KIM Domingo’s career is really on a roll. After being tapped to play a big role in the hit soap, “Juan Happy Love Story”, she’s now making her very first movie, “Mang Kepweng Returns”, as the leading lady of Vhong Navarro.
“I really feel so lucky and blessed,” she says. “Biro mo, first movie ko, isasali pa sa Metro Manila filmfest.”
After Kim broke up with her non-showbiz boyfriend of six years, she quickly found a new romance in model-basketball player Michael Acuna. She wants to make it clear that she’s not a two-timer, as some folks want to make it appear.
“May nagsabi kasing pinagsabay ko sila, which is not true. Nakilala ko si Mike after mag-break na kami nung una. Bago pa kami nag-break nung ex ko, hindi na talaga kami okay. Ilang beses, we tried to give it a chance, pero walang nangyari.”
So is Mike the one? “We can’t say. Masyado pang maaga. Mga two months pa lang kami, e.”
In “Juan Happy Love Story”, the adopted child Katkat accidentally sees Kim as Agatha making love with Dennis Trillo as Juan. Katkat tells what she saw to Gloria Romero as Mameng and Heart Evangelista as Happy hears it. She confronts Dennis and Kim about it and Kim says it’s the child’s fault “kasi hindi naman lang muna siya kumatok sa pinto.”
FOUR DASHING NEWCOMERS
HERE are four more dashing newcomers from the new GMA boyband One UP.
Joemarie Nielsen - Turning 22 on October 3, this 6-footer was a Mr. Pogi semi-finalist in “Eat Bulaga” and a finalist in the last StarStruck. He was quickly given acting jobs in “Magpakailanman” and “That’s My Amboy”. His mom is Pinay but his dad is Thai. “I never met my father,” he says. “And my mom won’t talk about him. She got married with an American na Nielsen ang family name and he formally adopted me kaya naging Nielsen ang apelyido ko. They have one son, then my stepdad died. My mom remarried and I now have two smaller siblings, aged 4 and 5.” He’s been singing since he was a child and also plays the guitar. He is one of the band’s four soloists, along with Ralf King, Yasser Mata and Brent Valdez.
Ralf King - He was 11 years old when he won in Pop Star Kids in 2007. As a teener he was a finalist in “Bet ng Bayan” and “Asia’s Got Talent”. He also did small roles in soaps like “Nita Negrita” and “Kung Aagawin Mo ang Lahat”. The youngest of three kids, he is from Sultan Kudarat and his parents still live there while he’s now staying with his elder sister here in Manila. He’s taking up tourism management at Colegio de San Lorenzo and is graduating this October. “Ayaw po kasi ng parents ko na mag-stop ako sa pag-aaral,” he says. His showbiz crush is Kylie Padilla.
Kevin Sagra - He’s from Davao, turned 21 last June 16 and used to be a member of a band called Not Taken Today. He was in third year, taking up financial management at San Pedro College Davao, when he joined StarStruck last year. The second of three kids, he stands 5’9” and made it to the top ten. He now stays in a condo unit that GMA7 got for him and other GMA newcomers.
He was quickly cast playing supporting roles in soaps like “Hanggang Makita Kang Muli” and “That’s My Amboy”. He also did an episode in “Magpakailanman” with Jay Arcilla. While here in Manila, he also wants to take up culinary arts so he’ll have a fallback in case his career in showbiz won’t prosper.
Brent Valdez - He’s one of the youngest in the group as he just turned 19 on March 3. He hails from Imus, Cavite and is a business management sophomore at La Salle Dasmarinas, Cavite. He likes to sing ballads, like the songs of Michael Buble, but he’s now learning more contemporary pop songs to be in with his co-singers in One UP. He has also tried acting in a soap when he did “Once Again.”
MOVIE REVIEW: MERCURY IS MINE
‘MERCURY is Mine’ is a dark comedy that starts with seemingly pleasant, likeable characters who turn out to be more and more vicious as the movie unfolds. The opening scene shows Mercury (Bret Jackson) having a big fight in the rain with his father (Lee O’Brien). They’re Americans who came to the Philippines and the father was swindled by his Pinay girlfriend, making them totally bankrupt.
Carmen (Pokwang) lives alone in a carinderia near the foot of Mt. Arayat, which is frequented by treasure hunters. She’s thinking of closing it since almost no one eats there, until Mercury strays into it one rainy night asking for shelter. The boy asks Carmen to give him a job and he becomes her assistant. Mercury is very charming and quickly attracts more customers who want to have their pictures taken with him. The eatery picks up and Carmen is so pleased that she even buys Mercury some new clothes.
The relationship between the two leads develop in a pleasing and believable manner. Mercury has a sweet personality and it’s not surprising that Carmen quickly finds him endearing. We both get to sympathize with them. But soon, some complications spoil the otherwise smooth proceedings.
It turns out that Mercury has a deep dark secret that concerns murder and Carmen, who we thought all the while is solitary woman looking for company, turns out to have four grown up children and she despises all of them. What kind of mother is this who finds her own children repulsive? She even orders Mercury to impregnate her youngest daughter.
From there, it’s downhill all the way. Mercury gets duped by prostitutes who steal his money. He tries to get into a reality cooking show where a gay talent scout asks him to audition. Carmen objects to the idea and he runs away. When he returns, he says he has found the buried treasure of gold in Mt. Arayat. But the next morning, it turns out he got nothing but charcoal (there’s another dark twist in this.) Carmen finally allows him to leave for Manila to join the reality show, only to read later in a tabloid that something really bad happened to him while he’s in the big city.
One plus factor in the movie is that it’s quite swiftly paced. Despite its inadequacies, you won’t get bored because it’s told with liberal doses of humor and wicked wit that will surely please the audience. It’s the hilarious scenes that mask the movie’s shortcomings. And Pokwang delivers a very engaging portrayal of Carmen, even in the scenes where she talks directly to the camera like she’s doing a cooking show.
Bret is also good at the start, banking mainly on his natural appeal that registers well on screen, even if he doesn’t really look like someone who’s only 16 years old, Mercury’s supposed age. Bret’s acting loses its steam when he’s required to do some heavy dramatic scenes as an ostensibly sweet kid who actually has a mean streak and a very violent impulse. He resorts to over the top kind of emoting that should have been more controlled and doesn’t register well on screen.
In all honesty, a black comedy is really hard to do, but when it’s done well, it sizzles, just like “Fargo” or “Nurse Betty” in Hollywood. Locally, the only director who can do good black comedy is the late Ishmael Bernal in “Pagdating sa Dulo” and “Salawahan”. “Mercury is Mine” is good in parts but, sadly, all the amusing bits do not come together neatly and cohesively to add up to a very satisfying whole.
Since this is a black comedy, nothing is what it seems. Both Mercury and Carmen turn out to be both dark characters, cheating on each other and behaving illogically. In turn, we as viewers also feel cheated as it turns out we’re investing our feelings for them and they’re not even worth it, making us lose whatever compassion we have for them. It then comes out as something phony, as phony as Pokwang’s blonde hair that is obviously a wig, just like that of Ate Guy in “Tuos”.