodriguez. Earlier this year, he’s best known as Aiza Seguerra’s partner Pards in the daytime hit drama Be Careful with my Heart. Months after, her switched networks to GMA, and that proved to be the best career decision by far. He got his first primetime lead role via the buzzed show My Husband’s Lover which opened more doors not only for him, but an unlikely love team with co-star Dennis Trillo (a.k.a TomDen). This show catapulted him not only to leading man status, but a pin up boy as one of the two faces of this year’s Cosmo Bachelor Bash. He’s also a recording artist and did concerts here and abroad with the rest of My Husband’s Lover’s cast. With this great 2013, he definitely jumps his way as one of the best and most successful post-Pinoy Big Brother careers.

02 gilas pilipinas

Photo courtesy of: stardomfanatics.com

One word: PUSO. Probably in the best local basketball result of the year, it has been a long and winding road for this Philippine basketball team. But like anything else, patience is definitely worth the wait. Whether facing issues of the events venue, finding an immediate replacement for the host country, and even player participation, Gilas Pilipinas lives up to its name by showing greatness among other things via the team’s hard work and resiliency. That’s why when they’re up against that crucial game against Korea, the whole country is on their back supporting the whole team. And I’m certain that when that game ended, not a dry eye can be found on the whole arena as all you hear are loud congratulatory cheers. And while the team wasn’t able to beat Iran in the final round, who even cares anymore? It’s all about Madrid in 2014, and I’m sure the country will be there again to support this team, and the team will be motivated than ever to bring pride to the country.

01 joel torre

Photo courtesy of: Esquire Philippines Facebook page

And 2013’s Entertainer of the Year is none other than… Joel Torre. In probably one of his most notable years in his career, Torre aced both the small and big screen this year. He started this year in the small screen as Pepe in Juan dela Cruz and ended it up with the role of funny and conniving Governor Hugo Layer in Honesto. But aside from that, his most remarkable moments for this year were his performances in the movies. As Tatang in On the Job, Torre shared lead star status with the likes of Piolo Pascual and Gerald Anderson. Then his Best Actor winning portrayal in the Cinema One Originals entry Kabisera as the controlling patriarch gave him two of the finest roles to work on this year. It’s rare that actors of his age get meaty roles like this, but it’s even rarer to find actors who’ll give justice to both roles. He already earned two Best Actor trophies, each film apiece, and he better makes more space for his shelf as he’ll be getting more this coming awards season. And with that, there’s person no more fitting to own the title of 2013’s Entertainer of Year than him.

There you have it! 2013’s honor roll as Entertainers of the Year! Who were your favorites in the list? Who do you think were overlooked? And who are your personal entertainers of the year? I’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl