What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #45

Once again, I have watched more movies than TV shows. IT JUST HAPPENED! It feels so unlike me to not plunge into shows as much, but nothing really caught my eyes the way it usually does. Maybe I am just still hung up on the Haunting series … either way, here’s what I’ve watched instead.

The Broken Hearts Gallery

I’ve waited for this movie so long and it did not disappoint one bit!

Remember when I raved on and on about Set It Up after its release? I praised it for lifting the dry spell of really actually good romcoms, well … The Broken Hearts Gallery is that for 2020 for me. First of all, the chemistry between Dacre Montgomery and Geraldine Viswanathan is off the charts and effortless and easy and secondly, it follows what you’d expect a romcom to be while still never feeling stale or boring.

Add to that the fact that the lead is a woman of color who is not a size zero, who has an ex who is also played by a man of color and a best friend who is also a woman of color. I mean, thank heavens for that alone. Something that actually resembles reality and makes the characters feel real and still gives you the warm fuzzies inside.

For fans of: GOOD romcoms (not that cheeseball fest that Hallmark does)

Rebecca

I basically wrote a whole freaking short essay in defense of this movie on my letterboxd account, because all I saw was people trashing this movie.

If you adore the book or Hitchcock’s adaptation of Rebecca, then maybe this just isn’t for you. If you are, however, able to look beyond what has always existed and can appreciate beautiful aesthetic, a different/happier approach to how it all ends as well as how stunning Lily James and Armie Hammer look as a couple, then, by all means, check out the movie!

I, personally, enjoyed it a lot. It has a couple slow bits, but I appreciated that this wasn’t just the same story again and again. It may have lost some of its gothic character, but Kristin Scott Thomas delivers a striking performance as Mrs. Danvers and Lily’s character (nameless as ever) carries the whole movie.

There is some doubt in my mind that this was an unforgettable movie, but I do believe that some specific shots will remain in my mind forever.

For fans of: anyone on the cast, pretty Netflix stuff

Clouds

It is so very difficult to review a movie that is not just based on real people, but where the film maker knew the person in question and involved his entire family and group of friends in the making of the movie. I’m sure there were some creative liberties that were taken, but this was someone’s life, someone’s legacy – namely that of Zach Sobiech.

When you watch Clouds, it won’t take long until you find tears welling up in your eyes. By the end, I was a sobbing mess. Zach gave this world so much and always tried to show up for everyone, even when he barely had any energy left, which is why people kept showing up for him when it mattered. I enjoyed the film, but it’s still heartbreaking that this is a reality.

For fans of: inspiring sadness, strength in music

Holidate

Sometimes Netflix just makes utterly cringey stuff. They really tried to pack so much into this movie, including every single holiday they can imagine, which is a lot to being with anyway, and then add more stuff on top. I’m not a huge Emma Roberts fan to begin with, but it was hard to watch this movie anyway.

They tried to be self-aware and self-depreciating, but it just didn’t work? I don’t know how else to phrase it?

For fans of: I don’t even know? Movies that try to include as many holidays as possible?

Love and Monsters

I’ve missed Dylan O’Brien on my screen and am especially proud of him for doing movies like Love and Monsters, knowing how difficult it is for him to film any stunt scenes after his accident a couple years ago. And yet, this movie was so worth it!

A mix of adventure, love story and just pure fun and monsters is what makes Love and Monsters work. Dylan’s character is all of us, freezing in the most crucial moments, but especially faced by larger than life insects and creatures of all kind. But then he goes on this incredible journey and develops in such a beautiful way, while also still being able to deliver that ounce of humour we all need to lighten things. This movie just has so much heart!

The best moment was when he met Boy though. Boy, being a dog and all, doesn’t have a speaking role, but is still a scene-stealer extraordinaire. The dog trainer said that they had never seen such a close bond off screen either, so, that makes it all the more special too. I just loved that tiny bit of bts information!

In the end, the real star was the dog, but still – very much worth it!

For fans of: Dylan O’Brien, cute and super awesome dogs in movies

The Cellar (Ep 1, Amazing Stories)

This was born out of a need for more Dylan O’Brien and Victoria Pedretti.

So, technically, Amazing Stories is a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s series from the 80s. It’s an anthology Sci-Fi show, where each episode is a different story with different people in it. I am just going to talk about the one episode I watched, which was the Cellar.

Basically, you watch Dylan and Victoria fall in love as one of them is a time traveler and the other one was born a century ago. They have to find their places and it’s super tragic and I can’t believe they fit that into 50 minutes. I would have watched a three hour movie about it and would still 100% watch a sequel (which there will never be).

For fans of: Dylan O’Brien, Victoria Pedretti, time travel, love across time

You Me Her (Season 5)

I’m actually not sure if I have talked about this show before or not … I think I might have mentioned it. Anyway, it’s about a polyamorous relationship and this was the final season. It doesn’t really make sense to watch this or read about it unless you’ve watched the previous seasons?

It’s a Canadian show, I’ve been to set before, I generally like the vibe of it. There’s not a lot of shows that treat polyamory like a real long term relationship option, so that always caught my eye and I didn’t know that this would be the final season, but in the end it made so much sense. In the end, I was glad it was finally over, because if they had broken up one more time, I would have thrown them into the sun. But this? It worked and gave everyone the finish they deserved.

For fans of: exploration of polyamory


Have you watched any of these as well? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #41

I’ve watched so much since the last time I posted this feature, but I don’t think I will include everything I have torn through. Here are some of the things though, but please remember that these really are just mini reviews. I am 100% open to talk more about it in the comments!

Julie and the Phantoms (Season 1)

I would have LOVED this show as a teen. His has cute ghost boys, beautiful music and just wholesome content with pretend high stakes (because you KNOW it’s not going to end in doom and gloom). Very much in the spirit of Disney and Nickelodeon shows, the acting isn’t the best ever, but you get attached to those characters none the less and it’s all really funny. That’s really the prevalent theme for me as I watched this: I had a lot of fun.

Not gonna lie, I am pretty sure that a lot of my like for it also comes from the fact that they say it’s Hollywood, but it’s very recognizably filmed in Vancouver and I just walked those streets a thousand times. I miss my town. Also, there’s gay ghost boys and it’s really cute!

For fans of: cute teen supernatural shows with music

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet (Season 1)

Every time I start an Apple TV show, I am surprised just how much I love it. No matter what I watch on that platform, I end up adoring it and I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but it just always ends up so good. Mythic Quest is one of those perfect workplace comedies and especially the Quarantine episode had me in actual tears. Episode 5 also has a very special place in my heart, because it reminded me of a less twisted Black Mirror episode for some reason (still don’t know where that association came from).

Some of the realism that gamers might be looking for in this show is lost to gags, but who tunes into a fictional program for realism? There’s some well known faces on Mythic Quest, but I really loved Charlotte Nicdao as Poppy Li – she was a true revelation for me.

For fans of: gaming industry, behind the scenes shows

Freaks – You’re One of Us

You know that I encourage everyone to watch some of the international Netflix content, or specifically some of the German releases. Freaks is one of those movies that I think might get quite lost, but is actually a really interesting story.

Unlike in so many other “superhero” shows and movies, this is focused on a pretty regular, middle class mother, who learns that her powers have been suppressed since childhood. It’s slow-paced, with a great betrayal-storyline and almost like a set-up for a potential franchise. I don’t know what the plans are, but I’d definitely be here for more.

For fans of: international Netflix productions, adults discovering they have superpowers, the adult chosen one

Uncorked

Anytime I see a movie or show with Mamoudou Athie, I just fall in love with him and his acting again (seriously, don’t hesitate to watch him in the likes of Sorry for Your Loss or Unicorn Store). This movie is focused on his character Elijah, who is torn between following in his father’s footsteps and taking over the family BBQ restaurant or following his passion of becoming a sommelier. 

Back when I was in school, I took an exam to become a junior sommelier (don’t ask me anything about wine though) and I have also gone to France for a while and I have also had to deal with bad family news (don’t want to go into specifics because … spoilers?) while I was abroad. I did not expect to find so much to connect to in this movie, but I really did and loved it for it.

For fans of: wine, anyone from the cast, family dramas

The Sleepover

I honestly just watched this movie, because it gave me Spy Kids vibes. Those vibes were totally justified and I’d compare it to that, although it was obviously far less whacky and not actually about spies. It’s not a must-see, but it’s an okay and nice enough way to pass time.

For fans of: Spy Kids, Babynator, parents having a secret life

All Together Now

This movie is equally heart-warming and heart-breaking. I knew I was going to cry, and even though it took a bit longer than expected, it sure did happen. All Together Now is about allowing others to help you when you need it and overcoming obstacles at a young age.

It’s very much a humble way to tell this (I believe based on a novel called Sorta Like a Rockstar) story. It’s quiet and slowly paced and unexciting, but it will cozy up to your heart regardless. However, don’t expect this one to be as much about singing as the casting and the premise might suggest. That is not the main focus.

For fans of: heartwarming stories


Did you watch any of these things? Do you plan to? Let’s talk!

Mini Reviews: Teen Titans: Raven/Beast Boy

As much as I like comic books, I always struggle to review them. Anyway, I really liked the Teen Titans, so, I figured I at least gave them a try with a mini review! Haven’t done of these posts in a really long time.

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia (author) and Gabriel Picolo (illustrator)

Teen Titans: RavenA while ago, I would have firmly claimed to be a Marvel girl, but if we are being entirely honest, I am mostly consuming DC content now. While I have never watched or read Teen Titans before, I did watch DC’s Titans and liked it for the most part. This is entirely different, but I feel like that previous knowledge came in handy with Raven anyway.

The graphic novel very much focuses on Raven’s insecurities and her way of trying to figure out who she is as a person. Since she can’t remember anything, she tends to question everything instead of listening to her gut. She’s a teenager, so, she sometimes makes cringy choices, but I found those were easy to forgive.

Something I found confusing at times were the transitions between scenes, as they seemed very disconnected. I also felt like there was definitely some prior knowledge required, or you’d be a bit lost when certain characters started showing up.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Interesting introduction to this series.

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia (author) and Gabriel Picolo (illustrator)

Teen Titans: Beast BoyI loved the illustration in this one even more than in the first one, even though it was both done by the same person. Gabriel Picolo has mentioned several times that Beast Boy is very near and dear to his heart and it shows. Especially the pages where Gar uses his powers for the first time are just swoon-worthy.

Again, this one also heavily focuses on the insecurities of the main character. For now, it’s what ties them together as they haven’t met yet. Gar just wants to be popular, not because he likes the people so much, but because he wants to prove a point. I understood why his friends were annoyed with him at times and appreciated that they had their own struggles to face. Still, there was a definite relatability to it, which made Gar very endearing.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! I was never once bored while reading.


Over all, I was really happy with these graphic novels! I think the illustration especially was excellent and I cannot wait for the third book (Beast Boy Loves Raven in Fall 2021). Have you read these ones as well? 

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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Mini Reviews: The Dire King, Defy Me, Find Me

You won’t believe it, but I have read THREE books THIS WEEK!? It’s been such a long time since I have done this, but it feels like old me. I am not saying I am back to my old form completely, but this is a really good thing. I missed books! (I mean, I love TV shows and movies, but there’s just something about creating a whole world just in your head. Still, because I don’t want a massive hold-back on reviews and I don’t actually have a huge amount to say about each book, I am just going to do mini reviews for them. Here we go:

The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)

The Dire King is the last installment in the Jackaby series, a book series I mainly started due to cover lust, but never really regretted picking up. We are going to ignore the fact that it took me a year to finish this book, because I didn’t want to take it to Berlin with me and only read bits and pieces when I came back to visit, because overall, I really enjoyed this series.

The things I struggled with most, were probably during the crucial “finale battle” scenes. I had a hard time following descriptions of places and couldn’t really picture where characters were at what point during the fight – which is not ideal, to say the least. However, I loved how it all came together in the end! I don’t think this is my favourite part in the entire series, but I liked the thought process behind the end we got, because you could really see how it had all been building up to this.

Also, twains kind of rock!

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Not a bad ending as far as they go!

Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5)I may have given the previous installment in the ever growing Shatter Me series a good rating, but in all honesty, I was disappointed with it. The characters were barely recognisable and the writing style had changed drastically, although it had been one of my favourite components of the original trilogy. I struggled, to say the least. However, something brought me back into the fold with Defy Me.

I could see how this part of the series might split people into two camps, because nothing much happens. The events that took place during the 370-something pages could have probably be told in half that, but I am glad Tahereh Mafi took her time. I loved being back deep into the character’s minds. I loved getting all the angst and complexity that didn’t come from silly romance fails but from decades of abuse and the terrifying task of piecing a broken mind back together. It felt dark and like I couldn’t believe all the things that had happened to bring us to where the book is now.

Maybe, just maybe, not everything ties in nicely with the OG trilogy and I am a little sad at that too. But moving forward with these new books, you’ll just have to accept things or maybe don’t pick up the sequels at all. I was definitely much more on board with this than Restore Me (except for the last 3-4 chapters, because they were sappy and there was legit something that made me question if I just read a whole paragraph wrong with someone’s gunshot wound just disappearing from one chapter to the next …).

Fazit: 4/5 stars! My interest for this series is back again.

Find Me (Call Me By Your Name #2) by André Aciman

Find Me (Call Me By Your Name, #2)For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know how much I adore the Call Me By Your Name book. I love to quote from it, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and all that despite knowing that it has some issues (nevermind the ones concerning the author himself), so when a sequel was announced, I was on board! BIGGEST. LITERARY. DISAPPOINTMENT. OF. MY. LIFE!

This was definitely marketed as a sequel. The blurb on the book (On Goodreads it does mention the dad in the synopsis, but not on the book!) just talks about Elio and Oliver and their love echoing through time, but you know what? That’s not what this book is about, because in the 260 pages I just read, Elio doesn’t show up until after 100+ pages and Oliver past the 200+ page mark. The time they have actual page time together isn’t even noteworthy. Instead, you get to watch Elio’s now divorced dad catch a bad case of instalove (yes, not just instalust, which I would get with this book) for a woman half his age on the train. And then you get to watch Elio do the same just in reverse at a concert.

Hear me out, I am okay with age differences in consenting adult relationships. You do you! I was, however, bugged by the constant mention of casual cheating, like monogamy is just the worst. I don’t mind people in polyamorous or open relationships, but that’s just not what these characters were in at the time of their story. I don’t even want to get started on the aphobic comments that were made either. It’s just not what I signed up for with this book! I was promised the continuation of an epic love … and I only got a rushed fake happy ending for them. I think I am just going to pretend I never read this …

Fazit: 1/5 stars! I regret getting this book so much.

Have you read any of these books or do you want to? Let’s talk about that!