Samsung has just unfolded the future and MWC Barcelona gave a glimpse of this year’s trends in smartphones. While we’re recuperating, we travel, celebrate International Women’s Month, and catch up with the latest shows and movies to see. Here’s what’s Now Playing:
Movies to see
Chay: March is International Women’s Month and what better way to celebrate than by watching, RBG, a fascinating documentary about the life and legacy of US Supreme Court Justice and icon Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She pioneered and has pushed for gender equality throughout her career not only by arguing for women’s rights, but also by proving that gender-based discrimination hurts men as well.
Marvin: I’m at the point of origin story fatigue, so seeing yet another one while every other character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is fully developed feels like a drag. Still, Captain Marvel is a required watch before buying a ticket for Avengers: Endgame which is coming out next month. Not to say that the movie is bad, but I wish Super Saiyan Carol were as interesting as the cast around her.
Dan: Let’s take a break from Hollywood and embrace local cinema. Ulan, which stars Nadine Lustre and Carlo Aquino, is a mix of movie genres. In a nutshell, it’s about a girl’s perception about the rain, may it be positive or negative. Be warned that you might feel weirded out at times, but I’d say it’s part of the viewing experience. Combining folklore and a modern love story is not a bad idea.
TV shows to binge watch
Chay: This new Netflix series isn’t like any other reality TV about dating and finding love. Each episode features someone who goes on different blind dates and by the end of it, he or she picks someone to go on a second date with. There are so many unexpected twists that are not only entertaining but also completely relatable. It gives you a peek at how different people are in choosing potential partners, and is a good reflection of what we are like on first dates.
The Umbrella Academy
Dan: Umbrella Academy is the next big thing on Netflix. Its first season might not be as strong as Stranger Things’, but its interesting storyline will keep you hooked. It’s a different kind of superhero story about kids who were born on the same day and were adopted by a billionaire. If you like bizarre stories and superpowers, be sure to check this out.
Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to
Chrysalis by Empire of the Sun
Kevin: The Australian electronic music duo Empire of the Sun who wrote the catchy/dancy “Walking on a Dream” released a brand new track through an exclusive vinyl reissue. Called “Chrysalis,” the song has more of a laid back approach compared to their previous works while still owning that new wave vibe that they’re known for. It’s a nice, progressive song to relax with when you’re having a hectic day.
Butterfly by LOONA
Vincenz: “Butterfly” is one of the reasons why you should follow this Korean girl group. People say the music video looks “odd” since it focuses on women empowerment and racial diversity but its lyrics, the members’ goddess-like visuals, and their flawless choreography complements the song’s dreamy yet powerful vibe. 🦋
Cities/Places to visit
Kevin: Downtown Chicago feels like New York with its tall skyscrapers and busy streets — only it’s cleaner and quieter. It was my first time there and I was immediately enticed by its charm since most establishments have their own unique personalities. It’s filled with barcades (arcade bars) complete with old school titles like PAC-MAN and Time Crisis II. There’s also a veggie burger with fake bacon made of seitan that appeased the meat-lover in me. And if you’re not out eating or drinking, the WNDR Museum is a must-visit for installations and backdrops perfect for the ‘gram.
San Francisco, California
Marvin: San Francisco is famous for its diversity — not just in its people but in the places to visit. I didn’t get a chance to revisit famous spots like the Golden Gate Bridge and Mission Street, but my time around its financial district was memorable. It’s astounding how much merch there is to buy here, whether you’re into coffee, tech, cosmetics, toys, or sports.
Chay: There are more than a hundred reasons to visit The Metropolitan Museum in New York, but an ongoing exhibit called “In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met” is one you shouldn’t miss. Running until October 2020, the show features Dutch paintings from the 17th century and gives you a good glimpse of The Dutch Republic’s colorful history and way of life during that period.
Trends to try
McDonald’s Flavors of Japan
Vincenz: I like the Teriyaki Samurai burger since the beef patty is juicy while the teriyaki sauce is oozing. You could also try their Ebi Burger if you like your shrimp tempura being sandwiched with buns, sweet sauce, and lettuce. Pair them with the Nori Shake Shake Fries and a Sakura McFloat for a full “oishii” experience.
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!
Spotify is now adding free audiobooks
Narrators include Forest Whitaker and Hilary Swank
A few years ago, Spotify implemented support for podcasts. Practically overnight, the audio streaming platform became a top destination for podcast listening, rivalling already established giants like Apple Podcasts and Pocket Casts. However, it isn’t done with expanding yet. Spotify is now adding free audiobooks to the service.
Reported by Hollywood Reporter, the platform now has a starting lineup of nine audiobooks. Currently, because of tough copyright laws, the lineup contains books already in the public domain. However, the audio recordings themselves are Spotify’s property.
Speaking of the recordings, the voices on the audiobooks are pretty special. The narrators include Hollywood actors like Forest Whitaker and Hilary Swank. The two celebrities narrate Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, respectively.
Other titles include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (narrated by David Dobrik), Jane Austen’s Persuasion (narrated by Cynthia Erivo), Jean Toomer’s Cane (narrated by Audra McDonald), Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (narrated by James Langston), Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (narrated by Sarah Coombs), Nella Larsen’s Passing (narrated by Bahni Turpin), and Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage (narrated by Santino Fontana).
This isn’t the first time you can listen to audiobooks on Spotify. Some podcasts, even on other platforms, are essentially audiobook readings. However, the new nine-title slate signifies a new push to deliver exclusive audiobooks to the platform. The new audiobooks are currently free for all Spotify users, premium or not.
Disney+ coming to the Philippines soon?
We’re cautiously optimistic
Finally! The days of using VPN and “other means” to catch up on the latest The Mandalorian or WandaVision episodes could be coming to an end for Filipinos.
An Instagram account with the handle @disneyplusph was just activated and while it’s not verified, it certainly follows the look of other official Disney+ accounts.
Adding fuel to the fire that this is likely happening soon is the announcement that the entertainment giant’s streaming service is also hitting other Southeast Asian markets through Hotstar — a video streaming service most popular in India.
There was even news previously that Disney+ will be streaming in India via Hotstar but that was delayed.
We reached out to Disney’s representatives in the Philippines, but it still hasn’t been confirmed as of writing. There’s not a lot to go on for now but we’ll surely keep our eyes peeled for more updates.
Netflix is adding studio-quality audio to Android
Filters out noise in noisy environments
Over the years, Netflix has improved video and audio quality across the board. Today, if your internet allows it, you can select movies and shows in Ultra HD. Today, the platform is continuing its path to a better product. Netflix is adding studio-quality audio to Android.
In their official technology blog, Netflix explained the improvements over the current status quo. Though the platform already has Dolby Atmos and adaptive bitrate audio, the new feature, called, Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC, will make audio quality adapt to internet speed, filter out background noise, and “scale to studio-quality.”
In particular, the feature will improve loudness and dynamic range. Netflix aims to make audio the same levels for all genres and relative to each other. It should be a welcome feature for when the world welcomes back a commuting lifestyle.
However, if you want something more cinematic, the platform already has Dolby Atmos, as mentioned above.
Currently, the feature will be available only on Android. The platform has not announced when (or if) the feature is coming to other devices. Users will need an Android device that runs Android 9 Pie at least.
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