Entertainment

Now Playing: Run On, Love Story, Your Name Engraved Herein

Feel good and feel warm, because love is always in the air!

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Love is in the air — only if you let it. If you’re looking for the best shows and films to watch, games to play, and songs and albums to listen to that will make your heart warm and fuzzy, look no more. Here are our recommendations for that much-needed dose of romance.

Editor’s favorite right now

Run On

Watch on: Netflix

MJ: Feel good and feel in love again. Run On brings us to a point in our lives where love is always in the air. It’s a romantic K-drama that reflects our daily lives — the mundane, boring days; the sleepless nights after a fight with someone; and the way we juggle romance and career on top of our personal and financial issues. It’s also high on growth, healing, and changing yourself for the better after meeting someone special.

The best entertainment device to accompany you

Samsung 4K QLED Q80T TV

A good TV goes a long way in upgrading your home entertainment experience. If you’re concerned about picture quality and future-proofing, the Samsung 4K QLED Q80T knocks it out of the park. It delivers one of the absolute best home cinema experiences.

REVIEW: Samsung 4K QLED Q80T TV

Shows to binge-watch

Goblin (쓸쓸하고 찬란하신 – 도깨비)

Watch on: Netflix, Viu

Vincenz: This is a story of a woman who fell in love with a goblin/도깨비 (dokkaebi) — or a powerful spirit in Korean mythology. This mythical creature was also responsible for saving her from her mother’s womb in an old accident. Other than them, there’s also the second lead couple between another woman and you guessed it, a grim reaper — which will also make your hearts warm and eyes wet at the same time.

P.S. This has one of the best Korean OSTs of all time. You can listen to one of its legendary tracks here.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Season 7)

Watch on: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video

Leez: I know, I know. It’s been a year since its official release. But, it’s been a rollercoaster of a show series. From barely getting through another season to getting picked up by a network, the show sticks to poking fun at each character’s caricature while pulling heartstrings with the same charming precinct. And, with the series’ favorite couple, Jake and Amy, who wouldn’t want to see two very different people ending up together?

Weightlifting Fairy, Kim Bok Joo (역도요정 김복주)

Watch on: Netflix, Viu

Vincenz: Female weightlifters may not capture the hearts of all men, but Joonhyung (portrayed by Nam Joohyuk, who’s also Nam Do-san from Start-Up) eventually fell for one anyway. They weren’t aware that they’re childhood friends at first, but that made it more interesting to watch. Aside from the cheesy yet heart-fluttering moments, you’ll also enjoy Kim Bok Joo (Lee Sung Kyung) eating A LOT of Korean food (and chicken) — a lowkey mukbang/먹방 perhaps? Spoiler alert: They were a real couple.

Crash Landing on You

Watch on: Netflix

Apple: I can’t stress enough how this K-Drama series should be on this list, even if most of you have watched it probably more than once just like me. Yoon Se-Ri, a conglomerate heiress from South Korea lands in North Korea after a paragliding accident caused by extreme bad weather and meets Ri-Jeong Hyeok, an army officer who risks his life just to bring her back to her country. In the process of all the danger and mishaps, they fall in love with each other and go against all odds, even being separated by borders, just to be together.

Reply 1997 (응답하라 1997)

Watch on: Netflix

Vincenz: Started off as friends, eventually grew up as friends? Or lovers? This is the show where the characters reminisce about their early teenage years in a late-night reunion. The petty and super-obsessed K-Pop fan is obviously the star of this show. There’s also some form of platonic love that you won’t expect. For a good start, I’ll recommend this one over the less-popular Reply 1994 and my most favorite (and also the most popular) Reply 1988.

Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai

Watch on: Netflix

Rodneil: It’s been months since I finished binge-watching this series but I’ve since still been watching YouTube videos about it. Watched this at the height of the pandemic at a time that I was feeling really dead inside. It was the unexpected warm hug that I needed. The dynamic between Sakuta Azusagawa and Mai Sakurajima isn’t your typical anime romcom. It’s the backbone that this show is built on.

My Love From The Star (별에서 온 그대)

Watch on: Netflix, Viu

Vincenz: K-Dramas, like it or not, have been mixing “mythical” elements together in the real world. Cheon Song-yi, a star-studded female celebrity, has gone head over heels to a good-looking alien (portrayed by Kim Soohyun) from the planet KMT184.05 that’s been stuck on Earth for 400 years. Little did she know, she looked exactly like the princess he saved from an old Korean dynasty. IMO, their on-screen chemistry is enough to keep you going ‘til the end.

Movies to see

Your Name Engraved Herein

Watch on: Netflix

MJ: Love hits differently when you’re in a hopeless, damning place. Taking place after the end of Martial Law in Taiwan back in 1987, two men fall in love amid homophobia and social stigma. The story is both heartbreaking and romantic at the same time, but knowing that it’s based on a true story makes it hurt more when you realize the battles they had were real and hard.

Tenki no Ko 天気の子 (Weathering With You)

Watch on: Netflix

Vincenz: “I want you more than any blue sky” is what Hodaka Morishima said to Hina, a girl who can manipulate the weather. Between their sweet moments, sacrifices, and challenges, the two found love that changed the course of the world. Tokyo, at the very least.

Kimi no Na wa 君の名は (Your Name)

Watch on: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

MJ: There’s no other anime film that can be as heartwarming and heartbreaking as Kimi no Na Wa (Your Name). It has the perfect visuals and music accompanying the storyline of longing and yearning for someone you can’t remember, playing with themes of fate, dreams, prophecies, and the connectedness between two souls through a red cord. No matter where you are, the love of your life will always find you. Even if it’s years apart.

Before We Go

Watch on: Amazon Prime Video

Rodneil: “There is no perfect. There will always be struggle. You just have to pick who you want to struggle with.” I was fresh-off an extended break-up when I first saw this and it hit all the spots that needed to be hit. I was drowning myself in a bunch of romantic drama for some reason and this one stuck. I haven’t seen it since, but I’m thinking I’m due for a re-watch.

Albums/Songs to listen to

“Love Story (Taylor’s Version)” by Taylor Swift

Stream on: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music

MJ: Suddenly it’s 2009 again. Taylor Swift re-recording her ‘Fearless’ album after all the brouhaha is a much-needed salvation for the humanity, especially this 2021. Love Story (Taylor’s Version) brings back memories from a decade ago — hopeless romantics wishing to be swept off their feet by someone like Romeo. Except this time around, we know love doesn’t always have a happy ending. Still, this song will make you want to feel love again, and go against all the odds just like Romeo and Juliet.

Lover by Taylor Swift

Stream on: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music

MJ: What’s not to love with Taylor Swift’s Lover album? It’s literally songs about love in different forms — self-love, love for other people whether they’re your friends, family, or even exes, and all the hopes and fears of being in love and/or in a relationship.

“Happy” by Oh Wonder

Stream on: Spotify, Apple Music

Leez: Alone this Valentine’s and embarrassing the strides you’ve been making to being better? This song is a mature take on a break-up. Moving on takes time and this song embodies a level of maturity of being happy for an ex who’s changed for the better without you.

“Someone Like Me” by TWICE

Stream on: Spotify, YouTube Music

Rodneil: The song primarily talks about having overwhelming feelings for someone but being coy about saying or showing it. Story of our lives, right? Lol. It’s my favorite TWICE B-Side track and something I put on repeat as I try to sleep. The girls’ heavenly vocals plus the overall vibe of the song just lends itself nicely as a lullaby.

“200% “by AKMU (Akdong Musician)

Stream on: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music

Vincenz: Other than being reminded of my crush of almost one-year, listening to this bright and poppy track by the dynamic siblings from YG Entertainment (same agency as BLACKPINK) always gives me good vibes. After several replays, this might actually mean that what I’ve been feeling for so damn long must be L O V E — and my heart probablyy says “I’ 200% (i-baek %) sure of that”. Also yes, that’s Nam Joohyuk (again) back in his early days.

“IL2LU” by James Reid (ft. Nadine Lustre)

Stream on: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music

Vincenz: We have to set aside James and Nadine’s current relationship status. This song has been so golden for me that it always gives me that ~love~ feeling where you have that someone who always reminds you that you’re loved regardless of your flaws and shortcomings. I may not have someone to share this but this is a song you can recommend to your… partner 🙄

“I Love You 3000 II” by Stephanie Poetri and Jackson Wang

Stream on: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music

Vincenz: This isn’t Stephanie’s original track (thus, “II” at the title) but I can feel the two-sided love story better with Jackson Wang’s vocals in it. I’m honestly not into the MCU but I’m pretty sure that’s (obviously) an Iron Man reference. Although I’m not dreaming of a Hollywood-like love story, the lyrics, their vocals, and the overall rhythm are enough to make me feel like I’m in love.

“Mundo” by IV OF SPADES

Stream on: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music

Vincenz: If you’re in for some retro-sounding OPM together with powerful vocals and lyrics that are both sentimental yet appreciative, then you have to listen to this! Tagalog/Filipino may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I assure you, it’s one of the best languages to listen to, especially in a love song. For some weird reason, this song made me remember someone I used to like 🤮

Folklore

Stream on: Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, Disney+ for Folklore: Long Ponds Studio Sessions

Apple: Not exactly a mushy album since this album talks about different feelings and emotions about independence, freedom, one-sided and hidden love but who wouldn’t be envious that Taylor Swift actually co-wrote ‘Exile’ and ‘Betty’ on Folklore with her current beau, Joe Alwyn under the pseudonym “William Bowery”? I would also want the kind of love that they share — where you are even in sync with someone when it comes to making music.

Games to Play

Final Fantasy VIII

Play on: Steam

Rodneil: Squall and Rinoa. Yep. If you were disappointed that Aerith and Cloud weren’t endgame in FFVII, Squall and Rinoa have a similar dynamic and it’s one of the pillars of the game’s story. For sure, this is more than just the romance between the two, but their dynamic adds some spice to the larger story of the game.


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!

Entertainment

10 things we learned about Hyun Bin at the Smart Hallyu Hangouts

We crashed K-drama actor Hyun Bin’s fan meet

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Hyun Bin

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.

Hyun Bin

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.

Hyun Bin

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.

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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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