Movie Review : My Kontrabida Girl

Great villains are largely forgotten in the broadcast and comments but Rhian Ramos here is the most lovable and highly commended among the villainess!

"My Kontrabida Girl" is a well-made romantic-comedy from the scriptwriter of “My Amnesia Girl” and director of “Zombadings: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington.”

We frequently want to equate protagonist with the "good character" so we got in a discussion about how the protagonist doesn't necessarily need to be the good person of the story. It's easy to hate a movie villain, because its his or her job is to be hated. But a villain that's funny, charming, beautiful and has the rare ability to steal the show from its heroic counterparts is a special breed.


The Story:

"My Kontrabida Girl" (My Antagonist Girl) is a 2012 Filipino romantic comedy film directed by Jade Castro. It stars Rhian Ramos, Aljur Abrenica, Bea Binene and Jake Vargas.

The film’s story centers on the life of a famous soap opera antagonist and her funny and heart-warming quest in finding her one true love. Isabel Reyes (Rhian Ramos) who is the infamous soap opera villain in the country. Everyone simply loathes Isabel which makes her the most condemned personality in the world of television.

But by some weird twist of fate, Isabel’s life turns upside down when she encounters a near-death accident. The wicked antagonist experiences a sudden change of heart and being the top kontrabida of her soap opera, Isabel couldn’t just deliver her heartlessness and cruelty in front of the camera. Her over-the-top villainous persona disappears and she finds herself powerless to kick and slap the lead star.

Isabel’s show hits a major ratings lump and the network advises her to take a break from work with hopes of reigniting her passion. To solve her dilemma, Isabel seeks the help of the biggest kontrabida icon in the country, no less than Ms. Bella Flores. She finds her on YouTube and says that for Isabel to get herself back, she needs to find the person who hurt her the most. And that person for Isabel is Chris Bernal (Aljur Abrenica).

Armed with pure wits and sheer determination, Isabel sets off to meet Chris who is still living in the same town where she left him many years back when she was a child. As they navigate their way through romance and heartbreak, will it further sabotage Isabel’s career and their chances for a relationship? As they rediscover their past, Isabel begins to see Chris in a new light and she unexpectedly finds herself falling in love all over again with the very same guy who broke her heart. Will they ever get the right timing to be together? Will the Kontrabida girl find the perfect and genuine love she has been wishing for in the arms of Chris?

My Take:

Kontrabidas (antagonists/villains) are very important in any story. A good villain can save a bad movie. A great villain can elevate a weak film. A great villain in a great movie is matchless cinema history. Rhian in this movie is the most lovable! Aljur's acting here shows a big improvement since I last saw him act on a movie.

"My Kontrabida Girl" really looks goofy which seemingly establishes the comedy in its romantic comedy genre that this film falls under. What sets "My Kontrabida Girl" apart from any other rom-coms is that it does not stick to the formula that the other movies have been using. Granted, it's a far cry from any rom-com movies out there. But Aljur and Rhian's romantic comedy movie has just enough edge to entertain every moviegoers in the cinema.

Rhian Ramos and Aljur Abrenica have a very fascinating chemistry together. Aljur delivered convincing portrayal of a leading man, though it’s a way to go on his acting but nevertheless, he can act! and he is really looks good in the movie. He was also able to deliver his role as a naive townsman yet charming enough to make every woman fall for him. Whether intentional or not, he was able to make the people laugh at his adventures and misadventures.

Charice Solomon who was very outrageous in her role as Isabel's PA is really a scene stealer here. It's my first time to see her in a movie and she's very hillarious and I almost laugh my lungs due to laughing. The "SK Boys" consist of Enzo Pineda, Sef Cadayona, Kevin Santos, and Ken Chan are revelations here. Maybe they are just supports in this movie but in every scene I'm seeing them, makes me think that they can be the next leading men of GMA Network. They have different characters and more importantly good looks and talent that will surely put them to stardom.

Overall, it's still a great movie! This is kinda refreshing and is genuinely funny without being crass or hyperactive, sincerity can sneak into the lair through the back door.

Rating: 8/10

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Are you ready to face your own demon?

Can you face the wrath of your alter ego?

There are two sides in every story...
Two sides of a coin...
Dr Jekyll has two personalities residing in one body...

Created in a classic short novel, "The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde," by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886 is familiar to us all probably due to the film versions, where great emphasis is made on Hyde turning into a monster after drinking his potion.

"Jekyll and Hyde" is about the man of research and science and the inner beast driven by lust, fury and passion. All frame and comment on the central story of Jekyll himself and his attempts to control his alter ego Edward Hyde. In an alternative state of mind, he commits multiple murders and other atrocities, the issue of lifeless bodies and blood and how to portray them on the stage is raised.

Dr Henry Jekyll (Michael Williams/Jett Pangan) wants to prove that he can separate good and evil in man, as a cure to his father’s madness, through his revolutionary potion and is devastated when the board at St Jude’s Hospital refuse him a living soul to experiment upon.


During his bachelor party, he is inspired by local prostitute Lucy (Kalila Aguilos) to make his own dreams come true, and decides to experiment upon himself. By drinking the potion he becomes Edward Hyde, the manifestation of all that is bad about his own personality. Hyde revels in being alive and his acts become more and more shocking and culminate in multiple murders. Hyde finds it harder and harder to control his alter ego which threatens his sanity and his relationships with the people around him, especially his fiancée Emma (Cris Villonco).


When Hyde finds it harder and harder to control this manifestation of his personality until the murderous Hyde threatens to take over. Seemingly Jekyll takes control of his personality allowing him to marry Emma. Just as he says his vows Hyde returns to cause havoc at the wedding. Reluctantly Jekyll’s best friend Utterson (Junix Inocian) kills him to set him free.

When Dr. Jekyll comes to the realization of his own guilt, suicide seems his only option to forever silence his murderous side.

"Jekyll and Hyde" is a story we all know but few have actually read. This story focuses on a man who is able to allow the evil that lurks inside him to find freedom and expression through brutishness and corrupt behaviour. The musical incorporates both ideas with mixed results. Facade and duality are the main themes running throughout the musical. This production offers creatively dramatic solutions — stuffed sacks are stand-ins for corpses, and bags slashed open to spill blood-red beans and sand artfully imitate the escape of vital fluids from the body.

The leads in the show are spectacular. I have watched this play that Michael Williams, who plays Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde, has the voice of a superstar. This is not an easy role to do well. First, you have to be the dedicated if not a little compulsive Dr. Jekyll, whose passion for eradicating evil in the world clouds his good judgment. The acting was superb. Jekyll and Hyde were believable as two sides of the same coin, Hyde with a believably malevolent presence. Enfield hammed up his role marvelously, but still performed his final scene with pathos.

"Jekyll and Hyde" is enjoyable and the songs are good you just end up leaving it wishing there had been a bit more drama and spectacle to get your teeth into! Well done to all involved, including the band of course, "Jekyll and Hyde" is a fantastic musical!

Catch Repertory Philippines presentation of "Jekyll & Hyde" beginning March 16 to April 15 in Onstage, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. For tickets please call Repertory Philippines at 571-6926 or 571-4941 or email info@repertory.ph or in Ticketworld at 891-9999 or www.ticketworld.com.ph.

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Stage Play Review : Bare : A Pop Opera

These Ateneans take risks and delivers on "Bare : A Pop Opera"




"Bare : A Pop Opera,"a musically-charged and sexuality-questioning explosion propelled from the stage and onto the laps of the audience. Certain songs were heavy with harsh beats and foot stomping rhythms, while others captured your heart. What I liked most about this musical, however, it would definitely be the lyrics. They were so heart felt and poetic; I found myself thinking over each refrain, even after the song was long ended.

This is a coming of age story for a group of senior high school students at a Catholic boarding school,  "Bare : A Pop Opera" is not your typical  musical theatre fare, touching on such subjects of homosexuality, drug use and teen pregnancy in a sometimes dark view of adolescence. Wrapped around these universal teen issues is a church that is at most times unyielding in its beliefs, causing confusion and angst for these kids coming to the discovery of who they are.

It was a very moving performance, and the story itself led to many open discussions on issues such as drugs, sex, alcohol, love, the church…etc.

These heavy and controversial subjects were handled with respect and consideration, which was good because of the wide range of audience members present. I thought it was beautifully done.

Furthermore, the actors were fantastic and the singing was pretty good; however, probably not one of the best vocals I’ve heard out of a student theater organization.


I bowed to the two leads, Bibo Reyes and Jaime Barcelon, along with the mother (Jenny Zamora) of the Peter (Bibo) were extremely talented. Bibo and Jaime both have tremendous voices and there is a real connection between them. They stood out the most to me, in terms of talent. Jaime is particularly good here as he struggles to reconcile his feelings for Peter (Bibo) and his perception of how the church and those around him would judge if they knew his secret. And of course, stand-out in all his characters is Rem Zamora with his characters as the Priest and the stunning Sister Chantelle.


"Bare : A Pop Opera"'s knowing exploration of teen challenges, coupled with the solid presentation from the BueRep, this a powerful piece. While it may sadly become another show preaching to the choir, it's okay to be reminded we've all been there and, to borrow a phrase, "it does get better."

Directed by Ana Abad Santos, "Bare : A Pop Opera" will open this February 29 with runs from March 1 to 3 and March 7 to 10 with gala shows from Wednesdays to Saturdays at 8pm, and matinée shows on Saturdays at 3pm. For tickets and inquiries, you may contact Chiz Jardin at 09165787618 or through e-mail at nicojardin12@yahoo.com. For show buying, you may contact Luis Marcelo at 09175025847.

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Stage Play Review : Wilfrido Maria Guerrero's The Forsaken House

Freedom is something priceless, unnerving and relentless but above all it is a right that God, himself had provided us and that no man should usurp.

"The Forsaken House" is a play written by Wilfrido Maria Guerrero, published in his 13 Plays (1947). It depicts a typical Filipino family in the post-war era where the father assumes total control of family affairs, and shows how the children respond to the repressing circumstances.


The play stars theater luminaries Irma Adlawan, Tess Dumpit, Ces Quesada, Espie Tinio-Garcellano, Menggie Cobarrubias and Joel Lamangan, together with the Dulaang UP ensemble and some of today’s young and versatile breed of theater actors.

Characters:

Ramon – husband
Encarna - wife
The children
Teresita – eldest daughter, most self possessed of the children
Clemencia - tiny and weak of constitution, nervous by temperament
Adeling - pretty, strong-willed and impulsive
Jorge - the eldest brother
Flavio - most reserved of the brothers, his reserved nature is dangerous, his brooding eyes reveal strange longings and desires
Gonzalo - the youngest of the family
Tony - the prodigal son who ran away to the U.S
Tio Carlos, Tia Pelagia, Nilda, Edgardo, Mr. Sarte, a servant, a policeman

The story:

While many Filipino families of the time embrace change, Don Ramon (played by Joel Lamangan) maintains a severe hold on his family, specially his children. He forbids them from going out with friends yet does not welcome the idea of entertaining visitors at home either. He distrusts their peers and dictates what they can and cannot do in life. Though having only his children’s best interests at heart, his unyielding will to wield control over their lives spur a series of events that led him and his entire family spiraling uncontrollably towards an ominous fate. And such fate unfolds in unexpected and heartbreaking proportions.

I would like to compliment what the play established; that although the Filipino family is patriarchal, dominated mainly by an authoritarian father, the children still maintain a high regard and respect for their father, no matter how loathing the circumstances are. Regardless of my misgivings on trying out in a stage play, by simply watching an excellent play with an outstanding storyline and characters, I already feel content.

The Forsaken House” runs from February 15 to March 4, 2011, at the Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero Theater, UP Diliman. For inquiries, contact Cherry Bong Edralin at 0917-7500107 or the DUP Office at 926-1349.

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