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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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Jun 20, 2018

JERALD NAPOLES never expected even in his wildest dreams that he will be given a leading man role. But in “The Write Moment”, he plays the role of the romantic lead no less to Valeen Montenegro, his co-star in the weekend comedy show, “Sunday PinaSaya”. “It really helped na matagal na rin kaming magkasama sa show at comfortable na kami, kaya nagkaroon kami agad ng rapport sa isa’t isa when we were shooting the movie,” says Jerald.

In “The Write Moment”, Jerald plays Dave, a professional wedding videographer who moonlights as a movie scriptwriter. Valeen is Joyce, his girlfriend, and he gets crushed when she suddenly breaks up with him without any clear reason. “It’s not you, it’s me,” she tells him and he can’t accept it.

Still in denial, he writes a movie script depicting an imaginary happy ending for the two of them. A strange turn then suddenly happens, he finds himself living out in real life the scenes from the script that he is writing. But he has to follow his script verbatim or it might turn out that they’re not just really meant for each other.

Those who are fond of hugot lines will enjoy the movie, especially those who have experienced
rejection from their loved ones. What’s nice is that this is mixed with plenty of hilarious scenes as it delves into the dark and wacky side of falling in love. If you’d seen the movie “Groundhog Day”, it’s something like that as Dave finds himself in an existential loop where he gets to write and rewrite the scenes with his inamorata until he gets things write, er, we mean right.

The movie is also reminiscent of “Kita Kita” where a plain looking hero is paired with a pretty girl. Jerald is amusingly funny and touching by turns and many guys who have suffered the same fate will able to relate to his Dave character who eventually embarks on a journey of self discovery.

“Sabi nga nila, being funny is the new pogi,” says Jerald who had a live in relationship with a sexy French model for two years, until the girl had to leave back for France and they cannot maintain their long distance relationship. “Pinasusunod niya ako, e sayang naman yung career ko rito na bago pa lang bumobongga.”

The movie is directed by Dominic Lim of IdeaFirst Company and was first shown as an entry in the QC FIlmfest. It is now being given by Viva Entertainment a nationwide theatrical release starting on June 27. “The Write Moment” is very important for Jerald as it opened doors for him. He is now in the cast of three new movies where he all plays the lead role.

First is “Nakalimutan Kong Kalimutan Ka” with Alex Gonzaga and Vin Abrenica, written and directed by Fifth Solomon of PBB and produced by Alwyn Uytingco. Then there’s “Ang Pangarap Kong Holdup” with Paolo Contis, directed by Marcus Talampas and “Mina Anod” with Dennis Trillo, directed by Kerwin Go. All his directors are first timers so it’s obvious that Jerald is a favorite of debuting directors.
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KYLIE PADILLA is back to acting as the latest addition in the cast of GMA-7’s hit primetime thriller, “The Cure”. Prior to this, she was a guest in “Lip Sync Battle Philippines”, but that’s just a one time deal where she sang. Now, she acts again and has already started taping for “The Cure”. And she’s glad that her role calls for her to do some action scenes. She’s really ready to go back to work since her love son, Alas, is now almost one year old.

“I’m now a working mom,” she says. “And I like my role as I really enjoy doing it kasi naipapakita kong kaya kong mag-action. I jusdt wish they’d give me a lot of fight scenes to do.”

It’s Kylie’s choice to remain a Kapuso while her live in partner, Aljur Abrenica, is now with ABS-CBN. One of those who’s happy to see her acting again is Ruru Madrid. Ruru even posted a message for Kylie in his social media account gladly welcoming her back.

Kylie was paired with Ruru in the reboot of “Encantadia” and the public’s reaction to their KyRu tandem was very positive, but Kylie had to leave the show prematurely because of her unforeseen pregnancy. Now, the fans of her team up with Ruru are requesting GMA-7 and Direk Mark Reyes of “The Cure” to also get Ruru to join the show so that they can be together again on screen. Let’s see if their request would be granted.
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Jun 19, 2018

WE CAN’T believe that the first “The Incredibles” was shown 14 years ago in 2004 yet. It seems fresh to us as we’ve seen our younger grandchildren watching it on video. But it’s an origin story about a family of superheroes, the Parrs, that really calls for new chapters. And now, it’s finally here, “Incredibles 2”, and we’re happy to report that it’s as family friendly as the first movie, developing its themes while also smartly venturing into new grounds.

Trust Disney’s Pixar to come up with really good sequels like what they did to “Toy Story”, “Finding Nemo” and “Cars”. Director Brad Bird (who first made waves in “Iron Giant” then in “Ratatouille”) makes sure it’s not just a mere retread of his first movie and he certainly recovers after his dissapointing work in his last movie, “Tomorrowland” . Although the original was made 14 years ago, the sequel now picks up where the first one ended.

A villain called the Underminer, which is like a mole, burrows through the city and robs banks from below. The Parrs stop him but there’s already so much damage and they were blamed for it. Bank officials said they shouldn’t have meddled as they would rather just let the criminals get away with it since banks have insurance anyway.

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THE LOVE TEAM of Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto, that scored their first hit on the big screen in “Vince, Kath & James” in 2016, followed by “Love You to the Stars and Back” and “Unexpectedly Yours” in 2017, is now back in their fourth screen outing, “I Love You, Hater”. In the story of this rollicking romantic comedy, they actually start as rivals.

Joshua is Joko, the breadwinner in his family while Julia is Zoey, a go-getting young woman who wants to work with the so-called Digital Empress, Sasha Imperial, played by the comebacking Kris Aquino.

Kris as Sasha needs a new executive assistant but she would work only with women and with badings, so Joshua has to pretend that he is gay to get the job, much to the chagrin of Julia for whom working with Kris is a dream job, so she insists to Kris that she’s actually the one who’s better for the job. So Kris also gets her and they become tough competitors in trying to get to the good graces of Kris.

But naturally, things get quite complicated when Joshua can’t help but be sexually attracted to Julia and he starts regretting that he presented himself to her as a gay man. He also cannot reveal the truth as he would lose his job with Kris. As to where all this will be heading, you have to find out when the movie is shown on July 11 in theaters nationwide, as helmed by the neophyte director, Giselle Andres.

We ask Kris if she didn’t have any second thoughts being helmed by a new director whose only previous film was “Loving in Tandem” with the MayWard love team. “Our director is young but so brilliant,” says Kris. “She knows how to push the right buttons to bring out the best in me. Ganun siya kagaling. Ang tinanong ko lang, who did she work with before? When I learned na assistant siya ni Direk Olive Lamasan for 8 years, okay na ko. If Inang believes in her to give her this break, that means she’s really good. Actually, it’s the two stars na pinanood ko muna ang mga pelikula. I caught glimpses of their teleseryes, but iba kasi yung sa movies. So I watched them in ‘Love You to the Stars and Back’ and ‘Unexpectedly Yours’ and they’re good. They made me laugh and cry, kaya gusto ko silang makasama. With them in my comeback movie, para na akong nakasandal sa pader.”

So how is it working with Joshua and Julia? “They certainly know their craft. Masunurin silang mga bata. My son (Bimby) loves Julia, so if Joshua would not behave, my son is just waiting in the wings. He came to the shooting and he kissed me and Julia 40 times. Ako sa cheeks, si Julia, sa lips. Iba talagang kamandag meron si Julia Barretto. My son identifies with her so much. That means, napakagaling niyang artista. She’s so hungry. Si Joshua naman, the more I get to know him, the more I understand why Julia is in love with him. He’s amazing because the work needs him, he’s the real deal. In 15 or 20 years from now, he’ll still be here as one of our greatest actors in the industry.”

Of course, both Julia and Joshua are very thankful to Kris for her kind words for them. “Sa tagal na niya sa industry, it’s an honor that she appreciates our work,” they say. “Dahil diyan, mas inspired kami, mas ginaganahan to give our best sa pag-arte.”
#ShowbizPortal #ILoveYouHaters
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Jun 18, 2018

THE FIRST “Ocean’s 11”, a heist film, was made in 1960 starring the famous Rat Pack led by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. This was remade in 2001 as “Ocean’s Eleven” starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt. It was a hit so there was a sequel, “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004, and another one in 2007, “Ocean’s Thirteen”.

Now comes “Ocean’s 8” and the germ of the story is really the same as the other heist films with con men aiming to pull intricate con job. The difference is this one has a female cast led by Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney.) The first Ocean movies were directed by Steven Soderbergh, who is now producer for “Ocean’s 8”, which is directed by Gary Ross (“Hunger Games”).

Just like “Ocean’s Eleven” which started with George Clooney being released from jail, this one starts with Debbie being released after five years behind bars. She then goes to visit her brother’s crypt and she says: “You better be in there.” This is a hint that he may not really be dead and if “Ocean’s 8” becomes a blockbuster, we won’t be surprised if they’d join forces later on in another movie.

Elliott Gould as Reuben from “Ocean’s Eleven” pops up in a cameo role and tells Debbie that Danny was aware that she’s been planning a new heist and discourages her to do it as she just might end up back in prison. The film ends with Debbie returning to the crypt, making a martini for herself and telling Danny: “You would have loved it.”

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KIKO ESTRADA is dead serious in his ambition to be recognized as a good actor rather than just as a rugged hunk. “Although I do pictorials and scenes showing me without any shirt on, my main concern is more about people recognizing me for my good acting,” he says. “And I’m happy that I’m being given projects where I get the chance to show that I can do different kinds of roles.”

Right now, he plays a wholesome role as Justin in the GMA-7 romantic comedy, “My Guitar Princess”, as the confidante of Julie Anne San Jose, who plays the title role. Julie doesn’t know he’s secretly in love with her. On the big screen, he’s one of the four leads in Regal Entertainment’s new youth oriented film, “Walwal”, that opens on June 27. But in another film, “My Stepmother’s Lover”, he does a nude love scene with Sunshine Cruz, his most daring movie to date.

Kiko’s paternal dad was the late George Estregan, who did a lot of sexy films. His dad, Gary Estrada, also went sexy but later forayed into politics, although he has not forgotten acting as he is now seen regularly on the hit GMA-7 afternoon soap, “The Stepdaughters”, where he plays the dad of Katrina Halili.

Kiko’s mom is former actress Cheska Diaz and his maternal grandfather was the famous contravida, the late Paquito Diaz. So you can say that acting is really in his blood. Although he grew up with his mom, he’s quite close to his dad and to his family now. Gary is married to Bernadette Allison and Kiko is close to her and his three half-sisters.

“I’m currently working with my mom in a movie, ‘Walwal’,” says Kiko. “So ang dream ko naman ngayon is makatrabaho rin ang dad ko as we haven’t worked together. Since we’re both with the Kapuso network, hindi naman siguro imposibleng mangyari ito in the near future.”

Her ex-GF Barbie Forteza has since found a new love in Jak Roberto, but Kiko says he has remained loveless since then. “It’s my choice. Mas gusto ko talagang mag-focus muna sa career ko. Maraming projects na dumarating and I want to give my best efforts and my undivided attention to them. I'm proud of 'Walwal' which gave me the chance to work with a respected writer-director like Joey Reyes. I learned so much from the experience with him guiding me in my role as an aimless young man who's a playboy at nagkaroon ng malaking problema sa buhay.”
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‘ESCOBAR: LOVING PABLO’ is a movie about Pablo Escobar, the world’s most notorious drug lord who started the infamous Medellin cartel in the 1980s. The film is based on the book of a journalist with whom he had a tempestuous affair, Virginia Vallejo, entitled “Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar”, but this fim version includes details about the nefarious career and ultimate downfall of Escobar and his empire.

There have been many films on Escobar. There are several documentaries like “Finding Escobar’s Millions” (where two ex-CIA agents travel to search for the millions of dollars that Escobar buried underground all over Colombia), “Ciudadano Escobar” (a docu showing real footage of Escobar himself), “Sins of My Father” (a 2009 Argentine film on Escobar made with the help of his son who now lives in Argentina with a new name, Sebastian Marroquin), “The True Story of Killing Pablo” and “Killing Pablo” (docus both about the death of Escobar), “Reputations: Pablo Escobar, How Cocaine Conquered a Country” (another docu), “Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal” (a TV series made in Colombia), “Escobar: Paradise Lost” (a 2014 movie starring Benicio del Toro as Escobar) and the Netflix series with two seasons, “Narcos” (this for us is the most definitive).

Why is Escobar so infamous? Because his illegal drug trade turned his country into a narco state. Robert Mazur, the real life agent who helped track him down for five years and whose exploits were made into the film “The Infiltrator” starring Bryan Cranston, describes him as “a vindictive and coldblooded killer who thought little of sacrificing innocent lives in the pursuit of his world-beating ambitions.” He has no qualms in killing people and his own son later returned to Colombia to apologize to the sons of his dad’s most prominent victims: presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan and the Minister of Justice Rodrigo Lara Bonita.

Escobar is also mentioned in “American Made”, a movie on the life of Barry Seal, an airlane pilot
played by Tom Cruise, who transported cocaine for the Medellin cartel. Medellin has since been cleaned up and renovated. It is now said to be a tourist attraction.

As the world’s most powerful drug kingpin, Escobar made so much money he no longer knows where to stash them, which is also showed in “Narcos” with Escobar and his men shown putting millions of dollars inside drums that they bury underground. And he becomes so ruthless that he turned the Medellin region into a war zone where even kids are given guns and are rewarded with cold cash everytime they’ve killed a policeman or a soldier and they turn in their badges to the cartel.

If you think two seasons of Netflix’ detailed storytelling in “Narcos” would be too long for you, “Loving Pablo” as directed by Spanish filmmaker Fernando de Aranoa is something you can sit through in just two hours, spiced up with scenes of violence and torture and brutal assassinations. It’s a loud, lurid and pulpy biopic as it’s told by his glamorous TV journalist mistress in bullet points (with lots of bullet holes) starring no less than Spain’s real life first couple, Bardem and Cruz, both Oscar best supporting winners, as the leads.

Escobar gives Virginia suitcases full of cash and it seems that their relationship is really based more on material excess as we’re not given much insight about the more intimate aspects of their relationship. It would seem that Escobar got Virginia to help him in his foray into politics as a congressman. He wins as people look up to him as their Robin Hood, but is eventually ousted by political machinations that leads to a deadly power play and several massacres.

Virginia’s career was ultimately ruined by her association with Escobar and she is reduced into a pathetic bitch crying for desperate help in that scene in a pawnshop where armed men tried to attack her. This makes her seek the help of the USA’s DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), as represented by Agent Shepard (Peter Sarsgard), whose role is so limited compared to the role played by Boyd Holbrook in “Narcos” as the agent who acts as the narrator of the series, where Virginia was renamed as Valeria Velez.

Bardem seems enjoying chewing the scenery as the murderous carnal beast that the flabby Pablo is, often displaying his huge paunch and even agreeing to do a scene where he is shown running stark naked in the river, with all his rippling and flapping cellulites. This is after the helicopter raid staged by cops on his jungle lair and the DOM happened to just have made love to a very young teenage girl who was screaming in terror.

Cruz also does well as the increasingly terrorized Virginia who seeks asylum with the DEA. But actually, she deserves the fate that befell on her. After all, throughout her relationship with the drug lord, she never even showed having any kind of moral dilemma about what she was doing with him. The movie is a perfect reminder that you sow what you reap.
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KEN CHAN was originally introduced at the presscon of “The Cure” as just playing a short special participation role as Joshua, the doctor son of Jaclyn Jose. But it seems has role has since been lengthened as his team up with Arra San Agustin as Anna, the sister of Mark Herras proved appealing to the viewers.

“They have good on screen chemistry,” wrote a fan of their team up on social media. “Parehong very wholesome ang dating nila at malakas ang kanilang kilig factor.”

Their love story is one bright factor in the show's otherwise bleak background of a deadly epidemic spreading and contaminating everyone. This becomes an even greater source of hope when Arra tells Ken that she’s already pregnant with their first child, indicating the coming of a new life amidst all the dark and depressing conditions around them.

This serves as an inspiration for Ken to continue researching for the cure to the deadly virus that has infected a lot of the populace. More than ever, he’s now determined to help his mommy, Jaclyn as Dr. Evangeline Lazaro, to find the right remedy to counter the continually spreading disease.

Someone said in the internet that Ken’s character will definitely be killed after Arra gives birth to their baby, to make their love story more dramatic, more tragic. But of course, this early, the fans of their tandem are complaining. They say it will not be fair for Ken’s character to be killed now that he is about to become a father, and they threaten that they’ll stop watching the show if ever that would happen.
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Jun 16, 2018

‘THE AUTOPSY’ is originally titled “Autopsy of Jane Doe” and was originally released in the U.S. two years ago, but it’s only now that it's is shown in local theaters. It’s a fairly interesting horror flick about the corpse of a woman discovered by the police while investigating a crime scene in a small town in Virginia.

The woman is young and buried in the basement of a house, her body seemingly untouched by any kind of violence. She’s taken to the home of a father and son who are both coroners, Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and son Austin (Emile Hirsch.) Austin scraps his plan to go watch a movie with his girlfriend, Emma (Ophelia Lovibond), to help his dad do the autopsy right away, telling Emma he’ll just make it up to her.

As they examine the corpse, they notice that she has broken wrists and feet, but there’s no outward indication of this on her body. Her tongue has also been cut out and inside her throat, they pull out a cloth printed with ancient words. Then more mysterious things happen, like the lights dimming out and a sudden thunderstorm traps them inside their house where the morgue is located since being their town’s coroners has already been their family’s business for three generations.

The rest of the movie, after the opening scene that shows a gory crime where some people were shown cut to pieces, is entirely set inside the Tilden home. The morgue is a perfect creepy setting for terrifying things to happen and what hooks us more is to see the affable relationship between father and son that works beautifully.
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AI AI DE LAS ALAS hosted a special presscon for her wards, the Ex Battalion, who will have their first anniversary concert, titled “Kami ang EXB”, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig (not Antipolo) on July 14. The group is composed of Bosxne1, Flow-G, Skuts Clee, Brando, Emcee Rhen and King Badger, who will each have the chance to do his own solo spot during the show.

“Actually, five years na kaming magkakasama pero underground pa kami noon sa hiphop scene,” they say. “What we’re celebrating in our concert is the first year since we went mainstream at magkaroon ng hit song nationwide, ‘Hayaan Mo Sila’, which registered 56 million hits on youtube.”

Their hit songs have since had more than 250 million music video views and about 750,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. And what changes have happened in their lives since they went mainstream?

“Marami,” they say. “We never expected kasi before na makikilala kami nang ganito. Noon, basta we’re just doing what we enjoy doing kahit underground. Pero mula nang makilala kami, nag-improve ang buhay namin. We’re not only earning better kundi natutuwa kami kasi kahit maliliit na bata, kinakanta yung kanta namin. Nagkaroon kami ng TV show. Nasa ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ on GMA-7, two parts, tonight on June 17 and then on June 24. Tapos magkaka-movie na kami sa Viva. Maraming blessings.”

Since their concert has been announced about two weeks ago, ticket sales has been very fast and almost 50 percent has already been sold, mostly to kids and their parents who appreciate their music. So what will they show in their first big concert?

“Definitely, maraming pasabog, surprises,” they say. “Talagang pinaghahandaan namin yan.”

The concert’s director, GB Sampedro adds: “Definitely, hindi puede yung usual na pinapakita nila sa music videos and gigs nila. We will have new musical arrangements and full production numbers with their guest stars.”

Their guests include their manager, Concert Comedy Queen Ai Ai de las Alas, Asia’s Pop Sweetheart Julie Anne San Jose, rock band Silent Sanctuary, rapper Shanti Dope, plus more surprise guests. The show is produced by Four Lights Productions who produced the concerts before of Maja Salvador, MayWard, Kyla and Moira de la Torre.

Four Lights Head Marlon Vergara says: “This being a first anniversary concert, it’s going to be something big that their fans haven’t seen before. We handpicked the top acts in each genre, from rap and rock to pop and comedy, then put them all together in one sensational show. The concert will also highlight each ExB members rapping and singing prowess.”

And what will Ai Ai do in the show? “Secret. Basta abangan nyo dahil pasabog ang gagawin ko. Wholesome tayo rito kasi marami silang fans na mga bata.”

How come she recently posted a comment saying she’ll take a vacation from being their manager and she seems to have gotten mad at her wards? “Oo. Bilang mommy nila ako, pamilya ang turing ko sa kanila. At sa isang pamilya, lagi namang iba-iba ang ugali ng bawat isa at hindi maiiwasang magkaroon kayo ng mga tampuhan. E, hindi sila maayos nung araw na yun, e, so nagalit ako. Pero yung bakasyon ko, inabot lang ng 10 minutes. Nag-sorry agad sila sa akin at nagpadala ng flowers.”

The presscon for “Kami ang EXB” concert was held at Ai Ai’s own resto, Chang Ai Express, which used to be known as Ai Express. Why the name change? “E, kasi, sa internet, pag sine-search ng customers, ang lumalabas, yun pa ring dating Ai Express ko sa harap ng ABS-CBN na nagsara na. So para wala ng confusion, ginawa kong Chang Ai Express with new address dito na sa no. 62 Sgt. Esguerra, near corner Mother Ignacia.”

The “Kami ang EXB” concert is sponsored by RRJ with Frontrow, supported by Mountain Dew, Chang Ai Express and Sisters Sanitary Napkins and Pantyliners. You can get your tickets at Ticketnet.com.ph or call 911-5555 or Four Lights Productions at 0926-074-7776.
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