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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

Aug 11, 2020

SHARON CUNETA carrying baby KC with Gabby's parents and siblings

GABBY CONCEPCION’s mom, Mrs. Lourdes “Baby” Arellano Concepcion, passed away last Monday at the age of 79. Our condolences.

We met her several years ago in a gathering at the Arellano’s home then, but we remember it was Gabby’s dad, Rollie Concepcion, who helped in entertaining the press.

Lolit Solis, the manager then of Gabby, said that Gabo is really closer to his dad than to his mom.

Sharon Cuneta, Gabby’s first wife, is one of the first people to extend her sympathy to Gabby’s family.

She posted her message condoling with Gabby’s family, along with some of her old photos with them when KC was still a baby, in her social media account.

She wrote: “I just got the sad news that KC’s Mommyla passed away this morning… My deepest condolences to the Arellanos and Concepcions.

"Rest in peace, dear Mommy Baby... Thank you for being good to me while I was part of your family, and for loving KC with all your heart.

“May you be happy in God’s eternal embrace with Daddylo... Deepest Condolences to Kuya Dinky, Gabby, Juju, Mike, Rina and Ricky and Sandy...”

Let’s all say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Gabby Concepcion’s mother.

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ICE SEGUERRA, the former child star Aiza Seguerra who’s now a transman, is very open about his personal battle with depression. He says he resigned from his post as chair of the National Youth Commission because of this condition.

He shared that he felt then that he didn’t deserve the job as he couldn’t give it 100 percent of his efforts and attention and he might only be cheating the young people he is supposed to serve.

He has experienced clinical depression since 2003 when he has not yet come out and there were times he felt too paranoid. He’s going through a roller coaster of emotions and would just cry without any reason.

He had no appetite and if he’d force himself to eat, then he’d just throw up later. He was just lying down all day and couldn’t understand what’s happening to him.

He finally sought the help of a psychiatrist who diagnosed it as clinical depression. His serotonin level is very low and he was given the right medication to normalize it.

He took a break from singing and recording but when he returned, the music industry’s landscape has changed. There are no more CD’s and the way songs and albums are sold has transitioned into the digital setup.

She had a hard time coping with this since she’s not well versed to the new technology, so she felt that she got derailed.

He admits he now takes anti-depressant medication everyday. With the help of his very supportive wife, FDCP Chair Liza Dino, he’s able to start living well again.

He put up his own events company called Fire and Ice and he is now into directing.

This made him felt better although he’s not working at the moment because of the pandemic. So if you’re feeling chronically depressed, Ice advises you to seek professional help.

There’s no need to hide it or feel embarrassed about it because it can be treated. All you have to do is ask for help.

His family is actually going through a rough situation now as his dad, Dick Seguerra, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He said his dad’s ailment brought their family closer to each other.

An only child, his dad is now 77 while his mother, Mommy Caring, is 80. Let’s all offer a prayer for the full healing of Ice’s dad.

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Aug 10, 2020

THERE HAVE been so many movies set inside an airplane, like “Red Eye” with Rachel McAdams, “Air Force One” with Harrison Ford, “Sully” with Tom Hanks, “Con Air” with Nicolas Cage, “Turbulence” with Ray Liotta, “Snakes on a Plane” with Samuel Jackson, “Flight Plan” with Jodie Foster, the “Airport” series, “United 93” about 9-11, etc.

Now comes another one, “7500”, but this one has an even much more limited setting as it all happens right just inside the pilot’s very narrow cockpit.

The title “7500” refers to the Emergency Transponder Code used by air traffic controllers meaning unlawful interference. Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is the first officer of a flight from Berlin to Paris.

His captain is Michael Lutzmann (Carlo Kitzlinger) and as soon as their plane is on the air, a flight attendant starts serving them their in-flight meals.

Three Muslim terrorists on board take this opportunity while the cockpit door is open to force their way in.

The flight attendant is killed and the captain is stabbed with a broken glass by a terrorist. Tobias fights back, subdues one terrorist with a fire extinguisher, ties him up and regains control of the plane.

He also manages to lock the cockpit door so the other two terrorists cannot come in. They try their best to break down the fortified door but they fail to do so.

Tobias is also wounded on the arm but manages to inform ground control station about what’s happening to them and is told to fly to Hanover airport. On the CCTV screen showing what’s happening outside of the cockpit there,

Tobias sees the two remaining terrorists threatening to kill a hostaged passenger if he wouldn’t open the cockpit door. He refuses to comply so the passenger is killed.

They take another hostage, this time a female flight attendant named Gokce (Aylin Tezel), who happens to be Tobias’ girlfriend. He pleads not to hurt her but he sees them killing her before his very eyes.

Unknown to Tobias, the terrorist he has tied up has managed to free himself and knocks Tobias out. The other terrorists come and one of them is a pilot who then flies the plane.

We all know this debacle will surely end in tragedy. The question is: how will Tobias survive it all?

As a thriller happening on real time inside a claustrophobic setting, the movie is the debut of German Director Patrick Vollrath. It is quite well crafted as a real example of cinematic minimalism.

The suspense is intense at the start but after a while, the face off between the assistant pilot-first officer and the terrorist quickly hit a snag.

The movie, which uses no musical score, becomes a veritable one-man show for Joseph Gordon Levitt as the airborne crisis spirals out of control and plunges him into dark moments of agony.

But even his convincing performance is not enough to entirely redeem the movie from its boring stretches that make the 90-minute movie eventually lose steam.

The movie fails to sustain the nail-biting tension and adrenaline as a pulse-pounder. It looks like the movie itself has gone into autopilot mode and the final act becomes quite familiar like what you’ve seen before in other skybound hostage thrillers.
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Aug 9, 2020

LAST YEAR, at the Seoul International Drama Awards, Alden Richards won the Asian Star Prize.

This time, the only Filipino star nominated is Bela Padilla, for her role as Juris, the foster mom fighting for her adopted child in last year’s teleserye, “Mea Culpa: Sino ang Maysala?”, which is nominated as best drama serial along with seven other foreign programs.

Bela was nominated in the best drama category with six other actresses: one from the United Kingdom, one from the Czech Republic, one from Taiwan, and three actresses from Korea, including Bela’s own Korean favorite, Hyo Jin Kong, from the show “When the Camelia Blooms”.

The British actress nominated is Imelda Staunton from the series “Flesh and Blood”. Staunton will next be seen in the 4th season of the hit Netflix show, “The Crown”, playing Queen Elizabeth in her senior years.

Bela thanks the organizers of the Seoul Drama International Awards in her social media account, saying:

“Thank you so much for the nomination!!! and from one of my favorite countries too! Thank you!!! To be nominated with Ms. Hyo Jin and Ms. Staunton who played Professor Umbridge in ‘Harry Potter’, this is honestly the most kilig part for me!”

A total of 212 entries from 41 countries shown in 2019 were screened by Seoul International Drama Awards jurors. The awards ceremonies will be held on September 13 in Korea.

We hope the health crisis we’re facing now would have ended by then. Here’s wishing Bela good luck. May she bring home the bacon.
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‘WOULD YOU RATHER’ is one of those violent films where characters are subjected to various acts of indignity or torture like in the “Saw” series, “The Hunt”, “Escape Room”, “Ready or Not”, etc.

Iris (Brittany Snow) lost her parents and now cares for a younger brother, Raleigh (Logan Miller), who’s afflicted with leukemia.

His doctor introduces Iris to Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs), a rich man and eccentric philanthropist who’s willing to help her with all the expenses of her brother’s treatment.

But first, she has to attend a dinner party that he is hosting and join a mysterious parlor game he plays with his guests. If she’d win, he’d not only pay for her brother’s entire treatment but also get a bone marrow donor to help cure his leukemia.

The following night, in Shepard’s mansion, Iris meets the other seven guests that include an assortment of contestants, including Linda, an old woman in a wheel chair and you’d wonder why she was even considered to join the game.

Steak is served at dinner, but Iris is a vegetarian so she refuses to eat it. Their host then offers to give her $10,000, if she would forget being a vegetarian, and she complies to get the money.

Another contestant, Conway (John Heard), is an alcoholic who’s trying to kick the habit, but Shepard tempts him, offering to give him $50,000 to drink a bottle of Scotch and Conway quickly swallows his principle.

The game officially begins after dinner and it turns out to be “Would you rather”, where each player is given two options: hurt himself or another person. Shepard says if they’re not willing to play it, anyone can leave at that point, but all of them choose to stay.

The first game attaches a contestant to an electric shock machine then he is given the choice to push the button to shock himself or the person seated next to him.

Conway says he’d rather leave, but Shepard says he already lost his chance to do so earlier and when he insists on going, he is shot on the head and dies.

Everyone is shocked and it makes them realized that they are all playing a game of death. As the game goes on, things get from bad to worse as they’re asked to whip and even stab or drown each other in a barrel of water.

They are forced to kill but they also die one by one, until just one winner emerges.

But there is an ironic ending when the last player standing realizes that it is all for nothing. Of course, we can’t tell you why as it’ll be a sure spoiler.

Suffice it to say that if you enjoyed the gruesome “Saw” series, you might be entertained by this witless tribute to that franchise and its ilk.

This torture porn flick obviously is a low budget potbolier compared to the “Saw” series where elaborately conceived gadgets are used to torment the victims.

This movie has only one main setting, the dining room and the action happens right at the very dining table where almost the entire film takes place.

Director David Guy Levy seems to want the viewer to do some introspection about the morality of what’s going on. He’s obviously trying to be satirical, showing that people would be willing to do anything to win money.

But as one luckless contestant says: “What’s the matter with you people? What did I ever do to you?”

But sorry, despite its seemingly lofty intentions, the movie never goes beyond being a mere cheap exploitation film.

Although it generates some moments of genuine tension as the players realize they’re all battling for survival, it doesn’t really get us to invest in what is going on as we don’t know much about the other victims, so we cannot fully sympathize with them.

Add to that the fact that the movie lacks a clear cathartic resolution that other films of this sort managed to achieve.

Brittany Snow seems properly terrorized in a number of scenes but not one of the contestants are really required to do heavy acting.

Jeffrey Combs has a more showy role as the weird and obviously psychotic host and he seems to be enjoying himself in the role, devouring the scenery with much alacrity.

But although he is clearly having fun, sorry but this doesn’t really carry over to the audience and doesn’t really help redeem the movie.

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Aug 8, 2020

the four tween stars of PRIMA DONNAS


‘PRIMA DONNAS’ started airing exactly a year ago in August last year.

It quickly climbed up the ratings chart to become the number one afternoon soap so it’s airing was extended up to Saturday. But then, the corona lockdown came and they had to stop taping new episodes.

Now, after five months of hibernation, we’re told it’s finally returning back on the air. It will thus be the first Kapuso soap that will resume its telecast after the disruption made by the nasty virus.

Other afternoon shows like “Magkaagaw” and “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit”, as well as primetime soaps like “Love of My Life”, “Descendants of the Sun” and “Anak ni Waray vs. Anak ni Biday” are still in limbo.

“Prima Donnas” will return on air starting this August 17 in its usual slot, 3:30 PM, replacing “Stairway to Heaven”. Since no new episodes have been taped yet, they will first replay past episodes to refresh the memory of the viewers about its story.

The title roles in the show are played by Jillian as Donna Marie or Mayi, Althea Ablan as Donna Belle or Ella, and Sofia Pablo as Donna Lyn or Lenlen.

Katrina Halili plays their mom Lilian while their dad is Wendell Ramos as Jaime Claveria. Chanda Romero is Wendell’s wealthy mom, Lady Prima Rosa Claveria and playing villains who make “api” to the Prima Donnas are Aiko Melendez as Kendra and Elijah Alejo as her daughter Brianna.

While the show is in hiatus, the cast led by the four teen cast members are seen doing an online show. “Prima Donnas: Watch from Home”, where they maintain communication with their fans.

It’s rating quite well and has its own loyal followers so we’re not surprised that GMA-7 has now decided to bring back the actual soap itself on air.

“Matutuwa ang fans namin na noon pa laging nagtatanong kung kailan ba babalik ang aming show,” says Jillian. “Finally, heto na, abangan nyo sa next Monday ang return ng ‘Prima Donnas’ in our original afternoon slot’.”

Aren’t they afraid of the virus when they resume taping the show?

“May iba naman pong shows na nag-resume na ng taping like ‘Magpakailanman’ and ‘Wish Ko Lang’, so we’re sure alam na ng GMA kung ano ang safety protocols na gagawin to make sure hindi makakapasok ang virus at walang sinumang magkakasakit sa amin habang nagte-taping kami ng new episodes for ‘Prima Donnas’,” says Jillian. “Kami rin mismo sa cast and crew, we’ll do everything that is necessary to make sure safe kami sa set while taping.”

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MAURO MAURER is the most popular Thai actor in our country. He even got to make a movie here with Star Cinema co-starring Erich Gonzalez, "Suddenly It's Magic".

Now, he stars in the hit romantic comedy, “Madam Pushy and I” that teams him up for the first time with another Thai superstar, Ploy Laila Boonsayak, to be show in GMA Heart of Asis starting this Monday, August 10, at 10:45 AM.

“The Philippines will always have a special place in my heart,” says Mauro. “I have good memories of my stay there and I still have good friend there up to now. I’m happy that my new romcom, ‘Madam Pushy and I’, will now be shown there. Please watch it on GMA Network.”

In the show, Mario plays a guy named Next, a poor guy who lives in the countryside. He is the adapted child of a childless couple and he plans to search for his biological parents someday.

Ploy Laila plays Madam Pushy, an ambitious talent agent and manager who is on the look out for a new actor with potential she plans to build up as the next superstar that she will pit against her rival in the Thai showbiz industry, Jeric (Chai Chatayodom).

Madam Pushy is mad with Jeric and blames him for the death of her best friend so she has vowed to bring him down.

Madam Pushy sees Mario as a promising newcomer with so much star power. Mario as Next agrees to join showbiz as he sees this as a way to find his real parents and learn why he was given for adoption.

But some obstacles and complications come along the way in Mario’s climb to stardom. Will Madam Pushy still succeed in turning him into a top matinee idol and screen heartthrob?

Find out in “Madam Pushy and I”, aired Monday to Friday before  “Eat Bulaga” at 11:30 AM and on Saturday at 10:45 AM.
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“MANDY” is a Netflix movie that’s a treat for those who love hardcore unrestrained violence, but for the pious pacifist, you might want to go confession after watching it.

Set in the idyllic Shadow Mountains in the Mojave in 1983, Red Miller (Nicolas Cage) and his girlfriend Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) live in a peaceful cabin by the lake. Red is a lumberjack while Andrea is a painter who does fantasy art.

Their tranquil and reclusive life is violently disrupted when they are abducted by a hippie cult led by Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache).

Helping the cultists are the Black Skulls, a satanic biker gang whose members look 7 foot tall and regularly get high on drugs.

Sand tries to seduce Mandy but she makes fun of him. Feeling insulted, he takes revenge on Red who’s all tied up with barbed wire and stabs him, then burns Mandy right in front of him.

Red later manages to free himself and it’s now time for him to take revenge. He searches for the Children of the New Dawn and the Black Skulls and brutally kills them one by one.

The story is really paper thin and we’ve seen it all before in other revenge movies with an avenging hero.

But Director Panos Cosmatos chooses to treat it as an artsy-fartsy film with other worldly cinematography, combining brutal torture porn with a simple story of vengeance.

Cage gets to use various weapons to kill the evildoers, including the now familiar chain saw. But in a climactic scene, he just uses his bare hands in crushing the skull of the cult’s leader, until the head cracked and the eyes bulged and popped out.

Cage is a very good actor. He first shone in “Moonstruck” as Cher’s romantic leading man, won the Oscar for “Leaving Las Vegas” in 1995, did hit action pictures, then his star waned and has since been doing potboilers just for the money.

You can be sure, though, that he still delivers a fine performance no matter how bad the movie is and he is just chewing the scenery.

In one scene here, the chest wound of a bad guy he stabbed becomes a fountain and all the blood is splashed on Cage’s face and he goes on laughing and laughing in front of the camera. 

But Director Panos Cosmatos’ style in treating his movie is to make it a phantasmagoric hallucination with red and purple tints, since the bikers and cult members seem to be influenced by a kind of LSD that is more intense than any known drug.

So most scenes seem to be clouded all the time. He obviously is striving to achieve a particular artistic effect, like he wants to put you in a trance and a drug-induced feel, but it didn’t work for us.

We just found this feel-bad movie quite irritating.
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Aug 7, 2020

ALDEN RICHARDS is so happy now that “All Out Sundays” or AOS is aired back live on the air from the GMA Studio.

Some stars have no shows at all but Alden is so fortunate that he is seen weekdays in “Eat Bulaga” and on Sundays in “AOS”.

On top of this, his hit drama series with Louise de los Reyes, “One True Love”, will have a rewind starting tomorrow Monday in GMA-7’s Afternoon Prime.

“Nakaka-miss din talaga mag-show nang live from the studio,” he says. “Iba yung vibe at energy ng lahat ng mga kasama mo when you do musical numbers. Mas nakakaganang mag-perform!”

Alden is really so blessed because, despite the lockdown,various companies continue to get him to do so many new endorsements. He has five new endorsements no less and he is paired mostly with Kapamilya stars. First is the shampoo commercial with Bea Alonzo, shot in Thailand no less.

Then he has a pera padala-pawnshop endorsement wth Sarah Geronimo, an ice cream brand with Kathryn Bernardo, and a tuna brand with Nadine Lustre.

He was also chosen by Cosmo Skin execs Nino Bautista and Red Gatus to be the new endorser of their vitamin C called Cosmo Cee, replacing a Kapamilya actor.

Can you think of any other male celebrity who is as in demand as Alden now?

Meantime, don’t miss the special 15th anniversary celebration of GMA Pinoy TV this Sunday in everyone’s favorite weekend afternoon tambayan, “All Out Sundays: The Stay Home Party”.

The special guests are Dingdong Dantes, Marian Rivera, Jennylyn Mercado, Dennis Trillo, Lovi Poe, and Aiai delas Alas, with world class performances from Arnel Pineda, Aicelle Santos and Lani Misalucha.

‘AOS’ regulars who’ll also do spectacular productions numbers are Julie Anne San Jose, Paolo Contis, Ken Chan, Rita Daniela, Boobay, Rayver Cruz, Ruru Madrid, Derrick Monasterio,

Jak Roberto, Miguel Tanfelix, Kyline Alcantara, Mavy Legaspi, Vince Crisostomo, Golden Canedo, Thea Astley, Jeremiah Tiangco, Garrett Bolden and Kisses Delavin.
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DREW ARELLANO says his wife Iya Villania never ceases to amaze him.

“She’s the only new mom I know that right after deliverying a baby, parang hindi nanganak at all,” he says. “She quickly regains her strength, back to work na agad and quickly regains her old shapely figure.

"And on top of that, she’s really an amazing hands-on mother to our three kids. We feel so blessed kasi may baby girl na kami ngayon, after having two healthy boys.”

Drew is also very proud that his award-winning infotainment show, “AHA!”, now shows fresh new episodes and is now also fully animated!

The educational virtual learning studio that “AHA!” is has a new mascot, A! Robot, Drew’s new techie BFF.

“Not only that, may special guests pa kasi this Sunday to help us out in our various segments, the beauteous and sexy Sanya Lopez and Jelai Andres,” Drew proudly announces.

“So saan pa kayo this Sunday morning?  Be entertained and also acquire new learnings in ‘AHA!’ at 8:15 AM.”

Right after “AHA!” comes another new episode of “Born to be Wild”. Doc Ferdz Recio shows how the extended lockdown affected the dogs in our community.

He observes that there are many more stray dogs now roaming around the city and they can be carriers of the virus.

In turn, Doc Nielsen will show how animals in the wild are affected by all that’s happening in our environment and have changed their food-gathering activities.

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