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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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Apr 12, 2021


BARBIE FORTEZA is really one of GMA-7’s top young stars today. Her last primetime soap, “Anak ni Waray”, was a toprater, then they included her as a host-performer in “All Out Sundays”. 

Now, she topbills the new episode of the hit drama anthology on GMA Telebabad, “I Can See You”, entitled “The Lookout”.

She will be supported by a powerhouse cast led by Christopher de Leon. Also in the cast are Adrian Alandy, Paul Salas, Benjie Paras, Arthur Solinap, Elijah Alejo and Marina Benipayo.  

Barbie’s fans are glad she’s being paired with Paul Salas, with whom she has worked before in “Kara Mia” and the fans say they like their tandem on screen.

“The Lookout” was supposed to have been shown this week but because of the lockdown due to the surging number of covid cases, it was postponed for next week. 

Instead, “I Can See You” chose to replay the hit suspense-thriller episode, “Truly. Madly. Deadly” starring Dennis Trillo, Jennylyn Mercado and Rhian Ramos which rated very high and also clicked and even trended when it was shown on Netflix. 

Barbie says she’s happy to star in “The Lookout” episode of “I Can See You”. 

“Abangan ninyo kasi naiiba ang story nito at puro magagaling ang mga kasama ko,” she adds. “I’m so very happy to be given the opportunity to work with one of the country’s most acclaimed and respected actors, si Mr. Christopher de Leon. 

"Wala akong masabi sa galing niya. I’m also happy to be paired with Paul Salas, for a change. Talagang iba-iba ang pina-partner ng GMA sa akin and I appreciate that.”

But of course, her loyal fans continue to inquire about her off cam inamorato, Jak Roberto. 

They want to know as to when the love birds will be paired again in a good project. 

The fans say Barbie’s love team in “Anak ni Waray” with Migo Adecer was also accepted very well by the viewers. 

They also request that they work together again, but as of now, Migo has gone back to his parents in Australia due to the worsening covid situation here, where as in Sydney, things have already gone to normal.  

Before he left, Migo taped for a guest appearance in Julie Anne San Jose’s “Heartful Cafe” on GTV.

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‘MIRACLE IN THE RAIN’ is one of the classic films we just revisited. It’s what you call a three-handkerchief weepie and they don’t make films like this anymore. 

Some would say they're old fashioned melodrama but, honestly, most of the new films we watch nowadays are badly made, even some of those currently nominated in the Oscars. Some are a complete waste of time and we’re really having a better time rewatching old films of our youth.

We remember our aunts raving about “Miracle in the Rain”, but we only saw it on TV in the 60s. It’s basically a love story and what we remember most about it is the climactic sequence shot in the rain at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 

The film stars Jane Wyman, best known as the scheming matriarch Angela Channing in the hit soap series, “Falcon Crest”, that ran from 1981 to 1990. 

She won the Oscar for “Johnny Belinda” in 1948 and was married to Ronald Reagan from 1940 to 1949. They had three kids and Reagan would later be the President of the United States. 

She’s also known for two hit dramas where she’s paired with Rock Hudson, “Magnificent Obsession” and “All That Heaven Allows”, directed by the respected Douglas Sirk who also did the classic melodramas "Imitation of Life" (a real tearjerker) and "Written ong the Wind". 

“Miracle in the Rain” was first written as a novella by Ben Hecht in 1943 and he himself wrote the screenplay when Warner Bros. filmed it in 1956.

The story is set in New York in 1942 and filmed there on location. 

We stayed in New York for one year from 1988 to 89 and it’s nice to see familiar places used extensively in the movie, notably Central Park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The lead character is Ruth Wood (Wyman), an old maid who lives with her ailing mother in Manhattan. She works as a secretary in a shoe factory and has never had a boyfriend. 

One rainy afternoon on her way home, she meets a soldier, Arthur Hugenon (Van Johnson), who talks a lot and strikes a conversation with the quiet Ruth.

He asks her to dinner but she says her mom is waiting for her at home. Art says then they will have dinner at her home and buys so much food for all of them. 

Her mom is wary of men as her own husband abandoned them when Ruth was still a little girl. Her mom even tried to kill herself after getting depressed. 

Art is very communicative and easily charms the introverted Ruth. They go out to see a show one weekend with Ruth’s friend, Grace (Eileen Heckart). 

While passing by a store with an ongoing auction, Ruth buys an antique Roman coin as a gift for Art. They go to dinner to a French restaurant and it turns out that the piano player there is Ruth's long lost dad who recognizes her didn't get the nerve to introduce himself.

Art and Ruth go out on a date again on a beautiful spring day in Central Park with its beautiful lake and scenic skyline. He professes his love for her. But soon, he has to leave for an assignment overseas. 

He tells her he will marry her when he returns. She’s afraid he might not come back, but he shows her the Roman coin she gave him which he now wears as a necklace for good luck.

For three months, she writes diligently to her then one day, she gets a letter from an army chaplain saying that Art has died in the war and his last wish is for her to be told that he would love her forever. 

Ruth is consumed by her grieving for Art and she finds consolation in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and its vast solemn interior. 

It’s obvious she’s not a Catholic, but Ruth takes a liking to St. Andrew and lights candles for him. Her health deteriorates and one rainy night, despite her having pneumonia, she returns to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the miracle in the title to happen. 

At this point, you should be ready with your hankies for the film’s bittersweet but heartbreaking conclusion in the rain.

In the 50s, this kind of film is called a sentimental woman’s picture. Now, it’s called a chick flick. Cynical critics today will no doubt dismiss it as schmaltzy and overflowing with soap suds, with the spiritual bit too much to take. 

We do agree but, surprisingly, even if we already know what happens in the movie, it still worked its supernatural magic on us upon second viewing. 

That detail about that ancient Roman coin as a concrete evidence of Art professing that “love never dies” is just too too heartwrenching. 

This kind of endearing love story was a hit in the 50s and we remember another hit then was “Love is a Many Splendored Thing” with Jennifer Jones and William Holden, set in Hongkong.

We actually find “Miracle” quite well acted. The role of the lonely, fragile Ruth who finds happiness in a whirlwind romance is well played by Wyman, whose aura on screen somehow reminds us of our own Jodi Sta.Maria. 

Van Johnson gives a winning portrayal of the appealing but ill-fated soldier who wants to be a reporter after the war. 

The supporting cast is very competent, notably Eileen Heckart as Wyman’s best friend, Josephine Hutchinson as her mother, and Irene Seidner as their nosey but caring neighbor. 

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Apr 11, 2021


CHRISTIAN BABLES has won various awards for “Die Beautiful” and “Signal Rock”. 

Don’t look now but he has another great project up his sleeve, “Big Night”, where he is reunited with Jun Lana, his writer-director in “Die Beautiful”. 

They had a falling out when Christian backed out from “Born Beautiful”, the sequel to “Die Beautiful”, as he didn’t want to do another swishy gay role. 

He was hoping to cultivate a career as a romantic leading man, but it didn’t happen, so he reconciled with Jun and agreed to do another screaming faggot role in the big comedy hit, “The Panti Sisters”. 

Now, they have finished lensing “Big Night”, where Christian plays another gay role. 

“But ibang gay role ang character ko rito,” he says. “Not swishy but effeminate lang. Pero ang name ko is Dharna. Gay beautician ako rito and I was horrified when I found out na ang pangalan ko, nasa isang watchlist ng mga drug traffickers na puedeng ipatokhang anytime.”

His friends tell him not to worry since it’s not at all true that he’s a drug trafficker, but he cannot help it to be terribly afraid for his life, so he asks the help of the people in their community to find out why his name was included in the notorious list and how can he clear his name. 

“The movie asks the question: how far would you go to clear your name?” adds Christian. 

“Yung character ko rito, kahit marami ng ibang natokhang sa lugar nila, tahimik lang siya, ayaw makialam kahit talamak ang social injustice sa paligid niya. That is, hanggang sa siya na mismo ang ma-involve.”

The film’s trailer has been uploaded on the internet and we’ve seen it. 

It’s quite impressive and it’s really something we’d watch out for. Christian is supported by a star-studded cast of first rate actors who are all award-winners themselves, including Gina Alajar, Ricky Davao, Eugene Domingo, Janice de Belen, John Arcilla, Martin del Rosario and Gina Pareno.

Also in the supporting cast are Soliman Cruz, Allan Paule, Nico Antonio, Awra Briguela, Cedric Juan, Ogie Diaz and Sue Prado.

Jun Lana’s films with strong socially relevant messages have given international acting awards to its actors, like Eugene Domingo ini“Mga Kuwentong Barbero” and LJ Reyes in “Anino sa Likod ng Buwan”, both about martial rule, and Elijah Canlas in “Kalel, 15”, which is about the prevalence of HIV among young people.  

Just like these films, they’re hoping to enter “Big Night” in international film festivals first, before releasing it locally, hopefully in movie theaters and not just online.

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                                                         GARY OLDMAN as DR. BROWER
        EVANGELINE LILLY as the grieving mother out for vengeance for her dead son

‘CRISIS’ is a drama-thriller about opioids, medicines like Fentanyl and OxyContin that are used to alleviate severe pain. 

This has become an epidemic of sorts since a lot of users get addicted to it, just like to narcotics. This movie is for opioids like the Oscar-winning “Traffic” by Steven Soderbergh is for cocaine.

“Crisis” starts with a young man traveling in the snow-filled border of U.S. and Canada when he is arrested by cops, but the film actually focuses on three lead characters with intertwining stories. 

First is a Drug Enforcement Agent, Jake Kelly (Armie Hammer), who has gone under cover in Montreal to break up a drug syndicate trafficking in opioids led by a man called Mother (Guy Nadon). 

Then theres a university professor, Dr. Tyrone Brower (Gary Oldman), in charge of the clinical studies for a new pain killer that is supposed to be non-addictive. 

But the results of his studies show that this is not true and it’s in fact even more addicting than other existing opioids. 

His boss, Dean Talbot (Greg Kinnear), orders him to suppress his findings and allow the drug to be released in the market. 

If he wouldn't cooperate, he will lose his tenure in their university and also a huge grant from Northlight Pharmaceuticals that is marketing the new drug. 

Dr. Brower is a man of integrity and he refuses to be intimidated by all the grave threats against him.

The third major character is a female architect, Claire Reimann (Evangeline Lilly of “Lost” and “Antman”), herself a recovering addict. 

She’s hosting dinner one night and asks her teenage son to buy something for her after his school. He doesn’t return home and is later found foaming in the mouth, allegedly due to drug overdose, which Claire doesn’t buy at all. 

She makes her own investigation and it eventually leads her to Mother. She then plans to exact revenge on him on her own.

The story of the grieving mother is the most involving of the three strands in the movie. Evangeline Lilly is truly touching and has several scenes where she stands out, foremost of which is the scene in the morgue where she has to identify her son’s remains. 

Although a recovering addict, she has a close relationship with the boy and we can understand her feelings of remorse for her past addiction and her son’s sudden passing. 

We can feel the agony of her losing him and it’s truly heartbreaking, so we can understand her desire for vengeance.

Gary Oldman also does well as the professor who is pressured by his superiors to junk the findings of his scientific research just so they won’t lose the funding they get from big pharmaceutical business. 

At first, we thought his loyalty would be with the company funding the research but it turns out that it’s his bosses who have lost their sense of morality for the sake of profit and he is the fearless whistleblower.

Armie Hammer is believable as the devoted DEA agent who is so determined to bust the drug dealers as his own sister Emmy (Lily Rose Depp, daughter of Johnny Depp) is a victim and has become a hopeless junkie who keeps on escaping from rehab. 

Too bad for Hammer as, just when the film is about to be released, he got involved in a sexual abuse scandal that overshadowed the film's release and will no doubt harm his career. 

Michelle Rodriguez is also in the movie, playing a very minor role as Hammer’s supervisor in the DEA. Her meagre exposure here is nothing compared to her demanding action roles in the “Fast & Furious” franchise.

No doubt that Director Nicholas Jarecki, who also wrote the screenplay, is very serious minded in his intentions for this project, but sorry, it doesn’t get anywhere as engrossing as Soderbergh’s “Traffic”. 

The end result just falls far short of its well-intentioned and socially relevant aims. 

The performances of the three leads are uniformly fine but as a crime thriller, the storytelling is quite spotty and does not come together in a truly coherent or riveting manner. 

It gets interesting only when the paths of Lilly and Hammer finally intersect in the film’s climactic shootout. 

Even if Oldman never meets Hammer or Lily, it’s his story that shows how unscrupulous corporations can disregard public safety for the sake of big profits and how they can use academic institutions for their own selfish motives despite adverse implications to society. 

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Apr 10, 2021


SHARON CUNETA showed in a video post on her social media account the huge mansion she’s now having constructed in a sprawling lot that is 3,000 sq. m. 

It’s really an awesome enormous property, almost like a plush resort as it even has its own basement parking, solar panels and huge tanks to collect rain water.

The main building is their family house and this is aside from her own special home that will house her apparel, shoes, books, her own studios for vlogging, dressing room, recording studio and her own "she cave". 

It has its own garden, swimming pool and a separate house just for her pet doggies. She estimates the whole thing would be completed in a year and a half. 

Sharon seems to have forgotten her earlier declaration that she will be in semi-retirement. 

She now confesses that she misses work because of the pandemic, that’s why she’s glad when Viva got her to do “Revirginized” with their current fair-haired boy, writer-director Darryl Yap.

“Actually, dapat nga, we’d start another movie right away after a few days of rest lang, kasi back-to-back projects yung natanguan ko sa Viva,” she says. 

“But hindi natuloy kasi nga, nag-lock down uli because of the high surge in the number of cases we have now. 

"Even the taping of the new season of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ was stopped because of the ECQ, we don’t know yet as to when it will be resumed.”

She says she just loves taping for that reality show. 

“I’m really so happy pa naman to be part of that show. Sumasakit ang tiyan ko sa mga kasama kong sina Ogie Alcasid and Luis Manzano. 

"Never a dull moment when you’re with them kaya nami-miss ko talaga sila at ang show. 

"Grabe na talaga itong si Covid. Parang masyado siyang na-in love sa atin at ayaw na niya tayong iwanan.”

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Apr 9, 2021


DIEGO LOYZAGA feels so fortunate that after he signed up with Viva, they gave him two projects right away. 

He’s now doing a weekly TV series currently showing on TV5, “Encounter”, with Cristine Reyes and he also stars in a full length film, “Death of a Girlfriend”, directed by well known horror films director, Yam Laranas. 

He’s paired with newcomer AJ Raval, the daughter of former action star Jeric Raval. 

So how is it working with AJ? Who initiated in making the first move on their first shooting day?

“I did,” says Diego. “Kasi pareho kami, first project namin ito sa Viva. Actually, nauna ko itong i-shoot sa ‘Encounter’. Dahil nauna ko kay AJ sa showbiz, I have to make her feel comfortable para maganda rapport namin.

"We learned we have mutual friends, so doon nagsimula. We talked about them. We also had an intimacy workshop for us to be more relaxed with each other in doing our love scene. Magaan katrabaho si AJ and she didn’t make it difficult for me to do our demanding scenes together.”

Direk Yam Laranas says the film is a different kind of love story as it involves the mystery as to who killed his girlfriend. How is it shooting the film? 

“I love it, kasi it’s not your usual teleserye type or teeny bopper love story, so it offers a different challenge from the actors. Mas ginaganahan kang magtrabaho kasi naiiba nga ang ganitong kind of movie.” 

He turns 26 on May 21. How would he describe himself now compared to when he started in showbiz as a teenager almost 10 years ago? 

“Definitely, mas seryoso ako sa work ko ngayon. Mas focused. Kahit may pandemic, 2021 has been good to me and I want to thank Viva for trusting me and giving me another chance. 

"Also God for His blessings, good projects to help get me back on the ball.”

What is his birthday wish?  

“Una sa lahat, matapos na sana itong covid kasi ang dami ng nahihirapan, even worst, namamatay na tao. Ang hirap, the entire world is affected. Hindi tayo makapagtrabaho nang maayos. 

"So sana matapos na. ‘Yun ngang ‘Encounter’, pause muna kami ng taping dahil sa bagong quarantine. We don’t know yet as to when we will resume our taping.”

Is he happy now? 

“Yes, God gave me a second wind. It’s a comeback and so far, it’s going well. Sana, magtuloy-tuloy lang. Pati sa lovelife ko, I’m happy now.”

So would he say his current girlfriend, Barbie Imperial, is the right one for him? “Yes, I can say it, siya na nga.” 

Wouldn’t she get jealous that he did sexy scenes with AJ in “Death of a Girlfriend”? 

“No, hindi naman nagseselos si Barbie kasi alam naman niyang trabaho lang ito. She is also an actress so naiintindihan niyang part ng work namin ito.”

Looks like they are very serious in their relationship. 

“Ganu’n naman dapat, di ba? Bata pa si Barbie, pero mature na thinking niya. 

"Ganu’n naman kasi talaga when you’re in a relationship with somebody, sayang naman kung you’re in a relationship with somebody tapos parang naglalaro lang kayo.”

What does his dad, Cesar Montano, say about his acting? “We haven’t talked lately, so di namin napag-uusapan.”

Cesar is a big star in local cinema. What does he do to step out of his dad’s shadow? 

“Kahit ano naman ang gawin ko, hindi ako basta makakawala. I cannot step out of my dad’s shadow kasi si  ‘Jose Rizal’ yan. He did great films like ‘Muro Ami’ and ‘Bagong Buwan’. 

"He’s a legend. So I will never really make an effort to try stepping out of his shadow. I will just do my own thing and hope that the public will recognize me on my own merits.” 

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JENNICA GARCIA has confirmed in an open letter addressed to their two daughters the rumor that she and husband of 7 years, Alwyn Uytingco, have called it quits:  

“Athena and Severina, know that Nanay has no regrets. Yes, I get scared when I think about the coming months and years because this is not how I planned the two of you to grow up.

“But despite the heartache I am going through, I am able to keep the Joy in my heart and will continue to praise God with every cry because even if my plans have failed, I know that our loving Father’s plan for us is always good.

“His decision to allow this to happen in our life is not to destroy us. Never to destroy us, mga anak. Instead of sadness, lets rejoice because God is close to the brokenhearted.

“Jesus, My Lord, I look forward to the day when you will reveal to me the answers to all my why’s. I will patiently wait and in doing so, I will praise your name, JESUS CHRIST, my Redeemer, my Savior!”

Her fans feel sad for her since, before their separation, they seem to be a perfect couple who posts nothing but happy pictures of their family in social media. 

The fans want to know what caused the breakup. Someone insinuated it is financial. 

When they got married, they prioritized their love life and their careers both took a nosedive. 

Someone even added: “Love is not enough when you’re faced with serious economic problems.” 

To which someone quipped: “Mayaman naman ang nanay ni Jennica na si Jean Garcia, di sana humingi na lang sila ng tulong doon.”

Jennica used to be a talent of Manny Valera whose two other talents just gave birth recently: Janella Salvador and Sophie Albert.

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TV5 IS  unstoppable in delivering top-notch and high-calibre entertainment with a revitalized program lineup beginning this week that intensifies the network’s roster of news, entertainment, service, and variety shows, through the banner TV5 TODOMAX. 

Headlining the jampacked offerings for Filipinos of all ages is TODOMAX PRIMETIME SINGKO happening on weeknights, from 5:30PM to 10:00PM featuring the earliest primetime news and information source, Frontline Pilipinas.

This is followed by TV5’s newest shows: the country’s original karaoke show, Sing-Galing and the dramedy, Niña Niño starring Maja Salvador and Noel Comia Jr. that follows the story of two siblings who are facing poverty, hopelessness, and miracles in life. 

Viewers can then follow the toprating life and adventures of Coco Martin as Cardo Dalisay in FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. 

After this comes Huwag Kang Mangamba, Walang Hanggang Paalam, and Count Your Lucky Stars. The binge watching continues until midnight, with Filipino-dubbed foreign series Beauty Inside, Betty in New York, and Tierra de Reyes.

Fun and learning for the kids flourish through TODOMAX KIDS, airing from 6:00AM to 10:30AM, which showcases a children’s programming block of exciting animated and live-action shows. 

All-time favorites like Ben 10, Codename: Kids Next Door, Adventure Time, and Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Batibot, and Istorifik Pidol’s Kwentong Fantastik, of Comedy King Dolphy are seen during this time slot.

TODOMAX SERBISYO through Raffy Tulfo’s Idol in Action delves into the controversies and issues of real-life problems in Philippine society. The show is a go-to for aggrieved parties who want to resolve their personal issues in the best and quickest way possible. 

Audiences get a chance to experience TODOMAX PANALO from 12 noon to 5:30PM, through a treasure trove of prizes given out by Billy Crawford, famously known as ‘Daddy Bills’, and the rest of the Lunch Out Loud crew. 

Mexican soap opera, Maria Mercedes, made iconic by Mexican superstar Thalia, and Thai telenovela The Loyal Wife up the ante for a kilig afternoon drama. Cine Cinco caps off the exciting block with highly entertaining free movies for all audiences.

TV5’s amazing lineup until the end of the week with TODOMAX WEEKEND, eliciting more excitement and thrilling shows to enjoy for the entire family. Every Saturday, from 6:00PM to 10:00PM, five programs will dominate households with their sure-fire entertainment for everyone. 

The game shows The Wall Philippines and 1,000 Heartbeats-Pintig Pinoy, hosted by Billy Crawford and Xian Lim respectively, keep everyone on their toes with their nerve-wracking and unpredictable endings. 

Kdrama fans get to witness the local adaptation of the international top-rated romantic-drama Encounter, starring Cristine Reyes and Diego Loyzaga. 

Reality show Born to Be a Star is for viewers keen on following the lives of hopeful dreamers looking to be the next big thing on stage. 

Wanted: Ang Serye is for fans of Raffy Tulfo’s Idol in Action, as the show is a dramatization of their most controversial cases presenting an unrivaled mix of public service and drama. 

On Sundays, ASAP NATIN’ TO invites you to party, sing, and dance at home with their all-star cast. Those who miss old-school Pinoy action movies, can catch the classics featuring Fernando Poe Jr. on FPJ: Da King, right after. 

Meanwhile, John Estrada and Ellen Adarna star in the lighthearted family comedy, John En Ellen, a hilarious sitcom for viewers who want to have a good laugh or two. 

Gen Z, a star-studded coming-of-age series, focuses on the wide-ranging personalities of the new generation, their relationships, and their aspirations in life. 

If one prefers a thriller option, Kagat ng Dilim is ready to bring different genres of the most sought-out horror stories to scare enthusiasts. 

Lastly, the upcoming Pop Pinoy,  the biggest boy band search of its kind, hopes to find the new pop idols that will captivate and win the fans’ hearts. 

With all these shows and more, TV5 remains consistent in their promise to churn out new and exciting content putting utmost importance to the Filipino audience’s welfare, to keep them entertained with old and new favorites, especially in these trying times.

TV5 is off to a strong head start in 2021 with only better things to come in the next few months. For the latest updates, stay tuned to the Kapatid Network with TV5 TODOMAX!!!!

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Apr 8, 2021


AJ RAVAL is getting her biggest break as the leading lady of Diego Loyzaga in Direk Yam Laranas’ movie, “Death of a Girlfriend”. 

She started with Viva Films in a supporting role in the Nadine Lustre film, “Indak”, then she was officially introduced playing a bigger role in “Gusto Kong Maging Pornstar”.

Born on September 30, 1995, AJ is the daughter of former action star Jeric Raval and a sexy actress in the 90s, Alyssa Alvarez. 

AJ’s real name is Elizabeth Buensuceso and her screen name, AJ Raval, stands for "Anak ni Jeric Raval". She signed up with Viva for a five-year contract. 

She really wants to join showbiz and she started as a member of a girl band called Fabulous Girlfriends as a teenager. She also appeared as a guest in various game shows.

“I really enjoy dancing and singing,” she says. “I have a brother Kuya Ace, who’s also into music and Viva has asked us to record our own song, ‘Madaling Araw’.”

What’s her role in “Death of a Girlfriend”? 

“I play Christine, girlfriend ni Diego, who plays Alonzo. This is a love story with a touch of mystery. 

"Isang araw, biglang hindi na lang ako pumasok sa school namin and there will be an investigation. My body will be discovered in the woods at may dalawang suspects, a forest ranger, played by Arnold Reyes, and a farmer, played by Raul Morit. 

"Sa investigation, may kanya-kanyang versions about my brutal rape and murder sina Diego at yung dalawang suspects and it becomes a search for the truth. Kung sino ang tunay na salarin, yun ang matutuklasan nyo sa shocking ending ng movie.”

How is it working with Diego as her leading man? 

“Diego is tahimik na tao. Mahiyain siya, but inalalayan niya talaga ako, lalo sa sexy scenes kasi may love scene kami. He guided me, sila ni Direk Yam Laranas.”

Is it true her dad didn’t initially approve of her joining showbiz? 

“Yes, both my parents were not supportive noong una, but now they just let me do my job as they can see na nag-enjoy naman ako. My dad can see Viva believes in me and gives me good projects. The people naman welcome warmly. 

"Basta ayaw lang niyang masyadong magpa-sexy, lagyan ko daw ng limitation. Nung mag-pose akong kamay lang ang nakatakip sa dibdib ko, nagalit siya. 

"Pinatanggal na niya ang picture na yun sa instagram account ko. But kung ako, okay lang po magpa-sexy, kasi work ko po ito. I was told gagawin ko raw ang remake ng ‘Scorpio Nights’.”

Director Yam Laranas is optimistic that viewers will enjoy “Death of a Girlfriend” as it’s not just your usual romantic story but told like a whodunit where you’d be kept guessing as to who the real culprit is. He says it’s based on a true story that happened in France.

The film is told from the point of view of three different persons and reminiscent of the classic Japanese film, “Rashomon”, by Akira Kurosawa. 

Yam has directed hit horror entries in the Metro-Manila Filmfest, like “Sigaw”, “Aurora” and also the GMA blockbuster, “The Road”. 

“Death of a Girlfriend” will have its world premiere on April 30 on ktx.ph, iWantTFC, TFC IPTV, SKY PPV and Vivamax for only P250.00

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THE LIVES of British royalty has been a source of endless fascination for ordinary mortals so it’s not surprising so many movies and TV series have been made about them. 

The stories of monarchs in the past abound and even up to the present, the interest has not at all waned, which is why we now have “The Crown” Seasons 1 to 4 and soon, 5 and 6.

We’ve just seen “The Lion in Winter” which we first saw in 1968 when we were 22 years old. We were awed then by the acting of the two leads, Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Peter O’Toole as Henry II. 

Katharine won her third best actress Oscar for this film. She tied that year with Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl”, which we also just rewatched during Holy Week and remains to be one of the best musicals ever.

“The Lion in Winter” is a fictional account of what happens to Henry II, the first king of the house of Plantagenet, in the Christmas of 1183. He reigned from 1154 to 1189. 

He married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. Eleanor was first married to King Louis VI of France but their marriage was annulled then she married Henry who is 11 years younger than her. 

They had 8 kids, 3 daughters and 5 sons, but only 3 sons are featured in this film: Richard, Geoffrey and John. They became separated when she supported the rebellion of their eldest son, young Henry, who died in 1183. 

The film starts with King Henry II (O’Toole) inviting Eleanor and sons Richard (Anthony Hopkins), Geoffrey (John Castle) and John (Nigel Terry) to his castle in Chinon, France for a Christmas reunion. 

Since the eldest son is now dead, they must decide on who will inherit the throne from Henry II. Eleanor, temporarily released from her prison, pushes her favorite son, Richard, while Henry himself favors their youngest son, John. 

Also in the castle are Alais (Jane Merrow), Henry’s mistress and her brother Philip (Timothy Dalton), the young king of France who demands that Henry II return the dowry they gave for her if no wedding with any of his sons would take place.

The next few days are spent with all characters scheming and plotting against each other for their own selfish motives. 

Plans and deals are made, only to be thwarted at the last minute with Henry saying all his sons are not suitable to be king and so he imprisons them in the country’s wine cellar.

The film is helmed by British director, Anthony Harvey, who was nominated in the Oscars for his work here but didn’t win, but he won as best director in the Directors Guild of America. 

He’d later direct another historical film, “The Abdication”, about Queen Christina of Sweden (Liv Ullman), who falls in love with a cardinal in Rome.

“The Lion in Winter” introduces two fairly new actors: Anthony Hopkins as Richard and Timothy Dalton as King Philip. 

We all know both would later have a successful film careers, with Hopkins winning the Oscar for “The Silence of the Lambs” and Dalton becoming the 4th actor to play James Bond 007 in two films.

“The Lion in Winter” is a fictitious account of the Royal family based on a play by James Mangold, which didn’t do well on stage but is very successful on screen. 

It was even remade on TV in 2003 with Glenn Close doing the Eleanor role and winning the Golden Globe best drama actress award.

The film is really a personal drama of palace intrigue, backstabbing and double-crossing in the Royal family, with ferociously intense performances by the whole cast. 

The sharp and witty script is peppered with stinging dialogue and insults. It is so satisfying to see it transferred on screen intelligently, just like “A Man for All Seasons” about St. Thomas More and his conflict with Henry VIII in the 15th century.

The production values are all superb, specially the vivid production design that evokes imaginatively a historical time and place with its gritty realism. 

The castle is a character in itself and you can almost feel the chill of its drafty rooms and halls, with its surroundings full of dirt and grime from the peasants and the livestock around. 

Its staging and mounting of the medieval life smack of authentic but highly polished theatricality.

Eleanor is truly one of the crowning achievements of Hepburn's career. Her Eleanor is a headstrong woman who wants to control her own fate and doesn’t want to be a mere pawn in a game of thrones played by the men around her. 

We relish her sly machinations peppered with her acerbic and pungent delivery of her lines, yet combined with humor.  

The best for us is when she reminisces about her once glorious past with Henry: “Henry was only 18 when we met. And I was queen of France. He came down from the north to Paris with a mind like Aristotle and a form like mortal sin. We shattered the commandments on the spot.” 

She and O’Toole both do scenery chewing artfully and with panache. It’s a pleasure seeing them play off with each other, with O’Toole matching her compelling intensity in all their scenes together. 

When they’re on screen, they exhibit sheer emotional power, bringing a mixture of both marital love and hate to operatic heights with their brilliant interpretation of a very dysfunctional family.

The film is somewhat ahead of its time as it also portrays Henry as a pervert who goes to bed with young boys. This is also insinuated in a previous film where O’Toole also played Henry II, “Becket”. 

There’s a revelation that Richard and King Phillip were once homosexual lovers, although this is not historically proven as accurate.

The film ends with the question of succession not resolved, but history shows that when Henry died six years later in 1189, it’s Richard who ascends the throne. 

Eleanor is finally released from her prison and becomes Richard’s regent when he joined the Third Crusade as Richard The Lionheart, so he really spent very little time in England. 

When he died in 1199, the simpleton John replaced him and had an unsuccessful reign, losing most the lands gained by his father in France. He also antagonized the English barons who revolted and made him sign the now famous Magna Carta. 

John is the also king who’s portrayed as a villain in the Robin Hood stories.

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