Friday, December 20, 2019

10th ASEAN PARA GAMES Moved from January Next Year to MARCH

It has become standard in multi-sporting competition events like the Olympics and regional gatherings like the Asian Games, for a special counterpart to be held sometime later that would involve athlete participants with a varied range of physical disabilities. As with the Olympics, the Paralympic Games would be held in the same year as the main multi-sport event, and in the same venues used by the current host country. Even the biannual Southeast Asian Games has its own version, the ASEAN Para Games. Following the November-December duration of the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines, the corresponding Para Games were supposed to happen in January next year. But plans change.


Following a world premiere in Los Angeles this Monday, the final installment of the primary “Star Wars” saga that started all the way back in 1977 will be officially released this Friday. “The Rise of Skywalker” from Lucasfilm has had its work cut out for it, to uplift the franchise following the divisive reaction of its predecessor “The Last Jedi,” directed by Rian Johnson. The return of “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams hopes to stir the story back to a properly uplifting conclusion. But while the premiere clock ticks down, actor Mark Hamill has hinted that a new celebrity has made a secret cameo.

TNT, GINEBRA 2-1 Games Each in Semis for GOVERNORS CUP Finals

The final conference cup of the PBA season this year is winding down in the playoffs semi-finals being played out in the last month of 2019. As the Governor’s Cup begins its decision on which two teams will battle it out best of seven, only two squads in the semis were repeat appearances. Both the Barangay Ginebra and Talk N Text have reached the semifinals of the Commissioner’s Cup. Now the TNT KaTropa and Ginebra are looking to elevate their previous semis match into a finals game by beating their respective foes. Ginebra has pulled away 2-1 against NorthPort in Wednesday, while TNT has done the same against Meralco Thursday.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

VIACOMCBS Discussing DEAL with beIN Media for Minority Stake in MIRAMAX

In this age of digital media streaming, one of the greatest priorities of big media companies around the world is to procure plenty of content to provide over their digital platforms, preferably on an exclusive basis. Said companies have often gained avenues of media content by acquiring production units such as film and television studios which would have extensive libraries of movies and series to stream. This was the rationale of Qatar-based pan-Arab media network beIN when it acquired American film studio Miramax in 2016, with intent to sell a portion of it to a stateside partner. The Viacom conglomerate expressed interest in dealing, before their eventual merger with CBS.


When it comes to the best surfing spots to be had in the Philippines, the most likely first location name to be mentioned would be Siargao. This island portion of Surigao del Norte province of the island of Mindanao became famous for its offshore waves that roll in thick hollow tubes, perfect for surfing enthusiasts domestic and international. Siargo has since been claimed as the surfing capital of the country with a strong tourist industry, but retaining a natural beauty unlike well-developed destinations like Boracay, making it a surfers’ paradise. That is the opinion of an international hostel booking platform.

UNIVERSAL Interested in Getting LEGO Film Rights from WARNER BROS.

Some five years ago in 2014 the Warner Animation Group, successor to the older Warner Bros. Feature Animation studio, released its first big-budget blockbuster. This was “The LEGO Movie,” a masterful franchise starter that opened new possibilities for sequels due to the many original-LEGO and licensed properties tied to the toy line the movie was based on. This was proven with the 2019 direct sequel plus the 2017 spinoff installment movies for “LEGO Batman” and “LEGO Ninjago.” LEGO even has direct-to-video films courtesy of the Warner Bros. Animation TV arm. But the LEGO-Warner animation partnership is facing some rival claimants.

Comic Book Resources has it that Universal Pictures and several other film studios are making their play at acquiring the movie rights for the LEGO toy brand from Warner Bros. The reason for this much interest is that a time-sensitive agreement between LEGO and Warner has yet to be given a green light. If it does go through then Warner and LEGO will continue working together. But until that is confirmed many film studios are casting their net at a slim chance of snagging the LEGO movie rights while available. The actual decision regarding LEGO’s cinematic future will not actually be known until next year, though it has been under discussion for several months now.

Here is the thing: if Universal or those other yet-unidentified studios manage to get the LEGO film rights for themselves, they will have to make new LEGO movies from scratch with it. The rights to the established characters from the two “LEGO Movies” and spinoffs produced under the Warner Animation Group (and likely the Warner Bros. Animation direct-to-video ones too) will remain with Warner and cannot be carried over. That goes double for LEGO Batman and other LEGO DC superhero versions, as they are tied to Warner just as the Marvel characters go with Disney.

Aside from the “LEGO Movies” and spinoffs, there was also a Cartoon Network animated series created based on one of the characters introduced in 2014, the cat-unicorn figure called “Unikitty.” The show has already completed two seasons, with a third one premiering soon on CN this coming Christmas Eve itself.

Image courtesy of Comic

PRESIDENT DUTERTE Promising P100-M for Athlete Training for 2020 OLYMPICS

It is not much of a stretch to say that the recently-concluded 2019 Southeast Asian Games have been a major morale booster for the host country, the Philippines. The Filipino audience for the most part got their money’s worth with plenty of medals won by the national athletes, who never gave up the medal lead all through the games’ duration. Their sports performances, from physical to technical (e-sports) have done the nation proud, and some of them are even qualified to move into a truly international multi-sporting event like the Summer Olympics in Tokyo next year. That will require training and other preparations, and the President will see to that.


By this point in time, Fox TV is absolutely certain that they have a winning potentially long-running program with “The Masked Singer,” the quirky fun anonymous reality singing competition where a panel and audience make guesses based on hints dropped by contestants, and the losers get unmasked. Season2 of the show has been a total blast since it started in September, but this week the finale played out last Wednesday as the final three fought for prize. Between Flamingo, Fox and Rottweiler, it would be great match and guessing game on whether there were any actual recording artists between them.


Back in July, movie audiences in the Philippines were held in thrall to the dramatic story of two Overseas Filipino Workers who find love with each other in Hong Kong, only to be hampered by their conflicting familial interests. Star Cinema’s “Hello, Love, Goodbye” was also a big cinematic draw because its lead romantic tandem was formed from two stars hailing from rival television networks, them being Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards. Such was the reception of the film with fans that ABS-CBN Books adapted the story into a novel with extra plot. Half a year after its premiere, the movie can still elicit emotions.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Another “MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE” Animated Series Coming to NETFLIX

The 1980s have been coming back in big way over at online streaming giant Netflix. It can come in the form of great tributes in content, such as their runaway hit series “Stranger Things.” The decade can also be referenced in the several remakes of productions from that era, particularly in animation. Mattel’s “Masters of the Universe” series and its female-focused spinoff “She-Ra” have been blessed in this manner, with the latter rebooted as “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” and the former getting an upcoming series sequel created by Kevin Smith. But aside from that, there is also a planned reboot on the way.

HOUSE OF REPS Files RESOLUTION Honoring Award-Winning Film “QUEZON’S GAME”

When TBA Studios, Globe Studios and Artikulo Uno Productions released Jerrold Tarog’s Gregorio del Pilar historical epic “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” last year, its mid-credits scene teased a potential sequel to its audience, one following Manuel L. Quezon (portrayed in-movie by Benjamin Alves) the same way “Goyo” was teased in its2015 predecessor “Heneral Luna.” Before Tarog can start work on that, Star Cinema jumped the gun with its own Quezon bio-drama, “Quezon’s Game,” which starred Raymond Bagatsing in the lead role. The movie has been a heavy-hitting award-winner sweeping all categories it was nominated for in two international film festivals.

And the national government has taken notice of this too according to ABS-CBN News, considering that the House of Representatives just filed, on Wednesday December 18, a resolution to commend the movie “Quezon’s Game,” which premiered this past May, for its cinematic quality and merit that has earned it multiple overseas film festival awards. Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante authored the accolade for “Quezon’s Game” in House Bill 628, congratulating the film, cast and production staff for winning in 12 categories at the Cinema World Fest Awards in Ottawa, Canada last year, along with the four wins in this year’s WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.

On the text of House Bill 628, Rep. Abante noted that “Quezon’s Game” contributed to the enrichment and enlivening of Philippine history with its spotlight on a remarkable action done by Manuel Quezon as President of the Philippine Commonwealth. A year before World War II broke out, Quezon (Raymond Bagatsing) developed an ambitious plan with several prominent figures to help European Jews fleeing the anti-Jewish pogroms of Nazi Germany to flee to safety by travelling through the Philippines. He did so despite reservations from the US government and concerns of his wife Aurora (Rachel Alejandro) who worried that his added work could exacerbate his tuberculosis.

"[Quezon’s Game] serves as a reminder and eye-opener to the pivotal role that the Philippines played in the rescue of Jewish refugees during the Holocaust," says Rep. Bienvenido Abante. "It is a film that truly promoted and popularized our nation's historical and cultural heritage.” The movie was a collaborative effort between ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema studio and OTP content platform iWant.

Image courtesy of LA Times

HUAWEI to Bring out Improved MATE X Foldable in 2020; Might Release It in EUROPE Too

This year saw the advent of a new form factor for mobile devices in the vein of smartphones and tablet computers. By that it is meant the combining of the two’s respective shapes in the foldable phone. These are smartphones that can unfold into a tablet, with the latter’s touchscreen able to optimally fold and crease without being damaged. Chinese startup Royole technically got the ball rolling for commercial foldable phones with their Flexpai, but bigger company Huawei and Korean giant Samsung increased exposure to the tech with their Mate X and Galaxy Fold devices respectively. Now, Huawei seems to be planning an incremental upgrade.


Season 17 of the American edition of “The Voice” played out this Monday and Tuesday on NBC, and it showcased an event that has not occurred in the preceding six seasons. For this finale, each of the four coaches managed to get a single representative from their respective teams for the big showdown, which was also padded with guest performances aplenty. The Top 4 even did several duets with their singing idols after the competition proper on Tuesday. And in the final reckoning, the finalist who only got one chair turning for him defied all odds to win the evening.

Director Found for WARNER BROS.’ “COYOTE VS. ACME” Live-Action/Animated MOVIE

In 1948, Warner Bros. Animation director Chuck Jones and writer Michael Maltese observed the trend of “chase” animated cartoon shorts, of which “Tom and Jerry” was one of the most famous examples. Jones and Maltese decided to parody the concept. Thus was born Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, tandem stars of many hilarious chase shorts that have made elements like the “beep-beep/meep-meep” sound effect and random products from the Acme Corporation iconic sights and sounds of Warner Bros. animated classics. Amazingly, this has inspired Warner Bros. Pictures to start developing a feature-length film adaptation, and they have even found a director for it.

Comic Book Resources tells us that Warner Bros. is progressing further in its plans for “Coyote vs. Acme,” a hybrid live-action and 3D animated film that will feature Wile E. Coyote – and possibly the Road Runner too – on a comedic adventure in the vein of 2003’s “Looney Tunes: Back in Action.” While that movie was a box office bomb, perhaps this new production could fare better with a better creative team behind it. With “LEGO Batman Movie” animation co-director Chris McKay as producer, Warner has acquired the services of Dave Green to direct the project.

While he has not yet many big-screen movies under his belt yet, Green stands as a great choice for directing a film mixing live-action and animation. In that sense, “Coyote vs. Acme” bears similarities to his 2016 directorial effort, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” for Paramount. Said movie, a sequel to the 2014 cinematic reboot by director Jonathan Liebsman and producer Michael Bay, made $245 million worldwide. Green will work on a script by writers Jon and Josh Silberman, who will debut as movie screenwriters after working on television series such as “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

No further details on Warner’s “Coyote vs. Acme” have been revealed. From the title however, it can be theorized that it will involve the hapless Wile E. Coyote taking umbrage at the Acme Corporation, from which he has mail-ordered various tools and gadgets used in catching the Road Runner, only to backfire on him instead.

Image courtesy of Slash Film


When it comes to achievements in song, there are certainly a lot already on the plate of Regine Velasquez, easily one of the biggest singing divas around in the Philippines. Be it local or international, she has either been nominated or won awards for her awesome voice and her great selection of songs, and her concert performances. One of her best awards records would be in the Aliw Awards, where she has been nominated 18 times in various categories and won 13 of them. One of these accolades from the Aliw Foundation is for Entertainer of the Year, which she last won back in 2009.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

“CATS” Cast Encourages VIEWERS Who DISLIKE the Feline CGI Effects to WATCH the Movie Anyway

When talking about the best of the most iconic musical theater productions on either side of the Atlantic and further on around the world, the musical “Cats” by Andrew Lloyd Webber is sure to be among the subjects of discussion. Its look into the lives, habits, lore and personalities among a gang of London alley cats has been told distinctly through performers dressed in skintight cat-suit costumes and choreographed to move, act and dances as feline-like as can be. The upcoming Universal film adaptation took that aesthetic to its logical conclusion by rendering its cast in CGI fur and cat-features, an approach that has turned off viewers from the trailers.

But as the movie’s cast puts it, the reactions were expected of people seeing something very new, and urge them to get past the uncanny valley to watch the film on its premiere this week anyway. As The Hollywood Reporter would have it, the stars of “Cats,” the big-budget movie version from Universal Pictures of the world-famous musical, are simply pleased that the production, especially how they were rendered in it, was generating lots of attention. They instead point out the sheer technical effort to seamlessly blend visual-effects fur on the performers as they moved about on their many scenes.

Actor Robbie Fairchild, who portrays the cat Munkustrap, remarks that the iffy reception to the CGI-makeup on the feline characters was similar to the initial reactions to the Na’vi from James Cameron’s 2009 masterpiece “Avatar.” "When you think about 'Avatar,' when 'Avatar' first came out, everyone was like, 'Ooh, oh God!’” says Fairchild. “But I think Avatar did pretty well. So I think we're OK."

Further reassurances came from Danny Collins and Naoimh Morgan, who play feline partners Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer respectively. Collins thought the reactions were “amusing,” when not considering the innovation of making a performer both catlike and human. He also attributes the standoffish reception to causal moviegoers not being familiar with the musical, usually known to theatre devotees. Morgan agrees adding, “But once you see the movie, if you give it a chance and see the movie, you will forget that side of things and you will just be involved in this story and in this new world and you'll just appreciate it for what it is."

For his part, “Cats” director Tom Hopper prefers to see the film he made as a story with a lesson on love overcoming tribalism. "I think, in this moment, to make a film which shows that one kind act can redeem a lost soul is what I'd like to be making," he notes. The movie had its world premiere in New York this Monday, December 16, with a general release coming this Friday, December 20.

Image courtesy of Yahoo! News