Happy fall season! While there may be no Halloween parties this year and cozy autumn travels, we still find a way to have fun and relax in this crazy season. In between the so-called a-phone-calypse, here’s what’s now playing in GadgetMatch:
Games to play
We’re in the middle of our playthrough for the review and the campaign mode has been fantastic so far. Called the “Reassemble Campaign,” it follows Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel as she tries to bring the Avengers back together after a catastrophic event five years ago. — Rodneil
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
This is literally everything we loved about the cult classic game in the late 90s, early 2000s but in better detail and with a few new challenges to keep us playing. It’s a faithful remake that players will certainly enjoy. — Rodneil
Command and Conquer: Remastered Collection
Remember the RTS games, Command and Conquer and Red Alert? These popular games defined the genre especially with their compelling gameplay, fast-paced plot, and unforgettable cutscenes. Thankfully, EA has remastered the game in glorious 4K to appease fans who have been craving for another C&C game for years. It is definitely a game worth playing since the luminous leader Kane approves of the remaster himself. — Kenrick
It’s another NBA 2K game, this time with a different take to the whole experience. Yes, there are new shooting mechanics to master, a more prolonged take on MyCareer, and a MyTeam mode with progression rewards. But it’s still the same great basketball simulation game from before. I mean, you can simulate a pre-NBA bubble atmosphere in time for the playoffs. — Gab
Shows to binge-watch
Emily in Paris
Netflix’s new hit series — Emily in Paris — created an uproar in social media, portraying an American woman’s adventure in the city of love rocking her almost perfect life. Emily Cooper, played by Lily Collins, struggled as the only American in a Parisian office, got entangled in a web of romance and illicit affairs, and found herself in hilarious misadventures throughout the city. — MJ
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
This is a rather unusual Slice of Life/Harem anime. It has shades of the supernatural like what we’ve seen from Makoto Shinkai’s work in Your Name and Weathering With you. Of course, it’s not as visually stunning, but the story/stories can be just as engaging. Best binged on a cold weekend with coffee/tea/hot chocolate in hand. — Rodneil
Hi-Score is a Netflix documentary that quirkily tells the origins of the video gaming industry. This is absolutely a MUST-WATCH for anyone that’s ever been into video games. The writing, pacing, and visuals are all on point and it’s a really fun way to learn about the history of video games. — Rodneil
As someone who literally has the word “retro” in all his active gamer tags, Hi-Score is a gold mine. It features some of the classic video games that ultimately served as the foundation for gaming as we know it today. The short docu-series also tackles the highs and lows of the industry, its major players, and the technologies they were rocking at the time. Combined with clever visuals and fluid storytelling, you get to immerse yourself in the history of the video gaming industry. — Gab
Memories of Alhambra
Can’t believe I’m late to the party on this show. A tech company CEO receives a tip from an augmented reality (AR) game creator but he was given little information to go on. The series (I’m only two episodes deep), follows the CEO tracking down the creator by playing through the game. Oh, and the female lead is Park Shin-Hye. ‘Nuff said. — Rodneil
It’s Okay Not To Be Okay (사이코지만 괜찮아)
A star-studded cast, A-class cinematography, life-like visual effects — these factors are already given why K-dramas get the hype. Getting deeper, I love this series mainly because the plot talks about mental health and trying to “deal with it” as a whole. It may not be the same for all, but most of us live in our fears and traumatic experiences. I love how they named each episode based on Ko Mun Yeong’s books. ‘The Cheerful Dog’ is definitely one of my favorites. — Vincenz
Sports anime always make people feel things. Haikyu!! isn’t an exception, a volleyball anime based on the manga of the same name. With its fourth season’s second cour of 12 episodes premiering this October, it’s a good time to binge-watch the anime. Savor the feeling of triumph, defeat, discomfort, challenge, perseverance, pressure, and hope! — MJ
Movies to see
My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising
Like any other OVA, none of the events from this feature film will have any significant repercussions on the main storyline. However, it’s easily one of the best OVAs out there. Nearly every single member of Class-1A was given ample time to shine with Deku and Bakugo taking center stage in the final action sequence. This has literally all the quirks you love from My Hero Academia condensed in a satisfying movie. — Rodneil
The Social Dilemma
“If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” The Social Dilemma digs deep into the machinations of social networking and how, as some of us have known, it’s designed to keep us glued to our devices. It’s an insightful and well-presented documentation of how social media can affect our psychological disposition and a case study against how the current system in general just isn’t good for humanity. — Rodneil
Late to the party with The Promise but I just recently saw this on Netflix and it left a strong impression on me. Set in the twilight years of the Ottoman Empire, the story focuses on a fictional love triangle between an Armenian medical student, a dancer from Paris of Armenian heritage, and an American journalist with the very real events that lead to the death of millions of Armenians as an extremely vivid backdrop. An event in history that’s often glossed over but deserves to be discussed. Starring Oscar Isaac, Christian Bale, and Charlotte Le Bon, you can expect great acting but do watch it for the history lesson too. — Carol
Bill & Ted Face the Music
A direct sequel to the cult duology of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Bill & Ted Face the Music brings the same quirky, lighthearted charm of the original with Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. Pressured to write the song that will unite all of humanity, Bill and Ted attempt to steal the song from their future selves. What follows is the same hijinx we all know and love from the excellent duo. It’s the right amount of lightheartedness we all need in this dark corner of 2020. — Luigi
Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aqúi (Nobody Knows I’m Here)
Follow the story of Memo, a singer turned recluse who met a girl that changes his life — for better or worse. This film is not your usual romance drama though. The whole story centers around Memo’s struggle between keeping his former identity hidden and expressing his desire to break free. It’s one of the better Spanish films on Netflix. The film brilliantly puts a twist in the old “follow your dreams” tale too. You may be taken aback by how the film ends, but rest assured that you’ll be hooked to Memo’s character once his talents truly shine. — Kenrick
Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to
The Album by BLACKPINK
Four long years after their official debut, the popular K-Pop group finally releases their first full-length album. The title track “Lovesick Girls” is a little different from the hard-hitting, beat-dropping tracks that catapulted them to global recognition. But it’s exactly the jolt the group and its dedicated fanbase — the BLINKS — needed after the long wait. — Rodneil
“Not Shy” by ITZY
This one’s a banger. ITZY has been taking the K-Pop world by storm ever since they debuted and their overall unique vibe just keeps growing. What I personally noticed is how some of their songs sound like they’re typically arranged for boy groups. The same is true with their choreography. Honorable mention to their B-side track “Surf” which has also been on my regular rotation recently. — Rodneil
“More & More (English Version)” by TWICE
TWICE’s global fanbase is growing exponentially and as a treat, the girls recorded an English Version of the song. Quite a feat considering none of them are native English speakers. The song sounds amazing, the translation isn’t awkward, and the girls’ performance on the pronunciation and vocals are top-notch. Yes, I’m whipped for TWICE. — Rodneil
“Solo” by Jay Park feat. Hoodie
Lately I’ve been spending nights mindlessly scrolling through TikTok and ran into this viral video of Jay Park. I looked up the song and was instantly hooked to its smooth vibe. It’s been on repeat over the past few days. — Rodneil
“HOLO” by Lee Hi
One of my anthems this quarantine. It’s a song that I usually play especially when I feel alone or just thinking about a particular person I’ve always been missing. This track reminds me that everything will be alright, and this “feeling” (if ever this is JUST one) will stop one day. Playing this together with her 2016 track ‘Breathe’ makes me cry even more. — Vincenz
“Where The Sea Sleeps” by Day6 (Even of Day)
Don’t let Day6’s Denimalz characters in the music video fool you. Unlike those cute visuals and storyline, the lyrics suggest otherwise. I’ll be honest, I bawled my eyes out more than enough while watching the music video all because of the translated lyrics. This has been one of my most repeated songs this 2020 — and I think you should, too. — Vincenz
“Bon Voyage” by YooA (of OH MY GIRL)
If you’re fond of animated Disney/Pixar films together with their OSTs (especially Moana), this one’s for you. YooA’s debut song truly feels magical, whimsical, and ethereal. All these adjectives combined aren’t even enough to say how perfect this song is. Her fairy-like visuals complement well with the MV’s nature-y setting. It even feels like I’m watching a Korean version of a Disney live-action film. — Vincenz
“We Ride” by Brave Girls
After two years of hiatus, Brave Girls is finally back with a single! Their comeback song is a completely new concept from their daring hits ‘Deepened’ and ‘Rollin’. ‘We Ride’ focuses on the “city pop” genre which is slowly gaining popularity among listeners. As the genre suggests, music video visuals give us a “Neon Tokyo” vibe while the track features ‘80’s synthpop. It may not be as loud and repetitive, but it’s honestly the perfect song for pure chill and night road trips (hoping this pandemic will end sooner tho for this to become a reality). — Vincenz
Taylor Swift’s recent album, “folklore”, surprised the world in different ways: a shift from lovey-dovey pop music to sentimental indie folk music, and the album being a secret project throughout Swift’s isolation during the lockdown. In essence, this new album harnesses the power of storytelling, music, and emotions — it even looks like the pinnacle of Swift’s journey as a talented artist and musician. This album is best enjoyed with a cup of coffee, especially on a rainy day. — MJ
Dynamite by BTS
Haven’t gone down the K-Pop rabbit hole (yet) but this song has the ability to stick to your head and just inject a big dose of positivity into your day. Which is – admittedly – something a lot of people need during these times. A true-blue pop song that doesn’t need to pretend to be anything else. — Carol
Books to read
Eat, Pray, Love
When I decided to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir, it’s like the universe conspired to guide me in my own self-exploration — which happened to be the book’s central theme. It’s a story of enjoying the world as a human being, enriching your spiritual life, and finding harmony and balance to make the most out of your life. It’s a great read for anyone embarking on a journey of self-discovery and recovery of broken hearts and souls. — MJ
10 things we learned about Hyun Bin at the Smart Hallyu Hangouts
We crashed K-drama actor Hyun Bin’s fan meet
Over the weekend, Korean superstar Hyun Bin had a virtual fan meet with his Filipino supporters. Through Smart’s Hallyu Hangouts, thousands of fans were able to watch the interview hosted by Sam Oh and Park Kyung-Lim.
A couple were also given the chance to ask Hyun Bin some questions, one of them even showed off their prowess in speaking Korean. It was a fun evening for everyone, especially his biggest supporters whose dreams of attending his fan meets were hampered by the pandemic. Thank goodness for technology and fast internet, Filipino fans still got to spend with the actor even virtually.
During the hangout, we picked up a couple more interesting things about Hyun Bin that makes him more than just the characters he plays on screen.
He’s a perfectionist
While shooting for the Smart commercial, Hyun Bin admitted that it took a while to learn his line. “Simple, Smart ako” might be a short and easy sentence to say for Filipinos but “simple” proved to be quite tricky for him. He took some time to learn it and even asked people for help.
He says that he’s always been like this and while filming for dramas, he would even be quite hard on himself. There are times when his directors are already happy with the scene but he would still want to iron out his acting.
He had a fan club when he was in high school
Before entering show business, Hyun Bin already had his own fan club. Talk about being extremely good looking! He was modest enough to say that he didn’t know much about it, though.
He’s a news junkie
We love a well-rounded oppa and Hyun Bin admits to reading all sections of the news. “It’s nice to know what’s happening in the world I’m living in,” he said during the live.
He doesn’t watch his own work
He admits to going on OTT platforms a lot to watch series and movies but never the ones that have him on them. In fact, he has never seen Crash Landing on You (CLOY) after they filmed the drama.
Hyun Bin is passionate about golf
He says he would love to become a golf player. This, after getting hooked on the sport. He admits it’s just a hobby and that if he weren’t so busy, he’d probably be doing it more often. It’s also something that relaxes him.
He rarely cries IRL
Hyun Bin admits that he doesn’t cry much in real life. Maybe it’s because he does it a lot for work or maybe because he’s just extremely happy right now.
He searches his name online
Rarely does any celebrity admit to Googling oneself so this was quite refreshing. He says he does it about once a day. “I want to know if there’s something about me that I don’t know of. I also want to see how events like these are covered by the media,” he added.
He knew how to play the piano
Hyun Bin learned how to play the piano as a child. However, he forgot most of it as he rarely used the skill. So, when they were filming for Crash Landing on You, he would practice in his hotel room using an electric keyboard they brought with them all the way from Korea.
He would’ve loved to play two other CLOY characters
It’s hard to imagine Hyun Bin as anyone other than Ri Jeong-hyeok in CLOY. However, he says that he would have been open to playing the villain, Cho Cheol-gang and the wiretapper, Jung Man-bok.
He has an upcoming movie
They just finished the sequel to Confidential Assignment and he promises that it will be bigger and more international than the first one. “In the first movie, it was just North and South Korea that were involved. In the sequel, the US and other countries will also play a part in the story,” he shared.
Smart Hallyu Hangouts was powered by Smart, one of the country’s top network providers. Internet metrics company Ookla recently cited Smart as the country’s fastest mobile data network in the second half of 2020 after it achieved a Speed Score™ of 24.99, with average speeds of 20.08 Mbps for download, and 7.42 Mbps for upload.
Why you should get iQiyi
We got it so you don’t have to
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!
I’m missing the Olympics because I don’t have cable
And it sucks
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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