March 2021 Wrap-Up

So, March was another month? I don’t even really know what to say about it, but let’s just start with what I always start with – the books! I actually read quite a lot considering what my usual monthly average was the past years and I also think I picked some great books! Let’s see what we’ve got:

  • Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (3 stars)
    I was on a roll when it came to the Grisha books and mostly read them in one day. Siege and Storm was not my favourite though. While I was never against Mal in the first book, the bad communication in this one drove me nuts. Still, the slow corruption of Alina Starkov had its draws and I generally enjoyed myself.
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (4 stars)
    What a satisfying ending! There really wasn’t many ways this could have gone and I personally liked it a lot. The book really had no right making me as emotional as it did in those final pages.
  • Any Place But Here by Sarah Van Name (4 stars)
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (3.5 stars)
  • The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther (4 stars)

Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2) Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone, #3) Any Place But Here King of Scars (King of Scars, #1) The Summer of Broken Rules

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’ve been contemplating how to best tackle my life this past month. After some personal struggles as well as a lengthy recovery from dental surgery (still healing, but all good), I knew I couldn’t put off the Canada topic any longer – I had to act! Most of you know that there is little I want more than to go back to my beloved Vancouver. The only issue is – this pandemic! It has messed up literally all my plans, I have zero desire to travel anywhere in this climate, vaccine roll outs are slow where I live and my once so very open work permit now hinges on me finding a job offer before I actually get to enter the country anyway. I’ve been writing dozens of cold applications as well as trying to apply for jobs I saw online, even if they aren’t all in the industry I used to work for. It’s been a very frustrating process. Please, for those of you who care, keep your fingers crossed for me, because at this point, my dream coming true really is just a matter of ridiculous luck …

Should I not be able to secure a job offer before the end of June (and not get another extension for the visa), this is it. I can never apply for that work permit again (as you can only do so once and getting approved is seen as taking part, even if you never enter the country), which means I literally have to rethink my entire life plan, where I want to live and what I want to do. To say I’m panicking inwardly is the understatement of the century, because I really don’t want to give up on this, but I might have to come to terms with the fact that I have to (especially since I can’t keep doing nothing in Vienna … I need to work! I LOVE work!). Sorry for this very rambly and personal outburst …

As much as I’ve tried my best at *all of that*, I still haven’t gotten back any kind of motivation to keep doing anything creatively. I have posted a couple things on my art instagram, but I wasn’t really happy with any of it. I keep not enjoying the end result and it’s really demotivating. I hope I will get some inspiration/motivation back soon, because I’m tired of being tired.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

Many of you have probably seen me freak out on Twitter about Shadow and Bone on the regular and I apologize in advance about the person I will become on April 23. However, to not just rehash my gushing from last month, I want to talk about my massive dilemma, because speaking of April 23 … that day is also the day of the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. (Links for the reviews to the first two episodes below!!!) I always, always enjoy Marvel content, but I didn’t expect to fall that hard for this particular show. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan just have an incredible dynamic and the character work they’re doing is beautiful! I may also have gone on a slight binge of their interviews together …

Another thing I would like to highlight is Sofii @A Book. A Thought. and the incredible work she has done to compile a really extensive list of book bloggers. Especially with the blow bloggers received after finding out how willing publishing is to throw money at tiktokers (no shade to tiktokers!!! Go get that coin!), but still pay regular bloggers nothing but dust, I love to go on lists like that and support other bloggers with likes and comments whenever I can. It’s super handy. Click HERE to check it out!

MY OTHER POSTS

WANDAVISION + THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS/CONTENT

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you all had a good March and are looking forward to April! I can’t decide whether time is rushing by or going really slowly in this odd odd year that is 2021 …

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #56

Before the end of the month, I wanted to make sure to have another one of these posts ready for you. I have been watching on and off, but not a lot of it with great enthusiasm. This past year, I have consumed so much content that it has become increasingly difficult to really excite me, but I hope I can talk to you about a couple things today!

Calls

TW: emetophobia

Many people will likely say that this show could have easily worked as a podcast, but I actually appreciated the text and visuals provided. They had a certain hypnotizing quality and not seeing what was actually happening beyond the phone call just made it all the more terrifying in many cases.

Overall, this was such a unique and intense experience. It does get a bit repetitive towards the middle, but the overall picture was chilling and even gave me slight Dark vibes. Another very brilliant Apple TV+ production with many well-known voices to enjoy. I keep loving their content!

For fans of: podcasts, strange happenings and ensemble casts

Zero Chill

It’s no secret that I have a thing for ice skating shows. I was ALL for Spinning Out when it premiered on Netflix, just for them to cancel it after one season. To be frank, if I could have picked another season of Spinning Out or this show, Zero Chill, I would have picked the former.

Zero Chill is much more lighthearted than Spinning Out and doesn’t quite convince as much with their performances (on and off the ice). What I originally thought to be about an ice hockey player and a figure skater working together, is rather a drama about a family that struggles to fulfill both their children’s dreams. It has some really great moments, especially when it comes to friendships and relationships in general, but I think it’s one of those shows likely kept on in the background.

For fans of: ice sports

The One

I’m pretty sure we all have heard of a similar concept to that of The One before. Initially, I was intrigued by the genetic component, making it a scientific matter to find your one true soulmate (barring that I think it’s silly to think there’s only ONE person for you out there ever and insinuations that come with it as a whole concept, but the show proves it isn’t that simple anyway). It quickly became obvious that this series isn’t just about romantic struggles though, but has a lot of focus on mystery and thriller elements. The police investigations take up a big chunk of the screentime.

My struggle here was that I simply did not like or care for many of the main characters. It’s really hard to have a story centered on someone you don’t like and especially with the character of Rebecca Webb, you just didn’t know what her endgame was. She seemed ruthless but to what point exactly was unclear to me and when I cannot gauge someone’s motives, I just get frustrated.

But … I’d still let myself get matched if we had the technology … I’m THAT desperate.

For fans of: soulmatery and crime

Country Comfort

This is one of those really silly shows with questionable acting and laugh tracks which you will either put on for the heck of it or not touch with a ten foot poll. It’s up to you! It had some lovely moments about grief, family and moving on, but it’s also the definition of corny and over the top.

For fans of: The Nanny but make it more Christian and country


Did you watch any of those shows as well? Let’s talk!

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 2 “The Star-Spangled Man” Review

You know the drill, people. This post contains SPOILERS for episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Read this at your own discretion.

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Sam and Bucky team up to deal with a global threat, while the world gets to know the new Captain America.

My thoughts?

After last week, I knew what topics The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was likely going to touch upon during its run, but I had no idea how they were going to go about it. I was surprised by the in depth character drama we got and so pleased to see it moving along quickly in terms of plot, however, still giving us plenty of introspection in this second episode. There are always one or two really well choreographed action sequences in the episode, but a lot of it is character work and I’m here for it.

We start the episode with neither Sam nor Bucky, but John Walker instead. I think it was evident by everyone’s reaction to last week’s final scene that he had quickly become one of the most hated characters in the MCU without ever having spoken so much as a word. We could have easily not seen his side of the story or his struggle with taking on the mantle of Captain America, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made sure this was a balanced way of portraying the issue (still doesn’t mean I have to like him though).

credit: Marvel Studios

From the glimpse we got, John Walker isn’t a bad man. He’s a soldier, and a very capable one at that. Having received several medals of honor and showing great skill with the shield, he knows how big a shoes he has to fill. I don’t think he takes it lightly to put on the mantle of Captain America (although he would likely prefer to punch his way out of a situation rather than use diplomacy) and I can see why the government took interest in him, but … nothing will change the fact that he is not Steve Rogers and Steve intended for that shield to go to someone else. Like Sam said in the pilot episode “these symbols are nothing without the men and women that give them meaning” and I cannot see Walker carry that same kind of hope.

Let’s check out what we learned about him:

  • He seems to have a good support system with a loving wife and a best friend, Lemar Hoskins, ready to be by his side. Lemar is Battlestar on the show. In the comics he staged attacks on Walker in order to build his brand, but I can’t see him doing that in the series. They seem to both be employed by the government and work as a team.
  • Not only has he physically trained to be Captain America, he also seems to have familiarized himself with the Avengers and notable associates. He was definitely fighting to get Sam and Bucky on his team, but I don’t think calling Sam a wingman, speaking of Steve as a brother without ever having met him or plain hacking into Redwing got him any browny points. By the end of the episode, he had burned quite a lot of bridges, showing a possible darker side to his persona.
credit: Marvel Studios

But on to more important things and the actual leads of this show – Sam and Bucky! As a lot of us predicted, it did not sit well with Bucky to find that Sam had given up the shield. He did not hesitate to confront him, despite not having talked to Sam and having ignored his texts the past couple of months. Immediately, as soon as they got back together again, they proved once more what an incredible duo they are. Not just are they able to carry emotional scenes, but their comedic timing is off the charts. I laughed out loud so many times and was really happy to have them paired up this episode.

Now, where are we moving with those two in terms of plot:

  • Bucky jumped on the plane with Sam and Torres to tag along for the fight against the Flag Smashers. I’m not sure whether Bucky just didn’t want to let go on the matter of the shield yet or if he was craving a new mission, but despite their constant bickering, Sam and Bucky are growing to be a really good team. They may not have won, but they have each other’s back when it matters.
  • We also found out that the Flag Smashers are indeed super soldiers, powered by serum and apparently led by one Karli Morgenthau. (So they are not one of the big three – aliens, androids or wizards – a joke that keeps on coming) They feel abandoned by the governments that care more about the returned people than those who were never blipped. It’s evident they already have a large following, although I’m not 100% clear on what their plan is. Giving everyone powers doesn’t really solve … anything?
  • After getting their asses kicked by the Flag Smashers, Bucky brings Sam to Baltimore to introduce him to a man called Isaiah he fought as part of Hydra back in the 50s. For those who didn’t know, Isaiah Bradley was the original Black Captain America (on this show as well as in the comics) and there was already a hint at his identity during last episode’s credits. He never got the same glory as Steve though and the government thanked him for his heroic deeds by putting him in a prison for 30 years, showing once again the double standard when it comes to race. Obviously, he wants nothing to do with Bucky or his past though, so they are left to seek help about the super soldier serum elsewhere.

Fun fact: Isaiah Bradley’s grandson Eli/Elijah, who opened the door, will likely become a hero called Patriot, who is a member of the Young Avengers. Not every, but a lot of the shows/upcoming movie of the new MCU phase have had teases for the Young Avengers, with Wiccan and Speed in WandaVision, Kate Bishop in the upcoming Hawkeye series, America Chavez in the Multiverse of Madness, Riri Williams as Iron Heart in the show of the same name, Cassie Lang aka Stinger in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania and ultimately Kamala Khan as Ms Marvel in her own show as well.

  • Sam is naturally pissed that he never knew about Isaiah, even if Bucky never told anyone else about him either (not even Steve). They have a small fight on the street when a cop car pulls over, which immediately made my stomach tie up, knowing what would come next. I know that Sam and Bucky could easily take them, but I was still afraid for him. Of course, the cops racially profiled Sam and only backed down as soon as they realized that he was Falcon. Something he shouldn’t need as a protection against discrimination when he never did anything wrong to begin with. In the end, they do arrest Bucky though, since he missed his court mandated therapy session, while profusely apologizing for having to take him in. This scene worked as a mirror to many people’s reality when it comes to interactions with the police and I am glad that Disney/Marvel isn’t shying away from showing that on screen.
  • John Walker is the one bailing Bucky out and calling his therapist, because he wants Sam and him on his team. He asks that the therapist do whatever needed to get them to ship out on missions again and I just think that was a terrible, terrible idea. Bucky is nowhere near done dealing with his trauma and neither has Sam worked through his own stuff. Still, the “couple’s session” did provide a little breakthrough when Bucky revealed why he was so angry at Sam. They didn’t exactly grow closer through the exercises, maybe even a little further apart, but they will work together for now. I just hope they both take up therapy again, I think they could profit from it.
  • Lastly, we finally learn how Zemo comes into play with this storyline. Since Bucky can’t think of anyone else to ask about the serum, he ropes Sam into coming with him to seek out Zemo for answers. Doesn’t sound like a great idea either, if we are being honest.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode very much, which was overall solid. I loved that Bucky and Sam are finally together on screen again, even though I very much understood how necessary it was to show their current state of minds apart from one another in the pilot. This show is moving at a really nice pace and I think it will be able to tell a good story in the remaining four episodes.


PREVIOUS THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS


What is your take on the episode? Did I miss something crucial? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #55

I almost forgot doing this post, because I haven’t felt super into watching things lately, but thankfully I keep a list on my phone to track what I’ve already seen. So, you get a little taste of that again!

The Crew

I don’t know why I started out with this one, because I don’t actually have to say all that much. I think after the success of Ted Lasso, more workplace sitcoms (maybe even more set in sports) will pop up, but this wasn’t it. The jokes felt forced, the characters too over the top and cartoonish. In general, a lot of it just had a dated vibe to it, but I guess, if you just want something playing in the background, this works? I’m sure the people involved put a lot of heart into it, but it just didn’t convey that spark to me.

For fans of: workplace sitcoms?

Tribes of Europa

TW: rape, slavery, genocide, mutilation, beheading, suicide, other violent deaths

I wanted to love this show so bad, because 1.) it’s from the producers of Dark and 2.) I’m a fan of many of the German actors and actresses involved but mostly 3.) I’m always rooting for more international Netflix content, which was why this was a bit of a disappointment.

In general, I think the premise is very good. You have a family from a formerly hidden tribe, separated and fighting to find their way back to each other. It offers a great opportunity to show different viewpoints and parts of the world the series is set in. I was also interested in most of the storylines, even if a lot of them were quite brutal, but the dialogue … oh boy, the dialogue was not great. I don’t know if people will notice it as much should they not understand German, but it felt so stilted and unnatural.

For fans of: international Netflix content, post-apocalyptic vibes

Ginny & Georgia

TW: racism, self-harm, domestic abuse, child molestation

Look, I know what’s been going on on social media. Yes, the Taylor Swift joke wasn’t great and yes, some scenes are cringey and could use improvement (even though some clips were taken out of context), but a) don’t you ever dare attack young actors who are just starting out for something the writers did and b) I did not hate it.

I think this show tries. It does not always succeed and if it’s not your thing, by no means should you watch it. But I thought it had some really good portrayal of teenagers in it (and they make mistakes and they are dumb sometimes and do hurtful stuff) and also a really interesting family dynamic and much darker backstory than what it might look like. This is not some new weird spin on Gilmore Girls, this is about doing EVERYTHING for your family, no matter what. Is that always the right thing? No, but the show also never implies that it is. It never felt like they condoned what the characters did or said, but rather portrayed a messy life with some really bad takes, but that’s closer to reality than a lot of other stuff out there?

The show is not perfect! I’m not saying that, because a lot of the criticism is valid. But the young actors were involved in a lot of the scenes that were important to them (the racial debates, etc.) and drew from real life experiences. I don’t think that should be discarded entirely.

For fans of: teen shows with twists

Flora & Ulysses

This movie is just so cute!

Having a home at Disney+, they can make references to all the Marvel heroes, but Flora & Ulysses is a superhero movie all of its own. This squirrel is not just freaking cute, but it will worm its way into your heart for sure. The film works for the whole family and is sure to delight.

For fans of: superhero stuff for kids and the whole family

Moxie

I was really excited for this movie and it did not disappoint (mostly wanted to watch because Anjelika Washington from Stargirl is in it, but ever since I saw the trailer, I knew this was gonna be good). The message isn’t a new one and it sucks that women and girls still have to fight for equality. A lot of teenagers are much more outspoken and braver these days than I ever was. They are observant and less tolerant of antiquated bs, but it’s movies like this that give you the extra boost to believe again that things actually can change. 

For fans of: feminist uplifting storytelling


Did you watch any of the things mentioned above? Do you plan to? Let’s talk about it!