BIANCA Umali has a new and still untitled primetime TV show with ka-loveteam Miguel Tanfelix that will start airing on November 27, and they also have a new movie, ‘Barbi, D Wonder Beki’ that opens in theaters on November 29.
“We really feel so blessed kasi tuluy-tuloy ang trabaho namin, both sa big and small screen,” says Bianca who’s becoming more and more of a charmer every day. “Yung ‘Barbi, D’Wonder Beki’ ang first official movie namin na magka-loveteam kami. Kasi before, child stars pa kami. Sa story, I play Miley at siya naman, si Cyrus. Pangalan pa lang namin, nakakatawa na, di ba? Learning experience para sa amin ang movie kasi nakasama namin sina Paolo Ballesteros, Joey de Leon, Joey Marquez na puro magagaling sa comedy kaya we learned a lot from them, lalo na kay Paolo. Natutulala na lang ako kapag pinapanood ko siya when he gets transformed into Wonder Beki. Sobrang galing niya.”
They’re also busy taping for their new show and someone quips they’re now really inseparable. “E, ayaw rin po naman namin talagang maghiwalay,” adds Bianca. “Parang comfort zone na namin ang isa’t isa kasi child stars pa lang kami, magkasama na kami, hanggang sa naging teeny boppers kami and now, mature roles na nga ang gagampanan namin. Bale eight shows na ‘yung pinagsamahan namin at itong latest show ang most challenging kasi gusto nila kaming lumayo na sa dati naming pa-cute and sweet image. More of heavy drama raw ito and different from the teen-oriented shows we did in the past, kaya kailangang mag-level up na kami talaga.”
Will they be doing their first real kissing scene for the first time? “We don’t know yet. Before kasi, ‘yung kissing scenes namin, puro daya lang talaga. Hindi pa namin alam at this point kung ire-require kaming magka-kissing scene.”
Miguel butts in and says: “Sa akin, okay lang naman. Pero si Bianca, siguro maghihintay pa siyang maging 18 muna siya. ‘Yun kasi gusto ng lola niya, e.”
Even if they’re both busy with work, they do not neglect their studies. Miguel is now a college junior taking up entrepreneurship while Bianca is in grade 12 and will finish high school next year. She intends to take up interior design in college.
ARJO ON MOM SYLVIA: MABUNGANGA SIYA
ARJO Atayde gets to work with his mom, Sylvia Sanchez, in ABS-CBN’s new afternoon soap, “Hanggang Saan”, that will replace “”The Promise of Forever”. So how does he feel about the prospect of acting with his mom? “It’s unexpected, but I’m so happy and thankful to be working with my own mom as not every mother and son are given this kind of opportunity, so I’m just enjoying every moment of it,” says Arjo. “The first thing I did when I learned about the project, sabi ko sa kanya, ang taba mo, kailangan, magpapayat ka, so pinilit ko siya to run everyday with me.”
In “Hanggang Saan”, Arjo plays Paco, a law student and Sylvia is his mom who is forced to do a criminal act when Arjo’s son was put in danger. He plays a good boy here, unlike in his past shows where he usually played bad guys, like in “Ang Probinsyano” as contravida to Coco Martin. So how is his transition from bad to good?
“Mahirap. Six years na ako in acting and this is a new role and new genre for me. But I’m confident that with my mom’s help, who’s my number one critic, maitatawid namin ito. Siya ang nagsasabi sa’kin kung kulang o sobra ang acting ko, e.”
How will Sylvia assess her son’s acting? “Even as a newcomer, okay na siyang umarte,” she says. “Nag-workshop sa Star Magic at dun pa lang, nakita na namin ng father niya, malalim siya, kaya proud kami sa kanya. Ako, marunong din nung nagsisimula ako, pero na-develop na lang through the years dahil kinarir ko. Siya, malayo pa ang mararating niya as an actor.”
And how will Arjo describe his mom? “Mabunganga siya, but very caring. I remember one time, umuwi ako nang madaling araw, I was so careful na may magising, tapos biglang may nagbukas ng ilaw at lumabas siya sabay sabi sa’kin: Saan ka galing? I’m really proud to work with my mom in this project that aims to touch people’s lives and give inspiration to viewers about one’s love for family.”
MOVIE REVIEW: THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US
‘THE Mountain Between Us’ starts as a survival story and ends up being a love story about an interracial romance. The lead characters are Alex (Kate Winslet), a photojournalist, and Ben (Idris Elba), a neurosurgeon. They’re total strangers on their way from Idaho to Denver. Alex is getting married the next day while Ben is supposed to operate on a young patient. But commercial flights are suddenly cancelled due to a coming snowstorm.
Alex suggests to Ben that they team up by chartering a small plane so they can get to their destination on time. They hire an independent pilot (Beau Bridges) who takes his own dog on their flight. But like most well laid plans, they didn’t foresee that their pilot will have a heart attack during their flight and their plane crashes into the snowy mountains of Northern Utah.
They’re both wounded but Alex also suffers from a broken leg.
What’s worse is that their pilot didn’t file their flight, their plane’s beacon and radio were destroyed in the crash, there’s no cellphone signal, and they are on their own with no one even looking for them. So they have no choice but to fight for their own survival while stranded amidst very beautiful but very harsh wintry surroundings in the wilderness, beautifully captured for the big screen by cinematographer Mandy Walker.
Both Alex and Ben have strong personalities, but they must now learn how to co-exist in order to survive the plane crash. Ben, who’s quiet and secretive, wants them to just stay on the place where their plane crashed until rescue comes along, but Alex,who tries to probe Ben to get to know more about him and his wife, says she thinks their best chance is if they’d venture to trek back to civilization and look for help, even if she has an injured leg.
During their stay in the mountains, they start to learn more about each other. At first they think that they won’t survive their ordeal as they don’t even have food, except for a cougar who threatened Kate’s life and ends up being eaten. But as days turn into weeks and they trek from the mountains to lower elevations, they start not to lose hope that they might just make it.
Idris Elba is one of the busiest stars today. He was in the last “Star Trek: Beyond” as Krall, played the Gunslinger in “Dark Tower”, was also in “Molly’s Game” with Jessica Chastain and “Thor: Ragnarok” as Heimdall. He also did voice work in hit animated films like “Jungle Book”, “Finding Dory” and “Zootopia”, and various TV series. We last saw Kate Winslet as the antagonist in the “Divergent” series and it’s nice to see her back in a lead role now.
Considering that “Mountain Between Us” is a film about just two people (plus a dog), both Kate and Idris give persuasive performances that bring gravitas to their respective roles and manage to make the narrative unfold in an interesting manner.
At the start, you don’t think they’re a likeable pairing but their chemistry builds up gradually in the course of the film as they face tough trials to survive. If you prefer non-gooey, non-sudsy romantic stories with a different kind of low-key treatment, you will surely enjoy this movie with its final scene set in London, as directed by Israeli filmmaker Hany Abu Assad who’s best known for his acclaimed film about suicide bombers, “Paradise Now”.