Entertainment

Now Playing: 2gether, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Animal Crossing

Quarantine edition!

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The year 2020 ushered a sudden change in our day-to-day lives. With social distancing and staying at home becoming our new normal, it’s unsurprising that this pandemic has taken a toll on people’s emotional and mental health. The GadgetMatch team may be used to working remotely, but we’re experiencing this crisis, too. Here’s what’s Now Playing and what’s keeping us sane during the lockdown!

Games to play

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Rodneil: There were so many things that could have gone wrong for a title that was so hotly anticipated. Instead, what we got is a thoughtful expansion on a game and story so dear to many gamers’ hearts. FF7R is not perfect, but it does more than enough to quench the thirst built up over five years (since it was confirmed to be in development) while also making us want more.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Leez: At this point, who wouldn’t want to escape the impending doom of millions of people dying across the globe by going on a small island getaway, making it your own, and socializing with friends? Animal Crossing: New Horizons is addictive with more customizable features for you and your island to make every detail your own. This game is definitely one to add to the list of games and reasons you should get a Nintendo Switch if you don’t have one by now.

Stardew Valley

Luigi: If you’re a fan of the life simulator genre (à la The Sims or Animal Crossing), then you’ve heard of Stardew Valley before. Released in 2016, this cozy farm simulator is one of the best companions when you’re stuck at home in quarantine. With tons of things to do and villagers to warm up to, Stardew Valley can keep you entertained for hours on end.

Resident Evil 3 (Remake)

Kenrick: Capcom just can’t get enough of Resident Evil remakes. Last year, fans of the beloved action-horror game were treated to a glorious remake of Resident Evil 2. This year, Resident Evil 3 becomes the latest installment to be remade. The remake will surely please fans as it sticks to the story of the original. There’s just so much to love about this game as it breathes new life to the characters of Jill, Carlos, and the dreaded Nemesis.

Shows to binge-watch

Community

MJ: When life throws you a curve ball, that’s the universe’s way of redirecting you to a new path — it’s a lesson I gleefully accept. Community reminded me of my younger days. I remember an unexpected disaster that threw me to a bunch of misfits who I now call friends. The hit sitcom finally found its way to Netflix where you can binge-watch its six seasons, giving you real good laughs and serious life lessons in every episode.

What We Do in the Shadows

Luigi: In the month or so that we’ve been under quarantine, you might’ve found yourself stuck with the quirkiest of housemates. Nothing gets stranger, however, than the weird vampire (and vampire wannabe) quintet of What We Do in the Shadows. Inspired by Taika Waititi’s 2014 eponymous film, FX’s mockumentary comedy series follows the adventures of the most dysfunctional housemates: a 757-year old vampire and his familiar, an overtly sexual vampire and his wife, and an energy vampire.

The Last Dance

Rodneil: The Last Dance is a 10-episode documentary detailing the last 6th and final championship run of the Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson Chicago Bulls. Seeing as live sports is currently postponed until further notice, the documentary is a much-needed dose of entertainment for basketball fans who badly miss the game.

2gether: The Series

Vincenz: Tine (aka Mr. Chic) is a playboy who’s desperately looking for a girlfriend to replace his ex. But here’s the catch: a guy named Green likes him so much and follows him around to the point that Green looks like a leech attached to its host. The only way to get him out of the way is to beg Sarawat, a campus hottie, to become his fake boyfriend. He saw Sarawat as his savior to get away from an obsessed gay admirer. Little did he know, Sarawat was already head over heels for him long before they agreed on a pretend relationship.

Unorthodox

Carol: A closer look at the lives of Hasidic Jews in New York and a young woman’s struggle when she finds out the world she’s always known isn’t really for her. The story takes viewers from a secretive part of New York to the freedoms of Berlin. A poignant story spread out in four episodes based on the life of writer Deborah Feldman. It’s so good, you’ll end up wishing for a second season.

Chay: Unorthodox is a short but profound story about self-discovery and questioning what happiness truly is — is it one that you find for yourself or that which your circumstances dictate? The only bad thing about the series is it doesn’t have enough episodes!

TWICE: Seize The Light

Rodneil: This is a YouTube Originals documentary following K-Pop girl group TWICE during their TWICELIGHTS world tour. It also dives deep into their time as trainees and how they overcame hardships together as a nine-member group. It’ll surely be an emotional roller coaster for ONCEs — their devoted fans.

Why R U?

Vincenz: BL (Boys’ Love) series are common in Thailand, and these are based on fan novels. In Why R U, Zon has a younger sister (named Zol) who became popular because of the BL novel she published online. The characters were named after him and Saifah (the person he hates the most). Other than them, Fighter and Tor are also part of the novel (and they both consider each other as enemies). What if one day, you suddenly realize that you and the person you hate are already falling for each other? Would you still think it’s a curse that’s why you fell into the world of a BL novel? Or would you believe that homosexual love is the reality all along?

Ugly Delicious

Chay: Award-winning chef David Chang takes us on a culinary trip around the world; watching this felt like traveling while in self-isolation. Not only does the show combine two things I love, it also tackles racism, history, and what the future of regional cuisines as we know it might be like.

Movies to see

Contagion

Kenrick: A timely movie to watch? While the fictional virus in this movie is much more intense than the current COVID-19 pandemic, the story itself remains faithful to how society will respond to a health crisis. While the movie is almost nine years old, the current situation has revived interest in it as people try to understand just how a pandemic will affect the global society.

Godzilla: Resurgence

Rodneil: This feels like a very unique attack on Godzilla/Kaiju movies. Instead of having the protagonist be a regular citizen with some ties to people researching the creature, the film focuses on how the government responds to its emergence. That seems mundane at first glance but the pacing will keep you engaged. It does a good job of maintaining tension with well-timed reminders that ordinary people are dealing with a threat that can end mankind.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

Human. :||: Nature. By Nightwish

Luigi: I’ve always been a huge fan of the hard rock and metal genres coming out of the “it’s just a phase, mom” era. If you want a taste away from the ordinary fare, Nightwish, a paragon of symphonic metal, brings together brutal guitar riffs, operatic vocals, and a full orchestra. Their latest album, “Human. :||: Nature.” comes in two discs: one, a masterpiece of melodic metal; and, the other, a full orchestral arrangement thematically highlighting the human journey of art and discovery. Listen here.

Social Distance

Chay: A daily podcast from The Atlantic tries to make sense of the grim reality that we’re living in. Journalist and physician James Hamblin answers executive producer for podcasts Katherine Wells’ questions about the pandemic and its consequences. Listen here.

Foam and Flotsam

MJ: Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Chelsea Peretti (known as Gina Linetti) may not be in the popular sitcom anymore, but she knows how to keep us entertained with her humor. The artist dropped “Foam and Flotsam”, a concept comedy album about coffee. These coffee-centric tracks may give you laughs while jamming due to its lyrics, but the songs tackle the complexity of human emotions, only told through coffee.  Listen here.

“Easily” by Bruno Major

Rodneil: It’s a song from 2017 but I only chanced upon it recently. The lyrics suggest it’s a song about taking a chance on a relationship. While the thought has crossed my mind, I just really flow with the song’s melancholic but soothing vibe. Listen here.

Redraftables by The Ringer

Rodneil: With the NBA postponed indefinitely, Bill Simmons of The Ringer decided to do an NBA redraft. The rules are simple: How would we rank the players in a certain draft class knowing what we know now. They start with the notable 1996 draft that featured the likes of the late but great Kobe Bryant, and cultural icon Allen Iverson.

Oh My God by (G)I-DLE

Vincenz: A powerful love song with an unusual concept talking about how one woman is going crazy over another. Homosexuality in South Korea (and several parts of the world), is still a taboo. The music video depicts how same-sex love is considered a sin/crime while the lyrics suggest real intimacy and attraction between the two people. Soyeon, the member who’s responsible for writing the lyrics of the song, said it’s open to interpretation.

Doors by Ben&Ben

Vincenz: Just like anyone, we “open our secret doors” to people who we fully trust. This is an empowering song that tells us not to be afraid of opening up ourselves to those we hold dear. At the end of the day, people who truly love and care for you will be there in your darkest times. Listen here.

Sugar Calling

Chay: The Internet’s agony aunt Cheryl Strayed seeks wisdom and advice from writers like Margaret Atwood, Pico Iyer, and George Saunders. The reassuring podcast comes at a time when nothing makes sense and the future seems more uncertain than ever. Listen here.


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!

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Apple Music launches ‘Rihanna’s Road to Halftime’

In anticipation of Super Bowl 2023

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Apple Music Rihanna

After succeeding Pepsi as NFL’s official Super Bowl Halftime Show partner, Apple Music is pulling all the stops as it braces for its first ever show in the sports event, which features music icon Rihanna.

In anticipation of her upcoming Super Bowl LVII halftime performance in Glendale, Arizona on February 13, Apple Music has launched Rihanna’s Road to Halftime”, letting streamers experience the superstar’s music catalogue in deeply-enriched multidimensional sound.

Apple Music Radio will also be holding a Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show press conference on February 10, with Nadeska Alexis interviewing Rihanna herself ahead of her highly-awaited performance in United States’ annual sports spectacle.

An 8-episode “Rihanna Revisited Radio” will also keep fans engaged as the countdown to Super Bowl LVII continues ticking.

Even after the performance itself, Apple Music will have people covered with its Halftime Recap Radio” to wrap everything up.

Meanwhile, the new Apple Music Sing feature will also allow subscribers to take the mic and reenact Rhianna’s hits on compatible iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV 4K models.

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Entertainment

Netflix confirms One Piece adaptation coming this year

Plus a new poster

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Netflix continues its huge gamble on anime adaptations. Over the past several years, the platform produced a couple of live-action versions of classic anime shows. To the company’s dismay, neither of the adaptations were received well. Still, the gamble continues to truck on. Netflix has confirmed that the upcoming One Piece adaptation is coming this year.

The live-action adaptation isn’t exactly new. Netflix first announced the title back in 2020 but offered only a few developments concerning the show’s production. Now, we have a release window and a poster.

To be fair, the new poster doesn’t show much except for Luffy’s back. A wider shot shows a bit more including the rears of all the Straw Hat Pirates and a shot of the Thousand Sunny in the distance.

Likewise, Netflix has not shared what the synopsis of the One Piece adaptation will be. Historically, the platform’s live-action adaptations start from the very beginning, taking viewers on a compressed tour through the original anime show’s plot.

That said, the company has a long uphill climb to legitimize its live-action anime adaptations. Despite featuring Willem Dafoe as Ryuk, Netflix’s previous Death Note adaptation quickly receded into a forgettable title. Additionally, Cowboy Bebop was canceled after only one season.

SEE ALSO: Netflix Southeast Asia movies to watch

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Disney+: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever streams February 1

Relive the MCU Phase 4 ender

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Wakanda Forever

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel Studio’s MCU Phase 4-ending film, will be available to stream on Disney+ starting on February 1.

Receiving generally good ratings, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever captivated fans with the introduction of underwater kingdom Talokan in the Atlantic Ocean and its ruler, Namor.

The movie opened with the death of King T’Challa. It then focused on the events in Wakanda after, including how Shuri assumed the mantle of Black Panther.

The MCU’s 30th installment which sets up Phase 5 also highlighted the dynamic between the Wakandans and Talokanil. Both people were simply after protecting their respective nations from dangers as the film’s plot progressed.

A key art and a new TV spot are now available to download and share as well.

Coinciding with the movie’s availability on the streaming platform is the release of the Wakanda Forever: The Official Black Panther Podcast.

Episodes may be accessed via ProximityMedia.com starting on January 18.

SEE ALSO: Now Playing: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

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