What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #43

I’ve watched astonishingly little these past weeks. Maybe it had to do with me finally getting my laptop to work again and falling into a rabbit hole of playing Sims, or I just wasn’t in the mood. Either way, I got a couple movies in, so, let’s talk about all that.

Dickinson (Season 1)

While I always liked the trailer, I never felt very compelled to actually watch it. I knew of Emily Dickinson, but only barely so and just had no connection to her lifestory or anything of that kind. However, once I started, I could not stop watching!

I can see a lot of people not being huge fans of the anachronistic language, music and so on, but that’s what I found so enticing. Whenever popular music from our decade (or even the last year) started playing, I just vibed with the scene even more. I didn’t even mind the twerking in the huge dresses. And the use of language was just hilarious, with several nods to how ridiculous life was back then sometimes.

The cast did not disappoint either, but it’s what I expected with some of the names on the list. All around, I really enjoyed the whole season and am looking forward to Season 2, which will start airing early January 2021. On a side note though, I would have just watched a show where a girl plucked out of history was dating death. Legit love that as a premise, even if it’s not this show.

For fans of: anachronistic historic content

Can You Keep a Secret?

When I was younger (say around 15?), I had a huge Sophie Kinsella phase and Can You Keep a Secret? was my favourite. I’m now more than a decade older and remembered scarely anything from that book, but was still pleasantly surprised to see it being made into a movie with Alexandra Daddario and Tyler Hoechlin as the leads – so here for those two!

To keep it short, the movie is ridiculous! You will cringe and secondhand embarrassment is also no stranger to the viewers, but it was alright and I laughed quite a bit too. Not the best current romcom out there, but definitely a fun little something.

For fans of: Kinsella’s book, ridiculous romance movies

Secret Society of Second Born Royals

I think I am too old for these movies now? When did Skylar Astin become the dad-/mentor-figure … WHEN!? But anyway, aside from that shocking part, I just found the whole movie very predictable. I don’t understand why every Disney production has to have at least one musical number in it and why everything has to look so fake when it comes to the CGI … so, in conclusion, I am just not the target audience of this anymore. Children out there could probably still enjoy this a whole lot.

For fans of: typical Disney-esque movies with Disney-esque faces

Chemical Hearts

First off, I have not read the book, therefore I have no way of comparing the two and will leave that to other people. I don’t think Chemical Hearts is a bad movie, it’s just … not a very engaging movie either? For long stretches of times, nothing happens. Teens are being their dramatic selves (as they should be! Lord knows I was dramatic af when I was a teen) and emotions are running high all the time. But the director also tried to bring a certain aesthetic to the movie, make it look artsier than the subject matter ist.

I know there is a message about grief and friendship and love in there somewhere, but I felt bored.

For fans of: angsty dramatic teens but with artsy vibes

The Babysitter/The Babysitter: Killer Queen

I don’t do horror. I don’t know how often I’ve said that before and then just do a 180 and watch spooky/scary stuff anyway. The more familiar faces in it, the more I can detach this from becoming scary in reality (cause I really do not enjoy being scared) and this cast seemed to offer me a good enough attempt at watching horror again. It wasn’t the worst?

As per usual, I did not care for the violence and the gore, legit skipped those parts, but other than that, it was actually decent fun? It was also dumb in a lot of parts, but I watched both movies back to back at night and didn’t get nightmares, so I am cool. Also, I really, really appreciate that they got the ENTIRE cast from the first movie for the sequel. That’s not always the case.

For fans of: horror comedy with still quite a lot of violence

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What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #40

Once again, this is going to be sort of long, but I apparently had more time to watch stuff than I thought I did. Let’s hope there’s some shows and movies in there you are interested in!

Home Before Dark (Season 1)

It took me literal months to finish this show and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because Apple TV really isn’t the site to be when you have spotty wifi, but it just took long. That, however, does not reflect on the quality of the show. I’ve really enjoyed all the Apple TV content I have checked out so far and Home Before Dark is no exception.

Based on a real story, Hilde just baffled me as a character. She is eight years old and out there solving intricate decades-old crimes like it’s nothing. It’s not all down to the actors being amazing (and yes, Jim Sturgess as a dad is a BIG draw for me), but the whole case is actually really compelling. I am not a crime person, not even or maybe especially not true crime, but I like this. And I would like to point out that I would not recommend watching this with children, despite the young protagonist.

Home Before Dark has a clean look, the cinematic quality that all Apple-productions bring with them and a great cast of all ages that are (mostly) able to tell this story convincingly.

For fans of: true crime dramatized, Apple content, kid detective stories for adults

Selling Sunset (Season 1-3)

I just one day felt like I should check that out, always enjoying looking at some real estate I will never ever be able to afford, but then I got roped into the drama and … I loved it? Well, that’s not the right way to phrase it. I am actually quite annoyed with some of the drama, because it makes me dislike people (despite knowing that this is scripted to a certain extent), but I never thought I would care for them. I just want to know what happens next at the office, not caring at all whether it’s staged in parts or not. I so know which group of women I’d be friends with if I worked there … But, please, bring back more open houses and showings of the real estate. I just want to judge those residences so bad!

For fans of: LA millionaire houses, docusoaps, women being badass at their job but also fighting each other all the time

Mortel (Season 1)

I’ve had this on my watchlist for a while, but never really felt in the mood for it. With me watching it with subtitles, it’s definitely one of those shows I have to pay attention to (other than French romcoms where I can space out every once in a while). Anyway, while it was a bit darker than I thought it would be (like … I was wondering if I should really watch this in the dead of night), I ended up enjoying it a lot. Most of it is probably due to the romance between the awkward kid and the smart artsy yet cool girl? I was living for that and I am not lying when I am telling you that the hair cutting scene lives in my head rent free!

There was a lot set up for another season and I would definitely be interested to watch it, but I heard different things about it. Some sources say it’s up in the air, others say it’s cancelled, so, I would proceed with caution if you prefer shows with a very clear ending.

For fans of: international Netflix content, dark gods, horror with superhero-elements

The Rain (Season 3)

As happy as I was with the bittersweet end of Dark, I really felt screwed by the finale of the Rain. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say that there are a couple character deaths. Most of them I understood, but others I was just plain furious about, because they were for no good reason in my eyes. My favourite ship was destroyed … and for what? I don’t know! In general, the show ends with this glimmer of hope, but still with a pretty darn glum future for everyone and I don’t know how I feel about that. Maybe a little flash-forward would have helped, anything really to give me a better sense of this being concluded.

I understand that not everything needs to be tied up super neatly and that this leaves it up to the viewer to interpret the fate of the group at the end, but I wanted … more? Something else? These complex and layered world-ending stories are hard to wrap-up, but I am not sure this was it for me.

For fans of: Danish dystopian TV

Ted Lasso (ongoing)

I only saw the first three episodes of this show, as it’s still an ongoing release, but it already has my whole heart. I don’t want to say it’s wholesome, because for that, the word “wanker” is used far too often, but it’s precious in a way. It’s infectious with positivity in ridiculous situations, has some real characters and will make you laugh.

There’s such a fun dynamic of stereotypical American meets stereotypical English people, and while I can understand why people think that’s cliché, if you see it for what it is (entertainment, not to be taken too seriously), it’s hilarious. The characters play off each other perfectly and I am just here rooting for Ted. Him and coach are a duo that I would appreciate in my life, not gonna lie, they’d make everything better.

For fans of: American optimism meets British skepticism/pessimism

Work It

I honestly thought this would be so much worse. I came for Keiynan’s soft pink hair and Jordan Fisher, but stayed because it was an actual fun movie to watch. Definitely not world-class and I am not sure the dancing in the groups was that groundbreaking, but I didn’t hate it. There’s really a part of me that can’t believe that this was produced by the same people who did The Kissing Booth – does not compute in my brain.

Some of the dialogue is cringey and I could not with the shirtless scene in mattress land, but overall, not terrible.

For fans of: teen dance movies, the cast!

Project Power

The plot of this whole movie was very generic and predictable. You think you know what’s going to happen? Yeah, it likely will happen exactly that way. BUT I will give it to them that they had some great characters. The cast alone was a draw for me, but watching it, they were the only highlight.

I love superpowered humans that get messy and those kind of stories, but there was nothing particularly fresh about the approach here. It’s not a bad Netflix movie, but it’s also not them on their A-game.

For fans of: superpowers, the cast, mediocre Netflix movies that will pass the time

Magic Camp

I haven’t turned into the biggest Disney+ fan ever since I subscribed. There’s just not a lot of content on there that interests me, but I was a kid who was totally into magic, so, I figured … why not?

In very Disney-fashion, this definitely delivered as a family movie. You had kids struggle, you had a (found) family element, you had them tugging at your heartstrings, while also attempting to be (more or less successfully) funny. It’s a formula that works, but that doesn’t blow you away. I enjoyed myself, but I also don’t think I would revisit this movie ten more times.

For fans of: family friendly movies, comedians doing movies that are actually more wholesome than you’re used to from them

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What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #13

Since I can’t seem to come up with a more creative title, I am really curious to see to what number I will get with that feature. Anyway, I am sorry for the not very varied content on the blog at the moment. It’s been … a couple of very particular months for me. I just hope you still enjoy the little bit I have to offer and let’s dive into what I’ve watched.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Season 1-2)

This is one of my absolute favourite shows now! I know, I know … I am late to the party and all that jazz, but I have found Midge Maisel and I am happy I did. She’s an icon and even if she wasn’t a real person and only partially inspired by actual living people, her fictional persona is priceless. To think how little women were allowed to do just 50-60 odd years ago, how far we have come and how far we can still go. All of that is packaged in a such fun way with this show! It doesn’t preach or tell you exactly what is the right or wrong way to see things, it just shows you the life of Midge and her family. They make mistakes, fight and make up again and all of that with so much freaking humour. There isn’t a single character that isn’t multi-layered and worthy to root for, even the ones that only occasionally pop up (looking at you Lenny Bruce – I am a sucker for Luke Kirby playing roles not set in the current year).

I’d also like to add that the show was renewed for a 3rd season before the 2nd one even aired and I am here for it!

For fans of: 50s era, behind the scenes of the comedian lifestyle, feminism … I feel like this is very in line with Good Girls Revolt, just focused on a single person and with added humour (still bitter Good Girls Revolt got cancelled by the way …). Also, Season 2 has a definite Dirty Dancing vibe for at least half of the episodes.

The Rain (Season 1-2)

You know that I like myself some international Netflix productions. They are usually very well done, introduce you to some great talent from abroad and include a little language lesson as well (your girl only watches these shows in original sound with English subtitles after all). I originally wanted to start watching the Rain when the first season came out, however, I am glad I waited until the second one was there to binge it all.

It didn’t take long for me to get hooked on the simple premise of the show. From the get go, you as the viewer, can pretty much guess who the key players are and why they are so important, even if it takes them annoyingly long to figure it out themselves. Each episode makes sure to give you background information on everyone bit by bit, so that you’ll understand why they behave the way they do. I got attached to a couple characters really quickly and even found a ship to root for. I loved how single-mindedly Simone was about saving her brother Rasmus, who, by the way, is a huge pain in the ass in my eyes. I understand that he grew up in a bunker with no one but his sister, that he is basically still a child now, but his emotional control is laughable. And while Simone risks everything to keep him safe, he does very little to return the favour even though he pledged to take care of her as well.

Anyway, that’s pretty much it in terms of points of complaint. Rasmus. Other than that, I enjoyed everything so far. Obviously it has flaws and the second season got way more whacky than expected, but I would be curious to see how they resolve this story.

For fans of: apocalyptic scenarios, international productions and subtitles (since the dubbing is terrible) and shows like The 100. I also hope you won’t get too attached to the characters … you never know when you’re gonna loose one of them.

Lucifer (Season 4)

Fun fact for everyone living outside the German territory – the show is actually not on Netflix here! It remains to be available only on Amazon Prime and they obviously don’t show the Netflix logo in the beginning even though it’s their official production now … territorial rights are a pain …

But back to the topic of Season 4. I liked it. I think I watched it all in a matter of one to two days, so that’s always a good sign. I adored the addition of Inbar Lavi as Eve, was somewhat confused about a certain make out scene, but overall thought the season progressed really well. I am glad we are finally getting someplace, that Chloe knows the truth and learns to deal with it. Three seasons of tiptoeing around the subject was making me a little tired of the show, but now we have new challenges to overcome and I am ready to see what happens next!

***SPOILER***

The one thing I was really confused about was the fact that they never had an angel-human-baby before in the entire history of that universe. I watched way too much celestial content before to not be influenced by nephilim and whatnot and I believe they even mentioned them at some point. I know that’s a weird thing to be hung up on, but … that’s me. I don’t have to like it.

***END OF SPOILER***

For fans of: the previous 3 seasons? Inbar Lavi? (That woman is a queen in my eyes. I will never get over the fact that Imposters was cancelled, but at least she got a new cool role) Angels and humans and demons?

Aladdin

I am going to keep this brief. I am so over all the live action remakes of my childhood classics. I don’t care how much nostalgia they want to evoke. I was bored during the new Beauty and the Beast, they made like three new Jungle Books (none of which I liked the animation of), a dark Tarzan, a weird Dumbo (didn’t watch that to be frank) and even Aladdin has its issues, I can’t deny it. HOWEVER, I really enjoyed the movie. Will Smith is a highlight for sure, but overall I just had a good time. Admittedly, I sat between two guys and they laughed SO much during the entire movie, it was contagious. Maybe it was a better experience because of them, but I FELT the songs, I laughed out loud at the jokes and it was nice for the escapism that movies are supposed to be. Was it the best Disney movie ever? No, definitely not. But I had a better time during this one than the other live action ones …


Have you watched any of those shows? Or Aladdin the movie? Do you want to? Let’s talk!

Fall Review: Manhattan Love Story & Happyland

I’ve reviewed a lot of shows for this Fall Season and I am finally about to see an end on the horizon. Today I’m talking about MTV‘s Happyland and ABC‘s Manhattan Love Story! After that I’m only planning on reviewing Jane the Virgin and (the show I am most looking forward to) The Flash. If you still want my opinion on anything else, let me know in the comments below!

Happyland

Have you ever read Dream Factory by Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler? Because this show reminds me so much of the book! It’s basically also about teens that work in an amusement park or theme park that is very similar to Disney’s and about falling in love, the illusion of fairy tales and happy endings. The show definitely diverges on some other topics, because parents are barely involved in the story in the book, but are really important to what’s happening in the series.

I have to admit, that I’ve seen stronger pilots this season. Happyland, while interesting on some level, didn’t grab my attention like other shows managed to do. The actors are alright (and include: Camille Guaty, Shane Harper, Katherine McNamara, Cameron Moulène, Ryan Rottman, Bianca A. Santos, Chris Sheffield, …), but the premise is nothing I haven’t seen before in multiple soap operas. It’s difficult to relate to the fact that your crush seems to be your brother and other than that they are just building on a lot of more love triangle-related drama. I can’t really tell where the show intends to go, but I think I won’t follow it for too long.

Manhattan Love Story

Analeigh Tipton seems to be everywhere these days and I certainly don’t mind it. There really isn’t much to say about Manhattan Love Story; it is a fun sitcom that takes on the difficulties of dating and relationships in New York City. If you’ve watched the Trailer above, you’ve pretty much seen the entire first episode. The main cast isn’t that huge and consists of the aforementioned Analeigh Tipton as well as Jake McDorman, Jade Catta-Preta, Nicholas Wright, Kurt Fuller and Chloe Wepper.

So, this isn’t the smartest of shows or something like that, but people like Romantic Comedies and this one is a pretty standard example of one. Besides the extensive thought voice-overs (which are just too much for me), I really don’t find a flaw in it. The show is sweet and fun and that might just be enough.

What are your thoughts? Talk to me in the comments!

Maleficent

I have no idea how to start this review. I am not even sure I know what I think of the movie …

For everyone who has no idea what Maleficent is; it’s the re-telling of the classic fairy tale Sleeping Beauty from the POV of the dark fairy, Maleficent, herself. Obviously, you get some background of Maleficent and her feud with the king and it explains why Maleficent cursed the baby princess Aurora in the first place – and later on comes to regret her decission.

In my opinion, there were no logic flaws to the storyline, although the humans truly were quite naive and sometimes just greedy and dumb. In general, the movie was quite nice to look at. The conclusion was also as good as can be expected, but in the end I just found it extremely predictable. Maybe that’s where the problem lies … it just didn’t grip me and I wish it had been a tiny bit more entertaining.

Also, I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Elle Fanning and her prince Phillip, played by Brenton Thwaites, didn’t exactly sweep me off my feet either. I absolutely didn’t like the king, which wasn’t necessary in this movie, so, I guess Sharlto Copley did a good job. Although the fairies were extremly annoying and reckless guardians of Aurora, it was nice to see Juno Temple, Leslie Manville and Imelda Staunton (unfortunately, not in pink but in red clothes) in the movie. Now to the main character, portrayed by Angelina Jolie: I think she was amazing and she really inhabited her role. She was purely magnificent! My personal highlight though, was Sam Riley as the raven Diaval. And I am honestly not saying this just because I once met him and found him to be a very nice and extremely cool young gentleman (see picture below)! His role was just the most fun of them all, he looked extremly cool turned into a horse and he has such a nice voice! Don’t you agree?

That's me with Sam Riley. You wouldn't believe the people you can meet in Vienna!
That’s me with Sam Riley. You wouldn’t believe the people you can meet in Vienna!

I love fairy tales, so naturally, I was intrigued and wanted to watch the movie as soon as it got released. From what I saw in the trailer and what I gathered from Lana Del Rey‘s take on the song “Once Upon a Dream” for the soundtrack, I had high hopes for it being a little spooky. I was wrong, but then again, what did I expect from a Disney movie? Generally, I just wasn’t very impressed, but that doesn’t mean it’s a terrible movie. I don’t know how to put everything that I said above in a different way to make it sound less negative, but it’s an alright movie. I can’t seem to find the fitting words, but it’s a good film for a movie night with the family I guess.

What did you think about it? Help me out, maybe you can put your thoughts in better words than I did!