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Even more grueling test of endurance

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“FEAR Factor” Photo from NBC

It had been months since we watched “Fear Factor,” so we were amazed to see it as an even more grueling test of endurance and willpower than ever, occasionally to the point of painful cruelty and even abject debasement.

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Old weight-loss notions debunked

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One of our resolutions for 2014 is to get rid of our unhealthy plump midsection, so we were recently happy to catch the Solar TV special telecast, “10 Things You Need to Know About Losing Weight.”

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Films we don’t get to see

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MICHAEL Fassbender (left), Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”

The Philippines, with its film-loving population now about to hit the 100-million mark, has become a big player on the global movie scene, with some major productions opening here even before they start playing in traditionally more favored territories in Europe and the United States.

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Deal-breakers hamper hit rom-com’s ability to delight

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XIAN Lim (left) evinces growth, while Kim Chiu is an energetic and antic performer.

Kim Chiu and Xian Lim’s latest costarrer, Mae Czarina Cruz’s rom-com, “Bride for Rent,” is doing very well at the tills, making the stars’ love team one of the more bankable screen tandems this season. For us, however, the new production has a deal-breaker in Kim’s still thin and sometimes even whiny speaking voice and placement.

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John Lloyd plays it deftly light and vulnerable in new sitcom

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CRUZ. Then and now.

“Home Sweetie Home,” ABS-CBN’s new Saturday night sitcom, costars John Lloyd Cruz and Toni Gonzaga—but, if its first telecast last Jan. 4 is any indication, it’s John Lloyd who carries the show.

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New ‘passionate melodrama’ lets it rip

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ALYSSA Milano and Jes Macallan in “Mistresses” photo: IMDB.COM

We’re usually among the first to know, but it turns out that we were clueless for some weeks about the weekly “passionate drama,” “Mistresses,” being telecast here Monday afternoon on Star World. Well, when we finally did catch up with the series last December 16, we were thrown for a loop by its series of urgent and unctuous developments.

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‘Purists’ rap TV staging of iconic musical

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CARRIE Underwood stars as Maria  in “The Sound of Music Live!” on NBC. AP

Quite without planning or expecting to, we had a very instructive Christmas Day: After staying up late for noche buena and opening presents and such, our little nuclear family of seven adult humans and five dogs heard late morning Mass and partook of a really heavy brunch of still yummy leftovers—while watching a replay of NBC’s recent TV staging of “The Sound of Music.”

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Novelty talent tilts appeal to niche markets

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Our channel-surfing adventures last month were particularly fruitful in terms of the unusual and even bizarre novelty talent competition that we unearthed: “Face Off” turned out to be a truly spectacular showcase for the expert skills of prosthetics and makeup artists, whose phantasmagoric creations wowed viewers in a major way.

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Top stars essay edgy roles too challenging to pass up

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CAMERON Diaz has the most daunting thespic challenge of them all.

Actors and film buffs who are on the lookout for examples of strong characterizations need look no further, because the best templates are on view in the recent film “The Counselor,” by the estimable Ridley Scott.

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‘Inspirational’ drama series starts telecasting

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If ABS-CBN plays its cards right, its new series, “Honesto,” could end up as long-running, appreciated and acclaimed as “May Bukas Pa” some seasons ago. The new show, which started telecasting only last Oct. 28, is all about a clan that is so honest that, when one of them tells a lie, his or her nose ends up looking like a big, red tomato!

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Reality challenge puts stars through the wringer

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MATTEO Guidicelli in “I Dare You”

The local TV scene is so eventful these days that channel-surfing for new shows to catch has become a veritable helter-skelter indoor sport! Every week, there are at least a couple of spanking-new productions to sample, so let’s not waste time—and, on with the show.

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Facile gambits, awkward staging mar gay comic’s stellar bid

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1109beki-

Joey Paras’ stellar launching film Wenn V. Deramas’ “Bekikang,” starts off swimmingly well, with comedic gambits that delight viewers as the movie introduces its “gay from birth” protagonist and the barkada-mates (Nikki Valdez, et al) who make life more bearable for him.

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