Remembering J.R. Isaac

I briefly worked with J.R. Isaac when TV5 hired him to handle publicity of its young artist pool back in 2012. The campaign involved sending the talents to high-profile events, concerts, and parties and culminated with this memorable fashion shoot with his brother Raymund. During that brief period, I found J.R. to be patient and full of energy, in spite of his seemingly-pensive facade. He made sure everybody had fun. I had fun.

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Enthusiasm keeps problematic “Ponching” afloat

Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching
D: Inna Salazar Acuña and Dos Ocampo
S: Janus del Prado, Ketchup Eusebio, Lollie Mara, Joyce Burton Titular, Odette Khan, Ricardo Cepeda
RATING: Ratings copy 7

Hitches abound in Inna Acuña and Dos Ocampo‘s joint directorial debut. For the most part, Ang Bagong Pamilya ni Ponching plays like a 90s local sitcom. It’d feel no different filmed in a shoddy set, replete with laugh tracks. Save for a hilarious Snapchat reference, most of the gags feel generic and passé. But what this earnest morality tale lacks in freshness is counteracted by its overall enthusiasm.

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“Dagsin” drags

D: Atom Magadia
S: Tommy Abuel, Lotlot de Leon, Janine Gutierrez, Benjamin Alves, Sue Prado, Marita Zobel, Rolando Inocencio, Alex Diaz
RATING:  Ratings copy 6

The title of Atom Magadia‘s directorial debut translates to “gravity”. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough of it to pull us in. It opens with Tommy Abuel trying to shoot himself Deer Hunter-style to no avail. With that debilitating image, Dagsin goes off on a promising start but barely takes off.

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“I America”: A more calculated sophomore effort

I America
D: Ivan Andrew Payawal
S: Bela Padilla, Rob Rownd, Elizabeth Oropesa, Kate Bautista, Lui Manansala, Matt Evans, Joe Vargas, Rhyzza Kafilas, Raflesia Bravo, Thou Reyes, Julz Savard
RATING: Ratings copy 5

The pursuit of patriarchal acceptance takes centerstage in Ivan Andrew Payawal‘s I America. This is the budding director’s first Cinemalaya entry and his second full-length feature following 2015’s The Comeback.

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Tidbits from the “I America” Gala Night

It’s only fitting that I started this year’s Cinemalaya binge-fest with my friend’s entry. I America is Ivan‘s first Cinemalaya-nominated piece and his second full-length feature in 10 months. Most of all, it’s the actualization of his decade-long dream.

Last Saturday’s gala screening wasn’t short of surreal! Ten years ago, Ivan was just one of many enthusiasts watching from the CCP balcony, aspiring to become a filmmaker himself. Fast forward to 2016, and there he was, onstage, candidly introducing his piece!

Bela Padilla topbills this humorous and heart-wrenching saga. Here, she plays Erica, a half-American from Olongapo who hopes to move to the U.S. with her long-lost father. Complications arise when her progress yields more questions than answers. I America also stars Elizabeth Oropesa, Rob Rownd, Kate Bautista, Lui Manansala, Thou Reyes, Raflesia Bravo,  Rhyzza Kafilas, Matt Evans, Joe Vargas, Sheena Ramos, and Julz Savard.


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Texas Takes Three: Thoughts on Miss Teen USA 2016

MTUSA2016_Crowning copy

Karlie Hay, an 18-year-old high school graduate from Tomball, Texas, was crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 last July 30. The self-professed roller coaster fanatic beat 50 other teen queens at the pageant’s 34th edition, held at The Venetian Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

A favorite from the get-go, Hay sealed her frontrunner status after reciting excerpts from the US Constitution Preamble in the final round. When asked about which teen issue should presidential candidates address, she cited peer pressure, saying that “…the next president needs to confront this issue and really just let teens know that you need to be yourself and you need to be a leader.” “Of course, the next Miss Teen USA should be a leader as well“, she emphasized.

Hay is the third Texan to capture the title, following the footsteps of Christie Lee Woods from 1996 and Danielle Doty from 2011Texas now earns the distinction of being the most successful state in both the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. Note that while Oregon also has three previous winners, the Lone Star State boasts far more placements.

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