Best of BasLex: My 10 Favorite BasLex moments from Dream Dad

So, if you’ve read this blog before, you may already have an idea of how much of a Dream Dad addict I am, so much so that #DreamDad and #BasLex or its variation #BasLex + Baby has taken over my twitter account. There’s just something about this feel good series that really connects me to my happy place, and I just love the overwhelming sense of good cheer I feel before, during and after I watch it. A perfect stressbuster.

Related post: Yes, I’m a Dream Dad addict. Here’s Why 

One of the main reasons I like this show so much is because of Zanjoe Marudo and Beauty Gonzales’s unexpected chemistry. This is the first time these two have been paired romantically on screen (Remember? Beauty played Zanjoe’s mother in the movie Bromance) and it was an experimental move on the part of ABS-CBN.. Somehow, it worked, despite this being Beauty’s first leading role in a primetime series. I fell in love with the characters of Baste and Alex the first time I saw them together, and even when the show was not yet pushing their tandem, there was a charm in their rapport and friendship from the onset. Now that their love story is being played up, and now that they are officially an item (on the show) I compiled 10 of my best BasLex moments, some of which were sweeter because they were underrated.

Before anything else, credit to the owners of these clips.

10. Alex’s New Look:Now, this was really tough for Alex. Being Baste’s EA, she had to plan his wedding to Angel in record time and go the extra mile. She had to wear potential wedding dresses for Baste’s intended. This time though, she was able to show a different side to her usual conservative persona and even Baste seemed impressed.

9. Movie Date: In this scene, Baste is starting to develop feelings for Alex but he is still partially in denial. This happens shortly after the mesemerized scene (one of the cheesiest scenes on television, but I actually liked it) where he asks out Alex on a movie date in the guise of it being a group date with Make (whom he does not invite). This episode actually ended with Baste giving Alex a bunch of roses which he bought from a child vendor.

8. Karate Moves: Due to tiredness, Alex falls asleep in the hospital waiting for her dad to wake up from a fainting episode. Baste tries to remove her glasses but she suddenly breaks into a karate move. The cuteness continues when Alex refuses to get closer to Baste fearing he might smell her morning breath.

7. Good Job, Baby (0:30 mark): This compilation is kind of cool because it highlights most of the BasLex moments in the team building activity Baste devised to spend more time with Alex outside of the office. My favorite however, was Baby’s enthusiasm in saying that she wanted Alex to be her mom. Such gusto for such a cute kid. The way Baste gives his approval is unexpected but totally adorbs!

6. Pa Fall Ka E: Alex is still hurting over Baste’s statement to Paul urging him to court her. Baste confronts her about her aloofness and she is forced into admitting that she was beginning to hope for something more to develop in their relationship. Baste finally acknowledges that he likes Alex and expressed his intention to compete with Paul for Alex’s affections.

5. Jacket o Yakap: In one of the most pivotal BasLex scenes, Alex tries to distract Baste from his sorrow in losing Baby to the DSWD by asking him out. They begin to talk and joke around like friends and Baste finally opens up to Alex about his real feelings about losing Baby.

4. Pag Wait, Wait (0:27 mark): In this scene, Baste and Alex have a heart to heart after their misunderstanding about their actual relationship status. This is one of my favorites because despite the fact that audiences know how in love Alex is with Baste, she is not rushing into the relationship and is asking him to wait until she is sure she is ready to make the commitment. Baste’s response is precious, as per usual.

3. Ferris Wheel: How could this not be one of my favorite scenes? This is the moment BasLex becomes official. Nuff said.

2. Trial Custody: Baste tries to establish his history with Alex by giving her a mug with the number of employees that she texted him when she was trying to get him to come back to ENS to become the company’s president. He then receives a phone call from the DSWD telling him that Baby will return to the Javier household. BasLex shares three hugs in the space of these few minutes and it was a joy to watch.

1. Simple Gift: While this scene happened way before BasLex was being promoted, I feel like this is a poignant moment in Baste and Alex’s love story because they were friends first before becoming lovers. Alex never left Baste’s side in all of his challenges, work related or personal and this was proof of her devotion to Baste. Its good that now, he feels the same way.

Some of my runners up were when Baste gave Alex new glasses, the menudo lunch and Baste being jealous about Paul in his basketball bonding with Make.

Meanwhile, I also found this fanmade clip of the BasLex love story made by wukalyn. Kudos as it sums up the kilig moments from Day 1.

For fellow fans, happy shipping! To more kilig scenes to come.

Para sa Hopeless Romantic (For the Hopeless Romantic): Book Review

When I heard that Star Cinema and Viva Films will adapt the wattpad-turned besteselling Marcello Santos III novel Para sa Hopeless Romantic starring teen stars Nadine Lustre and James Reid, along with new loveteam Julia Barreto and Iñigo Pascual, I was intrigued. True, Jadine’s first two movies Diary ng Panget and Talk Back and You’re Dead, both based on wattpad fiction did not blow me away. But I was entertained because I liked seeing these two together. This time, I wanted to make sure that there was a good story involved behind the movie so I got an hold of Santos’s novel before the movie’s release.

Para sa Hopeless Romantic is a Filipino novel that revolves around the love story of six people, all in various states of being in love. Becca, the main character, an embittered college student still trying to move on from the betrayal of her first and only love by writing short stories with tragic endings; Nikko, her ex-boyfriend who wants a second chance with her because he hasn’t really fallen out of love with her; Ryan and Maria, two characters out of Becca’s short story — friends who have romantic feelings for each other but are too afraid to act on them; Jackie, Becca’s best friend and confidante, who is pining for Matt, Becca’s boss, and Faye, Nikko’s girlfriend of three years whom he dumps because is still in love with Becca.

I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed Santos’s novel, so much so that I finished the book in a matter of hours (in one sitting). I liked how he established the characters, and loved that he used his old school (PUP) as a backdrop for all of their adventures. Because he knew a lot about his subjects, he was able to effectively describe the settings and moods and set the tone for the scenes in his book.

I liked that the characters had their own issues to deal with and that they weren’t exactly on the same page as the other half of their love teams straight off the bat. This makes the plot slightly more complicated while the characters seemed more human and releateable.

Marcelo understood his characters and he didn’t make them perfect. At times, Becca seemed overly dramatic but Marcelo was able to justify her actions by a substantive backstory so people won’t get too annoyed. Of the characters, Jackie reached out of the page to grab my attention. She was awesome despite being a secondary character but my favorite lines actually came from Ryan when he finally confessed his feelings for Maria through his notebook.

I liked Marcelo’s contemporary approach to writing, and his fluid storytelling style. While Ricky Lee’s Para Kay B was more serious in tone, Marcelo’s Para sa Hopeless Romantic embraced the cheesiness of falling in and out of love and all that came in between. The way the stories were interconnected makes for a sense of community among the characters and its a good thing that the readers have this one group of people to cheer for.

All in all, I think Para sa Hopeless Romantic is a good choice for a mainstream movie adaptation. Even the writing is already fit for the big screen. My favorite part of reading the book was the sense that the writer seemed to care deeply about his characters and his desire to give them their respective happily ever afters was obvious and infectious. He too, seemed to be a hopeless romantic in real life. So, was this the most original love story ever? No. But it sure as heck was entertaining and heartwarming. A great read before you go to bed or to keep you company on a long journey. Highly recommended.

Here’s the clip of the trailer if you’re interested to see what to expect on the big screen.

Insurgent: Movie Review

Insurgent Film PosterI was very impressed by the film adaptation of Divergent in 2014, that it came naturally for me to wait for the sequel with bated breath. Besides, after reading the book, I was sure that it would be just as badass as the first one.  After all, it was the most action packed of the three volumes so to say that I had great expectations about Insurgent would be an understatement.

After the attack on Abnegation and the division of Dauntless, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and the rest of their group seek temporary sanctuary from Amity, but they’re not fitting in as well as they should seeing as the group has their own internal issues to deal with. It doesn’t take long for Erudite to assume control within the walls, seeking out Divergents and using them for an experiment to unlock the message left for society  by the founders. As chaos ensues within and outside the walls, Tris wrestles with her own demons – dealing with the death of her parents and her friends, trying to get her act together as war looms among the factions.

Its been a while since I’ve read the book and I think it was a good thing for me because I didn’t dwell too much on the comparisons between the literature and the adaptation. I still noticed though that filmmaker Robert Schwentke (Flight Plan, R.E.D) and writers Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback took a lot of creative liberties in trimming down the Vernica Roth’s novel to accommodate the film viewers’ shorter attention span.

In a way, it was a good call because the book really delved into the backstories, but on the other hand, I felt like the filmmakers edited too much, and left too little to develop the characters and the story as a whole.

While the execution was good, I felt like the movie dwelled too much on Tris alone that the other characters served as mere backdrops for her personal battles. Don’t get me wrong. I love Shailene Woodley and believe that she is a charismatic and talented actress. I may have even mentioned in my earlier posts that I actually prefer her acting to Jennifer Lawrence (No offense, J-Law), but without a substantial establishment of her relationships with fellow Dauntless members, or Amity, or Candor, it felt like a huge disservice to the story of Insurgent, which really highlighted the roles of the characters, what drives them. The book also depicted a clear picture of the bond that was established among the Dauntless warriors and their loyalty to one another, their friendship and their fragile alliance with the Factionless.

In the movie, what’s left of Dauntless were depicted as mere warm bodies needed to win a war while the Factionless were illustrated as a bunch of thugs who enjoyed bullying people because they hated the world.

Unfortunately, it seemed like there was a rush to get from Point A to Point B of the story — as if filmmakers were excited to get to the simulation part, because it felt so proud of its technically sound CGI rendering, which I’m sure the graphics team worked hard on. Still, I felt like it took too much of the film’s time.

Still, there were standouts. Managing to break through the limited wiggle room was Miles Teller as Peter. Let me just say that this guy is so talented. When he wants people to hate him, he can make audiences curse him to the ends of the earth but when he wants to show vulnerability, he can turn on the charm that one can almost forget what despicable thing he did in the first place. Theo James needs no further effort to be cool. He just needs to appear on screen and smolder and all is well in the world. His chemistry with Shailene is one of the most consistent strengths of the franchise. While Kate Winslet stepped up her game as the villain Jeanine, Ansel Elgort got the short end of the stick with Caleb’s short presence. His arc had better development in the book and made better impact. He got robbed of opportunity, in my honest opinion.

The film also overdid the graphics in this one, no matter how well executed they were. It seemed like most of the time, the scenes were part of Tris’s simulations even when they were not. Kudos though to the action sequences. They were not just cool, they were well thought out and executed, especially the brutal hand to hand combat scenes.

All in all, I think filmmakers oversimplified Insurgent and the film was poorer for it. It relied too much on pizzazz over investing in character and story development which would have helped the franchise for the remaining two movies. It was such a waste because there was a lot of material and a lot of potential to explore but these opportunities were squandered by the decision to put style over substance. While I wouldn’t say that I hated the film, I didn’t love it either. And that’s such a shame because I should have.

The Guest: Movie Review

The Petersons are still mourning the loss of Caleb, the family’s eldest son, when a stranger arrives at their doorstep claiming to be a soldier and Caleb’s good friend. He ingratiates himself with the family and manages to get their confidence but under his good manners and southern charm lurks something dark and dangerous.

From the opening scene of the movie, I felt something familiar about the filmmaking approach. The editing felt like a throwback to the 80s, with the simple transitioning to the techno 80s scoring. I wasn’t surprised to find out that the team of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett was behind this thriller which stars Dan Stevens as the mysterious stranger with an uncanny set of skills.

First off, the story was not very original. Actually, a couple of films have explored the idea of having a weird uninvited houseguest and then learning later that he is not who he claims to be. Wingard and Barrett made no secret that there was something definitely wrong about David (Stevens) from the first moment he was left alone.

For those wondering how in the heck the prim and proper Downton Abbey’s Lord Matthew Crawley fared as a disturbed, ultra violent, poseur or if he made the right choice in leaving the popular UK show at the height its glory, have no fear, Dan Stevens was able to lend credibility to his role with a quiet intensity and charm, yes, charm, that won over the audiences, even though he was kind of nuts. I liked the dimensions in his character and the contrast in his two personas.

I liked the subtlety of David’s character. For somebody who does as much as he, he hardly broke into a sweat. I also liked his relationship with Luke (Brendan Meyer), especially when he stood up for the bullied kid. Even in the end , he was in big brother mode with the younger guy and I was really sold on that.

Actually, the characters’ actions, if scrutinized further merits a lot of questions, like , why would they let a complete stranger into their home? Why would the dad, originally opposed to the idea of having David under their roof, suddenly become friends with him just because of a couple of beers, or why Luke would be more concerned about David despite what his sister suspected about him? Or why antagonize a man you suspect to be dangerous?

Personally, I would have liked for the film to simply have been about David being a psychopath and I’m not quite sure if the backstory added value to the film as a whole, but if its an excuse to bring in Lance Reddick( Agent Broiles from TV’s Fringe), I’m all for it. However, it would have been better if they explored that side of the story some more instead of taking Luke’s theories as a fact.

By the way, kudos to the guys who did the set for the dance. It was awesome. Better than any horror house I’ve ever been to and it made the final confrontation so much cooler.

All in all, I felt that a lot of elements of the film was just included to make it more complex. But while I would’ve preferred for it to be simpler, I thought the filmmakers did a kickass job with the execution. It was cool, it was sleek and it had an edginess to it that made it work. It was a great watch, all things considered.

Yes, I’m a Dream Dad Addict: Here’s Why

dreamdadI hardly ever make posts about Filipino primetime soaps, and its mainly because Filipino series last for more than a hundred episodes, and mostly revolve around the same formulaic topics.

Late last year ABS-CBN premiered Dream Dad, a nightly series about Baste (Zanjoe Marudo), the bachelor president of a dairy company, and  Baby (Jana Agoncillo), a cute six year old whom he meets at an orphanage during one of their events. The two immediately hit it off and share a connection until Baste decides that he wants to be Baby’s official daddy.

I should be embarrassed to admit this but I’m so hooked to this drama, so much so that after I’ve watched it in its usual timeslot, I avidly wait for the episode to be uploaded on iwantv so I could watch it again. Not only that, I also check youtube for select clips of the drama’s best moments and it always manages to bring a smile to my face. Liking is too much of an understatement to describe how I feel about this show. I LOVE IT! (Yes, I wrote it in all CAPS, and I used an exclamation point, which I rarely do so you know how serious I am)

Without further ado, I outline why I am obsessed with this show.

Baste and Baby. The show’s main characters President Baste and Baby are an awesome duo. They have great chemistry and their level of comfort translates to the screen. When they share scenes together, Jana obviously enjoys Zanjoe’s company and this lends more credibility to their encounters. When these two do comedy, the timing is perfect but when it comes to drama, the scenes are heartwrenching.

Family. The family values in this series is great. It depicts different family bonds — joy, conflict, and finding family even beyond blood relations. The dialogue and the interactions are spot on. The show is overflowing with love and the characters are so real that its hard not to find something in common with the characters. I love watching Nenita (Gloria Diaz) and Eliseo’s (Ariel Ureta) petty squabbles. Even if they’re old, they’re really cute and so natural – just like a real mom and a real dad. The scenes of Baste and Michael (Ketchup Eusebio), like Baste and Baby are some of my favorites. These two are so funny when they rib at each other. I count Michael (Make) as family because he’s an honorary part of the Javier family.

jacket o yakap

JACKET O YAKAP? This infamous scene triggered the SS BASLEX ship. *Kilig*

BASLEX <3. I don’t know but I’ve been shipping Baste and Alex (Beauty Gonzales) since the beginning. Seeing these two together just make me smile and follow the series more. My twitter is filled with #BasLex posts. As a matter of fact, I think that’s all I post about these days. :D I also love how Nenita supports her son’s courtship of Alex. Such a stage mom and no subtlety at all.

No villainy, just love. Unlike other soaps where audiences’ blood simply boils at the mere mention of a certain name (I’m looking at you Janine of Two Wives), there are no real villains in Dream Dad. Most of the conflict are not from characters but rather situations and this is a plus on my book.

Overload of cheesiness. In truth, cheesiness in any form of media is a negative thing and honestly, most of the scenes in Dream Dad give me goosebumps — as in I am cringing with embarrassment at the amount of cheesiness on screen and yet, it still works for me and I find myself laughing uncontrollably or hiding under a blanket because I just couldn’t take the sweetness. Hah!

All in all, Dream Dad is a light drama that delivers in spades on the feel good aspect. Its funny, its charming, its cute and its heartwarming. If I had more time to dissect it, I could probably come up with a longer list but for now, I will just content myself with congratulating directors Jeffrey R. Jeturian and Chris Alan Chanliongco, as well as writers Arlene Tamayo, Zoilo Barrel, Julius Villanueva, Cyrus Dan Cañares and June Anthony Amarillio and the entire cast and crew of this series. Just like the term popularized by this program, Magandang Buhay, Dream Dad truly makes life a bit more happier with the good vibes it provides.

Past Tense: Movie Review

Past-Tense-PosterI’m a big fan of Kim Chiu. I’ve seen all of her movies and watched all of her soaps, except for Past Tense. I did not quite connect to the plot as I did her other works. After I watched it, I felt like I was right in the first place. Her third movie paired up with Xian Lim did not pack quite the punch that the first two did.

Belle has spent the past 20 years in a coma after a car accident. When she wakes up, everything is different, even her face. She finds out that her survival is considered a medical miracle. In the course of figuring out what do with her life, Father Time makes an appearance and gives her the chance to redo her life before her accident in the hopes of correcting her mistakes and having the happy ending she wanted.

I would say that Past Tense was not a bad movie per se but there was something essential missing from the story to connect the audience to the characters. Kim as the young Belle was a firecracker, much like she was in Bride for Rent but it seemed at times, that she went over the top in her kikay persona. Ai Ai as older version of Belle was pretty spot on and it was fun to see how these two made an active effort to study each other’s behavior to come off as one person and make the portrayal very consistent. Xian as Babs was so-so but then again, his character was pretty much a watered down version of fat guys on film that went before him. Whereas Sam Milby was adorable in My Big Love, sad to say, Xian looked pathetic and so lacking in confidence as Babs that its really hard to take him seriously as a love interest.

The premise of the movie was pretty cool but I felt like since it was already unique in its premise, it should have stuck its guns and done away with having the makeover before the girl falls in love with the guy. I mean, if Belle already realized that she felt something for Babs, then that should have been it, not that he had to develop a six pack to show her what she’s been missing. Belle was not shallow. She was honest but she was not shallow because from the start, she valued her friendship with Babs and that was clear.

Complicated as the story was, I think the problem in developing the love story was with the blending of Babs and Belle. There was really no lead up to that big moment so it was natural for it to be awkward. There was really just friendship between the two and except for his one gesture, Babs did not communicate his intent for Belle to be more than a friend in all of their scenes together. What he did to work out, etc was all done behind Belle’s back and it led to a certain detachment unlike in the first two movies where there was time to bond and develop the two characters as a unit.

There was also the issue of abrupt resolutions that felt forced to meet the requisite happy ending. Really, all of the family issues, friendship issues and love issues was resolved in the space of one night?

All in all, I was disappointed that Star Cinema only relied on star power to sell this movie. Rather than quality, even for a simple love story, it was subpar for a studio offering. Sad to say, for a film that was premised on the fantastic, there was no magic in this one. It felt rushed, and released for the sake of meeting a deadline. For all the charm it promised, it was a dud.

Talk Back and You’re Dead: Movie Review

TBYDPosterI finally had the time to catch up on my TBW pile and this Pinoy teenybopper romance was one of the few that I failed to see in the cinema. The film is based on yet another wattpad hit of the same name and features teen hearthhrob James Reid and his love team Nadine Lustre, whom he co-starred with in Diary ng Panget. I must say that at the end of the movie, the overall emotion that lingered with me, more than anything, was confusion. I don’t think its a good thing because I really really like these kids.

Top is a bad boy and the leader of the Lucky 13 gang. After he is confronted and humiliated by Samantha, the feisty heiress of a major conglomerate while she was defending her friend, Top vows to exact revenge by making her his ‘girlfriend’. Unknown to the two, they have a shared history and their love story has been going on for a decade.

There are a lot of things I don’t get about the story. And I think that before I go on about everything that is wrong with the movie, the story is the source of everything that did not work out about the film. I have not read the book so I could not judge the literature but on screen, it seemed like a hotpot of cliches all mixed together as a means to come up with a love story that does not even make sense in the first place. The plot was so riddled with loopholes to a degree that boggles the mind — personally, I spent the better part of the film’s 120 minute run alternating between cringing and grinning like an idiot, but that’s mainly because Jadine (James and Nadine) had such good chemistry.

My first problem was the characters. Everybody was so underdeveloped and immature. Sure I’ll grant them that they’re teens and thus more likely to do stuff without thinking things through but the actions of Top and Samantha make no sense. They fall in love without finding out anything about each other. They have major fights that are rooted on not just simple issues, but really test the level of trust and yet these are resolved as easily as saying sorry. They have no respect for one another and act out in the most hurtful ways but that’s okay? The best friend falling in love with the girlfriend, the amnesia, the blindness, the fixed marriage — it seemed like a concoction of telenovela plots forced into a two hour feature.

I get that the source material is based on fiction, and that wattpad is basically an online platform to encourage young writers to explore their creativity, but in purchasing the rights to the literature, filmmakers and screenwriters should have made the call to polish the material and not just blindly base everything on the written work. I take issue with the values presented in the film, like how women should be treated. Should women really allow men (no matter how popular and hunky) to call them bitches and retards? Should they blindly follow guys just because they’re popular, and should guys really join gangs and engage in violence every time to prove their coolness? I get that this is fiction, but since the filmmakers are bringing the book to a wider audience with the target market being teens and young adults, I suppose taking creative liberties with the source material would be acceptable. Is this really what we want teens to perceive as reality? Are we condoning a culture of abuse because really, while at least Diary ng Panget had the balance of a sensitive loving guy, Talk Back had only the gang members and Samantha’s submissive father as male models.

In terms of cinematography, while the shots were good, the editing was so abrupt that the transitions negated any impact any scene might make on the general audience. The general feeling that I got was that it was so fragmented, in thought and execution.

All in all, I felt like Talk Back and You’re Dead was a waste of good talent because there was potential in James Reid, Nadine Lustre and Joseph Marco. They had the skills but they were reduced into playing unbelievable characters in the most unbelievable fashion. As a whole, this movie felt like the Frankenstein monster — with parts from separate entities stitched together to form a whole. As a result, chaos.