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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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May 23, 2018

THOSE WHO complain about local films being nothing but inane repetitive romcoms and hugot flicks should watch “Citizen Jake” and celebrate that a master is at work again. In 1981, Mike de Leon made “Batch 81”, a film about the horrors of fraternities which is actually an allegory about the dark period in our history called martial law when the military took control of society under the Marcos regime and human rights were ruthlessly trampled.

In 1984, he made the socially relevant film, “Sister Stella L”, about the political awakening of a young nun who turns into a defender of oppressed laborers. Now, he returns to political drama in “Citizen Jake”and he’s as angry as ever. The movie is apparently his personal reaction to the obvious apathy of our people who seem to have easily forgotten the atrocities of the Marcos years, what with the Marcoses now aided and abetted by the current administration in their quest to return to power. This is a blatant warning for us to be on guard so that one of the darkest periods in our history will not repeat itself.

“Citizen Jake” is told as the personal drama of Atom Araullo as Jake who is disillusioned with his own dad Teroy Guzman as Jacobo (after whom he was named) and resents his being a corrupt Marcos crony. But his personal animosity with his dad is rooted in the sudden disappearance of his mom, Victoria (Dina Bonnevie), herself a victim of his dad’s cruelty.

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DINA BONNEVIE is happy to be reunited with Director Mike de Leon in the acclaimed political drama, “Citizen Jake”. They first worked together in the 1985 drama, “Hindi Nahahati ang Langit” where she played Christopher de Leon’s ill fated wife.

“It’s nice to work again with Direk Mike after so many years,” she says. “And I feel honored to know that he personally handpicked me for the role of Atom Araullo’s mom. Pareho na kaming nag-mature. When I was first worked with him, I was so scared of him, but now, hindi na masyado. We’re more like friends na. Sabi pa niya, ang galing-galing mo na, serious ka na, hindi na kita maloko.”

And how is it working with Atom? “Marunong siyang umarte. I think he’s born to act. Our scenes are heavy drama kasi wife beater ang father niya at biktima ako so I left him and just disappeared. I appear mostly sa flashback scenes and dream sequences ni Atom in the movie.”

Although she’s active as an actress even on TV, she says what she misses is hosting a talk show. “May nag-propose na noon for me to host a talk show online, pero di natuloy. Actually, maganda kung kami ng anak kong si Danica ang maging co-hosts dahil she also hosted a show for women and housewives sa TV5 before.”

How about a proposal for her to be reunited with her “Underage” co-stars Maricel Soriano and
Snooky Serna in a sequel called “Overage”? “I welcome the idea kasi never naman kaming nagkaroon ng conflict nina Maria and Cookie. Pero ayoko nung narinig kong idea ng mga cougar daw kami. Ayoko nga nung mai-in love kami with much younger leading men. Ibang-iba pa nung panahon namin in the 80s and 90s. We’re more well behaved. At walang retoke sa amin, no? You have to be a true beauty to be a movie queen. E ngayon, sana, bago nila pagandahin ang appearance nila, learn first how to improve their craft as an actress.”

So she’s not a “salamat po, doktor” beauty up to now? “Wala pa akong pinaparetoke. I maintain myself through non-invasive procedures. I have facials, but never pa botox or facelift. When I gain weight, I diet, I exercise but no liposuction or surgery, please. Takot akong magpagalaw ng anumang part ng face or body ko.”
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May 22, 2018

DOG LOVERS will surely enjoy the movie “Show Dogs”, a comedy with talking animals and smart-alecky canines that kid viewers will no doubt find delightful. The lead dog is Max, a Rottweiler police dog (with voice by rapper Ludacris) who’s with the New York Police Departmen’ts K-9 unit. We first see him as he stakes out a gang of animal traffickers in a risky operation on the piers one night.

The bad guys are selling a cute and adorable kidnapped baby panda, Ling-Li, and Max lunges at the getaway driver, who turns out to be undercover FBI Agent Frank Mosley (Will Arnett), who’s working without the knowledge or local authorities. Max and Frank are angry with each other as both believe that he’s this close in apprehending the ring leader of the animal smugglers.

Max gets to corner one of the bad guys in an alley and they learn that Ling-Li is to be sold at the Canini Invitational Dog Show at Caesar’s Palace, so the NYPD dog and the human FBI agent now become mismatched, reluctant partners who have to put their differences aside and team up to go to Las Vegas as undercover agents in the world’s most prestigious dog show.

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'SO CONNECTED’ had a special screening in Gateway last Monday. At the outset, let us say that Janella Salvador seems to have much more pleasing chemistry with Jameson Blake on screen than with her erstwhile partners, Elmo Magalona and Marlo Mortel.

The story is the usual boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl but, as may be expected, they’re reunited at the film’s end. The movie is written and directed by young and hip filmmaker Jason Paul Laxamana who gives the familiar story an appealing new dressing. He makes sure that the story is something young people will be able to relate with. He makes liberal use of social media and internet online apps for them to be a vital part of the narrative.

Janella is Trisha, an orphan girl from Paete who is hiding from the public after an embarrassing incident in her life was posted online. She leaves their home province and finds work as a waitress in a carinderia in Angeles City. Jameson is Karter, a video editor for a you tube channel who was just dumped by his girlfriend after he lost the phone she gave him. The phone was stolen and sold at a very cheap price to Janella who then uses it to send messages and videos to her boyfriend who lives in Gapan, Nueva Ecija.

She doesn’t know that due to a phone app called Store Box, everything she posts online on the cellphone is also transmitted to the account of Jameson. Eventually, her boyfriend also breaks up with Janella and she gets so broken hearted even if she already knows that it’s bound to happen as her boyfriend has another girlfriend who’s working in Macau.

Jameson is fascinated with Janella’s post and decides to search for her to meet her in person. He goes to Angeles City to look for her and meets her serendipitously when he throws litter on the street and she reprimands him for it. He then takes cues from Janella’s post to get her attention and win her confidence. She eventually warms up to him and even thinks they’re soulmates.

But as this kind of story goes, Janella eventually discovers that he is actually just stalking her through the Store Box app and gets mad at him. But take heart, folks, as Jameson is very patient in looking for her and yes, they do meet again for a happy ending after some time. Direk Jason make sure the production values are topnotch, with a beautiful sequence of the young lovers while they’re visiting the touristy spots in the island of Corregidor. He also pays a loving tribute to his home city of Angeles which is prominently featured in the movie.

As the movie opens today, we are glad to hear during the press preview that Janella has tried to patch things up with her estranged mom, Jenine Desiderio, and even sent her a gift as a peace offering. Here’s hoping that this gesture of smoking the peace pipe will give the movie some positive vibes so that people will go to the theaters to watch it.
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May 21, 2018

 
IN THE LAST METRO-MANILA Filmfest, the entries of Coco Martin and Vic Sotto, “Ang Panday” and “Meant to Be”, were both trounced at the box office by Vice Ganda’s entry, “The Revengers”. Now, Coco and Vic are joining forces to star together in their own entry in the coming 2018 Metro Filmfest. This will be a movie that will a formidable attraction at the box office since it’s the first time for the two top stars, who come from the top two competing networks, to be working together for the first time in one movie.

The deadline for the submission of the screenplays of entries to the next filmfest is this coming May 31 and we just hope that the script of the Vic-Coco movie will pass the criteria set by the screening committee. Both Vic and Coco have their own legion of fans, mostly children, and if they combine their forces on the big screen, we’re sure the movie will be a force to reckon with at the box office.

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KIM RODRIGUEZ co-starred with Barbie Forteza in the movie “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” as Ken Chan’s sister. Now, she plays contravida to Barbie in the new primetime romcom, “Inday Will Always Love You”, shot in Cebu.

“Tiyak na maraming magagalit sa’king fans dito kasi sobrang taray at lupit ko kay Barbie,” she says. “Nai-insecure kasi ako sa kanya at ayokong maagaw niya ang atensiyon ni Derrick Monasterio sa akin so I will do everything to make her life miserable. May eksena ritong nilublob ko siya sa putikan at sinubsob ko talaga sa putik ang mukha niya. Hinahanda ko na ang sarili ko sa bashings that I’m sure I will get from the fans of Barbie na tiyak na magagalit sa akin dahil sa pang-aapi ko sa kanya.”

She’s played lead roles before, how come she’s now relegated to contravida roles? “That’s just fine with me. Kaysa naman nganga lang ako sa bahay dahil sa paghihintay ng lead role. Ang importante, tuloy-tuloy ang trabaho ko sa GMA. Andaming walang ginagawa ngayon. Magiging choosy pa ba ako, e maganda naman ang role na napupunta sa'kin kahit contravida?”
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ATOM ARAULLO is a journalist first, but he now forays into acting in “Citizen Jake”, the comeback film of highly esteemed filmmaker Mike de Leon whose last film was the 1999 “Bayaning Third World”. He himself co-wrote the screenplay with de Leon and Noel Pascual. So how is it being an actor?

“I now have more respect for actors kasi mahirap pala maging aktor lalo para dun sa mga seryoso sa craft nila,” he says. “We have plenty of good actors who make it look so easy and I found out the hard way that it takes so much effort to be competent in acting as you really have to give part of your self to the viewers. At one point, naisip ko, kaya ko ba talaga gawin ito? Can I deliver? I’m just thankful that Direk Mike is there to guide me all the way and I have formidable cast members who help bring out the best in their co-stars. Some say my role will be easy for me since I’m really a journalist. But Jake is not Atom. Sobrang magkaiba sila. I hope when viewers watch it, they’d see Jake and not Atom.”

In the movie, he plays Jake Herrera, a reporter who resigned from his job in a newspaper when his dad ran for senator. He then moves to their family’s home in Baguio to be a teacher and a blogger or citizen journalist. His dad is a former Marcos crony and when a student is killed, Jake is compelled to confront his relatives’s dark past and he comes into conflict with his political family.

After this, will Atom be accepting more acting jobs in the future? “It’s not really a priority. I still intend to do more reportage and documentaries. But if the movie would open other doors for me, I will not turn it down right away, pero depende pa rin talaga sa project, sa material. At this point, I also acknowledged that both journalism and cinema have a huge influence in society as they can both inform and educate, though in different ways of orienting the audience.”

Director Mike de Leon is asked if “Citizen Jake” is based on a true story? “It’s dramatic fiction told in film about a dysfunctional family and touches on political corruption, continuing feudalism and paternalism,” he says. “But there are many elements of documentary truth and metacinema in it and sometimes the lines are blurred. It’s about the inner journey of a privileged young man who happens to be a journalist. It is also a metaphor of this young man’s country, unchanging, repeating the same mistakes generation after generation.”

The film also stars Gabby Eigenmann as Roxie, the congressman brother of Jake; Dina Bonnevie as their beleaguered mom; Teroy Guzman as Jacobo, their dad who’s a corrupt senator; Max Collins as Mandy, a teacher who’s Jake’s girlfriend; plus Luis Alandy, Cherie Gil, Lou Veloso, Nonie Buencamino, Allan Paule, Richard Quan, Victor Neri, Anna Luna and Nanding Josef. The movie opens in theaters this Wednesday, May 23.
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May 19, 2018

MANILYN REYNES plays the mom of Barbie Forteza anew in “Inday Will Always Love You” that starts airing tonight right after “Kambal, Karibal” on GMA Telebabad. They were just together in Barbie’s last soap, “Meant to Be”.

“It’s always nice to work with Barbie dahil wala siyang attitude at all,” she says. “She’s well grounded at totoong dapat siyang gayahin ng ibang young stars kasi kung anuman ang narating niya ngayon, nakita kong pinaghirapan niya yun nang husto.”

Manilyn’s own eldest son, Kyle, is almost as old as Barbie at 21. “Kaya puedeng-puede ko na talagang anak si Barbie and I’m very happy to be reunited with her after we did ‘Meant to Be’,” she adds. “Ang second son ko, si Kirk, is 15 at ang bunsong si Kael is 6 naman.”

She’s personally managed by her own husband, former actor Aljon Jimenez. Why didn’t she get another manager? “Naku, mas okay na sa’king si Aljon ang manager ko kasi anumang project ang ino-offer sa’kin, pinag-uusapan muna naming mabuti. Kapag ayaw ko, at least, madali akong makakatanggi.”

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JENNYLYN MERCADO is every inch the happy and fulfilled woman in her social media posts showing her photos with Dennis Trillo when they jointly celebrated their birthdays. She turned 31 on May 15 and Dennis turned 37 on May 12. Their fans are all thrilled seeing them so sweet and romantic with each other.

“Super kinikilig talaga kaming DenJen fans! You’re both super hot and sexy! Prenup pictures na ba yan? Sana kayo na talaga and you end up exchanging I do’s at the altar!” they said in their response to Jen’s posts.

Jennylyn has really much to celebrate as both her love and career are currently doing very well. Her latest show, “The Cure”, is getting excellent feedback and always a trending topic in social media. It’s one of the Top 10 in the Social Wit List for April along with other interrnational shows.

In World Screen, an interrnational publication that has been covering international media business for over 30 years now, it was listed at number 4 in the list of “most talked about shows in social media” with the pilot episode getting 46,000 tweets. World Screen writes about the show: “The thriller telenovela follows Greg (Tom Rodriguez), who gets his hands on an experimental drug to help his mother, but his life takes a turn when the drug becomes the root of an infection that threatens to spread all over the city.”

The next episodes of “The Cure” becomes even more exciting and suspenseful as the virus spreads throughtout the country. The whole cast and production staff are now very much inspired because of the international accolades they are getting on social media with the hashtags #WalkingDeadFeelings and #NotYourAverageLoveStory.
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TINA MONZON PALMA will host ANC’s commemoration of the Marawi Siege with four short films made by four Maranaos who lived through the horrors of war to tell their own personal experiences about the heroism, sacrifice and resilience of the people of Marawi. This is what they call collaborative journalism in their “New Moon” series. They could easily ask their own reporters to do docus about the Marawi war but they opted to contact the Maranaos so that they themselves can chronicle their own stories on film.

The ABS News Channel contacted students from the Mindanao State University in Marawi who experienced the war first hand, did a lot of brainstorming about the possible topics for the docus, then chose four young filmmakers to do their own 8 to 9 minute films with a funding of P30,000 per film. Chosen were one female and three males. Three of them were transported by ANC to Manila and presented in a special presscon at ABS-CBN. One of them failed to come to Manila, Omar Ali, as he can’t leave his work with the ARRM.

Sittie Alyssah Diron is 20 years old, taking up journalism. Her film is “Matou”, the story of Mastora Dadayan or Matou, a farmer-fisherman who lost his wife and unborn child in the war. He has an older son to take care of and hopes that he can pick up the broken pieces of his life now that peace has returned to Marawi although it’s said there’s a threat of the war, Part 2.

Geral Jan Nino Omelio is from Bislig, Surigao but was staying in MSU Marawi taking up development communication when the war broke out. He was sleeping when he heard gunshots and it turned out the Mautes are invading the city. He thought it would last only overnight but the war raged on for 153 days. His film is “Kanlungan” or Haven, a place for children orphaned by the war. It focuses on Zomaya and her siblings suffering from PTSS (post traumatic stress syndrome) as they recall a simpler happier life before the Marawi siege.

Ali Yusoph is an engineer who teaches math and engineering in MSU. He was in school when terrorists attacked the city. His film is “Islam”, where he stresses that Islam is a religion of peace, love and tolerance, respecting every human being, but his fundamendalists kababayans led by the Maute group distorted it and resorted to violence. He and his wife Sur have since learned the value of patience and are now trying to help rebuild Marawi after it was laid to waste by the war.

Omar Ali took film workshops at Mowelfund and was once an assistant of Joyce Bernal. He’s the recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship in 2013 to study American Film and TV. He’s now an asst. cabinet sec. at the ARRM and Marawi Rehabilitation. His film is “Suicide Squad”, about a group of rescuers trained for natural disasters who never thought they’ll use their training in saving people from all walks of life during the siege of Marawi.

Don’t miss these four relevant films that will air starting this Monday night within “Early Edition”, “Top Story” and “The World Tonight”. One film will be shown from Monday to Thursday and then, on Friday, they will all be shown together in ‘ANC Presents: New Moon’, hosted by veteran journalist Tina Monzon-Palma. You can also watch it online on iwantv.com.ph or skyondemand.com.ph. For updates, visit abscbnpr.com or news.abs-cbn.com/anc.

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