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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.
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Jan 17, 2017

MATTEO GUIDICELLI says he didn’t feel bad when their movie, “Across the Crescent Moon”, didn’t make it to the last Metro Filmfest. “I feel God has other plans for our movie,” he says. “We’re hoping for the best, that it’ll do better at the box office. But as it is, I feel very blessed that I was chosen to star in this film. Dream ko talaga to make a big action film like this so people won’t just see me as a goody goody romantic lead.”

It’s a dream come true for him to have Christopher de Leon play his dad in the film. “Idol ko talaga siya. I really look up to him when it comes to good acting. He is THE leading man for me, THE actor, so star struck ako and I really want to thank him for being so very patient with me. I learned a lot from him just by watching him work.”

We ask Christopher himself how he’d rate Matteo as an actor? “Bow ako sa kanya, he’s very dedicated to his craft. There was a time he was sick with the flu, nanginginig talaga siya. Kung ako yun, I’ll tell the director, i-pack up mo na ako. E, may pagka-sadistic din si Direk Baby Nebrida, kahit may lagnat si Matteo, nag-shoot pa rin and he did all his scenes without any double. Hanga ako as he’s very passionate about his career.”

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TOMMY ESGUERRA and Miho Nishida gained fame because of their exposure in Pinoy Big Brother 737 in 2015 where Miho was the big winner and Tommy was the runner up. Love bloomed between them while they’re inside Bahay ni Kuya and they became a popular love team. They now star in their first movie, “Foolish Love”, where they play second leads to Angeline Quinto and Jake Cuenca. They’re so happy it’s respected director Joel Lamangan who got to handle them in their first movie.

“Kabado po kami ni Tommy noong una kasi baka masigawan kami ni Direk Joel,” says Miho. “But okay naman po ang experience namin working with him. Nakatulong sigurong kilala na namin ni Tommy ang isa’t isa kaya maganda lumabas ang mga eksena namin.”

“I’m really happy that we got good roles for our first movie,” says Tommy. “It’s really my dream to make a movie with Miho as my partner. Now, it came true and working with Direk Joel was a great experience and we had a good time learning so much from him.”

Direk Joel says he was expecting he’d have a hard time directing first timers like them, but he was pleasantly surprised because they follow his instructions easily.

“Napakanatural nilang umarte,” he says. “Mabilis nilang makuha kung ano ang gusto kong mangyari sa mga eksena nila. Kapag sinabi kong dapat na in love na in love sila sa scene na ito and they should kiss passionately, agad nilang ginagawa. Wala akong naging problema sa dalawang ito.”

Do they think they will really end up with each other for good? “Sana,” says Miho. “Siempre, yun ang wish ko. Ayoko rin ng papalit-palit ng boyfriend. So sana, positive na lang tayo.”

Tommy admits he has a fear when it comes to Miho’s love child, named Aimee. “Siempre, may konting kaba ako. Okay ba sa kanya na maging tatay niya ako? Kasi, for me, okay lang sa akin.”
So are they ready to face the altar? “At this point, only time will tell. Honestly, we both want to focus on our showbiz careers muna. Kasi nagi-start pa lang kami. We want to build up our love team some more. Also, we both need to improve ourselves. Ako, I need to be more fluent in Tagalog kasi galing ako sa States. Si Miho naman, with her English kasi she’s from Japan. And both of us, we have to work hard on our acting, singing and dancing. So dapat, ayusin muna namin ang aming careers before anything else. But we’re both super excited with our first movie. Napapanood kami sa teleserye, ‘Langit Lupa’, pero iba siempre yung makita mo sarili mo on the big screen. The fans of our love team say they’re very happy for us. Sana nga, maging big hit ang first movie namin as we really want to make more movies.”
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Jan 16, 2017


HOW DOES JAKE Cuenca feel now that he turned out to be Angeline Quinto’s Ninong in doing a hot kissing scene? “Yes, ako nga raw ang nagbinyag sa lips niya,” he laughs. “Siempre, gentleman tayo so inalalayan ko siya nang husto. We had to do it a couple of times kasi iba-iba ang anggulo.

Okay naman, we were able to please our director, Joel Lamangan. Ako naman kasi, when I accept a project it, I really love and give it my all. I really guided Angeline and held her hand in every sequence, encouraging her na kaya natin ito. Inilagay ko sa siya sa pedestal while we’re shooting the movie to make her feel that she is safe with me and that she can trust me.”

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ANGELINE QUINTO is accused by some folks of just making a gimmick when she joined the Black Nazarene’s traslacion during the Quiapo Fiesta because she has a new movie that needs promotion as it is about to be shown, Regal’s “Foolish Love”, where she’s paired with Jake Cuenca.

“Hindi gimmick yun,” she says. “10 years old pa lang ako, namamanata na kami ng mama ko sa Poong Nazareno at four years na akong sumasampa sa andas pero ngayon lang nakunan ng video. Nung manalo ako sa Star Power, dun ako nagpasiyang gusto kong sumampa sa Nazareno bilang pasasalamat sa blessings na dumarating sa buhay ko. Bakit ko naman gagawing gimmick ang isang napakasagradong bagay. Ang takot ko lang.”

In “Foolish Love”, she plays a woman tagged ang Sawi and Patol Queen, said to be her most daring and provocative role to date. She’s looking for her long lost childhood sweetheart called Rey de la Cruz. There are many false starts until she meets Jake whose name is Reynaldo de la Cruz. She has a torrid kissing scene with Jake in the film and she was hesitant at first but their director, Joel Lamangan, warned her that if she wouldn’t do it right the first time, they will have 20 retakes until she does it convincingly.

“Sobrang kaba at takot ako kasi first time kong gumawa ng ganung eksena. Virgin pa yung lips ko sa ganyan, e. Si Jake lang ang nakalaplap sa’kin ng ganun. Buti na lang at naitawid din namin nang maayos ang eksena.”

And how did she feel about it? “Masarap pala! Matamis yung lips ni Jake,” she laughs.
So is she now ready to do more daring scenes? “Naku, huwag naman nila akong paghuhubarin kasi po wala naman akong maipapakita.”

But she seems to have a well endowed chest. In the scene where they are running around, her boobies are bouncing up and down like melons. “Kasi lang wala akong bra. Parang hindi ko makakayang ipakita yan sa harap ng kamera. Sa akin na lang yan.”

Since the title of her movie is “Foolish Love”, has she ever been a fool for love in real life? “Nakakahiya pero naranasan ko na rin pong maging tanga sa pag-ibig. Naranasan kong magmahal ng isang buong taon sa isang taong wala naman palang pagtingin sa akin. Pero hindi ko na pinaabot ng two years. Bago magdalawang taon, ayoko na. Alam ko namang masaya na siya sa ibang partner niya.”

She wouldn’t reveal the identity of the guy, so some writers made a guessing game. Was it Coco Martin with whom she was paired in ‘Born to Love” five years ago? “Ay, bakit si Coco. Ang tagal na nun, si Coco pa rin?”

Was it Erik Santos who was her partner in various concerts here and abroad? “Ay, ayoko na. Secret na lang. Hindi naman priority sa’kin ang lovelife ko ngayon. May binabayaran pa akong bahay at lupa. Three years pa yun, so work na lang muna. May mga kilala kong inuna ang lovelife, wala namang nangyari. So tama na po.”
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Jan 15, 2017

COCO MARTIN continues to be evasive as to what’s the real score between him and Julia Montes, but it’s very obvious from his actions that he’s extra fond of her. When asked what can he say about Julia finally meeting in person her long lost German dad, Martin Schnittka, he said he’s very happy for her.

“Siyempre po napakasarap sa pakiramdam,” he says. “Sabi ko nga, nakita ko nga lang ‘yung pictures ni Julia with her dad sa Instagram, parang naiiyak na ako. Kasi alam ko kung gaano kahalaga ‘yun para sa kanya noong time na napagkwentuhan namin ‘yon. Kaya happy ako para sa kanya dahil ngayon lang sila nagkita mula nang ipanganak siya. Matagal ng pangarap ni Julia ‘yun e. Talagang ‘yun ang kulang sa buhay niya, ang makilala ang father niya. Biruin nyo, 21 years, tapos never niya pang na-meet ang daddy niya. Finally nabalitaan namin through sa mga fans namin, yung CocoJuls, sila ang gumawa ng way para mahanap ang father niya. Hanggang sa finally, natupad ‘yung pangarap niya para magtagpo sila. Kasi kailangan yun para maramdaman mong buo ka.”

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BARBIE FORTEZA is grinning from ear to ear these days because her new primetime show on GMA-7, “Meant to Be”, is a certified toprater. “Tuwang-tuwa nga kaming lahat ng mga kasama ko sa show kasi ang buong pilot week, naging maganda talaga ang feedback ng viewers sa social media at mataas ang ratings gabi-gabi,” she says. “A lot of people like it because it’s fresh and light daw, gustong-gusto ng millennials na nakaka-relate sa mga sitwasyon ng characters namin in the show. And everyone is wondering kung kanino raw kaya ako mapupunta in the story. May Team Ken Chan, Team Jak Roberto, Team Addy Raj at Team Ivan Dorschner.”




How would she describe her leading men? “Jak is mysterious kasi tahimik lang siya, pero nagkakasunod naman kami pagdating sa kape. Si Addy, clingy. Alas tres ng umaga, nagte-text pa sa’kin. Siyang pinakamadaldal, hyper, at lagi akong kinakausap sa taping. Si Ken, siya ang pinakakilala ko sa lahat kasi five years ago pa, nagkasama na kami. So comfortable ako sa kanya. Si Ivan, sweet, malalim kausap.”

Folks say she’s obvious so “kilig” with Ivan. “Hindi naman. Dapat daw, hindi ako maging biased kahit kanino. So let’s just say na kinikilig ako sa kanilang lahat para pantay lang. Abangan nyo dahil maraming exciting things na mangyayari sa character ko, si Billie this week. Mas magiging intriguing ang story niya with the four guys.”


Has she gotten over her breakup with Kiko Estrada? “Ano ba? 2017 na, oo naman, naka-recover na ko, noon ko pa na-realized hindi kami meant to be. At mabuti na yun kaysa ginagawa ko tong bagong show na may restrictions ako, hindi maganda. E, ngayon, single ako, puede ako kahit kanino sa four boys na kapareha ko! Ha ha ha!”
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‘LA LA LAND’ just won several awards in the recent Golden Globes, including best picture for a musical, best actor, best actress and best screenplay and direction for its creator, Damien Chazelle. The amazing thing about the filmmaker is that he is only 31 years old and it’s just his second mainstream film after “Whiplash”, which won the 2014 best supporting Oscar for J.K. Simmons.

The made-for-the-screen musical (not one which is adapted from a Broadway hit) is a loving homage to Hollywood musicals of yore and the film musicals of French director Jacques Demy (notably, “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” with Michel Legrand’s “I Will Wait for You” starring a very young Catherine Deneuve.) It’s easy to fall in love with it, right on its opening scene when people stranded in a traffic jam in a clogged L.A. freeway get out of their cars and start singing in a big and sprightly production number, “Another Day of Sun”. Although the story is set in the present, the film has the feel of classic Hollywood musicals that starred the likes of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.

The film is also a tribute to jazz (just like “Whiplash”), with the lead male character, Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), being a jazz musician who passes his love of jazz to his leading lady, Mia (Emma Stone), and we get to hear various types of jazz in the film. Composer Justin Hurwitz and lyricist Benj Pasek and Justin Paul deliver a long playing soundtrack of uplifting, hummable songs, one of which, “City of Stars”, already won best song in the Golden Globes. The choreography by Mandy Moore (she’s from “Glee” and different from the actress with the same name) also achieves a great balance of doing familiar dance moves given a new dressing.

The story is the usual boy-meets-girl then complications ensue. For this to work, you have to have good, charming actors and there’s no doubt that Gosling and Stone certainly fill the bill as they’ll surely enthrall you with their winning moves. Gosling’s frustration and impatience are persuasive, but even more so is his skill in playing the piano with different styles on the keyboards (just like Miles Teller as the drummer in “Whiplash”). Stone is delightful to watch as the wide-eyed aspiring actress who’s so emotionally vulnerable and is able to shift emotional gears in a jiffy.

The film is divided into five chapters based on the seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, then back to Winter but five years later. Mia works as a barista in a cafe at the Warner Bros. backlot. She sings that she’s “someone just waiting to be found” as she’s been joining a lot of auditions but is always rejected. Seb is an expert pianist and he’s tired of playing music in bars as he loves jazz, saying he’s “a phoenix rising from the ashes”. The few times they first meet, Seb is rude to Mia, but when he admits his feelings for her, they do a magical, effervescent musical number singing and dancing in the Hollywood Hills. The song and dance transcend mere dialogue and transform it into something purer and closer to pristine screen romance.

The film requires a lot from the two leads, who, we didn’t know, both sing and dance so well and adeptly handle both their dramatic and hilarious scenes that keep the narrative skipping breezily. Chemistry is important here and sparks do fly when they’re together on screen, especially in musical sequences that start with natural settings then turn into fascinating fantasy backdrops and romanticized set pieces.

But just as their careers get its respective boost (Mia is cast in a movie to be filmed in Paris, Seb goes more commercial and joins a successful band led by John Legend that goes on tour), their relationship is consequently affected. Unlike most musicals with a feelgood happily-ever-after ending, this one differs and comes up with a long postscript (which is more of a fantasy sequence) that is reminiscent of a similar poignant ending in Olivia Lamasan’s “The Mistress” that showed how things might be in another movie.

The movie is also a homage to Los Angeles and its surroundings, like a date at the Rialto Theatre in Pasadena to watch a revival of James Dean’s “Rebel Without a Cause” that leads to a visit to the Planetarium at the Griffith Observatory which is part of the movie. All these scenes look great on screen, especially the fantasy sequence showing the leads flying around, thanks to cinematographer Linus Sandgren who filmed most of the musical scenes in Cinemascope in long, unbroken takes.
The question now is whether this film made with a bygone style of moviemaking will succeed in attracting young viewers who are now more attuned to a different kind of music. Well, no doubt, the Golden Globe awards it has won will help attract more audiences. Made at a budget of $30 million, it’s been 5 weeks on release and has so far earned $55 million, and counting. With its sure nominations in the Oscars, no doubt it will maintain its legs at the box office and we won’t be surprised if it would ultimately reach the $100 million mark.
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THE SOCIETY of Philippine Entertainment Editors (SPEED) will now have its own awards giving body to be known as Editors’ Choice. Their target is for their first awards night to be given in March. Eligible are all full length films shown during the past year 2016, no distinction between indie and mainstream films.

Our suggestion is for them to have a category for best documentary since there are many good documentaries shown last year, including “Sunday Beauty Queen” that won best picture in the Metro-Manila Filmfest, and the standout docus in Cinema One Filmfest: “Forbidden Memory” about the 1974 Malisbong Massacre in Davao during martial law by Teng Mangansakan and “People Power Bombshell: The Diary of Vietnam Rose”, the experience of actress Liz Alindogan while making the unfinished ‘Vietnam Rose’ movie with the late director Celso Ad. Castillo juxtaposed about incidents of oppression during the Marcos Regime. My best wishes to SPEED that aims to be the most credible awards giving in body in our country where awards-buying is rampant.
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KRIS AQUINO’s career remains to be in limbo. To maintain the public’s interest in her, she continues to make intriguing post in social media, like a photo of pink balloons that she hints are from a secret admirer and her son Bimby even threatened to punch the guy if he’d break his mom’s heart. At the presscon for his son Harvey Bautista who’s in the movie “Ilawod”, QC Mayor Herbert Bautista was asked about it and he quickly denied he’s the sender.

“Hindi ako,” he says. “Nagulat nga ako when people asked me about it. Wala akong alam diyan.”

How does he feel if it’s true that Kris has found a new love? “Honestly, I’m happy for her. Okay ako roon kasi I know kumukuha siya ng strength sa partner niya, kung sinuman yun. So kung may nagpapasaya ngayon ng puso niya, that’s good for her. As a friend, I’ll always be supportive of her. Na-maintain naman namin ang pagiging magkaibigan namin at may communication pa rin kami.”

Now that his son Harvey has made a movie, does he have any plans to go back to acting also? “Actually, after my last term as a mayor ends, ang gusto ko, mag-try ng pagdidirek. E, ang dami ring nagsasabi, run for the senate. But we’re not sure about our government. Paano kapag na-push ang Federalism? We don’t know kung anong mangyayari.”

What advice did he give to Harvey? “I just told him to act natural. And so far, sabi ng director nilang si Dan Villegas at ng Quantum Films producer na si Atty. Joji Alonso, okay raw siya kasi natural ngang umarte, hindi over, hindi rin under acting.”

His older son, Race,is studying filmmaking in New York Film Academy. “Actually, maski si Harvey, gusto ring kumuha ng filmmaking for college. Ewan ko nga, parehong may balak mag-work behind the camera.”
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Jan 13, 2017

BASED ON A popular video game, “Assassin’s Creed”, its fans are hoping it will be a good adaptation on the big screen. Most video games-turned-movies are flops, like “Super Mario Bros.” in 1993 (the very first one), “Mortal Kombat”, “Street Fighter”, “Doom”, “Silent Hill”, “Need for Speed”, “Max Payne” and “Warcraft”. The more successful ones are “Pokemon” (which had three sequels), “Lara Croft” (one sequel), “Resident Evil” (several sequels).

You’d think “Assassin’s Creed” would be a success since it has a budget of $130 million and stars Oscar winners Jeremy Irons and Marion Cotillard, plus the very talented Michael Fassbender who’s been nominated for the Oscar twice. But it isn’t.

“Assassin’s Creed” is about an ancient cult of killers whose creed is the protect the original Apple from the garden of Eden who members of the Knights Templar (remember them from Da Vinci Code?) want to get hold of it to remove dissent and free will from human kind.

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