Monday, February 17, 2020

“PARASITE” Director BONG GOON-HO Returns to Celebratory South Korea After OSCARS Victory


Two Sundays ago, the Academy Awards saw history being made. The story has been told many times by now: “Parasite,” a South Korean film directed by Bong Joon-ho, not only won for Best International Feature Film, but also Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and the first non-English dialogue film to win Best Picture. While “Parasite” has won other accolades from various international award-giving bodies, it was the Oscars triumph that elevated the movie into a global masterpiece deserving of its reviews and box office returns. It should come to no surprise that Bong Joon-ho is the newest South Korean national hero now.

NBA ALLSTARS Rename MVP Award After KOBE, Won by KAWHI LEONARD


Over a month later, the international basketball fandom and the NBA community still have Black Mamba on their collective minds. The late retired basketball superstar Kobe Bryant certainly left a gigantic mark on his former team the LA Lakers, the league, and the sport as a whole. This footprint has thus been encapsulated in the recent 2020 NBA All-Stars weekend. A particular player award in that spectacle now bears his name, and the All-Star Game itself followed a special format that also paid tribute to Bryant via his jersey number. It comes across as only the beginning of the Kobe Bryant legacy, but it is also a very good start.

Upcoming VIVA-KOREAN Rom-Com Movie to Star BELLA PADILLA and KIM GUN-WOO


The Philippine entertainment industry has really gone global, or Asia-regional at the minimum, in recent years. Talents from overseas have been making appearances on local shows and productions. Some have even gone the extra mile of having their management be collaborated on with local networks, such as MOMOLAND with their MLD label and ABS-CBN working out a co-management accord. Further south, a Thai actor is going to be part of an upcoming Kapamilya tele-serye. And that is merely the beginning. On the big screen, development is already underway for a film with a Filipina and Korean sharing the lead spotlight.

EMULATED WINDOWS 10X Beta for Mobile Successfully INSTALLED on REAL Devices


Microsoft’s latest (and apparently “last”) computer operating system Windows 10 has been constantly improving and evolving its user experience via regular updates since its release back in 2015. But perhaps the most significant change to it would be in accommodation for mobile devices. This iteration is called Windows 10X, and it is a variant of the Win-10 OS that has been optimized for gadgets that have dual screens like the Microsoft Surface Duo. It has not officially come out yet, since they go with some upcoming devices, but Microsoft has released an emulator for 10X last week so that users can try the “new” OS.

JOHN LLOYD, BEA Script-Read “THAT THING CALLED TADHANA” During VALENTINE’S


Friday last week was Valentine’s Day, in case anyone forgot. And because it was, February 14 was a prime time to showcase some showbiz romance, especially from the most memorable pairings in the industry. One could look no further in that regard than in John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo, despite the former making himself scarce from work for so long. But their dynamics have been so memorable that they were able to drive their fandom to gleeful distraction by doing a script reading of a film from years ago. Their listeners loved it even though the movie they read from was not even theirs.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

“AMERICAN” is HOPPER: NETFLIX TEASES SEASON 4 of “STRANGER THINGS”


Popular culture and entertainment has never quite taken a break from using nostalgia of the past to draw in viewers and make them fans. One of the biggest and more recent powerhouses in providing a specific 1980s nostalgia fix has been the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” ever since it started in 2016. The adventures and misadventures of children in an Eighties-era Midwestern town with secrets both supernatural and other-dimensional was a smash hit for Netflix, even as the third season last year shook things up with the implications of kids growing up, and a shocking sacrifice (that does not stick).

Friday, February 14, 2020

BLIND ABSCBN Show Singing Contestant CARL MALONE MONTECIDO Gets INVITE from ELLEN Following VIRAL Video


Really, the story of a singing sensation sing out in public, getting video footage of his or her performance going viral, being invited to guest at shows and possibly getting a recording contract with a label has been played out repeatedly that it should no longer be surprising. Still, there are variations to the tale, such as said talented (if differently-abled) singer already having competed in a televised competition, before a video of him flexing his vocals spurs a talk show host to invite him over. That has happened now with blind Cebuano singer Carl Malone Montecido, who is being asked to go on “Ellen.”

BIG BEN Renovation Finds MORE DAMAGE from WORLD WAR II


It is always affecting to the national spirit of many persons when they see a historical monument in their country sustain damage from whatever possible cause. There was a palpable weight in the faces of Parisians when they saw their landmark cathedral, the near-8507-year-old Notre-Dame de Paris, caught fire in early 2019. Over in London, the Elizabeth Tower of the Palace of Westminster, better known as Big Ben after the large bell inside its clock mechanism, is not as old as Notre-Dame since being completed in 1859, but Londoners cannot help but feel for the iconic tower after ongoing renovations revealed more unknown damage it took from World War II.

TAAL VOLCANO Now Reduced to ALERT LEVEL 2 by PHIVOLCS


For a time, people in Batangas and neighboring areas of Luzon, including Metro Manila somewhat, lived in an atmosphere of concern and fear since January 12. That was the day when the “little volcano that really could,” Taal, erupted in a massive column of steam and ash that blanketed the lake island where it is situated and much of its surroundings. The national volcanology institute PHIVOLCS warned that such intense activity could herald a great explosive eruption, setting a penultimate high alert level and trying to keep evacuees from returning so soon. Over a month later, those fears could be dying down with Taal Volcano.

“NO TIME TO DIE” THEME SONG from BILLIE EILISH Now Released


While it was not so key in the very first film of the franchise, the film series from EON Productions featuring Ian Fleming’s suave British spy “James Bond” quickly established a production element as vital as Agent 007 having gadgets and a new love interest per film: the theme song. Almost invariably sharing a title with the respective films they were composed for, they were what helped make James Bond a familiar sound as well as visual for audiences over the decades. The latest installment, “No Time to Die,” is no exception. And now a sampling of its theme sung by Billie Eilish is available.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

IKEA Postpones FIRST Philippine STORE OPENING at MOA to 2021


Alternately praised for their selection of ready-to-assemble furniture and items, and mocked as a meme target for the same things, the European RTA manufacturing giant IKEA proves that it has a significant market presence throughout the world that it can easily be recognized for such actions. Amazingly, that global presence has not included the Philippines. In November of 2018 IKEA took its first step into the Filipino market by starting construction of a store as part of the SM Mall of Asia. Once completed, they will be that mall’s biggest tenant. It is now February 2020, and that massive IKEA store has not yet finished.

"THE BATMAN" Director Shares ROBERT PATTINSON SCREEN TEST in COSTUME


The fandom of British actor Robert Pattinson, who might still see him primarily as vegetarian vampire Edward Cullen from the “Twilight” saga, were understandably surprised when in June last year he was cast by Warner Bros. Pictures for a new DC superhero movie adaptation of “The Batman.” For most of his earlier acting career he has been a magnet for die-hard fans, whether he was Bella Swan’s boyfriend or the tragic teen wizard Cedric Diggory. Surely the glee would return tenfold now that he is the latest Bruce Wayne/Batman actor. One needs only to look at his costume test footage.

“EDDIE GARCIA ACT” for Entertainment Production SAFETY Pushed in CONGRESS


Early June of last year saw the entire Philippine entertainment industry in shock when longtime veteran actor Eddie Garcia suffered an accident on the set of what should have been his latest TV show, leaving him in a coma until his death on the 20th of that month. His tragic passing turned public and government attention to the trend of minimal consideration for welfare and safety of entertainment industry personnel during productions. The driving sentiment was that what happened to the Philippine cinema legend must not happen again. And that might come to pass with a certain legislation being put forward as a new law.

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2020 NOT HAPPENING, No Thanks to NCOV


Two weeks from now, many of the major manufacturers of mobile communications devices, wireless network carriers and equipment providers around the world would gather in Barcelona, Spain for an annual trade show, arguably the largest in this global industry. The Mobile World Congress (MWC) organized by GSMA has long been a great place for industry leaders to touch base and introduce new products and services to the public. For the most part the MWC has been held without any hitches, and despite ongoing health concerns these past few months it was thought the 2020 Congress will be the same way.

ABS-CBN, DREAMSCAPE Show First IMAGES of Next PRIMETIME Tele-serye “BURADO”


With the runaway success of “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” ABS-CBN has been cooking up some major ideas to make into new action-oriented tele-seryes for the network. While some of their past soaps with action elements tended to be rooted in either the supernatural or outright fantasy, the prevailing concept now is that the intense action sequences can be grounded in modern-day reality and audiences will love it. The approach has been done outside of “Ang Probinsyano” with such shows like “The General’s Daughter,” and upcoming tele-seryes such as “24/7” and a new one starring yet another top Kapamilya ensemble cast, “Burado.”

DISNEY LIVE-ACTION “ALADDIN” Getting a SEQUEL


While the many live-action remakes Disney has made of their own animated canon of movies have been very profitable for the most part, they have not been immune to criticism which goes beyond the nostalgic complaint that said remakes are unnecessary. Another jibe against the more recent productions was the slavish attempt to mimic the originals right down to replicating camera angles. Among the most badly-hit by this charge are the 2019 live-action adaptations of 1994’s “The Lion King” and 1992’s “Aladdin,” both well liked for their visual and musical presentation but derided for not doing anything new. The fact that the “Aladdin” remake is getting a sequel is surprising.

UAAP Implementing SEA GAMES-Style VOLLEYBALL “VIDEO CHALLENGE” System Starting SEASON 82


While the Philippines tends to be known now as a basketball-crazy country, there are other sporting events that Filipinos love to play and patronize. One of them is volleyball, and live telecasts of games from collegiate play (UAAP/NCAA) to pro leagues (PVL) are favored watching by many. One notable element of volleyball is that its rules have rather frequent changes and updates over the decades, from the introduction of “libero” players in 1998-2002 to the utilization of the “video challenge” system where teams are given a limited number of “challenges” to compel game officials to review action replays concerning decisions they do not agree with.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

TAIKA WAITITI Again Casts Doubt on Directing HOLLYWOOD’s “AKIRA” Adaptation


There is no stopping the rise of New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi’s star as perceivable right now. While he may have only entered the mainstream moviegoer consciousness by directing “Thor: Ragnarok” in 2017, he has established himself as a major auteur following his satirical WWII-set comedy “Jojo Rabbit” won him an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. But even before his momentous accolade Waititi has been kept busy working on upcoming MCU film “Thor: Love and Thunder.” There has also been a series of alternating news developments regarding his involvement in Warner Bros.’ planned live-action adaptation of anime film “Akira.”

“DARNA” Remake Film Gets New CAST MEMBER in PAULO AVELINO


Slow and steady wins the race, as the old saying goes; and despite the delays in getting principal photography started it looks like ABS-CBN’s latest big-screen adaptation of iconic Filipina super-heroine “Darna” continues to chug along to completion. Director Jerrold Tarog got the ball rolling for production last month, and lead star Jane de Leon has already been getting in shape for her role even earlier than that. What is notable, however, is that de Leon has been the only major member of the upcoming “Darna” movie cast identified by name. Or that was the case until just last week.

“PARASITE” Touted as MODEL for Filmmakers, Distributors with OSCARS Aspirations


To say that South Korea was happy their locally-produced black humor film “Parasite” from director Bong Joon-ho won both Best International Feature Film and Best Picture, among others, at the 92nd Academy Awards this past Sunday is a gross understatement. Nationwide celebrations erupted this week, with government officials joining in the revelry to congratulate Bong, his cast and crew on their historical triumph at the Oscars. But the scooping of four Academy Awards by “Parasite” is also being observed by other quarters around the world who realize it for what it is: a game-changing moment for the world’s film distributors.

MANNY PACQUIAO SIGNS Management Deal with CONOR MCGREGOR's Parent Agency


Fighting Senator Manny Pacquiao has at times seemed dead set on proving that age can be nothing but a number in professional boxing. He already established his legacy in the sport by being a one-time eight-division world boxing champion, but in more recent times he also became the oldest welterweight champion in history (age 40 upon beating Keith Thurman in 2019) and the first recognized four-time welterweight champion. And through his career he has freely aligned himself with promotional labels as he sees best fits his current needs. That would explain his latest move of signing with the management agency of one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts.

SIMULTANEOUS Filming Projected for “SHAZAM!” Sequel and “BLACK ADAM” Spinoff


One of the positive effects of Warner Bros. Pictures and DC ultimately not copying Disney and Marvel’s tight continuity in the MCU films for their own DCEU franchise (after “Justice League” in 2017) was that each superhero film that came out since has felt like a freestanding production that could tell its own self-contained story. As a result, “Aquaman” in 2018 and “Shazam!” the following year were not beholden to make allowances for a myth arc across the franchise, focusing instead on any planned sequels for themselves. In the case of “Shazam!” it has a direct sequel and a spinoff, and word is that they would both start filming simultaneously.

JOHN ARCILLA Talks About Starring on Planned FATHER SUAREZ BIOPIC


Actor John Arcilla has never shied away from any challenging role on film or television. Be it his breakout portrayal of the brave but temperamental historical Philippine hero General Antonio Luna in Jerrold Tarog’s “Heneral Luna,” or the monstrously vile (former) government official and criminal mastermind Renato “Buwitre” Hipolito, Arcilla has taken on every character with gusto, even if they happen to be controversial. One of his upcoming projects involves him starring in a biopic of the recently-departed “healing priest” Fr. Fernando Suarez, who is equally admired for his healing ministries and vilified for allegations of church corruption and sexual molestation, charges he has been cleared of by the Vatican.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

SAMSUNG “UNPACKED” Presents New GALAXY S20 and Z FLIP Smartphones



Sometimes a flawed first attempt is not only expected but necessary to ensure that a second try will have a greater chance of success. South Korean electronics giant Samsung understood this when, following the buggy introduction of their Galaxy Fold folding smartphone-tablet hybrid, they then went on to develop the Z Flip, a smartphone like the classic clamshell flip-phones of old for a new generation. While initially believed to be a concept to be previewed further in Samsung’s latest “Unpacked” event, a sideshow to the “conventional” Galaxy S20 smartphone line, the Galaxy Z Flip is an equal after all, with a surprisingly early release date.

SEA GAMES Follow-up ASEAN PARA GAMES Indefinitely POSTPONED Due to NCOV


The 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games were held here in the Philippines from the end of November to early December of the year before. Despite concerns about expenses and issues regarding services and facilities offered to the visiting athletic delegations and guests the multi-event sports gathering was quite successfully executed. The SEA Games is also like other major international sporting meet like the Olympics in that it has a brother event geared for differently-abled competitors. This is the ASEAN Para Games, the 10th edition of which would be held also here in the Philippines; or at least it would be kicking off soon if not for a certain viral outbreak.

DWAYNE JOHNSON’s DAUGHTER SIMONE Follows DAD’s Career; Starts WWE TRAINING


Perhaps enough time and years have already passed that more recent fans of Hollywood star Dwayne Johnson would see him primarily as an actor, thanks to his prominence in action adventure movies like the “Fast and Furious” franchise, the “Jumanji” soft reboot, or Disney’s upcoming “Jungle Cruise.” More long-time followers will remember Johnson as the WWE superstar known as The Rock. Dedicated “scholars” of pro-wrestling history will be able to tell later fans of Dwayne’s that he comes from a wrestling family going all the way back to his grandfather. Now that legacy might be picked up by his daughter.

GMA7 Partners with SOUTH KOREA’s SBS for “RUNNING MAN” PH


Even before reality shows became a thing, there have already been a number of television programs around the world where participants are set out to perform some tasks at a designated locale, sometimes within a time limit, in order to win prizes. Early examples include British show “Treasure Hunt” (Channel 4, BBC Two), while more recent shows would be American competition “The Amazing Race” on CBS, and “Running Man” on South Korean network SBS. These contests, which involve task-performing and clue-solving, are quite popular TV viewing the world over. And pretty soon the Philippines will have one of them localized.

XIAOMI Launching MI 10 Smartphone in CHINA THURSDAY and WORLDWIDE at MWC Despite NCOV Scare


At around this part of the year, the biggest names in the global mobile communication industry would take time to gather in Spain for a thought-leadership conference on their collective businesses’ next step forward into the future. The fact that it is also an exhibition only helps to encourage attendance. One of these major mobile companies looking to make the trip to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress is Chinese gadget manufacturer Xiaomi, seeing as they have a new smartphone to debut at this time. While this week will see the phone launch in their native China, a later MWC appearance could serve to introduce it to the world market.

Monday, February 10, 2020

SEVENTEEN’s “ODE TO YOU” CONCERT at MOA ARENA a HIT Despite NCOV Concerns, RAINY EVENING


When Seventeen, the South Korean boy band that is famed for being one of the known “self-producing” K-pop groups, announced in August of last year that they will be coming to Manila this year for a concert as part of their latest world tour, Filipino K-Pop fans were only too happy to mark their calendars, preorder their tickets and wait for February 2020 to arrive. Unfortunately in the transition between years, Asia and eventually the world was gripped in the fear of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The great concern was that the security measures to prevent a further spread of nCoV might make Seventeen’s concert a bust with minimal attendance.

IDINA MENZEL and Other ELSA VOICES Sing “FROZEN II” Nominee “INTO THE UNKNOWN” at OSCARS


Disney’s 2013 animated film “Frozen” was highly regarded not just because of its clever reworking of fairy-tale clich├ęs (like how “true” love does not have to be a romantic partner), but also for its great soundtrack and song list. The latter part also crossed into major annoyance however, thanks (or no thanks) to the notorious “Let It Go” sung by Idina Menzel as Queen Elsa. Some fans hoped that the planned sequel could feature a song that would finally banish “Let It Go” from the minds of many, and 2019’s “Frozen II” might not have disappointed with Menzel’s new signature song number, “Into the Unknown.”

PBA Moves 2020 SEASON Start by ONE WEEK Amid NCOV SCARE


With the ongoing global spread, and rising death toll, of the 2019 novel coronavirus it is rather understandable that certain facets of the worldwide economy as well as timetable of events are being upended one after another. With the travel lockdown in China, demand for oil has lessened, causing a rollback in prices but also risking petroleum exporters reducing their output. Quite the number of events to be held in that country have been postponed, moved or canceled. Even the Philippines, with its own nCoV cases, must adjust schedules to some of its events, like the start of basketball season.

ACADEMY AWARDS SAMSUNG AD Shows GALAXY Z FLIP Phone Up Close


While it may come across as strange that some tech-related news could come out of the recently-held 92nd Academy Awards, this one might actually count. Last week, speculation has abounded on an upcoming “Unpacked” event by South Korean smartphone manufacturing giant Samsung, to showcase their upcoming devices both soon-to-release and in-development. The latter might be the possible status for a particular Samsung smartphone, foldable like the already-released Galaxy Fold phone-tablet but in a different way: like an old flip-top mobile phone. What does this have to do with the Oscars? The new Samsung phone was teased during the commercial break.

MARCELITO Sings “BEAUTY AND THE BEAST” for “AGT Champions” S-2 FINALE


This Sunday evening, even as ABC was televising the ceremony of the 92nd Academy Awards, NBC was airing a conclusion of its own, for the second season of their special-edition “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” reality talent competition. With the finale happening this week, the remaining performers that were voted on by judges and “Super-fans” to advance are now preparing to put their best foot forward to overcome the others and be named the “Got Talent” grand champion. Among them is Marcelito Pomoy, “PGT” veteran and dual-voice singer. And while he has been advised that his talent is not so surprising now, he has channeled it again one more time.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

“PARASITE” Makes ACADEMY AWARD HISTORY, and Other 92nd OSCARS Wins


It was quite telling perhaps when South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho remarked on his 2019 award-winning movie “Parasite” that, aside from a possible victory in Best International Feature Film, it will not win any of the other categories it was nominated in, including Best Picture itself. In his words, the Oscars were “too local” where the US motion picture industry is concerned to ever seriously grant any honors to a foreign movie beyond the “token recognition” category. He might have been exaggerating – there have been foreign films that won other categories – but his sentiment is understandable. Then the 92nd Awards came and history was made.

SCORPIONS to ROCK MOA ARENA for "CRAZY WORLD" this MARCH


In 1965, a band was formed in Hanover, Germany that would decades later be hailed as one of the most successful musical groups to come out of continental Europe. Despite some roster changes and shifts in its musical style with the passing of time, the Scorpions were able to build a truly international fandom, thanks to their memorable rock songs such as “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” Major music media outlets such as “Rolling Stone” and MTV have described them as either “Heroes of Heavy Metal” or “Ambassadors of Rock.” And now, as part of their latest tour they are coming to the Philippines too.

NETFLIX Reveals List of STREAMING MEDIA REMOVED by GOVERNMENT REQUEST


When Netflix, at the time of its 1997 inception a DVD-by-mail rental (and originally sales too) service, decided to launch a digital content streaming platform in 2007, it became a massive media juggernaut with an impressive reach around the world. Over the years it has expanded its streaming library with both partnerships from various providers and its own offering of original productions. The latter became more vital to Netflix once providers began launching their own exclusive streaming services and pulled their content out. But another way Netflix could lose some streaming media on its library is if governments actually asked for them to be removed.

Friday, February 7, 2020

“DOCTOR STRANGE” Director OK with SAM RAIMI Directing 2021 SEQUEL


“Doctor Strange” from Marvel Studios in 2016 did a great deal in dispelling the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise as a setting where only high tech and sci-fi stuff exists with the exception of magic. It served as a great origin story for the Master of the Mystic Arts portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, showcasing the power wielded by surgeon-turned-sorcerer Stephen Strange. This was under the direction of Scott Derrickson, who was originally assigned to oversee the sequel “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Creative differences with Marvel Studios led to him walking, but he has an idea for a director who can take his place.

"DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN" CAST Share INSIGHTS on MILITARY LIFE


ABS-CBN might have hit into another ratings gold mine, despite the uneasy geopolitical topics involved, in the military drama tele-serye “A Soldier’s Heart,” but that does not mean their longtime television rival GMA7 is going to take that lying down. They are in fact hard in development for their own counterpart to that weekday primetime soap. While not original, it is no ordinary show either, being a remake of a South Korean series or K-Drama, “Descendants of the Sun.” While working on the upcoming soap, the experiences of portraying military personnel has given insights to its primary cast of actors.

“FRIENDS” REUNION SPECIAL on HBO MAX Close to Successful Production DEAL


There is enough television series already produced and aired for several decades for some of them to be acclaimed as among the greatest shows ever made. One of these small-screen legends would have to be “Friends,” which gave NBC some solid ratings for ten seasons from 1994 to 2004. Even long after its conclusion and despite its creeping datedness, the timeless humor and character dynamics from the cast helped “Friends” land a solid binge-watching spot on Netflix in 2014, until it was removed this January to HBO Max. But late last year there was word that the “Friends” cast might get together for a reunion one-shot, with an unspecified date.

PRINCESS INN GENSAN: Re-Launched BETTER, COZIER and CLASSIER Than Ever



Nowadays, savvy travellers are well aware that there is a lot more to the quality of a hospitality venue such as a hotel or an inn than just the size and service. There is also the price to consider, and also the fine balance between being away from the busy and noisy urban center but still within easy distance of it. That is the reason many small hotels and inns actually get good patronage, especially if they have the high standards of any regular hotel. Now there are a lot of them now, but let this point out one that guests would most definitely enjoy.

SOCIAL MEDIA Makes SUGGESTIONS on MARCELITO’s FINAL SONG for “AGT: CHAMPIONS”


It is still some time yet before the second season of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” will air its finals night on NBC. Therefore for the time being Marcelito Pomoy, grand champion of “Pilipinas Got Talent” season 2 on ABS-CBN has returned home to the Philippines to rest and prepare following his triumphant semi-finals performance that secured him his ticket to the finale round of the competition. In his two appearances on this season of “AGT: The Champions” Marcelito has coasted forward thanks to a strong fan vote. Now he must ready the song he must sing in the hopes of becoming grand champion anew. Fans have ideas on that.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

NETFLIX Finally Enshrines Option to DISABLE AUTO-PLAY of Previews, Next-Episode Skips


Ever since digital streaming service Netflix popularized the concept of “binge-watching” multi-part media (movies with sequels or series with many episodes), it has been developing and introducing several features that it feels will optimize the viewing experience for people ready to watch for hours on end. One of these ease-of-access features however has become increasingly annoying for Netflix subscribers, and that is auto-play. The preview browsing auto-play tended to take up space one needed to surf for media to watch, while the series next-episode auto-play skipped the credits of a completed episode as well as the opening sequence of the following one. Viewers have been unimpressed with auto-play for years.

CATRIONA GRAY Defends Her MISS UNIVERSE Successor ZOZIBINI TUNZI from BASHERS


When Catriona Gray, Miss Philippines in the 2018 Miss Universe beauty pageant, won the crown for the country after only three years since the previous Filipina titleholder (Pia Wurtzbach 2015), she was acclaimed to be one of the most fitting Miss Universes ever to carry the name. Come December of the previous year, Catriona would then pass her crown to her successor as Miss Universe of 2019, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa. Now almost two months later, there has been a rash of criticism being thrown Tunzi’s way. But thankfully she has an able defender in her own predecessor, Catriona.

CASTELVANIA Animated Series SEASON 3 Coming on NETFLIX this MARCH


Streaming giant Netflix seems to have this lucky flair of adapting some media into short but sweet online series. Some of these properties are from Japan, and from forms of original media not expected to make for good miniseries storytelling. But “Castlevania,” based on the long-running multi-platform videogame by Konami, was a surprise binge-watching hit. In two short seasons it transformed the minimal plot of a NES-era “Castlevania” game into a supernatural horror action animated spectacle. But even with franchise villain Count Dracula seemingly killed at the end of the second season, the storyline has not been finished. Fortunately it could well be continuing soon.

SANDARA PARK Reveals SADNESS and REGRETS Following 2016 SPLIT of 2NE1


It is not often that an entertainment celebrity can attain fame in two countries such that both could claim that person as one of “their” people. That would be the story of Sandara Park, who was born in South Korea in 1984 but lived in the Philippines with her family since 1994. She became a Pinoy showbiz household word since joining ABS-CBN’s “Star Circle Quest” in 2004, but her TV/film/music career in the country lasted only until 2007 when she returned to her birth country. Sandara would become famous there as well when she debuted as Dara of K-Pop girl group 2NE1 in 2009. But since their dissolution in 2016, Park has been markedly despondent.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

HOLLYWOOD Legend KIRK DOUGLAS, 103


The Golden Age of Cinema, which lasted from around 1910 to the sixties, has pretty much seen almost of its illustrious names gone on to the great beyond. This week they are joined by yet one more, a famous name in the film industry even though it was not the one he was born with. The son of Russian immigrants, Issur Danielovitch Demsky went on to become motion picture legend Kirk Douglas. He was Odysseus, he was Van Gogh, he was Doc Holliday, he was Spartacus and the father of Michael Douglas, and he was more. Now he is gone.

MAYON VOLCANO Causes CONCERN with GLOWING CRATER Observed This Week


January 2020 would not be forgotten soon in the Philippines as the day when people of Luzon were given a comparatively mild reminder of the fiery power of nature, at least compared to 1991 and Mount Pinatubo. The harsh lesson this time was from Taal Volcano, which erupted in steam and volcanic ash since the 12th of last month which spurred mass evacuations while neighboring communities were blanketed in gray. While the significant period of activity has not ended yet, people have at least begun filtering back to their homes. To the east however, another potential concern is under observation.

CASTING Confirmed on "SUPERMAN AND LOIS" SONS on THE CW


Readers of DC Comics in recent years would know that one of the most recent characterizations of Superman, the quintessential “traditional” superhero, has been that of “Super-Dad.” Essentially, he and Lois Lane have been the parents to Jonathan Samuel “Jon” Kent, who has inherited his father’s Kryptonian super-powers and has become the latest iteration of “Superboy.” While the backstory leading to this development is long and complex, that has been the dynamic of Superman and his leading lady, one adapted in The CW when the “Arrow-verse” Superman and Lois were blessed with a baby boy, confirmed to be Jon himself.

BEERMEN Loses JUNE MAR FAJARDO to INJURY Ahead of 2020 SEASON


The sports injury has been the bane of existence for serious competitive athletes on both the academic collegiate level right up to the professional big leagues. One needs only to look back at the 2019 PBA Governor’s Cup Finals, where the injuries to Raymond Almazan hobbled the performance of finalist team the Meralco Bolts until they were beaten at Game 5 by the Barangay Ginebra. Now, the same misfortune has befallen a top player for the San Miguel Beermen, winners of the other two Conferences for the 2019 PBA season. The Beermen could be looking at a Philippine Cup this 2020 without June Mar Fajardo.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

DISNEY to Expand Its Other STREAMING Service HULU INTERNATIONALLY by 2021


Netflix might still be alive and dominating, but there is no denying that the online digital streaming market and user-base has its eye on Disney+, the upstart new service that is offering the best content from decades of history not only from the House of Mouse itself but its various media subsidiaries such as Lucasfilm and Marvel. But in its intent to remain truly family-friendly, Disney+ is skipping out on certain content that therefore goes somewhere else. That would be Hulu, the once-joint venture streaming platform by Disney, NBC Universal and News Corporation, but now majority Disney-owned. The problem is Hulu serves only the US.