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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.
Latest Articles

Feb 27, 2017

NEOPHYTE WRITER-DIRECTOR JP HABAC’s “I’m Drunk, I Love You” is the first good local film we’ve seen this year. Not everyone can relate to it, but young viewers (especially those who love to drink beer) will surely enjoy the style and the treatment which is very now. The ending is not the usual happily ever after, but it’s so empowering for anyone who has experienced unrequited love and has finally realized that he has finally freed himself from its confining chains.

Caridad Sonia or Carson (Maja Salvador) and Dio (Paulo Avelino) have been best friends for seven years while college students in U.P. She’s taking up social work and he’s into filmmaking and we wish that, somehow, we’re told how they end up as heterosexual bosom friends without a hint of romance.The depth of close friendship they have achieved between a man and a woman is quite rare. Maja also has a gay best friend, Jason Ty (Dominic Roco), who knows she’s been so in love with Paulo for so long.

A few days before graduation, they’re both at the crossroads. They both had extended stays in college
 and the future seems vague. They know they both have to grow up, be more mature and responsible with their lives. Maja doesn’t know exactly what she’d do after getting a diploma. And it’s suddenly revealed that Paulo wants to go to law school. They both can’t decide if they’d join their school’s graduation rites or skip it. Then, in this period of uncertainty, Paulo suddenly asks Maja to accompany him to a music festival in La Union, and Dominic tags along.

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ALBIE CASINO would rather not talk about Andi Eigenmann at all and we cannot blame him if he looked annoyed when writers kept on asking about Andi during the presscon of “Pwera Usog”. “I feel kasi na tapos na yung issue, matagal na yun, e,” he says. “Also, vindicated naman ako, so I just want to move on and forget about it. We’ve seen each other in an event and we were civil naman.”

Didn’t he really feel anything for Andi’s daughter, Ellie? “Nothing. Yung sinasabi nilang lukso ng dugo, paano ako magkakaroon ng ganun e hindi nga ako ang father. Maski noon pa, she doesn’t really enter my mind and I’m glad that with the DNA test, she found her real dad. Kaya sana naman, patahimikin nyo na ako kasi naman, lahat ng puedeng sabihin, nasabi na, so anupang sasabihin ko? Hindi naman na mababalik ang nakaraan, so what’s the point? Wala nang galit sa puso kasi wala namang mangyayari kung magagalit ako, ako rin lang ang masisira.”

What if there’s an offer to work with Andi? “I’d rather not. Ayokong we’d feel weird and uncomfortable sa set. We cannot pretend namang walang history or whatever between us.”

Albie says he’s seriously thinking of quitting showbiz. “Baka tapusin ko lang yung contract ko with my manager, Leo Domingez. Matagal ko ng pinag-iisipan ito. I’m thinking of finishing my college studies and going abroad. Yung personality ko kasi talaga, hindi pang-showbiz. Hindi ako sanay humarap sa maraming tao at ayokong pinapakialaman ang personal life ko.”

In “Pwera Usog”, Albie is paired with new discovery Cherise Castro. “She’s okay kahit baguhan siya. Nagampanan niya nang maayos ang role niya.”

Any possibility of romance blooming between them? “I’m in a relationship now, non-showbiz. So strictly professional ang pagsasama namin in ‘Pwera Usog’.”
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JASMINE CURTIS SMITH is so convincing as Alex, a lesbian millennial in “Baka Bukas”. Didn’t she have any hesitation in portraying the role? “When I first read the script pa lang, I was already game to do it,” she says. “It’s my first time to play such a role, so I told Direk Sam Lee my apprehensions. She listened to me and in no time at all, we already started shooting it. It was easy because our brains seem to have this weird connection and we’re synchronized in what we both want to do in shooting a scene, what expressions my role as Alex have to convey to be convincing.”

And how is it working with Louise de los Reyes as her love interest? How did they approach their kissing scene? “It’s quite breezy from the first time we met to do script reading. Talagang nakipag-chikahan ako agad kasi we have to be believable as best friends and not just two actors who just met on the set. Soon we were talking about her life, she opened up about her dog, even her exes, and we’re more comfortable with each other at wala ng barrier. About the kissing scene, it’s the first time I had a kissing scene kasi I was only 15 when I joined showbiz and the rule talaga then was, no kissing scenes. Direk Sam Lee prepared us with the help of a lot of music that she played before and after. I think we communicated a lot through music and it just felt as natural as possible.”

What can she say to lesbians out there? “Just feel what they want to feel. Just love and who cares about what people would say. As long as you’re not harming anyone, just keep on loving. Let people talk and say what they want because, in the end, how can you fight what you’re feeling, di ba? Just be confident about who you are.”

Right now, Jasmine is in a relationship with young businessman and surfer from La Union, Jeff Ortega. Is she still under contract with TV5? It’s her manager, Betchay Vidanes, who answered about this. “Yes, pero sa Digital TV lang. Tuloy pa yung digital show niyang ‘Forever Sucks’ for a new season. But we’re also talking with GMA-7 kasi sa TV5, sa digital TV lang ang contract niya. So we’ll see. She also has offers for two new movies. Tingnan natin kung matutuloy.”

As for Jasmine, she’d rather be free for a while as she will busy helping her Ate Anne in preparing for her coming wedding to Erwan Heussaff. “We’re all excited, lalo na ako as her little sister. I want to help her every step of the way pero wala pang final details.”
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Feb 26, 2017

STAR CINEMA is distributing on a wide theatrical release two films that won awards in the recent Cinema One Originals Filmfest, “Bakas Bukas” and “2Cool2 B 4Gotten”. Why, among the many entries, did they choose these two films to be released in theaters? “Noon pa balak i-release talaga ang mga ito kasi they both did very well at the box office noong filmfest,” says Cinema One’s Ronald Arguelles. “We thought sa April pa sila mare-release but biglang nagkaroon ng bakanteng playdates so heto, ‘Baka Bukas’ opens on March 1 and ‘2Cool2 B 4Gotten’ on March 15. Sana, kumita sila para mai-release din namin yung iba pang entries, like ‘Tisay’ with Nathalie Hart, which has so much potential at the box office.”

In “Bakas Bukas”, Jasmine Curtis Smith won the Cinema One best actress award as Alex, a 23-year old lesbian doing multiple jobs who comes out of the closet and falls in love with her best friend, Louise de los Reyes as Jess. It is the debut movie of writer-director Samantha Lee who admits that the film is a very personal one for her as she’s a little bit of everyone in the story and that Alex is largely based on her own real life experiences.

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JUANCHO TRIVINO doesn’t mind playing a supporting role in “Destined to Be Yours”, which starts airing tonight after “Encantadia”, even if he already played a leading man role in the telefantasya “Magkaibang Mundo”.

“Okay lang naman yun dahil this is a great major show at on primetime pa,” he says. “We all know kung gaano kalakas ang AlDub love team and I’m just glad to be a part of their first primetime drama series. At saka kahit lead o supporting role ang ginagampanan mo, ang importante, husayan mo ang acting mo dahil yun ang mas mapapansin ng viewers.”

He’s the third wheel in the Alden Richards-Maine Mendoza love team as Badong, the best friend of Maine as Sinag. “Secretly in love ako kay Maine sa story pero wala akong lakas ng loob na sabihin ang feelings ko sa kanya,” he says.

Isn’t he afraid of being bashed by diehard AlDub fans? “Naku, meron na nga akong natatanggap na hate messages sa social media. We all know naman how possessive ang fans nina Maine at Alden. Parang si Koreen Medina na may gusto rin kay Alden sa story at naba-bash din ng fans. Lalo na nang lumabas ang pictures namin ni Maine na kinunan sa set, may mga nag-negative comments agad na binibigyan ng maling interpretasyon. But I assure them I’m just playing a role.”

It’s common knowledge that Juancho has a non-showbiz girlfriend, Cheska Mendiola, the daughter of Councilor Rowena Bautista-Mendiola and niece of Bong Revilla. “So I want to assure AlDub fans na hindi ako threat sa love team ng mga idol nila.”
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THREE STARS who are not part of “Pwera Usog” figured prominently in the film’s presscon: Diego Loyzaga, Barbie Forteza and Andi Eigenmann. Diego is linked to Sofia Andres, so it’s not surprising for Sofia to be asked about his tiff with his dad Cesar Montano and for her to defend Diego against his bashers.

Barbie is the ex-GF of Kiko Estrada, so it’s also to be expected for Kiko to be asked about why they broke up. Andi accused Albie Casino as the dad of her daughter Ellie, but it turned out it was Jake Ejercito all along.

Kiko Estrada quickly defended himself from allegations that Barbie broke up with him because he’s a two-timer. “I did not cheat on her,” he stresses. “Ako nga ang nasaktan as I still love her. It’s not my fault, honest. She was the one who left. Sino bang hindi masasaktan kapag iniwan ka ng mahal mo?”

But Barbie sounds she was the one who got hurt. “There’s no third party at all. Let me just say I prioritized my career over love because I was then so busy taping a show, ‘Sinungaling Mong Puso’, where I played a lead role, kaya I had to focus kasi tinututukan akong mabuti ng director namin, si Direk Ricky Davao. So nawalan ako ng time for her.”

If he didn’t hurt her, how come Barbie doesn’t even seem to want him to be her friend? “I really don’t know why she doesn’t want talk to me, but I respect her decision. Maybe because she’s so busy now concentrating on her own show (‘Meant to Be’) and I respect that. Ako rin naman, I’m about to start a new show, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, so magiging busy rin ako roon. Siguro, at the end of the day, it’s really career over love. I’m sure if you ask Barbie, she’d also choose career over love at this point. We can say it’s the right love but at the wrong time and I’m sorry kung anuman ang naging shortcomings ko.”

If there’s a chance in the future, would he ever try to win her again? “Let’s see, kasi ang daming lalaki sa buhay niya ngayon, di ba? Apat silang kasama niya,” he laughs. “But I’m very happy for her kasi their show is doing very good and rating well on primetime. She’s a fantastic actress and I continue to respect her and her parents who have been good to me. I just don’t want people to think that I’m bad and blame me that it’s my fault. Parehas naman kaming nasaktan sa nangyari.”

In “Pwera Usog”, he gets to work with Kapamilya stars like Sofia Andres, Devon Seron, Albie Casino, Joseph Marco. “Yes, ako lang ang Kapuso sa amin. But we got along fine. Mababait sila, easy to get along with. I’m paired with Devon, na isang taong grasa rito na pinagtatanggol ko sa mga pang-aapi ng barkada namin. Things get ugly and there will be some horrifying events that will happen to some of us. Maraming scary scenes so those who love horror movies will surely enjoy watching this when it opens on March 8 in theaters nationwide.”

About Barbie Forteza, when someone asked for her reaction about Kiko’s declaration that “I still love her”, she said she’d rather not comment at all since she feels that Kiko’s being vocal about his feelings for her have come in too late. We’re not surprised that Barbie is hurt because we remember that she was the first one to admit that they’re in a relationship, but Kiko later denied this at the presscon of “Sinungaling Mong Puso”.
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Feb 25, 2017

 
‘HIDDEN FIGURES’ is nominated as best picture in the Oscars that will be held this Monday morning (Manila time). It won’t win because the favorite is “La La Land” but it’s still most certainly worth watching. It’s about three African-American women who helped put John Glenn into orbit during the space race in 1961. The movie starts with a gifted little black girl who gets a scholarship for being a mathematical whiz. She is Katherine Goble (to be played by Taraji P. Henson of “Empire”), who later gets to work at NASA’s Colored Computer Division at a time when discrimination is at an all time high.

Because of its ambition to beat Russia in the race to the moon, NASA is forced to accept mathematicians, no matter what their skin color is. Although the film is largely anchored on Katherine since her story is the most compelling, the other two women also get their time to take center stage. These are Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae, the singer, who’s also in another Oscar-nominated film, “Moonlight”) and Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer, who won the Oscar best supporting actress award for “The Help” and is now nominated again in the same category).

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EULA VALDES was in the afternoon soap, “Hahamakin ang Lahat”, that ended just recently. After its taping, she went on a cruise to Alaska with her inamorato, actor-model Rocky Salumbides. But now, she’s back on TV and it’s on primetime, as Avria, Queen of Etheria, in “Encantadia”. She’s also in the new Regal Entertainment horror movie, “Pwera Usog”. In both projects, she plays very dark and sinister characters who possesses the body of another person.

In “Encantadia”, as the evil Reyna Avria, she possesses the body of Solenn Heussaff as Cassiopeia. She does this so she can get hold of the four powerful gems or “brilyante” under the care of the Sang’res. The role was previously played by Francine Prieto in the original.

In “Pwera Usog”, Eula plays Catalina, an evil enchantress who possesses the body of Devon Seron as Luna, a taong graza. She does this to terrorize the barkada of Sofia Andres, Joseph Marco, Albie Casino, Kiko Rodriguez and newcomer Cherise Castro who earlier pulled a nasty prank on Devon.

Needless to say, Eula enjoys playing both roles to the hilt. “Matakot na kayo habang pinapanood nyo kung paano ako maghahasik ng lagim on the small screen in ‘Encantadia’ and on the big screen in ‘Pwera Usog’!” she threatens.
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ALDEN RICHARDS has no inkling that his being hospitalized due to throat infection will spark a conflict between his very possessive fans. One faction of his fans got jealous when it was reported that he allowed another group of his admirers to visit him in his hospital room while the others were banned. Because of this, some fans threatened to withdraw their support from him. Alden has to explain to the jealous fans that no such thing as him favoring some fans over the others ever happened.

A few days ago, he finally returned to “Eat Bulaga” looking a bit slimmer but back to his former bubbly self. He’s back just in time to promote his first primetime soap with Maine Mendoza, “Destined to Be Yours”, that will start airing this Monday night. He was actually having high fever during the show’s presscon on Valentine’s Day but he still showed up to prove he’s a professional.

He was taken to the hospital right after the presscon and his few days rest on his hospital bed did him a lot of good. He told his fans: “By God’s grace I am healed. Thank you Lord and thank you for the prayers po.” But his doctors told him to take it easy and not to accept too heavy a workload as his health would surely suffer. Whatever he earns from all his ‘rakets’, he’ll just spend them on doctors and medicines.

Alden admits he and Maine are both eager to find out how the viewers will receive “Destined to Be Yours”. “Siempre, first time naming mapapanood sa isang primetime series kaya kabado kami. Ibang-iba naman ito sa Kalyeserye ng ‘Eat Bulaga’. One thing we can promise is maganda talaga ang show at pinaghusayan ng lahat ng kasama namin dito so we’re proud of it at di kami mapapahiya sa viewers.”

Does he believe that he and Maine might really be destined to be for each other? “Yes, naiisip namin yun. Kasi, destiny naman talaga ang dahilan kung bakit nag-meet kami sa ‘Eat Bulaga’. Hindi naman plinano yun ng kahit sino. Basta nag-click kami sa viewers who then supported us as a love team. But we don’t allow the expectations of our fans to pressure us para maging kami. As of now, basta ine-enjoy lang namin yung sitwasyon namin, our moments together. What you see in us now, totoo yun, hindi put on, everything is real. At ngayong lagi kaming magkasama sa taping ng ‘Destined to Be Yours’, we’re open to other possibilities kaya sana, panoorin nyo and don’t miss each episode of our show.”
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Feb 24, 2017

AS A DIRECTOR, Mel Gibson is best known for the historical film about a 13th century Scottish freedom fighter, “Braveheart”, which won the Oscar best picture and Oscar best director awards in 1995. In 2004, he depicted the last hours of Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ” then in 2006, he made the violent but visually stunning “Apocalypto”, set in early Mayan civilization. He now returns, ten years later, in “Hacksaw Ridge”, the true story of Private First Class Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector in World War II to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The movie starts with two boys in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, brothers Desmond and Howard Doss, forever competing with each other. Their dad is a World War I veteran who was so traumatized by his experiences in battle that he has become a drunkard and is prone to violence. Desmond realizes his own capability for anger needs to be tamed when he nearly killed his own brother during a childhood fight and when he nearly shoots his dad after beating up his mother.

When World War II erupts, Desmond joins the army with the intention of being a medic, because he shuns violence and refuses to kill other people. While helping someone injured in an accident, he meets a beautiful nurse, Dorothy (Teresa Palmer), in a hospital and they fall in love.

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