Saturday, November 17, 2018


It is now anywhere from two to three weeks since the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s biopic of legendary rock band Queen and its front-man Freddie Mercury, titled after one of their iconic songs, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Ample time has thus passed for the critic reviews to cement the movie, directed by Bryan Singer and Dexter Fletcher, starring Rami Malek as Mercury, as being a so-so production with only the lead star’s acting and the film’s music sequences as highlights; all of which is refuted by a strong box-office turnout and audience opinion. It is also heralding a music chart resurgence of the song in question.
Forbes reports that the unthinkable, or perhaps the expected, has happened in the wake of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” film. The titular song has now found itself on the Billboard Top 100 for the third time in three different decades, thanks no doubt to the central focus the biopic put on it. Scenes from the movie show the efforts Queen under Freddie Mercury’s direction undertook during the recording of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, from musical cues that drove band members up the wall, to their quitting the EMI label when it would not release “Rhapsody” as a single.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” first made the Billboard Top 100 on its original release in 1976, a single off Queen’s fourth album “A Night at the Opera”. It would also be remembered for its “promotional video” (music videos before the 1981 launch of MTV), with the close-ups of the band members during the song’s “operatic section” with the immortal lines of “Galileo”, “Bismillah no, we will not let you go” and “Mamma Mia”. It made Billboard again in 1992 due to being featured in Mike Myers’ film “Wayne’s World”, which popularized the image of head-banging to the riff following said operatic section.
Now, the song is back for a charmed third time on the Billboard charts almost 43 years after its original outing. In comparison, its 1976 Billboard peak was Number 9; its 1992 return got as high as Number 2. For its entry this year courtesy of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” film hype, it is starting at Number 33 according to Nielsen Music, with 13.3 million song streams in the US alone. Its original vid is now the most-watched music video from the 1970s with over 700 million views. Meanwhile, the “Bohemian Rhapsody” soundtrack is already Number 3 on the Top 200.
Other songs that have made several Billboard returns in later decades after their initial debut include “1999” by Prince (1982-83, 1999, 2016) and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson (multiple times); the latter number made its latest chart comeback this year, Number 31 on the Top 100, following video streams during Halloween.
Image courtesy of CNN International

ABS-CBN’S Revamped “iWANT” STREAMING Service OPENS AHEAD of Launch Date

For quite some time, a number of the most popular shows and programming on ABS-CBN and its affiliate channels have been available for watching online whether as live streams or on-demand content via the media giant’s very own over-the-top content platform. Launched back in 2010, in the advent of the then-new new mass media streaming trend, iWant TV became a favorite mobile app for fans of ABS-CBN programming, and the added content from foreign providers (later transferred to Sky). Lately the service was in final preparations for its re-launch as iWant streaming this Saturday, but they surprised their fans and general streaming audiences by starting its operations earlier than expected.
ABS-CBN News has it that the new iWant streaming service stole a march on its actual launch date this weekend on November 17, by opening its content library to subscribers one day earlier, this Friday on November 16. As before, iWant will carry ABS-CBN shows and teleseryes in live-stream or on-demand format, along with films both contemporary and restored classics. But in addition, it will also launch with all-new original programming, both series and feature films, making its full transition into a very Filipino and very Kapamilya version of Netflix.
No less than six original programs are highly anticipated by regulars of iWant in its new form. These content run the gamut from movies to anthologies and even a talk show. One of the hottest iWant originals that viewers want to watch is the film romantic drama “Glorious” starring Tony Labrusca and Angel Aquino, about a steamy relationship between a young guy and an older woman. Also generating much hype is a streaming remake of old Kapamilya teleserye “Spirits” by Chito Roño, to be directed by Topel Lee and entitled “Spirits: Awaken”, starring Grae Fernandez, Kira Balinger, Jairus Aquino, Bugoy Cariño, Patrick Quiroz, and Chantal Videla as supernaturally empowered teens protecting their town from a creeping dark presence from space.
More originals are expected to come on iWant: “Alamat ng Ano” is humorous anthology of crazy retellings of the origins of things, starring Jobert Austria and Melai Cantiveros among other comedy stars. Next is the horror film “Ma” with Kyle Espiritu and Glydel Mercado. For documentary connoisseurs there is “Laureen on a Budget” with fashion and travel vlogger Laureen Uy, showing how to maintain style and go places without straining the wallet. Lastly, “IKR” will be a showbiz talk show hosted by MJ Felipe of “TV Patrol” with fellow entertainment insiders Darla Sauler and DJ Jhai Ho of MOR 101.9.
And this is merely the beginning according to ABS-CBN Digital Media head Elaine Uy-Casipit. “We have a lot more in the pipeline,” she said in an interview earlier this week. iWant certainly will not be lacking a fan-base, namely the 2.5 million weekly viewers it is inheriting from iWant TV.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN Entertainment

Friday, November 16, 2018


A year and some two months after Amazon announced it to a flabbergasted North America, a decision has been made at last. Said decision was regarding the location of choice for a new corporate headquarters to house the ever growing organization of the online retailing giant, an HQ2 to its HQ1 in Seattle. Over 200 proposals from the US and Canada were sent to Amazon, which trimmed them down to a 20-item shortlist. And this week, the winners were announced. Yes, winners; as HQ2 would be split into two campuses. But one of the winning locations is not entirely thrilled.
Tech Crunch tells us that Amazon has decided to pick New York City and northern Virginia to be the addresses of their HQ2s. They would create two campuses, splitting the proposed 50,000 HQ2 workforce between Long Island City in Queens, and Crystal City in Arlington. A statement by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos goes: “We are excited to build new headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, in a statement. “These two locations will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us to continue inventing for customers for years to come. The team did a great job selecting these sites, and we look forward to becoming an even bigger part of these communities.”
Both locations will also receive half of the planned $5 billion investment from Amazon to develop the two campuses that together will function as the long-coveted HQ2. On a separate note, the company will also open an Operations Center for Excellence in Nashville, with no less than 5,000 Amazon jobs.
In New York however, the Long Island City portion of HQ2 is coming under fire from concerned locals under the lead of two state politicians. NY State Senator Michael Gianaris and NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer are decrying the impending tax incentives that New York will be funneling through Amazon in return for its setting up shop with them, drawn from taxpayer dollars. The two issued a joint statement saying, “We will continue to stand up against what can only be described as a bad deal for New York and for Long Island City.”
Other government officials with a low opinion on Amazon HQ2 in New York include US Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand, US Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and NY State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who is currently pushing for legislation to convert those subsidies to Amazon into cancelling student debts in the state. Gillibrand also adds, “One of the wealthiest companies in history should not be receiving financial assistance from the taxpayers while too many New York families struggle to make ends meet.”
Images: NY Times and WSJ