Category Archives: review

Friday ∗ 17 Mar 2017

‘Madam Secretary,’ politics, gender

Once again, Malacañang’s spokespersons had it wrong, commenting on the Madam Secretary episode before they even saw it, putting it into question for whatever it was that they were told it contained: a fictional Philippine President who’s punched in the face by the fictional US Secretary of State, for having made a sexual advance at her. That image, of a Philippine President, nose bleeding from the punch made the rounds, and of course the President’s propagandists and his spokespersons went on… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 13 Jan 2017

Selling relevance, using current events

The family drama is … ahem … a Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) tradition, one that’s produced some interesting enough versions from the Tanging Ina series to Mano Po. And so it was no surprise that the purported / sold / imagined “change” via MMFF 2016 would deem it necessary to have a “family drama.” It was “Kabisera.” And while it did fulfill all the requirements for a family drama, i.e., there was a family, and there was a crisis, and the family pulled together —… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 05 Jan 2017

Beyond the horror

I’m a sucker for the Pinoy horror film formula: a scary setting, well-done sound design, the gulat factor. I’m the person in the cinema who will scream first, and the loudest, the person who is so ready to be scared. But of course the fear factor is only one of many aspects of the horror film, and one realizes given the effort that is put into a movie like Seklusyon (directed by Erik Matti, written by Anton C. Santamaria), that there is more to doing… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 02 Jan 2017

Attempted rape as teenage dream?

At the onset, having a light romance / romantic-comedy as part of the Metro Manila Film Festival’s self-proclaimed “change” and “revolution” was a good thing: it tells us that they weren’t deciding against certain genres just because these are considered “pop” and “therefore shallow” — it is after all easy to presume that all love stories are about the happy endings, and one can spot the formula from a mile away. But even formula has allowed for an amount of creativity in the rom-com through the… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 29 Dec 2016

The septic tank as critique

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2 #ForeverIsNotEnough is probably the most fun I’ve had in a local film since … well, the first Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. It’s not that I do not find commercialized comedies funny — the ones that fall back on formula, the hilarious banter of every Vice Ganda movie character, even Sosy Problems from so many MMFFs ago. But there is a layer of intelligence that ABSST demands of itself, an ability at self-reflexivity that it demands of its audience, but… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 25 Jan 2016

Blaspheming against the bul-ol

There is no looking at Ronald Ventura’s work without having in the back of my head that $1.1M dollar record-breaking sale at the 2011 Sotheby’s auction. In 2012 it seems he’s also had a good run at art auctions such as the Christie’s auction in Hong Kong last last year, which shouldn’t be a surprise really. Between the interest in Southeast Asian art and 2011’s record-breaking sale, it would seem strange if Ventura were not to ride that wave. It… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 04 Jan 2016

15 from 2015: kultura

I wasn’t very good at doing arts and culture in the country the past year. But here’s a list of the strange, the good, the surprising in culture for 2015, not at all a best or worst list because … see the first sentence. First a critical aside: having worked as dramaturg for Kleptomaniacs and a bit with Tanghalang Pilipino in 2014 meant keeping the theater reviews to a minimum in 2015. I needed that time to let go of the little inside stories that I know,… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 27 Aug 2015

Women. Freedom. Rakenrol.*

Tres Marias made up of Bayang Barrios, Cookie Chua and Lolita Carbon will be having a concert at the Music Museum on September 4, Friday. I have no idea what it’s going to be like, but having seen these women on stage, and reading this piece from 2012, tells me it’s going to be quite a show. Click here for tickets! It would’ve been a random night over at 70’s Bistro, though it was so wrong to even imagine that to be… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 12 Apr 2015

the voice of celebrity: love and alex gonzaga, life and bianca gonzalez*

I will always spend some hard-earned cash on books proclaimed as “bestsellers” – not by the non-existent bestseller list of local books (because we compete with uh, Fifty Shades of Grey), but based on the ever reliable, absolutely credible opinion of the National Bookstore ate manning the cash register. These two books are placed among the magazines at the cashier’s counter, and with one hot pink cover, and another that’s filled with eye-catching illustrations, these books easily catch one’s eye.… Continue reading »

Friday ∗ 23 Jan 2015

The end of the (art) affair*

My tendency in the past four years that I’ve been writing about and reviewing local art has been to be kind. I stopped reviewing art I didn’t like unless my editors assigned it to me; I would look at art events and could not but appreciate the effort that organizers put into it, even when it was clear to me that celebrating local art in this way is the height of superficiality. Artists earn money in these events, after all,… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 01 Dec 2014

review: on ICON the concert

RadikalChika kicked-off with a review of ICON the concert, with Rico Blanco, Gloc-9, and Yeng Constantino. :) Photos here and with the column by Martin San Diego as provided by Thea G. Pollisco.

Wednesday ∗ 26 Nov 2014

the last of kolchor for 2014

the days have been long, though filled with too many things happening, and certainly even more happening in the shadows, beyond public scrutiny: this is the Philippines after all. so first a list, because there is also quite a lot of work to do, but also there is so much to talk about, and i feel like the three people who read this blog (haha!) might be wondering where i am, why so silent. well here i am. 

Monday ∗ 13 Oct 2014

Failing the figurative, a review of Bwaya

Fiction based on real stories – and especially ones that are of recent events – can easily fall into the trap of being like a cheap TV reenactment that seeks to teach the public a lesson or two about daily living. It also has to deal with an audience that has seen the same story unfold via sensationalist media, the kind that asks a mother who has lost a daughter to a freak accident: Ano pong pakiramdam ninyo ngayon? All… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 10 Sep 2014

Storytelling and Dani Girl

I tend to veer away from stories that are out to clutch your heart, and then measure success by how much you bawl while watching. Elsewhere in the world texts like these are criticized for displaying sickness and passing it off as artistic work, or using a particular claim to an ailment and then celebrating the work as “new” or innovative. And so I could but be skeptical about Dani Girl, as I came in to see it on its… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 04 Sep 2014

No Junk In This Trunk*

Because there is plenty here that works: from the funky music to the fantastic lyrics, dramatic situations and imagery so vivid, emotions so raw it can only be yours. I knew it when I heard “Kapit Mahal” via Billy B.’s now-defunct UR radio show, but I know it even more now: that was no fluke. Top Junk released its indie debut last year, but I count it as one of my early 2011 finds, literally: I bought it at Route… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 14 Aug 2014

CinemalayaX: the year of self-indulgent film and creative conceit

I had started watching CinemalayaX with Carlitos Siguion Reyna’s Hari Ng Tondo, Joseph Alterejos’s Kasal, and Roderick Cabrido’s Children’s Show. It was two good movies out of three, and I thought it was portents of things to come for the rest of the week’s movie viewing frenzy. After watching all 15 full length films, I realize I had it good that first day. It was downhill from there. Click here to read the rest of it over at Vera Files.  

Monday ∗ 04 Aug 2014

The Fluid re-write

It seems the only way to start this review is to acknowledge – and praise – the Technical Theater Program Batch 111 students of Benilde for having dared and successfully staged and produced 2014’s Fluid. Were the technical aspects of the production the only point, then this was quite a successful theatrical debut for this batch of students. It would also, for the most part, be a successful re-write for contemporary times, something that playwright Floy Quintos talks about in… Continue reading »

Monday ∗ 09 Jun 2014

notes on Gawad Buhay, democratization, and the anxiety of smallness

this year was the first time i even cared enough to go to Gawad Buhay, and that is really because of a good three things: my love for Tuxqs Rutaquio, my love of Layeta Bucoy, and my new-found discovery of and respect for the kind of hard work that Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company stands for. which is of course to wear my heart on my sleeve (obvious ba), and really to point at some of my good ol’ biases, the… Continue reading »

Sunday ∗ 06 Apr 2014

rising to the occasion: on “Cock” and the text as king

My refusal to compare foreign texts with local ones is based on the notion of independence. That is, I’d rather grant a local work with as much individuality as possible, and save it from what — to me — would be a false because unfair comparison with foreign work that I (on most counts) would not have seen anyway. I imagine I can be criticized for having such tunnel vision, or allowing local theater such leeway when critiquing its adaptations.… Continue reading »

Thursday ∗ 13 Mar 2014

slow and disjointed: on August Osage County

I have come to the conclusion that accents are good. It is what I expect of most every Repertory Philippines play, given the texts that they choose to stage, and the truth that it is crucial to the insistence on staging plays set in places far away, if not within a historical period that is alien to a local audience. It is Rep that has taught me that. And with August: Osage County I felt like I was being taught… Continue reading »

Wednesday ∗ 19 Feb 2014

space for troubled youth: on Toilet The Musical

It was funny that before I could find where exactly Toilet The Musical was being staged in the Ateneo campus, I first had to happen upon the Rizal Mini Theater where Antigone The Musical was being staged. It made me want to try and get into the latter — for how fun that sounded after all! — but then again, Toilet was making a promise difficult to refuse: it’s an all-original Filipino musical. That it had Ejay Yatco at the helm might be exactly what kept me… Continue reading »

Saturday ∗ 08 Feb 2014

the anxiety of rain: on Rak Of Aegis

It was difficult to imagine a musical that could use Aegis’s diverse discography, one that spans 15 years of the band’s existence, and seven albums. From posters and press releases it was clear that PETA’s Rak Of Aegis was using the song “Basang-basa sa Ulan” as center, with the obvious premise of … uh … rain to tell what would be a painfully contemporary story for nation. It was difficult to be optimistic, but it sure was easy to get… Continue reading »

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