Entertainment

Bird Box, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo: Now Playing

Don’t look unless it sparks joy

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Over the holidays, the GadgetMatch team got some time to rest and relax before CES 2019. Here’s what we enjoyed during our break.

Movies to see

Bird Box
Marvin: If you’ve already watched Bird Box, congrats. If not, you aren’t missing out. Despite the massive hype, this Netflix movie isn’t a must-watch. Honestly, the fan theories and multiple interpretations you’d read online are more fun than the feature itself. Even its legacy, the Bird Box challenge — wherein you have to do mundane tasks blindfolded — may leave a longer-lasting impression.

Taylor Swift reputation Stadium Tour
MJ: There’s something magical about concert films, especially if it involves your favorite pop star. Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour celebrates a night of music featuring a visually pleasing stage and fabulous dancing. This happened at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, the last run of her US leg during her world tour.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch
Kevin: If you share the same sentiments with Marvin about Bird Box, you’re better off checking out Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch. Being an interactive movie, it’s probably something you haven’t experienced before. The way you select between choices throughout the scenes dictate different results and next thing you know, the fate of a teenager’s video game is in your hands. Oh, and when you’ve seen it, check out our Bandersnatch: A Discussion article and read our take on the entire thing.

TV shows to binge watch

Tidying up with Marie Kondo
Kevin: Since most of us are still struggling to be proper adults, it really helps to be shown once in a while how to do things properly — most importantly, in tidying up our own place. Marie Kondo is an organizing consultant famous for her KonMari method and only keeping things that “spark joy” in you. Beyond the wise decluttering tips, the show also touches on the human side of everyday things that sometimes result in one’s disorganization.

Instant Hotel
Dan: Instant Hotel is one of those shows I never knew would be a good. The premise of the show revolves around the concept of an instant hotel (think Airbnb) wherein owners have to prove that they have the best one. They stay in each property and give it a score based on certain criteria. Instant Hotel is delightful to watch, while at the same time interesting because of the contestants. The show is originally from Australia but it’s available internationally on Netflix.

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season 3
Dan: The third and last season of the A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix wraps up the tale of the Baudelaire children. It’s adapted from the four final books of the novel series. Since this is the final season, it has to be good. Like the first and second season, the third one is well-made and has a unique personality. The overall narrative matches the novel’s tone. It’s wonderfully weird, to be honest. I just wish that the ending was split into two parts to cover more of the final novel.

Titans
Dan: Those who have watched Teen Titans cartoons before should check out DC Comic’s live-action series Titans. If Teen Titans is a fun, quirky superhero show, Titans is dark and mature. Its post-Nolan, post-Dark Knight atmosphere presents itself well, but I do have some minor concerns. Marvel’s Daredevil series is better overall, though Titans has the potential to be great. The first season is now on Netflix.

YOU
MJ: YOU is about Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager who’s obsessed with an aspiring writer named Guinevere Beck. The show shows how today’s technology makes it easier for stalkers to find their way into our lives. Aside from the creepy and extreme measures the bookstore manager does to insert himself in Beck’s life, YOU gives a lesson on what not to do when dealing with strangers to prevent stalkers.

Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj
Rodneil: I’m a lowkey fan of political satire and Hasan Minhaj’s delivery, which I can only describe as a PowerPoint presentation on steroids, feels like such a fresh take. The little over 20-minute episodes that range from immigration to social media, and even hypebeasts, are all well-written and thoroughly researched. The show is both informative and undeniably entertaining.

Naruto
Rodneil: Also known to its fans as “Boruto’s Dad,” this is quite literally the origin story of a legend. Naruto was part of the Big Three shonen anime for longer than a decade and its availability on Netflix is great for both the younger generation and everyone feeling nostalgic about the anime. This series also has arguably one of the best fights in anime: Rock Lee vs Gaara. That’s Season 2, episodes 22 to 24. You’re welcome.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

Sunrise by GFRIEND
Vincenz: This is different from your typical K-pop girl group songs with catchy and repetitive lyrics. The song portrays a more meaningful and heartfelt message with its lyrics. Combined with the sound of classical instruments and synths, you will also be mesmerized by their powerful yet soothing vocals (two high notes in one song, anyone?), giving you the feeling of a fantasy-like, whimsical love song — not to mention it also sounds like a Korean anime track.

Like Like You by Ace Banzuelo
Vincenz: I was already hooked the first time I listened to this song. Ace’s vocals clearly catch the ears (and even hearts) of its listeners. It gives me the LANY x LAUV vibe because of its mesmerizing synth-pop tune that works together with its catchy yet meaningful lyrics. This is definitely a perfect go-to song for your daily music streaming, casual road trips, and even chill bar sessions with your friends and special someone.

Apps to download

San Bidet
Dan: You might have heard about it already, but apps like this need to be more popular. San Bidet must have a lot of users and supporters for it to serve its purpose. What is this app, you ask? It’s a location-based directory of toilets with a bidet. It can point you to the nearest one with a single tap, because it knows what an emergency is. The app is available for Android and iOS devices.

VLive
Rodneil: The K-pop girl group Twice has been my one source of happiness of late. I needed heavy doses of happiness and that meant downloading the VLive app. It’s a South Korean live streaming service meant for K-celebs to connect with their fans worldwide. The English subtitles are as real-time as they come and you can stream previous broadcasts so you can get deeper into your fandom.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

Apps

Why you should get iQiyi

We got it so you don’t have to

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iQiyi

Pan-Asian content, duh

There’s a ton of streaming services out there. But, none embrace that Asian representation like iQiyi. They’ve got films, variety shows, and series from China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and more. If you’re having a tough time finding shows and films you grew up seeing or just want somewhere you feel represented, check iQiyi out. It’ll surprise you.

Classic Hong Kong movies

If you’re a cinephile or know someone who is, this might just be the streaming service for you. Most classic Hong Kong films are a tough find. From Infernal Affairs to A Chinese Ghost Story, you’re sure to find the good, the bad, and obscure classics. iQiyi, no joke, lays out a ton of these Hong Kong classics on their platform and you’d be remiss to skip out on watching them.

Find the good-good

There’s a number of really good Asian series and films on iQiyi. Shows like Youth with You, Chuang, The Penthouse: War in Life 3, and Tokyo Revengers are just a few on the platform on most people’s must-watch and favorites. iQiyi is never short of surprises.

The absolute absurd finds

There’s no lack of decent, obscure, and downright bizarre tv series, films, and variety shows on here. Just note that most shows don’t age well and are a great watch in irony. Just keep an eye out on the obscure ones, they sometimes don’t have subtitles. And remember, these silly finds don’t take away from the unapologetically good shows on the platform.

Free shows you’d pay to watch elsewhere

iQiyi is a free streaming app with paid VIP access to a ton of exclusives. But, not everything is behind that paywall making this a huge game-changer. There’s a long list of free-to-access shows, K-dramas, and anime you’d normally find behind a paywall so, do yourself a favor. Get it.

It’s got interactive features

The platform showed off its new features with Game of Shark, a reality show where celebrities form teams and participate in murder mystery role-playing games. If you pick Rhythm Mode, your phone vibrates in time to events in the show. On top of that, Shark Mode allows users to directly take on the identity of characters. With it, you get to join your favorite celebrities in collecting hidden clues and identifying the murderer.

Having launched the world’s first Interactive Video Guideline (IVG) and IVP, iQiyi have pioneered a one-stop platform of assisted production tools that helps content creators produce and publish interactive videos efficiently and conveniently!

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I’m missing the Olympics because I don’t have cable

And it sucks

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It’s 2021. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, is in full swing as of writing. However, as someone whose primary source of media entertainment all comes from streaming, there’s no easy and convenient way for me to watch the games. Major bummer.

I like to enjoy my media a certain way; I prefer to stream them on my TV. Which is why majority of the content I consume come from YouTube, Netflix, and the occasional Amazon Prime, HBO Go (Yep, not even HBO Max), and Apple TV.

I find it incredibly baffling that the stakeholders involved in bringing the games to the people failed to come to an agreement to make it easily accessible on the aforementioned platforms. It’s 2021. Why on earth am I not able to watch the greatest sporting event on the planet the way I want to?

Believe me, I hear the privilege in my words. Regardless, I still feel marginalized.

So how can you watch the Olympics right now?

I asked a friend who’s been covering the games. He watches through cable and had to pay a PhP 150 fee (around US$ 3/ SG$ 4) to avail of the Tokyo 2020 Premium from a particular cable provider.

Thing is, the whole Olympic coverage in the Philippines is locked to the MVP group of companies. You wanna follow the games, you’re gonna have to do it on one of their platforms.

Here’s an excerpt from their press release on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic coverage:

“Sports fans will have comprehensive access to the Olympic Games — from the Opening Ceremonies all the way to when the games conclude — on free to air via TV5 and One Sports. One Sports+ on Cignal TV will also dedicate a significant amount of their daily hours to broadcast the events, with Cignal also opening up two exclusive channels dedicated to broadcast the games 24/7. Cignal Play, in addition to live channels TV5, One Sports & One Sports+, will be offering exclusive channels broadcasting live updates to its subscribers, along with exclusive content not available on the TV broadcast. Cignal TV’s One News leads the group’s round-the-clock news coverage, featuring results, updates, and highlights.”

Comprehensive? Maybe. For platforms within the MVP group of companies. If you’re not subscribed to any of these, well, that’s just too bad. It’s good for business and I completely understand how the whole thing works. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The coverage also missed to televise or showcase Hidilyn Diaz’s historic gold medal win in the Weightlifting competition. If you’ve been following sports news, the Philippines was expected to get a medal in this event. Sadly, the moment was only known following updates from reporters on the ground.

How I wish it was handled

I’m sure there’s a lot more that goes into it in terms of TV and broadcasting rights, but we’re literally at an age where plenty of folks have decided to cut the cord and rely on streaming for content.

On YouTube, you can buy and/or rent movies and shows. The platform and structure exists for pay-to-watch content. They could have even made tiers or packages like charge a certain amount to gain access to all the games, a different and lower amount if you just want to follow a certain sport and/or a certain event.

Maybe the potential earnings to do so didn’t justify the costs to implement it. Whatever the case, it’s still incredibly frustrating.

Sure, I can go through the hoopla of setting up a VPN and look for streaming sites. But that’s more even more cumbersome. I don’t mind paying a convenience fee if it means that after a long day of work I can kick back, relax, and watch some damn sports.

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Entertainment

Netflix is reportedly producing a live-action Pokémon series

With Lucifer showrunner Joe Henderson

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Pokémon remains one of the most popular franchises today. From the ever-popular video game series to the still-ongoing anime series, the creature collector franchise still going strong. Even then, the franchise is reportedly working on another addition to its repertoire: a live-action Netflix series.

According to Variety, Netflix is in the early stages of an upcoming Pokémon series on the platform. Much like the widely successful film Detective Pikachu starring Ryan Reynolds, the series will star actual humans in a live-action format. Beyond that, the report does not go into detail into how the creatures will look like for the series.

Likewise, the report does not indicate when the series will launch.

Lucifer’s Joe Henderson is reportedly helming the series. He is also known for adapting Stephen King’s 11.22.63 for Hulu.

Over the past few years, Pokémon has tapped various segments besides gaming and anime fans. The company has tapped lifestyle with branded accessories and lifestyle-oriented apps. Adding a live-action series will tap into the thriving Netflix market.

For Netflix’s part, the popular streaming platform has considerably increased the variety of genres it is producing. Besides the live-action Pokémon series, Netflix is also releasing an anime version of its popular original, The Witcher.

SEE ALSO: Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first open-world Pokémon game

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