Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PDEA subpoenas Halili and Kho

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) today issued subpoena for actress Katrina Halili and celebrity doctor Hayden Kho who recently figured in a sex video scandal.
The alleged involvement of illegal drugs in the highly controversial sex video prompted PDEA director general, senior undersecretary Dionisio Santiago to order an immediate investigation.

“We have already issued the subpoena for Katina, Hayden and his mother to pay us a visit on May 29, 2009, to shed light on the allegation (of illegal drug use),” announced Sr. Usec. Santiago. “The investigation will start with the mother who claimed on television that her son gets illegal drugs from Katrina who, in turn, gets the supply from a certain Omar.”

The PDEA chief revealed that the agency has been receiving reports of illegal drugs circulating in the entertainment business citing the need to boost stamina during irregular hours of work as the primary excuse for drug use. He added that he had long ago expressed and communicated his concern regarding this to some well-regarded icons in the industry.

“We have been waiting for the perfect moment to validate this information. This incident provided us with the opportunity to finally step in and probe the extent of illegal drug use in show business,” the director general said.

Earlier this week, Atty. Raymond Palad, counsel for Halili, had already coordinated with PDEA. He conveyed that his client had signified willingness to cooperate with PDEA on the matter. Atty. Palad also said he will be presenting his client to the agency on Friday.

“Our investigation would not stop with Katrina or Hayden. We want to get to the source who supplies them with illegal drugs. We expect to uncover the trails. We will get to the bottom of this,” the PDEA Chief guaranteed.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

That Christian spirit

BEVERLY HILLS, California — The first Terminator movie, directed by James Cameron (of Titanic fame) and starring now-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role, was shown in 1984, followed by Terminator 2: Judgment Day (also with Cameron and Schwarzenegger) in 1991 and then by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, directed by Jonathan Mostow (who closed the first trilogy), in 2003.
Now comes Terminator Salvation, directed by McG (also behind the hit Charlie’s Angels, starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu), set in 2018 after Judgment Day which saw the leveling of modern civilization and the rise of an army of Terminators roaming the post-apocalyptic landscape, killing or collecting humans who hide in the desolate cities and deserts. But a small group of survivors have organized into a Resistance which hide in underground bunkers and strikes when they can against an enemy force that vastly outnumbers them. Controlling the Terminators is Skynet, an artificial intelligence network which is behind the nuclear annihilation of the world.

Enter John Connor, the only man who saw Judgment Day and whose fate has always been intertwined with the fate of human existence. And Marcus Wright, a human-machine hybrid. Can the two of them save what’s left of the world?

Playing John Connor is Christian Bale who sheds his Batman persona (Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) for a tougher one and Australian actor Sam Worthington plays Marcus Wright. (Note: Schwarzenegger makes a “surprise” appearance in the movie, au naturel.)

Born in Wales, Bale grew up in England and the USA, and had his film debut as a child actor in Steven Spielberg’s World War II epic Empire of the Sun.

Conversations sat down with Bale at a function room of Beverly Hilton a week after the bout of Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton in Las Vegas on May 3 (Manila Time). Since Bale watched Pacquiao train at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Conversations kicked off the interview by asking him about Pacquiao who was also visited in the same gym by other Hollywood stars including Mark Wahlberg and basketball superstars.

So you observed Pacquiao during his training at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.

“Oh yes, I was there.”

Glad to know that you’re one of Pacquiao’s fans.

“He’s a great boxer. He’s fantastic! He’s generous in spirit.”

You really took time out from your busy schedule to watch Pacquiao up close.

“You know, I went there not just as a fan but also as part of my research for my next movie.”

Oh, is that so? Are you playing the role of a boxer?

(Smiles) “I can’t reveal yet what my role is.”

Pacquiao fought against your fellow Briton in Las Vegas. Were you there to root for Pacquiao?

“I wanted to watch the fight but I couldn’t go to Las Vegas. I was busy with work.”

Did you train for Terminator as hard as or harder than Pacquiao did for his fight?

“Maybe not as hard. Doing Terminator is exhausting. I play a very physical role. The only special training I had was the weapons training with the military guys.”

How old were you when you saw a Terminator movie?

“I was only 10 when the first Terminator came out. I was 17 and just arriving in the States when Terminator 2 was showing. Watching T2 was very memorable for me. I remember the excitement inside the theater. I’ve never felt anything like that. It was awesome! Everybody was screaming, me included, so you couldn’t hear a thing all throughout the movie. It was just so exciting!”

Did you ever imagine at that time that you would be in a Terminator movie?

“No, I did not. I wasn’t really that ambitious.” (laughs)

Watching Terminator Salvation makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a breathtaking video game. Did you play video games in your younger years?

“Yes, I do love video games. I played video games in my entire growing-up years. One of my favorites is Super Mario. I wouldn’t sleep until I finished the game, you know.”

Do you see yourself in John Connor?

“A bit. In Terminator Salvation, John Connor is so much older and he has gone through Judgment Day. Living through an event like that alters everybody, so in many ways he’s a completely different person in this movie than he was in the previous two.”

Is it true that you hate it when people describe you as “intense”? (You should know what I mean if you saw Bale on YouTube giving a Terminator Salvation production staffer, well, “a piece of his mind.”)

“Yes, I do. I think ‘intense’ has a negative connotation.”

You would have been perfect as James Bond. Did you really turn down the role (that eventually landed on Daniel Craig’s lap)?

“They kept asking me to go on audition but I wasn’t able to.”

So what do you think of Daniel Craig?

“Well, he’s perfect for the role.”

You worked with Heath Ledger, an Australian, in The Dark Knight. And now, you’re starring with Sam Worthington, another Australian. How would you compare them?

“You know, they are two very different people. You know, I don’t really like comparing people. But yes, they are both good.”

What are the pluses and minuses of being a big star that you are now?

“You know, believe me but I just go by my day and do everything I’ve done before and I don’t really get people hassling me. I don’t read entertainment things in the papers so I don’t know what people are saying about me or against me, and I’m happy that way.”

What kind of movies do you enjoy watching?

“Hmmmm. The sillier the movie the better.”

At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be an actor?

“I did little skits when I was in school and I guess I started to love acting at that time.”

How was your childhood like?

“It’s a tough question. How do you answer that? I don’t really remember much about my childhood, do you? I guess I’m pretty much the same as any kid growing up.”

What is the Christian Bale that the public doesn’t know?

(Thinks awhile) “Why should I tell you? I like to keep it that way.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How Allen ascended from meek audition to 'Idol'

LOS ANGELES – Not much has changed about Kris Allen since his mostly forgettable "American Idol" audition. Well, except for the winning-it-all part.

When the 23-year-old college student from Conway, Ark., first auditioned with Leon Russell's "A Song for You" in Louisville, Ky., he seemed nothing more than a boy-next-door "Idol" hopeful, lacking the instant juggernaut feel of showy 27-year-old runner-up Adam Lambert or even plucky 17-year-old spark plug Allison Iraheta.

A newsboy cap pulled down around his eyes, Allen was asked back then by the judges if he was the best singer.

"You know, there's probably people who are better than me," was his response, a humility that Simon Cowell said he found off-putting.

"Idol" producers must have agreed. Back in February, viewers had seen less of Allen out of all the crooners that moved forward in the competition. During Hollywood Week, neither of Allen's solos were aired, just his "I Want You Back" group performance. In fact, more footage from his original audition was aired during Wednesday's eighth season finale than in any previous episodes.

Once selected as a finalist, Allen got off to a rocky start after his first performance. The judges were decidedly mixed over his rendition of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," yet his charming nice-guy demeanor quickly emerged when it was revealed that the longtime Jackson fan had been helping the other singers — his competitors of all people! — tackle their takes on the King of Pop.

Allen himself seemed the most surprised about his shocking win by a margin of votes that, unlike last season's landslide victory by David Cook over David Archuleta, was not publicly declared by host Ryan Seacrest.

"I'm exhausted, and I'm shocked," Allen said backstage after winning the title. "I'm really shocked."

In the beginning, the judges simply seemed, if not in love, then "in like" with Allen — not heaping the same amounts of love on him as Lambert until later in the season.

The panel's initial feedback bordered on superficial. Paula Abdul once gushed he was "adorable/sexy" while Cowell teased the smiley newlywed for introducing his wife so early in the competition, at risk of scaring of female fans.

He always seemed to take their remarks in stride, content to forge ahead with his earnest singer-songwriter vibe no matter the outcome, never telegraphing a drive to best his fellow contestants.

Instead, Allen stuck to focusing on his guitar and piano on the "Idol" stage, impressing the judges with his folksy, heartfelt interpretations of such songs as "Ain't No Sunshine," "She Works Hard for the Money" and "Falling Slowly" from the indie musical "Once." He hit a crescendo last week when he transformed Kanye West's robotic tune "Heartless" into a soulful, acoustic ditty.

"I had written you out of the competition, but that has changed after that performance," Cowell boasted afterward.

However, it was runner-up Lambert who always received the most praise — by both judges and screaming fans — right until Tuesday's final performance. All the while, Allen was apparently neck-and-neck with Lambert when it came to viewer votes: The only time either was in the dreaded bottom-three was after their Rat Pack-themed performances.

Last week, only 1 million viewer votes separated them — a tiny margin considering that nearly 100 million votes were cast for the finale.

"I knew it was going to be a close race," Lambert said backstage. "I think Kris is incredibly talented, and he's a good person."

Though never referenced on the show, Allen's religious background may have also played a role. Allen has worked as a worship leader at his hometown church, traveling on mission trips around the globe. His pastor, Brandon Shatswell, said Allen told him that his first time on the "Idol" stage reminded him of only one thing: going to church.


Fox is a unit of News Corp.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Give others a chance, Erap told

MANILA, Philippines – Deposed president Joseph Estrada should give other presidential candidates a chance in the 2010 elections, an official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said today.
Reacting to reports that Estrada can and may still run in next year's polls, CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo urged the former chief executive to let others instead.

"Be like Presidents Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos who will act as a kind of adviser and even ‘tutor’ to the newly elected president. This is a very rare and extraordinary office and he has already tested it," Lagdameo said.

Estrada was removed from office in 2001 following charges of graft and corruption. -

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Villar likely to be found guilty in 'double insertion' scam - Miriam

MANILA, Philippines - Administration Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago today said she is not amenable to the ongoing probe by the committee of the whole on Senator Manny Villar's "double insertion" case.
Santiago, who has not attended the preliminary inquiry due to chronic fatigue syndrome, said Villar will be eventually found guilty if the committee decides to divide its membership into majority and minority blocs.

"Definitely he [Villar] will lose in the voting because the majority has the numbers," Santiago said in a radio interview.

She said senators are already branded either as minority or majority members.

"Very few will be independent-minded on this. So how can we avoid [doubt] in the public mind that the decision will be objective?," Santiago said.

Santiago also advised senators who have presidential bids to inhibit themselves in the inquiry.

"Malaking cloud [of doubt] ang maaalis sa kontrobensyang ito," she said.

Villar has expressed his intention of running for the presidency in the 2010 elections.

Friday, May 15, 2009

'American Idol' stars checked for swine flu in Philippines

MANILA, May 14, 2009 (AFP) - The two top contenders from last season's hit US television show "American Idol" faced swine flu checks by government doctors after landing in the Philippines to perform a concert, officials said Thursday.
David Cook and David Archuleta, winner and runner-up respectively of the seventh season of the highly popular reality show, immediately consulted their lawyers when quarantine officials came knocking as they rested in their hotel rooms late Wednesday, a day after arriving in the Philippines.

The officials were enforcing health regulations aimed at keeping the Southeast Asian nation of 90 million people free of the A(H1N1) virus, said Edgardo Sabitsana, director of the quarantine bureau.

The heart-throbs, who are set to perform Saturday at a Manila shopping mall, were made to answer a checklist based on recommendations from the Atlanta-based Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sabitsana told reporters it took almost three hours to persuade the celebrities to meet the quarantine officials and that during that time the two Americans rang their lawyers.

He said the officials stressed to the two artists that the government could hold, arrest or detain people or even ban the planned concert over concerns about swine flu.

The officials are scheduled to visit Cook and Archuleta again Thursday, and their managers also pledged to have both checked for flu symptoms at least twice a day, Sabitsana said.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said that as of Thursday there were still no confirmed cases of the virus in the Philippines.

All 49 people who had been put under observation in government and private hospitals since May 1 have been discharged, he said.

Duque added that all public gatherings must follow guidelines issued by the health department "and this is now being applied to David Cook and David Archuleta."

Friday, May 08, 2009

Susan Boyle joins stars in top viral videos

SYDNEY - British singing sensation Susan Boyle, who became an overnight star with her surprising performance on a British talent show, has made the top 5 in a list of the most watched viral videos of all-time.

Visible Measures, which measures the use of online videos across more than 150 video-sharing sites, has compiled a list called the "100 Million Views Club" which is of online videos that have topped the 100 million viewership.

Topping the list is a music video by rapper Soulja Boy of "Crank That," which recorded 356 million hits, followed by a trailer for the vampire movie "Twilight" with 267 million clicks.

In third and four places, with 230 million and 197 million views respectively, came Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body" music video and a user generated video by American ventriloquist and stand-up comedian Jeff Dunham called "Achmed the Dead Terrorist."

Boyle, who performed on "Britain's Got Talent," was in fifth place with 186 million views.

Boyle, 47, with her untamed hair and plain-spoken manner, captivated millions of music lovers and confounded celebrity watchers after stunning judges with a voice that belied an appearance dubbed "frumpy" and "dowdy" by the British media.

She has appeared on Larry King Live in the United States and in countless newspaper and Internet articles, fuelling the number of people viewing the online clip of her song.

"The most impressive aspect of her viral video success is the fact that she burst onto the scene just three weeks ago," said Visible Measures in a statement.

Boyle is due to appear in the semi-finals of the TV talent show in the week of May 25. The final will be held on May 30.

Also on the list of top viral videos were music videos by Leona Lewis, Avril Lavigne, Chris Brown, Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, movie trailers for "The Dark Knight," "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince," and "Hannah Montana: The Movie," and some user generated videos.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

`Twilight,' `Slumdog' lead MTV award nominees

NEW YORK - It's "Twilight" versus "Slumdog Millionaire" at this year's MTV Movie Awards.

The vampire blockbuster took the lead with seven nominations and the Oscar-winning Indian romance received six, MTV announced Monday. Both popular movies were nominated for best film.

"Slumdog" star Dev Patel and "Twilight" vampire Robert Pattinson are both nominated for the male breakthrough performance award. The other contenders are Ben Barnes ("The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"), Bobb'e J. Thompson ("Role Models") and Pattinson's "Twilight" co-star Taylor Lautner.

Mark Burnett, who produces the freewheeling ceremony, said either film has a great chance of winning best picture.

"Twilight" has "certainly touched a part of America and young girls are totally in love with what the movie stands for and (with) romance," Burnett said in an interview. "On the other hand, I have to say, all of my kids loved `Slumdog Millionaire.' There's just something so uplifting about what that movie stands for."

Other nominated movies include "Iron Man," "The Dark Knight" and "High School Musical 3: Senior Year."

Kate Winslet, who won an Oscar for her dramatic role in "The Reader," is up for best female performance, along with Angelina Jolie ("Wanted"), Anne Hathaway ("Bride Wars"), Kristen Stewart ("Twilight") and Taraji P. Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button").

Nominees for best male performance are Christian Bale ("The Dark Knight"), Robert Downey Jr. ("Iron Man"), Shia LaBeouf ("Eagle Eye"), Vin Diesel ("Fast & Furious") and "High School Musical" heartthrob Zac Efron.

Efron's co-star (and girlfriend) Vanessa Hudgens will challenge Miley Cyrus for the breakthrough performance female award. Their competition includes "Slumdog" beauty Freida Pinto and Ashley Tisdale, another "HSM" star.

The golden popcorn trophy for best kiss _ one of the event's signature unconventional categories _ could be handed to one of six big-screen duos, including Efron and Hudgens, Pinto and Patel, Stewart and Pattinson, or Sean Penn and James Franco, who co-starred in "Milk."

Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar for his menacing performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," is also nominated in the best villain category.

MTV usually introduces a new category or two each year: This year, a golden popcorn will be awarded to the "best song from a movie." The nominees are Cyrus' "The Climb" (from the new "Hannah Montana" film); the "Twilight" song "Decode" by Paramore; the "Slumdog" anthem "Jai Ho"; and the Bruce Springsteen ballad "The Wrestler" from the movie starring Mickey Rourke.

Votes can be cast online at MTV's Web site through May 27 for all categories except best movie. MTV said voting in that category remains open until May 31, when the show will air live from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, Calif. "Saturday Night Live" star Andy Samberg is the host.

Burnett said the key to a successful movie-awards show is to let awkward moments pan out. Among last year's highlights: Franco and Seth Rogen pulled out a bag of fake marijuana on stage.

"I will tell you right now _ there are three big things" that are part of the show, Burnett said. "I would say personally in my three years of producing the MTV Movie Awards live, the biggest thing that I can think of is going to be happening this year."


Friday, May 01, 2009

`Idol's' Giraud passes on Timberlake comparisons

LOS ANGELES - "American Idol" finalist Matt Giraud said he appreciates being compared to Justin Timberlake but intends to follow his own musical path.

"A white guy with soul, that's just how it works. ... But I think I'm a lot different," Giraud said Thursday, one day after being voted off the Fox TV singing contest. He admires Timberlake's approach but "it's not where I want to go," he told a teleconference.

Giraud, who proclaimed jazz to be a passion, said he wasn't disappointed that it was his jazz-flavored performance of "My Funny Valentine" Wednesday that led to his downfall.

A bigger song would have allowed him to show off more, he said, "but I wanted to pick something simple, and I'm glad I went out on that note."

He'd like to do an album that's "soulful rock with a twist of blues."

The 23-year-old piano player from Kalamazoo, Mich., was equally certain of how he would have dodged what he called the "cruel twist" that faced fellow contestant Adam Lambert.

On Thursday's elimination show, Lambert was left standing in center stage after the other four finalists were divided in pairs. Host Ryan Seacrest told Lambert to decide whether he belonged with Giraud and Kris Allen or Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta.

Lambert, who has been lavished with praise and survived weekly audience votes, picked the latter two _ but turned out to be a surprise bottom-dweller.

"I would have pulled an Archuleta and just sat down," Giraud said, referring to last season runner-up David Archuleta's response to a similar challenge.

On April 15, Giraud became the first "American Idol" contestant to get a judges' reprieve when the audience vote went against him. "`Idol' history has been made!" Seacrest exclaimed following the season's new, one-time-only salvation.

"I can't wait to see my name on a trivia card," Giraud joked Thursday, then turned serious.

"Being saved, I never felt so much love in the room (the theater) before," he said. "I really didn't know that people felt that passionately about me."