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37th Gawad Urian Winner Predictions   2 comments

The glory days of local Philippine awards night have been over, and right now, there are only two remaining interesting citation giving bodies: the Young Critics Circle and the Manunuri (and my own Titties awards of course lol). That said, the YCC already gave their citation last April while the Manunuri will be handling out their awards tomorrow. And in line with that, I’ll be going on a limb and try to predict who’ll end up with those huge silver trophies tomorrow in all 12 categories.

best pic

BEST PICTURE
Badil
Dukit
Ekstra
Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti
Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan

On the Job
Porno
Riddles of my Homecoming
Transit

With how huge Norte was last year, I think it will be an easy win for this Cannes Un Certain regard entry to receive the top prize for tomorrow’s ceremony. Besides, it’s not as if Lav Diaz has been over-rewarded here before (his films only won twice, for 2001’s Batang Westside and 2004’s Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino). To add more confidence in its side, it’s also the top nominated film for this year, and you’d notice the trend that it is indeed one of their most loved films this year. That said though, if they want to spread the wealth, I can see the other top nomination receiver, Dukit, getting the most coveted award instead.

Prediction: Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Alternate: Dukit

best directing

BEST DIRECTING
Whammy Alcazaren, “Islands
Adolf Alix Jr.. “Porno
Mes de Guzman, “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti”
Lav Diaz, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Hannah Espia, “Transit
Peque Gallaga, Lore Reyes, “Sonata
Jeffrey Jeturian, “Ekstra
Armando Lao, “Dukit
Arnel Mardoquio, “Riddles of My Homecoming
Erik Matti, “On the Job
Chito Rono, “Badil
Alvin Yapan, “Mga Anino ng Kahapon

Choosing in a field of twelve is already a difficult task to do, though I guess I have to remove those previous winners already: Adolf Alix, Mes de Guzman, Lav Diaz, Peque Gallaga, Jeffrey Jeturian, Arnel Mardoquio, Chito Rono, and Alvin Yapan. Then you also have Urian winners Armando Lao and Whammy Alcazaren (despite in other categories). That leaves us with veteran director Erik Matti and Hannah Espia. I have a hunch that Espia has more chance in Editing for Transit (and I’m predicting her there), so I guess I’ll be going with Erik Matti. I mean he’s overdue for an Urian right? Plus, On the Job is a very flashy directorial work that I can see the Manunuri going for. If not him though, I expect a second win for Lav Diaz because really, it’s quite a shame that he has only won here only once yet.

Prediction: Erik Matti, “On the Job
Alternate: Lav Diaz, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan

best actor

BEST ACTOR
Mark Gil, “Philippino Story
Jhong Hilario, “Badil
Mimi Juareza, “Quick Change
Sid Lucero, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Alex Medina, “Babagwa
Ping Medina, “Transit
Joel Torre, “On the Job

Speaking of repeat winners, this surprisingly short line up (remember the 15 nominee group last year?) I think is between two past champs: 2001 champ for Batang Westside Joel Torre and 2010 champ for Muli, Sid Lucero. Lucero has the longer role and one that is very demanding as well that I won’t be surprised if the voters fall in love with such. That said, Torre’s 2013 is some sort of a career best comeback that let him lead not only one, but two brave performances of the last year (the other was for Borgy Torres’ Kabisera). Having that advantage would make me predict him for the win. Outside of those two though, I guess I’d go with Alex Medina as the other feasible winner. The Urian has a history of proclaiming the hot young handsome actor in this category (see Christopher de Leon in 1978, Philip Salvador in 1979, Richard Gomez in 1991, Aga Muhlach in 1995, Jason Abalos in 2007, Sid Lucero in 2010, Paulo Avelino in 2011, and Jericho Rosales last year) and Alex Medina fits that bill. But I’m still going with Joel Torre on this one.

Prediction: Joel Torre, “On the Job
Alternate: Sid Lucero, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan

best actress

BEST ACTRESS
Nora Aunor, “Ang Kuwento ni Mabuti
Angeli Bayani, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Rustica Carpio, “Ano Ang Kulay ng Mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?”
Eugene Domingo, “Instant Mommy
Cherie Gil, “Sonata
Agot Isidro, “Mga Anino ng Kahapon
Teri Malvar, “Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita
Vilma Santos, “Ekstra
Lorna Tolentino, “Burgos
Vivian Velez, “Bendor

Definitely the most talked about and interesting category of the night (I won’t even be surprised if this one is handed out after Best Picture because it’s the Philippines after all), but this one revives the Nora-Vilma rivalry in a big way. Currently though, Vilma is all time Urian champ here with 8 wins, but Nora is closely behind her with 7 wins. If Vilma wins, she’d inch farther with 9, but if Nora wins, they’d both be tied at 8. Do you think they’ll just give them a tie and call it a day? I think there’s a probable chance of that happening. After all, it will please everyone and the mileage will really be huge. And despite the two being nominated alongside with each other during the 80s and early 90s, this possibility is unprecedented yet. In the event that happens, everyone leaves happy. However, they can also do a cop out and instead reward the eight other women here. I think the biggest possible spoiler is Angeli  Bayani whose 2013 is definitely a career best for her. Making waves at almost all film festivals here, an Urian Best Actress is a nice cap off to her 2013 achievement. And that’s who I’m predicting to win here. If not her, then I expect Vilma to receive her ninth win here. Nora just had her spotlight last year, I’m sure they won’t hesitate shifting the momentum to Vilma this year.

Prediction: Angeli Bayani, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Alternate: Vilma Santos, “Ekstra

best supp actor

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Art Acuna, “Kabisera
Archie Alemania, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Carlo Aquino, “Porno
John Arcilla, “Metro Manila
Victor Basa, “Lauriana
Joey Marquez, “On the Job
Cesar Montano, “Ang Alamat ni China Doll”
Bor Ocampo, “Dukit
Junjun Quintana, “A Philippino Story
Yul Servo, “Porno

As for the supporting actors, unless Art Acuna pulls off a threepeat (which I doubt happens but I won’t be surprised if he actually does), I think it will be a battle of the two overdue Porno guys (that sounded wrong no? lol). Both Urian-less Yul Servo and Carlo Aquino are the ones I’m confident about in this category. Carlo Aquino is now on his sixth bid for a win while Yul Servo is on his fifth. You can really just toss a coin with this one, but I guess I’m going with the latter – no reasons why.

Prediction: Yul Servo, “Porno
Alternate: Carlo Aquino, “Porno

best supp actress

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Angel Aquino, “Porno
Angel Aquino, “Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita
Jasmine Curtis, “Transit
Ruby Ruiz, “Ekstra
Michelle Smith, “Angustia”
Raquel Villavicencio, “Dukit

Call it the “Johnny Delgado Rule”. When it comes to Urian, compete against yourself in one category and you’d end up winning the trophy. It was in 1980 when Johnny Delgado competed against himself for for Brutal and Kakabakaba Ka Ba? and he ended up with a Supporting Actor win for the latter. Then in 1986, Jaclyn Jose was nominated twice for Best Actress: Private Show and Takaw Tukso, also winning for the latter. Fast forward to last year in this same category where Alessandra de Rossi was nominated for both Mater Dolorosa and Santa Nina, and she finally clinched her first Urian for the former. As a matter of fact, this statistic is so strong that it only faltered once (Nora Aunor who was nominated for both Bulaklak sa City Jail and ‘Merika only to lose to a threepeat Vilma Santos win for Sister Stella L.) Why am I writing about this though? It’s because I think this rule will apply again to twice nominated Angel Aquino.  I had her both as a prediction and alternate and I’ll just wait which one sticks. Like de Rossi last year, Aquino hasn’t won an Urian yet, and I’m choosing Porno by a hair since they seem to like the overall film better and that it’s her flashier and more “physically demanding” work.

Prediction: Angel Aquino, “Porno
Alternate: Angel Aquino, “Ang Huling Chacha ni Anita

Now as for the rest of the categories…

SCREENPLAY:
Prediction:
Lav Diaz, Rody Vera,Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Alternate:
Michicko Yamamoto, Erik Matti,On the Job

PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Prediction: Adolf Alix, “Porno
Alternate: Richard Somes, “On the Job

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Prediction: Rene Manda, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
Alternate: Albert Banzon, “Porno

MUSIC:
Prediction: Gauss Obenza, “Riddles of my Homecoming
Alternate: Perry Dizon, “Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan

EDITING:
Prediction: Benjamin Tolentino, Hannah Espia, “Transit
Alternate: Jay Halili, “On the Job

SOUND:
Prediction: Armando Lao, “Dukit
Alternate: Arnel Barbarona, “Riddles of My Homecoming

DOCUMENTARY:
Prediction:
 Jazz in Love (Baby Ruth Villarama)
Alternate: Nanay Mameng (Adjani Arumpac)

SHORT FILM
Prediction: 
Onang (JE Tiglao)
Alternate: May Dinadala (Giancarlo Abrahan)

Let’s wait how these predictions will turn out tomorrow when the Manunuri holds the 37th Gawad Urian Awards to be hosted by Piolo Pascual and Bianca Gonzalez. The special will also be shown on Cinema One multiple times this month.

You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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Tit For Tat Local Film Awards 2013   6 comments

May used to be the awards season here in the Philippines, but that tradition has been long since gone. But not for me. This is when I reveal my top picks for the best in Philippine cinema. 2013 is a very difficult one, not because there are only few films to choose from, but because of the many selections the year gave us. Granted I still missed some few films here and there, I’ll share to you my picks in 20 different categories (including my three top choices per film component.) And without further ado, here’s my 2013 Tit for Tat Local Film Awards:

first feature

GOLD: BLUE BUSTAMANTE (Miko Livelo)
SILVER: TRANSIT (Hannah Espia)
BRONZE: PUROK 7 (Carlo Obispo)

ensemble

GOLD: the cast of Iskalawags
SILVER: the cast of Norte
BRONZE: the cast of Transit

visual effects

GOLD: KUNG FU DIVAS
SILVER: DEBOSYON
BRONZE: PAGPAG

sound

GOLD: RIDDLES OF MY HOMECOMING (Arnel Barbarona)
SILVER: ON THE JOB (Corrine de San Jose, Mikko Quizon)
BRONZE: NORTE (Corrine de San Jose)

song

GOLD: INDAK (Sana Dati)
SILVER: SCARED TO DEATH (Tuhog)
BRONZE: SEA OF TREES (Shift)

score

GOLD: DEBOSYON (Teresa Barrozo)
SILVER: SANA DATI (Jerrold Tarog)
BRONZE: RIDDLES OF MY HOMECOMING (Gauss Obenza)

hair and make up

GOLD: Quick Change
SILVER: Kung Fu Divas
BRONZE: Boy Golden

editing

GOLD: ON THE JOB (Jay Halili)
SILVER: BADIL (Carlo Francisco Manatad)
BRONZE: TRANSIT (Hannah Espia, Benjamin Tolentino)

costume design

GOLD: Boy Golden
SILVER: Kung Fu Divas
BRONZE: Ekstra

cinematography

GOLD: NORTE (Lauro Rene Manda)
SILVER: ON THE JOB (Ricardo Buhay III)
BRONZE: DEBOSYON (Dexter dela Pena)

art direction

GOLD: ON THE JOB (Richard Somes)
SILVER: BLUE BUSTAMANTE (Marielle Hizon)
BRONZE: PAGPAG (Luis Custodio IV)

breakthrough actor

GOLD: MIMI JUAREZA, Quick Change
SILVER: JUNJUN QUINTANA, Philippino Story
BRONZE: VINCE TANADA, Otso

breakthrough actress

GOLD: KRYSTLE VALENTINO, Purok 7
SILVER: JASMINE CURTIS, Transit
BRONZE: YENG CONSTANTINO, Shift

screenplay

GOLD: NORTE (Lav Diaz, Rody Vera)
SILVER: SANA DATI (Jerrold Tarog)
BRONZE: BABAGWA (Jason Paul Laxamana)

supporting actress

GOLD: ANGELI BAYANI, Norte
SILVER: BING PIMENTEL, Kabisera
BRONZE: IRMA ADLAWAN, Transit

supporting actor

GOLD: DICK ISRAEL, Badil
SILVER: JOEY MARQUEZ, On the Job
BRONZE: JOEY PARAS, Babagwa

lead actress

GOLD: KRYSTLE VALENTINO, Purok 7
SILVER: LOVI POE, Sana Dati
BRONZE: VILMA SANTOS, Ekstra

lead actor

GOLD: SID LUCERO, Norte
SILVER: JHONG HILARIO, Badil
BRONZE: JOEL TORRE, Kabisera

directing

GOLD: LAV DIAZ, Norte
SILVER: CHITO RONO, Badil
BRONZE: ERIK MATTI, On the Job

picture

GOLD: Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
SILVER: Badil
BRONZE: Sana Dati

Whew, there you have it! 🙂 As a recap, here’s the complete list of my 2013 winners:

BEST PICTURE: Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
BEST DIRECTOR: Lav Diaz, Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
BEST ACTOR: Sid Lucero, Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
BEST ACTRESS: Krystle Valentino, Purok 7
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Dick Israel, Badil
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Angeli Bayani, Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
BEST SCREENPLAY: Lav Diaz, Rody Vera, Norte Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR: Mimi Juareza, Quick Change
BEST BREAKTHROUGH ACTRESS: Krystle Valentino, Purok 7
BEST ART DIRECTION: Richard Somes, On the Job
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Lauro Rene Manda, Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Boy Golden
BEST EDITING: Jay Halili, On the Job
BEST HAIR AND MAKE UP: Quick Change
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Teresa Barrozo, Debosyon
BEST SONG: “Indak” from Sana Dati
BEST SOUND: Arnel Barbarona, Riddles of my Homecoming
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Kung Fu Divas
BEST ENSEMBLE: the cast of Iskalawags
BEST FIRST FEATURE:Blue Bustamante” by Miko Livelo

Until next year! 🙂

Also, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

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

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

REVIEW: OTJ (On the Job)   1 comment

on the job

Fresh from their successful run at the Directors’ Fortnight section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival last May, Erik Matti’s crime thriller finally find its way into Philippine theaters, as Star Cinema and Reality Entertainment release OTJ (On the Job) which stars Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Joel Torre, and Joey Marquez among others.

Inspired by true events, the film gives an extensive depiction of how some jailed members were being released from prison every now and then as they’re assigned with the task of killing people under orders from the wealthy and influential.  In the film, the specific gunmen happens to be Tatang (Joel Torre) and his protege Daniel (Gerald Anderson) who is being groomed to be his replacement once he retires. Tatang takes and trains Daniel under his wing as they do their assignments. On the flipside, there’s NBI official Francis Coronel, Jr. (Piolo Pascual) who was tasked to take over these said cases, as well as police office Acosta (Joey Marquez).  Once their paths crossed provides conflict in the film.

There’s a lot of great things to say about this, but If there’s a clear standout in it, no doubt it is Erik Matti. His slick direction is the main core which holds the film together and gives it the necessary oomph. I like how he weaves these scenes and events seamlessly which makes for an intense and thrilling ride. The rest of the technical achievements were on point as well, with Richard Somes’ production design and Francis Buhay III’s cinematography portraying Manila in a very artistic and sensible manner, that of a series of tasteful photographs that’s well done.

The story and pacing smoothly complimented each other. I like how the intensity just builds up right from the get go during the first scene up until the last one. The chase and fight scenes were tastefully pulled off. It’s also great to see characters that were fleshed out especially that of the three main characters. We get to know them more instead of simply just following what they do. This is one of the things I like about the film in terms of characterization, we get a glimpse of their individual lives as opposed to just going right at the center of the conflict.

This film pretty much shows what an ensemble really is. There are really no small roles here, as everyone’s given something to do and they all did their parts well. Gerald Anderson’s greatest acting achievement prior to this is a television stint as mentally challenged Budoy, but this character suits him like a glove and challenges his acting chops for the better. It’s nothing new to claim that Joel Torre is a great actor, but this will probably end up as one of his most memorable turns in his discography. Piolo Pascual is the good guy of course, so this isn’t much of a stretch for him, but it’s great to see that he wasn’t phoning it in. But, I like how Erik Matti brings out the best in Joey Marquez. He already gave us a glimpse of it in last year’s Tiktik, but this was more prevalent in here. Special props to Vivian Velez’ kick ass role.

Given everything that’s actually happening in the country right now, one can somehow juxtapose this with the events in the film too. This will probably make the experience more insightful for others in terms of understanding the events or the aftermath of it. Films that make a statement is a hit or miss for me, but I like that this one doesn’t spoonfeed it to the audience.

I would have loved to see the version that was shown at Cannes since I’ve learned that it was slightly different from what was shown here. Nevertheless, On the Job is such a breath of fresh air in terms of current Philippine cinema effectively combining style and substance in a savvy manner. I might as well say it’s one (if not the) movie event of the year.

Rating: 5/5

If you like, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

2012: The Year in Supporting Actors   Leave a comment

2012 supp actors

Yesterday, we kicked off the awards season here at Tit for Tat with a recap of the year in supporting actresses in local films. For this day, we’d do the counterpart and discuss the year in supporting actors. Mostly, supporting actor roles this year were veteran actors doing comeback films or newbie actors in their first films. Like the pattern yesterday, we’d divide them into three parts:

LEADERS OF THE PACK

If he’s not submitted or inserted in the far crowded Lead Actor category, Thy Womb‘s Bembol Roco can find his name among award giving bodies this year as the husband of Nora Aunor who wanted to have a child of his own. Ronaldo Valdez seems like that he will be a staple to as Bea Alonzo’s benefactor in The Mistress. Filmfest Best Supporting Actor winner Cesar Montano is also gaining notices as the standout from the ensemble of El Presidente playing the role of hero Andres Bonifacio. Relatively younger actor Zanjoe Marudo had two award worthy performances this year: as one of the soldiers in Adolf Alix’s Kalayaan, though I can see award giving bodies going for his showier performance as Tristan in the drama One More Try. Round up the top five is the comical and scene stealing performance of Joey Marquez as the passive and under da saya husband of Janice de Belen in Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles.

MIDDLE TIER

After the top five, these men’s performances can also see a nomination or two from these award giving bodies: versatile actor Art Acuña can do back to back wins at the Urian and Golden Screen for his performance as the head of police in the Cinemalaya entry Posas. Veteran actor Mark Gil can do a comeback at the awards circuit in his flashy performance as Frankie in Mariposa sa Hawla ng Gabi. No stranger to awards, Carlo Aquino can also pick up nominations for his turn as the younger son in Adolf Alix’s Mater Dolorosa while older brother Cogie Domingo also has buzz from the same film. The same can be said for Cinemalaya Supporting Actor winner Joross Gamboa playing as one of JM de Guzman’s friends in Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino. Kristoffer Martin, playing lazy younger brother to another Kristoffer (King, that is) who does not want to live a poverty stricken life in Oros can be a candidate as well. If voters are much in love with El Presidente, then Andres Bonifacio might not be the only hero nominated in this category. Christopher de Leon‘s Anotnio Luna can be in the running as well. Joel Torre might gain some notices too, if voters are kinder to Mariposa for his role as Primo, the butcher. Ogie Alcasid‘s one hit wonder slash understanding father to Sam Concepcion might pick up some notices as well for his performance in I Do Bidoo Bidoo. Lastly, Patrick Sugui can also get nominated especially in award giving bodies that has new actors of the year categories as the frat neophyte in Gino Santos’s The Animals.

THE REST OF THE RACE

As for the rest of the race, one can also take a look into the performances of Mon Confiado as the boss who has the hots for one of his employees’ wife in Palitan, Sef Cadayona as the hostage of three gay friends in Slumber Party, corrupt politician Menggie Cobarrubias whose family was put into a test in Graceland, and the pair of Mariposa actors Dennis Padilla as the cop who wants a promotion and Alfred Vargas as Carlos, the boyfriend of Erich Gonzales’s sister in the movie. Looking further, other performances that might be up for consideration were newcomer Nicolas Varela in Aberya, Robert Arevalo as Vilma Santos’ now healthy father in The Healing, Baron Geisler’s Spanish soldier performance in El Presidente, Sid Lucero as one of the Abu Sayyaf members in Captive, and Niño Muhlach as fairy gaymother in Slumber Party.

That’s it! That’s just 25 names, but it gives award giving bodies a lot of options to choose from in next year’s awards derby. Tomorrow, spotlight for the leading actors of the year will be given.

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