Tuesday, September 28, 2021



Last September 17, Netflix premiered a South Korean streaming series of the survival and drama genres that took the binge-watching community by storm. “Squid Game” details the misadventures of several civilians recruited by mysterious figures to participate in a competition involving children’s games with the promise of generous prize money, but with deadly consequences for the losers. The nine-episode series got rave reviews and became the first K-drama to land number 1 on Netflix’s 10 most-watched weekly TV shows across all territories including the US. What has only been revealed now is that a Filipino actor actually missed out on being cast for “Squid Game.”

The Philippine Star reports that actor Carlo Aquino, currently a Kapamilya but a star that has made his mark on all major TV networks in the country, was indeed offered a part in the Netflix original K-drama “Squid Game.” Aquino revealed in several recent Instagram Stories posts that the director of “Squid Game,” Hwang Dong-hyuk, personally contacted him for a part in the series in 2020. Unfortunately he had to turn down the casting offer due to existing travel restrictions in the Philippines at the time on account of the pandemic. Thus Aquino missed out.

It may have turned out awkward either way. The role offered to Carlo in “Squid Game” was that of Abdul Ali, a Pakistani overseas worker in South Korea, who joined the mysterious game competition due to his employer not paying his salary, making him desperate to send money to his family back in Pakistan. Ultimately Abdul Ali would be portrayed by Anupam Tripathi, an actor from India who made his career in South Korea, filling in foreigner roles for K-dramas such as in “Descendants of the Sun.” “Squid Game” was the first series where he was billed in primary cast.

Missing out on a K-drama role, especially one that exploded worldwide like “Squid Game,” may have been too bad for Carlo Aquino. Fortunately he manages to keep himself busy in the local entertainment scene. Aquino stars in the ongoing Kapamilya teleserye “La Vida Lena,” airing via cable on the Kapamilya Channel with simulcast block-time slots on A2Z and TV5, with fast-cut runs streaming on iWantTFC.

Image from Philippine Entertainment Portal



Very few videogame development companies can claim to be iconic and familiar enough to warrant building an actual area of attractions in a theme park after them. Japan’s Nintendo happens to be such a company, inking a deal with Universal Parks and Resorts to build Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. Opened this past March, with a copy soon to follow next year in Universal Studios Hollywood, Super Nintendo World treated guests to a vibrant Nintendo experience. But despite being called “Super Nintendo World,” the only features and attractions were from one Nintendo franchise, “Super Mario.” Thankfully, even that detail is about to change.

The Verge tells us that Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan is getting ready to expand its offerings less than a year after it launched. The Japanese gaming and entertainment giant revealed that they have already started work on an expansion in the new area of the Osaka-based theme park. The expansion will feature locations and characters from another classic Nintendo IP, “Donkey Kong.” Where the terrain motif of Super Nintendo World’s Mario attractions is rolling hills and grasslands, the Donkey Kong area will feature jungle aesthetics from the “Donkey Kong Country” game series.

Nintendo chief creative Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of both Donkey Kong and Super Mario, is only too pleased with both franchises soon to be represented in Super Nintendo World. “I am looking forward to creating a thrilling Donkey Kong experience with the amazing team at Universal,” says Miyamoto. “It will take some time until it is completed, but it will be a unique area for not only people who are familiar with Donkey Kong games, but for all guests.” Much like the Super Mario area, the Donkey Kong area will feature interactive experiences, merchandising shops and dining facilities. Its principal attraction will be a roller coaster.

While Universal Studios Japan has taken great effort to open Super Nintendo World this year, the fact that the world remains shrouded in the pandemic has understandably hobbled visitor numbers. It is hoped by Universal Parks and Resorts that by the time the Donkey Kong expansion is opened to visitors in 2024, COVID will be even more under control and travel restrictions will be relaxed. It is not known whether the Super Nintendo World under construction in Universal Studios Hollywood will have provision for the same expansion, or if it will come later after opening.

Image from Nintendo Official Website

Monday, September 27, 2021

PMPC STAR AWARDS FOR MOVIES 2021 Honors Winners from PRODUCTIONS as Far Back as 2019


This past Sunday saw the best from the Philippine movie industry honored by the Philippine Movie Press Club in the 36th edition of the Star Awards for Movies. Due to the ongoing presence of the COVID pandemic in the country the awards ceremony was a virtual event. Even telling is that some of the films and performers that were nominated in these Star Awards were from productions as far back as 2019, before the pandemic took the world by storm. Still, the winning nominees awarded by the PMPC are quite the formidable ensemble, even if circumstances changed how their films were accessed by local audiences.

Inquirer.net has it that the 2019 pre-pandemic Star Cinema film “Hello, Love, Goodbye” walked away with five accolades from this year’s PMPC Star Awards for Movies. “Movie of the Year” was a given, as was “Actor of the Year” for Alden Richards. “Actress of the Year” however was bagged by veteran star Sylvia Sanchez for “Jesusa,” shutting out Alden’s Kapamilya costar Kathryn Bernardo. Nevertheless, “Hello, Love Goodbye” was a powerful contender due to also winning “Supporting Actress” (Maricel Laxa), “Screenwriter” (Cathy Garcia-Molina, Carmi Raymundo, Rona Co), and “Love Team” (Kathryn and Alden, though thankfully not to concern the KathNiel fans).

Another multi-Star Awardee for the 2021 ceremony is a fellow pre-pandemic production, with Solar Pictures’ “Mindanao” starring Judy-Ann Santos being named “Indie Movie of the Year.” Juday herself got no awards but the film claimed two other Indie-related category victories in score and production design. Ricky Davao was “Supporting Actor of the Year” thanks to his role in “Fuccbois,” Xia Vigor from “Miracle in Cell No. 7” won as “Child Performer” for her performance opposite Aga Muhlach as daughter-father tandem. Said movie also got the nod for “Movie Ensemble Acting.”

The virtual presentation of the 36th PMPC Star Awards for Movies this 2021 was made available in video format on social media, particularly the PMPC’s official Facebook page just this September 26. For more information on the other winners, check out the video available here.


Image from Philippine Entertainment Portal