Former MTRCB chair Armida Siguion Reyna writes on current MTRCB chair Consoliza Laguardia and the impending appointment of a new MTRCB chair. It's an eloquent plea for reform and basic rights. Read here.
Beautiful-people-stranded-on-a-deserted-island is not a very dignified subgenre. Wait, I already said that.
In Santuaryo, the castaways are all toned young men, and they're looking for treasure. Even though the movie doesn't make that hokey premise believable for a second, it still strains for a serious, high-suspense tone -- much like TV's Survivor Philippines, down to the island cutaways and drumbeats. (The director, Monti Parungao, is also the man behind that show.) As on TV, there's supposed to be tension when the guys begin to form rivalries and alliances, except that here, they're flaming over the stupidest things, like a missing Swiss Army knife, softcore magazines, or the loss of celphone signal. They're twelve-year old brats trapped in abs and pecs. They make the kids of Lord of the Flies look like wise elders.
You may have heard of behind-the-scenes reports that some of the actors behaved like brats themselves. Allegedly, a few of them backed out on their previous agreement with the producers (which included frontal nudity) by re-negotiating their fees. Done in the middle of shooting, after much principal photography, it sounds unprofessional, something a two-bit callboy might do to jack up his rate in the middle of sex, not to mention a huge turn-off, and possibly, career suicide. Reportedly, it effectively sabotaged the narrative, and reportedly, it's the reason a last-minute addition to the story was made: a romantic postscript between Basti Romero and Will Sandejas as lovers. Whatever. The finished product is a mangled mess, and those island shenanigans -- including something involving a guy who gives blowjobs then pukes right after -- incoherent.
The Director's Cut DVD is identical to the theatrical version, to my eyes, but at least with the pause button, we can stare lovingly at the dangling jewels of Gino Quintana, Basti Romero, and Will Sandejas. The DVD package also includes a mini-poster that displays everyone's butts (except Will's). The other guys are Justin Hizon, Nicos Bacani, AJ Ona, and Ralph Mateo. Brats or not, their hot bodies (and Parungao's smooth photography of them), even though they don't do much, are the saving grace of this film. Isn't it ironic?
Beautiful-people-stranded-on-a-deserted-island is not a very dignified subgenre. Any movie that gets compared to the whack (and marvelous) camp classic Tempation Island (1980) by the revered Joey Gosiengfiao would be hard pressed to live up to any value-for-entertainment expectation. There have been countless B-movie descendants (look 'em up) but nobody remembers them. Ask me and I'll "recommend" a few titles.
Adolf Alix Jr.'s experiment in comic improvisation, D' Survivors, which follows air crash survivors frolicking on the beach, fails not because it's scriptless or absurd or, you know, "free-form" (these are virtues if executed effectively) but because it's never funny. In improv, we want characters to inhabit funny in every twist and turn, but here, the actors have little to build upon, because they're never given the chance to be actual people, to be more than dummies. Spewing standard-issue one-liners, they're stand-up comics clawing at every attempt for jokes. The flamboyant gay master of ceremonies is like a variety show host with no program. There's only so much empty blabber one can take. The sprinkling of "stories" -- like that of ex-lovers, or of a long lost brother who is now a sister, or the arrival of a diva -- not only goes nowhere, but matters none, not even at the moment it's being played.
Eye candies are supposed to make the folly worthwhile. The main draw are Brazilian models -- Daniel Matsunaga, Fabio Ide, Akihiro Sato -- all lovely, sometimes charming, but their sexiness is not even photographed enough. So, too, with other cuties -- Jubail Andres, Rocky Salumbides, Lemuel Pelayo, Kerbie Zamora -- practically camouflaged in the background. It's a showcase for Mercator, the modeling agency under which they're all signed, but not for individual talents.
Temptation Island was generous with beauty, and also with basic (and basest) human emotions, like anger, desire, hunger, which were fodder for our identification and laughs. By contrast, D' Survivors arrives with closed fists. Enjoyment, even of the camp variety, must be earned.