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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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Nov 30, 2022

 















































































THE PLAYS OF William Shakespeare have had modern retellings before, like “Kiss Me, Kate” and “10 Things I Hate About You” from “The Taming of the Shrew”, and “She’s the Man” from “Twelfth Night”. 


Now, we have “Rosaline”, a fresh and comic twist on the well known tragedy of “Romeo and Juliet”, literature’s most famous pair of ill-starred young lovers whose plight has already been retold by Baz Luhrman in 1996 with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.


“Rosaline” is based on a 2012 novel, “When You Were Mine”, that was inspired by the Bard’s classic play.  


It opens with the familiar balcony scene, with a young woman waiting for Romeo (Kyle Allen. “The In Between”), who promises her the moon and the stars. 


But it turns out the girl is not Juliet, but Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever, “Booksmart”), from whose point of view the story is told.   


She is so in love with Romeo but they come from warring families. She’s a Capulet and Romeo is Montague. 


They’re supposed to meet at the Capulet masquerade ball. But Rosaline’s father urged her to go out with another young man, Dario (Sean Teal), who takes her sailing. 


But there was a storm that stalled them at sea and when she returned, the ball is already over. 


It is in that ball that Romeo meets Juliet (Isabella Merced), Rosaline’s younger cousin who just returned from her studies in a finishing school. Romeo falls for her and forgets Rosaline, who’s wondering why Romeo no longer answers her letters to him.  


She spies on Romeo and sees him being cozy with Juliet.  


She now tries her best to foil the relationship and make Juliet forget about Romeo with her madcap interventions. 


She even convinces her gay friend, Paris (Spencer Stevenson ), to woo Juliet and be officially engaged to her to help conceal his being gay. 


But all her plans fall apart as Juliet eventually discovers her schemes and makes plans to elope with Romeo. 


When Rosaline learns about this, she asks Dario tell help her stop the coming wedding of the young lovers. 


We all know what happened in Shakespeare’s original tragedy. 


Juliet fakes her death and Romeo really thinks she’s dead so he also kills himself. 


But here, they put a twist on everything. In the end, Rosaline realizes she doesn’t really love Romeo and that Dario is really the right guy for her. 


As for Romeo and Juliet, they succeed in eloping and while on a boat to take them away somewhere to live happily ever after, they converse and realize that they don’t really know each other that much!!!!   


“Rosaline” is presented like a romcom with a witty Gen Z approach, using modern language and a pop score that reminds you of “Bridgerton”. 


It works largely because it has a winning cast, with Minnie Driver having a blast as Juliet’s nurse, often stressing that she IS a registered nurse.


What’s nice about the movie is that its  director, Karen Maine, is not afraid of being silly. 


Kaitlyn Dever is rollicking in her interpretation of Rosaline as a love struck, spunky young woman who meddles in the grand romance of Romeo and Juliet. 


But even if she tried her best to be villainous in breaking up one of the most enduring romances of all time, she still manages to be charming and endearing.  


The movie plays up the farce and never takes itself too seriously. 


It even cleverly explains why the dialogue is not the Elizabethan language of the Bard, with the characters even speaking in varying accents. 


It has a hilarious contemporary vibe that makes you forget all the liberties they take in retelling and spoofing the already very familiar story.

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Nov 29, 2022

 


































  MCCOY DE LEON, NADINE LUSTRE & LOUISE DE LOS REYES IN VIVA'S 'DELETER'





LOUISE DE LOS REYES plays the friend of Nadine Lustre in the Viva Films horror entry in the coming Metro Manila Filmfest, “Deleter”. 


She suddenly disappears in the story and something bad happens to her. She will return as a mysterious apparition as seen in the movie’s trailer.  


“The last time I did a horror film was more than ten years ago sa Regal, ‘Shake Rattle and Roll 13’,” she says. 


“Horror film din yun. Magkakasama kami nina Kathryn Bernardo at Sam Concepcion in the ‘Parola’ episode directed by Jerrold Tarog. 


"Ngayon lang naulit and this time, we have another very young director, Mikhail Red, na napakagaling ding manakot.”   


“Deleter” is described as a techno-thriller as it’s about on-line technician-moderators who delete bad or malicious content from video footage sent to them to filter it before being releasing it online.  


“Kakaibang klaseng takot naman ang i-o-offer namin sa audience,” adds Louise.


“High tech thriller, so we are all very excited. 


"Kasama namin dito si McCoy de Leon as friend din namin ni Nadine and Jeffrey Hidalgo as our boss who is mysterious and has dark secrets of his own.”    


She says doing a horror flick is really very tiring. 


“Sigaw ako ng sigaw in many scenes, na inulit ko pa sa dubbing kaya nakaka-tax talaga ng boses. 


"Every time we shoot the scary scenes, we are somehow scared din kasi baka may sumama o sumunod sa amin pag-uwi ng bahay, so we all make it a point na magpagpag muna kami after each shoot bago kami umuwi.” 


So how is it working with a young filmmaker like Mikhail Red? 


“When you’re a film enthusiast, siempre aware ka sa movies na ginawa niya as he has a reputation of being a reliable filmmaker with his past works. 


"First time ko to work with him and my friends are so happy for me when they learned I will be in his movie kasi alam nila ang calibre niya. 


"And I wasn’t disappointed working with him kasi he’s really one of our ablest young directors today with unique and great ideas about filmmaking.”   


She is praying that this year’s Metro Filmfest will be more successful than last year’s, where only few moviegoers trooped to the theaters to watch the entries.   


“We need to support our own local films,” she says. 


“Safe na namang manood sa actual theaters. Ako, ilang beses na akong nakapanood sa sinehan since restrictions were relaxed. 


"Iba pa rin kasi talaga ang experience ng watching movies sa sinehan na mas malaki ang screen kaysa sa computer mo lang o sa phone mo. 


}Iba rin yung Dolby sound and the fact that you’re watching a movie with other members of the audience. 


"We assure you that ‘Deleter’ will not disappoint you. 


"Kami lang daw ang horror entry sa buong festival so I invite all those who love watching scary movies to watch ‘Deleter’ and we promise to give you and your barkada a good scare sa loob ng sinehan.”

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‘TRIANGLE OF SADNESS’ is the first English language film of Swedish writer-director Ruben Ostlund. It won the Palme D’Or or the best film prize at the last Cannes Filmfest.  


In 2017, his film “The Square” with Claes Bang, a satire about the art world, also won the same honor and it’s adored by Western critics. 


We’ve seen it and we honestly think it’s overrated.  


The first film of Ostlund noticed by Hollywood is “Force Majeure”, which was even remade in Hollywood as “Downhill” starring Will Ferrell, but we haven’t seen both.


“Triangle of Sadness” refers to that part of the face above the nose and eyebrows that we use when we frown or make “kunot-noo”.


It is mentioned in the film’s opening scene where Carl (Harris Dickinson, “The King’s Man”) is shown in an audition for male models where they are told that cheap brands like H&M are ‘smiley’ while high couture is ‘grumpy’.  


For cheaper products, you smile to project an illusion of happiness when you wear them. 


For the expensive brands, you must look aloof, expensive like the clothes they’re selling. This must all register in your triangle of sadness.


This review contains spoilers so it’s intended more for those who’ve already seen it. 


If you plan to watch it, then stopp reading. 


The movie is divided into three different acts. The first one is “Carl & Yaya” and it concerns Carl and his girlfriend, Yaya (Charlbi Dean, and this is really sad, as Charlbi, who’s so lovely and quite talented, died last August due to an infection.) 


Carl and Yaya are seated on the front row of a fashion show but were ejected to give way to VIPs who arrived late. 


Between them, it’s Yaya who is earning more and has a larger following as an influencer. In a restaurant, they argue about money and about gender expectations.    


In the second part, “The Yacht”, Carl and Yaya are invited to join a luxury cruise ship with very rich passengers for free, so they can promote it in social media. 


Carl is annoyed when Yaya gets so friendly with a macho crew man so he complains to the chief steward, Paula (Vicki Berlin), who quickly fired the crew member. 


But when a rich man (who became so wealthy due to success in software) flirts with Yaya, he doesn’t complain at all. 


A waitress, Alicia (Alicia Erikson), feels so uncomfortable when Vera (Sunyi Melles), the wife of a Russian tycoon who got rich with fertilizer he calls shit, Dimitry (Zlatco Buric), demands that she and all the other crew members (with many Pinoys speaking in Tagalog) join her in swimming. 


This becomes a veritable “Ship of Fools”, a 1965 film by Stanley Kramer starring Vivien Leigh and Simone Signoret as doomed passengers in an ocean liner.


The yacht’s captain, Thomas Smith (Woody Harrelson), is a drunkard and won’t come out of his cabin. 


When he’s finally persuaded to host the Captain’s Dinner, it so happened that the weather has turned so bad. 


With the ship being tossed by huge waves, most of passengers get seasick and start throwing up. 


Yucky fecal matter from the overflowing toilets also start floating around. 


Electrical power goes out, but this does not stop the American Captain Thomas and the Russian Dmitry in debating about Marxism and capitalism. 


Just then, Somali pirates come aboard, tossing a grenade into the ship’s deck. 


Its explosion makes the ship sink into its own Bermuda triangle (of sadness) and kills the elderly arms-dealing couple who got rich manufacturing those very grenades.  


We then come to the third part, “The Island”, with the yacht’s survivors marooned in an island, including Carl and Yaya. 


Most of them do not have any survival skills and it is only the toilet cleaner, Abigail (our very own Dolly de Leon), who knows how to make a fire and find food for everyone. 


Soon, she becomes the commander of the lifeboat from the ship that is washed ashore and contains some supplies. 


The idea of the plight of survivors stranded on a deserted island has been done before by William Golding in his novel “Lord of the Flies” (which has been filmed twice and even has a 1975 local version, “Akitrang Dugo” by Lupita Concio).


Italian director, Lina Wertmuller, also portrayed this in “Swept Away” (1974, which we saw at the old Ever Theatre on Rizal Ave.)


The rich people here portray various stereotypes stripped of their class privileges. 


It’s Carl who is the innocent guest who strays in and he somehow gets some of our sympathy. 


But it is Dolly de Leon who is easily the scene-stealer as she ruthlessly transforms Abigail into a fiercely feministic, no nonsense leader. 


She takes command and demands to be called the captain.  


She gains more power and proves to be a cougar who wants to taste hunky Caucasian meat, so she makes Carl her toy boy, giving him food and making Yaya so jealous.  


Yaya walks to the other side of the island and Abigail goes with her. 


They discover that there is a luxury resort on the other side of the island the whole time. 


Abigail realizes that this discovery will revert her back to being a lowly toilet cleaner, so she has to take steps to prevent this.


This is one of those artsy films that has no sure ending. We last see Abigail about to crush Yaya’s head with a big rock but we don’t know if she succeeded. 


The last shot shows Carl running furiously through the bush and we don’t even know why. 


The film is obviously intended to be a very dark comedy about class warfare satirizing the very rich. 


Its message is summarized by Captain Thomas in his line to the Russian magnate: “While you’re swimming in abundance, the rest of the world is drowning in misery.”


The film runs for two and a half hours and we cannot understand why. 


What it’s trying to say about its shallow protagonists can be conveyed in less than two hours by a more astute director. 


Some scenes here just go on and on unnecessarily and can be tedious. 


The movie is now being shown in local theaters but we think it will cater to a limited market. 


Only film enthusiasts will be interested so that they can see for themselves Dolly de Leon’s acclaimed portrayal of Abigail. 


We doubt if this feel-bad movie showing the unsavory aspects of the human race would sit well with local audiences who prefer escapist entertainment. 


If you want a more amusing show about castaways, then just watch the “Survivor” TV series which has been going on for years and years.

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Nov 28, 2022

 










































AVA MENDEZ is happy to work with Kiwi actress Franki Russell in Direk Yam Laranas’ erotic drama, “Laruan”. 


“Hindi kami magkakilala at first time ko to work with her but nagkasundo kami agad,” she says. 


“Marami kaming eksena together, along with our co-actors, Jay Manalo and Kiko Estrada. 


"Magiging karibal ako rito ni Franki sa husband niyang si Jay Manalo na niloloko niya kasi lover niya si Kiko Estrada. 


"In the end, magseselos siya sa akin nang parehong maging close sa aking sina Jay and Kiko.”   


Ava is one of the most talented among Vivamax sex sirens. 


She has yet to be given a solo starrer but in the movies, she did, she nearly stole the limelight from her co-stars who play lead roles like, “Ang Babaeng Nawawala sa Sarili”, where she played the role of an avenging ghost, and also in “Purificacion” where she played a rich but corrupt woman who wants to control the people around her. 


How come she acts so well in all her roles?   


“I take my work seriously and I study the roles assigned to me well para magampanan ko nang maayos,” she says. 


“Dito sa ‘Laruan’, Direk Yam Laranas gave us acting workshops before the actual shooting started at malaki ang naitulong niyon para mas maintindihan kong mabuti ang role ko.”   


She says her role in “Laruan” is something very different from anything she has done before. 


“Dati kasi, laging loud yung role ko, maingay, so they require big movements. 


"But here, sabi ni Direk Yam, i-tone down ko raw. 


"Kasi ang role ko is an art student na mahinhin at makaka-relate kay Jay Manalo who plays a respected artist in the story. 


"Kilalang painter siya and we bond well talking about art. Each time na medyo tumataas ang acting ko, Direk Yan tells me na babaan mo. 


"So, mas kontrolado ang acting ko rito. I should also thank Jay, Kiko and Franki kasi talagang nagtulungan kami sa aming mga eksena para lumabas na maganda ang movie which is about illicit relationships.”  


She does both sex comedies and sex dramas with equal ease. Any kind of role that she’d like to do in the future? 


“Gusto ko po mag-try ng action movie. Yung real deal action na ako mismo ang gagawa ng fight scenes and stunts ko sa movie.


"I think makakaya ko naman kasi may training ako sa martial arts and I’ve always been very athletic. 


"Physical fitness influencer din ako and I joined sa mga marathon before.”  


She also dream of winning an acting award in the future. 


“Siguro naman, lahat ng pumasok sa pag-aartista, nangangarap na balang araw, manalo sila ng isang acting award. 


"So inapanalangin ko pong mabigyang ako ng isang maganda at demanding role that will acquire pure acting talaga. 


"Maganda yung material at mahusay ang direktor para mapansin naman ako for my performance.”  


Meantime, don’t miss the intense rivalry of Ava with Franki Russell over Jay Manalo and Kiko Estrada that will lead to plenty of torrid, provocative love scenes in “Laruan”, streaming on Vivamax starting December 9.

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‘NOCEBO’ is a horror-thriller that is a co-production between Ireland and the FDCP and was screened in the recent QCinema. 


In the cast are many Filipino actors led by Chai Fonacier (“Patay na si Hesus”), Anthony Falcon as her husband, Angie Ferro as a dying witch and Carla Martinez as rich lady. 


There are also many important scenes shot on location in our country.


Nocebo is the opposite of placebo and is a condition where the treatment given to a sick person seems to have a more negative effect than a positive one. 


The movie starts with Christine (Eva Green), a designer for children’s clothes who is suffering from ailments like headaches, severe aches and pains, and skin problems. 


Is she really ill or is it psychosomatic or caused by something that is supernatural?


Add to this her bout with memory loss after she got a mysterious call reporting to her that something tragic happened in a sweatshop elsewhere. 


Then one day, an Asian woman, Diana (Chai Fonacier), suddenly materializes on her doorstep saying Christine hired her to help around the house. 


Christine says she totally forgot about hiring her, but welcomes Diana to her home. 


Her husband, Felix (Mark Strong) and their daughter, Bobs (Billie Gadsdon), are both not aware that Christine has hired anyone. 


But she cooks well and when Christine suddenly feels pain, she is able heal her in an instant just by tickling her. 


But Diana is certainly no Mary Poppins. 


She looks more like a quack doctor and tells her cryptically: “Something is hidden inside of you, Christine. Something you hide even from yourself.” 


What that something really is will eventually be revealed, but it takes quite sometime to get there. 


Ultimately, the film even tackles what is wrong in the world these days, the inequality where developed countries horrendously exploit third world countries where labor is dirt cheap.     


This is as far as we’d go because revealing anything else would be quite a spoiler.  


Halfway through the film, a perceptive viewer can more or less guess where it is eventually going. As a horror-thriller, “Nocebo” is neither scary nor thrilling. 


It is actually a story of guilt and revenge. 


Some portentuous elements are used in trying to foster an atmosphere of dread: an uncanny looking stray dog so full of fleas, some bugs that go up Christine’s neck and later, on her face, birds that enter people’s mouth. 


Meantime, Christine’s health and sanity continue to deteriorate.  


Former Bond girl Eva Green gives an affecting performance as the stressed heroine, but sorry to say that our very own Chai Fonacier easily overshadows her. 


Chai gives a very measured performance, even in delivering her lines in English with a very pronounced Pinoy accent.  


Her exotic looks also certainly suits the part of the seemingly caring nanny who turns out to have other motives. 


Even when she is just mumbling some words incomprehensively, Chai conveys something dark and sinister. 


“Nocebo” is a better realized movie than “Vivarium”, the last work of its Irish director, Lorcan Finnegan. 


We’ve seen it and it’s about the nightmare of being trapped in your own home in a subdivision where the houses all look the same.


It works for a while but the joke quickly wears off and it becomes a bore to watch. 


“Nocebo”, at least, manages to take folk horror and culture clash to another level, where hell hath no fury like a Pinay mother scorned.

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Nov 27, 2022

 








































PAULO ANGELES has been a Star Magic talent since 2014 and he played supporting roles in a lot soaps. 


When ABS-CBN lost its franchise, he was jobless for a while but TV5 got him to play Elijah Canlas’s cousin named Barok in their primetime drama, “Suntok sa Buwan”.


He also became Elijah’s rival over the attention of Maris Racal. 


So how is it working with Elijah and with Aga Muhlach who plays Elijah’s father? 


“Pareho silang napakagaling umarte so I feel very fortunate to be given the chance to work with both of them,” he says. 


“We shot the show lock in on location in Baguio at roommates kami ni Elijah sa hotel at nagkasundo kami agad so we bonded well. 


"Magaling talaga siya umarte at ang dami na niyang awards kahit bata pa siya, so sabi ko sa kanya, turuan mo naman akong umarte.”  

How about Aga? 


“Sir Aga is so friendly, considering his stature in the industry. 


"Masaya siyang katrabaho. Laging nagpapatawa sa set. 


"Sobrang generous din siya in giving us tips not only about acting but about showbiz and life in general.”


Is he happy with the way his career is going?  


“I was only 14 when I joined showbiz and now, I just turned 25 on October 27. 


"I was part of Hashtags in ‘Showtime’. I played a lead role in an episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ and in a series with Barbie Imperial in iWant, but I’d say my career has not really taken off. 


"Last year, habang walang trabaho dahil sa pandemic, I went back to school online, taking up public administration at Trinity College.”  


It was his parents who asked him to continue his college studies. 


“I’m the second of three sons at yung kuya ko, tapos na ng medicine, and yung sumunod sa akin is now taking up his masters. 


"So my parents said I better go back to school para may diploma rin ako kasi nga showbiz is so unstable. 


"But I’m glad naging part ako of a great show like ‘Suntok sa Buwan’ that will have its very touching ending on December 8, so don’t miss it dahil tiyak na maiiyak kayo.”


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         MICAELLA with CHAD SOLANO, RASH FLORES, JC TAN and BENZ SANGALANG

              SISTERS ANGELA MORENA, MICAELLA & STEFANIE RAZ

MICAELLA RAZ plays a very demanding role in her launching flick, Vivamax’ “Bata Pa si Sabel”, produced by Brillante Mendoza and the directorial debut of Reynold Giba that will start streaming on December 2. 


She plays a young bride who, on her wedding night, is brutally raped by three guys and, not only that, her husband, played by Benz Sangalang, is ruthlessly killed by their tormentors. 


The bad guys thought they have also killed her and she is thrown into the sea, but it turns out she survived the ordeal. 


Nursed back to health by a former soldier, Julio Diaz, she returns to their town to exact vengeance and kill the three guys who murdered her husband: JC Tan, Rash Flores and Chad Solano.


“Yes, napakahirap po ng role ko kasi intense drama ang ipinakita sa scenes na nagmamakaawa ako sa rapists na huwag patayin ang asawa ko,” she says. 


“And later, ipinakitang nagte-training naman po ako para sa fight scenes na gagawin ko. 


"Very violent po yung pagpatay ko roon sa tatlong guys, lalo na sa last one, kay JC Tan, dahil lumaban siya at nagulpi niya rin ako nang husto. 


"Salamat talaga kina DIrek Reynold and Direk Brillante sa paggabay nila sa akin all throughout the shoot.”  


Vivamax subscribers will most certainly not be disappointed as they will be abundantly served with their weekly dose of sex and violence in “Bata Pa si Sabel”. 


Micaella as Sabel fulfills the usual quota of raunchy sex scenes with her groom, Benz, plus the violent rape scenes with JC, Rash and Chad. 


Later on, she will have more nude bedscenes again with all the bad guys before slitting their throats. 


The guys have no qualms at all about taking it all off. JC also has nude love scenes with Steffanie Raz as his wife and Angela Morena as his lover who happens to be Micaella’s best friend, and yet, she betrays her.  


There are other assorted bed scenes and, in the film’s climactic vengeance scenes, Micaella is shown willingly and wildly copulating first with Chad, Rash and JC before killing them. 


How she can stomach doing that when she hates all of them to the bones is beyond us. 


The murder scene with Rash is particularly more savagely vicious because she is shown cutting off his sex organ, then stuffing it into his open mouth. Micaella is an expert with knives and she kills all her victims by slicing them. 


The killing scenes with Chad and JC are veritable blood baths. 


They must have allotted a big budget for the fake blood used in these scenes, specially with JC who Micaella is shown stabbing, skewering, perforating, dicing and wantonly gashing repeatedly that she must have turned his carcass into mince meat. 


Yes, naging giniling na lang po si JC sa dami ng saksak at pagwakwak ni Micaella sa kanya.   


Director Giba is very good in staging and blocking the sex and stabbing scenes. 


But we wish he had a better grip on his storytelling and with less dizzying camerawork.


The narrative meanders and there are scenes that make so “laylay” we find them so cumbersome.  


It’s common knowledge that Direk Brillante Mendoza and his protege directors don’t use a full script in telling their stories and it shows in this movie. 


There are several story strands that are developed but didn’t go anywhere and were just left hanging in the air. 


We don’t know why they gave so much importance to the resort caretaker who saw what happened to Micaella and Benz. 


His mother is shown looking for him everywhere when he disappears but we never really get to know what happened to him. 


Other characters, notably Rey Abellana and Carlene Aguilar as the parents of Benz are also given undue exposure then they suddenly vanish into thin air. 


It is also revealed that Micaella and JC have the same father, Gardo Versoza, so JC was fornicating with his own sister.


But the biggest subplot concerns Julio Diaz as a whistleblower whose family was massacred by Gardo years ago. 


We thought Julio will also give Gardo the punishment he deserves but it seems this subplot was suddenly forgotten and the movie ended without going back to it again. 


A good film editor will be able to prune all the superfluous scenes in this movie that make it a test of patience to quicken its pacing. 


As it is, it runs for an unnecessary two hours. The idea of a lead actress taking revenge on her tormentors has been done several times before. 


The real forerunner is, of course, Francois Truffaut’s 1968 “The Bride Wore Black”, where Jeanne Moreau disguises and assumes various identities to kill the men who murdered her young husband. 


It also calls to mind “I Spit on Your Grave”,  which has several versions. 


Locally, we have Hilda Koronel and Andi Eigenmann in the two versions of “Angela Markado” and “Magdalena Palacol Story” starring Alma Moreno. 

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Nov 26, 2022

 


































































COMEDIAN-SINGER POOH initially gained fame as a stand up comic in comedy bars. 


But he became better known for his participation in the gag show “Banana Split” where he did hilarious impersonations of Manny Pacquiao. 


He won the Aliw Award twice as best stand up comic and the Star Award as best comedian for “Banana Split”. 


He also got to act in several soaps. When the pandemic came and ABS-CBN lost its franchise, he was jobless for a while but it’s good TV5 got him to do “Stay in Love” with them in 2020, “Nino NIna” in 2021 and “Oh My Korona” in 2022. 


Some bashers chided him for having no “utang na loob” to ABS but he just ignored them.  


“Para namang noong wala akong trabaho, napakain nila ako,” he says. 


“E, hindi naman ako exclusive to any network. Free lancer ako. 


"At hindi lang naman ako ang lumipat. Marami pang iba, di ba? Yung mga naging katrabaho ko nga sa TV5, about 80 percent sa kanila, galing din ng ABS.”  


He is proud to call himself a survivor. 


“Noong start ng pandemic, na-depress din ako pero nilabanan ko. 


"Nalulungkot ako kapag naaalala ko ang mga ibang comedians na nawala recently, like si Chokoleit, very close ako sa kanya. 


"Tapos sina Hans Mortel, Phillip Lazaro, Ogag Alde. Let’s pray for the repose of their souls.  At tayong mga naiwan, tuloy lang ang laban.”   


He is happy that some of his colleagues in “Banana Split” have continued their careers. 


One of them, Angelica Panganiban, is now a mother. 


“I’m so happy for her kasi alam kong pinagdaanan niyang heartbreaks pero hayan ngayon, masaya na siya with her Baby Amila.”  


He’s now very close to Maja Salvador since they’re working together in “Oh My Korona” that will have its season finale on November 26. 


“Matagal ko ng friend si Maja, since 2007 pa. In the series na ‘Pangarap na Bituin’ before, kasama niya sina Sarah Geronimo at Rica Peralejo at siya ang anak-anakan ko. 


"Napakabait ng batang yan kaya ngayon, siya lang ang bukod tanging artistang mapapanood sa GMA, TV5 at ABS. Ang tawag ko nga sa kanya, the Star for All Networks.” 


In “Oh My Korona”, he is not just a co-star of Maja but he is also a creative consultant who is part of the show’s conceptualization. 


“The show has a good run at sana, mabigyan kami ng season 2.”


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NADINE LUSTRE has really left her former BF and ka-love team behind, James Reid, who’s been missing in action for sometime now. 


In the case of Nadine, she has won best actress awards for “Never Not Love You”, rested for a while, then returned to acting via streaming in the Vivamax drama, “Greed”. 


And now, she will next be seen on the big screen no less, in Viva’s Metro-Manila Filmfest entry, “Deleter”. 


“I am so proud of this project, so different from anything I’ve done before as it’s my first horror film,” she says. 


“Most of my movies before were rom-com or drama and I’ve been vocal in saying I really want to try doing other film genres. 


"At heto nga, the right horror project came in ‘Deleter’ and sobrang swerte nga namin kasi we qualified as an official entry in the Metro-Manila Filmfest.” 


We all know horror flicks do very well in the filmfest so Nadine’s “Deleter” has a good chance of becoming a blockbuster. 


It’s described as a techno-horror flick with Nadine playing the lead role of Lyra. She works as a deleter for a shadowy online content control office. 


A deleter’s job is to filter graphic uploads so that questionable content will not get to be seen on social media platforms. 

As a deleter, Nadine as Lyra is perceived by her officemates as a cold and detached person who is not cowed by the disturbing images she sees on screen on a daily basis. 


What they don’t know is that she hides a traumatic past and her silent, seemingly apathetic attitude is her defense mechanism against a hostile world.  


Then something happens that jars her peaceful life. Her friend, played by Louise de los Reyes, disappears and she starts seeing apparitions on her screen. 


Also in the movie are McCoy de Leon as Nadine’s supportive colleague and Jeffrey Hidalgo as their boss who’s also hiding a deep dark secret. 


“Deleter” is directed by Mikhail Red who has come up with hit horror flicks before like “Eerie” and “Block Z”. 


Nadine says she worked very well Direk Mikhail as they’re both young and on the same wave length.   


“He’s sobrang okay, kaya lang nakakapagod pala mag-shoot ng horror movie,” she says. 


“Sa mga scary scenes, nakaka-tense talaga and we hope the audience will really feel the tension and get scared while watching ‘Deleter’. 


"Pero kahit tiring, very fulfilling naman. We guarantee to give fans of horror films a really good scare.

 

"When we were shooting it, we didnt’t know ipapasok pala ito ng Viva sa filmfest so we were very happy when we were informed that we made it as an official entry. 


"Sa ngayon, I’m really looking forward to join the parade of stars which will be held in Quezon City and we promise na pagagandahin namin nang husto ang aming float for the fans to admire it.”  


Would she still be willing to work with James Reid in the future?  


“Why not? If it’s a really good project, fine with me as I’m a very collaborative person. 


"We parted naman as friends at hindi naman kami magkaaway. Our fans nga continue to ask me kung kailan kami uli magtatambal and it’s 2023 na soon, so maybe we can start a new chapter.”

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Nov 25, 2022

 

































































                FRANKI RUSSELL with AVA MENDEZ & KIKO ESTRADA IN 'LARUAN'

FRANKI RUSSELL debuted in Vivamax’ “Pabuya” with Diego Loyzaga. 


She is now paired with Jay Manalo and Kiko Estrada in Yam Laranas’ intriguing sex-drama full of infidelity and double-dealing, “Laruan”. 


This is a new original Vivamax movie, and not a remake of the 1983 movie by Maning Borlaza with Carmi Martin and Angela Perez.


Franki plays a very challenging role as Camille, the two-timing wife of Jay Manalo as Rene, an accomplished painter. 


Without Jay’s knowing it, she is having a secret affair with her friend Kiko as Geoff. 


She always invites Kiko over dinner at their house and tells him to bring a date who could talk to Jay. 


While Jay and Kiko’s friend are talking, Franki and Kiko always find time to have a sizzling quickie somewhere. 


Franki feels triumphant as she is enjoying all the deceitful things that she is doing. 


She feels she can do anything she wants and get away with it, enjoying both Jay and Kiko all to herself, having her cake and eating it, too. 


But things get complicated when Kiko brings in a lovely new date, Ava Mendez as Thea, a liberated art major who is so happy to meet a respected artist like Jay. 


Since they speak the same language, they bond really well and are soon falling for each other, which pisses Franki no end.   


She resents the presence of Ava as a scene-stealer in their home, as she is just not used to Jay giving his attention to another woman. 


She feels threatened by Ava and her feelings of hatred for Ava grow more intense when she sees that Ava is also getting very close to Kiko, like she wants to take both guys away from her.  


Her jealousy makes Franki think treacherously. 


She wants to get rid of Ava as she doesn’t want to share her two men with anyone else. 


She will not stop until she has ruined Ava’s life even if that also means dragging down both Jay and Kiko in her evil plans. 


But will Ava take things sitting down or will she fight back?  


“My character is a bida-kontrabida and playing her is really no picnic as she’s a very complex character,” says Franki.  


“I’d really like to thank our director, Yam Laranas, as he’s very helpful and encouraging. 


"I was able to do things in the movie as Camille which I didn’t even know I was capable of doing. 


"I would also like to thank Jay and Kiko as they gave a lot of inputs to help me interpret our scenes together. 


"I’m so grateful that all of them are so cooperative with me while we’re shooting ‘Laruan’.”  


We ask Direk Yam how he finds Franki’s performance in the movie.  


“From the start, I made it clear that I want the whole cast to give good, solid performances in the film,” he says. 


“I’ve worked with Jay Manalo even before sa Viva, like in ‘Balahibong Pusa’, and I know he’s very capable. 


"Si Ava naman, nakatrabaho ko na sa ‘The Escort Wife’ and I know she’s good. 


"It’s my first time to work with both Kiko and Franki. Kiko surprised me as he acted like a real pro.”


How about Franki? 


“As for Franki, I know she’s very new but she’s a revelation here as Camille. She is taking her job seriously and I admire her willingness to learn. 


"Don’t miss ‘Laruan’ when it starts streaming on December 16 dahil gugulatin kayo ni Frankie to show how frighteningly effective she can be in her anti-heroine role.”

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