First Impression Review: GMA’s Stunning Ilustrado

TYPE OF REVIEW : FIRST IMPRESSION REVIEW
No spoilers.

There are high expectations for anyone who attempts to bring a subject like Jose Rizal to the big or small screen. Being regarded as one of the greatest national heroes of the Philippines (if not the national hero), a dramatization of his life carries a big weight on its shoulders.

There is an inherent gravitas with a subject like Jose Rizal as well as the time period of the Philippine Revolution. If the pieces do not fall into place, then any such attempt to bring his life and one of the most important times in the country’s history to television or film will end up being a complete failure.

Thankfully, GMA’s Ilustrado manages to meet those high expectations and then some. Continue reading

Good Ol’ Review: GMA’s Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real Puts Fresh, Engaging and Mature Spin on Overused Filipino Drama Premise

TYPE OF REVIEW : GOOD OL’ REVIEW
Some Spoilers.

Filipino audiences have a strange and maybe unhealthy fascination with infidelity. The prevalence of soap operas and feature films featuring husbands and wives traipsing about with other men and women… and men and their continued commercial success in the Philippines is material for a long Media Studies dissertation.

Teleserye after teleserye after movie after teleserye, the same story over and over (with sometimes, even the same actors); like many Filipino stories, the cheating spouse has become overused and played out.

But also like other familiar Filipino soap opera tropes, a series or film can come along to try something different and take a fresh approach.

GMA’s Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real surprisingly did that. Continue reading

First Impression Review: TV5′s Fresh, Toe-Tapping Trenderas

TYPE OF REVIEW : FIRST IMPRESSION REVIEW
Basic first episode details.

After the excellent Beki Boxer and the unique thriller Jasmine, TV5 presents another fresh television offering with the musical series Trenderas.

Starring Isabella de Leon, Katrina Velarde and Lara Maigue, Trenderas tells the story of three young, talented singers and best friends in their quest to become the Philippines’ next singing stars. The title, a portmanteau of the words “Trending” and “Tinderas” explains their humble beginnings as palangke vendors who apparently hit it big when a performance of theirs goes viral.

But that’s to be revealed later. The pilot episode introduces us to our eclectic mix of main and supporting characters through the blending of musical performances and flashbacks during the auditions of the fictional Pinoy Pop Icon reality-singing competition where the three friends (now rivals) are vying for one spot on the live shows. Continue reading

Good Ol’ Review: Gaim & Wizard – The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle a Pitch Perfect Emotional Conclusion

TYPE OF REVIEW : GOOD OL’ REVIEW
Some Spoilers

“Are you a magician?” “No. I’m a Wizard!”

I’ve always said, it’s great to visit with old friends. And Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Gaim & Wizard: The Fateful Sengoku Movie Battle was another great catch-up, but even more, an excellent conclusion to my Kamen Rider Wizard experience.

At least, I assume that it is. Because it certainly wrapped up Haruto-tachi’s story pretty well.

Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Wizard & Fourze: Movie War Ultimatum, my first Kamen Rider Movie War experience, was definitely a mixed bag. But this time, I felt a lot more emotionally connected and a lot more excited while and after watching the movie. Continue reading

Good Ol’ Review: Middle School Student A Misses Huge Opportunity to Be Something Great

KBS Drama Special Youth

TYPE OF REVIEW : GOOD OL’ REVIEW
No Spoilers

Another recent teen-centric KBS Drama Special was Middle School Student A about a transfer student, Hae Joon (Kwak Dong Yun) who provokes the top student in the class after he bumps her from her #1 ranking.

The theme and unfortunate reality of young Koreans being pressured about excelling in school has been depicted in various types of stories from drama to comedy to horror. Teens feeling trapped by their parents’ expectations and the nasty competition between the students themselves, high school life in Korea appears to be pretty dramatic. And the themes are certainly not restricted to South Korea.

It is a worthy theme to explore and Middle School Student A even touches on the growing problem of suicide in Korea.

But while the drama takes a dark turn in the last third, it starts off like a typical and cliche-ridden teen romance. Continue reading

Good Ol’ Review: Youth is Another Excellent and Affecting KBS Drama Special

KBS Drama Special Youth

TYPE OF REVIEW : GOOD OL’ REVIEW
No Spoilers

If revenge is the most popular go-to theme in Korean drama, then the youth experience is a close 2nd. While there have been plenty of youth/high school dramas, many cute and idol-driven stories, KBS Drama Specials have been able to present darker and maybe more realistic depictions.

And the KBS Drama Special Youth (청춘) blends both themes into one dark, gritty hour. Continue reading

Hindsight Review: TV5′s Beki Boxer is One of the Best Filipino Series in Years

Beki Boxer

TYPE OF REVIEW : HINDSIGHT REVIEW
No spoilers! Click here for my First Impression Review and click here for my Check-In Review.

I have no reservations with my proclamation in that headline. I absolutely believe TV5′s Beki Boxer is one of the best, most enjoyable and most creative scripted Filipino series, drama or comedy, in years. Continue reading