Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Best Movies About Illegal Police Raids

One proof that independent cinema is superior to mainstream television is their contrasting approaches to the issue of police raids on gay establishments.

TV news exposés have brainwashed generations into believing the police are the heroes, with images of them bravely ransacking gay bars, clubs, moviehouses, and bathhouses, pointing their heavy artilllery on unarmed persons. The other heroes are the mediamen, charging side by side with the cops, pointing their accusatory cameras at the defenseless, and reporting gallantly with flowery language that namedrops God and Morality.

How many of us used to believe (or still do) that gay establishments and gay patrons never should have been placed on this earth in the first place? Watching quasi-investigative shows like Imbestigador and XXX, how many of us ask questions about true legality, TV ratings, human rights -- and never get an answer?

Right now is a precarious time. It's Raid Season. Some say it's part of local and national police's attempts to rebuild their image after the embarassment at Luneta Grandstand -- sort of like a man who loses at a cock derby, so to reclaim his dominance, must go home and beat up his wife. Others say the police extortions are rampant once again because Christmas Season is around the bend; Money is of great need to government workers at this time every year. Last week, a movie theater in Manila got invaded. This week, a bathhouse in Pasay was looted, detaining 105 civilians, confiscating their cash and celphones.

When TV reports, we're quick to blame the gay establishments, their employ, and their owners. Or we say the gay customers deserve it. TV never mentions the truth about being gay in the Philippines: It's not illegal. They also leave out the roots of raids: Other establishments that pay the police to destroy the competition; TV news departments that need a ratings boost, so they co-opt the police to stage a new sensation; and most importantly, corrupt police thugs acting as robbers. Whose side is TV on? Beat reporters depend on their police sources for access, to make their job easier. The same can be said for police beat reporters of broadsheets and tabloids. How else will they get their news?

The beauty of movies is they don't depend on the police. At their best, they report the truth.

In the past, films like Sibak: Midnight Dancers depict police raids with little or no critique of it: It's part of life; It happens; We move on. We're blessed to be living in ever-enlightening times. Last year (2009), two movies offered important lessons. Now is a good time to revisit them.



Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan. In the friendly atmosphere of a gay club, the staff and patrons offer tip money to performer Juan, to help him for his trip home. When policemen raid the club, Juan naively pleads for mercy but not for his rights. When his money is taken away from him, we feel the blow of the robbery, and the loss of dignity.












Big Night. Cleverly deceiving us into thinking the villain must be the hot-tempered gun-toting manager of the girlie bar (not gay), the film shakes us at the last minute when the guns that are fired come from outside, the law enforcers. The tragedy drops the question: Who (or what) is the real enemy?










What does it say that both daring films are "indies"? Produced outside the narrow limitations of mainstream, indies are usually way ahead of studio fare in the integrity of ideas precisely because of their independent nature -- the higher power they answer to is seldom big money. As such, they're usually portends of new world orders. Just think of the anti-martial law films that were produced during martial law, before the larger middle class finally signed on. We're experiencing major injustices today in increasing levels of shamelessness, and a few good films are pointing it out for us. Maybe we're headed for positive change. Watch, listen, get angry, get involved, demand a better world.

Related Link:
"Know Your Rights: What the Police Can Or Cannot Do" at Discreet Manila

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Open Letter To P-Noy By Armida Siguion-Reyna

Former MTRCB chair Armida Siguion Reyna writes on current MTRCB chair Consoliza Laguardia and the impending appointment of a new MTRCB chair. It's an eloquent plea for reform and basic rights. Read here.


Adolfo Alix's Muli, pending MTRCB review

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Santuaryo



Beautiful-people-stranded-on-a-deserted-island is not a very dignified subgenre. Wait, I already said that.

In Santuaryo, the castaways are all toned young men, and they're looking for treasure. Even though the movie doesn't make that hokey premise believable for a second, it still strains for a serious, high-suspense tone -- much like TV's Survivor Philippines, down to the island cutaways and drumbeats. (The director, Monti Parungao, is also the man behind that show.) As on TV, there's supposed to be tension when the guys begin to form rivalries and alliances, except that here, they're flaming over the stupidest things, like a missing Swiss Army knife, softcore magazines, or the loss of celphone signal. They're twelve-year old brats trapped in abs and pecs. They make the kids of Lord of the Flies look like wise elders.

You may have heard of behind-the-scenes reports that some of the actors behaved like brats themselves. Allegedly, a few of them backed out on their previous agreement with the producers (which included frontal nudity) by re-negotiating their fees. Done in the middle of shooting, after much principal photography, it sounds unprofessional, something a two-bit callboy might do to jack up his rate in the middle of sex, not to mention a huge turn-off, and possibly, career suicide. Reportedly, it effectively sabotaged the narrative, and reportedly, it's the reason a last-minute addition to the story was made: a romantic postscript between Basti Romero and Will Sandejas as lovers. Whatever. The finished product is a mangled mess, and those island shenanigans -- including something involving a guy who gives blowjobs then pukes right after -- incoherent.

The Director's Cut DVD is identical to the theatrical version, to my eyes, but at least with the pause button, we can stare lovingly at the dangling jewels of Gino Quintana, Basti Romero, and Will Sandejas. The DVD package also includes a mini-poster that displays everyone's butts (except Will's). The other guys are Justin Hizon, Nicos Bacani, AJ Ona, and Ralph Mateo. Brats or not, their hot bodies (and Parungao's smooth photography of them), even though they don't do much, are the saving grace of this film. Isn't it ironic?

GRADE: C

Related Links:
Photos by Ian Felix Alquiros
Negative Review by Cathy P.

D' Survivors



Beautiful-people-stranded-on-a-deserted-island is not a very dignified subgenre. Any movie that gets compared to the whack (and marvelous) camp classic Tempation Island (1980) by the revered Joey Gosiengfiao would be hard pressed to live up to any value-for-entertainment expectation. There have been countless B-movie descendants (look 'em up) but nobody remembers them. Ask me and I'll "recommend" a few titles.

Adolf Alix Jr.'s experiment in comic improvisation, D' Survivors, which follows air crash survivors frolicking on the beach, fails not because it's scriptless or absurd or, you know, "free-form" (these are virtues if executed effectively) but because it's never funny. In improv, we want characters to inhabit funny in every twist and turn, but here, the actors have little to build upon, because they're never given the chance to be actual people, to be more than dummies. Spewing standard-issue one-liners, they're stand-up comics clawing at every attempt for jokes. The flamboyant gay master of ceremonies is like a variety show host with no program. There's only so much empty blabber one can take. The sprinkling of "stories" -- like that of ex-lovers, or of a long lost brother who is now a sister, or the arrival of a diva -- not only goes nowhere, but matters none, not even at the moment it's being played.

Eye candies are supposed to make the folly worthwhile. The main draw are Brazilian models -- Daniel Matsunaga, Fabio Ide, Akihiro Sato -- all lovely, sometimes charming, but their sexiness is not even photographed enough. So, too, with other cuties -- Jubail Andres, Rocky Salumbides, Lemuel Pelayo, Kerbie Zamora -- practically camouflaged in the background. It's a showcase for Mercator, the modeling agency under which they're all signed, but not for individual talents.

Temptation Island was generous with beauty, and also with basic (and basest) human emotions, like anger, desire, hunger, which were fodder for our identification and laughs. By contrast, D' Survivors arrives with closed fists. Enjoyment, even of the camp variety, must be earned.

GRADE: C-

Related Links:
D' Survivors On Facebook
Negative Review by DiscreetManila

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Maximo" -- Cinemalaya 2010 Trailer



Our favorite femme boy movie character, the iconic Maximo Oliveros, lends himself to the promo campaign for the 6th Cinemalaya Film Festival. You may remember Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros debuted in the very first Cinemalaya in 2005.

While the spot (directed by Paolo Villaluna) enjoyably apes the memorable sequence in the film directed by Auraeus Solito -- in which Maxi and his friends stage a mini beauty pageant -- and how nice too, to see actor Nathan Lopez all grown up and still work the same innocent charm, it's disheartening to see all this appropriated for an icky message. Maxi is now performing, not out of the need to express himself, but for the approval of a panel of foreign judges.

"The world is watching" is this year's Cinemalaya slogan -- the campaign was devised by ad agency DDB Phils. -- and it may be a testament to how the country's most popular independent film festival has acquired an air of laurel-chasing self-consciousness. Poor Maxi, who used to bow only to love, is made to appear to be a sellout, a prostitute for fame. Blasphemous. Filmmakers, is this what you're really making films for?

GRADE: D

Related Links:
The two other spots in the ad campaign:
"Casket" and "Engkwentro"

New Trailer: Sampaguita, National Flower



The 6th Cinemalaya Festival runs July 9-18 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Trailer: Rekrut



The 6th Cinemalaya Festival runs July 9-18 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For more info, visit their website.

New Trailer: Two Funerals



The 6th Cinemalaya Festival runs July 9-18 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For more info, visit their website.

New Trailer: Pink Halo-Halo



The 6th Cinemalaya Festival runs July 9-18 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. For more info, visit their website.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Junior


Oliver Lacson, Charles Delgado, Brixx Madrigal

Twinky Charles Delgado is miscast as a swimming instructor. Instead of playing to his boyish strengths, he strains to pretend to be hunky -- or to actually know how to swim. Smarter erotica-makers would have thought of a more fitting concept for him, or his co-stars, Oliver Lacson and Brixx Madrigal, who play his lovers/students. In such demanding roles (models in trunks), they're cute at best, silly at worst -- never truly sexy and only marginally "revealing". Set entirely in one lame garden pool and shower in flat daylight, and relying on narrating heads to talk the story forward, Junior is the most ridiculous-looking in the perplexing "male student body" series.

GRADE: C

Related Links:
More Photos at The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Show
Review: SophoMore
Review: FreshMan

Chub Chaser



In his mission to film a narrative for every special-interest demographic in the gay dating wilderness, Crisaldo Pablo (with co-directors Remz Mallari, Jonathan Batoy, and Bob Galura) turns his lo-fi sexicomic filmmaking to an overweight twenty-something desperate to score. (The title is misleading; our hero is the chub, not the chaser.) Thanks largely to actor Joseff Young's valiant self-deprecation, Chubi's embarassing exploits -- he endures rejections, then cons other guys just so he can get laid -- don't come off as too pitiful; instead they're suggested to be a kind of spiritual quest for salvaging dignity. The jokes can be repetitive -- How many times do we need to be reminded that fat people are not high up on the sex food chain? -- but they're also designed to touch compassionately on everyone's anxieties on body image.

The corny fairy tale conclusion feels rushed, but the distractions before it are fun: Chamyto Agueda as the also-chubby best friend who uses money to keep his boyfriend; the trio of fitness-conscious but concerned roommates (including Jeff Luna, as the prince charming), and a series of cute date prospects and some surprising full frontals (masked in theaters, but not on DVD). Cast also includes Francis Sienes, Bryan Lorenzo, Archie De Calma, Ken Dequito, Siegfried Rosa, Miko Guttierrez, Justine Gomez, Trouffles, Bryan Ocampo, Bryan Balansyo, and Arnick Meneses.

GRADE: B-

Related Links:
Positive Review by Todo Sa Bongga
Negative Review by Make Me Blush
Photos of Jeff Luna and Joseff Young in Bed 1, 2, 3

Thursday, May 6, 2010

"You're So Hot" - XLR8



The next Filipino boygroup looks a lot Korean. The twinkiness! The androgyny! The sissy choreography! The company that gave us Viva Hot Men (Viva Records) rides on the K-Pop trend with a crowded assembly of hair-gelled, skinny-jeaned tweens, who are cute even though they look like clones of each other. The danceable single is catchy; Check out some witty Taglish rhymes. But can anyone really jerk off to this?

GRADE:
The song: B
The video: B-

Related Link:
About XLR8 and Introducing the Members

Parisukat


Jeff Tatsuro

A sort-of-clever but certainly contrived mystery emerges somewhere in the middle of Parisukat, after we learn of the murder of a gay businessman (Toffee Calma), and all the four characters we've been following so far are pieces to the puzzle. There's the tranny (Darwin Taylo), the jock she's in love with (Christopher Canizares), the butch master of the house (Jobben Bello), and the young new tenant (Jeff Tatsuro). A silent house helper (Alvin Espinosa) adds nothing except decor. They converge in the same boarding house, and one of them may be the killer. Cool, eh?

Gay homicide has quickly become the year's cliche movie trend -- there's also Ben and Sam and Pilantik -- and we haven't even reached 2010's halfway mark. Writer-Director Jonison Fontanos says he drew inspiration from a gay friend murdered by a callboy.

Pulpy by structure, but flat by execution, his second film is at least more coherent than Hugot. The movie is like its star, Jeff Tatsuro: a cutie, but the expression is too blank to reel us into the fear and danger beneath the surface. Maybe those long exposition minutes should have already been laced with suspense, or at least, more fun, or sexuality. He gets us restless before he gets us thrilled.

GRADE: C+

Related Links:
Loads of Parisukat Info, Photos, and Press at Swim In The Sky
More Toffee Calma Photos
Review by Littlegapanese

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New Behind-the-Scenes: Summer Boys

Update: Free Screening of AmBisyon 2010



The controversial anthology of politically charged short films made by 20 Filipino directors screens for free on Wednesday, May 5, at 1-5 PM and 7-10 PM.

The venue? The UP Film Institute -- which finally made a stand on whether or not they will concede to be under the jurisdiction of the country's censors (the MTRCB). You may remember the fracas regarding X-rated gay movies.

AmBisyon, a project that aimed to shine a light on pertinent issues related to this year's elections, was supposed to air on the ABS-CBN News Channel and Studio 23, until the MTRCB slapped an X to two of the films, then later to just one, the film by director Jeffrey Jeturian, for smudging shit on the face of the current president of the Philippines.

Though none of the 20 shorts are gay-themed, you may want to join this free event as a show of support to freedom of speech. Or to at least see and judge for yourself.



Related Links:
News: ANC's Statement Re: X-Rating
News: The Films at a Glance
AmBisyon Video Plug
Mixed Review by Richard Bolisay
Negative Review by Ishko Lopez

Monday, May 3, 2010

New Trailer: Here Comes The Bride

Marino (Call of the Sea)


Rico Barrera, Raymond Cabral

Oh, to have a shipful of hunks and have them do… nothing. In this quasi-tribute to Filipino seamen, the biggest conflict happens between one worker (Allen Dizon) and the chef (Victor Basa) – regarding the quality of the food! How exciting! Meanwhile, the manual labor that happens on the tanker is a blur. The gay subplot tickles the imagination with an exchange of erotic glances (between Rico Barrera and Raymond Cabral), before their story evaporates from view. Emilio Garcia is sick, so we know where that is going.

Too much time is devoted to the situation back at the hometown, with a dead father-in-law, a housewife who may or may not succumb to an affair with a tricycle driver (Marco Alcaraz), and a brother failing his exams in maritime college (Mike Tan). It sounds like a busy film, but everything is so mild, nothing moves. Writer-Director Paul Sta. Ana fumbles with themes of fidelity and distance, but forgets that in order to dignify the seamen, they should be interesting first.

GRADE: C-

Related Links:
Men of Marino Photos
Marino Poster, Synopsis, Trailer
Music Video on YouTube
Negative Review by Make Me Blush

Monday, April 26, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Ben and Sam


Jess Mendoza, Rayan Dulay

The romance between Ben and Sam is built on the stuff of great pop opera: Ben the jock (Rayan Dulay) and Sam the artsy type (Jess Mendoza) are rivals in both film class debates and an upcoming popularity pageant. So it's a disappointment that the movie doesn't muster connective power the way timeless youth movies do. How could it go wrong? The answer: Ben and Sam is a thoroughly distracted picture.

Directed by Mark Shandii Bacolod, with self-conscious camera work and frilly subplots -- the most belabored of which involves a homophobe (Micah Munoz) heading towards homicide -- the love story gets lost amidst much hullabaloo.

What's crucially forgotten is the attraction. Those intellectual debates, likely meant to be sparring matches as foreplay, meander into sexless recitation. It's hard to pinpoint when the two guys started getting into each other.

We're left to rely on the easy function of stereotypes for tension. Ben is The Closeted Athlete, and therefore, must be having a hard time with his feelings. There's little evidence for it, except in dialogue about honesty (Those truth-in-cinema discussions reflect being true to yourself -- what a stretch!) and in the acceptance of a crazy, costume-changing (hence, unconventional) Mom. Yet Ben also seems to be comfortable being different around his basketball teammates from the start. So what's the problem? We're made to grasp for clues about what it is that Ben sees in -- or needs from -- Sam, and vice versa. Neither Rayan Dulay nor Jess Domingo are intense enough actors (nor do they have enough chemistry) to fake this love without the story details. When they jump into making out while working on an assignment together, we understand it only because we know working on assignments together can do that to you.

(SPOILER ALERT!) In the end, when one of them dies, the film makes a tough bid for emotionality that only comes across as a lightweight you-love-him-now-that-he's-gone because we were never really convinced to begin with. We only understand it because we know death to be the pits. But dude, what loss are you mourning?

GRADE: C

Bonus points for casual locker room nudity and butt-naked frolicking in the garden.

Related Links:
Director's Blog
More Stuff About Ben and Sam Plus Production Stills
Who's Afraid of a Gay Movie Glut? By Bayani San Diego
Links to Many Articles About Ben and Sam at Aliwan Avenue

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Libido


Jeff Luna, Marcus Cabrera

When people say a film is so bad that it's good, they're usually talking about one thing: passion. The film makes so many aesthetic missteps because, in the first place, the filmmaker has committed himself -- thrown his being -- into something so wrong or so awful. It's that dare to dream -- and fail -- that gives the film its unique joy. Think of your favorite so-bad-it's-good movie. Now try to measure the amount of love you conceive to have been put into it. Without that leap of passion, it would merely be bad bad. With it, it's bad good. I would argue that the best examples of such films aren't bad at all; they're usually just strange, left-of-center outcasts.

Libido never got a theatrical release, but it did have a special screening for a curious paying audience, before it was released on video. From the start, it was announced by its spin machine as a film of low standards -- you come for the sex and nudity because it has nothing else to offer. True enough.

The story is old, but not bad. A city couple vacations with a country couple (The women are sisters) in a house near a brook, which leads to an opening of minds, naturally. There's spouse-swapping, and rape, but better yet: After the city guy excites the country guy with stories of his pansexual experiences, the two dudes get it on. There's little guilt, or any other emotion for that matter, and everyone walks away happy.

The cardboard performances are the constant source of amusement, especially by actress Maricris Losada, who looks like she's perfectly content with not knowing what she's doing. A certain amount of innocence always works well with sexploitation. Jeff Luna as the older farmer and Marcus Cabrera as the young nurse are exciting because their limited, barely written characters are offset by their confident parades of fresh, fleshy, imperfect bodies. (CJ Manalo is the third guy in the flashback.) I probably would've been bored if they weren't so cute.

But where's the passion? Writer-Director Lucas Mercado's filmmaking is so sweatless and impersonal, Libido ends up less of a so-bad-it's-good movie than just every other run-of-the-mill cheapo. Most of the lovemaking scenes -- watch two bodies pile on top of each other -- barely generate heat, not because of misplaced effort, but because of lack of it. The recipe for a great bad-good entertainment is here. The cook would have served us better if he poured out his guts. I hope that's a lesson for everyone out there venturing into bad movies.

GRADE: C+

Related Links:
Photos of Jeff Luna in Libido
Photos of CJ Manalo and Marcus Cabrera in Libido
"Indie Movie, Naglalaman Ng Sex Education" at Abante Tonite

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pilantik



When murdering his victims, the cross-dressing serial killer (Mon Confiado) wields his weapon with his pinky finger pointed upwards! (The title refers to the limp hand movement that's supposed to be a telltale sign of homosexuality. Right.) This detail is the sole cool thing about Pilantik, a movie that ought to be scarier and funnier, but is only a mess.

It makes the great mistake of many psycho killer stories: The drama is all in the past. Here, an abusive, homophobic stepfather (Pen Medina) and a stepbrother broke his hand bones permanently when he was a kid -- but even this is staged like a bad afternoon teledrama. (It's directed by TV veteran Argel Joseph.) Meanwhile, in the present, what exactly is going on? For all the loony-fag hamming of Mon Confiado, the character operates without logic. What in the world is he doing with his life, and why? He's rich, takes care of his crazy mom, has a boyfriend, hangs out with a parlorista friend (Lito "Shalala" Reyes), and on the side, hacks people into parts. None of the elements connect. The movie is so lost that somewhere in the middle, we are introduced to three gay killers (as in, straight men who kill gay men), and in the "climactic" action chase that follows, one of them (Jao Mapa) may have suddenly turned into the movie's new lead role we root for. Or not. Your frustrated guess is as good as mine.

GRADE: C

Related Links:
LCP Films Blog
Mon Confiado Interview on Jojo A. All The Way - Part One and Part Two
What is Main-Die? By Edgar Allan Paule

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Survey Report: Your Best and Worst Pinoy Gay Movies of 2009

What was the best Filipino gay movie of 2009?
122 votes

22% Sagwan
21% In My Life
19% Heavenly Touch
13% Boylets
09% Ded Na Si Lolo
08% Little Boy/Big Boy
08% I Love Dreamguyz
07% Boy
07% Campus Crush
06% Bayaw
05% Showboyz
05% Pipo: Ang Batang Pro
05% Others
04% Booking
03% Last Supper No. 3
02% Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan
02% Walang Hanggang Paalam
02% I didn't see any.
01% Padyak
01% Astig
01% All I saw were bad.
00% with votes: Hikbi, Tutok, 1017: Sa Paglaya Ng Aking Salita, Latak

What was the worst Filipino gay movie of 2009?
61 votes

26% Sagwan
16% Boylets
13% Showboyz
13% Campus Crush
11% Bayaw
09% Tutok
09% In My Life
08% Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan
06% Booking
06% Little Boy/Big Boy
06% Pipo: Ang Batang Pro
06% I Love Dreamguyz
06% Latak
04% Heavenly Touch
03% Hikbi
03% Ded Na Si Lolo
03% Walang Hanggang Paalam
03% All I saw were good.
03% I didn't see any.
01% Padyak
01% 1017: Sa Paglaya Ng Aking Salita
01% Boy
01% Others
00% (No Votes) Last Supper No. 3

Poll Date: 1/20/2010

Survey Report: Your Best and Worst Pinoy Gay Movies of 2008

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:

What was the best Filipino gay movie of 2008?
19 votes

42% Ang Lihim Ni Antonio
26% Daybreak
21% The Thank You Girls
10% Walang Kawala
10% Manay Po 2
10% Kambyo
05% Dose
05% Sa Pagdapo Ng Mariposa
05% The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela
05% Kurap
05% Binyag
05% Eskandalo
00% Jay, Lovebirds, Quicktrip, Imoral, Hugot, Kalakal, Lalamunan, Others

What was the worst Filipino gay movie of 2008?
7 votes

28% Hugot
14% Ang Lihim Ni Antonio
14% Walang Kawala
14% Kambyo
14% Manay Po 2
14% Sa Pagdapo Ng Mariposa

Poll Date: 2/14/2009

Saturday, March 20, 2010

S.R.O. (Standing Room Only)


Charles Delgado, Rain Javier

Are the younger generation still familiar with the meaning behind the title? In this age of reserved seating and fire safety regulations, “standing room only” is a moviehouse term that’s barely used anymore. The double meaning is that, in run-down theaters that also function as prostitution dens, there’s a lot of standing and walking going on inside. Like the title, the movie SRO feels moldy and out-of-touch. Can’t get enough of the sight of an experienced serviceboy throwing up after giving head? That’s just one of the film's many standard “insights” about the miserable lives of sex peddlers.

The acronym also stands for the initials of the three main hustlers (Sonny, Roldan, and Oscar), played by Rain Javier, Kristoffer King, and Charles Delgado, and the movie supposedly depicts the struggle for dominance among them – the passing of the baton, so to speak, of who is the hottest callboy inside. Sounds like a cool setup for some micro politics, or at least some backstabbing, bitching, or one-upmanship – but alas, the movie doesn’t know what to do with it. The boys don't really try to outsex each other. Like so many Filipino films lately, the conflict remains a concept, not really played out for the thrills they promise. For a film about a power struggle, it’s baffling why none of the people actually interact. They all prefer talking by themselves, like the blind woman (Ana Capri) who speaks but is not heard. Sonny, the first king of the territory, likes talking to the movie screen. Oscar, as the young upstart, narrates in dry voice-over. In effect, everyone is either a pontificator, or, like Paolo Rivero as a mysterious habitue, a spectre. Where’s the fun in that?

Serbis, also set in a dirty picture house, was over-semioticized junk, but at least it captured the existential chaos of its environment. SRO gives us ghosts in place of people, and blank space instead of place. But at least the horny kid stripping in front of the mirror is a guy this time.

GRADE: C

Related Links:
Positive Review by Wilberchie
Publicity Photos by Ian Felix Alquiros

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Update: In Cinemas This Week


Bakal Boys

I have been remiss in my reviewing duties the past three months. I hope you didn't miss Last Supper No. 3, a comedy about a gay man who, by going through the hell that is the justice system, embodies the resilience of the regular Juan Dela Cruz -- How often do homosexuals step up to represent the entire citizenry? It's a gay movie for sure, even though people will be inclined to "defend" it's "not a gay movie" just because there's no gay sex.

This week is a busy one for Filipino films, with two definitely gay movies, Parisukat and Ben and Sam, in select theaters. But they're not the only indies making an appearance: The Red Shoes, a heterosexual love story starring Marvin Agustin and a pair of Imelda Marcos' shoes (Then again, How can an Imelda film not be a little bit gay?; It's also one for foot fetishists); and Bakal Boys, one of my favorite films of 2009, is not a gay movie, despite the suggestive title. It's a mesmerizing drama about children metal divers in the shores of Manila. The kids are cute, though, if that's your sort of thing, and one of its strongest themes is the friendship among boys. And of course, the already blockbuster hit studio entry Miss You Like Crazy, starring every mother's favorite son, John Lloyd Cruz, is still pimping itself to audiences nationwide. Have fun.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Queer Love Fest

Opening Film: Ben and Sam


Screening Schedule:

New Trailer: Pilantik

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The 100 Sexiest Movie Performances of The Decade (2000-2009)

The rules: (1) Males, of course. Women lovers can make their own list. (2) Each actor's name may appear only once. So, despite the many hot movies by, say, Coco Martin, I had to pick just one. (3) The sexiness of the actor and the sexiness of the role count, but most of all, it's about the performance: the sexiness that the actor brings to the role. As for the definition of sexy? Let these 102 examples (I cheated) illustrate that vast spectrum.


1. Coco Martin in Daybreak
2. Kristoffer King in Babae Sa Breakwater
3. Carlos Morales in Laro Sa Baga
4. Alfred Vargas in Bridal Shower
5. Josh Ivan Morales in Ang Lihim Ni Antonio
6. JR Valentin in Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros
7. Piolo Pascual in Lagarista
8. Paolo Rivero in Live Show
9. Jay Aquitania in Roxxxanne
10. Yul Servo in Dose

11. Christian Vasquez in Liberated 2
12. Tyrone Perez in Twilight Dancers
13. Sid Lucero in Donsol
14. Harry Laurel in Ang Lalake Sa Parola
15. Jordan Herrera in Lupe
16. Rodel Velayo in Kangkong
17. Diether Ocampo in La Vida Rosa
18. Justin De Leon in Ang Lalake Sa Parola
19. Gary Estrada in Booba
20. Zanjoe Marudo in Kimmy Dora

21. Jet Alcantara in Bathhouse
22. Kenjie Garcia in Ang Lihim Ni Antonio
23. Jamil Basa in Troika
24. Paolo Serrano in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
25. Janvier Daily in Roxxxanne
26. Jerwin Mercado in Hanggang Dito Na Lamang at Maraming Salamat
27. Marco Morales in Walang Kawala
28. Edgar Allan Guzman in Imoral
29. Will Sandejas in Sikil
30. Joash Balejado in Heavenly Touch

31. Paolo Contis in One Night Only
32. Felix Roco in Engkwentro

33. J.E. Sison in Bikini Open
34. Joeffrey Javier in Boylets
35. Jomari Yllana in Katayan
36. Gerald Lauron in Mapanukso
37. Marky Lopez in Huling Birhen Sa Lupa
38. Cogie Domingo, Danilo Barrios, and James Blanco in Cool Dudes
39. Lauren Novero in Mga Pusang Gala
40. Khalani Ferreria in Xerex

41. Jay Manalo in Prosti
42. Jay L Dizon in I Love Dreamguyz
43. Ken Escudero in Sikil
44. Beejay Morales in Hada
45. Rayan Dulay in Bathhouse
46. Joseph Bitangcol in Paupahan
47. Topher Barretto in Quicktrip
48. Jam Melendrez in Red Diaries
49. Anton Bernardo in Saranggani
50. Toffee Calma in Showboyz

51. Alex Alano in Pangarap Ng Puso
52. Eric Parilla in Tuhog
53. JC Castro in Kapag Ang Palay Naging Bigas, May Bumayo
54. Gerald Madrid in Pedrong Palad
55. Sherwin Ordonez in Kurap
56. Allen Dizon in Ang Tipo Kong Lalaki
57. Andrew Schimmer in Green Paradise
58. Dennis Torre in Sagwan
59. Allyson VII in Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya
60. Alberto De Esteban in Hayup Sa Sex Appeal
61. Leonardo Litton in Gigil
62. Ran Domingo in Binyag
63. Alvin Anson in Kapirasong Gubat Sa Gitna Ng Dagat
64. Mark Dionisio in Kainan Sa Highway

65. Rico Barrera in Lalamunan
66. Johnron Tañada in Lovebirds
67. Russel Simon in Room Service
68. Leandro Baldemor in Pedrong Palad
69. Paolo Paraiso in Imoral
70. Niño Fernandez in Ang Lihim Ni Antonio
71. Ryan Forbes in Jupit
72. Kris Martinez in Green Paradise
73. Wendell Ramos in Gamitan
74. John Hall in Xerex
75. Douglas Robinson in Little Boy/Big Boy
76. Dante Balboa in Takaw-Tingin

77. Cholo Barretto in Sa Aking Pagkakagising Mula Sa Kamulatan
78. Randolph Dungo in Sagwan
79. Aries Pena in Boy
80. Arjay Carreon in Campus Crush
81. Ralph Darell Mateo in Lukaret
82. Dayal Chowdhary in Seroks
83. Johnny Delgado in Tanging Yaman
84. Mark Anthony Fernandez in Biyaheng Langit
85. Robin Padilla in Buhay Kamao
86. Jake Roxas in Xerex

87. Andro Morgan in Quicktrip
88. Victor Basa in Maling Akala
89. Jason Abalos in Endo
90. Marcus Madrigal in Sa Pagdapo Ng Mariposa
91. John Lloyd Cruz in One More Chance
92. Sam Milby in You Are The One
93. Jericho Rosales in Nasaan Ka Man
94. Jon Avila in One Night Only
95. Polo Ravales in Manay Po
96. Bojo Molina in Gusto Ko Nang Lumigaya
97. Adrian Landicho in Hikbi
98. Neil Ryan Sese in Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros
99. John Prats in OMG! (Oh My Girl)
100. Rainier Castillo in Ded Na Si Lolo

At the Bottom of the 100: Stars whose sexier works are probably in television (Dingdong Dantes, Dennis Trillo, Marco Alcaraz, Richard Gutierrez, Derek Ramsey, Rafael Rosell), or whose sexier movies are probably ahead of them (Gerald Anderson, Aljur Abrenica, Jake Cuenca, Joem Bascon); Pin-up crushes deprived of memorbale roles (Francis Enriquez, Harold Pineda, Jethro Ramirez, Carlo Maceda, Jon Romano); Atypically sexy turns (Romalito Mallari, Nathan Lopez, Josh Deocareza, Eric Fructuoso, Robert Arevalo, Eddie Garcia, Vhong Navarro, Mark Bautista, Baron Geisler, Carlo Aquino, Rico Yan); Surprisingly sexy turns in flops (Manny Pacquiao, Mikee Arroyo, Mark Lapid); Powerhouse male acting (John Estrada, Mario Magalona, Julio Diaz, Ronnie Lazaro, Joel Torre); Macho icons whose sexier roles are probably behind them (Bong Revilla Jr., Vic Sotto); Off-the-radar sensations (Gabz Del Rosario, Bodjong Fernandez, G. Ford Lara, Leandro Muñoz, Arnold Reyes, Antonio Aquitania, Angelo Ilagan, Ping Medina, Jonathan Neri, John Wayne Sace, Carlos Agassi, TJ Trinidad, Luis Alandy, Jiro Manio, Alcris Galura, Aieous Asin, Joseph Obligacion, Rob Da Silva, Ace Ricafort, Raymond Cabral, Froilan Moreno, Charles Delgado, Denver Olivarez, Dante Gomez, Harold Montano, Winston Elizalde, and the rest of the cast of Sagwan).

Talk back. Which sexy performance did I miss?

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