Miserable, apocalyptic yet magnetic on screen: Netflix’s newest Korean drama shows how the ‘Kingdom’ has fallen



Stories of the walking dead aren’t at all new. It starts with an impossible endemic to stop, and we are all left to follow the survivors’ strife in a decaying city. But it was the South Korean film “Train to Busan” that introduced a new breed of zombies—ones that are lightning fast and blind in the dark—and, for our viewing pleasure, made a once worn out narrative exciting again.

South Korea clearly isn’t done telling its tales about these flesh-eating monsters, especially with the growing popularity of its thrillers internationally (among them “Okja,” “The Battleship Island,” and “The Prison”). And when you put the genre of historical drama and apocalyptic thrillers together, you’re sure to have a new show to binge-watch.

Netflix original “Kingdom” explores a new take on how period dramas are done—quite an ambitious undertaking for the streaming giant’s first-ever K-drama production. Well, the Joseon era had to have more problems than just the assassination of its emperors, right? In this horror series, the royal family is once again at the center of a power struggle, with the crown prince (played by Ju Ji-hoon) framed for treason.

Ju Ji-hoon plays the crown prince in Netflix’s newest horror series/Netflix

But here’s the unveiled twist:  The prince also takes on a quest to uncover the origins of an infectious plague turning his subjects into the undead. His journey towards the truth is much rooted in familial redemption—because from what the trailer suggests, the king himself has become a monster of the palace.

Joseon is facing famine, but the unfruitful land isn’t just what strikes fear in the masses—now they are forced to satiate an evil hunger that lurks in the night. 

“Kingdom” does seem to be cut from the same cloth as “Rampant,” a film by Kim Sung-hoon (the same man behind the famous movie with Gong Yoo as its lead actor), with its shared historical setting and the zombie narrative defying its dystopian archetype.


But one shouldn’t tag the series as an unoriginal concept. After all, the “Kingdom” unites two of Korea’s most compelling industry names—“Signal” screenplay writer Kim Eun-hee and “Tunnel” director Kim Seong-hun. The two industry greats are known for their exhilarating storytelling methods, often surprising fans and viewers alike with the unconventional and breathtaking twists they set.

All episodes will be available for streaming on Jan. 25 next year, and we know we’re putting this drama on our 2019 must-watch list!


Watch the trailer here:



Photos courtesy of Netflix

‘Crimes of Grindelwald’ digs itself a grave of unanswered questions



I’ll get straight to the point. Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald” is an overambitious yet underwhelming addition to the Potterverse. But—yes, here’s the absolutely divisive catch—the way it wields magic on the screen is still as jaw-dropping as ever.

While it’s a reunion between director David Yates and JK Rowling (who’s now in charge of the franchise’s screenplay), the sequel takes on a different tone. One that is grimmer than the first, with a certain swiftness that is nothing but an illusion.

Building the worlds of Pixar’s animated blockbusters



Ricky Nierva can make an entire room laugh. But he second guesses his own punchlines and always has to make himself clear—“these are the jokes, people,” he says.

The Pixar animator has been with the film studio for two decades, and has the prized Woody statue to show for it. This certified PixNoy, which stands for Pinoys working at Pixar, came home to inspire young aspiring animators at the first Comic Con Asia last March.

“If you have any dreams of being in animation, I’m here to tell you one important thing: It’s possible,” Ricky shares to an audience of art students and Pixar fans of all ages. 

“I want you to know that the things that you do will be shared to the world,” he adds.

Getting the whole world entertained is clearly a herculean task. But it is one quest Pixar takes on one blockbuster hit after another, even it requires at least four whole years to come up with a single but great story to tell. One that is built on research, visual story and even inclusivity.

And Ricky helps paint that story on the big screen.

6 easy ways to curate your Instagram feed

In a lot of ways I consider myself as a basic, social media image-obsessed millennial. I've been closely watching how my overall Instagram feed looks like since 2014, carefully choosing images that are crisp, coordinated, and well-captioned.

Curating my feed serves as my only creative pursuit
or, at least, the only one I am capable of. Now I don't take the best photos for sure. But the thing is, my Instagram account is a personal visual diary that has no intention of gaining the approval of anyone else but of my own brand and vision of aesthetic. But that doesn't mean I don't get giddy over other people's compliments and enthusiastic inquiries on how I manage to do so.

It doesn't take much effort to end up with a well-curated feed. Here are 6 steps I follow to keep my Instagram the way it is:

The Devil is back in town



Remaining in the shadows is the protector of Hell’s Kitchen, solidifying his status as a strong figure in Marvels television universe, even more so after the abrupt cancellation of two of its Netflix titles. It makes you wonder what sets Daredevil apart—how it stays inventive and impressive—and the third season has all the answers.

It’s not easy to mount yet another vigilante-driven story. And after the second season had degraded itself to setting the pieces for “The Punisher” and “The Defenders,” the next one had to embody the very core of what makes Daredevil the hero that he is: Redemption.

Rising stars, raising emotional tempos



Shivers down my spine, a clench in my throat. This deserves an Oscar, I thought. In my mind I gave a thousand applause for A Star Is Born as the credits finally roll in.

In his directorial debut, Bradley Cooper tells a serendipitous romance that keeps both its characters and the audience in the moment. Cropping each frame purposely in each of the leads’ line of sight, he delivers a story in an immersive and intimate manner.

We meet Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) and Ally (Lady Gaga) in the same pace as the leads actually do. That makes every evoked emotion on screen so raw, so authentic that it’s inevitable not to be swayed.

The ultimate Marvel movie marathon starts this weekend!


I know every Marvel fan just couldn't wait for the next MCU phase to launch. With movies like the Avengers 4, Captain Marvel (hello, Jude Law), and Spider-Man: Far From Home in the 2019 roster, we just can't help but look forward to the next compelling arcs that will further the string of narratives we have grown to love.

But the Marvel Cinematic Universe is also celebrating its 10th year anniversary. It's a chance to look back on the marvelous world it managed to create on the big screen--one defying time and gravity, introducing otherworldly realms, and ultimately bringing the world's mightiest heroes together.

Dear DΞΔN



SEOUL MCA PRESS JUNKET, MAY 2017

I was wandering around Hongdae when the faint sound of a familiar song urged me to walk a little slower. Playing in a club basement was DEAN’s “I Love It,” and nothing made me more excited than the thought of hearing it live come the weekend. The track didn’t manage to lure me into experiencing Seoul’s club scene, but it did make me skip and snap my fingers to a few beats.

Just a few blocks away, another track by the R&B artist was blasting from the speakers, and like its chorus, I needed someone to tell me what to do when I met DEAN in person the next day for a one-on-one interview.


RELATED STORY: DEAN and Syd of The Internet sing about young ‘love’

“I heard your songs last night as I walked around Hongdae,” I managed to tell DEAN, who was now seated a few inches from me. It was the second time I was seeing him that day, and unlike our first encounter (he pointed me to the direction of the bathroom), I didn’t freeze.

The ingenuity that is ‘K-pop’


The genre is backed by generations of fans who are vocal in pitting their idols against the industry’s long list of legends, because they are very much entitled to believe they can.


K-pop was always made for world domination.

Lee Soo-man—yes, the guy who owns SM Entertainment—saw that music was the next great export. He was a visionary for identifying music as the biggest cultural asset to invest in, as revealed in Vox’s “Explained” series which can be streamed on Netflix.

Come the year 1997, South Korea created a basic law for the promotion of cultural industries. It meant putting prime focus on bolstering the arts, and, in turn, promoting Korean cultural and entertainment productions as exports supporting the economy.

1992’s Seo Taiji & Boys are as much of a Korean revolutionary music symbol as BTS is now (in fact, their music are considered as bold criticisms of society, with BTS even covering Seo Taiji and Boys’ “Come Back Home”).

Seo Taiji and Boys

The group was considered as fearless trailblazers of K-pop groups, even preceding the 1997 law. Seo Taiji and Boys was replaced in the spotlight by agency talents H.O.T, Roo’Ra, Baby VOX, S.E.S, and Sechskies, which all soared to fame in the mid 90s.

A K-pop pilgrimage of sorts



SEOUL, MAY 2017

It’s not hard to fall in love with Seoul. While it is a country continually reinventing itself on a global scale, it is one that also strives to preserve its historical roots. It’s precisely in this harmonious dichotomy where Seoul’s very vibrance and energy resonate.

Worldwide, South Korea is known to be the home of today’s most consumed entertainment content—from television dramas and variety shows to live and recorded music performances. The faces of its stars are not only taking over Asia, but has begun penetrating the West’s mainstream media.

The country is shaping the time’s lifestyle and culture through the television and film, music, art, and fashion that they produce, and with this we can say Hallyu or “Korean Wave” which started in the 90s has reached its peak.



Many travelers who have their eyes set on Seoul are pop culture pilgrims, visiting various shooting locations of high-rated dramas, hopping from one Korean cafe to another, and going around the areas of music agencies hoping for serendipitous idol encounters. And I was among them.

I have been a fan of Korean music for the past decade, and visiting Seoul has permanently contained me in its K-pop bubble.

LANY’s two-night stand with Manila


MANILA SHOW, APRIL 2018

This was the payout of LANY’s yearlong hustle: playing to a crowd of thousands in the biggest shows they have ever done. They strummed their guitars and played their keys for two straight nights in Manila—nights that they were quick to acknowledge as the best of their lives.



The alternative band has crossed more than 120 borders in the past year alone. Shifting from city to city on tour, leaving little time to spare for recording sessions. And yet they managed to put out a self-titled album bearing, of course, their breakthrough singles “ILYSB,” “Super Far” and “13.”

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