Monday, October 26, 2009

Twink Quartet In Slum Minor Movement Zero

Well-cultivated sense of irony, a warped sense of proportion and a taste for absurdity are three bare minimum requirements to truly enjoy Cris Pablo’s latest opus, Boylets. Given the auteur’s credentials it is illogical to enter the theater in search of profundity, thought-provoking dissertations or cineaste-centric treatises. Your film-going pleasure will be amplified if all you have to do is avoid snacking on polvoron while watching the movie, deposit your common sense in a hallway locker, and suspend all realities and levelheaded expectations. To truly grasp the Cris Pablo Cinematic Vision think of junk food floating in intoxicating marinade of formaldehyde and botox.



This is why I anticipate and love every new offering by the tireless auteur who, for all our sheer pleasure, shouldn’t retire as long as there are multitalentless actors out there who remain undiscovered.

Don’t look at me to thoroughly explain the plot. Figuring it out in its entirety would be like asking me to explain Quantum Physics in less than three sentences. All I know is Boylets would be what would come out if you produce a lackadaisical Bel Ami film for poor people.

From what I gather (before my cerebral cortex slid to coma is that) there exists a quartet of friends, three of which are so poor they alternate between petty crimes and providing sexual joys to a handful of fags whose assorted kinks and bizarre fetishes would make Caligula look like Sixth Grade home room viewing material. Only in Cris Pablo’s universe would you see horny gay men so repulsive it will drive our hero/poster boy for smart gays Danton Remoto give the possibility of a celibate straight life a second thought. But I deviate.

One of the characters is a caring son whose mother is deteriorating and ailing and since they are dirt poor, cannot afford medical attention. The scene where he is feeding her measly rice soaked in bullion of cheap chicken soup was distressing to look at. It can easily be the entire redeeming thing of this movie but is not sufficient to save this outlandish oeuvre. This is the brief affecting spark where Pablo's humanity is revealed.

The other character is a passenger tricycle owner that despite living in a crime and larceny-prone ghetto remains naive. (Except for one episode of a stolen tire), he parks his tricycle unmanned for extended period of time and, in this unique universe, the thing never gets car-napped at all.

The third dude is a caretaker of a slum rental property and his burning desire is to go to the province and discover his familial roots.

The other non-poor twink character is so smitten with the slum property caretaker/SPC (it’s difficult to tell them apart because the four leads seem to have a classified competition to outrank Orlando Bloom’s Legolas by being facially immobile and the first one to show a daintiest hint of emotion loses) that he is so obsessed in making SPC happy in order to rethink the plan of going to the province in search of his lost relatives. So Non-poor twink does a lot of chivalrous acts: he talks to the SPC’s ex girlfriend for her to profess her undying love; scours seedy theaters in search for SPC’s mother who abandoned him and now adopts a job whose income is derived from giving lewd theatergoers head jobs; he buys SPC his dream gift of a bicycle and cooks him spaghetti on the eve of his birthday and departure—all done in the great hopefulness that the provincial sojourn will be reconsidered if not altogether canceled.

The quartet gives us a glimpse of how it is to be young, restless and breathtaking untalented. Like the shining acting prowess of head-job giving mother they dazzle us with a vast repertoire of intense emotions consisting of a pout, a grimace, rapid blinking and if you pay close attention, drawn out period of vacant stares.

And the dialogues! The caring son delivers what appears to be random non-sequiturs isntead of a semblance of coherent dialogue. Consider these lines delivered in a breathless monotone after he got expelled from the vehicle (during the drag race equivalent involving wretched tricycles), and upon regaining consciousness after his head hit the hard concrete: “Para ako’ng ibon. Madami na ako’ng atraso sayo. Happy Birthday!” (I’m like a bird. I have many faults to you. Happy Birthday!”

Or this precious negotiating gem of a dialogue:

Twink (looking for a regular client: Nasaan si (insert name of client whose name escaped me)? (Where is name of regular client?)
Unprepossessing Fag Roommate of Regular Client: Wala siye eh. Next time text ka muna bago ka pumunta ha. (He’s not around. Next time please send a text message before dropping by)
Twink: Ikaw na lang gusto mo? (How about you, want to blow me?)
Unprepossessing Fag: Di ako pwede may singaw ako ngayon eh. (I have canker sores, sorry.)
Twink: Eh di tirahin na lang kita sa puwet! (How about I butt-fuck you?)
Unprepossessing Fag: May almoranas rin ako ngayon eh! (I also have hemorrhoids right now.)

Oh, joy! Pure cinema!

Then there’s this brilliant counter-argument of a sour fag when one of the twinks refused to reciprocate a blowjob:

“Mas masarap sumubo ang mga straight kasi hindi sila insecure sa kanilang pagkalalaki!”
(Straight men give better blowjobs because they are secure with their masculity!”)

Thank you Cris Pablo! I’ll commit this pearl to memory because this would be a handy, persuasive line around Colin Farrel!

Useless to overemphasize but this is why I love Boylets. It provides the kind of window into the Human Condition—the kind of window that non-mental-institution-bound patients would rather have padlocked for the general populace’s sake.

I have deep respect for Pablo’s tenacity—He never gives up, and that's admirable. He persists on convincing us that prostitution is the direct consequence of unspeakable neediness. He spins a narrative exploring destitution and sexuality and he is the only indie auteur I have seen so far whose profound understanding of abject poverty doesn’t end in shooting scenes in shanties and slums. He truly understands that poverty goes beyond dire living conditions; that poverty is all about loose sandos, oversize jersey shorts and Orocan furniture.

The film is an enjoyably deranged excursion into a sexual bubble planet—a digital excuse of a flick to get post-pubescent actors to shed their Hanford briefs and flash their pubes. Contrary to critical cries I'd say Boylets is not one dimensional. It is half-dimensional. And I want supersize coke and a bucket of buttered popcorn to go with it!






(Catch Boylets in Robinsons Cinemas now on its second week of screening!)

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Biscuits And Heartbreaks

Compassion is one elevated form of human sentiments. It is transcendent in the sense that you step out of selfishness and supplant your emotions into rooting for the welfare of another person. This may not be the core thesis of Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan but for some accidental reasons it just did that: this unusually poignant film makes you discover your hidden well of empathy and you surface from the screening astonished, startled and stirred.

Altarejos + Bonife along with Peping Salonga are back in vigorous form. With the recent head-scratching turn in Little Boy Big Boy they seem to have taken a momentary breath and here decided to resume making significant films utilizing their key strengths—that is penning well-thought out narrative, sincere dialogues and sexually provocative propositions. Although the central sex scenes in ALNBNJ are still charged (and even then it makes you wonder how much graphic footage got snipped by the charming folks at MTRCB) they seem to have taken a backseat to make the story, the acting and deft direction rule.

ALNBNJ is a far-reaching, affecting chronicle. It reels in the viewer into following the pivotal day in the life of its protagonist Juan aka Erwin (Ray An Dulay), a live (gay)sex performer who is making a crucial decision in his life: to leave the daily grind of seedy carnal routine in favor of beckonings of a sick mother and a simple provincial life.

Like thousands of other similar stories out there Juan arrived in the city in search of better things and months and months of struggle found him committing man to man action in an underground sleazy bar. Though he appears neither apologetic nor resentful of his fate, he is also not happy of his squandered potential—only the fading, laminated diploma hanging precariously on the dilapidated wall of his ramshackled pigeonhole of a room reminds him of once a promise of a decent life. Typical story for those who have seen scads of equally-sleazy indie movies lately but what made the story entirely his own is his quiet dignity: he never moans, complains or bitches about his ill fate; he forge on the daily struggle with courage and determined detachment.

He is not alone in this foul existence and he is very aware of it: There’s the scene where a destitute neighbor borrowed thirty pesos to buy a scoop of rice only to get bumped by a running street urchin sending every grain on the pavement and getting soaked by the murky canal water. She didn’t erupt into a wild melodramatic sob; she just tried to scoop what she can possibly retrieve, desperately trying to salvage every precious grain. In the catastrophic bar scene (you struggle to neutralize a lump in your throat as) you witness scattered, broken biscuits intended for homecoming present being picked one by one from the floor. It kills you. It breaks your heart. It makes you forget you went into the theater in the hope of looking at raging hard-on of the cast, only to be won over by shimmering raw talents who are in complete command of the role they inhabit.

Adept direction and a subtle script brought out the indisputable talent of Dulay into prominence. Whereas in the past Dulay’s acting aptitude glimmers but get eclipsed (because of the minority of his roles) ALNBNJ is his opportunity and he convinces us that you'll watch this movie not because of raging erections but because of hard-won talent. Even the minor casts approach their characters with precision and humanity they seem not to regurgitate a script but tossing out lines like spontaneous snippet of their daily dialogues.

Somewhere in the course of the film I wondered: Is it just me or the movie has an intriguing argument to make? The case being: Living in squalid condition, striving to live on and finding your way through brutalities of life are discouraging but not reasons to stop caring. Flashes of kindnesses are randomly injected to make this claim tangible: a sympathetic bar owner (essayed with candid, comic glee by Bonife himself who matter-of-factly declares “Kayong mga gays, bisexual, straight curious, straight tripper o ano man ang tawag ninyo sa sarili ninyo isa lang ang ipinunta natin dito: Burat!” Classic!), a benevolent police member of the NBI raid squad, a neighbor who would willingly split her meager meal all seem like rare likelihoods but one cannot deny their uncommon existence either.

Another interesting aspect is the underlying, semi-subversive stand essayed in the movie by putting an accent on the brand of people and forces that prey on the haplessness, desperation, misfortune and plain bad luck of individuals who are careworn and plainly, vainly trying as damned hard to claim a right to live for at least another day.

All throughout these tormenting moments ALNBNJ keeps itself in check: it is careful not to slide into sensationalism or petty melodrama. It never attempts to mine shallow sympathies on the plight and adverse conditions of its characters. It doesn’t rhapsodize the sexual scenes instead use them as natural progressions of the story. Thankfully Altarejos, Bonife and Salonga didn’t rehearse the rampant, cheap indie formula of “I Am So Desperate So I Am A Hooker” route but instead moulds its characters with willpower and fortitude. In so doing the movie and characters make our empathy spontaneous and potent.

ALSBNJ is honest and, despite the pitiable moments, is strangely kindhearted with acute understanding of a struggling soul’s tendencies and motivations. It is a well-crafted oeuvre and treats the widely familiar plot/flawed characters with delicate respect and legitimate deference. It openly tells a blunt story that will resonate with anyone who at one point in his life was driven to misery and anguish and how the viciousness and cruelty of other people (and life in general) will squeeze out that last remaining ounce of hope in you until you are rendered beaten, cynical and emotionally empty.

This is where I applaud and commend Altarejos + Bonife + Salonga. Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan is like a bittersweet, hand-written love letter designed to wound you. And it does wound you. It rouses your humanity into sudden wakefulness.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::


Ang Laro Ng Buhay Ni Juan is currently screening at Robinsons Mall Cinemas (Galleria/Manila. Please check other theater listings). Do support this worthwhile indie movie as a way of encouraging more neat materials to come to life and hit the screens!

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Slumdog Male-O-Mares

Cinemas are abuzz with independent films recently offering wide-ranging persuasive propositions that I’d like to view as stick-the-middle-finger-up-the-nostrils-of-Mother-Lily mockery. With the exception of Brillante Mendoza’s incurable stage of Auteuritis Extremis—a terminal syndrome marked by a director’s inability to use a tripod or a steady hand—local independent movies are getting better and better. Be it the craft in storytelling, the stark realism, the convincing narratives, the indies are getting more compelling with skewed perspectives and provocative ideas not beaten to a quivering pulp by the bland-headed executives of ABS-CBN/GMA Films.

Eponymous Pipo is not one of those movies and I wondered what kind of parent would name her son something that, when pronounced (pee poo), gives a disagreeable image of combined liquid waste and solid excrement. Later it became apparent: given the back draft of the movie it dawned to me that the name seems apt because all throughout the film I avoid staring too long at waterlogged backyards of floating shanties in the slums out of fear that something would surface from the murky waters that would make me lose interest for three consecutive dinners.


Pipo (Tyrone Perez) is a story of a reluctant hustler. We see him at the crossroad of his life when the call for familial responsibility outweighs the mandate of decency. Pipo’s best buddy, Mark (Marco Morales), a seasoned hustler/online sex performer, have been pressuring him to do an orgy scene for a dubious B-Movie. In this B-Movie Pipo is required to have sex with the very willing Mark and Mark’s live-in slash cybersex partner (who happens to be the kind of girl Pipo have a soft spot for). This is the cinematic equivalent of a fantasy breeding in the mind of bi-curious FHM magazine readers whose best buddy and his girlfriend are reason enough to digress from heterosexuality for a moment.

To milk out our communal sympathy it is essayed that the Pipo is a gallant brother and judicious son who would do great lengths to help the family he loves. He is a handsome chap concerned with the welfare of those he loves whose only crime is sporting a hurried Ricky Reyes buzz cut. His second crime would be not flashing his pubes or his dick onscreen, which is a grave misdemeanor if you have to consider the loud gripes of four fags seated behind me. (To appease this agitation, and as if on cue, Marco Morales yanked his briefs down thereby thwarting a likelihood of disgruntled riots by hormone-crazed viewers who would otherwise feel shortchanged).

Being the eldest child, Pipo is conflicted over trading his wang for moolah. The pressing needs of living, sacrce food, electricity and the litany of school necessities of his younger siblings torment him to no end. His mom struggles tremendously to make ends wave at each other by selling fish in neighborhood slum areas.

This is the main thesis of the movie: Poverty is the Autobahn to prostitution.

How many times have we seen or read about this argument before? The movie stakes this issue as if prostitution is the exclusive career of slum dwellers. (A concept my condo-dwelling, high-maintenance hoe neighbor would easily debunk. But a condo-dwelling whore is less cinematic, therefore not a saleable film concept?) Whenever I see a movie that says Look At Him He’s So Destitute He Has No Choice But Rent His Balls I begin to feel like I am being punished for not finishing my overpriced soup at Italiannis.

Of course a radical aleck would certainly point out: The way prostitution is viewed in this country is such a terrible thing. The hypocrisy is such that one thanks his lucky stars every day for not having to auction his penis. So what if someone is getting paid for sex? He’s not robbing you of your money, he’s giving you the pleasure and what is so bad about that? Isn’t every job in every antiseptic office a form of whoring, too?

The Philippines has no absolute claim on this “Poverty shortcut to Prostitution” complex. Colombia, Brazil and India have bazillion tales of poverty as reason for commercial sex and their hustlers look like they leapt out of GQ or wandered in from casting call of Dior Homme whereas our local movie’s version offers a sad coterie of folks spotted at D’Mall and slapped them with acting contracts. You go to Las Vegas, Berlin or Amsterdam and you’d meet jolly chaps who seem like they are having a lot of fun doing something they do exceptionally for cash. No histrionics, no pseudophilosophical bullshit. It just is: a job that pays so you might as well embrace and love it.

And here are my other questions: is it imperative that all the independent gay movies coming out in the past two years would require a filthy slum or a super seedy bar to illustrate a gay piece? Would a poignant gay story cannot be told without getting intimate with fifth generation E. Coli/Salmonella co-leasing dilapidated housing and soggy alleys? Are slums the new Petri dishes of homosexuality?

Aside from those mind-boggling questions I must say Pipo is not necessarily a reasonable piece of distraction. The direction was not entirely faulty and you can sense commitment and sensitivity but it appears strewn. The tale is not spectacular, nor does it offer fresh insights on the predicaments of prostitutes or the triumph of the human spirit but it has a candid perseverance that attempts to win you over. Tyrone Perez labors to convey the turmoil and acceptance of his fate with a visible struggling grasp of material. Marco Morales delivers his role with lackluster candor though certain instances in the movie there were glints that he can be convincing with fitting and challenging roles in the future.

Pipo is a cinematic manhole (no pun intended). On one hand you’ll avoid looking under the lid for the darkness and grime. The other hand seduces you into a different kind of mirror where you’d see a sullied version of humanity stare back with unflinching eyes.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Le Cum des Garçons

Ill supply of unique title seems to be the emerging trend among independent movies. Altarejos+Bonife triggered the wave with Little Boy Big Boy and now we have Boy by Solito Aureaus and Boylets by Cris Pablo. If the trailer is any indication Boylets seems poised to bring home the Cheedar Cheese Championship hands down, guaranteed to launch projectile/nostril-spurting of soda among moviegoers. Naturally I would brave the lines to watch it for the promise of sheer ludicrous, campy fun. Being a demented and devoted follower of Pablo’s autership I am hugely convinced that If It’s From Pablo It Must Be A Riot. He is the 21st century minor clone of Joey Gosengfiao and Elwood Perez manifested by his deep understanding of the public’s need for cinematic ridiculousness narrated with pubic hair.

I have repeatedly postponed writing about Little Boy Big Boy. I was convinced I’d be unable to come up with something sensible. LBBB was by far the least inflammatory among the body of provocative works we have learned to anticipate from Altarejos and Bonife. Though it’s not terrible piece I wouldn’t proclaim it a triumph either. I thought of not writing about it at all and opted to wait out till Ang Laro ng Buhay ni Juan hits the theaters but Boy and Boylets arrived and the troika seems to be an interesting thing to pursue.

Don’t get me wrong: LBBB was somewhat clever, the direction was earnest but I felt the very strength which was hallmark of Altarejos and Bonife backfired this time: that is the ability to cast unproven actors to inhabit roles and surprise everyone by delivering spectacular performances. In LBBB the two lead stars were visibly struggling and even the kid star lacked the charisma that comes off easily among children. The girl playmate of the kid emerged to be the saving grace and the cameo of Bonife as the diva slash high priestess facilitator in the grand orgy scene reeled the movie from static dullness.

Interestingly, and I maybe looking for a fish where there is none, the orgy scene provides unintentional revelation and critique on the brutal discrimination within the gay community. You have no business joining orgies if you are fat or unattractive or too swishy, more so if you can’t handle dismissal or rejection. Coming from a work of dynamic duo who steadfastly promote tolerance and equal rights and have used the cinema as medium for wider appreciation of gay culture makes it all the more ironic though it cuts through and drive a point.

LBBB clearly is not intended for fags itching for a quick fix. It is a story that just needed to be told. Unfussy, earnest, wry. It screwed your carnal expectations and, serves you right.

***

Consider Solito Aureaus’ Boy as Snow White’s celluloid love letter to gay twinks everywhere. It is a sweeping letter, throbbing with hormonal tension, pulsating with anticipation and yearning. It is the teenage daybreak to the pleasures and struggles of stumbling into incomprehensible, intense affection - affection so potent it hits you like a quick kick in the head, the ribcage and the crotch, all at the same time.

Fans of Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) would meet this latest work with a sense of familiarity. With this new opus, it's apparent that teenage angst is the province Aureaus know very well. Boy is gleefully treading this recognizable terrain, this tricky path of honeyed agony mixed with exhilaration of being confronted, for the first time, with the kind of gravity that snatches you from self-satisfaction and sends you spinning into an orbit of desire and persistent pining for someone who seems to be beyond your reach. It is that tender, naive spot that will strike a chord with anyone who has ever rooted for another person who appears incapable of reciprocating your burning infatuation in equal measure.

It tells of the story of aspiring poet, Boy (Aeious Asin), a Barely Legal creative writing student whose freshly-scrubbed appearance belies the murky stirrings of his gonads. He wandered into a gay bar and was instantly smitten by the star dancer Aries (Aries Pena) writhing onstage. Aries moves like his choreography were either inspired by observing mating rituals of scorpions or he's keen on plagiarizing floor exercises of yoga instructors and Olympic gymnasts. This is the kind of choreography that you will be advised against by people behind Anlene.

Boy has charms in spades. It charms you into sharing the conflicting emotions of its protagonists. It charms you into easy empathy by providing a human window into the plights of sex workers. It charms you into believing, like that Snow White chorus line “Someday your prince will come”, and sweep you off your feet. It charms you into discarding cynicism and jadedness and for one moment convinces you to revisit the wide-eyed aspiration that love IS possible. It charms you the most that the acting of Asin and Pena were inspired, graceful, subtle, as they tossed out gestures and dialogues that make you wish you are either delivering them or the recipient thereof.

Various movie scenes ricocheted in my head while watching Boy. There’s that Jerry Maguire moment of talking to a fish (or was it the peek behind the aquarium moment in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet?), there’s that La Pieta gesture of Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard (which prompted unanimous gasps and sighs from love-soaked members in the audience) and the fantasy scene at the gay bar evoked the sequence in that teenage gay flick Were The World Mine. While the Stripper-meets-cute-client-and-fall-for-him vibe made me recall the funny misadventures of two dudes in Trick.

Though I must declare my soft spot for Boy - and believe me I thoroughly enjoyed the movie- I must register minor dissent towards how Aureaus seem to view coming of age like cotton candy handed out easily. In both Maximo and Boy, Auereaus appears to approach gay stirrings with down-cushioned mittens. Though I will not go the lengths of calling it fancy autism it’s noteworthy that Maximo's slum-hardened, tough guy father and siblings coddle him like a pampered princess (a far cry from what would happen in reality if you get caught staring at Bench billboards by your maton older brother). In Boy, Asin has a very accepting mother who didn’t launch into melodramatic hysteria (like most mothers would) upon walking into her sleeping son’s room and (finding him with cum all over his belly/or that crucial scene of) discovering him in bed blissfully asleep with a call boy in a cloud of post-coital haze.

Questions: How many of these ideal relatives exist out there? Where do these kind of people live? And how come no one I know rarely is in acquaintance with any of them? Is this wishful thinking to encourage everyone to dive for the open lifestyle? How many strippers out there would be instantly forge endearment with clients?

If the answers to these questions are not easy to come by in real life, in a way, does it give young gay people a false sense of hope? And all it takes is visit to Little Boy Big Boy’s orgy scene or opening an account in ferociously dismissive PlanetRomeo/ManJam, or a rather bad encounter with con hustlers for a sobering dose of reality?

Then there’s the glowing press fuss about how the movie shed a new light on the quandaries of sex workers and how they are given human dimensions in the movie. Laudable effort indeed, but this not a novel perspective. The Prostitute-Are-Humans-Too essays have been explored many times over in varying degrees of treatment and accomplishments and although in Boy Aries delivered this insight with great panache and restraint it is hardly a groundbreaking proposition.

Auereaus is a gifted, sensitive auteur. He has very confident command of his materials and point of view and he has deep reserves of sympathy for his characters and audience. He skates the delicate line between gentleness and perspective-changing without subjecting you to a moralist preamble. He is also possessed of that deft ability to infuse a dose of high-art (poetry reading/interpretative dancing/poetic monologues, anyone?) and keeping things in check to prevent a downhill into pretentiousness.

Boy is rich in breath-taking textures, mood, emotion and metaphors. It is a cinematic reminder of youthful delinquency and the very first encounter with tenderness remembered in vivid details. It makes you dream.

And you thought you have forgotten how.


*****
*****


(Coming up Pipo. AND Boylets.)

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Volunteer Brigands

Losing humor is a rare occasion for me but tonight I so wanted to be The Grinch who wishes he brought an Uzi.

I decided to go to the Mega Tent at the DepEd complex, a few of blocks from where I live, to participate in the Human Chain project. If you are the exceptional species who was immune to the viral Facebook infection let me explain. The Human Chain was an initiative calling on volunteers to help distribute relief goods to typhoon evacuees currently housed at The Ultra. Some five hundred families sleeping on the cold concrete floor of the oversize gymnasium needed help. Volunteers will fall in line and pass on packed goods from the Mega Tent to The Ultra, recreating the human equivalent of the Great Wall. Think analog conveyor belt with hands.

Anyway the Facebook call was somewhat ominous. It said “Wear Green.”

I work in the creative industry and green means something else. On the metaphorical note it could mean life, hope, a newbie or soiled thoughts.

In this case it meant mingling with well-scrubbed, well-fed, folks with accented twangs, and cute beyond belief citizens of a certain university infamous for having Parking as the most difficult academic course. (Hello high school life, Misterheuge!)

I was in awe. People who would ordinarily consider lifting a broom beneath their dignity or doing menial jobs a fate one stoplight away from oppression or death were busily packing goods, animatedly bantering, not minding inhaling the CO2s of many jologs sweating, laboring next to them in the crowd. If this is not the closest thing to World Peace, I dunno what is.

So what got my goat?

The fucking grandstanders.

While majority of the well-intentioned Green People were frantically working along plebeians, a number of Green Dorks seem to have wandered in by mistake. Instead of toiling for the sake of others they were busy like, talking, like, you know, while busily preening, like with their friends, posing along neatly organized bags of goodies making peace signs and smiling like demented versions of Spongebob Fancypants!

I didn’t see some of them lift a finger to help; the only fingers they own that were busy were the ones glued to the shutters of iPhones and digital cams.

I wished I had access to a megaphone so I can yell: “This is not fucking Disneyland!”

What a bunch of retards. There is no doubt those images are gonna clog facebook later along captions on how they helped packed those goodies.

Huy poseurs, mahiya naman kayo! You are ruining the profound intentions of people with genuine motive to help. You are giving non-Green gawkers more ammunition against you by acting like bratty layabouts.

The Human Chain had a good turn out and excellent achievement. It restored our collective faith in human capacity for empathy/sympathy and for one moment you forget demographic divides for a common goal. According to the organizer it started as a joke but to the amazement of everyone, it snowballed into a tremendous response in the time of needs of others. Kudos to you people! This rotten country needs more of you!

All it takes is a few charming folks to foul the mood. I shudder thinking of the very likelihood that those PseudoVolunteers will end up running for public office.

Before that happens give me an Uzi.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Redemption Schlong

Ditching a blogging habit was not what I intended but somehow slid off to. I never knew the put down review of a book “Once you’ve put it down, it’s difficult to pick it up again” would take resonance in this case. Then I happen to have feisty online friends like Doc Ian and Misterheuge who do not understand the concept of leaving people at peace. They needled me to post something, in alternating degrees of coercion, witty tirades and mild threats. Though I have been debating for weeks whether to finally kick the non-update lapse by posting alternative point of view on indie mavericks’ Altarejos+Bonife recent effort, Little Boy Big Boy. I must say the urge to kick start a blog resurrection wasn’t as tantalizing enough as creating a Manjam account or combing Burgos street for cleavage and tease. I will definitely write an overdue post about Little Boy Big Boy soon. However, the movie that salvaged me from blog coma stars what I thought was the worthy torch bearer of Ice Cube’s acting in Anaconda.

Bayaw (pronounced bah-yao, meaning Brother-In-Law) is the movie, and just the sound of the word is enough to make me erupt into hearty snickers. Mention the word in breathy utterances and you’d have Seiko Films materials complete with Kenny G soundtrack, bad fashion and campy dialogues. Naturally these things appeal to me and, as you already know reading my past entries, I have the fixation for absurdity.

Then I got the revelation of my life. Janvier Daily can act! This is the kind of thing you get when you sign up for volunteer work thinking you’d be toiling with Falcon or Bel Ami hopefuls only to find out they can be conversant on Sartre, Freud or Newton and can make Jeff Koons and Kurt Andersen look like lumbering amateurs. Hyperbole? Sure. If you want safe blandness go memorize Apples Aberin’s fashion critiques at Project Runway Season Two. (I wonder why her name is not hyphenated anymore. Whatever happened to Sadhwani?)

Bayaw, (insert snicker here) is a fun flick. The movie poster of Janvier reminds me of the shivering wreck in Trainspotting plus a cigarette and a scowl. The story revolves around the in-laws on the run. It is a curiously working jumble of the Thai film Bangkok Love Story, the French flick Base Moi which is carnage and sex maturity of Thelma and Loise, and the breathless sprint of Run Lola Run.

Paolo Rivero plays the role of Nilo Vergara, a brooding, ruggedly handsome mildly corrupt policeman who was discharged from service after being framed for a drug buy-bust operation. Janvier Daily plays Rhennan, his brother-in-law, a street bum in baggy cargo whose higher calling is to become the Michelangelo and Steve Wynn of spider fight gambling. Their fates are bonded interminably after a physical tussle with Paolo’s nagging, cheating wife, leading to her alleged accidental death.

Pursued by the shockingly efficient police force, they dodge arrest, sowing petty crimes, mayhem and murder in their wake, undoubtedly to honor the legacy of Andrew Cunanan. Complicating things, Janvier has a cute male stalker (Andrew Miguel) who follows their trail, blackmailing and ultimately assisting them in snatching purses. He has the hots for Janvier and has a sneaky agenda. To emphasize that this movie is thick on the gay slant he tries to score a fuck with both steamy leads and I don't blame him. Who wouldn’t?

Being on the lam drives the in-laws on the edge and the tension was so palpable that while hiding in a rundown hostel, they turned on the TV and beheld porn. Terribly tense and horny Paolo demanded a head job by pointing a gun on Janvier’s temple. The scene, though appeals to the fantasies of many, is somewhat droll. Excuse me, Paolo, but if you are THAT attractive, would it really be necessary to hold someone at gunpoint to score a blowjob? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just show up at Manjam or PlanetRomeo grand eyeballs? When Paolo did the same stunt on the cute stalker rouge, I thought that gun-pointing for head-job is becoming a ridiculous trend. Paolo, in the future, should you need to get off, the gun would be superfluous. Why terrorize someone when you can have hundreds of much-willing fluffers just by wearing the movie’s police costume and spamming the blog postings of SGLover on the fetish forums of PinoyG4M.com?

To disclose the motivations of the two leads it is mandatory that they get caught. The interrogator was fun to watch because under the unflattering fluorescent lamp he is what would happen if Manoling Morato goes straight but is not quite ready to let go of his Lyna Face Cream.

One thing should be established: This movie is Javier Daily’s redemption. It is as if he studied the restraint of Julio Diaz in the recent indie outings and took notes while upping the ante by flashing his schlong so as to remind everyone that his new found acting maturity comes with a really big bonus. In the scene where he was given a bath by the obsessed stalker I can hear popcorn kernels dislodging the throats of excitable guys in the audience and many screaming types suppressed a wild shriek by sucking deeply on their oversize Slurpees. The pivotal confrontation scene between the husband and wife where he took a drastic move was so intense I now officially strip him of The Ice Cube statue I naively awarded him in Roxxxane. All this guy needs is good material and a capable director.

Needless to say I loved Bayaw. It is a wild romp of crime, mayhem and surprising tenderness. Paolo was a disheveled dreamboat who has the sturdy acting chops that prevents the whole material going downhill into cheesiness. The plot is neither ground-breaking nor very fresh but it sure is compelling. Monti Parungao’s direction was confident and the cast committed to hold the movie together by delivering more than respectable performances. It is the kind of escapism that is worthwhile to watch. Or imagine. In this vein let me say:

Brooding, ruggedly handsome single policemen out there, I can run and I have a sister.

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