We’re Moving Out

Hi everyone!

It is with great pleasure to tell you that we have finally moved our blog to a proper website!

You can check out POP PHILTRE at this new site.

We’ll leave this wordpress site for the two more weeks before we delete this. Hope you can continue supporting us in our new home. 😀

 

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We’re Moving Out

All About TIMY – 05 – Payoffs and Dugdug Moments

Nenz, Rein and Euge discuss the idea of the “the dugdug moment” and the current payoffs of the story.

Intro/Outro music by Lee Rosevere

 

All About TIMY – 05 – Payoffs and Dugdug Moments

All About TIMY – 04 – Best Character (So Far) and Timeslot Change

Nenz and Euge discuss the weird scenes in TIMY’s 3rd week, the best character on the show right now (spoiler alert: it’s Val) and their reactions to the show’s timeslot switch.

Intro/Outro by Lee Rosevere

All About TIMY – 04 – Best Character (So Far) and Timeslot Change

We’ll Always Name Our Pokemon After Pinoy Personalities Pt 3

We Named Our Pokemon Based On Pinoy Personalities Part 3

Yes, we’re not done yet with naming our Pokemon.  You can also check out Part 1 and Part 2!

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We’ll Always Name Our Pokemon After Pinoy Personalities Pt 3

Thoughts On…This Time

IMPLICATIONS OF NETFLIX PH
Source: Viva Ent (youtube)

Coming from a successful teleserye and world tour, James Reid and Nadine Lustre are back with their fourth feature film. This Time’s about two childhood friends, Ava and Coby who only see each other every summer. Eventually, as years went on, their relationship blossomed- but not without obstacles and roadblocks.

Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the writing and direction of OTWOL so much because This Time felt flat and unpolished. The flow of the movie was uneven with flashbacks and asides dispersed throughout its two-hour run that messed up the main plot. Much so that I couldn’t identify the film’s rising action, climax, falling action, etc. I can’t say anything wrong with James, Nadine and everyone else in the cast because they did all they could with the source material that was given. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to make a satisfying movie experience.

Shout outs, Call outs and Watch outs:

  • Call out that loooooooooong flashback. It was basically half of the film. If you were going to use a flashback as a plot device, at least have the decency to tell your audience when the flashback ends. It was hard to tell how far in the future the first ten minutes was.
    • Although shout out to the foreign pop culture references in each year. You don’t often hear Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt’s breakup or the H1N1 scare in a Filipino movie. It could have been better if they also included local pop culture references. Like have Ava ask Coby to watch Diary Ng Panget (plus points for meta-humor)
  • Again shout out to the casting. Al Tantay’s always a lock to be the dad. And I was pleasantly surprised to see Candy Pangilinan in a nanay role. So much spunk and energy than the usual talents typecasted as the protagonist’s mother.
    • Shout out to Ronnie Lazaro who played Ate Bi, the gay owner of the cornerstore near Ava’s place. I know Ronnie Lazaro for his taong grasa roles and I haven’t seen him in such a role as this.
    • Shout out to Donnalyn Bartolome embodying the spunky bestfriend role. When will they give her a leading role?
  • Shout out to the musical director of the film. Who wouldn’t dance to Donna Cruz’s rendition of Langit Na Naman?
  • Watch out for that Skype call scene between Ava and Coby. Nadine is still the worst person to talk to on Skype
  • Biggest call out: using The Beard trope as the final issue to test their relationship. Seriously, it’s one of the easiest issues to clear up. The gay guy (in this case Bret Jackson’s character) just has to properly explain the situation. But based on the film’s logic, being a beard is a far worse issue than balancing priorities with love
  • Calling out also the decision to suddenly include Japan in the story. Of all places why Japan? It wasn’t clear why Ophelia (Nova Villa) went to Japan.
    • Also, why did they introduce the Ambassador Summer Lolo and Ophelia love story in the middle of the film all? And as if the Lolo and Ophelia had almost the same weight as the Coby and Ava story. Their happily ever after was tied closely to Lolo and Ophelia’s happily ever after.
  • Call out sa Cornetto. Yes we know na major sponsor kayo ng film

 

This Time is now showing in cinemas nationwide in the Philippines

Thoughts On…This Time

How Not To Experience Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis

How Not To Watch Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis cover

I have to start with this: watching Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis yesterday was my first time to ever view a Lav Diaz film. I knew nothing of Lav Diaz’s style nor his previous works. All I knew was that he’s an internationally-respected director known for excessively long films. That’s it. Hele  wasn’t even in my consciousness before a week ago, when I learned that John Lloyd Cruz was part of the film. Being a self-proclaimed Lloydieologist (yeah I’m coining this), I felt the urge to watch it. The man continues to challenge his talents, and you just have to respect that. An invite from my friends on Good Friday night was the last push I needed to watch the film.

Fast forward to Saturday night, and let’s just say I wasn’t satisfied with my experience. I left the theater with a slight dead leg from all the sitting and a head messed up by all the “why????”s I thought. Most prominently were “why did the movie take 8 hours???” and “why did we need to see Basilio (Sid Lucero) digging for 5 mins?”. Don’t get me wrong, I did see positives in the movie. There were scenes and shots that made sense to me (i.e. Simoun on the raft). And I liked the idea of the universe it’s set in: a Filipinas where the lines of history, fiction and superstition intersect. I could just imagine how much stories we can mine from the universe Diaz posited. However,these were just a tiny fraction of the 8 hours we spent. Maybe it also didn’t help that I was also disappointed by my first taste of Halal Guys? Here’s a short review:

Halal Guys Falafel + Chicken Combo: Falafel felt unevenly cooked. Pita was cold.        — Two stars

While eating, I just couldn’t help the feeling that that was it. I eventually went online to find out why film critics were raving about it. In between the spoonfuls of mixed rice, diced tomatoes, onion, chicken and falafel were “huh?”s of disagreement.  I just could not see what they saw in the film. I gave up and just concluded that I’m just really basic when it comes to highbrow films.

Wait, how about JLC? Oh, John Lloyd was obviously great. Here’s a short review:

John Lloyd Cruz in Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis: Sold his role of Isagani well. Highlights include his street urchin under the bridge and eating sapsap scenes. Though his crying were suspiciously similar to his other films (see A Second Chance).                       — Four in a half stars

 

That night, I just couldn’t help the feeling that I was disappointed by Hele. I even ended up watching Jerrold Tarog’s Sana Dati on DVD to cleanse myself of the feeling of lugi. (A Sana Dati short review? Nah, I’ll just write another post on my thoughts on it.)

But Sana Dati wasn’t enough. Hele was still in my head. Perhaps having eight hours and five minutes staring at the black and white large screen was enough for the movie to burrow itself into my consciousness. I tried to sleep it off but it was still there. A breakfast of McDonald’s hotcakes wasn’t enough. There was just something fundamental in me that the film was protesting to. Through reading all the currently available pieces and watching a few cast and director interviews about the movie, I’ve come to realize that, maybe, I was ultimately unprepared experience the film.

In a press conference for the film that was reported by Rappler, iconic actor, Bernardo Bernardo said “Ang unang-unang masasabi ko, you learn that you don’t watch a Lav Diaz film. You experience a Lav Diaz film.”

And it is true. Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis generally broke the conventions of what I thought a film should be that I just can’t consider it to be a movie anymore. It was meant to be an experience. It was written, shot and edited to be an experience.  And just like any life experience, you need to have some kind of preparation to grasp it fully.

So here I am writing this piece in the hopes of directing people to a better way of appreciating Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis. Its imperative to guide people on how to properly experience it. This is after all, Diaz’s first film to be widely distributed locally. A lot of Filipinos would no doubt try watching it, like me. And may end up dissatisfied; like me. Or worse, reject this kind of artistry.

So here are my tips for people who are interested in watching Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis:

1. The movie is a challenge but not a #HeleChallenge

To be honest, Hele is indeed a hard sell for the casual moviegoer. So to encourage some action from the audience to watch the film, Hele is currently marketed as the #HeleChallenge because of its long runtime. A film not for the faint of heart nor for people with small bladders. Like finishing the film alone will grant you some new world perspective. Well, a part of me fell for that. I remember joking while we had lunch before the movie that they should have “I Survived Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis” shirts available after the movie. A proof my superficial greatness that I wear with pride.

I don’t know how to sell this movie to the public but marketing it as #HeleChallenge is kind of problematic. Turning the experience into a social media challenge can inhibit a viewer to enjoy the movie’s depths. Social Media Savvy Sam can just go in the theater and think, “if the #challenge is to withstand the movie for 8hrs 05mins, then maybe I could just skim through it.”

Hele is a challenge because it doesn’t have the “comforts” of a mainstream film. It tries to fight against what you believe are the norms of cinema. The movie doesn’t have color, nor narration, nor background music,nor special effects. Ninety-six percent (of course a rough estimate) was shot with a static camera (you know that a scene is of importance when the camera does move). It’s a movie about a revolution but the revolution happens off-screen. Funny how this opened alongside Batman v Superman.

2. Refrain from using your left brain

This tip goes back to my experience of leaving the theater having a bajillion questions left unanswered. I remember asking my friend what was the reasoning behind the back and forth between the journeys of the two parties. Or the significance of each scene in the movie in building the finale.

Living in the information and technology age has framed our minds to process things in a problem-solution mindset. That things follow certain logic and are meant to be explained. But in truth, there are some things that are better felt than explained or rationalized.

Expecting things to be neatly explained or having rhyme or reason in Hele is a stretch. Do remember that history, mythology and fiction already coexist in this universe. Bonifacio’s death and whereabouts is as strong a myth as the belief of Bernardo Carpio’s as the ultimate weapon against the Spaniards. In other words, logic doesn’t fit that much in Hele. Instead of wondering about plot consistency of Hele, I’d like you to suspend disbelief and examine what it will make you feel instead.

 

3. (If you’re a millennial) Leave your millennial-iness at the door

In the middle of hour 1 and 2, having a sense of the movie’s pace, one of my friends and I discussed what else we could have done instead of watching the movie. Apparently, we could have roughly reached Dubai by the time the film finished. I also thought how in 8 hours I could have played The Division and powerleveled my character to level 30, or how I could have binge-watch a substantial chunck of Daredevil season 2.

During hour 6 and 7, I discussed with another friend of mine how the film is so inefficient. How so much of the movie can be trimmed so it can fit the two-hour runtime norm. How I’d basically cut Ely Buendia and his singing, Basilio’s digging, and Gregoria De Jesus’s party walking aimlessly through the dense jungle.

Lav Diaz in the same press conference mentioned above said how the 8 hours will easily pass by, especially when you immerse yourself in the film. Boy, did Lav overestimated the attention span of audiences. But somehow, of course in hindsight, I kind of understand what Diaz said. Part of the audience’s immersion into this histo-mythi-fictional world is to also feel its pace. 19th century Filipinas was far from the pace we’re used to. It adds to the authenticity (having a still camera placed at a distance) of its voyeurism wherein the audience must patiently waits for the subjects. The characters are not there to perform for an audience. Let the film take its time and your patience will be rewarded by a different experience.

(FUN FACT: I originally intended to name this piece as “How My 21st Century Brain Could Not Understand Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis“)

So that’s it. Have fun with Hele!


 

Other Observations:

  • Sapsap in English is Slipmouth fish. kewl.
  • Shout-outs
    • Joel Saracho aka Mama Lou of OTWOL as Karyo!
    • Cherie Gil and Angel Aquino for being the most beautiful Tikbalangs ever
    • Nico Antonio as part of Quiroga’s entourage
  • That Tikbalang ligaw scene  was the stuff dreams are made of
  • Indie Moneyshot: That scene where Tikbalang Angel Aquino hissed and intentionally shoved the crucifix away to get a candle from Rosario’s makeshift altar.
  • Hele’s boiled bananas is to Snow White’s magic apple
  • Indie Moneyshot 2: That scene where the Tikbalangs were making fun of the Colorum’s service
  • Awful sales pitch for the movie: Hele is when you take all the Sam and Frodo scenes in all LOTR films and multiply it by two.
How Not To Experience Hele Sa Hiwagang Hapis

Binge-Watching Ideas For Long Weekends 2016

Binge-Watch Long Weekends Cover

Just in case you’re staying put at home and unsure what to watch, here are a few ideas that can help tide you through a long weekend:

Oh, and you can also check out last year’s list here.

 

1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Run-time: 630 mins (15 episodes so far)

The Gist: Watch the show’s intro theme below. It perfectly summarizes the story and the humor of the show.

Why you should watch this: There’s just so much to love in this show so I’ll name a few:

  • It’s a musical that parodies almost every single genre of music you know. From country singers weirdly singing about their daughters, to how French women make depression a sexy problem.
  • The show’s creator and star, Rachel Bloom is a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Best Actress award winner.
  • If you want some #PinoyPride fuel, Crazy Ex has two Filipino characters: the male lead, Josh Chan and his moral compass priest friend, Father Brah. Both characters are also played by Fil-Am actors Vince Rodriguez III and Rene Gube (of Ground Floor) respectively.
  • It’s a progressive show that tries to discuss mental health as well as bisexuality.

Highlights: Definitely the musical numbers. Settle For Me, I’m A Good Person and A Boy Band Made Up Of Four Joshes are my top picks. If you’re into #PinoyPride, watch the Filipino Thanksgiving episode wherein Rebecca cooks Dinuguan for Josh’s family.

 

2. The Carmichael Show

Run-time: 220 mins (10 episodes so far)

The Gist: Jerrod Carmichael and his girlfriend, Maxine contend with the meddling of Jerrod’s family in topics that cover gun control, religion and Bill Cosby

Why you should watch this: Behind the family sitcom presentation and the rapid-fire jokes, The Carmichael Show is pretty much a topical discussion of the biggest issues we face right now. Though it usually doesn’t give a concrete conclusion in the end of each episode, it does give you a full view of all the possible sides of a topic.

Highlights: Jerrod’s dad’s pop culture jokes and definitely the Bill Cosby episode (speaking of a full view without a definite conclusion).

3. Togetherness

Run-time: 286 mins (13 episodes so far)

The Gist: Togetherness tells the story of Brett (Mark Duplass) and Michelle (Melanie Lynskey), Brett’s childhood best friend Alex (Steve Zissis), and Michelle’s sister Tina (Amanda Peet).

Why you should watch this: Out of all the comedies that discuss the affluent and complex lives of Los Angelenos (You’re The Worst, Transparent, Love) Togetherness feels the earnest. There’s something with how the Duplass brothers piece together each scene to exude something so warm. Also, Alex and Brett probably has the best balanced bromance on TV aside from Dev and Arnold of Master of None.

Highlights: Season 01’s Kick The Can episode and  the awesome use of James Blake’s Wilhelm Scream in its finale.

 

4. Shake, Rattle and Roll Marathon

Run-time: roughly 1,170 mins (13 films from SRR3 to SRR15)

The Gist: The longest-running horror anthology that spooked the shit out of you when you were a kid is now available on HOOQ!

Why you should watch this: There was a time when Shake, Rattle and Roll was really good. Recent attempts in making it more family-friendly watered down its appeal. But hey, now you can watch the franchise’s progression from nightmare fuel to MMFF fodder.

Highlights: SRR III when the undin eats Ai-Ai Delas Alas’s whole body.

 

5. John Lloyd Romance Film Marathon

Run-time: roughly 630 mins (6 films namely Now That I Have You, Close To You, One More Chance, A Very Special Love, Miss You Like Crazy and My Amnesia Girl)

The Gist: In case you want to follow our John Lloyd Hypothesis, you can watch most of JLC’s films on HOOQ.

Why you should watch this: JLC’s arguably the biggest romance film guy we have. Most of us grew up idolizing him for being the sensitive, charming guy. But sadly, there’s something awfully wrong with his characters. Go through these films to see how JLC makes manipulative and emotionally dependent characters to compelling and sensitive dudes.

Highlights: Aside from One More Chance, My Amnesia Girl has the biggest grand gestures and the most emotionally dependent JLC character.

 

6. OTWOL Marathon

Well you can checkout our 10 OTWOL episodes for every OTWOL newbie if you want to relive the hit show.

Binge-Watching Ideas For Long Weekends 2016