Saturday, December 26, 2009

The 10 Most Important Filipino Gay Films of the Decade (2000-2009)

I tried to avoid the word "important", because it's such a snooty concept. But there was no escaping it. The Pinoy gay film exploded in number and diversity in the last ten years, that it seemed necessary to identify the landmarks -- in chronological order, to see how we got from there to here. So this is not a list of the biggest critical darlings (Jay and Selda are not here), nor my personal guilty pleasures (Otherwise, there'll be Boylets) -- though they can be those, too. I simply asked: Can I imagine the decade in Philippine gay culture without these films? Or, Can I imagine moving into the future without having passed through them? Then I chose ten because it's a neat pretty number. A few crowd favorites have been left off (Ang Lihim Ni Antonio, Daybreak). Your friends or friends of friends will recommend unlikely titles (Wen Timawa Meets Delgado, Last Supper No. 3, or Imburnal, perhaps?) because people have varied tastes, and some films tend to get more appreciated as time goes by. But the following are the few that are must-sees if only because, in the decade that's closing, they've already made the most indelible impact.


Markova: Comfort Gay (2000)
Directed by Gil Portes
Written by Clodualdo Del Mundo, Jr.
RVQ Productions

The 21st century started with much jonesing for history, in the aftermath of the centennial of Philippine independence. Markova put a real-life gay face to our past, turning "comfort gay" into a household name for homosexuals raped by Japanese soldiers in WWII. By following the life of Walter Dempster, Jr., from young sexual awakening to a senior citizen living in a home for the gay aged, the drama traces a path of survival. Too bad it's the image of the flaming victim that stuck, in no small part due to the film's own shortcomings. But it boasts the biggest casting stunt in Philippine cinema to date; The title role played by three actors: Dolphy, a comedian always loved for his effem caricatures, and his two sons, Eric Quizon (a former heartthrob pestered by gay rumours) and Jeffrey Quizon, in the performance that jumpstarted his career as an actor's actor.


Duda (Doubt, 2003)
Written and Directed by Crisaldo Pablo
Grupong Sinehan

Movies have been shot in digital before, but it was Pablo's low-tech, low-budget model of distribution that was groundbreaking: He lugged around his own video projector to host pockets of screenings, thus birthing the so-called digital revolution we know today. It would have meant nothing if the film itself wasn't urgent -- an ultra-personal account of a tumultuous same-sex relationship in a circle of upwardly mobile friends, a slice of non-stereotypical realism that needed a drastic underground approach to find its audience -- picture and audio quality be damned. And found us it did. Thanks also to those first few who willingly shelled money to see something untested, the payoff to the gamble. The pioneering success of Duda directly led to all the independently produced digital releases -- gay or not -- that made its way into theaters thereafter. If Philippine cinema was believed to have been dying at the time, it took one small gay film to change the game.
Related Link: "TBR Answers Your Burning Questions #2"


Bathhouse (2005)
Written and Directed by Crisaldo Pablo
Grupong Sinehan

If Duda was the punch, Bathhouse was the knockout, proving Pablo's first venture was no fluke. It also announced something larger: By situating his drama in the darkened, members-only club for men, where "no callboys allowed", Bathhouse made real the existence of a gay community, away from mainstream eyes. Who knew? This was a place where our young hero (Rayan Dulay) made friends, found love, grew up, and found himself. He even became an asshole, and that's part of the process. It wasn't the self-loathing macho dancer bar of our parents' generation. Bathhouse was so attuned to the times, yet we wonder what took so long to make a film like it.


Masahista (The Masseur, 2005)
Directed by Brillante Mendoza
Written by Boots Agbayani Pastor
Centerstage Productions

Masseurs are the noughties' new macho dancers -- male sex workers that stand in for the general malaise of the Filipino people. (Not to say the macho dancer genre died.) But Masahista deliberately moved away from exploitation territory into oblique and gray -- in both look and feel -- as it somberly depicted a masseur's handling of one of his gay clients, and alternately, his father's funeral. With festival laurels, the movie ushered in a new era of arthouse Filipino films. It will most easily be remembered, however, for introducing us to two talents that would dominate the latter half of the decade: Brillante Mendoza, whose persistent "real time" dogma would culminate in a Cannes Film Festival award for Best Director for Kinatay, and his muse, actor Coco Martin, who would shine in all his gay and gay-friendly roles before becoming a TV soap star even our mothers would love. That their careers are only beginning makes the next decade exciting.


Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros, 2005)
Directed by Auraeus Solito
Written by Michiko Yamamoto
UFO Pictures

The freshness shocked the nation out of its torpor: Here was a movie about an adolescent femme boy (why only now?) who lives in poverty with his family of macho crooks, who are totally accepting and loving, until he starts to fall for the honest cop twice his age. And it all slid smoothly down our throats, mainly because the tender, truthful film gave the kid dignity. The runaway hit from the first Cinemalaya Festival, it demonstrated the possibilities of what a local fund aid can achieve and what a film could become: A record number of top awards from major international festivals, the biggest box office earnings for an independent film (later topped by Kimy Dora), and the paradox that a queer movie can be sweet and innocent without shying away from sexuality. Many filmmakers have since been trying to recapture that lightning in a bottle.


ZsaZsa Zaturnnah Ze Moveeh (2006)
Directed by Joel Lamangan
Written by Dinno Erece
Regal Films

Easily the decade's most original and lasting superhero creation was Carlo Vergara's Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah, first a graphic novel, then a stage musical, about a lonely gay parlorista who swallows a giant rock to transform into a buxom superwoman. The movie adaptation successfully broadened the popularity of the character, bringing it to the family-friendly Metro Manila Film Festival. Though not as emotionally resonant as the comix or the musical, the movie remained faithful to the plot and the campiness, and tried to extend the gender politics, though rather sloppily. But it did have another milestone in actor Rustom Padilla, a former matinee idol, who proves there's life after coming out as a transsexual. Does that mean the Philippines is progressive? Let's see if it happens again.


Ang Lalake Sa Parola (The Man in the Lighthouse, 2007)
Directed by Joselito Altarejos
Written by Lex Bonife
Viva Digital/Beyond The Box Productions

The change had already been encroaching, but Ang Lalake Sa Parola made it official: The erotic film of choice had shifted from straight to gay. We've stopped making female bold stars, but here, Justin De Leon and especially Harry Laurel became overnight sex idols. That the low-budget digital drama was produced by Viva, a studio that used to make the same but straight, confirms it. The tropes of the genre -- a bucolic setting, the repressed desires -- have been effortlessly lifted to fit what is basically a romantic story of homosexual awakening. Most of all, the movie put the Penis back onto the silver screen, which prompted an X from the MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board), so they cut it out. But before you can snap your testicles, the full frontal became the formula for gay box office draw. Hate it? Or love it, because in the fight for gay rights, visibility matters. Either way, we have Parola to thank.
Review: Ang Lalake Sa Parola


The Thank You Girls (2008)
Written and Directed by Charliebebs Gohetia
Brooklyn Park Pictures

They're beauty pageant losers traveling the Mindanao countryside for a shot at tiny barrio contests, along the way conversing in Dabawenyo gayspeak, and basically living their lives as one big show, third-world style. They're walking, sashaying embodiments of the marginalized. At the tail-end of the decade when the newly found freedom of making (and earning from) gay films had resulted in a glut of myopic sameness, this regional ensemble comedy starring real-life transgenders confronts us with a reminder: What other stories of other queer people in other regions of this country are never told, but must?
Review: The Thank You Girls


Sagwan (2009)
Directed by Monti Puno Parungao
Written by Arnold Mendoza and Monti Puno Parungao
Roca Productions

At the end of the noughties, the gay sexual liberation in movies had spawned a full-blown backlash. And every misunderstood genre has its whipping boy. Sagwan -- with its nihilistic credo and unabashed, expertly executed eroticism, about tour guide rowers moonlighting in the sex trade -- fit the profile at just the right time. Critics have used it as an example of bad, harmful filmmaking -- of smut! -- to try to extend the jurisdiction of the censors to MTRCB-free venues like the University of the Philippines, where the film had its packed premiere without cuts. Like Live Show in 2001, or Larry Flynt's Hustler, we may find our right to see what we want, or to say what we want, rests on a silly little underdog -- a far-from-perfect, but vital, piece of trashy art.
Review: Sagwan
"Should U.P. Ban Gay Porno?"



In My Life (2009)
Directed by Olivia Lamasan
Written by Olivia Lamasan, Raymond Lee, and Senedy Que
Star Cinema

After a lifetime of struggle for gay representation, the most mainstream of movie studios in the country finally made a film with major gay characters played by major stars (John Lloyd Cruz and Luis Manzano). While the sensitive women's drama -- about a mother who comes to New York City to live with her gay son -- made no qualms about one of the character's homosexuality, the other's is left ambiguous, and the details of their intimacy are kept mostly invisible. Audiences have been divided: On the one hand, isn't it great not to make an issue of our sexuality? On the other, are we so ashamed that we need to hide it? With no other film as gauge, the widely distributed In My Life stands as the one testament to how mainstream moviemakers -- and audiences -- view gay people at this point in our history, and the extent to which they can accept them. Will it go any farther in the next decade?
Review: In My Life

***
This article is part of a series of The Bakla Review's "2000's Decade In Review". Check back often for more.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Survey Report: Your Favorite Films From Altarejos, Lamangan, and Pablo

The sidebar on this blog is getting unmanageably long, so it's time to retire some of the polls. For posterity, here are the results:


Which is your favorite Joselito Altarejos-Lex Bonife movie?
72 votes

62% Ang Lihim Ni Antonio
13% Ang Lalake Sa Parola
09% Little Boy/Big Boy
05% Kambyo
05% "I dislike them all."
02% "I haven't seen any."
Poll date: 8/27/09
*This poll was made prior to the release of Ang Laro Sa Buhay Ni Juan.



Which is your favorite movie by DMV Entertainment?
69 votes

34% "They suck."
33% Heavenly Touch
13% Walang Kawala
10% I Love Dreamguyz
08% "I haven't seen them."
Poll date: 11/21/09


Which is the best feature film by Crisaldo Pablo?
84 votes

32% Showboyz
22% "I dislike them."
14% Bathhouse
07% Duda/Doubt
07% Quicktrip
07% "I haven't seen any."
03% Bilog
03% Pitong Dalagita
01% Moreno
01% SEB: Cyber Game of Love
00% Metlogs
00% Retaso
Poll date: 8/29/09
*This poll was made prior to the release of Boylets and Campus Crush.



Now's your chance to weigh in on the responses. Surprised? Repulsed? Care to explain your choices? Let's talk about our movies! Maybe someone will hear us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The 10 Gayest Pinoy Commercials of the Decade (2000-2009)

"That commercial is so gay!" You might think that's an insult, but not to us. The Bakla Review and The McVie Show put together a list of TV ads from the Philippines in the last ten years that are campy, outrageous, provocative, uplifting, or moving -- in short, those that have made a special connection with us, people like us, or the queer in anyone of us. Heck, they may have even convinced us to buy the product! (McVie painstakingly details our not-so-scientific process and criteria here.) These commercials are so gay, and we salute them.

10. Lucky Me! Pancit Canton "Almost Kiss"



McVie: Two guys, seemingly straight (or just straight-acting closeted ones?), are drawn together by their love of, uhm, noodles. This commercial gives new embodiment to the naughty phrase, “Pa-canton ka naman!”
TBR: I think it’s really sweet. I hear the longer version ends in bed, with less guilt.


9. Penshoppe "Cogie"



McVie: The ad is for a body cologne, yet while watching the young Cogie Domingo in his jailbait days, one forgets the cologne and just focuses on the body. Subtlety? Time to throw in the towel.
TBR: The 30-second definition of a cocktease. I hear girls swooning, or maybe they’re old men.


8. Bench "20 years"



McVie: Kris Aquino, sexy guys romping around the woods in skimpy underwear, Richard Gomez in his heyday—what is gay? Repeat from the top.
TBR: And they’re sprinkled with fairy dust! Or feathers. Or birds. It’s a testament to how gay the Bench ads have been through the years.


7. KFC "Shrimp"



McVie: Wonderful casting, wonderful acting, wonderful timing. Nothing’s overtly stated, and it’s not meant to be taken seriously.
TBR: They want to out their officemate so they can have an excuse to group hug.
(The clip above includes a spoof before the original ad.)


6. PLDT "Billy"



McVie: The success of this commercial lies in the gay punchline in the end, when the male mannequin is revealed. The commercial doesn’t make fun of being gay; rather, it shows the gay condition as is. It’s funny without being condescending.
TBR: Always the best man, never the bride.


5. Nesvita "Trio"



McVie: Guaranteed to give gay viewers a nosebleed thrice over, with Derek Ramsey, Chris Tiu and Will Devaughn. Towards the end, the camera lingers at the backside of Derek before panning up to him and he asks, “Want some?” Do we!
TBR: Okay guys, you win. You may seduce me now.


4. Sunkist "Basketball"



McVie: Audaciously funny. It is a gay man’s fantasy-come-true in full orange color—hot, cute basketball player with other hot, cute basketball players.
TBR: Sunkist should replace Gatorade during practice.


3. Ponds “Holding Hands”



McVie: The first time this came out, people were a-buzz the next day: “Did you see that Ponds commercial?” What made it even more impactful for me is the portrayal of the gay couple as something very ordinary and matter-of-fact. (Plus points for making them a gorgeous-looking one, but hey! This is advertising.) Now if only they had cast Hayden Kho instead of Maricar Reyes, this would have leapt to the top spot of this list.
TBR: Who hasn't fallen in love with this -- or them? I want to be in that kind of relationship, too. I don't care if some girl thinks she can steal my boyfriend away with her soft skin.


2. Ad Congress "Kiss"



McVie: Not only does the commercial flip over the hot-dude-meets-hot-chick set-up, it also subverts the old-fashion image of a gay man as a mujerista but instead shows him as straight-looking and straight-acting as any other guy. It misses being audaciously subversive by not showing a full-blown kiss, but hey.
TBR: A tear just ran down my cheek. Thank you for recognizing us.


1. Rexona "Everybody"



McVie: This commercial out-gays ‘em all because, not only does it show a gay man’s fantasy (hot men in towels), it shows them in abundance! And it’s a musical! Using a Backstreet Boys song! And it has Jordan Herrera at his hottest! Despite—or precisely because of—the guys’ macho posturing, this commercial goes way over the top and onto rainbow land. In the end when Jordan asks, “Wala ba kayong mga kamay?” we all feel like giving them a standing ovation, in more ways than one.
TBR: Yeah, it couldn’t get any gayer unless the towels came off. We were hypnotized by it, and we'll never recover.


***
Didn't Make The Cut:
Aside from the gamut of Bench spots that could easily fill its own top ten (see #8), we considered some hotdog commercials, just because they’re about hotdogs, and endorsements from personalities trailed by gay rumours – sometimes, they're also about hotdogs. Any commercial with hot guys was up to scrutiny, passing through the straight/gay litmus test. But it was hardest to say goodbye to these two undeniably gay creations: an uber-campy shampoo musical with perky ingenue Sandara Park, and a refreshingly sincere double entedre from macho symbol Robin Padilla.

Did we miss any of your favorites?

***
This article is part of a series of The Bakla Review's 2000's Decade in Review. Check back often for more.

Related Link:
Reviews of Commercials

Friday, December 18, 2009

Campus Crush



The campus in question is an alternate universe where everyone is gay. The students wear pink and yellow uniforms and organize events such as “Equality Week”. Strip away the whimsy, and the school operates as in any other teen flick: There are friendships, betrayals, unrequited loves, and everyone is trying to get into each other’s pants. The jocks do it for the bragging rights, as when the swim team make bets on shagging the biggest losers in campus, while the rich offer iPods in exchange for fellatio in the showers.

That’s the subversive challenge of the movie Campus Crush: In the great power struggle, whether you have It or not has little to do with gender. So why do people in the real world make an issue of homosexuality, when the driving factors are usually beauty, wealth, confidence, values (or the lack of it) -- everything but gender?

Arjay Carreon is the brooding, well-to-do alpha male with a sensitive side, while Joeffrey Javier is the poor, bad-postured nerd who’s a romantic idealist, and the two charismatic actors have incredible chemistry. In a showboating role as the flamboyant best friend, Chamyto is a blast of unpredictable comic energy.

Writer-Director-Producer Crisaldo Vicente Pablo, who helms the afternoon TV teen series Lipgloss, at the same time heads the direct-to-video line of gay erotica Queeriosity Video Project, has scored a mash-up of both. Campus Crush is a gay fantasy sex movie young comedy romance! Beat that. Yet the film also doesn’t escape the limitations of each genre, embracing even the shortcuts and unpolished craftsmanship. That makes it feel slighter than it ought to be, but it’s a lot of fun.

GRADE: B

Related Links:
Trailer
Movie Stills and Photos at Freshboysasia
Negative Review by Philbert Dy

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Walang Hanggang Paalam


Jake Roxas, with Rico Barrera

The quietly elegant Walang Hanggang Paalam spent the year floating in limbo with an X-rating from the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). In the version that's finally allowed in theaters, we can vaguely make out the shadows behind the ban: The 16-year old girl (Lovi Poe) is too young to be running away with her boyfriend (Joem Bascon), whose sole mission is to claim her virginity, then cavort with a dying Japanese gentleman (Jacky Woo). They're all the while trailed by a private investigator (Jake Roxas) in a cruel gay relationship (with Rico Barrera). Oh, there's also incest, and in the X'ed original, an ejaculation scene, supposedly. Despite the elegiac mood, a potent sensuality curdles, and boo to the MTRCB for failing to see that this is what makes it a worthy piece of cinema.

At its best, Paalam plays like a tone poem, especially when intercutting between its lonesome characters -- such as in the opening where everyone shaves or clips hairs from their faces or bodies, then later, in their respective prison-like hotel rooms in the chilly mountains of Baguio. In short, the movie works best when the humans must be no more than symbolic pretty elements in deliberately composed tableaus. Filmmakers Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos (Selda, Ilusyon) have finally found a subject that matches their fetishistic photography of still objects: Existentially troubled individuals who are no more alive or dead than the fog or the sunlight through the glass.

When they must interact, however, the movie thuds. It becomes clear as we watch that the characters possess only one dimension each. I'm convinced Jake Roxas was given a bad boyfriend just so he can spend the entire movie moping. And so with Jacky Woo and cancer. Joem Bascon, in case we miss that he's supposed to be horny, keeps thrusting his hips and pushing his girlfriend to do it. It's hard to see what else is in him that made him her prince. Lovi Poe, who's meant to connect and seduce and break free, only has layers of girlishness. It's telling that her boat ride with the older man is a bonding moment drowned out in music and impressionistic close-ups. Where there should have been drama, there's poses. I'd hate to think they're mere zombies awaiting their fates to arrive with the twist ending, but that's what they are.

GRADE: B-

Related Links:
Trailer
Mixed Review by Philbert Dy
Review: Selda
Rico Barrera Photos

New Trailer: Bigasan

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Latak (Residue)


Marc Jacob

When Andrew (the yummy Marc Jacob) catches his lover (Zach Urdaneta) with another man, we begin to doubt if his experiences -- such as seeing ghosts in the house -- are real or imagined, or the effects of his cocaine habit, or manifestations of his sexually abused past. Not exactly in that order. Presented in a wild jumble of time jumps, the film indeed confuses, and succeeds in dragging us down a hole with nowhere to go. It's a bad trip.

The garish mishmashing functions to hide how bad the scenes are on their own. Latak is basically a whine-o-rama about a dull guy with barbie doll friends he can't trust and a boyfriend problem. That all the talky agony is suggested to be connected to being molested as a child by a priest is an outrageous cheat, because it doesn't really explain why the dude and his friends are such a pill. The lesbian frisking is hotter than the gay sex, which we barely see. The only scenes with the tiniest pleasures are the ones with the cute cop (Ram Galura, unconvincing as an officer) who makes advances at our guy, and sure, the brief frontal exposures.

Writer-Director-Producer Jowee Morel has been making films with a kind of derring-do that throws everything into the pot until the mixture turns to goop. (When a Gay Man Loves, Strictly Confidential) He's yet to prove it makes his films more meaningful -- or entertaining. I wish he'd focus.

GRADE: D

Related Links:
Latak on Multiply
Director's Website

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

M2M Queer Fairy Tales



This collection of shorts lampoons well-known fairy tales for a gay sexual angle, mostly played for laughs. In a revision on Cinderella, the slave princess, her stepmother, and stepsister are all bitchy fags who want to boink the handsome prince. The gay Rampelstiltskin is out to claim no infant, but the hero's boyfriend. Beauty and the Beast becomes Bayot and the Beast. Funny? You bet. But the real surprise are the "moral lessons": modern and subversive takes on love and relationships. For example, the prince is turned off by divas-in-waiting, so take a good look at yourself if you are. Implicitly, like the politically correct fairy tale books, these clips are saying we would do better to imbibe more progressive values than the outdated lore of our forefathers.

Less effective are the shorts based on myths that aren't obvious targets for roasting -- one is a version on Filipino elementals that play with people who get lost in the forest (nice try, though), another is a riff on nighttime street spirits (a story that's near unintelligible).

But it's the production values that suck most glaringly. The tacky fairy tale design looks like a bad school play, and with the undisciplined filming, would be embarassing even for YouTube. Campy shouldn't be synonymous with cheap. How fantastic this could have been with a little more effort. Queer Fairy Tales gets by on wit -- and okay, sex, too. Actors include Jef Tabason, Bobby Reyes, Sam Corpuz, Richard Lopez, Danilo Lee, Marcus Gutierrez, and Rusty Adonis. Produced by Queeriosity Video Project.

Grade: B

Friday, November 20, 2009

Update: In Video Stores This Month



November is turning out to be an abundant month in erotic direct-to-video movies. Queeriosity Video Project releases Kabalintunaan, Boarders Ni Kuya, Mga Lalaki Sa Dilim, and this week, Freshboys. Videoflick offers Sophomore. New makers Mango Tree Videos launches Summer Boys, available at Hilom and Queeriosity Palace, and hits regular outlets next week. I've seen the videos, and although my reviews can't keep up with the volume, I will say right now they're generally better than the usual crap. Collectors will have plenty to spend for this month. For the casual buyer, take your pick.

Trailer: Latak

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

SophoMore


Will Sandejas

Everyone had an opinion on Freshman, whether they’ve actually seen the video or not. The follow-up Sophomore one-ups its predecessor, as if to address the protests. There are not one but two featured models – Will Sandejas (Sikil) and Froilan Moreno (Kalakal) – which makes room for more sexual scenarios. Both guys dangle their privates – Your wishes have been heard! – at first shyly, then later aggressively. For extra usefulness, the entire gig is built as an instructional on how to get sexy on the beach. (Sample tip: Go topless. What?) In fact, SophoMore couldn’t be farther from Freshman conceptually, and the only continuity is in the title – and the creepy voice-over.

But the most special added ingredient is the sensuality of Will Sandejas. Here’s a guy who knows how to utilize his body for maximum visual effect, the mark of an actor in control. When he pleasures his partner with his lips and tongue and his gracefully arched positions, the heat burns a hole through the screen. I wish I could say the same for Froilan Moreno, who must’ve been asked to play coy but instead comes off as play-pretending. But he also does some wonderful things with his mouth and hands. The romancing in SophoMore is pretty darn real. You want nipple-sucking? You got nipple-sucking! It couldn’t have been easy with all that clingy sand. Props to the guys. When Junior comes out, can I be the third guy?

GRADE: B

Related Link:
Review: FreshMan

Monday, November 16, 2009

Four Art's Sake: Art and Nudity



The concept – four artforms as demonstrated by four naked men – proves that messy is sexy. In “Bodypaint”, we barely see the guy in full, but the camera lovingly traces the brush as it caresses his skin, nipples, pubes, branding its path in color. Few softcore videos are ever as tactile, and that is Four Art’s Sake’s delirious erotic surprise.

The high point is “Pottery”, in which a guy soils himself increasingly as the shorts and briefs come off. The clay pot he’s shaping looks like literal shit, but see, the point is that the art is in the creation, not the product, and in the inherent sexiness of the process. The naked male body is also art, because by the time the segments are over, the body and the artwork intermingle as one, inseparable from each other.

The ridiculous voice-over cheapens the affair, but also adds to the campy flavor. This video’s got balls (literally), and in the case of “Canvas”, a little bit more. “Photography” is the most ordinary of the lot, with a model striking poses by a brook, but even that isn’t so bad.

So is it art? It’s inspired.

The DVD contains no extra features. The cast and crew are uncredited, but my bet is that that's Ralph Darell Mateo on the cover.

Grade: B+

Thursday, November 12, 2009

2009 Cinema One Originals Digital Movie Festival

Maximus & Minimus


Paano Ko Sasabihin


Bala-Bala


The 2009 Cinema One Originals Digital Movie Festival runs November 13-17 at the Gateway Cineplex, Cubao, Quezon City.

For the festival program, click here.

For a picture gallery of the official entries, click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Luv Dreamguyz



It's been a while since our movies tackled the Filipino performer's dream to fly to Japan. If I Love Dreamguyz is to be believed, Japan is once again a viable career destination for handsome young dancers. As an update, not one person in the movie ponders the possibility of prostitution or illegal recruitment (you know, those very 90's concerns). Not once do the guys even rehearse with their shirts off. It's all wholesome-legit, except for a shady networking scam thrown into the plot, again to keep it modern, although it doesn't really tie up.

Just about everything else in the movie feels like regurgitated bullshit, down to the racial stereotypes and butchered Nihongo. It's not a pop musical. The two dance numbers are edited to indistinction, and what's left to see makes us disbelieve they're actual dancers in a troupe. It's not quite a barkada youth flick, although a beach vacation portion in the middle has the whole gang strip to their butts and run to the sea. In the hands of Director Joel Lamangan, from a story by Manny Valera and screenplay by Enrique Ramos (the same team that made DMV's two previous films, Walang Kawala and Heavenly Touch), Dreamguyz is a soap opera of the stupidest kind.

I realize the key to Lamangan's continuous popularity as a director is that he strips his movies of any potential complexity. That means despite different life stories for five different dancers, they behave in exactly the same way all the time, so that we may clearly see the simple path the movie takes: dreamers' optimism crashing down to hard reality. When the guys hear their names called for the final casting, they cheer and giggle in the same note. Then they're angry. Then troubled. Talk about group unity. In scenes, they're lumped together like one boring mass. Lamangan again directs with eyes closed. His films are plotty by necessity, because they burrow through to the end, even when the brain objects. It's schematic, not cinematic.

Too bad, because the guys make great eye candies. Marco Morales, the reliable frontal nudity actor, is on board, but the sexiest role goes to Jay L Dizon, a guy whose heart swings between his girlfriend and guy rival-turned-pal (Morales). We see him make love to both. He even flaunts a brief bulge in a phone sex conversation. Jao Mapa, straining into a tiresome high pitch as a gay manager, makes love with Sherwin Ordonez, as his lover. Survivor alum Rob Sy pops up conveniently but illogically as a thug nuisance. There's a threesome between Mhyco Antonio and his two women. Miggy Chavez rounds up the group as an abused teen. With these stories, the movie really should have been more colorful and nuanced. The shiniest performance belongs to a woman. As the conflicted girlfriend, Nina Jose defies the drabness to create someone who actually feels human. Let's give these beautiful people a better movie please.

GRADE: C

Related Links:
Trailer
Articles and Photos: Jay L Dizon, Miggy Valdez
News: "Miggy Valdez Gets Meaty Role in First Movie"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update: Body Blow



Master of gay horror, Canadian filmmaker David Decoteau, was recently in the Philippines shooting his latest, a kung-fu movie called Body Blow. According to his website, production wrapped recently, and it airs on Here TV early next year. I'm hoping it gets a local release, but it almost surely won't. Any other excited fans here? Anybody know anything else about the shoot or the Filipino actors and crew involved? From the looks of that behind-the-scenes photo, the movie is a sure blast.

Related Link:
"Body Blow Wraps in the Philippines" from The World of Cult Filmmaker David Decoteau

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Locker Boys



True to its title, the scenery doesn't change. Five clips of the same friggin' locker room, and the same thing happening: Some guy walks in and plays with himself -- except for one variation when a second guy assists. Cheap, right? So why am I thoroughly amused?

I keep waiting for the guys to show me the money, that's why. The suspense is built-in. If it were porn, I would know exactly what to expect. But it's MTRCB-approved, publicly available softcore erotica, so I'm giddy with the possibilities amidst the repression. Which is, in a way, what the images of boys jerking off in this video represent. And they enjoy their freedom, so to speak, with flashes of pubes and concealed morsels of flesh, some balls, some dick, not completely because they're not totally free. The final segment is baby powder fetish bonanza, as Rusty Adonis lathers with the white stuff to pleasure himself, which climaxes in a visual maelstrom, like a dream of snow, a release.

So even though Locker Boys may look stupid, it's smart enough to play with your head like erotica should. Most of the guys appeared in other releases by Queeriosity Video Project. Adonis and Francis Sienes were in Boylets. The rest are Bobby Reyes, Jonard Buenaventura, and Mark Cortez.

GRADE: B-

Related Links:
Screenshots
More screenshots
Locker Boys Cast Photo
Letter: Powder Fetish Group Founder Thanks Filmmakers

M2M Wet Wet Summer



The five episodes of the direct-to-video erotica M2M Wet Wet Summer achieve a new level of incoherence. Have fun trying to decipher the stories. In "Kalsadang Mainit", two guys meet on the street (by chance or on purpose?), then they fall in love (or do they?), then sneak around a backlot to have sex (at least that part is certain), then split, then what? I've seen it three times and I still don't get it.

In "Hanap Mo Ba ay Ligaya...?", a guy is searching for someone named Ligaya (Happiness), but everyone he asks is waiting for the same person too. It's a fairy tale hokum that's an allegory for... something... profound. "Pa-Shawer!" is labeled an "amateur contribution", but I wonder which part needed contributing to: the perfectly ordinary story (two guys meet on the beach then make out in the toilet) or the perfectly ordinary filming of it.

Maybe the narratives are too complicated to pull off for Queeriosity Video Project, the factory behind M2M Eyeball and Koveryboyz. But there are butts and bodies glistening with water or sweat, and lots of touching and romancing, so who cares? The biggest saving grace is actor Danilo Lee's surprise peekaboo behind the bushes, a sprung awakening. The rest of the guys are Rusty Adonis, Darwin Camara, Sam Corpuz, and Richard Lopez.

GRADE: B-

Related Links:
Danilo Lee Pics
More at Freshboysasia Blog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

YM -- I-YM Mo 'Ko!



Three cuties comprise the boyband YM, or Young Men: Edgar Allan Guzman (Eat Bulaga, The Studs, Astig), Andrew Miguel (Freshman), and Rex Salvacion. Their new CD contains a booklet of shirtless and boxers pics, and that's the reason to keep this in your collection.

But sure, you could buy it for the music, too. Hopefully, you can't get enough of the song "Nagmahal Ako" -- the one about guys who love homos -- because five of the seven tracks on this album are versions of that famous hit, including a clean version, a "medyo bastos" version (that isn't, really), a bleeped version, and the original by rap group Dagtang Lason. To untrained ears, there will be no distinction between the tracks, so listening to them is a test of endurance. But you've got to admit it's fun to hear the sentiment coming from a bunch of worthy boytoys. Oh, the fantasies you can have.

Clearly, the group image is sexy/tongue-in-cheek, a novelty act. The backside of the jacket captures the guys with their shorts pulled down, smiling. The kick-off track is a cover of Michael V's sendup "Mas Mahal Na Kita Ngayon", morbid lyrics set to syrupy R&B. I can't really vouch for how funny it is, or how good musically. I just try to imagine how cute they must have looked while recording it. The corny music video gives us an idea, although only two of them are in it -- Edgar Allan, who's annoying with all those affectations, and Andrew Miguel, more natural. The third member used to be Dex Quindoza, before he was replaced by Rex, so this video must have been produced during that awkward transition phase. (So who is it that we hear singing?) They appear shirtless only in flashes. If the music is not so good or not so funny, then the guys should have been naked more. That's like a rule or something. They better make up for it in the video for "Nagmahal Ako"; Hopefully, there will be five versions of it.

The CD: C-
The music video: C
The album packaging: B
AVERAGE GRADE: C+



Related Links:
On Ivory Records (Notice the old photo.)
More Photos of YM
Live Peformance of YM on YouTube (with Dex, not Rex)
Review: "Nagmahal Ako (Ng Bakla)" By Dagtang Lason

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan


Tony Lopena, Rayan Dulay, Ace Ricafort

The tandem of director Joselito Altarejos and screenwriter Lex Bonife birthed four gay-themed movies for major studio Viva, under its digital arm, starting with 2007's Ang Lalake Sa Parola. With their fifth collaboration, Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan, the duo make their first "truly independent" film, outside Viva, with Altarejos wearing the producer's hat for BeyondtheBox Productions. With this move, the bigger financial rewards might finally go to the deserving artists, who were anyway responsible for the brand of movie-making that spawned a following. The better news is that the departure seems to have freed them artistically, as well.

The mode is "real time" -- that increasingly fashionable style of storytelling that isolates time and place, an economy of approach well-suited to third world budgets. We follow Juan (Rayan Dulay) during his last hours in Manila, before he permanently leaves for his home province of Masbate. The film is structured in two parts. The first half is daytime, when Juan navigates the slums of his neighborhood, mingling with an assortment of characters, before settling in a tiny room to say goodbye to his lover (Nico Antonio) -- a tender moment that aches so well because we learn so much about the two of them with so little. It's also a positive representation of a same-sex relationship built on mutual love.

Fans might find my next statement blasphemous, but I've always thought that, in the Altarejos-Bonife partnership, the writing was usually the weaker link. Well, so much for that now. Gone are the fussy expositions and purple dialogue that mar their sometimes overly earnest melodramas. Co-written by Bonife, Altarejos, and Peping Salonga, Laro is subtler, but also richer, fresher, more intelligent, if also a little cooler/colder. It's a film that pulsates with the discovery of the moment. Ang Lihim Ni Antonio is its closest forebear, both marked by naturally flowing existentialism, but this is probably the first time the direction and the writing complemented so effortlessly.

I wonder, however, if the film would have benefited from a more intense lead actor. Real Time seems to require a galvanizing, center-of-the-universe presence, the way Gina Pareño held Kubrador, or to a lesser extent, Coco Martin in Kinatay. Dulay is pleasant and effective, but I kind of wish he put more gas to his fire.

The second half is night, as Juan works for one last time as a live sex performer in a gay club, to make extra money for his trip. Here, we meet the kind ringmaster (played by Bonife), a newbie member being oriented, and the rest of the performers, including Juan's cocky partner (Ace Ricafort). The excitement builds up to the actual erotic show, with naked bodies, but the real culmination is... (SPOILER ALERT!) a police raid. What is it that happens to Juan in his last day in Manila? In the answer lies the film's powerful statement.

What the two parts illustrate, before we're even aware of it, is the transfer of money. In Juan's poor community, everyone needs it. But when people part with their cash -- to gamble, to lend to a friend, a lover, someone in need -- it always stems from free choice. What Juan chooses to do with his money is his right and his freedom. We get the spirit of people looking out for one another: It's there when a neighbor shares her plate of noodles, or when the club manager passes a hat and guests drop their generous tokens. By stark contrast, in the final act, when police officers snuff Juan of the contents of his wallet, it's a gross abuse of authority, a trampling of Juan's freedom and dignity. He was robbed of so much more than money. He loses control over his own life, turned into a wimpering idiot. That, according to the film, is the great tragedy of this country. It's what corruption looks like on a micro level, but it extends and affects all of us. No coincidence, then, that our hero is called Juan, the name of the everyman.

Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan is the second excellent film this year to indict the illegal, inhumane practice of police raids. (Big Night was the other one.) The topic demands attention, and both films are must-sees. That Laro drives the important point with quiet grace is amazing.

GRADE: A-

Related Links:
Info and Statement at Director's Blog
Ace Ricafort Pics
"Hari Ng Negros 2006 Makes Acting Debut"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Trailer: Summer Boys

New Trailers: Some Films From The 11th Cinemanila International Film Festival

Bakal Boys (Children Metal Divers)


69 1/2


Iliw (Nostalgia)


Ang Beerhouse


Biyaheng Lupa (Soliloquy)


The 11th Cinemanila International Film Festival is ongoing from October 15 to 25, 2009, at the Market! Market! Cinemas in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

For screening schedules and info, visit the official website here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Boylets



Boys who make money by having sex with gay men -- "What's new?" You might say. So it's with delight I report that the new movie Boylets, which chronicles a day in the lives of a group of teenage friends, is a breath of fresh air: a genuinely unflinching, humanistic, dirty, sexy, funny, and sweet picture. It has just about everything I want in a movie, except technical brillo.

The movie's first uncommon move is respect for real people. The boys in Boylets act like actual modern teenagers, not the usual cardboard victims too often carelessly sketched in our movies for some moral agenda. A youthful cast of cute-as-button actors -- Joeffrey Javier, Charles Delgado, Rusty Adonis, and Francis Sienes -- play their parts with lovable insouciance. Their reasons for needing money can range from petty to serious -- to replace the stolen wheel of the tricycle they wish to enter into a drag race, to throw a birthday celebration, to send a sick, stubborn mother to a hospital -- but hovering above everything is the casual acceptance that they just don't have money. They steal cable wires to sell, sometimes getting chased by town police in the process. But the easiest source of cash are the gay patrons, who are often the first to approach them on the street. The boys can drop by their old sponsors too. Here, it's one gay man whose groceries they fetch and house they tidy up. The boys expect to have sex with him, but the jovial guy is glad to just share. It's a nice balancing touch.

The rest of the time we're privy to the quirky negotiating practices between the boys and their customers, sometimes already during foreplay. Pay with softdrinks? How about a case of softdrinks? Often, the movie feels like a great social comedy. If we find entertainment in how rich and poor bounce off each other's lives, such as in British class comedies, why not this one, which incisively, cheekily, demonstrates a "warfare" of age, gender, and benefits. Some odd sexual practices get the movie treatment for the first time, most memorably a riotous powder fetish scene, supposedly requested by one of writer-director-producer Crisaldo Vicente Pablo's fans.

Pablo seems to have found his winning formula. Like Boylets, his two previous features, Quicktrip and Showboyz, are situated in worlds of casual, unromantic sex -- a cruisy movie theater and a macho dancer bar, respectively -- and he casts a keen observer's eye over them. He doesn't balk from detailing the sexual rituals. Then, he threads the narrative with something sweet: an idealistic wide-eyed hero who believes in the changing power of love. It's like the candy in the tangy brew. In Boylets, that sentimental corny center is the friendship between Delgado and Javier. But it's the latter who anchors the drama with his fiery soulfulness.

A few critics will no doubt claw at this film and call it exploitation. With a barely legal cast doing nudity and sex, they certainly wouldn't be so far from wrong. But it's also audacious filmmaking, if a little rough around the edges, a by-product of the economy of style and production. Kudos to the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) for approving this movie without cuts. I wouldn't be surprised if Boylets becomes a guilty pleasure for many, except that we shouldn't be so guilty. When everyone is ready, Boylets will be rightly acknowledged as an unpolished pop commentary of blazing wit and feeling.

GRADE: A-

Related Link:
Movie Poster and Trailer
Review: Quicktrip

Boy



Since his debut feature Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros), celebrated director Auraeus Solito has made a string of coming-of-age films, but his fourth, Boy, is the most unabashedly gay yet. It’s easily a romance – between a poetry student (real-life young poet Aeious Asin) and the macho dancer he desires to take out for one night (real-life young macho dancer Aries Pena). But what elevates the movie from most of its kind – the macho dancer movie, the opposite-sides-of-the-track brief encounter – is the rich telling.

When the movie opens, Aeious is the earlybird customer in a gaybar. He feels a stirring the moment a boy his age comes onstage. What follows is a romance of careful ambiguity: Gauzy sensations of attraction simmer with the practical motions of negotiation. This is a tale of first sex from the point of view of a teenager who’s smart enough to know that giving in requires a bit of detachment, but still be horny and confused. Soon, the two boys talk and make love in intricate, deepening, increasingly sensual steps.

Aeious lives alone with his Mother, and theirs is an acutely rendered relationship of affection and distance. The fish tanks he collects provide an overwhelming, ethereal glow to the household, and the way the people navigate around them is intoxicating to watch. While lesser coming-out movies rely on the shock of the turning points, in Boy, the pleasures lie in the minute revelations of emotion and simmering mood, even during its weakest moments -- such as the sometimes theatrical behaviour and the tacked-on illustration of poverty. Still, they all work together to tease the film’s tempered playfulness. Boy is an enigmatic, wonderfully unsettled picture, a thing to be savoured and discovered.

It's a brisk capsule that's over too quickly (less than 90 minutes), so what it achieves in economical strokes is impressive: Boy turns the story of a teenager’s first sexual experience into that moment when he begins to transcend his existence.

GRADE: B+

Related Links:
Positive Review by Lyka Bergen
Positive Review by George Heymont with Director's Statement
List: The 10 Best Macho Dancer Movies Ever

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pipo: Ang Batang Pro


Marco Morales, Tyron Perez

You want exotic? Try the world of Pipo – about a group of youth moonlighting as cybersex performers in a partly submerged seaside town. The boys and girls get drunk, get high, sleep around with each other and with clients gay and straight, and when they walk along the floating shanties and bamboo footways, amidst the water greenery, the movie looks splendid.

So it’s a shame the makers aren’t interested in scratching deeper than the environment’s surface. You might feel compelled to do your own research on the business of internet sex after the film leaves you dry on too many what’s and how’s. In place of any real new insight, director Alejandro “Bong” Ramos, working from a script by Cleo P. Cantalejo, resort to the most overused poverty-and-prostitution clichés. Practically every scene is crammed with epitaphs of how badly our poor children need money, which is supposed to justify their “wayward” ways.

The titular cutie, played by Tyron Perez, must accept (or not) the offer of an American documentarian who wants to film a threesome between him, his pal (Marco Morales), and his girl. With sexy supports Rob Da Silva and Ace Khosin, the cast is a treat to the eyes, fresh and exciting, even though the film they're in is ultimately stale and hollow.

GRADE: B-

Related Link:
Poster and Trailer

Thursday, October 8, 2009

In My Life


John Lloyd Cruz, Luis Manzano

The best thing about it is that it got made. Star Cinema, the most mainstream of movie studios in the country, lagged behind the so-called gay bandwagon, perhaps by strict design: It's not supposed to be their territory. Homosexuality, believed to be a niche concern, presumably falls outside the realm of Star Cinema's broad, PG-13 market. Yet by some dint of miracle, it casts Vilma Santos, one of the biggest stars ever, and a present provincial governor no less, in the main role of a mother to a gay son, played by Luis Manzano, Santos' real life son. And then, oh boy, in the role of Manzano's lover, the country's current most bankable romantic leading man, John Lloyd Cruz. It's directed by Olivia Lamasan, whose female-centered melodramas have come to emblematize the Star Cinema brand. With such trusted names, is there still reason for the public to shy away from the gay topic?

The uncanny hat-trick of In My Life is that the bandwagon it jumps is not the gay one, but still the female-centered family melodrama that Star Cinema helped galvanize, and also the OFW movie -- a drama mapping the plight of Overseas Filipino Workers and their families -- perhaps one of only two originally Filipino genres to emerge from our lifetime. (The other one is the macho dancer movie.) This one is largely set in New York City, and it's centrally the woman's story, with the gay elements tempered and almost subliminal. That is the film's winning strategy, but also its debilitating blind spot.

What suffers is specificity. What do we know of the two guys' relationship? Most of it is left to the imagination, or, more accurately, to That Which We Know But Never Show Or Talk About. Is their relationship even sexual? The film's one kiss, which arrives late in the movie, is a swift, barely-brushed lip-to-limp. It's also meant to express apology and forgiveness -- you know, the wholesome, Catholic facet of love. It's hard for me to muster enough love for a movie that's intentionally castrated and guilty.

But it's not just the sex that's missing. I vaguely get to understand the lives of these two gay men in New York City. For example, what is Mark's job and why is he so damn busy? There's also a gay bar, but we barely see what goes on there, or what the interior even looks like. And the ultimate missing information: Is Noel gay, bi, confused, pretending, or maybe just another straight guy who happens to love a gay guy? It's up to the viewer to decide; Your Mom might have a different opinion than you. Cruz's family-friendly persona is spared of the damage. Not to give away spoilers, but he does end up quite a chaste man by film's end. All's well in the happy sin-free world, where only one of two things can happen to a gay man: He either dies violently or just stops being gay.

Of course, John Lloyd Cruz as Noel is the archetypal leading man of Star Cinema: a man who loves unconditionally, who suffers for his love, who also happens to be devoted to his parents. He's predictably given moments to bare his heart out. But Manzano as Mark is the more interesting creation. He'd rather go to the gym than spend time with his Mom, and he makes that strange proposal to her (I won't give away the surprise), tapping into a son who's both practical and caring, tough and sweet. Plus, with all that missing sex in the movie, Manzano manages to hint at someone who's comfortable with it, next to Cruz's somewhat frozen take on man-to-man touching.

But what little gay moments that are permitted to slip through are strong. In one scene, Shirley (Santos) complains that her son never even "came out" to her. In defense, Mark points out the double standard: If his straight siblings were never obligated to declare their straightness, why should he announce his gayness? Lamasan's co-writers, Raymond Lee and Senedy Que, are minds behind two of the most progressive queer films of our time. (Lee produced Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros; Que wrote and directed Dose.) Like those films, In My Life belies a fierce intelligence, wisdom that comes from a place of experience, at least whenever it's allowed. The film's most special move is that it roots Mark's anxiety -- He's never good enough for Mom -- to that moment in adolescence when he felt his homosexuality was a disappointment.

Like that scene, the best moments in the film are those which meld specific personal experience to the anyone-can-relate universal -- which is really the aim of the genre of melodrama. Santos may be a mother to a gay son, but she's really just any parent who wants to say sorry for her mistakes. Dimples Romana, in a great supporting performance, is any daughter (or son) who felt like a failure.

But the makers don't know when to ease up on the melodramatic conventions, which stall the movie here and there. Shirley's journey is marked with obvious, rigid plotpoints. She spends the first part whining about America with a capital A, then finds mini-success as a career woman, complete with feel-good montage. There's an old-fashioned, weary mannerism to Lamasan's approach, not helped by her visual team. New York is a flat, gray city in the eyes of cinematographer Charlie Peralta, and lifeless and generic according to production designer Elfren Vibar.

Somewhere in this movie is a shining work of art, but it's shrouded in mediocrity.

GRADE: B

Related Links:
Official Movie Site
Star Cinema on Multiply

New Trailer: Boylets

New Trailer: Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Trailer: I Love Dreamguyz



Same trailer without the screening dates here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bayaw


Paolo Rivero, Janvier Daily, Andrew Miguel

There’s no denying the sizzling sexiness of the cast: Janvier Daily, with his nextdoor casualness, whose chunky frame can barely contain his loose-fitting clothes, and Paolo Rivero, with his icy gravity, are brothers-in-law who become fugitives after the murder of the sister/wife who binds them. Playing third wheel is fresh-faced Andrew Miguel as a precocious youngster who mysteriously pops up wherever the two men go.

Director Monti Parungao, from a script he wrote based on the story by producer Danio Caw, proves himself (again) to be a confident sensualist, as if we already didn’t know that from his controversial debut film Sagwan or the hit videos he made for Viva Digital, such as Provoq and Hubad. The most evocative scenes in Bayaw depict straight men doing gay things yet still retain their masculinity, such as early on when Daily receives a blowjob from a parlorista for gambling money, and especially in a highlight forced sex between the brothers-in-law after getting turned on by straight porn inside a motel. There’s a prison brawl with butt-baring naked men and a shower duet which gives us a glimpse of Daily’s impressive frontal. Ostensibly, Bayaw maps the slippery nature of male sexuality, and Parungao, who’s also the cinematographer, matches it with dreamy camerawork and a lot of editing bells and whistles.

But alas, he’s still a faulty dramatist. The stylistic embellishments could barely mask the lack of logic or coherence. The characters don’t have internal lives, so they’re never really given a chance to be human. They clunk along as caricatures of themselves. As such, Bayaw is a crime mystery that couldn’t get me enough to care, and damn near stressful to watch.

GRADE: C

Related Links:
Movie Trailer
Premiere Night Photos at Cinemalaya 2009
News: "Paolo Ibinuyangyang ang Kanyang Manoy sa Bayaw"
Press Release: Synopsis
Poster and Publicity Photos
Negative Review by Philbert Dy

Monday, September 21, 2009

Kimmy Dora (Kambal Sa Kiyeme)



It’s the gayest hit movie of the year, except that the person in drag is a woman (Eugene Domingo), playing twins: an evil vamp and a virgin dimwit. She’s surrounded by hot men – Dingdong Dantes in nerd chic, Zanjoe Marudo in farmer chic, Baron Geisler in badass lawyer chic, Ariel Ureta in grey-haired dying dad chic – and she chews quasi-sophisticate one-liners like the second coming of Joey Gosiengfiao. (“You can take the dog out of the squatters but you can’t take the squatters out of the dog!”) It’s only as funny as your taste will allow, which is to say, best leave your brain at the door and pull your inner queen out of the closet, the one that appreciates baked salmon and deadpan household help. Not since Roderick Paulate has an actor thrown herself into a stunt performance as expertly as Domingo. She’s so exuberant and nuanced, it’s easy to accept the blah premise – something about conglomerate shares and kidnapping – or the blah emotional message – that sisters must love each other because they’re sisters. Director Joyce Bernal’s brand of gonzo slapstick combines well with screenwriter Chris Martinez’s plotty queer farce, but this is really a triumph for (1) independent cinema, because new player Spring Films risked a big budget – with special effects! – and beat the giant media networks that withheld support and theatres that refused screening until after it already became a hit, and (2) for great caution-to-the-wind comedy.

GRADE: B+

Related Link:
Official Movie Site

CosmoMen 2009



So according to Cosmopolitan magazine, this year’s hottest bachelors are all greasy and/or sweaty. Who cares about individual personalities anymore? They’re all models, groomed to fit the bad boy sex appeal concept. Maybe that’s the statement: To be hot nowadays, you must be dangerous, or at least know how to hold a cue stick or a motorbike. If you’re one of those who pipe about the inclusion of so-called non-wholesome elements (Bold stars? Callboys? Aren’t they in the list every year?), consider that maybe it’s all part of the masterplan of naughtiness, or the editors only care about bodies anyway. Besides, could anything be more shameless than to cast kids as fantasy objects? Everyone is young-looking (no one below 30), if not downright barely legal – Gerald Anderson on the cover! Aljur Abrenica looks like he got beaten up! And because most of us will never really get to date any of them, let’s rate the photo spread for the piece of erotica that it is: It’s great.

GRADE: B+

Related Links:
Photos of the Ten Centerfolds
CosmoMen 2008