What I’ve Been Binge-Watching #3

It’s been one of those weekends again, where I just couldn’t resist a good old binge of TV shows. There were some new releases on Netflix, but I’ve also finally started something I’ve been eyeing for a long time now. Here’s what I got for you this time:

Sex Education

Not gonna lie, I thought this was gonna be garbage, but the show had something really endearing about it. Obviously, if you aren’t comfortable with the topic of sex or just don’t care about it, maybe the show isn’t entirely for you, but there’s so much more to it. Although it might look like it’s set in the 80s, it very much plays in our world today, in some part of the UK that I could not specify if you begged me to.

I feel like this show is so relatable for so many questioning teens out there. It isn’t really so much about regular high school drama, but the discovery of yourself as a person and your boundaries, the things you are capable of and your limits. Pair all of this with some really great acting, great humour and a more than solid plot and you do have my attention. At this point, I would be delighted for another season!

Friends from College (Season 2)

Friends from College is one of those truly underrated shows on Netflix. It has a star-studded cast, is absolutely hilarious and tackles some really great topics. I might be drawn to this more now that I am in my mid-twenties and adulthood is inevitable, but I genuinely enjoy every single episode of this show and Season 2 was a real blast.

The characters and their relationships are so complex and while their decisions are often faulty and misguided, you do understand where they come from. There’s hours upon hours of material up for discussion after watching this but I just need everyone to back off of Lisa. The woman is no saint, but Ethan’s transgressions were like a 100 times worse and I stand by that.

Halt and Catch Fire (Season 1)

Okay, I haven’t actually finished the first season yet, but I am officially in love with this show! I’ve known of its existence for a while now, but Karen Gillan’s The Party’s Just Beginning made me yearn for some more Lee Pace stuff I hadn’t watched before, and that’s when I finally started it. Best. decision. ever!

Halt and Catch fire is an incredibly intelligent drama about what seems to be the 80s computing industry, but is really only the backdrop to showcase some intriguing and real characters (real even has a double meaning here, because it’s supposedly largely based on true events). They have their faults, dang they are all introduced in a less than flattering way, but you want to know more about them. It’s a truly character-driven show. I can’t wait to watch all the rest!

Have you watched any of those? What are your thoughts on them? (For those of you surprised that Titans wasn’t in the post, it will probably be featured in the next one) Let’s chat!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Jan 7-13)

I can’t believe that has only been the second week of 2019, because somehow it feels like we’ve been at it for months already! Anyway, this year will hopefully hold some great movies for us, so let’s check out some trailers:

Movies

Little

I know this has big remake vibes like What Men Want, but I am still here for it. It looks funny.

Hotel Mumbai

I heard Dev talk about this movie at a festival, but I still wasn’t prepared for the intensity of it all.

IO

Uhm … I thought Io was just spewing volcanoes and therefore definitely not livable? I’ll still watch it for sure.

Polar

Has Netflix discovered Vanessa Hudgens for themselves? I am more excited about Mads and Lagertha being in this.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Why did this have to turn into a horror flick?

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

Documentary of the week

TV Shows

HBO Line Up

My Queen Sansa is not having it in that small moment with Dany. I can’t wait!

One Day at a Time (Season 3)

Who else is SO ready for all the B99 cameos!?!?!

The Punisher (Season 2)

There is no Karen Page in this trailer and that makes me angry. She better not be sidelined, because I am gonna go ahead and guess that Netflix will have to cancel this like all their other shows because of Disney+.

Pure

Joe Cole! Joe Cole! Joe Cole!

Siempre Bruja: Always a Witch

I didn’t expect there to a be a time travel element, but I am here for it.

Russian Doll

Is this Happy Death Day in serial format?

Weird City

It’s weird. Let’s leave it at that.

Hanna

So, this is supposedly based on the film Hanna.

Roswell, New Mexico

SOON! It will never hold up to the brilliant show from my past, but I am ready for more alien action.

The Enemy Within

It’s very hard for me to get into these kind of shows. There are just so many crime shows already.

What have you been watching? I’ve been binging a lot of Netflix, so I will likely make another post about that soon!

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count
: 310

Tahereh Mafi is one of my all-time favourite authors. I haven’t read everything by her, however, most of what I have read was more in the dystopian (??? gosh, I am terrible with genres) category, whereas A Very Large Expanse of Sea is Mafi’s first YA contemporary! I wasn’t sure how her writing style would translate to this genre, but it was a truly amazing read!

Where to even start? Set one year after the terrible events of 9/11, it chronicles a particularly memorable time for Muslim teenager Shirin. You can immediately tell that it is a very personal story and while I don’t know all the specifics that went into this book, I am certain that Tahereh drew some parts of it from her own experiences. Even though I can’t say I was really a teen in 2002 just yet myself, I was slowly getting there, and it instantly brought back some memories from that peculiar time. I remember the news reports and the fear and all that even though I was living on an entirely different continent. But I also associate those years with a certain kind of nostalgia, when everything was getting more digitalised while not quite being there yet.

Aside from a setting I could easily wrap my head around, I was most enamored with the characters. Shirin is a no-bullshit kind of narrator and a really smart one at that. She manages to paint a picture of all the people in her life in a way that makes them seem real, even if you only meet them briefly on the page. Her growing relationship to Ocean was exactly how I picture teens in love for the first time. Everything happened fast but at the same time with caution and the awareness that the other person might just have the power to break their heart.

The entire story tackled so many different topics. This isn’t just a love story, although there certainly is a focus on it, but also a tale about family, friendship, finding your passions and having to handle racism and Islamophobia. It hurts deeply to know that there are such vastly ignorant and hateful people out there. I always wished that those parts of the story were fiction only, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Lastly, Tahereh Mafi finished the story off in the most bittersweet way. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I am not going to go into the details here, but it felt right to end it in that certain way, while you also wanted so much more afterwards.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! This book was packed with so much in such few pages in comparison.

Have you read A Very Large Expanse of Sea? Is it something you’d be interested in? How did you feel about Tahereh writing in another genre? Let’s talk about it!

Random Movie Recommendations: Karen Gillan Edition

Usually, I have movie recommendations based around a theme or genre for you, but not this time. This time, it’s simply Karen Gillan. I adored her when I first met her as Amy Pond on Doctor Who, I was happy for her when she started to get major roles in Hollywood and I was beyond impressed when I watched her directorial debut. Now, she is coming to Berlin for a project I am not really at liberty to talk about and you never know, maybe our paths will cross one day?

The Party’s Just Beginning

(TW: suicide, excessive drug and alcohol use, bullying of/violence against trans characters)

Honestly, the trailer didn’t really convince me to watch the movie. It was a little bit all over the place, whereas it didn’t feel like that at all to me when I watched the entire movie. This was Karen’s directorial debut and she showed the bleak and somber side of Scotland, her home, for sure. The movie was harsh, but hit deep (being stuck in eternal grief stages is a big mood) and I am excited to see what more Gillan will show us in the future.

Please, don’t watch this while being in a bad place mentally! My own state of mind wasn’t that great and the movie threw me for a real bender. As much as I want to commend Karen Gillan for her work here, it is depressive and does not sugarcoat anything whatsoever. It can be a cleansing movie, but it can also destroy you emotionally.

Really could have needed someone to hold me after this. Preferably, also Lee Pace …

Not Another Happy Ending

On to something way more fluffy! We are still in Scottish territory, but this is an awesome RomCom about a writer who has writer’s block and her editor trying to sabotage her relationship because she writes better when she’s unhappy. Tell me that doesn’t intrigue you! I dare you!!

I don’t even know what to say. This movie offers pretty much exactly what it advertises – light entertainment. If you don’t go into it expecting mad twists and turns or some sort of unpredictable storyline you will be fine and most likely enjoy yourself.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

I was very tempted to put Guardians of the Galaxy as one of her more mainstream projects here, but then I decided against it. Nebula is for real one of my most favourite characters in the MCU, but Jumanji was more of a surprise. So, that’s what I am going with.

When I was younger, I was obsessed with the original Jumanji movie. Nothing, I was sure of it, could ever compare to it. And Welcome to the Jungle definitely isn’t up to par with the original, but it is a lot of freaking fun. Sometimes you just have to not take everything so seriously and these sequels can be downright hilarious. They are even making another movie (with the same actors) and I am confused and suspicious but I learned better than to judge it before watching it.

Have you watched any of these? Do you like Karen Gillan as much as me? Let’s chat about it!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Dec 31 – Jan 6)

I know I have given you quite a lot of trailers and such to think about already with my best of 2018 lists (you can check out my thoughts on books, movies and TV shows in the previous posts), but the week wouldn’t be complete without a trailer post on Sunday. So, here we go!

Movies

The Secret Life of Pets 2

There’s just so many character trailers.

Anthem of a Teenage Prophet

Another YA book adaption as far as I know, just that the book title is Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet. I might read it, but I am not sure yet.

I Hate Kids

I can’t believe they are trying to release this in cinemas, because it looks like VoD for sure.

Close

Is that … is that Liesel from The Book Thief?

Ashes in the Snow

This is based on a book. That’s all I know about it.

Arctic

I am a huge Mads Mikkelsen fan, but I am not sure this one is for me.

TV Shows

BBC Drama

There is no way you could get all the shows in this with one watch and without pausing but I am super pumped about so many of them!!! Some new Peaky Blinders and The War of the Worlds, World on Fire as well as Noughts & Crosses on the top of the list. (I need to catch up on Poldark, Les Mis and Killing Eve though)

Carmen Sandiego

Why am I so jaded and don’t like this animation. Actually, I don’t hate the animation, I just don’t like it for these characters. I liked how it used to look in the past. I have become old and grumpy …

Sex Education

This could go both ways and be really good or really, really beyond saving terrible.

Punisher (Season 2)

I AM SO READY FOR THIS FAM!

Friends from College (Season 2)

I am also really excited for this!

American Gods (Season 2)

It feels like they are taking forever with this new season. There better be a lot of Mad Sweeney, because his episode was my fave of Season 1.

Stranger Things (Season 3 – date announcement)

It’s still so far away …

Shameless (Season 9)

I honestly haven’t seen this show for about 3 seasons now. I was just too disappointed that Lip managed to mess up his college education and gave up.

What have you been watching? Did you start good into the new year? Let’s chat!

Top 18 TV Shows of 2018

As some of you so lovingly dubbed me, I am the Queen of TV. I watch way more shows than a human should be able to, which was probably the reason this post was like a hundred times harder to write than the ranking of the books and movies of 2018. To clarify, this ranking is pretty random. You could probably switch a couple of them around without me getting too fussed about it. However, it was super hard for me to decide which series to include or exclude. Ultimately I came to the decision to not take certain seasons into account (although the latest season of something might have affected my judgement) but rather rate the show as a whole. Also, I did not only include shows that came out in 2018, but rather just whatever I watched (although no panel shows or competitions). Now that that’s sorted, let’s get started!

18. Midnight, Texas

I used to be really into True Blood, but it fizzled out eventually. Still, I was excited to watch Midnight, Texas and see where it was going. It’s a weird one … because the set definitely always looks like a set rather than a place people live in. But nonetheless, I fell for the characters and the supernatural drama. They turned it UP for Season 2, but unfortunately they got cancelled. Here’s to hoping they’ll find another home!

17. Altered Carbon

I am pretty sure I watched Altered Carbon while is some kind of feverish craze. I was super sick with a temperature and it all felt like a dream at times, but I enjoyed the heck out of it! If you want to read more about the show from my previous #CurrentlyWatching post, click here!

16. The Royals

Those of you who know me, know that I have been obsessed with The Royals from the get go! It was and will probably be forever one of my favourite shows. I even rooted for the bad guy, relentlessly so. Their 4th season was their best one yet. It had an almost cinematic quality to it and I will FOREVER hold a grudge against the E! because they cancelled the show at its height and no one else picked it up. FOREVER!!! (Click here for more info on the show)

15. Schitt’s Creek

I still can’t believe most of you are sleeping on this show! I don’t even watch all that many sitcoms, but I would never ever miss an episode of Schitt’s Creek. Also, they have an openly pan character with the most romantic on screen relationship. I CRIED they were so freaking adorable! (You can find out more about the show here)

14. Tidelands

I know that a lot of people think this show is trash, and … I get it. But I loved it regardless. Maybe it was the sirens, because lets be real, sirens are just super cool. But I also have a thing for Australian shows for some reason (still patiently waiting for another season of The Wrong Girl and hoping people will discover Please Like Me eventually). It’s glossy and dramatic and predictable, but I liked it. I like shows like that.

13. Peaky Blinders

Peaky Blinders has some of the freaking best writing and most intense walking scenes ever. All jokes aside, it is a formidable show with amazing characters that will steal your heart and corrupt it! (Read more about it here)

12. Plan Coeur/The Hook Up Plan

Plan Coeur was one of those super nice distractions. It was fun and quick and sweet. It leaves you wanting more without that incessant need to have the next season right that moment. Sometimes those kind of shows are just exactly what you need. It’s also really great if you want to brush up on your French to be honest.

11. The Good Place

Who is not absolutely in love with The Good Place. It’s like they reinvent the story completely anew with every season. To come up with some of the ridiculous things the writers thought about, is just … completely beyond me sometimes. It’s a show where I can never wait to find out what happens next! (Read more about it here)

10. Maniac

I did not expect to like this show and I get everyone who has their quarrels with it. However, I’ve never seen mental health issues portrayed in such a complex, layered and insightful way. Yes, sometimes the show felt all over the place and heavy and sad, but by the end of it, my heart was light and I was happy?

9. Sisters

I know that the whole “fertility doctor messes up life of many by using his own sperm”-story has been done quite a lot in some way or another, but I loved this interpretation of it. They did well in not focusing on the father, but rather on a specific set of the siblings or in this case sisters. But it’s like so freaking hidden on Netflix that I can’t even find a regular trailer for it anymore and that makes me so smad (sad and mad).

8. The End of the F***ing World

This show was so freaking weird and I was living for it. I wasn’t actually sure it would get another season but it will and I have NO idea what’s going to happen or where they are going to continue with it. I just think it’s cool it got an audience not despite but because of its weirdness. (You can click here for more on the show)

7. Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger

This show was really, really, really good! It introduced some fresh new talent, was set in the not-so-typical New Orleans you usually see on the screen and called out privilege and social issues while they were at it. Morally grey like a lot of the Marvel content, it immediately drew me in! Freeform better not mess this up.

6. Travelers

I feel like Travelers is a show you either like or you don’t want to watch at all. It’s a show I would not judge by its first ten minutes (like I do so very often), because they are not representative of the amazing character work and development over several seasons. (Read more about Travelers here)

5. Marvel’s Runaways

You all already know that I liked this show a lot and season 2 did not disappoint at all. In fact, I believe it made me fall in love with certain characters even more than before and I wasn’t sure that was even possible! (I did a full post on this show as well, which you can read here)

4. You

It was creepy. It was wonderful. What can I say? Stalker stories scare me as I have made some rather unpleasant experiences in the past. However, I am still intrigued by it when the casting is right? And Penn Badgley does the psycho creep like no one else.

3. Anne with an E

This is one of the most beautiful and wholesome and amazing shows to exist on Netflix! Anne is legit such a smart show, with amazing characters and a world that spans beyond what was written in the books (which I still haven’t read). I understand that the differences to the literary and even earlier adaptations on screen made some people hesitant. It’s not as bubbly and colorful, but it is a work of art nonetheless and a worthy one to watch. (Also, read more about here)

2. The Handmaid’s Tale

Sooo … I crumbled and watched it (Max Minghella is to blame). Everyone warned me and said how heavy it was. I have colleagues at work who couldn’t stomach more than one episode per day. What did I do? I binged both available season over the course of a weekend. It messed me up in all the best ways! The acting of all those people … I just cannot even!

1. A Discovery of Witches

I wanna remind everyone that this is a 100% subjective list. A Discovery of Witches had plotholes and left a lot of viewers in confusion because they didn’t manage to explain something vital to the magic system, but that didn’t stop me from falling head over heels for this show. Everything was just so freaking beautiful and I couldn’t get enough of it. I am beyond happy that there’s a season 2 and 3, which should cover all the books, already confirmed!

Honorable Mentions

UnREAL, Humans, Lost in Space, Our Girl, The Gifted, Free Rein, Younger, Wynonna Earp, 3%, Timeless, Daredevil, BoJack Horseman


I just couldn’t do it! I can’t narrow it down to 18 … so there were some more shows I really liked this year. I am pretty sure I’ve forgotten something. If you can try and think of anything else, feel free to tell me in the comments and I’ll let you know if I watched it!

Top 18 Movies of 2018

Yesterday, I shared my favourite reads of 2018 and today I will continue with this theme of “best of”-posts by talking a little bit about my favourite movies. I think it is pretty well known that I am more of a TV person than a movie-goer, but last year was filled with a lot of both. It also included quite a lot of German movies and I debated for while whether I should include them now or not. Ultimately, I figured it won’t hurt to add them, even if only very few of you will understand the trailers. I’ll try my best to explain what they were about.

This list is completely 100% subjective! Not all movies I mention were released in 2018 and I completely understand if you disagree with me on one or more occasions. Having said that, I just want to point out that a film can have a different impact depending on when it finds you in your life. A lot of those films just had really great timing!

(my memory actually failed me big time on this topic, so I puzzled this list together from my diary on letterboxd. Feel free to check out my profile here)

18. Woman in Gold

I watched this movie when I was already living in Berlin and I felt a little nostalgic for home. I wouldn’t call it homesickness exactly, because then that movie wouldn’t have helped much. But it was nice to see something that represented my home (even if it is in a rather unflattering light) with such a star-studded cast. It may not be for everyone, but it meant a lot to me.

17. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

I usually don’t even like any of the Mission: Impossible sequels (I was quite into the first one), but I went to the movies with my dad – and believe me, this hasn’t happened in years – and I came out of the movie really entertained! That’s what you go to the cinema for, right?

16. Extinction

There are not many films that can claim to really have surprised me, but this movie sure did! There were twists I definitely did not see coming and I was rather impressed with the turn the story took. I could definitely see this being the start of a series even, but I don’t want to get ahead of anything.

15. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

I cried for a CGI dinosaur – enough said! (Also, I adore Dallas Bryce Howard beyond anything and am always happy to see her as a lead)

14. Das schönste Mädchen der Welt

As you can see, we have our first German movie candidate. The translation of the title means “The most beautiful girl in the world” and I don’t think the trailer does the movie any justice (it’s far less dumb in real life). Where Sierra Burgess masterfully failed to do the whole Cyrano tale in a new fashion, this one was really fun. I neither like rap very much nor some of the crass humour German movies often include, but this movie surprised me in all the best ways. It was sweet and fun!

13. Whatever Happens

This was a beautiful deconstruction of what went wrong in a relationship. It tells the whole story in reverse and Fahri Yardim is definitely one of my actor crushes … so, there’s that.

12. Nappily Ever After

A lot of Netflix movies got so much buzz this past year and I feel like Nappily Ever After deserved way more attention. The story goes so deep and really touched me. I also low-key loved how the movie was divided in chapters based on her hair.

11. 100 Dinge

This is one of those movies that came to me at a certain time in my life and although I don’t want to go into detail, it just felt right (barring some stupid small stuff I have decided to just ignore and overlook). 100 Things (which would be the translation) is a movie about two friends who developed an app together and are about to come into some serious money. They are quite competitive and getting drunk, they go into a bet, going 100 days without any of their stuff and only being able to retrieve one thing at midnight every day. It’s about consumerism but also different relationships and I liked it a lot more in the end than I thought I would, because this is the most mainstream German movie stuff you could imagine. (then again, I am super mainstream in general)

10. Ocean’s Eight

These badass ladies were just a feast to watch! Also, I love me a good heist movie.

9. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I loved the book, I also loved the movie. The casting was serious perfection!

8. Love, Simon

It felt like a small eternity waiting for this movie to be released in most parts of Europe! But believe me when I say, once I was in the movie theater I just loved it beyond anything in that very moment. There was a giddiness inside me and I cried and laughed and felt like it connected everyone in the room a little bit. I adore when movies can do something like that!

7. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

I feel like the content of the movie could have been better, but I was beyond impressed with the visuals. Granted, I watched it in IMAX 3D, which is something I usually never treat myself to. There were frame-break-effects and I felt like I was about to die with the characters more than once just because the images were so overwhelming. For that alone, I had to put it this high on the list.

6. I Kill Giants

This movie destroyed me in the same way the A Monster Call book destroyed me. I didn’t know what to expect at all and this was a movie filled with tears.

5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

No lie, I have watched this movie more times in 2018 than anything else. It was just so cute and sweet and pretty and a really great adaptation. What it lacked to include from the book, it made up in improving in other aspects. I was so happy with this movie!

4. Black Panther

When I saw Wakanda for the first time on the screen, I got chills! This movie is a phenomenon and rightly so!

3. Avengers: Infinity War

I went into this not knowing what was about to happen. I wasn’t spoilered by countless memes on the internet yet. I just wanted to see some action, all my faves colliding and a bit of good fun but I did not sign up for my heart to get ripped out and jumped on like a million times. This movie was 10 years in the making and the result hurt! It hurt in all the right ways.

2. Set It Up

Yes, I am going to be so extra and put a Netflix romcom on the 2nd place. I HAVE MISSED (GOOD!!!!!!) ROMCOMS SO MUCH! And I know To All the Boys is even cuter, but Set It Up hit all the right marks with me. There is even a writer main character. I am forever going to love this movie and you cannot tell me otherwise. I even ended up in a Twitter moment with my live tweets about the movie. It’s one of my biggest accomplishments of 2018.

1. A Star Is Born

I went into this film thinking that I would know exactly what was going to happen, but I was not prepared for the emotional duress I went through. Watching this alone was hard and I was simply heartbroken in the end. Bradley Cooper did a banging job for his directorial debut and the songs were beautiful and the acting was really deep and … yeah, that’s it! A Star is Born was amazing.


Have you watched some of the movies I mentioned? Which ones? Are you disappointed not to see a certain film on my list? Let’s chat!