Twinky Charles Delgado is miscast as a swimming instructor. Instead of playing to his boyish strengths, he strains to pretend to be hunky -- or to actually know how to swim. Smarter erotica-makers would have thought of a more fitting concept for him, or his co-stars, Oliver Lacson and Brixx Madrigal, who play his lovers/students. In such demanding roles (models in trunks), they're cute at best, silly at worst -- never truly sexy and only marginally "revealing". Set entirely in one lame garden pool and shower in flat daylight, and relying on narrating heads to talk the story forward, Junior is the most ridiculous-looking in the perplexing "male student body" series.
In his mission to film a narrative for every special-interest demographic in the gay dating wilderness, Crisaldo Pablo (with co-directors Remz Mallari, Jonathan Batoy, and Bob Galura) turns his lo-fi sexicomic filmmaking to an overweight twenty-something desperate to score. (The title is misleading; our hero is the chub, not the chaser.) Thanks largely to actor Joseff Young's valiant self-deprecation, Chubi's embarassing exploits -- he endures rejections, then cons other guys just so he can get laid -- don't come off as too pitiful; instead they're suggested to be a kind of spiritual quest for salvaging dignity. The jokes can be repetitive -- How many times do we need to be reminded that fat people are not high up on the sex food chain? -- but they're also designed to touch compassionately on everyone's anxieties on body image.
The corny fairy tale conclusion feels rushed, but the distractions before it are fun: Chamyto Agueda as the also-chubby best friend who uses money to keep his boyfriend; the trio of fitness-conscious but concerned roommates (including Jeff Luna, as the prince charming), and a series of cute date prospects and some surprising full frontals (masked in theaters, but not on DVD). Cast also includes Francis Sienes, Bryan Lorenzo, Archie De Calma, Ken Dequito, Siegfried Rosa, Miko Guttierrez, Justine Gomez, Trouffles, Bryan Ocampo, Bryan Balansyo, and Arnick Meneses.
The next Filipino boygroup looks a lot Korean. The twinkiness! The androgyny! The sissy choreography! The company that gave us Viva Hot Men (Viva Records) rides on the K-Pop trend with a crowded assembly of hair-gelled, skinny-jeaned tweens, who are cute even though they look like clones of each other. The danceable single is catchy; Check out some witty Taglish rhymes. But can anyone really jerk off to this?
A sort-of-clever but certainly contrived mystery emerges somewhere in the middle of Parisukat, after we learn of the murder of a gay businessman (Toffee Calma), and all the four characters we've been following so far are pieces to the puzzle. There's the tranny (Darwin Taylo), the jock she's in love with (Christopher Canizares), the butch master of the house (Jobben Bello), and the young new tenant (Jeff Tatsuro). A silent house helper (Alvin Espinosa) adds nothing except decor. They converge in the same boarding house, and one of them may be the killer. Cool, eh?
Gay homicide has quickly become the year's cliche movie trend -- there's also Ben and Sam and Pilantik -- and we haven't even reached 2010's halfway mark. Writer-Director Jonison Fontanos says he drew inspiration from a gay friend murdered by a callboy.
Pulpy by structure, but flat by execution, his second film is at least more coherent than Hugot. The movie is like its star, Jeff Tatsuro: a cutie, but the expression is too blank to reel us into the fear and danger beneath the surface. Maybe those long exposition minutes should have already been laced with suspense, or at least, more fun, or sexuality. He gets us restless before he gets us thrilled.
AmBisyon, a project that aimed to shine a light on pertinent issues related to this year's elections, was supposed to air on the ABS-CBN News Channel and Studio 23, until the MTRCB slapped an X to two of the films, then later to just one, the film by director Jeffrey Jeturian, for smudging shit on the face of the current president of the Philippines.
Though none of the 20 shorts are gay-themed, you may want to join this free event as a show of support to freedom of speech. Or to at least see and judge for yourself.
Oh, to have a shipful of hunks and have them do… nothing. In this quasi-tribute to Filipino seamen, the biggest conflict happens between one worker (Allen Dizon) and the chef (Victor Basa) – regarding the quality of the food! How exciting! Meanwhile, the manual labor that happens on the tanker is a blur. The gay subplot tickles the imagination with an exchange of erotic glances (between Rico Barrera and Raymond Cabral), before their story evaporates from view. Emilio Garcia is sick, so we know where that is going.
Too much time is devoted to the situation back at the hometown, with a dead father-in-law, a housewife who may or may not succumb to an affair with a tricycle driver (Marco Alcaraz), and a brother failing his exams in maritime college (Mike Tan). It sounds like a busy film, but everything is so mild, nothing moves. Writer-Director Paul Sta. Ana fumbles with themes of fidelity and distance, but forgets that in order to dignify the seamen, they should be interesting first.