JASMINE Curtis Smith plays a lesbian for the first time in “Baka Bukas”, an entry in the Cinema One Originals Filmfest that starts in theaters on November 14, written and directed by Samantha Lee. Did she feel any reluctance in accepting the role?
“No, I feel kasi na although the LGBT community is accepted, it’s the gay men who are mostly recognized,” she says “What about lesbians? It seems pagdating sa lesbians, there’s so much taboo and people are not comfortable with it. Bakit ganun? We need to make people more comfortable with it, to accept them through articles, through films, kaya I didn’t hesitate to accept ‘Baka Bukas’. Malay mo, baka bukas nga, accepted na rin sila.”
So how is it working with a newbie director like Samantha Lee, who’s lesbian? “It’s a great experience. She knows what she’s doing and everyone on the set, from the director of photography, the production designer and lahat sila, they’re also part of the LGBT community and we all really stuck to what we want to deliver for the film.”
Her love interest in the movie is Louise de los Reyes who comes from GMA-7 and who failed to show up at the Cinema One presscon. How is it working with Louise? “Okay, wala kaming naging problema. Wala naman sigurong dapat maging problem kahit taga-saang network ka pa. Naka-chikahan ko siya nang bongga and we got along really well. She’s an easy person to work with.”
She admits she has a love scene with Louise, but she would not want to discuss it in detail. “Just watch it na lang kasi hindi magandang basta ikuwento lang.”
Off cam, Jasmine is very much in a relationship with Jeff Ortega, who comes from the political clan of the Ortegas in La Union and is a certified Level One surfing instructor in La Union Surfing School.
“Mabait siya,” she says. “He really made an effort para makilala siya ng buong family namin.”
It’s said her whole family, especially her Ate Anne, is much more in favor of Jeff than they are of her first BF, Sam Concepcion, who, it’ll be remembered, Anne had a conflict with in a bar before.
KHALIL ENJOYS SENSITIVE ROLE
KHALIL Ramos, “Pilipinas Got Talent” runner-up, also has an offbeat role like Jasmine Curtis Smith in his own Cinema One Originals entry, “2 Cool 2 B 4Gotten”. As one writer puts its: “Kung katomboyan ang kay Jasmine, kabadingan naman ang kay Khalil.”
The movie’s script is written by Jason Laxamana and directed by Petersen Vargas (son of Evelyn). A coming of age story about a sad and lonely boy in high school, Khalil plays Felix, whose life changes when he meets two balikbayan Fil-Am boys, Jameson Blake of PBB and Ethan Salvador, son of former actor Emil Sandoval.
“The role is very challenging,” he says. “First time ko to play such a character na confused and will question his gender. But I enjoyed it, masaya naman.”
He’s 20 in real life but he plays a 16-year old boy in the movie, and he looks it. Does he have love scenes with Jameson and Ethan? “May sexual tension ang scenes namin, very sensitive, but not to the extreme. Panoorin n’yo na lang. Basta, pinag-aagawan nila ako. Ha ha ha!”
Khalil has done a lot of movies since he joined “Pilipinas Got Talent” in 2011. He was in “She’s Dating the Gangster”, “Shake Rattle & Roll 15”, “Kid Kulafu”, “A Second Chance”, “Honor Thy Father”, “Everything About Her”, and “Achy Breaky Hearts”. Aside from “2 Cool 2 B 4Gotten”, he’s in two more new movies: “Bloody Crayons”, a horror movie, and “Babae Sa Septic Tank 2”, a comedy starring Eugene Domingo which is an entry in the coming Metro Manila Filmfest and where he replaces the role of JM de Guzman in the original. Cinema One Filmfest will start on November 14 at Trinoma, Gateway, Glorietta, Greenhills and Cinematheque.
MOVIE REVIEW: DR. STRANGE
WE enjoyed Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Alan Turing and Sherlock Holmes so we won’t miss him as “Dr. Strange”, the newest Marvel superhero that should have been a summer offering but is now being shown during fall in America. And yes, the Brit Cumberbatch does not disappoint and plays the role with deadpan relish, even speaking with an American accent. It made us recall his portrayal of the villain, John Harrison, in “Star Trek: Into Darkness”.
Visually, this action-fantasy flick is an eye-popping psychedelic spectacle like a kaleidoscope showing folding walls, ceilings, staircases and entire buildings, reminiscent of what Christopher Nolan did in “Inception”. Marvel’s Stan Lee appears in a cameo while on a bus with a copy of the book “Doors of Perception”, which is somehow related to the movie.
As Dr. Stephen Strange, Cumberbatch is a brilliant neurosurgeon in a hospital in New York who is in the top of his field and has become arrogant and swell-headed. He is the version of Tony Stark in the medical profession, combined with the acerbic eccentricity of Dr. Gregory House. He thinks less of his colleagues and is romantically inclined to another doctor, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams.)
But a horrible car crash (very well and astonishingly staged for the big screen) changes his life as it cripples his hands and fingers. He must then travel to Kathmandu in Nepal where a guru can help restore his lost abilities to perform delicate surgeries. There, he meets the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and her disciples, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict Wong).
But as maybe expected, things are not served to him on a silver platter. He has to struggle for it, forget his egotism and humble himself many times over while journeying through a dizzying rabbit hole of time and space to achieve enlightenment. Then it becomes clear that once he has learned the tricks of the trade on an astral level, he’s not really destined to go back to surgery but to fulfill his true destiny as a Master where his spirit and flesh come together in perfect harmony. He also gains his own magical uniform, a neo-Edwardian cape with a mysterious medallion that has its own mind and its own powers.
He then joins the Ancient One in her fight against another ambitious student, Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen of “Hannibal” TV series), who has chosen to join the dark side ala-Darth Vader. Kaecilius is one of the most evil villains in Marvel Comics Universe, along with Malekith and Loki from Thor and Zemo from Captain America.
Swinton pays her role with a quiet but potent combination of charisma and enigma. Her teacher-student scenes with Cumberbatch are eminently watchable. Cumberbatch himself wisely attacks his role in a funny-serious way that is perfect for this origin story about a doctor who is grounded in science and yet has to redeem himself through occult mystical studies that his own intellect will ordinarily brand as ludicrous. Rachel McAdams doesn’t have much screen time but registers well as the love interest who has a head of her own and won’t pander to Dr. Strange.
Don’t leave right away when the end credits are shown as there are two bonus previews. One shows Dr. Strange talking to Chris Hemsworth as Thor over his brother Loki. The other one shows what happens to the Mordo character who turns out has motives as inscrutable as that of Strange.