REVIEW: 2 COOL 2 BE 4GOTTEN

Petersen Vargas’ too hot and too memorable big screen debut makes big stars out of once sideline bit players, but ultimately unravels a small-town tale that succeeds at endearing and unnerving its viewers. By Gerard C. Gotladera

2 COOL, 2 BE FORGOTTEN gained notoriety because of its provocative scenes fueled by young actors who are heavy weights in the making. Sexual tension among pretty boys, whose lives outside their 2 COOL roles are squeaky clean and polished, is a definite come on. Thankfully there’s more depth to 2 COOL that keeps the interest going.

While the film definitely grades high in my standards, it’s far from a perfect film. And that’s the charm of it. Not everyone’s a BAFTA-graded actor here and not all acting in every scene brings me to tears, but that’s also what makes it young and awkward and to its advantage, perfect for the story it tells.

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REVIEW: VINCE & KATH & JAMES

A COMMERCIAL RELEASE IN A LINE UP OF INDEPENDENT FILMS SETS THE STAGE FOR BREAK OUT STARS, BEAUTIFUL SECOND COMINGS AND MOST OF ALL, REKINDLES THE HOPE IN YOUNG LOVE. By Gerard C. Gotladera

Time has a lot to do with this film’s commercial success. Vince & Kath & James, so far has done fittingly well and expectations have been met. But of course, that’s not the only thing that matters for a film to qualify as a pass or a go. 10-20 minutes in and a silly smile on my face, I already understand why the whens and whos which make up this film, all commune this year during the most anticipated Metro Manila Film Fest.

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The Main Stars from Starmometer

THE STORY

Vince & Kath & James borrows its plot from the online sensation Vince & Kath, a”text serye” that has amassed followers and fans on Facebook. In the movie, anonymous social media writer Vince (Joshua Garcia) a.k.a. Da Vince Quotes- an online collection of young love quotes and feelings, has the biggest crush on his favorite school victim, Kath ( Julia Barretto). Of course, the unassuming and hard-working Kath doesn’t know she matters so much to a guy who makes her life miserable. But things change when James, your typical campus crush (Ronnie Alonte) sets his eyes on bagging Kath as a girlfriend and knights his cousin and best friend, Vince, to be his ghost suitor. Pretty soon and through Vince’s courting spell, James wins Kath over. But things aren’t all sweet and perfect in a world where information, is at once in excess and very little.

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REVIEW: SEKLUSYON

AS THE ONLY HORROR FILM IN THIS YEAR’S MOST TALKED ABOUT METRO MANILA FILM FEST, SEKLUSYON TEMPTS AND TRIUMPHS ITS WAY TO CINEMATIC SUCCESS. WHY ERIK MATTI’s MASTERPIECE SCARES MORE THAN IT SHOCKS AND WHY THAT’S A GREAT THING . By Gerard C. Gotladera

Seklusyon is a proper horror film. The challenge of horror films today is knowing when it’s right to shock audiences without sacrificing the true horror of a story. It’s pacing, timing and knowing where and when to employ scares, jumps and misleading twists and turns, ultimately, to take viewers into a climax that cools their blood and eventually, ends the story completely, without holes and fails. Erik Matti and his team of powerhouse creatives, fantastically delivers a proper and almost complete horror story that everyone needs to experience.

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Seklusyon, 2016 from IMDB

THE STORY

Set in  1947, war-recovering Philippines, Seklusyon zooms in on a Catholic rite of passage for deacons who are secluded from worldly temptations in a holy sanctum. The week-long seklusyon weeds out real priests from aspirants and whoever’s left, immediately gets ordained as Fathers. Four deacons played by star-on-the-rise, Ronnie Alonte, Dominic Roque, J.R. Versales and John Vic De Guzman find themselves face-to-face with strange happenings that are out to test their faith.

Simultaneously, in another province in the Philippines, a priest played by the handsome Neil Ryan Sese is on a mission to investigate the miraculous powers of Anghela Santa Ana, a revered figure in her town, movingly owned by Rhed Bustamante. And in her company towers the beautiful and dark Madre Cecilia, played by the stunning Phoebe Walker.

In the wake of a tragedy and with the Church’s aid, Anghela and Madre Cecilia, are offered refuge in the same sanctum where the four deacons areTheir arrival not only upsets the retreat house’s care taker (played by an industry great, Lou Veloso) but in an odd and curious way, intensifies the horrors waiting in the dark hallways and rooms of the house. Nothing though prepares them for the real evil that’s about to unfold.

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CONVERASTIONS: ICE CREAM BOOKS

In a gallery of bright colors and sweet posts, ICE CREAM BOOKS pairs publishing’s most handsome reads with ice cream dream cones and confections, just not in a way you’d expect. Gerard Gotladera gets in on the cool mess of reads and treats.

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Book Rules For A Knight by Ethan Hawke. Ice Cream: Mr. Softee Single Cone with Vanilla and Rainbow Sprinkles. Cover: Peter Mendelsund

Salt: First off, thank you for agreeing to do this with me. Your Instagram account is one of the coolest I’ve seen so far. And it was so easy for me to fall in love with your account cause it captures two of my favorite things in one colorful gallery- Ice Cream and Books. Do you love them equally? Or do you love one more than the other?

Ice Cream Books: Equally!

GG: How did the whole concept come about? Was it an accident that inspired it?

ICB: We were frankly surprised no one had thought it before! Ice Cream and Books are so naturally attractive, especially in the summer, it seemed like a no brainer.

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HOURS: ANDREW NIETO

Work ends for Andrew Nieto the researcher, but as he bids his day job goodbye—at almost midnight, he slips into a world of illustrated stylish humans and the secrets of their hearts. The soul behind Lonely Street Style takes off his coat to shed some light on the stories we love breaking our hearts to. By Gerard Gotladera

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Andrew Nieto, by Andrew Nieto

7:09 PM TUESDAY

 

Gerard: While it’s traffic, let’s get the basics covered—What do you do?
Andrew Nieto: I’m a dreamer. CHAROT!
Gerard: I’ll really put that in.
Andrew: Okay, here I’m writing a more serious answer…I work in a market research company that’s focused on advertising and brand building. We execute studies that answer questions like ‘How is a brand performing?’, ‘Is this a good or a bad ad and why?’, ‘Will people remember my brand and the message it wants to communicate with this ad?, ‘What media channel should be used to advertise?’ and other related things. It’s both rational and creative in a way.
G:
Interesting…Take me through a usual day…
A:
A usual day at work would involve formulating questions to answer these questions, looking at data, talking to clients, brainstorming, analyzing ads, making a Powerpoint presentation and presenting to clients.
G:
But you took up, Economics? In College?
A:
Yes, Economics
G:
Okay, I kind of get the connection now. But knowing you back in high school, I always thought you’d be a writer. You had a way with words. And as you know, Jerich and I are fans! I was expecting you’d take up a more creative route in college and then pursue that…


A:

Hahaha! Actually, parang I’ve always been set about taking a corporate course and then a corporate job and then just taking creative things on the side. Continue reading “HOURS: ANDREW NIETO”

REVIEW: “WALANG FOREVER”

 

Amidst all the forgettable and annoyingly memorable Filipino romantic movies of recent times, why and how “Walang Forever” proves a quiet case of immortality for its creators, actors and lucky viewers. By Gerard Gotladera

This wasn’t the movie we were meant to see, by the way. My sister and I had been built up well by social media, thinking we’d be lucky enough to catch two nice seats for a 7 pm showing of another highly-acclaimed and controversial Metro Manila Film Fest entry. Honor was packed until the last show and from the choices we had, the next best thing to catch proved to be the best film to watch when everybody else is excited over the rest.

Walang Forever was a surprise. A relief of a surprise, really. First of all, the title alone, for me, is a no-no. I have this thing against phrases using simple terms and marrying them to give birth to achieve pseudo depth, for movie titles. It can be witty, but it can also be very cheaply devised. Depending on many, many things. And then I wasn’t sure if I’d be the kind of viewer who’d appreciate a Jennylyn Mercado movie. Sure she’s gorgeous and is one of the country’s most recognizable names and faces, but I was really looking forward to John Lloyd Cruz’ performance.

So anyway, we head in, with plenty of reservations. Past the trailers and having missed out on the Darna teaser I was hoping to see, the movie finally started, and I, praying that it won’t be as bad as I had imagined it to be. Some minutes in, kidding you not, we were already laughing and half of the apprehensions I had coming in, had already gone.

Paced well and with good aid from a wide range of star sightings—from rising names to certified performers down to the biggest names in the industry, Jennylyn Mercado and Jericho Rosales carried the weight of a romantic movie, well on their shoulders. Continue reading “REVIEW: “WALANG FOREVER””

RETROSPECTIVE: CALAGUAS

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All the blues and greens of Calaguas. By yours truly, shot back in January 2015

JANUARY 2015

Almost an entire month into the new year, one of my closest friends Frank, had arranged a trip to Calaguas on the last weekend of January. It’s been his calling to inspire people to seek the natural beauty of the Philippines for Where’s Frankie, his cool, straight-to-the-point blog about traveling backpacker style.

I’ve had my fair share of goods and bads on Frank’s trips. The bad, never his fault. I wasn’t the kind of person anyway who found romance or thrill in adventures. The city and places familiar were my thing. With Frank, it was the kind of adventure you used to map out as kid, pretending that you were hunting for something or searching for whatever treasure your 8-year-old mind could imagine. Only this time, realer and grown-up.

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TIMES: POST-COOL

A full year clean from the comfort of cigarettes, what I learned and who I discovered past the stick and its inviting smoke…

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My first ever cigarette of choice…

They warned me about quitting, not because of anything really important, but they were frowning over the weight gain. Never mind your lungs right, just make damn sure you’re lean and “sexy”. Bad, I know.

The weight gain is alright. I’ve been a fat kid my entire life anyway, so that part I’m used to. But there’s something much more sinister than an added ten pounds on you that happens after quitting: It’s the nightmares. Or dreams. I’m not quite sure which one these belong to, but they creep up in your sleep and you’ll reel from them when you wake up.

I remember a dream so good, I had to will myself from that dimension, to remind myself that 1.) it was only a dream and that 2.) smoking was no longer a part of my life.

It was in Paris. Those cobbled streets and alleyways, cold in the gray Fall of October. I remember wearing perfume, the smell of it alive in the cool and I’m in a camel coat, its collar upturned and I’m marching off to nowhere, a cigarette parked in between my lips. Smoke tailing behind me like wings over my shoulders. Such a Sartorial moment: a walk in Paris, a lit cigarette , a nice beige coat. And when they all come together, *BAM*, it’s all impossibly cool.

And then I wake up.

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HOURS: NANTE SANTAMARIA

When Nante Santamaria reposts a track on Soundcloud, it’s bound to be a little musical event worth the many reposts and replays. As most of the coolest songs and artists line up in Nante’s playlist, so do the local delicacies that he whips up and snaps for a handsome Instagram feed. SALT gets the chance to chat with Nante, on a midnight crash course on local cuisine and the music he grew up to and presently enjoy.

Nante Santamaria by Joseph Pascual
Nante Santamaria by Joseph Pascual

12:29 AM

Gerard: I finally figured out the sample Vanilla’s Swept Away got. Michael Franks

Nante: Hah! How did you know???

G: My mom. Galing noh?! Do you listen to Michael Franks??

N: Ugh, ganda. No! It reminded me of Jens Lekman. That’s what caught me

G: You have to orient me with music. Where is all this good taste coming from? Jens Lekman, I only heard of now through you and most songs I repost on Soundcloud are from your picks

N: Hmm. I would be shy of calling it “good taste”. Let’s call it “taste”, but I think it comes from age or having so many grandfathers. I grew up in a little provincial town of Batangeno transplants in Bicol, tightly knit, dozens of grandparents which means a live band at big gatherings—horn section and all, so as a kid I was introduced to “old people music”

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DISPATCH: BALER

Jerich Eusebio’s moment in Baler

Photo by Jerich Eusebio @preternaturale
Photo by Jerich Eusebio @preternaturale

“It’s really cool when you see something like this and you get lost in the vision and in your own thoughts; like hopping on a pulse, it gives me a rush unlike any other.” – Jerich Eusebio @preternaturale