Monday, October 31, 2016

Nosotros los Nobles

The Noble kids have always lived a life of luxury. Javier (Luis Gerardo Méndez) is the stereotypical Mirrey who technically works for his father’s company but relegates his obligations to his staff while he flies on a whim with his friends on their private jet to party in Miami. Bárbara (Karla Souza) is the princess whose main preoccupation in life is to maintain her presence in the social circles of the rich and the fabulous. Carlos (Juan Pablo Gil) is the hippie who spends more time maintaining sexual relations with his teachers instead of his grades. When Germán Noble (Gonzalo Vega) finds out about his children’s lack of direction in life, he dismisses his perpetual argument that it must be due to trauma brought about by their mother’s sudden death. Suffering from a heart attack and worried that he might pass away leaving them as such, he decides to teach them a lesson. Faking bankruptcy and staging an embargo of all their wealth and properties, he takes them to his father’s decrepit house in the outskirts of Mexico City “to hide”, and asks them to do what they have never done before in their lives: Get a job.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

No se aceptan devoluciones

Valentin Bravo (Eugenio Derbez) is afraid of many things, with commitment being his greatest fear. Living the ideal bachelor life at a beach in Acapulco, his raison d’être involves hooking up with as many women as he could, may they be local or foreign. But his enviable life is about to come to an end when Julie (Jessica Lindsey) drops by for a visit one day with a child in tow, introducing her to him as his daughter. Asking for USD10 for cab fare, she asks him to carry the baby for a while as she heads down to pay the taxi driver. She doesn't come back. Totally clueless about fatherhood, he enters the United States illegally to return the kid to her mother, but has no luck finding her in Los Angeles. What he finds, instead, is a job as a stuntman. Realizing that he can no longer go back to Mexico without being hassled at the border with an American child under his care, he decides to start anew and becomes a doting father to Maggie (Loreto Peralta), who becomes the center of his life for the next six years. But his happiness is going to be short-lived. One day, he receives a phone call from Julie. She wants her daughter back.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Doctor Strange

Ace neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is at the top of his game: a life of luxury, a burgeoning career, and the cocky attitude to match. When a car accident damages his hands beyond repair, the loss of effective control of his motor skills means he must bid his source of livelihood goodbye. In effect, his life. Exhausting all his financial means to find a scientific cure, his efforts are all in vain. Desperation leads him to turn to the mystic arts for answers, his quest bringing him to a place called Kamar-Taj, in the heart of Kathmandu where he comes face to face with the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Refused at first for his arrogance and brash attitude, he is eventually accepted as part of the group with the help of Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), one of the students who will become his guide in this new world. As the threat of apocalyptic doom looms closer no thanks to rogue student Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), Doctor Strange starts questioning his purpose of coming to Nepal, whether just to save his hands, or if he is destined for something much greater.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Billionaire scientist Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) runs for his life. Chased by two unknown attackers, he ends up on top of a church tower and jumps to his death, intent on protecting something that he doesn’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up in a hospital room in Florence with a bleeding wound on his head and no clue of what happened in the last 48 hours. Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) fills him in about how he ended up there, but is cut short when an assassin barges into the room and almost kills them both. The two manage to escape and stay safe at her apartment, until more assailants arrive and try to take him out. As they run for their lives, he begins to remember, bit by bit, some vague images from the last two days which include a cloaked woman, the phrase “cerca e trova”, and hellish visuals of Dante’s Inferno. Searching for clues all over Italy, he finally recalls the threat of an impending biochemical apocalypse. He is not sure what his involvement in it really is, but he knows he must work fast in a race against time to save half the population of the human race.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

La vida inmoral de la pareja ideal

It’s love at first sight for Lucio (Sebastián Aguirre Boëda) and Martina (Ximena Romo) when they meet in high school. It doesn’t take long for them to become an item, threading the unstable path of adolescence together while pushing the envelope with regard to their sexuality. 25 years later, their paths cross again in San Miguel de Allende, which bore witness to the climactic peak and abrupt crash of their juvenile romance. The awkwardness of their meeting, however, suggests underlying issues in need of closure. Martina (Cecilia Suarez) is now teaching ballet at a local dance school, and lies to him about being married and having a daughter. Lucio (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) divides his time between Mexico and Madrid, and lies to her about being married and how his pregnant Spanish wife is coming over for a visit. As they agree to meet later that evening for a ballet presentation she’s in charge of, their fictional lives begin, coerced actor-wannabe friends and family in tow, culminating in a riotous dinner that will unleash a lot of pent-up emotions from an unresolved past.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Desde allá

Middle-aged prosthetic dentist Armando (Alfredo Castro) has a curious little habit. Stalking young men in the streets of Caracas, he flashes them with some cash as an invitation to come to his apartment, where his MO is always the same: ask the boy to turn around, take his shirt off, and pull his pants down halfway as he pleasures himself on his couch. With no physical contact whatsoever, he then gives the money and calls it a day. His new prospect is Élder (Luis Silva), a juvenile delinquent who refuses to play by his rules and even robs him twice. But Armando is not to be deterred. Challenged, he follows him around some more. When the kid is beaten black and blue, he takes him home and nurses him back to health. But just when the teenager feels obliged to reciprocate and finally gives it a shot, the old man backs away, further confusing the lad. As he is shunned by both family and friends in homophobic Venezuela, he starts to feel more attached to his benefactor, but the feeling doesn’t seem mutual anymore.

Monday, October 24, 2016

[MIGUEL HIDALGO] Castillo de Chapultepec

I forgot to say that you have to get your ticket in the mini castle right upfront before the locker area. It was only there where they checked the ticket, although I don’t know if that is always the case given how it’s free admission today. Back on topic, a part of the castle houses the Museum of National History. I went upstairs first and was immediately impressed by the wall to wall murals that I saw. The painting on the ceiling depicts the suicide jump of one of the Niños Héroes, with the Mexican flag still wrapped around him.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

[MIGUEL HIDALGO] Bosque de Chapultepec

Sometimes you don’t have to get out of town to find something interesting, especially when you’re broke AF and you’re not in the mood for a movie marathon. It’s a good thing that Mexico City has a lot to offer thanks to its sheer size and abundance of culture. And so I turned to Wikitravel and was presented with a variety of options. I ended up with Chapultepec. I’ve exited that very Metro station many times to go somewhere since I moved here in May but never really explored the park despite knowing that it’s just there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

No Manches Frida

After serving his one-year jail sentence, Zequi Alcántara (Omar Chaparro) is pardoned and declared a free man. Fresh out of prison, he is taken by his pole dancer girlfriend to Instituto Frida Kahlo, where the money bag he got incarcerated for is now buried under a newly constructed building. Left with no choice, he is forced to apply for a maintenance position left by a recently deceased staff member just to get into the school grounds and dig through to get his bounty. In an unexpected turn of events, he is mistaken for an applicant for a teaching position and is hired on the spot, after everyone backs out when they witness one of the teachers jump out of the window. With an attractive monthly salary on offer, he willingly accepts, and then preys on naive co-faculty Lucy (Martha Higareda) so he can steal her credentials and make his new stint legit. What he doesn’t know is that there is hell waiting for him at the lecture hall of class 4B, where everyone who substitutes ends up being terrorized by that level's uncontrollable students.

Monday, October 17, 2016

[YUCATAN] Budget and Itinerary

THURSDAY: 13 August 2016
ADO (Cancun - Valladolid) - 194.00
Airbnb Valladolid (2 Nights) - 380.00
Burger King (Bacon Cheeseburger w/Fries & Pepsi) - 55.00
Treintona, Soltera y Fantastica (Cinemex) - 40.00
Cinemex (Hotdog + Water + Slushee) - 107.00

Sunday, October 16, 2016

[SANTA ELENA] The Ruins of Uxmal

Travel fatigue hit me hard in Valladolid, meaning Ek Balam got dropped off my list just like that, which was too bad because it was so close. There was also a cenote five minutes away from my Airbnb place where you can actually swim, but I just decided to chill, lest I ruin my entire Yucatán itinerary. Valladolid is okay but too much of a small town feel for a city boy like me. Maybe that’s the reason why I immediately liked Mérida right after I arrived. It looks like a small town but the party atmosphere was a good bonus.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

[TINUM] The Tianguis of Chichén Itzá

Yucatán is the place to be if you are a big fan of Mayan ruins. Just Google “Yucatan”, “Maya”, “Map” and you will see how the place is full of pyramids everywhere you look. Of course, the most famous one is Chichén Itzá, but there are dozens more that are less popular yet evoke the same mysterious feel, and less tourists to boot! If you plan to go pyramid-hopping, there is this itinerary called the Ruta Maya but I don’t recommend it unless you have a lot of time to spare. You’ll be fine with just a pyramid or two.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Treintona, Soltera y Fantástica

30-something Inés (Bárbara Mori) attends her niece’s wedding reception and is heckled by her mother ad nauseam, mocking her for not being married despite her long-term relationship with her man-child boyfriend Marco (Andrés Almeida), who can’t even pay for toll. With alcohol as her refuge, she makes a snap decision to end the relationship, and regrets it the next day. But her best friend Sensei (Juan Pablo Medina) thinks it might be the best time to take a break and focus on her plan to relocate to the beach and write her book. Ex-flame Óscar (Jordi Mollà), now divorced, then enters the picture. They rekindle their bygone romance, but he wants no strings attached. As she tries to make sense of the various aspects of her life, depression sets in, making her balancing act more complicated than usual. When one of the pillars she’s leaning on collapses, so does her world. What’s a girl to do?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

[QUINTANA ROO] Budget and Itinerary

MONDAY: 10 October 2016
Interjet (New York - Cancún) - 2,900.00
AirBNB (3 Nights) - 1,005.00
ADO (Airport - Downtown) - 66.00
Taxi (Downtown - Calle Playa Larga) - 60.00
La Parrilla (Carne Asada + Pepsi + Cake) - 285.00

[CANCÚN] Travel Brochure Ready Shots

It was raining when I went to Cancún, so imagine my bitch face while I was there. By Cancún, I mean the hotel zone. Okay, fine, let’s clear things up a bit, shall we? Cancún is a resort city in Quintana Roo. It used to be THE ultimate beach getaway in all of Mexico, except that along with the white sand and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, its enviable location also lies along the hurricane belt. There was a time in its history when it was ravaged by a hurricane so badly, tourist traffic redirected to Los Cabos at the Pacific Coast for a while.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

[TULUM] Mayans of the Caribbean

Tulum stands out from other Mayan ruins thanks to its strategic location facing the Caribbean. Here you can enjoy both beach and ancient archaeological wonders at the same time. There should be several other sites benefiting from the same coastal setting but Tulum is the prohibitive favorite as a day trip option for many who are based in Cancún. The trip was long at two hours and a half but ADO buses are really comfortable so I can’t really complain. Once you get off at the station, there are several food options across the street.

Monday, October 10, 2016

[NEW YORK] Budget and Itinerary (2)

MONDAY: 3 October 2016
Air China (New York - Manila - New York) - 626.11
Airbnb (7 Nights) - 221.00
Water (JFK Terminal 5) - 2.71
MTA Card (Reload) - 40.00
Cats (Broadway) - 69.00
McDonalds (Cheeseburger x2 + Fries + Coke L) - 8.48 

[MANHATTAN] Cool Broadway Nights

I paid only USD 622 (~PHP 29,250) for my roundtrip Air China ticket: New York – Manila – New York via Beijing. The plan was to be a no-show for the return flight because I really had no intention of going back to the Americas yet despite my first trip to New York being too short and uneventful. To make things worse, I did not even see a single play or musical, which is supposed to be a non-negotiable for any New York or London trip because I am a huge theater fan. And then October came, and I decided to just fly back anyway.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Shear Madness (Broadway)

What should be a typical afternoon in a unisex hair salon makes an interesting turn when a has-been piano prodigy in the apartment upstairs is murdered. Following a lockdown of the entire building, everyone is prohibited from leaving the premises for routine questioning, making all of them suspects in a crime they may or may not have committed. Flamboyant shop owner Tony (Jordan Ahnquist) is not really that fond of the old woman and goes up to shut her up before she winds up dead. His ditzy bombshell assistant, Barbara (Kate Middleton), is the one to find her old lady friend dead by the piano when she heads to her apartment for a quick visit. Eddie (Gil Brady), an antique salesman interested in the old piano upstairs, also finds himself up there for a while before the murder, with the alibi that he was just using the bathroom. The fourth and last customer, Mrs. Shubert (Lisa McMillan), does not leave the shop during the time of the crime, but receives a really shady phone call that could implicate her as an accessory, or perhaps, even the mastermind. As undercover police officers Nick (Patrick Noonan) and Mike (Jonathan Randell Silver) question the four accused, they break the fourth wall and involve the audience in their investigation, in hopes of finding who the real culprit is.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Something Rotten (Broadway)!

Brothers Nick (Rob McClure) and Nigel Bottom (Josh Grisetti) are playwrights who are trying to make it big in a theater scene that is too small to fit another one next to William Shakespeare (Will Chase), whom everyone adores as the rock star demigod of renaissance England. When a soothsayer named Thomas Nostradamus (Brad Oscar) comes into the picture and offers Nick a peek at what would be his rival’s most successful play ever, he does not think twice and grabs the opportunity. Convinced that he can now outshine the man he both idolizes and demonizes, he produces a musical called Omelette, a genre of theater that London has never seen before. Nigel believes it to be a bad idea and insists on his own play, a story about a king who loses the love of his life, starts to question his own existence, and eventually loses his sanity. As the two brothers begin to drift apart, Shakespeare moves to make sure that his very own fame and current social standing would be preserved at all costs.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Vietgone (Broadway)

70’s, Fall of Saigon. Quang (Raymond Lee), a helicopter pilot of the US-backed regime in South Vietnam, flies a chopper full of his countrymen to safety as the Vietcong breach their defenses and march south. Unable to take his wife and two children that he has not seen for a long time, he is transported to safety to a refugee center in Arkansas. Tong (Jennifer Ikeda) works for the US embassy, and gets two flight tickets to America, forcing her to choose between her antagonistic mother and the younger brother he considers to be her best friend. Despite leaving behind their significant others in the uncertainty of the now communist-occupied south, sparks fly when the two see each other at Fort Chaffee. But their romance is going to be short-lived, because he is going back to Saigon, no matter what it takes, to rescue his kids.

An American in Paris (Broadway)

1945, Post-WWII Paris. Jerry Mulligan (Dimitri Kleioris) contemplates on whether to stay in France or go back home to America, deciding for good after tearing up his train ticket and heading to a nearby bar in hopes of finding a way to survive in the recently liberated City of Lights. There he meets Adam (Matthew Scott), a fellow soldier injured in battle who opted for the same path, pursuing his passion for music at a time when the recovering city needs it most. Henri (Max von Essen) is heir to a textile empire, but his inner Jazz performer couldn’t ask for anything more than his very own musical stint at Radio City. Or maybe he wants it as bad as proposing to Lise (Leanne Cope), his gifted ballerina girlfriend whose pirouettes are as mysteriously haunting as her character. The three men share their affection for her, as they do their communal efforts to forget the atrocities of war that have defined their generation. But it takes only two to Tango, and most hearts can just beat for one. In the end, she has to choose whether to stay safe and honor a debt of gratitude, or pursue a new kind of adventure that has made her feel alive again.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Humans (Broadway)

Erik (Reed Birney) and Deirdre Blake (Jayne Houdyshell) head to New York to meet their daughter Brigid’s (Sarah Steele) boyfriend, Rich (Nick Mills). The couple has recently moved from their respective Queens apartments into a shared home in a neighborhood that is supposedly safer, but her father is not convinced. Tagging along is Aimee (Cassie Beck), the older daughter who has just lost both her job and her girlfriend. On top of it all, she also has to deal with a gastrointestinal condition that will change her life forever. The family reunion starts light, with anecdotes and inside jokes being exchanged nonstop. Little by little, amidst the on-and-off consciousness of grandma Momo (Lauren Klein) who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, the conversations escalate into something heavier: accusations; regrets; and later on, a secret that might just tear their family apart.

Matilda (Broadway)

Born to an indifferent mother and a swindler of a father who wanted another boy, Matilda (Ava Briglia) should have grown up to be a bitter child, but instead becomes a clever five-year-old despite the circumstances. Her being a voracious reader is always a source of bewilderment for her mother, Mrs. Wormwood (Lesli Margherita), who stands by the motto, “Looks over books.” Mr. Wormwood (John Sanders) insists on calling her a “boy” and dismisses her smart aleck one-liners instead of celebrating them. In fact, the couple could not wait to send her to school just to get rid of her. There, she finds new friends in her teacher, Miss Honey (Jennifer Blood) as well as librarian Mrs. Phelps (Natalie Venetia Belcon), to whom she makes a habit of narrating a magical story of a daughter loved by her parents to the extreme, which is the exact opposite of hers. She quickly excels in class, but her victory is not an easy climb as she goes head-to-head with Miss Trunchbull (Bryce Ryness), a one-time Olympic hammer-throwing champion and a certified bully who governs as headmistress.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cats (Broadway)

The Jellicle cats explain what their tribe is like, who should and should not belong, various naming conventions, as well as their excitement for the highly-anticipated event of each passing year: The Jellicle Ball. Various cats are introduced one by one, each singing and dancing to their own tune, describing their rather mundane routines. Grizabella (Leona Lewis), a glamor cat who has seen better days, enters the picture and attracts the ire of her fellow felines. She sings a lonely song bemoaning what has become of her life, before finally leaving to avoid any potential conflict. With the arrival of the patriarch, Old Deuteronomy (Quentin Earl Darrington), it is revealed that he is the one in charge of picking the cat that will be given the chance to go to the Heaviside Layer to be reborn as one of them.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ako Si Josephine (PETA)

In a fictional place called Allegra, social conduct and behavior are dictated by a principle referred to as Musiconomy. Banning every other musical genre, despotic leader Monotomia (Ricci Chan) controls everyone through constant streaming of HYP music, whose repetitive beats turn the citizenry into lifeless drones who live to work and serve the current social system in place. Josephine (Via Antonio) aids Chinito (Joaquin Valdes) in the production such trance music, directly contributing to the perverse status quo. In her heart, though, she jives to a different kind of rhythm, that of diverse musical styles from a past that now lives only in their memory. As she yearns for both romantic love and liberty from the twisted regime, her compositions become an avenue for rebellion and revolution, much to her friends’ reluctance, in fear of getting exiled on Isla Sintonados where all insurgents are shipped, never to return.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Jersey Boys (Atlantis Theatrical)

60’s. A trio from Jersey finds a new member in the person of Francesco Castelluccio (Nyoy Volante), later more popularly known as the great Frankie Valli. His unusually high falsetto makes him the de facto choice as lead singer of the ensemble, whose current incarnation goes by the name of the Four Seasons. Tommy DeVito (Markki Stroem) serves as the headstrong leader, getting them gigs left and right and taking care of everything financial, regardless the cost. Nick Massi (Nino Alejandro) is the bass player, that one fellow meant to be outshined by the rest, or as he would like to put it: “the Ringo of the group.” With the original fourth bandmate sent away to prison for petty crimes, the remaining three enlist the help of Bob Gaudio (Christian Bautista), the one hit wonder from New York who will end up writing most of their hits. The plot unfolds with each of them alternating in the narration of their meteoric rise, as well as their eventual fall, with their respective points of view and each season representing the band’s status at that very moment.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Changing Partners (PETA)

Alex is 45. Cris is turning 30. The former is the COO of a reputable company and loves watching replays of Glee when doing nothing at home. The latter prefers anime, and frequents Greenhills to patronize class A Nikes. The 15-year age gap serves as a recurring source of friction between the couple, yet somehow they find ways to make the relationship work. Age disparity aside, Cris’ BFF Angel (always mentioned but doesn't appear) is also a perpetual bone of contention, with undying suspicions that an affair is taking place. As their live-in setup reaches its six-year anniversary, cracks begin to manifest as their arguments multiply and become more and more repetitive day after day. The two attempt to mend fences from time to time through conversation and song, but sometimes some relationships are just not meant to last.

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