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Now Playing: The Album, Emily in Paris

Femme fatale overload!

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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

Marvel’s Avengers

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

 

NBA 2K21

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

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

 

Haikyu!!

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

The Promise

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

BONUS: Someone actually edited the song with Moana in it.

 

“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

 

folklore

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

 

Entertainment

Netflix Southeast Asia movies to watch

Homegrown Southeast Asian titles for your holiday must-watch

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Netflix Southeast Asia

Looking for Netflix shows to binge-watch throughout the holidays? The streaming app features a rich collection of localized content across all genres for viewers to give a try.

Here are some of the best titles from Southeast Asia and beyond for subscribers to enjoy.

The Lost Lotteries (Thailand)

This comedy features five unlucky strangers meeting each other for a common goal of fighting a mafia boss who have stolen their winning lottery tickets worth millions.

Hurts Like Hell (Thailand)

World-renowned sport Muay Thai traces its roots to Thailand, and this mini-series will give fans an even more in-depth look into this industry.

The Trapped 13: How We Survived The Thai Cave, Thai Cave Rescue (Thailand)

If you’re interested in real-life stories, then these documentaries are for you. Both feature the 12 young Thai footballers who were trapped in a flooded cave complex for 17 days back in 2018.

The Trapped 13: How We Survived The Thai Cave in particular reflects the perspectives of the survivors while showcasing the intricate details of the dangerous rescue mission and how they managed to survive the event.

Thai Cave Rescue, on the other hand, is a drama series which took real-life elements from the boys’ stories.

The Big 4 (Indonesia)

Abimana Aryasatya, Putri Marino, Arie Kriting, Lutesha, and Kristo Immanuel star in a mix of action and comedy from Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto. The Big 4 sees four retired assassins joining forces to track down an elusive murderer.

A Perfect Fit (Indonesia)

What if fate comes a little too late? In this whirlwind romance, an already engaged fashion blogger finds herself going down an unexpected path during a life-changing trip to Bali, where she meets a gifted shoemaker.

Doll House (Philippines)

Meanwhile, the Philippines’ very own Baron Geisler stars in Doll House, which is ought to give viewers a good cry.

The heart-warming tale portrays the complexities of father-daughter relationships. It comes with a sentimental plot toward the end that will touch the hearts of everyone.

Chinese language picks

Warriors of Future (Hong Kong)

A suicide squad is assigned to save humanity from the threat of extinction after a meteor carrying a destructive plant hit the world. In the process, they will have to defeat alien creatures in a post-apocalyptic setting to succeed.

Shards of Her (Taiwan)

This Taiwanese mystery thriller stars Hsu Wei-Ning, Toby Lee and Wen Chen-Ling. After a coma leaves her with amnesia, an accomplished career woman finds herself navigating a warped reality where she is forced to revisit her painful past.

Mom, Don’t Do That! (Taiwan)

When a 60-year-old widow decides to fall in love again, her two daughters get both happy and annoyed. This Taiwanese drama-comedy that is filled with hilarious moments will teach everyone heartfelt lessons too.

Do you have your own Southeast Asia movies or TV shows recommendations?

SEE ALSO: Inside Netflix’s dubbing process

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IN PHOTOS: Dubbing with Netflix, HIT Productions

Plus a quick glimpse of the Netflix PH office

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Netflix HIT

Have you ever been curious about how the whole dubbing process works? Netflix, along with HIT Productions, was kind enough to give us a quick tour showing how our favorite Netflix shows are dubbed in Filipino. 

HIT Productions prides itself as “The Philippines’ top audio post production house and recording studio for advertising.” And they have the clientele to back up the claim. Other than Netflix, they’ve also worked with plenty of notable brands. These include but are not limited to Jollibee, Mitsubishi, Coca Cola, and many more. 

They’ve partnered with Netflix on many shows and movies. For this particular tour, they showed us how they dubbed Season 4 of Stranger Things.

Different rooms for the talents and director

Dubbing Director Cheska Aguiluz

Heading in, I was fully expecting a Sound Booth like setup – you know, the ones we normally see in TV shows and movies. HIT has a different setup. They have the director in one room and the voice talents in another. The rooms are situated right across each other with sound engineers manning both rooms. 

The communication between the director and talents still happens real time, and they see each other through an iPad.

Each room has a monitor that displays the scene that’s being dubbed. The talents’ audio goes straight into a computer that’s in the same room as the director. 

Netflix HIT

Multiple talents will be in the same room at one time. This depends entirely on the scene that needs to be dubbed. They take turns dubbing with sound engineers adjusting the height of the mic each time to make sure it’s optimized for each talent. 

Although, they did mention this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, there will be scheduling challenges, but they’re able to work through it.

Netflix HIT

The actual dubbing back and forth is fascinating. They go through each line meticulously, making sure the cadence, the breaths, the tone, and the emotion matches that of the original actors. 

Recording a single episode will take days. And that’s just the recording. The next part is just as tedious.

Painstaking editing

Netflix HIT

The level of precision applied in the voice acting and directing extends to the cutting floor when the recordings go through post production. 

Here, sound engineers go through each scene, switching between the original scene and the dubbed recordings to make sure they match. This includes how loud or soft the voice is as well as adding effects to mimic the room environment sound of each sound. 

What makes the whole process tricky is a lot of it is guess work. I asked if they are given a cheat sheet of the effects used by the original production. They said that rarely happens. That means they rely both on their sharp ears and years of experience to make sure everything matches.

After post production, an entire episode goes through a quality check. If anything sounds off, it’s back to post processing again. 

HIT says in a month, they’re able to finish roughly around three to four episodes. Of course, that depends also on the length of the episode. Stranger Things Season 4, for instance, typically lasts over an hour. With some episodes even running as long as feature length films.

Trying out dubbing

Netflix HIT

Head of Localization Rudolf Baldonado

After a look at the voice acting and post production process, HIT took us to a room where some members of the media got to try dubbing. Here, Head of Localization Rudolf Baldonado, led the way. 

Baldonado explained that the most important part of the whole process is the script. Localization, as you may have surmised, is no easy task. There are so many things to consider: What words to use to match the movement of the lips, the general direction for each line, and making sure all the lines make sense when delivered together.

A couple of voice talents showed us the ropes first, recording a scene from the Don’t Look Up film. Baldonado, who also helmed localization for Trese, noted that mimicking the original actor’s voice is less important than delivering the right tone and emotion for the line and the scene. 

Netflix HIT

During the recording, he also noted that dubbing is more about voice acting than actual voice quality. How well you convey the right emotion is more important than whether or not you sound pleasant or not. 

Sit down with the voice talents

Netflix HIT

To wrap up the tour of the HIT Productions office, we sat down with the voice talents and the rest of the team that worked on the Stranger Things Season 4 dub. Here’s everyone who joined us: 

  • Christian Velarde (MIKE)
  • Albert Silos (WILL)
  • Steve Bontogon (DUSTIN)
  • JM Canlas (LUCAS)
  • Steffi Bontogon (MAX)
  • JM Torres (VECNA)
  • Nelieza Magauay (ROBIN)
  • Ericka Peralejo (SUZIE)
  • Cheska Aguiluze (Dubbing Director)
  • Rudolf Baldonado (Head of Localization)

Many of them shared their experiences and lessons learned while working as voice actors. 

A lot of the echo the same thing that Baldonado mentioned earlier. That the ability to understand the character’s emotion and act it out through your voice is the most important skill in the craft.

Netflix HIT

What stood out to me the most though, is how each of them seemed like colorful characters on their own. And they deserve just as much recognition as TV and movie actors. 

Quick Netflix PH HQ Tour

After the session at HIT Productions, we were taken to the headquarters of Netflix Philippines. Some interesting things to note: 

  • The meeting rooms are named after Netflix’s shows and films
  • There are areas designated for quiet time 
  • The place is spacious with many areas for quick, breakout meeting sessions
  • It’s filled with books and other ornaments that have to do with Netflix shows
  • Free-flowing drinks! 
  • This writer would like to spend a work day or two in the area (Thanks in advance, Netflix!) 

Here’s a photo dump:

Netflix

Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Netflix

Squid Game meeting room | Photo c/o Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Beverages | Photo c/o Netflix

Pantry | Photo c/o Netflix

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Tao Tsuchiya spills deets about Alice in Borderland S2

Coming This December

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Tao Tsuchiya

It’s been almost two years since the first season premiere of popular Netflix series Alice in Borderland. Based on a manga of the same name, the story revolves around two people who found themselves in a dystopian version of Tokyo, and with a twist — they play real-life “games” in order to survive.

Season 1 ended with a very intriguing cliffhanger, and fans are left with more puzzle pieces to solve. 

Good news: the waiting game won’t be much longer because season 2 is finally coming this month! As special treat to fans, we got the chance to interview Tao Tsuchiya who plays Usagi in the series.

I personally love her badass, athletic physique in this live action adaptation. But compared to her character, she is actually kawaii in real life. It was a short but fun chat with her.

Without major spoilers, here’s what Tsuchiya revealed for the next season:

A more emotional and (possibly) romantic Usagi

In season 1, Usagi was introduced as an athletic, competent girl with a sad past. She competed in the games independently until she meets Arisu, played by actor Kento Yamazaki, who eventually becomes her ally.

During our interview, Tao Tsuchiya briefly mentioned about her character development, even experiencing the feeling of first love.

“Usagi, basically, has this feeling of disappointment towards society [in season 1], so she’s pretty much aloof. But in season 2 and by meeting Arisu, she cares about other people and then she has this feeling of first love. Usagi was in solitude, or she was alone, [but now], her scars starts to open up and she shows her vulnerability and anxiety and her doubts.”

Is the Arisu x Usagi ship finally sailing this time?

Big visual upgrade

Season 1 was a visual treat for the viewers. The overall effects were well thought of and brilliantly presented. As someone who’s been to Tokyo, I found it fascinating how they made the big city really look and feel like a true-to-life gaming arena.

Tsuchiya promises Season 2 will be more enjoyable because “the scales, technology and CGI are bigger. We created a world that we can’t imagine before, so the whole thing is a whole upgrade.”  Sounds exciting!

New games will be a balance between mind and physical

When asked about the nature of games in the upcoming season, Tsuchiya teases that half of the games will be about the mind, and half will be physical. According to her, there will be different portrayals in the mind games. The cast and crew enjoyed the back-and-forth participation to both kinds of games. 

She also teased about a game that will make her character understand the value of life. We wonder what it is about.

They try to be faithful to the manga version

Tao Tsuchiya and Kento Yamazaki

Tao Tsuchiya and Kento Yamazaki

For new fans, Alice in Borderland is based on a shōnen manga series written by Haro Aso, and the first season covered around the first 31 chapters. 

According to Tsuchiya, they try to be as faithful as possible to the manga. However, some elements have to be tweaked for better live action experience, most especially the facial expressions. 

With the manga having 64 chapters in total, season 2 is expected to cover the remaining 33.

They filmed season 2 will a calmer perspective

Alice and Borderland Season 1 was filmed during the onset of the pandemic, and Tsuchiya described it as quite stressful because of the uncertainties.

While season 2 is also filmed during the pandemic, protocols are eased up and the cast are more chill when filming this new season.

She also shared a few filming moments that had us smiling during the interview:

“There was a time where we were on the tallest building in Shibuya at five o’clock in the morning and the crew were obviously very sleepy at that time. But we actors were dressed in rags and were basically in a situation, or we looked like we were about to die any minute. But then at that moment, for whatever reason we burst out laughing and I’m sure the crew members didn’t understand why we were laughing that hard. There was a moment because you know it’s such a tough world that we are trying to portray. Maybe because of that, we just kind of thought it was inexplicable but that was the moment that we remember.”

Well, how fun was that!

Alice in Borderland Season 2 will be out on Netflix this December 22.

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