JANELLA Salvador says she’s happy to be reunited with her first leading man, Marlo Mortel, in Regal’s pre-Christmas special offering, “Mano Po 7: Chinoy”. “I’m really happy to work with Marlo again,” she says. “Maganda naman ang naging samahan namin noon sa ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ and last year, we did the filmfest entry, ‘Haunted Mansion’, and our fans really supported it kaya naging big big hit. Sana suportahan nila uli kami ngayon.”
What about Marlo? “Siyempre, sobrang happy akong makasama uli si Janella at hindi lang ako ang tuwang-tuwa kundi ang fans ng loveteam namin, Marnella. They’re so excited to see us together again on the big screen kaya andiyan nga sila, umattend din ng presscon.”
Did he feel bad when Janella was taken away by ABS-CBN from him and paired with Elmo Magalona in a TV show? “Sobrang na-miss ko si Janella but I respect the decision of the management. Sa totoo lang, I support their loveteam, Elnella. Pinapanood ko nga ‘yung show nila. But I really missed her and natutuwa akong we’re together again in ‘Mano Po 7: Chinoy’. Nagpapasalamat din ako kay Mother Lily at sa Regal dahil pinagtambal nila kami uli rito.”
In the movie, Janella plays the second child of Richard Yap and Jean Garcia. In the story, Richard is such a busy father he neglects his family and this pushes Jean to have an affair with Jake Cuenca. It’s Janella who discovers her mom’s infidelity and they have a bitter confrontation scene about it. Marlo plays Janella’s schoolmate who helps her during her trying times and Kean Cipriano plays her much older music teacher to whom she gets attracted. If this movie would hit it big again at the tills like last year’s “Haunted Mansion”, then that means Janella’s fans really like her more to be paired with Marlo than with Elmo.
‘LANGIT LUPA’ TO REPLACE ‘BE MY LADY’
THE presscon of ABS-CBN’s new morning soap at Dolphy Theatre, “Langit Lupa”, has the atmosphere of a children’s party, complete with balloons and party hats. It’s because the lead stars are two adorable child actresses who will bring out the titos and titas in you, Yesha Camile and Xia Vigor, both 7 years old and both precocious. In the story, Yesha is the daughter of Alessandra de Rossi and Jason Abalos, while Xia is the daughter of Yam Concepcion and Patrick Garcia.
Alessandra and Yam used to be the best of friends and they put up a business together, but something went wrong with their friendship. Yam becomes rich but eventually drifts apart from Patrick who then gets entangled with Ellen Adarna. Alessandra would meet a sad fate when she gets sick and her best friend fails to help her.
Years later, their daughters will meet in school, start on the wrong foot because Xia as Princess is “Ingleserang pasosyal” while Yesha as Esang is more “jologs”, but later on, they will become the best of friends. Yesha is grand winner in Promil Pre-school i-Shine Talent camp and has appeared in other soaps, while Xia was the grand winner in “Showtime’s” Mini Me competition and has since appeared in “Ang Probinsyano” and “Xia and Kuys”.
“Langit Lupa” is produced by Ruel S. Bayani’s RSB Drama Unit which produced “Ana Liza” four years ago, a big hit. Ruel is confident “Langit Lupa” will be a bigger hit since they have already mastered the genre of dramas with kids as lead stars. The show is helmed by the very young directors Carlo Po Artillaga and Myla Ajero Gaite, who had to schedule all their tapings in such a way that they’d comply to the ruling of DOLE for kid stars to work for only four hours per taping day.
Also in the cast are Buboy Garovillo as Esang’s Lolo Pogi, comedian Kitkat as the secretary of Yam who’s GGSS (Gigi San Sebastian, also Gandang-Ganda sa Sarili), Jairus Aquino and Sharlene San Pedro as the teen loveteam in the show, Viveka Ravanes as Yaya Diday of Princess and Miho Nishida as her younger sister from the province who becomes the love interest of Tommy Esguerra, the tutor of Princess. “Langit Lupa” will brighten your mornings starting this Monday, replacing “Be My Lady” on ABS-CBN, Skycable Ch 167 or skyondemand.com.ph for Sky subscribers.
MOVIE REVIEW: FANTASTIC BEASTS
INTENDED to be a new franchise of five movies, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” is a spin off from Harry Potter, the boy wizard whose exploits spawned eight box office hits. JK Rowling of the Potter books now writes the screenplay herself with her very fertile imagination. This origin story is meant to be a prequel and is now set in New York in the mid-1920s, focusing on nerdy, autistic looking British magizoologist Newt Scanderman (Eddie Redmayne), a shy student expelled from Potter’s Hogwarts School who arrives in America via Ellis Island.
He carries an old briefcase that puts Mary Poppins amazing carpet bag to shame as it turns out to be a secret portal to another dimension which is inhabited by his menagerie of fantastic beasts. When some of these creatures escape, he searches for them in New York. He finds help in a fat Muggle or No-Maj, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), who also owns a briefcase similar to Newt’s. Following them around is Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston, who reminds us of Amy Adams), a former investigator who worked with the Magical Congress of the U.S.A. (MACUSA) who wants to get back her job and apprehends Newt for the illegal entry of magical creatures. She has a mind-reading sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol, a real charmer). They try to protect Newt’s creatures from Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), the Director of Magical Security who is harboring some secrets up his sleeve with his cohort, the disturbed teenager, Credence (Ezra Miller.)
The fantastic beasts created to fill in the title include a giant entity called Erumpent which is a hybrid between a hippo and an elephant and currently in heat looking for a partner, a huge winged Thunderbird that can expand “to fill all the space”, an animal called Niffler that looks like a cross between a possum and a duck that eats gold coins and jewelry, a twig-like creature called Pickle the Bowtruckle that looks like a small Groot from “Guardians of the Universe”, and an invisible thing that proves to be very elusive.
Tracking them down offers the most entertaining sequences in the movie, going to town with eye-popping special effects. It takes Newt all over New York City, including the Central Park Zoo and the subway. Just like the Harry Potter series, “Fantastic Beasts” transports us to an alternate universe where magic and fantasy co-exist with reality. Directed by David Yates (who made four Harry Potter flicks), “Fantastic Beasts” offers superlative production design that wonderfully recreates the Big Apple before the Depression era and during the Jazz Age, obviously based on old photos and movies of that era.
Redmayne (Oscar winner for “Theory of Everything”) is perfectly cast as the clumsy oddball but likeable Newt, redeeming himself after his embarrassing performance as the villain in “Jupiter Ascending”. He’s well supported by Katherine Waterston (“Inherent Vice”) as Tina and it’s obvious their romance will be further developed in subsequent sequels. Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol as Jacob and Queenie also both give great support as the sidekicks.
Also fine in their respective roles are Colin Farrell as the glowering security head who transforms into someone else (a bigger star who’s obviously the villain in the next movie), Ron Perlman as a shady goblin named Gnarlack and Samantha Morton as the proselytizing Mary Lou who is against young children becoming exposed to the world of magic. Don’t ask too many questions. Just sit back like our grandchildren did and enjoy the ride as it wonderfully combines comedy, suspense and fantasy.