ABS-CBN Films, T-REX Entertainment ink co-production agreement

Film production company T-REX Entertainment inked an exclusive partnership with ABS-CBN Films earlier today, October 23.

Headlining the contract signing were T-REX Entertainment president Rex A. Tiri and ABS-CBN Films managing director Olivia M. Lamasan.

Also present for T-REX Entertainment were its vice president Sonny Fortuna, sales and operations manager Rico Gonzales, and creative head Petersen Vargas. Representing the side of ABS-CBN Films were its chief finance officer Beverly S. Fernandez and over-all head of production Marizel Samson-Martinez.

(L-R) Marizel Samson-Martinez, Rex A. Tiri, Olivia M. Lamasan, Sonny Fortuna, Beverly S. Fernandez, Rico Gonzales, Petersen Vargas.

Weeks ago, T-REX Entertainment and ABS-CBN Films have revealed through separate story conferences the first two films they are producing together.

The two films are the horror film ‘The Mirror,’ under the helm of Kenneth Dagatan, starring McCoy De Leon, Heaven Peralejo, and Yves Flores to be released under Star Cinema; and the romantic drama ‘Open’ by Andoy Ranay, starring Arci Muñoz and JC Santos.

Here is the synopsis of the ‘The Mirror’:

A teenage girl is forced to deal with grave consequences after a mysterious mirror grants her deepest and darkest desire – to see her dead twin sister come back to life.

October 3, 2018 — ‘The Mirror’ Story Conference. (L-R) T-REX Entertainment President Rex A. Tiri, lead stars McCoy De Leon, Heaven Peralejo, Yves Flores, and director Kenneth Dagatan (wearing cap).

Here is the synopsis of ‘Open’:

A couple who are each other’s first and only romantic partner decide to open their relationship a few weeks before their wedding, hoping to strengthen their commitment with each other once they get married.

September 17, 2018 — ‘The Mirror’ Story Conference. (L-R) Alexa Ilacad, Arci Muñoz, JC Santos, Vance Larena, and director Andoy Ranay (center).

T-REX Entertainment has expressed its excitement to be working with more stars from the Kapamilya network for their future endeavors as they present fresh concepts and feasible productions.

‘The Mirror’ and ‘Open’ are both slated to be released in the first quarter of 2019.

T-REX Entertainment has long since produced quality movies such as last year’s blockbuster hits ‘Patay Na Si Hesus’ (Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino) and ‘Deadma Walking’ (Metro Manila Film Festival), and the recent PPP entry ‘Bakwit Boys.’ Its latest offering is the horror thriller ‘Class of 2018,’ starring Nash Aguas and Sharlene San Pedro, which will open on November 7.

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‘The Hows of Us’ review: Fluffy and uneven for a KathNiel movie

Cathy Garcia-Molina should be asking more ‘hows’ in adding fresh ideas to her romcom releases.

In The Hows of Us, two former flames are forced to live together in the same house that they once shared. But before main conflict completely plays out, a flashback montage is first shown. Wide-eyed dreamers Georgina (Kathryn Bernardo), a pre-med student, and Primo (Daniel Padilla), an aspiring musician, are former debate competitors who fall for each other. They eventually became conjugal owners of the said house bequeathed by their Tita Lola (Susan Africa). Sitting on a newly-purchased sofa, the couple plans their life ahead of them and vows to support each other no matter what.

And so Jo sticks to her promise and becomes the provider of the relationship. She tends to her studies and to her part-time job while Primo insists on performing gigs in pursuit of his passion. His big break never came and Jo gets overwhelmed with the responsibilities she has to shoulder, consequently failing to take her NMAT exam. Slowly but surely, the couple are headed to the path of being young, dumb and broke.

One stormy evening, Jo reaches her breaking point and lashes out on him. Feeling guilty, Primo asks her, “Do you want me gone? Will your life be better without me?” An exasperated Jo says “yes” and so he grants her wish and walks out of her life. Back to the present, she blames him for abandoning her during her most vulnerable moment. Apparently, she’s just tired and she doesn’t mean what she said. This is rather confusing.

The film is actually off to a solid start. The brisk sequence presents a full spectrum of a relationship gone sour – the blossoming of young love gradually evolving into an abusive relationship. The premise has plenty of mature themes for the leads to work on, such as practicality vs. passion and self-love vs. sacrifice to state some. It does not tread into new grounds but it’s relevant and relatable nonetheless.

By the time it gets back into the present, the film morphs into a typical romcom, hinting that a happy ending might be possible after all. Personally, I’m fine with any type of ending. What matters is ‘how’ the film gets there. And for a film that has the word ‘how’ on it, The Hows of Us fails to deliver the satisfying means and justification needed. Whatever seriousness the first act established, the tonal shift makes it look like they just had a lover’s quarrel.

This is mainly due to the film’s adherence to local romcom tropes. Primo wants George back and uses his irresistible charm in doing so. “Matagal na akong talo, simula nung hinayaan kong mawala ka,” he says and at one point, the two share a passionate kiss so die hards can have something to gush about. There are plenty of fan service scenes like this and you are generally inclined to root for them to get back just because they’re a love team.

Plotwise, it’s not entirely convincing. The film deprives us of Primo’s character development during the years of his absence and settles for an exposition from one of its characters. He has magically changed for the better, but his apparent lack of a stable job tells otherwise. He realizes that he’s been egotistical but self-awareness should not be enough to compensate what Jo gave up because of him. He sacrifices something valuable near the end but it still seems trivial.

Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla in ‘The Hows of Us.’ Photo via Star Cinema.

If it’s a Garcia-Molina classic, you can often count a daddy issue from one of its main character’s family. In here, Jo’s brother Yohan (Darren Espanto) wishes to see his estranged father in Amsterdam. It’s a subplot that ties weakly to the main plot and it does not help that Espanto’s teen character is written with such level of annoying enthusiasm and naivete. The main reason for this side story is to take the leads to a sunset-draped flower field so they can go on speak some philosophical truths.

The Hows of Us is a fairly simple and earnest story made fluffy by a tried and tested formula. Garcia-Molina needs validation by resorting to tropes expected by the mainstream viewers. Acting-wise, Padilla feels natural and affecting with a restrained performance. Bernardo is fine as well but she has to work with dialogues that often require her to overact.

Not to instigate any fandom wars, but where Never Not Love You lets its leads take the lead with unscripted lines, The Hows of Us bears an uneven tone that ranges from absurdist romcom (Jo makes a division in their property using a masking tape) to overly dramatic (rain chase scenes). It stops feeling real. When are we going to acknowledge that people don’t act or behave that way in real life.

The general lack of nuance also turns off. It becomes preachy right until the credit scene where it spoonfeeds the message to the audience. And it’s not exactly the best thing that the film could’ve come up with. It could have ended with a strong message on independence and feminism but instead, it wants its viewers to hold on to the idea of staying in love and working together amid the history of an abusive relationship. That is not a comforting idea.


2.5 out of 5 stars


Directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina, written by Carmi Raymundo and Juan Manuel Zubiri
Cast: Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Jean Garcia, Susan Africa, Alwyn Uytingco, Ria Atayde, Juan Miguel Severo, Odette Khan, Kit Thompson, Joross Gamboa, Ketchup Eusebio, Darren Espanto
Run time: 127 minutes

WATCH: First teaser for JoshLia-Kris movie ‘I Love You, Hater’

The first teaser for I Love You, Hater has just been released by Star Cinema. It stars Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto, and Kris Aquino who is making a comeback to the film production company after three years.

Watch the teaser trailer below.

Directed by Giselle Andres and produced by ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc., I Love You, Hater opens July 11, 2018 in Philippine cinemas.

WATCH: Angel, Zanjoe, Sam star in gay rom-com ‘The Third Party’

Star Cinema has just released last night the teaser trailer and the official movie poster for its light romantic drama film “The Third Party” top-billed by Angel Locsin, Zanjoe Marudo, and Sam Milby, and directed by one of today’s most in-demand directors Jason Paul Laxamana.

“The Third Party” tackles a modern love triangle involving an aspiring fashion designer Andi (Angel Locsin), her cosmetic surgeon best friend Max (Sam Milby), and Christian (Zanjoe Marudo), an oncologist for kids.

 

Opening across the Philippines on October 12, 2016, “The Third Party” is released and distributed by ABS-CBN Film Productions, Inc.

Also starring Cherry Pie Picache, Alma Moreno, Matet De Leon, Al Tantay, Carla Martinez, Odette Khan, Beauty Gonzales, Maris Racal, Katrina Legaspi, Chun Sa Jung.

WATCH: First teaser trailer for ‘The Achy Breaky Hearts’ seeks relationship goals

Star Cinema has just released the first teaser trailer for its upcoming romantic comedy movie “The Achy Breaky Hearts” starring Richard Yap, Ian Veneracion, and Jodi Sta. Maria.

Directed by Antoinette Jadaone, “The Achy Breaky Hearts” revolves around the story of Chinggay (Sta. Maria), an accomplished yet single woman in her 30s. The moment she decides to enter a new relationship, she meets Ryan (Ian Veneracion) the same time her former boyfriend (Richard Yap) comes back into her life.

Released and distributed by ABS-CBN Film Productions Inc. (Star Cinema), “The Achy Breaky Hearts” opens June 29, 2016 in cinemas nationwide.

Piolo, Coleen, Dawn team up for the first time in ‘Love Me Tomorrow’

The long wait is finally over as Piolo Pascual, Coleen Garcia and Dawn Zulueta team up for the very first time in Star Cinema’s upcoming romantic light drama, “Love Me Tomorrow.”

Directed by 2015’s mainstream breakthrough director Gino M. Santos and with a script written and develop by Jeff Stelton and G3 San Diego, Love Me Tomorrow is a timely and empowering film that celebrates the enduring power of true love.

Love Me Tomorrow is a generational love story anchored on the journey of a young man named JC (Pascual), a conflicted young woman (Janine), and Christy (Zulueta) – a woman on the verge of renaissance. The movie aims to inspect if love could truly bridge gaps in age, status, and other aspects of life.

Fans are in for a very special treat with this much-awaited big-screen collaboration of director Gino M. Santos with Piolo, Coleen and Dawn, who are arguably three of the most talented and most accomplished artists of the industry today.

Piolo is a celebrated actor who conquered not only mainstream television but movies as well. His most recent works include such box-office smash hits as 2014’s Starting Over Again where he starred opposite multimedia star Toni Gonzaga, 2015’s The Breakup Playlist with Pop Star Princess Sarah Geronimo, and Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis, which received wide critical and international acclaim this year.

Coleen, on the other hand, is dubbed by both fans and critics as the “Millennial Lolita” because of her superb performances in the 2014 indie film #Y and most recently, Ex With Benefits where she starred alongside Derek Ramsay. It should be noted that this is Coleen’s third film under Gino M. Santos who directed her in bot #Y and Ex With Benefits.

Dawn is a seasoned and award-winning actress who made an amazing comeback when she starred in ABS-CBN’s phenomenal primetime series Walang Hanggan in 2012. Dawn starred in a number of unforgettable supporting roles in such blockbuster films as 2011’s Catch Me, I’m In Love and 2014’s She’s Dating The Gangster until 2015 when she starred opposite Richard Gomez and Bea Alonzo in the smash box-office drama The Love Affair.

Together, Gino, Piolo, Coleen and Dawn will weave a tale that shows how love could be forever young in surpassing the frivolities of flirtation and physical attraction.

“Love Me Tomorrow” opens May 25, 2016 in Philippine cinemas nationwide from Star Cinema.

MOVIE REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe (2016)

ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE never veers away from the cinematic universe of familiar hugot where Arci Muñoz is that exploding star that lives.


“Always Be My Maybe” Review
Starring Gerald Anderson and Arci Muñoz
Directed by Dan Villegas

As Star Cinema’s latest offering, released just four weeks after Everything About Her (which stars Vilma Santos, Angel Locsin and Xian Lim), Always Be My Maybe might feel like a rushed project on the surface but there is a tempting flavor within it that makes the end product still lovable and ultimately charming.

Here’s the conventional boy-meets-girl story with two characters getting to know each other, leading to the blossoming of romantic feelings, up to a happy ending in spite of all the troubles caused by confrontations and third parties.

Gerald Anderson’s Jake Del Mundo is your typical handsome playboy—well-poised to propose to his longtime girlfriend Tracy, only to get rejected. On the other hand is Arci Muñoz’s hopeful Tintin Paraiso who is under the false hope that she would finally get herself a fiancé, only to discover that her guy has just got into a relationship.

Heartbroken, they respectively try to mend their feelings until they meet in the resort he owns. He quickly recognizes her as the dejected tutorial girl whose tutorial videos have gone viral over social media platforms because of her injection of witty comparisons to love’s aches and shortcomings (sound familiar, right?).

After spending one night over bottles of beer and an endless conversation about their personal lives, a dreamy Jake becomes interested with a candid Tin. The fruition of their good friendship paves the way for intimacy.

They agree to be the wingman of each other in the attempt to find a better person than their exes. What they discover are the wonders of their being together: the irreplaceable closeness, the ease of lending an ear to hear the other’s share of burdens, and the idea that someone cares.

On that note, most of the film’s interesting points can be attributed to the surprise pairing of Anderson and Muñoz. Having a dozen of entries already added to his filmography, Anderson has made a name for himself as that bankable lead star (where most of the time he is paired to Kim Chiu) and any new girl would have the spotlight on her.

When Muñoz came into the picture, curiosity sparked as to how she could pull off her first starring role in a movie after her commendable stint as the third party in the John Lloyd Cruz-Bea Alonzo starrer A Second Chance. 

With them being surrounded by a lot of supporting characters that only drive the story for comic relief or to serve as conscience to Jake and Tin, it is good to point out how their teamup singularly works and how the chemistry is more than fascinating to root for. Enticing are their love scenes and the playful and friendly exchanges of teasing remarks.

Music also plays a big role in the overall mood of the film. Reminiscent of the musical scoring done in the two previous Dan Villegas films (English Only, Please; Walang Forever), the music here gives room to immerse one’s self into both the pains and joys of remembering. Marion’s “Free Fall into Love” gives that energetic tone that reverberates as it quickly sticks to memory with her enchanting voice and the song’s catchy lyrics.

Always Be My Maybe never veers away from the cinematic universe of familiar hugot–something that has long since been a fad as it is not difficult to relate to. Not that it is has to be its shortcoming or even serve as a complaint. For as long as there is a demand for such, the supply could not be helped but to overflow.

Recently, we had movies after movies that delve into the sentimentalities of Filipinos thanks to the likes of the works of Antoinette Jadaone, who happens to be the real-life partner of Villegas. Together, in the league of others who have climbed on the bandwagon, they are able to explore this universe that is all familiar and easy to grasp.

And in this particular universe, Arci Muñoz is that exploding star that lives. She exudes with indispensable charm and beauty. This is something to note for future references (other than to figure out the relation of the movie title to the story itself—which is undoubtedly a standard in any given Star Cinema movie).

Also starring Jane Oineza, Jairus Aquino, Kakai Bautista, Ricci Chan, Ahron Villena, Pepe Herrera, Nikki Valdez, TJ Trinidad, and Tirso Cruz III, Always Be My Maybe opened today, February 24, via Star Cinema, an ABS-CBN company.