Friday, August 21, 2020

RHYS JEYDON MIGUEL Vows to WOW in “THE FOUR BAD BOYS AND ME” Digital Love-cast from Star Cinema

ABS-CBN got good mileage out of the reality programming franchises it held, particularly the international ones, in order to find new talent with which they can add to their formidable stable of media personalities. And even if they do not end up headlining a Kapamilya show or series right after their reality program participation ends, they will still be bright up-and-coming stars with even brighter futures. That much can be said of “Pinoy Big Brother Otso” contestant Rhys Eugenio, who now goes by Rhys Miguel. Even with restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 19-year-old has managed to figure into a number of productions, helping to get his rising image out.

A quick look at his social media pages will quickly get anyone up to speed with Rhys Miguel, and he will win you over with his adorable Fil-Am looks and his wit with words. It is no surprise then that he has been lined up since July to star in an upcoming digital series adaptation of a hit Filipino Wattpad novel. Tina Lata/Blue Maiden’s “The Four Bad Boys and Me” will be produced by Star Cinema as the inaugural entry in their “Listen to Love” digital anthology, and having Rhys as part of the main cast is a sure audience-grabber.

Reception to Rhys’s casting has been extremely positive with the readers of the original Wattpad novel, to the point that he is already being referred to by his character’s name, Jeydon. The fact that “Happy Jeydon Day” is at #19 (almost 20,000 tweets as of this writing time) on Twitter’s top Philippine Trending Topics is testament to how well the future matinee idol has taken in his role, with Jeydon Lopez’ birthday having recently come and gone. We also cannot forget the 1-million-plus total views of the digital trailer for “The Four Bad Boys and Me” across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

It is not often that a pretty-boy face comes with both acting chops and a winning personality. Rhys with his piercing gaze and heartthrob smile can easily pass himself off as a prince on a white horse (or a sleek black motorcycle if you check his Instagram). Even with an ensemble cast he stands out as a hottie super bomb, who is still very approachable with fans if his radio spots on MOR Philippines was not enough to clue you in. The dude is a young star to keep an eye on. To quote the hit American musical “Hamilton”: “Just you wait, just you wait.”

Rhys Miguel is joined in “The Four Bad Boys and Me” by Kaori Oinuma, Jeremiah Lisbo, Maymay Entrata, Aljon Mendoza and more. Under the direction of Joel Ferrer, this “Listen to Love” digital love-cast series will stream on Spotify, and Star Cinema’s official Facebook and YouTube pages beginning August 27. Catch Rhys’ social media on Twitter (@iamrhysmiguel) and Instagram (rhys_miguel).

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

ALA BOXING Promotions SHUTS DOWN after 35 YEARS of Champion Fighters and Global Cooperation

In 1985 a businessman established a boxing promotion in Cebu province. Headquartered in Cebu City, the promotion company, named after founder Antonio L. Aldeguer’s initials (ALA), quickly became one of the prominent promotions in the Philippines to push Filipino boxers into national, and international, spotlights. Champions such as Gerry Peñalosa and more recently the likes of Donnie “Ahas” Nietes have trained at ALA Gyms and boxed for the country under ALA Promotions. In a way ALA Boxing had become a major feature in the local boxing landscape, which is why its announcement that they are shutting down was a shocker.


It is amazing how something that was so ubiquitous only a decade and more before, can now be so irrelevant and even actively disliked now. When Microsoft included its own browser, Internet Explorer, on Windows 95, it grew to become almost the only net browser any computer user would use. But even as government regulators accused Microsoft of unfair practice, the computing giant abruptly stopped hyping IE since its sixth version, letting other browsers rise to prominence such as Mozilla Firefox and then Google Chrome. Internet Explorer (latest version 11) is still around however, but Microsoft is starting to put the fossil browser to rest.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

GOOGLE Projects SUPPORT for CHROME APPS on Browser Ending 2021-22

Google certainly hit upon a magic bullet in terms of support and versatility when they developed their Chrome internet browser. That would certainly explain why its worldwide browser market share (for desktops) as of May earlier this year was 68% (and it got as high as 73% back in 2018). Five years after its launch, Chrome was beefed up by Google with “Chrome Apps,” web applications similar to those on mobile devices that are opened by the Chrome browser in separate windows, allowing for features like offline work and cloud connection. It was an interesting concept, but Chrome users were so disinterested that Google decided to axe Chrome Apps, someday.

Runaway QC OSTRICH that DIED of STRESS Reportedly EATEN Rather than BURIED

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the lives of Filipinos for most of this year, we have been somewhat starved of light-hearted news that might just make us laugh if only for a bit. Somehow, that wish was obliged during the first full week of August when a pair of ostriches that were being kept in a Quezon City subdivision got loose from their enclosure and went for a jog on the village streets. But what laughs were had when video of the runaway birds when viral soured upon news that one ostrich had died of extreme stress, even more when one learns of the ostrich’s “final destination.”

DISNEY Rebrands Acquired 20th CENTURY FOX TELEVISION Studio to “20th TELEVISION,” Among Other Name Changes


After a process that began as early as 2017 and finalizing only last year, the end of an era came when several media assets under 21st Century Fox were acquired by Disney. These included another major film studio in 20th Century Fox, along with related TV production arms, cable channels and the Fox stake in the subscription VOD service Hulu. To cement the new ownership of 20th Century Fox and differentiate it from the spun-off Fox Corporation (Fox News, FOX Broadcasting, etc.), Disney had renamed it to 20th Century Studios last January. This Monday, it was 20th Century Fox Television’s turn to lose the “Fox.”

Monday, August 10, 2020

SON YE-JIN of “CRASH LANDING WITH YOU” Originally Hoped to Shoot SMART Commercial in PHILIPPINES

Thanks to being streamed on Netflix alongside its South Korean TV run in tvN from December 2019 to February 2020, a goodly-sized international audience knows and has fallen in love with the quirky and borderline-political K-drama “Crash Landing on You.” Its story about a South Korean heiress and a North Korean border guard falling in love following an accidental DMZ crossing made it a hit, and its lead stars sought-after celebrity endorsers. Smart Communications got lucky with a May ad featuring Hyun Bin, shot during the COVID-19 South Korean lockdown. He never actually went to the Philippines, but his leading lady, after shooting her own Smart commercial, has expressed interest.


Ever since the rise of Japanese pop culture internationally there has been a number of manga and anime – the latter usually being adaptations of the former – that have gotten mainstream media attention. Among these is “Inuyasha” by Rumiko Takahashi, about a Japanese schoolgirl and Shinto shrine maiden that travels to feudal Japan for adventures with a half-demon warrior with whom she has romantic tension with. From that basic setup ran a manga series that Takahashi kept going from 1996 to 2008, such that its anime adaptation actually took a break before finishing up in 2009-10. Last May however came the announcement of an anime spinoff-sequel starring the “Inuyasha” cast’s children.


One prime candidate for the informal title of the “ultimate chick flick” is 1987’s “Dirty Dancing,” starring Jennifer Grey and the late Patrick Swayze as a privileged girl and a working-class dance instructor who meet and fall in love over intimate/”dirty” dance styles at a 1960s lake resort. With the theme song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” and featuring great dance choreography (one word: lift), the film was a sleeper hit that inspired a stage adaptation, dance tours, and a 2004 prequel. But current rights holder Lionsgate is interested in seeing a “Dirty Dancing” sequel done. Now that prospect has become a possibility.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

TOSHIBA QUITS Laptop Business; Fully SELLS DYNABOOK Division to SHARP

During the 1950s, a Japanese typewriter manufacturer was acquired by the electronics giant Tokyo Shibaura Denki, better known as Toshiba. That subsidiary was then merged with another Toshiba arm that produced business computers in 1984. The following year that division released what Toshiba promotes as the “first mass-market laptop computer,” the T1100. Since then they have represented Japanese-produced laptops internationally. Over the decades however the Toshiba laptop brand has been steadily overshadowed by other names, increasingly falling into a market niche with nothing they made standing out. Ultimately that led to Toshiba giving majority stake of its laptop business to Sharp, with the latter coming to full ownership last week.

“LOST WORLD” Callback in Set Photo from “JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION”

Things are really shaping up for “Jurassic World: Dominion,” the upcoming third film of Universal Pictures’ “Jurassic World” movies, to be a grand finale of sorts for both this “trilogy” and the greater “Jurassic Park” cinematic franchise, of which this is the sixth installment. Not only is Jeff Goldblum back but also Laura Dern from the original film and Sam Neill from the first and third, completing the “Park” trilogy trio. And apparently director Colin Trevorrow is not yet done with the continuity shout-outs. Since “Jurassic Park” and the previous “Jurassic World” movies mostly take place on the same (fictional) island, it was high time to bring “Site B” back.

CLARK GREGG Gives FAREWELL Message to “AGENTS OF SHIELD” Fans as ABC Series ENDS on Wednesday

One of the most notable original additions to the Marvel mythos courtesy of the MCU films is the character of Phil Coulson, agent of SHIELD. Portrayed by Clark Gregg, Coulson was a prominent supporting fixture in the initial MCU movies until 2012’s “Avengers,” where he was killed by Loki. But Marvel brought him back to life to headline the story of the first MCU tie-in TV series, “Agents of SHIELD” on ABC. Since 2013 Coulson has been a leading part of the show for all but one season (while his actor Gregg was in all seasons, period). With season 7 being the finale, Coulson/Gregg now opts to formally say farewell.

Thursday, August 6, 2020


Despite the “nuclear war” scenario coming close to realization a few times in the past century, such an outcome has thankfully never come to pass. But nuclear armaments, in their earliest form, have been used in war before, twice even, on only one country in the entire world. To spare American lives from the prospect of a bloody ground invasion against a fanatical resistance, the United States dropped an atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and then Nagasaki, to compel the Imperial Japanese to surrender and end World War II in 1945. This Thursday, that dark episode of history turned 25 years short of a century old.


If one should look back at the Hollywood career of actor Val Kilmer, they would find and remember that in decades past, he was an absolute hunk of a man. In the 1980s he easily gave as good as got in acting with Tom Cruise on “Top Gun,” and in the 1990s he also had a turn as the Dark Knight on “Batman Forever.” Even his voice was pretty awesome, given that he voiced Moses on the 1998 DreamWorks Animated film “The Prince of Egypt.” He has been a bit scarce in recent years, though it may be because he contracted throat cancer and then got a tracheotomy this year.


Earlier this year, when the first known cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines were travelers arriving from the ground zero nation of China, health officials began dispensing the advice of people wearing facemasks when going outside along with keeping physical distance and minimizing contact. When the nationwide lockdown was implemented, these health advisories became enforceable safety protocols. By mid-2020 most Filipinos diligently wore medical or reusable facemasks outside of homes, along with transparent face-shields when working in face-to-face customer service jobs. It has served well at times, though not enough to slow down new cases as quarantine levels somewhat de-escalated.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


The trend established nowadays with superhero films is that, if it stars an actress portraying a super-heroine, then it would be best to have a woman in the director’s chair as well. The results have been quite remarkable too, with Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” (2017) for Warner Bros. being especially cited. Their rival studio and comic book label Marvel Studios answered the challenge with 2019’s “Captain Marvel” directed by Anna Boden (even if in tandem with collaborator Ryan Fleck). With a sequel for the cosmic-powered Marvel heroine portrayed by Brie Larson in development, Marvel Studios has decided to get a new director for the project.

Embattled TIKTOK App Gets Competition from NEW INSTAGRAM FEATURE: REELS

In 2018, a video-sharing social media app that was originally launched in 2016 for the Chinese market became fully available worldwide after merging with, another Chinese-founded app. ByteDance’s app, TikTok, immediately charmed a global user-base thanks to its addictive feature of making short clips of music and lip-sync videos with neat camera effects. The fact however that the China-based app could also potentially gather data on user location, biometrics and imaging that could be freely accessed by the Chinese communist government has led to efforts by some countries, including the US, to ban it. While TikTok is legally embattled, some existing social media apps have been conceptualizing possible alternatives.


Even while fans of Disney are digesting the fact that in some areas they can only watch the live-action remake of “Mulan” next month on Disney+ streaming (by paying for it on-demand on top of their subscription), there is a new hot topic of sorts with the studio giant’s never-ending wave of live-action remakes. Next on the agenda – however far-off from actual production it still is – will be “Pinocchio,” the 1940 animated film that was the second feature-length work by Walt Disney himself. As expected the topic of discussion comes down to casting, and the studio may already have a veteran Disney regular to pick.


In the middle of the first decade of the 21st Century, an aspiring writer from Phoenix, Arizona saw her first novel published. That story of about a human girl and her eternally-teenaged vampire boyfriend greatly affected the media portrayal of vampires and transformed the book into a franchise and its writer into a household name for young adults. Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” saga would span four books adapted into five films, plus spinoffs. She even rewrote the first novel with vampire Edward Cullen as narrator, only to stop in 2008 when her early manuscript chapters were leaked. For a time fans thought that was the end of things. It was not.


These days no national government should probably have to worry about any other thing than to preserve its country against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But life is never simple, and there are always other crises that will demand attention. This much is true of the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon as anywhere else. Aside from the coronavirus, the country was reeling from an economic meltdown that has seen the poverty rate actually reach to over half the population percentage, caused by outrages such as a Central Bank-run pyramid scam and proposed taxes on things like voice app messaging. It seemed things could not get worse.


In 1988 a high school-set teen sitcom produced by NBC aired one season on the Disney Channel. The following year NBC retooled the show and moved it back on its own network as perhaps one of the most iconic sitcoms for young audiences in the early 1990s: “Saved by the Bell.” While it gained spinoffs especially one with a new set of characters, it is the original cast that is most remembered. Perhaps that is why the new “Saved by the Bell” sitcom being developed by Universal TV for NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service brings back some of those cast members to make the show a direct sequel, but with bite.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

SAM NEILL Promises Greater Involvement of “JURASSIC PARK” Stars in “JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION” with TWEET

While 2015’s “Jurassic World” from Universal Pictures did not quite establish a solid character connection to the earlier “Jurassic Park” films, its 2017 follow-up “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” remedied that by the reprisal of Jeff Goldblum as chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm, there for 1993’s “Jurassic Park” and 1997’s “The Lost World.” Still, the character only serves as an expository device much closer to a cameo in “Fallen Kingdom” according to some detractors, and they hope the announcement that the complete original scientist trio of Goldblum, Sam Neill and Laura Dern would be back for “Jurassic World: Dominion” would mean more substantial roles for them.

UK ROYAL Social Media Greet MEGHAN on BIRTHDAY, Considering “MEGXIT”

The lives of Royalty, the non-royals who would interact with them (and even join them by marriage), and the public who bothers to observe their activities regardless of intent, all form a complex web of relationships. American actress Meghan Markle was quite the spectacle and attention magnet since getting involved with Prince Harry. This culminated in their 2018 marriage and the 2019 birth of their first child. But their January 2020 decision to “step back” as senior members of the British Royal Family caused some souring of perception against the now-Duchess of Sussex, allegedly from the other Royals and assuredly from many vocal British public.

“MULAN” to Premiere SEPTEMBER 4 on DISNEY+ with FEE; Still Coming to CINEMAS in Available Territories

When the world went into lockdown at around March of this year to stave off the upsurge in positive cases of COVID-19, optimistic estimates hoped that by mid-2020 there would be some degree of control over the spread to allow the suddenly-halted world economy to recuperate. Those hopes have been dashed by continuously rising infections, severely hobbling quarters like the motion picture industry that still cannot do wide releases of their scheduled-but-delayed films. Some studios have taken a shortcut in premiering their movies on digital streaming. Disney also looks to be following this direction, and with one of the most-anticipated blockbusters of 2020 to boot.


Whereas in past decades, the prospects of hosting an international or even just regional sporting competition event could be sufficiently answered by a single location in a given nation, in recent years the prohibitively steep expenses of such ventures have often become too much for a solo host city. That is why cities are no longer over-eager to host the Olympics, particularly the Summer Games. Sometimes the burden is eased by joint hosting of two locales, like Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia hosting the 2018 Asian Games. For 2023, no less than Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines share host status for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

GOOGLE Officially Reveals PIXEL 4A…and 4A 5G, and PIXEL 5

Broken records could only be tolerated so far, but one cannot help but mention how certain news developments came to be the way they were because of COVID-19. Google had a May 12 annual developer’s conference that would have introduced the Pixel 4A smartphone, months after the release of the basic Pixel 4 and 4XL. The cancelled date then featured in a leaked photo of the 4A on Google Store Canada last month. Finally, this past Monday, Google revealed the Pixel 4A, as well as a fourth variant of the fourth Pixel line geared for 5G, and the fifth Pixel.


It is a cinematic media trend that seems to be picking up traction. A number of films that should be releasing in theaters during the locked-down period brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have been sent directly to digital streaming platforms to premiere there instead. The latest to plan in doing so is “The Woman in the Window,” based on a 2018 novel, starring Amy Adams for Fox 2000 Pictures. Fox 2000 is a sister production company to 20th Century Fox, and acquired alongside it by Disney. A worldwide streaming giant is expressing interest in having the stalled drama-thriller be released on their online platform.

Monday, August 3, 2020


During the turn of the millennium, Vince McMahon of the then-WWF (now WWE) forged a partnership with NBC to develop a professional football league where all component teams were owned under its single entity. Following a late October 2000 draft, this league, known only as the XFL, would launch on February the following year. Despite epic viewer ratings in the start, interest dwindled and XFL would close after its inaugural season. McMahon would try to revive the league; work restarted in 2018 for a 2020 re-launch. Then COVID-19 scuttled those plans, forcing the would-have-been new XFL to declare bankruptcy after only several games. But it is not entirely ruined yet.


While some Hollywood productions outside of the US have been slowly but surely getting back in the grind of filmmaking or TV shooting, back in the country itself things are still at something of a standstill, with quarantines shuttering studio buildings and virtual events being done in lieu of live shows like the upcoming Primetime Emmy Awards. Meanwhile individual celebrities would stay home and if possible, compensate for not going out by being active on social media. These range from “mainstream” celebrities to those more in line with the “scary” side of showbiz, like chainsaw-wielding murderers and possessed killer dolls.
Entertainment Weekly has the lowdown on what two horror movie stars – one flesh and blood (in real life) and one made of porcelain – are up to lately during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dan Yeager, who portrayed iconic slasher Leatherface for 2013’s “Texas Chainsaw 3D” from Millennium Films and Lionsgate, and Annabelle the haunted doll from the “Conjuring” horror verse of Warner Bros. subsidiary New Line Cinema. Yeager, as July was coming to an end, decided to give his two cents on a COVID safety protocol many Americans were reluctant to follow, while Annabelle, left behind in New Line Cinema, decided to have her own fun alone.
Yeager posted on his official Facebook page this past July 30 in an exhortation for the US in general to embrace the wearing of facemasks to help prevent easy transmission of the coronavirus. Referring to “anti-mask” Americans complaining about breathing difficulties with facemasks, the actor channeled his Leatherface role to drive home the message that taking precautions against COVID is discomfiting, but that surely they are not afraid to try and be safe. “It ain’t easy, but you’re no p***y. Wear your mask, killer," writes Yeager on his post.
For a less confrontational tale about a horror movie fixture trying to make the best out of the COVID-19 lockdowns, why not take a look at what Warner Bros. Pictures posted on their YouTube channel last Sunday, August 2. That was National Doll Day in the US, so why not have Annabelle the possessed doll from her self-titled films in “The Conjuring” franchise do a promotion. The hilariously tongue-in-cheek video begins with the Annabelle doll alone in the New Line Cinema HQ. After a five-day “time-lapse,” the doll leaves its chair and does stuff like watching TV (while eating popcorn), getting a tan outside, sticking her face in a photocopier, watching the aquarium, and more, all in her 140-plus-day solitary quarantine.
Image courtesy of Comic


Sometimes it can be amazing for consumers to realize that a particular chain of stores they know originated from one country is actually owned by a company in another. Case in point, the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, which began in the US way back in 1927-28 (under a different name until the current one adopted in 1946), is presently owned by the diversified international retail group Seven & I Holdings from Japan. While most of its other subsidiaries catered to Japanese, 7-Eleven is the one they had with a strong US and global presence, until Seven & I Holdings announced a surprise acquisition of another American chain, of gas stations.

CNN reports that Seven & I Holdings, the Japanese parent firm of 7-Eleven, is buying the Speedway gas station chain, a subsidiary of Marathon Petroleum. The deal was revealed by the two companies in an official statement released just this Sunday, August 2. According to Seven & I Holdings, this is their biggest acquisition yet in company history, and certainly the biggest subsidiary buyout to be done during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the acquisition was paid for in cash, with Seven & I Holdings giving Marathon $21 billion for Speedway.

This is a strategic business move by the Japanese firm, which is looking to go further international in response to the oversaturation of the Japan market, which already has plenty of their local department stores Ito-Yokado, Sogo and Seibu, as well as Seven Bank. While 7-Eleven (part of the company umbrella since 2005) is a start, acquiring Speedway – which parent company Marathon Petroleum has been announcing to spin off since October 2019 – would pick up around 4,000 gas stations with attached convenience stores located in 47 out of 50 US States. That could be the biggest market boost Seven & I Holdings would have yet.

Despite the sound reasoning for this transaction, the sheer size of the acquisition value by the Japanese firm during uncertain times has caused Japanese investors to worry. This resulted in a close to 9% drop in Seven & I Holdings shares at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. After all, its home-front subsidiaries have been affected by their own local community quarantines and business closures in response to the COVID pandemic. While Speedway will officially be part of Seven & I by the first quarter of 2021, it will still come with an expected net profit tumble of 45% by that time.

Image from Nikkei Asian Review