Not Another Manileño-Kids-Trooping-to-a-Party Video

Turn It Well - The Blazers

Styling note: put everyone in a blazer and they’ll look instantly cool and slick. Charot.

Turn It Well
Artist: Up Dharma Down
Director: Caloy Soliongco
Cast: Paul Diaz, Dee Jae Paeste, Gino Jose, Martin Antunez, Haizel Fernando

I love Up Dharma Down. I love their music, and in their latest video, “Turn It Well,” I love Armi Millare’s mannish get-up and cropped hair paired with pokpok-red lipstick and nails. Don’t you hesitate. See us, be it, and turn it well. Ganda.

What I don’t love, however, is the video. I mean, it’s not horrible, but it’s so unsurprising and uninspired and, I hate to use the term, hipster. Up Dharma Down’s great music certainly deserves better videos. But then again, it’s just a music video, no use getting an aneurysm over it. (more…)

25 Nov 2012 (Sun) at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

Slumdawg Reformist

Rudimental - main

Slumdog Millionaire, Manila-style.

Not Giving In
Artist: Rudimental feat. John Newman and Alex Clare
Director: Josh Cole
Cast: Allen Añas, Tugo Cunanan, Ereson Catipon, Arsell Dela Cruz

Rudimental‘s music video, “Not Giving In,” has much in common with Dangerous Minds, Music of the Heart, City of God, even Sister Act and all those other inspirational movies that goad the youth to choose art over drugs and violence, that reaffirm creativity as the path to freedom from one’s sordid political and economic chains. It begins with two brothers in the Manila slums, borne to a degenerate father and an abused mother. The two (happily) subsist on petty thievery, an inseparable tag team of sorts. (more…)

21 Oct 2012 (Sun) at 6:19 pm 2 comments

The Privileged Teen Fashionista Fantasy

12:51 - Main

Our young and fashionable protagonist at the PNR. Train passenger? Or train wreck?

Artist: Krissy and Ericka
Director: Nani Naguit
Cast: Krissy and Ericka Villongco, George Schulze

It was my first time to encounter Krissy and Ericka last night. Apparently they’ve been around for a few years. My first impression was “pangalan pa lang konyita na,” but that’s just plain mean and judgmental, so sinarili ko na lang muna. For a few seconds. Kasi naman, one of them is a freshman pala at Yoopee Dillimahn while the other’s still studying at Saint Pahl Cahllege of Pahsiehg. And one of them’s akshally going to Brrahcay tomorrow. Sakit sa tenga, teh. (more…)

10 Apr 2012 (Tue) at 2:29 pm 6 comments

Third World Snack

Thin Pillows - Main

Magpi-pillow ka na nga lang, yung manipis pa?

Thin Pillows

Oishi Philippines came out recently with a new variant of Pillows. The original heftier Pillows had very working-class Pinoy flavors: choco, cheese and ube. Alam na ang market. Parang dirty ice cream lang na de-kariton.

Pero iba ang branding nitong Thin Pillows. Choco-hazelnut–taray, parang Nutella lang. Thin wafers with oats–wow, healthy lifestyle. Kulang na lang yoga instructor. At sun-filled studio with hardwood floors and bay windows. Sosyal. Ang yaman. At in fairness, masarap naman. (more…)

03 Apr 2012 (Tue) at 3:49 pm 1 comment

Genre’s Not Dead

My Kontrabida Girl - Main

Love and hate are as intimately intertwined as Rhian and Aljur here.

My Kontrabida Girl
Director: Jade Castro
Cast: Rhian Ramos, Aljur Abrenica, Bea Binene, Jake Vargas, Bella Flores, Enzo Pineda, Chariz Solomon, Kevin Santos, Sef Cadayona, Ken Chan, Bela Padilla, Gwen Zamora

Do not be fooled by its deceptively accessible surface, enhanced by the parade of delicious biceps thanks to Aljur Abrenica, Enzo Pineda et. al. You may think you’re just watching another run-of-the-mill boy-meets-girl story (well, to some extent that’s what it is) but who would’ve thought that GMA Films would come up with a romantic comedy that’s not plain fluff?  (more…)

03 Apr 2012 (Tue) at 2:32 am 3 comments

The Myth of Cinemalaya and the Myth of the Artist

Cinemalaya - Reform Now poster

Cinemalaya--was it really ever free? Lest we forget, it's a Cojuangco grant, not a universal right.

After a firestorm of criticism regarding the disqualification of MNL 143 on the basis of poor casting, the opinion that Cinemalaya heads should be ashamed is a pretty unanimous one. Lawyer and film critic Oggs Cruz, who resigned from the selection committee in protest, argues rightly that the prerogative of casting is “within the ambit of the creative freedom provided to a filmmaker who is making [a film] as an independent artist and not as a hired craftsman.”

Simply put, the organizers deserve to be criticized for striking a pose of “freedom,” but operationalizing the opposite. Independent spirit that is not. To trully allow filmmakers the freedom to put forward their own ideas necessarily entails that they also be allowed to calculate their own risks, wager their own gambles, and as screenwriter Raymond Lee says, “make their own mistakes.” (more…)

06 Mar 2012 (Tue) at 10:21 am 2 comments

Skin Deep

FHM Philippines - Bela Padilla's original cover

Racy, racist or classist?

Bela Padilla cover
The Bikini Issue, March 2012
FHM Philippines
Summit Media

In view of the Bela Padilla FHM cover controversy, one thing is supremely obvious: ang galing ng marketing ng Summit Media. Surely something this big and this obvious was no mere accident. This had to be done on purpose. “For the record,” admits FHM Philippines on its Facebook page, “we were never able to print any copy that had the original cover. We pulled the cover image before it hit the printing press.” In short, tons of publicity at no extra cost, not a single print issue wasted. Not that the Philippines’ top-selling magazine title needed any more help, but props to the publisher for its excellent marketing sense. But let’s not dwell on that.

The outrage over the “racist” cover reeks of 1., a selective eye on issues, and 2., an enchantment with the politically correct. As if saying, “sure, you’re a vulgar magazine, but you can’t be THAT vulgar!” Where do we draw the line, and how? (more…)

05 Mar 2012 (Mon) at 1:06 pm 2 comments

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