What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #62

I’ve watched shockingly little as of late, so it took me quite a while to garner enough material for another post of What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching. I decided to leave out the backdoor pilot for All American: Homecoming and the pilot for Gossip Girl, but if you want to talk about those – I’m all ears in the comments! Now on to what I actually planned for this post.

Elite (Shorts before the start of S4)

I still haven’t watched the actual Season 4 (as I said, I’ve barely been watching anything as of late), so please no spoilers for that just yet. I’ll definitely post about it once I got around to it though. As for the shorts, I think there was an order in which to watch them, but I just went by who I liked most … anyway, I tried to talk about them in the order you should watch them below though. At least I think so.

Carla/Samuel

Honestly, those two always bored me a little. The fact that their short story started with one of my most dreaded tropes (the “chase to the airport before the love interest leaves” will never be something I enjoy … having worked at an airport and all) didn’t exactly help me warm up to them. Can’t say much more than that, but if you’re a fan … maybe you’d like them more?

Omar/Ander/Alexis

I like Omar and Ander, but they are messy and this was such a sad short for them. I guess it helped ease the viewers into something that will happen in S4 (from what I heard), but I wasn’t 100% sure if the short was the right format for the emotionality of it all. It worked for me, but I think it could have been even more effective with more time.

Guzmán/Caye/Rebe

Can I just say that this was the oddest trio to pick? I mean, I don’t remember a single scene where these characters had shared the screen in a meaningful way before, so it was just odd. Their short gave off major chaotic energy, which was probably supported by the fact that they were high for a huge part of it.

Nadia/Guzmán

This was the one short I came for and I loved it. Their relationship was always so interesting to me, despite also hitting a few clichés on the way and I love to see them continue to work on it. Long distance is hard, but it can work and they’d be good candidates for it.

Good on Paper

It’s still so wild to me that this is based on Iliza Shlesinger’s (the lead actress) actual real life experiences. You might be familiar with a lot of the themes and some of the scenes from her stand up programs, I mean, the woman really milked that break up, but the movie was still fun and just good for her. You have to watch it to understand just how messed up it all is.

Black Widow

This movie is … about five years too late. Like, literally most of the movie takes part right after Civil War and that’s when we should have all been able to watch it. I stand by that opinion and don’t think I will change it anytime soon. However, that doesn’t make it any less great of a film.

As much of the phase 4 productions have proven, the cinematography of this era of Marvel content is just on a whole other level. Everything feels grounded, natural, obviously beautiful and yet doesn’t hold back on the spectacular fights and grand-scale visuals we are used to. The casting was also impeccable, especially the younger versions of Natasha and Yelena were the perfect lookalikes.

I honestly do not know how Nat made it through the entire movie, because her injuries and recovery were surreal. However, all of this was still such a lovely tale about (found) family, proving that Nat had more than “just” the Avengers and that she deserves her badass status. I’m going to look forward to seeing some of these new characters appear again in the future. The post-credit scene promises great things!


Have you watched any of the things I mentioned? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass (ARC Review)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 256
Release Date: July 13, 2021

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: racism, homophobia, bullying, school shooting, graphic violence/death, suicide and suicidal ideation, physical and emotional abuse, mental illness, parental neglect and abandonment, attempted rape/child molestation, drug use, possession

Ever since I saw the cover for this book (shout out to Jessica Jenkins, who designed it, and Corey Brickley, who did the cover art), I knew I had to pick it up. Horror is still a new-to-me genre and I’m slowly easing myself into it, unsure where I truly stand on it, but I have no regrets reading The Taking of Jake Livingston.

While it may seem short, The Taking of Jake Livingston packs quite the punch. From the get go, Jake’s narration style mixed with the diary entries from Sawyer manage to create great tension and suspense. Although Sawyer gave me the creeps, I enjoyed how reasons for his behavior were explained but not excused. I felt like it was really easy to connect to the teen voices, which were casual but also had some really beautiful lines included. I was barely a couple pages in and I wanted to know everything that had happened and was about to happen.
I have to say that you barely get a breather while you read, with heavy topics such as abuse, racism, bullying, etc. being around every other corner. It became quite a lot at some point, but, at the same time, perfectly portrayed Jake’s dire circumstances. He was about to be stripped of everything, even his self, and you really felt that along with him. All of that made the lighter moments, especially those with Fiona and Allister, who were like bright spots in the ever-growing darkness, all the sweeter. I often wished they had been featured even more prominently, just to give Jake someone to lean on, although I understood that wasn’t the main plot.

Despite the heaviness and the gruesome scenes, some of which had me in literal tears, the book does end on a hopeful and lovely note. I don’t know if I could have handled a glum ending, but I was really pleased and even happy at what I got. This was a story about ghosts, control and letting go of things/people that hurt you, but it was also about self-acceptance and even queer Black love. While the romance surely wasn’t the main plot, the author managed to incorporate it perfectly, making it something that eased the heavy parts without ridiculing what was happening.

In the end, I was impressed by how much intensity could fit into such a “short” book. Some parts felt a bit disjointed and rushed, lacking consequences at times, but the discomfort and creepiness of some scenes will continue to haunt me. I’ll try to just think of the nice ending instead …

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Gripping and haunting story you will surely fly through!


Do you intend to pick up The Taking of Jake Livingston? Are you interested in YA horror?

Thursday Movie Picks: Female Athletes

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

This week is all about Female Athletes in movies and you might not believe that, but I actually quite enjoy sports-centric films. My favorite female sports character is in a TV show though and that’s Ginny Baker from Pitch – it’s a huge recommendation from me, despite FOX axing the show after just one season. I will never not be bitter about that. Anyway, on to movies!

Brittany Runs a Marathon

No one, and I mean absolutely no one, said it had to be about professional athletes. I remember watching this movie and sobbing my freaking eyes out, because it hit home in far too many ways. I haven’t watched it since, but I thought it was a great movie and way too under the radar for my taste. The trailer doesn’t even do it justice.

Bend it Like Beckham

I can’t get over the fact that I watched the movie and read the book at school, because this story was an actual treat. I feel like it’s a classic in the genre by now.

Ice Princess

Ice skating (and dancing) is an obsession of mine and yes, I could have gone more high brow and pick something like I, Tonya, but I wanted to go with my teenage dream. The whole “it’s never too late to get started”-vibe and how it married different interests was just so fun for me.

Stick It

Gymnastics are brutal, but this movie will forever be hilarious to me.


What are some sports movies with female athletes you like? I think Million Dollar Baby might be a common example this week, but I wanted to go with my usual more teen-esque picks!

Loki: Episode 5 “Journey Into Mystery” Review

Another week, another Loki review is right ahead. “Journey Into Mystery” was a wild episode, so please don’t read ahead if you haven’t watched it yet. This was your obligatory Spoiler warning!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Loki tries to survive after his pruning to get back to Sylvie, while she continues her mission to find whoever is behind the TVA. 

My thoughts?

For whatever reason, I keep thinking that this show will calm down for a bit, but they really deliver new insanity every single time. While I think that a lot of the theories people had after “The Nexus Event” came true, there was still so much tension, especially in the final minutes. It’s odd to say that it was exciting and yet, it also felt very familiar.
Only one more episode to go and I’m a little sad. We always get the “big bad” showdown in the finale and I’m just a teensy bit disappointed that they stuck to that format again. All three Marvel shows have been very formulaic in their build up, despite being very different in terms of style and content. Just think about it, episode 1 and 2 are always here to reintroduce the characters, then we get to know to the major players and problems of the season, the twist/reveal comes around two thirds into the show, followed by a penultimate episode that ends just before the big fight with the enemy. You can literally apply that to WandaVision, TFATWS and Loki every single time. It’s nice to know what to expect, but it’s also not that innovative the third time around?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s break down what this episode showed us:

  • Loki is now in the Void. It’s a place at the end of time where all pruned people and reset timelines get dumped to be devoured by a cloud-monster named Alioth. He quickly gets taken in by a band of Lokis and learns abut what caused their respective Nexus events (which ranged from killing Thor to simply not wanting to be alone). As per usual, a bunch of Lokis cannot co-exist without betrayal though, so there’s even warring factions. It was hilarious to see Loki be exasperated at how annoying Lokis can be.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Sylvie and Renslayer have a talk, which ends with Sylvie pruning herself to escape. Ravonna is far too calm and casual about her worldview crumbling for my taste. No matter how often it is mentioned this episode, I don’t feel like she is seething or angry at the reveal. To her, it doesn’t really change anything about her purpose, just who she reports to and obviously she wants to know who that person is.
  • In the Void, Sylvie runs into Mobius, who managed to not get eaten by Alioth thus far. He picks her up in a car and brings her up to speed. In every conversation Sylvie had, be it with Ravonna or Mobius, saving Loki never seemed like a priority to her. Instead, she is single-mindedly focused on getting back at whoever is behind the TVA. As B-15 put it, Ravonna wants it, but Sylvie needs it.
  • It doesn’t take long until we get a Sylvie-Loki reunion, where I’m pretty sure he had to stop himself from just running into her arms, while she stood there. I wish this episode had finally put a label on what their feelings for one another are, because I feel like that is single-handedly the most controversial topic of the season. Loki trusts and believes in Sylvie, which is rare and monumental for him. She puts her faith in him as well and they prove that they are stronger together, but … what are those feelings? They stare into each others eyes all lovey-dovey, hold hands with intertwined fingers, share a blanket (and yes, they are both technically Jotun and shouldn’t be able to feel cold and might have both pretended to be cold to get closer? Or we have major story inconsistencies …), but at the end of the day Sylvie still said “I never had a friend before”.
    I don’t enjoy prescribing romantic feelings to people that don’t actually share them, but not even Herron (director) and Waldron (showrunner) managed to not contradict each other on what the Sylvie-Loki-relationship is. One of them said it doesn’t have to be romantic and the other one confirmed it is. Now the fandom invented a whole term just for Loki (“selfcest” has been in my mentions way too much since) and no one knows what to think anymore. Some clarity would be nice, because this back and forth (“I’ve never done this before”/”I don’t even know what we’re doing”) is getting on my nerves to be honest.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • The Mobius and Loki scenes on the other hand couldn’t have been more heartfelt and clear. It was so lovely to see them reunited and hug. Mobius calling Loki his favorite will sustain me until next week and I just cannot wait for him to burn the TVA to the ground.

Fun fact: There were SO many Easter Eggs in the Void. If you saw that jumping figure in the mason jar when the Lokis descended into the underground bunker, you just got a tiny glimpse of Throg (=Thor + frog). They really did him dirty with that cameo, but it was a nice comic book reference. Other references included but aren’t limited to a giant Yellowjacket helmet, the Helicarrier, Chitauri Leviathans, Mjolnir, the Thanos Copter, …

  • When Sylvie decided to enchant Alioth, I knew it was going to be hard. The VFX team did an outstanding job though and it looked absolutely epic. All the Lokis really did the most with their powers and they truly are so much more powerful than we knew. They have such a broad variety of powers.
  • Classic Loki really was the MVP this episode. He went out with a bang, laughing like a maniac and fulfilling his very own glorious purpose – the way he was supposed to!
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Finally, who is behind the veil at the end of time? Many people think it has to be Kang, but I believe Jonathan Majors when he says he’s not in the show yet. It would be a great link to Ravonna and potentially Ant-Man 3, but there’s still one more option – King Loki. If I remember correctly, he was shown in the trailer, but didn’t appear yet. (We had Classic, Kid, Boastful, President and Alligator Loki though). Obviously, there could still be someone behind King Loki and that someone could be Kang (kind of like Thanos was behind Loki’s actions in the first Avengers movie), but I’m just trying to lower expectations. We don’t want another Mephisto situation … and the pattern in previous Marvel shows proved to us that the “big bad” isn’t someone new (It was Agatha all along and Sharon Carter was the Powerbroker).

So, I liked that we were right about pruned people and things ending up in the Void. It was an easy guess and therefore made some scenes last week less impacting. Knowing that Mobius and Loki were likely fine really took out the severity, but it’s still always nice to be right. I’m not sure if I prescribe to the idea that all Lokis are the same, but I can get behind the idea that Sylvie is the only truly different one. Maybe that’s what makes her so special? We shall see, but I definitely love her by now. The truly sad thing is that (no matter if I believe in the Sylki relationship or not) I have a feeling that Sylvie might not make it past this season … they can’t actually let a Loki have nice things.

I feel ready for the finale now, but at the same time I dread that it’s over. I found myself very attached to the Marvel shows this year and to know there’s “only” movies coming in the near future doesn’t exactly have me at ease.


PREVIOUS LOKI REVIEWS

MORE TOM HIDDLESTON CONTENT FROM ME


What are your thoughts? Share them with me in the comments below!

June 2021 Wrap-Up

June was a whirlwind of a month for me and I can’t really explain why. Somehow it just went by in the blink of an eye, but I can’t complain. I even think I got some decent reading in, even though I think you’ll find the books quite a departure from what you can usually see on the blog. So, let’s check that out right away:

  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (3 stars)
  • Any Human Heart by William Boyd (4 stars)
  • No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh (3 stars)
    This book was full of Buddhist teachings and very interesting to read, although a tad repetitive.
  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (4 stars)
    Siddhartha was a reread for me, which I rarely ever do, but you’ll find out why soon enough!

Anna Karenina Any Human Heart No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life Siddhartha

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

I FINALLY got my appointment for the vaccine! I know that there’s still many countries that don’t have a wide access to it and my heart goes out to them. I felt very annoyed at how long it took for my own city to open up bookings for my age group, so I don’t want to imagine the frustrations others feel. At the same time, I’m very glad to finally have my appointment this weekend.

As my social media break continues in a light version (I do check up on my accounts from time to time, but it doesn’t even equate to an hour a day anymore), I found I had a lot of time for other things. I read more, I wrote more and I felt more creative urges coming back to me. I still haven’t drawn anything in months, but if I have the time (which is a rare good these days), I know a portrait I’d really like to do. I’d also like to think that I was very consistent with my blogging, which makes me happy, because in June, I celebrated my 8-year-blogiversary! Can you believe how long it’s been!? Thank you so, so very much for sticking around – it means the world to me!

MY FAVORITE THINGS

Honestly, and I imagine you are all quite tired of hearing about it by now, but my favorite thing this past month was finally releasing my reading experiment, where I tried to see if Tom Hiddleston are compatible readers! As much as I enjoy doing other people’s tags and features on my blog, I wanted something that felt very me and fit on this site. This was like the perfect combination of things I love and I put so much work into it. I want everyone to know that I appreciated the responses to the post so much and am happy to announce that it’s now officially a series/feature on here! The next installment should be up in a couple weeks – feel free to guess which actor I’m matching with this time!

All of this was obviously fueled by my love for the currently airing Loki show! I ended up deciding on weekly reviews again, just because I love talking about all things Marvel way too much to not post about it at all. I noticed that there weren’t as many views on these reviews as there were on previous shows, but I’m past the point of caring. I just want to fangirl on my corner of the interwebs however much I please.

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

Sorry for this part of the wrap-up being so irregular, but here are some awesome posts from amazing bloggers!

MY OTHER POSTS

LOKI REVIEWS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS POSTS AND TAGS

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you had a great June and will have a great July as well! Don’t let the heatwave get to you!! Let’s chat!

TMP – Oscar Winner Edition: Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

This week is once again part of the Oscar Winner Edition, which will continue to be a reoccurring theme during each month. Today we are tackling the categories Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects. We’ve had two categories in one before and I think it worked alright, so I hope I can make this one work as well. I don’t think I pay as much attention to visual effects on an active level as I do with cinematography, but those are both such important elements of the industry. I found a lot of movies that were nominated and/or won in both categories, but I tried not to use the same movies in both for my list. Let’s dive in!

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Navarro)

I love this movie, even though it breaks my heart every single time. It just has such an interesting atmosphere and the look definitely speaks for itself. I even read the book (you can find my review here) and felt like it just added to the magic.

Hugo (Robert Richardson)

It wasn’t my favorite movie, but I was utterly enchanted by the look of it. Just from the trailer alone, I thought “yes, I want to see what this is” and it looked so beautiful.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Ex Machina (Mark Williams Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris and Andrew Whitehurst)

You’ve heard me gush about Ex Machina before, because I love the cast and story. Alicia Vikander as a robot was so well done! I think that definitely earned them the Oscar.

Babe (Scott E. Anderson, Charles Gibson, Neal Scanlan and John Cox)

I just couldn’t resist featuring this movie, because I loved it as a kid. Talking farm animals were just the best. Need I say more? I probably should, but I don’t know what … just that I’ve never seen it in English and feel odd not hearing it in the German dubbed version.


What did you think of my picks? Which movies would you have chosen? Let’s talk!