LOVI Poe says 2016 is a very good year for her as she has a hit movie, ‘The Escort’, and a hit TV show, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, so for the Christmas season, she chose to share her blessings by visiting the wards of Child of Hope Asia, which cares for deprived street children.
“I encourage everyone to extend their help to our needy countrymen,” she says. “Maraming nangangailangan ng tulong, so let’s open our hearts and pay it forward by sharing the graces that the Lord has given to us.”
Lovi intrigued her fans when she posted in social media her latest photo with rumored European boyfriend, Chris Johnson. For her caption, she wrote: “All smiles because Chris...tmas is here.” Does this mean that the guy is coming over this Christmas season to be with her? Lovi continues to deny that they have a romantic relationship but her most recent posts indicate that there is more between them than what meets the eye.
Meantime, in “Someone to Watch Over Me”, Lovi as Joanna continues to carry her personal cross as the suffering wife of Tom Rodriguez as TJ. Tom has a very active sex drive and wants to make a baby with Max Collins as Irene, who refuses him. Another complication occurs when a new character is introduced: Dave. Who is Dave? It turns out he is the husband of Max abroad but they are already estranged and just waiting for their divorce. But now that Dave has followed Max, he wants them to reconcile. Tom sees Dave and attacks him.
STARS ALL PRAISES FOR DIREK CHRIS
WRITER-director Chris Martinez ends 2016 as a scriptwriter with the highly-acclaimed Metro Filmfest satire on the making of romantic-comedies, “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2”, that opens on Christmas Day. He starts 2017 with a sexy action-comedy, “Extra Service”, that opens in theaters on January 11.
The first “Septic Tank” movie won best picture, best actress for Eugene Domingo, best director for Marlon Rivera and best screenplay for Chris in the Cinemalaya Filmfest 2011. Will they duplicate this feat in the Metro-Manila Filmfest Awards night on December 29?
“Sana,” says Direk Chris. “But more than the awards, I think we all prefer that people will really go out and watch our movie in the theaters. Mas gusto kong marinig ang comments nila, ang halakhak nila while watching ‘Septic Tank 2’. Pero kung magkaka-award din, why not?”
We’ve seen “Septic Tank 2” and we guarantee you that you’ll laugh out loud in this movie. Direk Chris has written an ingenious script where Joel Torre and Jericho Rosales play the same character, Cesar, the husband of Eugene as Romina. Of course, Joel and Jericho are poles apart in being so different from each other and how they interpret the same role assigned to them is part of the fun.
In “Extra Service”, it’s the first time for Direk Chris to work with his cast and we ask each of them how is it working with him. They practically give him a tribute. Jessy: “Sobrang bait ni Direk, very patient sa aming lahat. Kahit pagod na, nakangiti pa rin.”
Arci: “Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to work with you, Direk. Sa soap, lagi akong heavy drama. Pero dito, comedy, kaya napakagaan, at napakagaan mo ring katrabaho.”
Coleen: “When I learned I’ll do comedy, sobrang kaba ko kasi I have no previous experience doing it at sobrang mahiyain ako. But Direk Chris guided me, magaling talaga at ang bilis pang magtrabaho.”
Ejay Falcon: “Very considerate. Sa iba kasi, okay lang kahit paghintayin ka ng matagal sa set. Siya, nagulat ako, sabi sa’kin, 'yung double mo na lang ang kukunan namin. You can go home.”
Vin Abrenica: “Nagulat ako kasi natandaan pa niya kung kailan kami first time nagkatrabaho. May ginawa akong commercial several years ago, siya ang director. Eto, katrabaho ko uli siya, pero 'yung commercial ko, hindi na nasundan.”
Enzo Pineda: “So easy to work with. Never nagalit sa set.”
So what can Direk Chris say about all these declarations? “Totoo naman lahat 'yan.”
MOVIE REVIEW: 'MANO PO 7'
‘MANO Po 7: Chinoy’ follows the same formula of past films in the franchise, notably that of a poor Chinese who gets rich and later has a problematic family life (like Eddie Garcia in the first “Mano Po” in 2002 where he won the MMFF best actor award, and Christopher de Leon in “Mano Po 2: My Home”.) Richard Yap as Wilson Wong is now the beleaguered Chinese patriarch and real estate magnate who rose from rags to riches in “Mano Po 7”.
But as we all know, wealth doesn’t necessarily equate with happiness. His wife Debbie (Jean Garcia) feels lonely and gets attracted to a younger man, Marco (Jake Cuenca). His eldest son, Wilson Jr. (Enchong Dee) doesn’t feel loved and turns to drugs. He forces his daughter Carol (Janella Salvador) to be a cellist when she wants to be a voice major. It’s the only small youngest daughter (Jana Agoncillo) who doesn’t have a problem of her own. Add to this Wilson’s elder brother, Johnson (Eric Quizon), who was ostracized by his parents for being gay.
Enchong and Janella are given subplots of their own. Enchong meets his love interest, Jocelyn (Jessy Mendiola), while he is in rehab. Janella meets her own love interest, Henry (Marlo Mortel), a classmate in music class who becomes a knight in shining armor when her professor (Kean Cipriano) tries to molest her. But we wish they were given more “kilig” scenes for the sake of their MarNella fans as their love story is so underdeveloped.
The movie starts with a big party scene, the 25th wedding anniversary of Wilson and Debbie, and ends with another big party scene, the grand debut of Carol who gets to deliver the film’s message. She says their family is not perfect since they all have misunderstandings, but they stick with each other. In the end, there is forgiveness and we see Wilson and Debbie several years later in an epilogue, old and gray, but still committed to each other.
“Mano Po 7” is quite slow moving and makes you feel you’ve seen it all before, but it’s fairly well crafted with good production values, from the glossy production design and other fine technical credits that are well handled by former indie director Ian Lorenos doing his first mainstream movie. You’d wish, though, that he’s more brisk in his storytelling. What really redeems the movie is the generally splendid acting of most of the actors. Enchong Dee has the flashiest role that requires him to rant and display an entire range of emotions from desperation and grief to love and joy, and he does it all quite convincingly even if the way his love story ends leaves much to be desired. As Mother Lily herself says, he’s underrated by ABS-CBN.
But it’s Jean Garcia who handles her role as the erring wife with much nuanced restraint even in her most melodramatic scenes, making her portrayal so heartfelt. Richard Yap’s performance is quite uneven. He does his rage and anger scenes well, but the scenes that need more internalization of emotions are wanting, especially his reunion scene with Eric Quizon who’s already a veteran and manages to convey his feelings without contorting his face but just quietly shedding a tear or two. Jake Cuenca as a man spurned twice gives excellent support in what’s really a very small role, handling all his scenes with much persuasion. All in all, it’s a fairly entertaining melodrama with scenes about family relationships that manage to touch your heart.