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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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Oct 22, 2017

 BEN STILLER is better known as a comedian who deals with serious stories about frustrated, perturbed men in such films as “Greenberg”,”Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “While We’re Young”. He now plays another character going through some midlife crisis in the biting satire, “Brad’s Status”. While taking his teen son, Troy (Austin Abrams), a musical prodigy, to visit colleges in New England (notably, Boston), Brad realizes that many of his college friends have become rich and famous. Comparing their lives with those of their friends who seem to have more accomplishments in life is something that comes naturally to a lot of people around middle-age.

Brad has quite a pleasant life in California with a non-profit company he formed, whose aim is to help other non-profit companies get funding. He has a loving and perky wife, Melanie (Jenna Fischer), but it’s not at all good enough for him compared to what he thinks his college friends have achieved. Jason (Luke Wilson) is a hedge-fund manager who travels all over the world. Nick (Mike White, who directed the film himself) is a well known director in Hollywood. Billy (Jemaine Clement) is a gentleman of leisure in Hawaii after selling his own software company and retiring at the age of 40.

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EMPOY MARQUEZ is being introduced now as the New or Bagong Pogi. At the presscon of his new movie, “The Barker”, he was asked if he doesn’t want to do a Xander Ford overhaul to improve his looks.

“Okay na po ako,” he says. “Tinanggap naman ako mga tao sa ‘Kita Kita’ na ganito ang hitsura ko, so hindi ko na kailangang baguhin pa ang mukha ko. Kahit noon, never pumasok sa isip ko na magparetoke ng hitsura ko, kasi hindi na magiging si Empoy yun. Baka malungkot po ang buong Pilipinas.”

Doesn’t he feel any pressure as the playdate of his new movie, “The Barker”, nears this Wednesday?
“Sabi ng director naming si Dennis Padilla, hindi kami dapat pa-pressure. Confident kasi siya na maganda ang kinalabasan ng pelikula namin. Tribute ang movie na ito sa lahat ng barkers at jeepney drivers sa buong bansa kaya sana, suportahan nila ito, dahil makikita nila ang mga sarili nilang experiences dito. Siempre, pinagpe-pray ko pong ma-achieve din nito ang tagumpay ng ‘Kita Kita’.”


Since he has now signed an exclusive contract with Star Cinema, it’s said that some Kapamilya actors are now feeling insecure with his entry as he’s doing not only a new movie but also a new teleserye. “Hindi naman siguro totoo yan kasi halos lahat ng mga Kapamilya actors, kaibigan ko at natutuwa nga sila sa akin sa magagandang nangyayari sa career ko. Basta thankful po ako sa mga positibong pagbagago sa career ko at napi-feel ko pong nasa tabi ko si Lord.”
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KIM RODRIGUEZ was rumored to be pregnant a few months ago, said to be sired by a rich politician who gave her many cars that she used for her Uber business. But she came to the presscon of “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” wearing a sexy revealing blouse that shows a very flat tummy. How did she feel about all the rumors then? “It came out first as a blind item then nung sinabing Kim daw, akala ng iba si Kim Domingo, but later on, pinangalanan nang ako raw, so I had to react and sinagot kong hindi nga totoo,” she says. “Dalawang beses pa raw akong nabuntis kasi nalaglag yung una. Wala naman akong kilalang politician at wala rin akong maraming kotseng pang-Uber. Hindi ko talaga alam ba’t nila ako ginagawaan ng ganyang mga kuwento. Kung buntis talaga ako noon, di hindi na sana ako kinuha ng Regal para maging part nitong movie nina Barbie Forteza and Ken Chan.”

So how is it working with her co-Kapuso actors? “I’m happy to support them kasi magkakasama kami noong nagsisimula pa lang kami sa GMA in ‘Tween Hearts’, kaya friends na talaga kami.”

Didn’t the fact that she and Barbie are both ex-GF’s of Kapuso actor Kiko Estrada cause any friction between them on the set of “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter”? “Not at all. Hindi naman kami nag-overlap as girlfriends. Pero aaminin kong somehow, nasaktan ako nang malaman kong sila na, pero sandali lang. As of now, two years na kaming wala ni Kiko at ni hindi na nga kami nakakapag-usap. Wala pa akong bagong BF. May mga nanliligaw lang, I'm dating, pero di pa ko ready.”
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Oct 20, 2017

QCINEMA International Filmfest formally opened at Ayala Malls Vertis North last Thursday and here are the 8 local film entries: “The Write Moment” by Dominic Lim, “Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931 (The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931)” by Christopher Gozum; “Dormitoryo” by Emerson Reyes; “Gugu”by Khavn de la Cruz; “Hubog ng Langit” by Lawrence Fajardo; “Medusae” by Pam Miras; “Neomanila” by Mikhail Red; “The Chanters” by James Robin Mayo”.

Dominic Lim wrote and directed The Write Moment about a heartbroken scriptwriter who fails to get back with an old flame through his “romantic-hugotscript” and finds himself living in the scenes he wrote. He’s forced to follow everything verbatim—or else face being stuck in an endless loop of scenes repeating over and over again.

Christopher Gozum’s Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931 (The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931) retells the story of rebel leader Pedro Calosa and the infamous Tayug Colorum Uprising in Pangasinan from three diverse angles: a silent film dramatizing Calosa's return to his hometown; an aging supremo as he searches for a sacred cave accompanied by historians; and a filmmaker doing interviews about the 1931 uprising to prepare for a film about Calosa.

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MARTIN DEL ROSARIO was last seen in the primetime teleserye, “Mulawin Vs. Ravena”. He now plays the good son in the dramatization of the Holy Bible’s the Prodigal Son (played by Jeric Gonzales), with Juan Rodrigo as their father. This is for the new show hosted by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, “Stories for the Soul”.

“I’m familiar with the story kasi nabasa ko noon sa school in Christian Living class,” he says. “I like my role kasi ako yung mabait na anak dito, masunurin, masipag, pero dedma lang ang father namin sa’kin. Mas favorite niya si Jeric na iniwan siya at nang bumalik, pinaghanda pa niya.”

He’s also a recent guest in “Magpakailanman” where he played a transgender who falls in love with Ina de Belen, a tomboy. “Maganda naman ang reaction ng mga tao sa’kin,” he laughs. “Ang ganda-ganda ko raw as girl. Inahit lahat ng buhok ko sa katawan for me to be credible in the role.”

Isn’t he worried about bashers since some quarters are also questioning his gender? “No, secure naman ako sa sarili ko and I welcome the challenge of playing offbeat roles like the one I did in ‘Magpakailanman’.”

So he’s just doing guestings and not a new teleserye? “I’m taping a mini-series right now, ‘Unbroken Hearts’, shot on the beaches of Zambales with Janine Gutierrez. Then I will soon start another soap about HIV for GMA’s Afternoon Prime, ‘Hindi Kita Kayang Iwanan’, with Gina Alajar, Yasmien Kurdi, Mike Tan.”
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MISS WORLD PHILIPPINES 2017 Laura Lehmann and Reina HispanoAmericana's Winwyn Marquez both look luminously beautiful at the send off party hosted by Miss World Philippines top honcho Arnold Vegafria at Annabel’s. Also in attendance are Miss Eco Tourism Philippines Cynthia Thomalla, Miss Multinational Philippines Sophia Senoron and the first and second runners up. Arnold presented and thanked the glam team led by designers Mark Bumgarner, Francis Libiran and Ezra Santos who will make sure that Laura and Winwyn will be truly ravishing come their respective coronation nights.

Some folks bashed Laura saying they’re not in favor of her as our representative to the Miss World Pageant to be held in Sanya, China next month. In her farewell speech that night, Laura says “I will be in China to represent not myself but the Philippines, so please, stop spreading negativity but positivity instead. For my part, I feel honored to represent our country and I promise to do my best to show the world how great we are as a people.”

As for Winwyn, she is both nervous and excited. “It’s a big challenge to be the first Asian representative in a pageant where the candidates are mostly Latinas, who we all know always do good in beauty pageants,” she says. “But I promise Ill do my very best to bring honor to our country, so please pray for me and also vote for me online.”

Winwyn’s pageant will be held in Sta. Cruz, Bolivia. She left last Thursday via New York, then Panama, then Bolivia. She’s also scheduled to go to the Bolivian capital of La Paz with the other candidates to showcase their talents. Coronation night will be held on November 4 Salon Soriono de la Feria Exposicion.

Laura left yesterday, Friday, for Guangzhou, China. The Miss World Coronation night will be held on November 18 at the Sanya City Arena. For the Talent and Multimedia challenges, you can vote for her online by downloading the Mobstar app then search for her name and swipe right to vote for her. Arnold Vegafria is positive both Laura And Winwyn will do well to sustain the Philippines’ winning streak in the global pageant scene.
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Oct 19, 2017

BENJAMIN ALVES was last seen on TV in “I Heart Davao” and he’s glad that after that, he’ll now be seen on the big screen in the movie “Spirit of the Glass 2, The Haunted”, where he is paired with last year’s Bb. Pilipinas Universe, Maxine Medina. “This is an ensemble movie and I enjoyed working with the rest of the big cast, along with Cristine Reyes, Janine Gutierrez, Daniel Matsunaga, Ashley Ortega and Enrico Cuenca,” he says. “This is about a barkada na nagbakasyon sa isang lumang bahay, nakakita roon ng ouija board na pinaglaruan na, without knowing na yun ang magbubukas sa isang portal na magiging dahilan kung bakit maraming scary things na mangyayari sa movie.”

Off cam, his relationship with Julie Ann San Jose is going strong even after they got some bashing when they officially admitted their relationship. “Basta happy kami. The bashing started to come when Julie and me came out out in public. At the start, nagagalit ako and I feel hindi basta dapat

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KEN CHAN first captured our attention when he played the young Freddie Webb in the indie film, “First Ko si 3rd”, where his star presence was so palpable on screen. After doing lead roles in “Destiny Rose” and “Meant to Be” on TV, he now plays his first lead role in a mainstream movie in “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” as the playful Tristan, who broke Barbie Forteza’s heart as Erica, not just once but twice. They’re directed by ace filmmaker Joel Lamangan for the first time. How is it? “Sobrang kinabahan ako when I learned siyang magdidirek sa’min kasi dati ko na siyang naririnig na sobrang istrikto at naninigaw,” he says. “But it turned out okay siyang katrabaho at sweet nga kasi binibigyan pa kami ng favorite niyang baon, kamote. It’s really an honor and I’m proud na finally, nakatrabaho ko na siya. Malaki ang tulong niya sa’min ni Barbie kasi yung story, tumakbo for several years, mula noong college students pa kami hanggang sa nagtatrabaho na kami na nag-meet kami uli. Galing kami sa ‘Meant to Be’ na very light. Dito, mas madrama and Direk Joel guided us well in interpreting our roles through the years.”

He’s also happy that Barbie is his leading lady in his first big movie. “Seven years na kaming magkaibigan since ‘Tween Hearts’ pa sa GMA-7. All these years, we’re able to keep that friendship. So okay na kami sa ganun. Baka masira pa ang friendship kung magiging iba ang level ng relationship namin. As friends, for life na itong pagiging magkaibigan namin. Ayaw naming lokohin ang tao just for the promo of our movie.”

He claims to be a fan of Barbie from way back. “Actually, hindi pa man ako nag-aartista, kapag nagi-imagine akong gumagawa ako ng music video, si Barbie yung nakikita kong kapareha ko, so dream come true ito for me. Barbie is my best friend na babae. Kahit hindi kami boyfriend-girlfriend, mararamdaman mo yung pagiging sweet and caring niya bilang leading lady mo. At alam naman ng fans na may kanya-kanya kaming buhay at tanggap nila yun.”

How is “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” different from other romcoms? “Mas madrama nga itong movie namin. It’s about not just giving a second chance kundi even third chance. I broke Barbie’s heart twice tapos bumabalik uli ako sa kanya and she says ‘dalawang beses mo na kong pinaiyak, ang tanga ko naman kung bibigyan pa kita ng pangatlong chance na paiyakin ako.’ So dun pa lang, makikita na nyo ang kaibhan nito sa usual romcoms dahil mas serious ito, mas may tama sa puso.”
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RHIAN RAMOS is happy to be working with Lovi Poe and Max Collins in GMA-7’s upcoming new show, “Triple X” which is about three girlfriends who are all the ex-girlfriends of the same philandering guy, to be played by Dennis Trillo. Just like Lovi Poe, she believes that ladies should be given the chance to date as many guys to be able to select the best partner for her.

"I also believe that you should be able to date as many people as it takes to get the right one,” she says. “A lot of them may turn out to be mistakes. But until you finally get the kind of person that you truly deserve, don't just settle for anyone else."

She says there seems to be a double standard in your society, since it seems okay for men to date as many girls as they want. But when it comes to women, the view is more conservative and limited. “It’s really unfair kasi kapag guys, no one asks kung gaano na karami ang naka-date nila. But when it’s a girl, para bang it’s so scandalous kung marami na ang naka-date mo. But you really have to be choosy kasi siempre, at the start, hindi mo naman alam yung tunay na ugali noong guy. When you realize that he doesn’t really give that much value or importance, then it’s time for you to go and love yourself a little more. Maybe the next guy will be a little bit better.”

In “Triple Ex”, Rhian plays Zoe, a flirty social media darling who works as a swimwear designer. She comes from a rich family but she hungers for the love of her parents who are both very busy. “She’s so different from what I am in real life. Unang-una, super duper fashionista siya. E, ako, off cam, kung damit ako parang lalaking naka-pants and t shirt lang. Tapos, selosa siya, possessive. E, hindi rin ako ganun. But I’m taking the difference between us as a big challenge and with the help of our director, Maryo de los Reyes, I’m confident maitatawid ko naman nang maayos ang character ni Zoe in ‘Triple Ex’.”

How come there was a story that she and her non-showbiz BF Jason Choachuy tied the knot while they were on a trip to Iceland? “Not true. Both of us have no plans of settling down yet. Ang dami ko pang projects na gagawin, no?

Rhian is also doing a new movie, “Fallback”, with Zanjoe Marudo and Daniel Matsunaga, directed by Jason Laxamana.
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Oct 18, 2017

WE FEEL SO sad for Piolo Pascual. Earlier this year, his “Northern Lights” did badly at the tills. And now, “Last Night” with Toni Gonzaga also got lukewarm reception from moviegoers. And to think it was Toni who helped in boosting his career before in “Starting Over Again”. So what went wrong?

If viewers would make a film starring someone like Empoy Marquez a huge blockbuster at the tills, how come they aren’t so hot about a leading man as good looking as Piolo? Has he lost his magic with Toni just because she’s now married and already a mom? We think the problem is in the material. The moment some folks learned that the movie is about suicide, a lot of them were quickly turned off by the idea.

We intentionally did not review the movie while it was still showing because our take will surely be a spoiler. And we don’t want to review it without being able to point out what we believe are the film’s shortcomings. Piolo plays Mark Peters. He tells Toni he’s 32 (without batting an eyelash), but we all know he’s 40 in real life.

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