Cinemalaya will feature its first-ever full-length animated film

The film is made via rotoscope



Cinemalaya Film Festival is back again this year and we couldn’t be more excited! Home to some of the best local independent films, Cinemalaya seeks to offer various takes on Philippine cinema for filmmakers and film enthusiasts alike.

For the first time ever, an animated feature film will be competing for the full-length category this 2023, anchoring on this year’s theme, “Ilumi Nasyon”

Iti Mapukpukaw (which translates to The Missing in Ilocano), tells the story of Eric, a mouthless young man whose life is untangled after the arrival of a familiar alien.

During his interview at Ang Walang Kwentang Podcast, Director Carlo Joseph Papa said that he worked with over 90 animators for the film which is made via rotoscope. Rotoscope is an animation method created by tracing over frame by frame of live-action footage.

The film stars Carlo Aquino and theater actor Gio Gahol, including Academy member and Golden Globe and BAFTA Award-nominee Dolly De Leon.

Cinemalaya will be screened at Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) this year, while the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is under renovation. You can also watch the competing films at CCP’s Black Box Theater and selected Ayala Mall Cinemas.

This year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival will run from Aug. 4 to 13. Visit the Cinemalaya website and Facebook for ticket inquiries.


Blue Beetle is too familiar but still enjoyable

Offers nothing new but is a fun time nonetheless



Blue Beetle

It’s an interesting time for DC fans. That’s especially true with the takeover of James Gunn and Peter Safran for movie and TV projects under the unified DC Studios.

It doesn’t take a lot to look at what’s going on. Some are still reeling from the abrupt end to the unfinished Synderverse. Meanwhile, some are steadily buying into the Gunn and Safran era.

That makes the timing for Blue Beetle quite impeccable. Although this film has been under development since 2018, the movie which stars Cobra Kai protagonist Xolo Maridueña, couldn’t have been released at a better time.

While everyone else sorts things out, here’s an enjoyable buffer with lots to unpack. Besides, what else can be done and enjoyed at this time, right? 

Premise and parallels

Blue Beetle

Here’s the thing: Blue Beetle has quite the generic superhero movie premise. A random person is either given a superpower or discovers it accidentally, turning themselves into the story’s superhero.

We’ve seen this a lot of times before in at least the last decade alone. It’s important to approach this movie by setting that expectation aside. You will surely see a lot of scenes in the movie that will make you think about either Spider-Man, Ant-Man, Shazam, and even Iron Man.

Entertaining at its core

The movie is set in the fictional city of Palmera, which loosely represents El Paso, Texas in the comics. Jaime Reyes, who later on assumes the titular superhero role, is part of a Latino family struggling with finances. He has just graduated from college and is seeking a job to become the family’s breadwinner.

It’s hard not to laugh at the multiple family culture references dispersed throughout the film. Notably, Filipinos should easily relate to them. There’s Jaime’s funny uncle that everyone has; there’s the telenovelas and superstitions, as well as the tight-knit bond expected of families of our heritage. 

For an even more local touch, the voice of Philippine Airlines herself, Inka Magnaye, took on the role of Khaji-Da. She had two lines in Filipino, giving us a little something to be proud of.

Back to its premise

The story, of course, takes a turn for the unusual when Reyes crosses paths with Jenny Kord. She is the daughter of the deceased Ted Kord the former Blue Beetle. Since Ted’s passing, Kord Industries has been run by his sister, Victoria, has become obsessed with the Scarab to develop advanced armor suits capable of defending the world.

Sounds familiar? Yup, that’s exactly the Darren Cross, Pym Technologies, the Yellowjacket, and the first Ant-Man film narrative all over again.

Victoria would harness the power of the Scarab, but her niece Jenny is reluctant and conscientious enough towards it, like Hope Van Dyne was towards Cross. Jenny would have other plans. In a once-in-a-lifetime coincidence, Jenny sneaks the Scarab out of the Kord Industries facility using Jaime’s help.

That’s when Jaime gets chosen by the apparently sentient Scarab to be its host. Its powers are activated in the process and turns the protagonist into the superhero he never planned on being. That said…

Wow, that superhero is powerful

Blue Beetle

As generic as some of the parts of the film is, obviously, Blue Beetle is a superhero origin and introduction story. Casual moviegoers definitely do not know much about this protagonist in-depth. So yes, this was a banger way to introduce him into the DCEU.

Unlike Spider-Man or Iron Man whose suits are powered by advanced tech and a talking AI, the Scarab basically merged with Reyes’ body as they became symbiotic. The Khaji Da has sworn to protect its host ‘til death, but towards the latter parts of the film, Reyes realizes he is one with the Scarab so he can control his powers.

The final battle

This proved to be vital in his last battle against the Cyborg OMAC (One Man Army Corps). This is Victoria’s half man, half machine guinea pig who bore the weight of Victoria’s experiments. The OMAC was supposed to replicate the Scarab and its host merging, and boy was he overwhelming at first.

Victoria’s greed leads to her destroying the Reyes family home and the subsequent death of Jaime’s father. Jaime gets caught in the process so Victoria could harness the Scarab’s power inside him. In spite of the devastating loss, Jaime’s entire family, with the help of Jenny, rally around him.

Jenny reveals his deceased father’s secret base underneath their abandoned home, and they team up to raid the Victoria-ran Kord Industries’ location to free Jaime, quash Victoria’s evil plans, and wipe away all of their prototypes.

That puts Jaime in the final battle against OMAC whom he is able to defeat, thanks to his synergy with Khaji Da. In the end, his human side shows, deciding not to kill OMAC whose backstory was also revealed with the help of Khaji Da being sentient. Instead, OMAC decides to take Victoria with him as his suit was already too powerful to stop exploding.

Again, given the generic premise, I thought it was a pretty decent story development for both the good-versus-evil angle and everything else outside of it.

Execution matters in a movie like this, and they were all able to balance the human aspect, the action-packed scenes, and the superhero premise in the end.

Exciting times for DCEU?

In the mid-credits scene, it was revealed that Ted Kord was still alive. He is trying to make a distress call to his secret headquarters in their supposedly abandoned home. This teases the possibility of another Blue Beetle film. In the comics, Kord is the second Blue Beetle, while Reyes is the third.

As the planned comics series for Blue Beetle also features him and Superman together, it’s safe to say that he will likely be incorporated in the DCEU and perhaps even play a major role in the next Justice League or appear in future movies for continuity.

It wouldn’t be surprising given the superhero’s capabilities. Like what Khaji Da said: “Whatever you can imagine, I can create.” Blue Beetle is a superhero most of us didn’t even know about growing up and yet here we are, given one that’s full of power and potential. It’s all a matter of execution once more for the next chapters of the DCEU.

Hopefully, that’s something we can look forward to enjoying.

Watch the final trailer.

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How to watch the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023

PPVs, apps to download, more



File Photo: Watching FIBA basketball


The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 tips off on August 25. It offers hoops fans the ultimate experience to see the sport’s best global stars.

No less than Gilas Pilipinas will do its best to represent the Philippines proudly at home. Hundreds of thousands are expected to watch the prestigious event in-person from August 25 to September 10.

For those who do not have the luxury of attending live, there are still various ways to watch the World Cup. You can use whatever device from wherever location you’re from.

Here’s a quick rundown:


For Cignal TV prepaid and postpaid subscribers, a one-time Pay-Per-View fee of PhP 650 entitles viewers to all 92 games of the FIBA World Cup in both SD (Ch. 198 and 199) and HD (Ch. 298 and 299).

They will come commercial-free and with access to exclusive FIBA content such as documentaries and highlights of previous tournaments.

For people mainly interested in Gilas Pilipinas games, TV5 is the surefire way to catch the action. The channel is accessible for free via CignalPlay and via any way you access free TV, like digiboxes.

Smartphones, tablets

For smartphone and tablet users, there are a handful of streaming apps that will show the World Cup games live and on demand.

Cignal’s novel streaming platform, Pilipinas Live will show all 92 games for a PhP 99 a month subscription.

Unlike cable subscriptions, this rate does not have a lock-in period. A month would be enough since the World Cup runs from August 25 to September 10. You can cancel afterwards.

Games will also be shown on the Smart Livestream app for FREE. To watch all 92 games, Smart subscribers simply have to connect to a Smart mobile data, TNT or PLDT WiFi while using the Smart LiveStream App. The app is downloadable on the App Store and Google Play Store.

Speaking of Gilas, Smart has a prepaid Gilas Power subscription promo which is inclusive of 78GB of total data, including a fixed allocation for the Livestream app and open access data good for a month.

More details here.

PC and laptops

For PC and laptop users, the best workaround is availing of CignalPlay Premium, which starts at just PhP 75 monthly, inclusive of most channels you’re used to seeing on cable TV from movies to sports to news channels and more.


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Netflix’s Scott Pilgrim gets its first trailer

The original visuals are back



Scott Pilgrim is getting a 1-Up. Thirteen years since the premier of the original film, Netflix is reviving the cult classic with a new anime series. Announced back in March, the upcoming series now has its first-ever trailer.

As expected, Netflix’s Scott Pilgrim will mix the visual style of the graphic novel series and the voice cast of the live-action film. Since series creator Bryan Lee O’Malley is heavily involved in the series, it will retain a lot of the creator’s style including the gaming-themed visuals. The original film’s cast is also back to reprise their respective roles. This includes Michael Cera as the titular character, as well as Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anna Kendrick, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, and Chris Evans.

The trailer starts off with Alison Pill’s familiar “We are Sex Bob-omb.” It then offers sneak peeks at several characters in the series including Ramona Flowers, Matthew Patel, Lucas Lee, and Gideon Graves. No one scene is under the spotlight, but you can clearly see Patel busting into a concert and Lucas Lee skateboarding in the park.

Besides O’Malley and the original cast, director Edgar Wright is also coming back. Meanwhile, Science Saru is at the helm for the animation.

Netflix’s Scott Pilgrim will start airing on November 17.

SEE ALSO: Netflix will revive Scott Pilgrim as an anime

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