Television: Louise delos Reyes shares unique love story in ‘Magpakailanman’

"Magpakailanman: Louise delos Reyes"

Magpakailanman has tackled many celebrity stories that share with viewers how so-and-so became famous. Tonight, Louise delos Reyes takes a different route in telling her story.

Unlike other actresses, Louise never had to go through rejections and second-bit roles. Even as a child, she was already getting cast into television commercials and other projects. Although fame did not come until later on in her career, Louise was happy with where she was and where she was going.

That is, until she met Jack.

Jack was a Korean national who came to the Philippines to study–he got more than he bargained for when he met Louise. The two hit it off–literally–when Jack’s erstwhile bag hit Louise instead of his chair. Sparks did fly–just not in a romantic way.

But when there’s attraction, fate finds a way to bring two people together–regardless of how bad their first meeting was. And soon, Jack has fallen for Louise.

It started out as friendship. And Louise was surprised to find Jack at her house one day, all dressed up to do what he learned Filipinos do when they like a girl: courting them through their parents, or as we Filipinos say ‘umakyat ng ligaw.’

Louise’s parents, although hesitant to allow their only daughter to entertain love at a young age, were impressed with Jack’s perseverance at courting her.

They allowed Louise to see Jack as more than a friend–so long as they’re always supervised.

And it seems that Louise was about to get a fairy-tale ending even though her story was just beginning.

But to get a happy ending, couples need to face a final test to their relationship. Which Louise faced when Jack suddenly stopped being there for her. Stopped being there at all.

Confused, Louise wanted to know why.

And you will find out tonight, on Magpakailanman, after Vampire ang Daddy Ko.

The Louise delos Reyes Story is written by Vienuel Ello based on the research of Jonathan Cruz, under the direction of Gil Tejada, Jr. The episode features Louise delos Reyes as herself, with Ken Chan, Jan Marini, and Jomari Yllana; also in the episode are Yassi Pressman, Rox Montealegre, and Down to Mars.

Television: One True Love

"One True Love"

One True Love is a simple love story. Or at least, it was supposed to be. It was conceptualized as such, anyway, when GMA asked for a show that would launch Alden Richards and Louise delos Reyes as lead stars. And then they made a mistake of casting Agot Isidro, Raymond Bagatsing, and Jean Garcia as their support.

Suddenly, One True Love wasn’t as simple as it was supposed to be. It became a cult sensation.

Yes, now in its remaining weeks, One True Love is not exactly a cult show. It’s winning its timeslots and the ad load is something I’m sure the marketing department of GMA is very happy about. But check out the show’s fanbase online–

I haven’t seen this fervor in a local show since Encantadia. Not even Amaya was widely discussed and praised like this show.

And, I must say, all the credit really goes to the head writer: Miss Suzette Doctolero–the brilliant mind behind One True Love. Well, and all the actors too–because they seemed to have inspired Miss Suzi (or RNH, as we Encantadiks fondly call her) to make a simple love story into a heart-wrenching family drama that has you reaching for tissue every other minute.

Before you say I’m biased, which I sort of am being part of the show and all, listen to me first: I’m writing this as a fan, not as a writer. And the last time I wrote something as a fan was back in the days of Bantatay, my very first show as part of GMA 7’s creative pool. While I love all the shows I’m part of, it takes something really special for me to gush about it on my blog.

One True Love is that special.

The actors are all brilliant. Especially Miss Agot Isidro who gave a truly inspired performance in her very first project with the Kapuso network. Raymond Bagatsing showed his versatility as he made a hundred-eighty degree turn from his previous role (in The Good Daughter, a show which I also loved). And Jean Garcia showed that GMA 7 has a reason why they keep giving her projects after projects.

But it was Alden Richards who really shone in this project.

He showed a magnificent hold on his emotions; he was able to turn in the expected leading man swoon factor–but it was in how he showed his vulnerability that had people rooting for him. Alden Richards is an actor. And biases be damned, he’s the best one (among the young stars) in the local industry right now.

Louise delos Reyes also showed promise, but I think she was eclipsed by another co-star in the lovability department. Rita Iringan who has long been cast as the anti-hero, or the second-tier villain, really came to her own as the inappropriately funny Mavic.

Together with Benjie Paras, the two was an force to reckon with as the father-and-daughter tandem who provided the laughs while tears fell. And, I must say, it takes exceptional comic timing to be able to make people laugh while their hearts are breaking.

Also exceptional were Miss Caridad Sanchez who proved that even in her old age, she still knows how to tug at heart strings. And Miss Tiya Pusit who shifted from her usual comic relief roles in favor of being the one to provide wise counsel.

And I mustn’t forget Mister Bembol Roco, who had to leave the show midway because of prior commitments. No, he wasn’t being a diva. One True Love was only supposed to run for eight weeks. He was contracted for ten weeks. And he exited the show somewhere in the twelfth week. The show is running on its sixteenth now.

But back to Mister Bembol; I’ve only known the actor as a thug, as the mastermind behind numerous schemes that would bring about the fall of a hero. I’ve never seen him in a role like this: where he was someone you’d root for, cry for. And his death scene was truly heart-breaking–and I’m part of the show’s team. I knew it was coming and it still broke my heart. That was exceptional acting right there.

I must commend him and Jean Garcia for portraying a love that had nothing to do with the norm. True, one side started with physical attraction, while the other with the purpose of revenge; but the two acted their assess off and gave us a love so believable that it was, again, heart-breaking to see it end.

Of course, even with all these amazing actors, there’s also the production team that made the show happen–who did their best to recreate the scenes that our brilliant head writer had cooked up. Also, the director who defied expectations, Andoy Ranay; and the director who proved himself in action, Mark dela Cruz.

And yet, in the end, I have to come back to the genius of Miss Suzi.

She who was able to turn a simple love story into something that wasn’t just touching–she made One True Love, and the character Alden Richards plays, inspiring. She didn’t just write a television show, she wrote a legacy–

One True Love will continue to touch lives even after the show ends. Not just because of the love story, but because of all the life lessons it imparted: on how not to give up, on how there’s a second chance for everyone… And the one lesson I learned not just through the show, but while working for the show as well–

That life, when you least expect it, will always surprise you.

One True Love continues to air weeknights on GMA Network (Philippines), after Luna Blanca.

Movie: Shake, Rattle and Roll 13

"Shake Rattle and Roll 13"If last year’s installments of Shake, Rattle and Roll only had one servicable story, this year improves with two. Which makes it a shame that the film outfit who produces the franchise has gone on record to say that this will be the last Shake, Rattle and Roll. Well, maybe for now. True or not though, at least the franchise goes out with a bang with two great horror stories, instead of the usual one.

The great thing about this year’s Shake, Rattle and Roll is the fact that they start the film with the weakest story: “Tamawo“. The premise is this: a farm hand steals a crystal from these creatures who reside in the forest. He hides the crystal, poorly, and refuses to return it. He gets killed. Enter Zanjoe Marudo who gets called in a couple of days later to take on the farm hand’s duties. He brings his family with him because this is supposed to be their new beginning. Of course, whatever happened off screen doesn’t get mentioned–at all–so we don’t know what happened to them that they needed a new beginning. We don’t even know why Maricar Reyes is blind–just that she is.

After the lackluster opening of the creatures dining on the annoying farm hand, we go straight to melodramatic drivel with Zanjoe not liking his son Bugoy. We don’t know why either, except that he’s not supposedly really Zanjoe’s son. And then we head off to the forest with Bugoy who, having already seen the Tamawo creatures, still decides it’s a good idea to head off into the forest alone. And then the cliché kicks in: the Tamawo creatures want their crystal back or they will start killing people. Except they already started killing people. And by this time, we already know that the crystal is really an egg. And no amount of exposition from Celia Rodriguez will give this story much sense.

The story ends with Bugoy sacrificing himself to save his mother and younger sibling. Who is blind. And alone in the forest. Good thing Celia Rodriguez swoops in just in time to save the blind Maricar Reyes–even though she was established earlier to be the only character with sense. Meaning that she wouldn’t go in the forest without knowing that the Tamawo are already appeased. Which they are by Bugoy’s sacrifice–although they already killed three people versus the one egg that was stolen from them.

Basically “Tamawo” is a retelling of the “Nanay” episode from an earlier Shake, Rattle and Roll film; except this time, it has bad direction, bad lighting, bad acting– Let’s just say if you come in to the cinema late when watching this year’s Shake, Rattle and Roll, you did not miss out on anything.

Things take a turn for the better though with the second story, “Parola“, where an age-old feud between witches transcend time to take lives year after year. And while the story does have holes (especially near the end), it doesn’t detract from the fact that it is plotted well–even the late exposition near the end of the story helps create a foreboding vibe, instead of feeling like a last minute know-how to not confuse viewers. The pacing is solid, and lead actresses Louise delos Reyes and Kathryn Bernado give performances that are believable/realistic.

With horror movies, the less we see of the ghosts and other creatures, the scarier they are. But in “Parola“, the production team manages to keep the scare factor of the two witches even though they appear almost throughout the story. Heck, the way they treat the ghost of Dimples Romana’s witch is so exceptionally well done that her appearances will surprise you inspite of the anticipatory music’s presence. Some of the practical effects, like the wounds, could’ve been better–but all in all, this is one of the finest horror stories done in film. Now I feel bad that I hadn’t been able to see the Aswang movie they released a month ago.

The last story, “Rain, Rain, Go Away” wraps things up in a really awesome way by tying its horror story in with a real-life event: Typhoon Ondoy. But what’s really horrifying in this story is the fact that the inhumanity shown in the film is something that really does happen in real life. Here we have a married couple whose way of handling their employees leaves a lot to be desired; because of the logic that unsupervised stay-in employees will escape (and steal) from them during the night, they lock them up inside their living quarters. And so, during the height of Typhoon Ondoy, said employees were drowned inside the factory.

Because of this inhumanity, three spirits who couldn’t accept their fate haunts down the people involved in their death: the owners of the factory that took their life.

The third installment is very well made–and you really can’t expect less from the people behind Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank. But I do have some problems with certain things: Number 1 is the fact that Jay Manalo’s character does, ultimately, care for his employees. He asked his mother to ask the Mayor for help to let them out of the factory’s living quarters. It was his mother who said she can do nothing. I know ghosts are vengeful beings bent on retribution only, but this scene does rub me the wrong way as the ghosts aren’t seeking justice (as they are said to be)–they just want vengeance. On the other hand, this does make for a very effective horror device as you know that no amount of remorse or regret would stop them from killing you.

Number 2 is the autopsy incident. Well, there weren’t any autopsies shown–but we do get two police officers talking about autopsies at the scene of the crime. Within the hour of discovery of the body. My guess is, because of budgetary reasons, a scene that’s supposed to take place in a morgue (or, at the least, a police office setting) was transplanted to the scene of the crime.

My third, and main gripe with the story has to do with the act that started it all: Jay Manalo locking his employees up. The living quarters is a room–with no toilet. Ondoy happened on a Saturday, and the floods started in the morning. By 8 in the evening, the flood waters had already started to go down. And yet we see Jay locking the employees up on the night of the flood. But at the beginning of the story, Jay is out with his wife Eugene Domingo for their anniversary–which is why he couldn’t go to the factory himself to let the employees out. Who, during this anniversary celebration, lost the child in her womb. And yet the next day, Eugene is already accompanying Jay and his family in checking the destruction wreaked by the typhoon on the factory–and the carcasses of the stay-in employees who died. Somewhere along the way, the writer and the production team seem to have lost their way in trying to explain the events–and still tie it in with the events of Ondoy.

But overall though, if you don’t think about it logically, the third story is just as well made as the second one. And having two good stories in three is enough reason to catch this film in theaters. So do check out Shake,Rattle and Roll 13 before the Metro Manila Film Festival is over!

Movie: Tween Academy Class of 2012

"Tween Academy: Class of 2012" directed by Mark ReyesTween Academy: Class of 2012 is the story of three high school outcasts on the onset of puberty. Enzo (Elmo Magalona), Kara (Barbie Forteza) and George (Bea Binene) have always been made fun of, and they’re also always the last to be befriended by anyone. So at the start of their junior year, they make a promise to each other that they will do whatever they can to change their social standings. From being zeroes, the three will work their way to becoming part of the popular crowd.

The movie actually has three stories interlinked with each other because of the bond between the three main characters. We have Enzo’s story which revolves around finding the ideal woman–and finding out that she’s his teacher; we have Kara falling in love with the man who understands her best–and finding out he’s not who he says he is; and then we have George who is in love with her best friend, but he doesn’t see her as anything more.

GMA Films (and co-producer SMDC) hit the jackpot with the movie’s cast. Featuring the most popular “tween” stars of GMA Network, all the characters had to be given equal importance–if not equal screentime. And judging by the squeals and screams during the movie premiere, I would say the writer (Kit Villanueva-Langit) and the director (Mark Reyes) managed a job well done in balancing the three interlinking stories.

This is a good first film for many of the cast members. It’s something light and fun enough to be supported by the coveted “tweens” market, but it’s also dramatic enough that you don’t feel cheated at the end of the film. The story is as old as time, but the unbridled enthusiasm the cast gives their characters, and the in-tune dialogues really helped in making the film hip and current. As to whether it’ll stand the test of time… It might. So long as “net speak,” the language of chatters, survive as well.

Of course, no movie is perfect. And I have three bones to pick with the film. Number one is the editing. During parts of the movie, you’re left wondering if you skipped over something because of the jarring cut-to the director/editor employed. I don’t know whose call it was, but the least they could’ve done was soften the cut. Number two is the secret Jess (Louise delos Reyes) is keeping. It was hyped near the start of the film, but was quickly forgotten when the love stories started rolling. It doesn’t lessen one’s enjoyment of the film, but you can’t help wondering why it was made such a big deal in the beginning, if there wasn’t going to be a pay-off in the story anyway. And my last bone to pick has to do with the storylines of Diego (Kristoffer Martin) and Ashlee (Joyce Ching).

Since beginning their careers in the GMA Network with Endless Love, the two have shown that they have a natural acting ability that few local actors nowadays possess. And I really feel that they were underutilized in the movie to favor the more popular love teams. I’m not saying the other love teams didn’t deserve the spotlight. It’s just that it seemed obvious, maybe because of the editing, that the storyline given to Kristoffer and Joyce were an afterthought. It was just too bad though as I found their storyline interesting as well. It was a twist to the usual Romeo-and-Juliet story, where instead of having their families refuse to have them together, you have your Juliet wanting to keep her Romeo away from her family because she fears that he’ll be rejected. Also, it was confusing if Ashlee (Joyce’s character) was supposed to be a mean girl or not. Again, it doesn’t detract from the movie, but it’s something you’re going to ask yourself (or your companions) about, after the film.

And lest I forget; having Angelu de Leon and Bobby Andrews (the popular 90’s love team) play the parents of Barbie Forteza and Joshua Dionisio was an inspired casting decision. I just wished they gave them more to do–and maybe even one scene together. But that’s just me.

The movie also features a number of cameos that is sure to tickle the fancy of celebrity-spotters, or fans of the Where’s Wally puzzles. My favorite has to be Tim Yap’s role as the driver of Tessa Prieto-Valdez, and Marian Rivera’s scene-stealing aside when she catches Maximo (Derrick Monasterio) staring at her.

Tween Academy: Class of 2012 opens in theaters on August 24, in theaters nationwide. Well, in all SM Cinemas for sure. Will Ayala Malls show a movie that SMDC co-produced? That’s a question I don’t know the answer to. And do come in early for the film, so you can catch the trailer of the next Yam Llaranas (The Echo, Sigaw) film: The Road. It looks promising.