46 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Stairway to Heaven (2009– )
Heart wrenching and endearing
3 February 2010
When I first heard about Dingdong Dantes and Rhian Ramos being paired together for this drama series, I was very surprised, mainly the age gap of nine years between them. Dantes is known to be a really good actor at times, and a really bad one often. While Ramos frequently receives abuse from fans for bagging roles she does not deserve, however, every time Ramos proved hr detractors wrong - she gained rave reviews in her last drama series role in LaLola - and Stairway to Heaven she certainly puts her detractors in their places! Stairway to Heaven is utterly beautiful from beginning to end. Joyce Bernal directs the most heart wrenching drama series I have seen in a very long time, a story of a childhood love that must overcome the greed of others and above all, death. Dode Cruz is the head writer, it is so different to anything he has done before - after receiving endless bashing due to the way he writes; with Stairway to Heaven, he proves he does not need violence, kidnappings, switch-births, etc. to make a drama series work.

The acting is the most solid I have ever seen for a very, very, very long time - the entire cast performed miles above the bar. Barbie Forteza and Joshua Dionisio played the younger counterpart of Dantes and Ramos' Cholo and Jodi, and they played it well, they had a certain chemistry that made you feel for their characters, Forteza's crying scenes are noteworthy especially coming from someone who has no past acting experience.

The supporting cast did amazing jobs, starting with Karen de los Reyes, who had her career's best performance! De los Reyes has always been known as the "best-friend", although she has done well with a few intense characters like in Mulawin. In Stairway to Heaven, de los Reyes proves that she can literally eat the leading lady in acting (although Ramos was still amazing). Same goes to Soliman Crz, who best performance he has ever delivered, the audience could feel his heartache and love for his son Tristan (played by TJ Trinidad), the nice third wheel. The most memorable scene of him here is when he fought off Jean Garcia's evil stepmother character, not with violence, but with sharp words! Jean Garcia gave out a scary performance, her scene alone when she revealed Sandy Andolong's character's affair was simply devilish, she was so scary.

Now, the main characters! Glaiza de Casto was effective as a villain who only wants to be loved and wanted things she was deprived from. TJ Tristan's Tristan is a tragic character who desperately wants to be loved by the woman he cannot have.

Music also played a very important role in this drama series, Regine Velasquez's rendition of Faith Cuneta's "Pag-Ibig Ko'y Pansinin" wasn't really the best, but it was beautiful, I felt shivers down my spine. I also love the music score, although there were some off-key and kinda out of place music scores, but listening to the score along is lush. Overall, Stairway to Heaven showed the entire cast's career's best performances. Highly recommendable!
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Rosalinda (2009– )
Flowers that you wish you bought
22 September 2009
This is the second GMA-7 remake of a Thalia telenovela after the highly successful MariMar two years ago. When Rosalnda first aired, it gained lukewarm audience, and I must admit the first few episode of the series was not interesting nor boring - maybe the story is not as intense as MariMar's.

Newcomer Carla Abellana reprises the role memorable Thalia title role. Her innocence alludes the character, the way she spoke and way she acted was perfect for the role. When the character turned stronger, it suited Abellana even more. Abellana is paired to Geoff Eigenmann as the ever dashing Fernando Jose, even though Eigenmann's charisma is no par to Dingdong Dantes' Sergio in MariMar, the chemistry between Abellana and Eigenmann is electryfing.

The overall performance is surely about the bar. Glydel Mercado throws an award-winning deserved performance, her anger and pain is felt by the audience. As opposed to Sheryl Cruz who carries the OTT (over the top) performance, it might have worked with Bakekang, but not here. Roderick Paulate is a revelation, I've never seen him in a such melodramatic role (even though the character is a comic relief). Another stand out is Jomari Yllana, and man, the man has not lost it. His aura could make any woman (even me, and I'm a man) swoon! Although not as solid as director Maryo J. de los Reyes and writer R.J. Nuevas' previous effort, the powerful Impostora, Rosalinda is an underrated flower that deserves more hype and more love than it's getting.

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Totoy Bato (2009– )
Transcends through time
12 June 2009
Padilla's fourth serving on television, third with GMA Network, is better than expected, and in comparison to the previous three, this adaptation of Carlo J. Caparas' graphic novel is Padilla's acting piece for television. In Basta't Kasama Kita, his character seemed forced to be 3-dimensional. Asian Treasures was good for the explosive action scenes and until the fantasy storyline crept in. Joaquin Bordado was an excellent piece of television filled with terrific characters, but I found it very hard to watch.

Totoy is a farmer living with loving wife Elena and daughter. This "Totoy" character develops into a revolutionarian after Elena killed herself instead of being raped by the terrorists. Ara Mina played to role subtle, the best performance she has done in ages as Elena. After getting even with the terrorist, Totoy moves to the city and become a day-labourer fighting against the company's corruption. And there he meets two characters: Fredo, the man who seemed to lost faith in his former profession as a boxer, and Anna, Totoy's childhood sweetheart who is now a famous singer. As always, Eddie Garcia delivers the goods, now as Fredo. While its ironic seeing the country's most famous singer Regine Velasquez playing the country's most famous singer Anna Molina.

And from there, Totoy becomes the renowned Totoy Bato. Much similarly to GMA Network's other programme Zorro starring Richard Gutierrez, Totoy Bato explores the origins, the pathos of the character Totoy. All the different battle he went through (terrorist, revenge for his wife, corruption, prejudice and for love) defines him as a character.

Acting solid here, Padilla is not overshadowed by visual effects like his previous two series. Garcia performs up the bar. Velasquez might be not as good as in Ako si Kim Samsoon, but still commendable.
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Zorro (2009– )
Such a lush picture
6 April 2009
This version of Zorro is simply epic. The first historical Philippine drama; well, forget about that disastrous, short-lived Princess Sarah, this is the sh*t! It stars Richard Gutierrez, Rhian Ramos, TJ Trinidad, Michelle Madrigal, Jacklyn Jose, Joel Torre, Bianca King etc.

Based on the popular (probably the most famous) swashbuckler character created by Johnston McCulley. This version of Zorro retells the novella The Curse of Capistrano, the first ever Zorro "adventure". Just like the novella, the series details at a man's steady recreation from a boy orphan through his chaotic adolescence to the turbulent power struggle with the Spanish government of the 17th century, and to finally becoming a legendary masked-hero.

It's beautiful, it's moving, its well-acted, well-written, well-directed, well-scored. The action, the comedy, the drama... all balanced to a dose perfect for television viewing. It's fantastic how each episode is creating a tension building up to its inevitable future. What I love about this series is how it is able to touch upon the right elements, humour, sadness, action and pathos - each character (well, the main ones, at least) are 3-dimentional, they breathe and live like we do. And the writing is lush(!) - the dialogues are powerful and the scenes fast moving.

Acting wise? You get what you get from Richard Gutierrez, I don't think its ever the director's fault now. Gutierrez still pulls the same faces, even excellent directors couldn't make him. However, despite that, Gutierrez does pull of some good acting chops (but nothing major). TJ Trinidad is strong, brooding and quite possible scary, only an amazing actor can pull of the "evil man, but abides by the law" role, and Trinidad certainly pulled it off. Rhian Ramos is better than ever, but I can't help that her beauty doesn't seem to fit the setting the drama is trying to create. Nevertheless, Ramos still performs above the standards.

I am amazed how faithful the writers are to its original novella, even to the littlest characters. Kudos to Mark A. Reyes and Dominic Zapata for teaming up again to possibly making the best Richard Gutierrez starer, maybe outdoing their last team-up with Mulawin, five years prior!
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LaLola (2008– )
Truly unexpected, more than I bargained for!
13 January 2009
LaLola is director Dominic Zapata's follow up to the highly raved Ako si Kim Samsoon. Before the premiere, I thought this series has both Zapata's weakness and strength, fantasy being the weakness and comedy being the strength - so, I was curious on how this would turn out to be.

The series stars Rhian Ramos. I admit that I don't like her, but damn she is a good actress. And this series made me like her a little bit more. Many of the strength of the series, just like ASKSS, came from the casting: Eddie Garcia is great a always, same goes to Eula Valdez. But the biggest surprise (from the supporting cast) came from Keempee de Leon, I didn't really see him as an actor before, but just a drag-comedian; but combined together, de Leon is a great comedic actor as Ramos' closet bestfriend.

And then comes the weak bits: Sheena Halili who triumphed as a funny girl in MariMar and ASKSS, fell short here, maybe her role isn't just funny; and JC de Vera, who delivered a powerful performance in Babangon Ako't Dudurugin Kita, doesn't compensate as a comedy actor as Ramos' leading man.

The biggest strength of the series came from the writing of Jun Lana, the script is deeply suiting. And Zapata's direction through cinematography and music score complements Lana's writing.
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One True Love (2008)
It's all about the eyes
19 November 2008
I've always liked a girl with beautiful eyes, and I quickly fell in love with this movie. This is not the typical movie that a guy would like but, as a big fan of films, I do like this type of film.

It's all about Marian Rivera and Iza Calzado's eyes. They cried buckets in this movie, I was very close too. These girls know how to act through their eyes, they didn't really need to say anything, I can already feel their pain. But between the two, Calzado brought the better part in acting; Rivera was equally good, but now match with the first, she was refreshing in every sense of the word.

On the other hand, leading man Dingdong Dantes delivered a worthy amnesiac performance. Dantes has certainly grown up from his chubby "pa-cute" days to this strong figure of an actor.

The film is worthy of its hype. Excellent direction and writing, with beautiful musical scoring from Von de Guzman. The film, however, fell short on one thing: pacing, sometimes it was just too slow trying to give us the whole picture. Plus the advertisements concealed within the film doesn't help.

All in all, One True Love is a must see. Probably not the best Filipino film of 2008, but it is up there. I can't wait to see my next melodramatic love story... I guess I'll be watching Anne Curtis' Baler this Christmas.

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Charming storyline; bad acting, but they know it
28 August 2008
The visuals and style of writer-director Jose Javier Reyes' My Monster Mom doesn't differ from his previous work Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo and Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo. Incidentally, this movie's abbreviation is "MMM", and the others are "KKK" and "SSS".

Much of the movie is very good, but its suffered from the two leads' awful acting. Real life mother-daughter Annabelle Rama and Ruffa Gutierrez presents over the top acting. But the director plays much on the idea that they're awful actresses by using "jolly" lines.

Though Rama-Gutierrez display bad actings, the supporting cast does not. Eugene Domingo is at the top of the game like always as Rama's rich friend. Young actors/actress who hasn't performed well in the past has shown better acting, like Bubble Paraiso, Mart Escudero and Iwa Moto.
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Magdusa ka (2008– )
Absolutely riveting!
26 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The characters are bound by the actions they make that made them what they are... All the characters in Maryo J. de los Reyes' adaptation of Pablo Gomez's classic novel are filled with sorrow from their unwanted past that makes them what they are in their present, they all have the will to change their future depending on their actions.

It's very true to its title about suffering, this is very much a character study of five "suffering" people: Christine (Katrina Halili), Rod (Dennis Trillo), Roland (Gabby Eigenmann), Millet (Iwa Moto) and Hedy (Ana Capri). We see them change from what they are in the beginning to the end. Christine transformed from a strong, almost man-hating, woman to a woman whose main objective is to care for her child. Rod took the path he never wanted, taking back what was his to begin with, from a "bad boy" to a "good boy"; which comes in contrast with Roland who comes as sweet and innocent in the beginning to a mad and masochistic in the end to obtain the love of the woman he loves in any way possible. Millet, her past was filled with unhappiness, which she makes up in love for a man who hasn't decided his future, she is a woman with a strong persona but with a weak soul. And there is Hedy, who was happy in the past thinking it will continue to her sad present, love was everything for her, throwing away money and her dignity for a man who will never love her back the way she loves him.
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Sine novela: Sinasamba kita (2007)
Season 1, Episode 1
Most powerful story of obsession
10 July 2008
Director Joel Lamangan brings back to life Gilda Olvidado's much adored tale about obsession with such fine quality. He proves that he has not lost his touch in melodramas. Merged with a beautiful adaptation of Don Michael Perez where the characters are very human - all are rotten inside.

With such fine direction and writing comes the equally spectacular acting, not just out of the four main characters, but also to the wall of supporting cast. Out of them, Carlo Aquino gave the most excellent performance --- his character filled with love and obsession was so realistic, its almost scary! Truly an award-winning calibre performance!
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Powerful and intense, a true thriller of its kind!
3 July 2008
L: Change the World is a spin-off from the Death Note movies, not the mangas. The mangas/anime are better than all the films. Death Note: Part 1 is a better film than L, but I enjoy the last the most. Death Note: Part 2 is all-over the place though.

Hideo Nakata was able to craft an intense and heart-pounding thriller, and Matsuyama Kenichi is just simply amazing as the almost heartless L, but we see more of him as a "human".

Basically, L: Change the World chronicles the last days of L, similar to what Passion of the Christ did to Jesus. Other than the amazing Kenichi, the young boy F is adorable and we see him become Near - who we never see - in the near future; hence the toy robot.

Overall, L: Change the World is a worthy spin-off to the shaky films and superior mangas/anime. Highly recommended!
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