Double Feature: Southpaw (2015) & Miss Sloane (2016)

Welcome to the next double feature. I rented Southpaw and Miss Sloane on discount on Play Store last month. Two very different films and two very different feelings about it however both heavily reliant on their main character.

Southpaw (2015)

Southpaw

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Oona Lawrence, 50 Cent, Naomie Harris

Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Wills to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services. – IMDB

If there is one word to describe Southpaw, it would be disappointing. It isn’t particularly a bad film as the performances were great. Rachel McAdams did great for what it was. Jake Gyllenhaal was fantastic and I absolutely love Forest Whitaker who is an underrated actor. The girl who played the daughter was Oona Lawrence and that arc was decent.

However, the flaw lies in the fact that Southpaw is pretty much another Rocky story in many instances and we already had Creed recently that was much more engaging. It didn’t help that Southpaw was a little too dramatic at parts but never made it feel very exciting to watch. Seeing the stellar cast being in this uninspired script truly was a lackluster experience.

Miss Sloane (2016)

miss sloane

Director: John Madden

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Alison Pill, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, John Lithgow, Jake Lacy

In the high-stakes world of political power-brokers, Elizabeth Sloane is the most sought after and formidable lobbyist in D.C. But when taking on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds winning may come at too high a price. – IMDB

Miss Sloane was a movie that I went in with no idea of what the premise is. I have heard good things about it and I have enjoyed Jessica Chastain. Miss Sloane is such a vibrant character wrapped up in a tough and ruthless shell. She is strong and strategic in all her plans and for all the reasons, it makes us wonder on what she has under her sleeve even in the most desperate of situations but it is what makes her compelling to watch.

Miss Sloane, just as the title implies, is truly based on Jessica Chastain and how she takes on the role and she did an outstanding job. As we navigate through her way of life and the little things, while she isn’t exactly a character you would cheer for because of her lack of ethics and morals in some of her decisions, every part whether planned or not comes into play and that gives full credit for the screenwriters doing a fine job at giving it a good pacing that keeps everything moving and finding a balance to learn just enough about Miss Sloane and keeping enough to make everything make sense and surprise when it falls into place.

While Miss Sloane isn’t typically the movie that I would watch, I’m glad that I did because it was absolutely awesome. Gripping, compelling and full of twists and turns around every corner. This one is a must see.

Have you seen Southpaw and/or Miss Sloane?

Book Review: Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham

In celebration of The Wolf Among Us FINALLY getting a sequel, I decided to also finally start reading its source material.

Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile
Written by: Bill Willingham
Artists: Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Craig Hamilton

fables

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the “mundys,” their name for normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society that they call Fabletown. From their exclusive luxury apartment buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, these creatures of legend must fight for their survival in the new world. – Goodreads

Wow! Fables may possibly be one of my favorite graphic novels to date. I played The Wolf Among Us before I had read any of these books and I loved the play on the traditional characters and Bigsby Wolf being a detective and how being a wolf he links into all these stories. Its kind of like what TV series Once Upon A Time does. Changing up fairy tales are one of my favorite premises and Fables does it so well. Actually, Fables was everything I expected and so much more. Bigsby Wolf is a great character and a detective and gives off something of a more rugged Sherlock Holmes feeling where he does a lot of things that helps him deduct a situation but the finale turns out to be a huge reveal that wasn’t apparent but makes so much sense.

This first case was definitely a mystery and it was a nice introduction to the wide cast of fairy tale characters that we are all familiar with from the famous Snow White and her Prince Charming to Belle and Beast as well as one of the few scenes used in The Wolf Among Us where a pig from the Three Little Pigs try to make Bigsby Wolf guilty for being the one who took away their house. At the same time, we do have some play on other characters like Red Rose which turns out to be Snow White’s sister and also the victim in this case making it close to our hearts. The key characters are generally introduced here and they are all dynamic and full of possible character development.

This 10th anniversary edition includes the first five issues of the Vertigo series and includes a short story which really was a great reading experience altogether. The visuals/art style was fantastic and honestly, I’m into the tone and the detective investigation story here.

What did make it much more surprising in a great way is that Telltale Games did truly adapt the character of Bigsby Wolf well in its game while switching up the story and mystery however still retaining most of the characters and their personalities. The tone was great. I actually did an episodic and overall recap over at That Moment In so feel free to head over there to read it.

Reading this has made me even more excited about The Wolf Among Us 2 while still hoping to get my hands on Fables Volume 2 soon.

Game Warp Podcast: The Darkside Detective (2017) Review

Happy Thursday everyone!

I’ve been feeling a tad under the weather lately so decided the last minute to change my original plans and post something simple.
If you don’t follow us on Facebook or subscribed to our Youtube Channel, we actually do small reviews of newer games. Our latest was released today for this point and click paranormal detective game called The Darkside Detective.

This episode marks something very special for us and says quite a bit about this game. Hope you check it out and enjoy! πŸ™‚

Thanks for watching!

TV Binge: Riverdale (Season 1, 2017)

Finally! Its time for another TV binge and we are finally getting to Riverdale. It feels like I finished the series forever. However, don’t you worry about my memory because I remember a good bit of it still… Thats got to be a sign of a great show, right?

Riverdale (Season 1, 2017)

riverdale

Creator: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Cast: K.J. Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Cole Sprouse, Marisol Nichols, Luke Perry, Casey Cott, Madelaine Petsch, Madchen Amick, Ashleigh Murray, Skeet Ulrich, Lochlyn Munro

As some of you already know, I’ve beem catching up with the comic reboot onto its new graphic novel style and it goes perfectly with the series. Story wise it stays fairly separate although I have read that the issues are considered bridges but I disagree because just take how they make Ms. Grundy a young teacher in the series instead of an older lady in the Archie comics. That may be a point where die hard fans might disagree. However, I’m not one to hate on adaptation material to switch up details to make it more dramatic. And the Ms. Grundy plot works for the most part and as one of the big situations that start off the first season, it truly shows how the show is willing to take risks and turn into a much darker tone than its original source material and in fact just bring the location Riverdale and its colorful characters to life.

Season 1 of Riverdale starts with the disappearance and soon realized death of Jason Blossom, the son of one of the wealthiest families in the small town of Riverdale. Aside from the death, we also see the beautiful and rich Veronica move in town as her appearance captivates Archie, a teenage boy who is best friends with his next door neighbor, Betty and aspires to be a musician while being on the football team. His best friend is Jughead who is best described as a loner because he chooses to be that and also happens to be the narrator of this series as he investigates to put together his novel. In fact that is how the series starts and they try to figure out what happened on July the 4th when Jason Blossom was allegedly murdered and its a series long investigation on who was where and why they were there and all the dark secrets that everyone is hiding.

Spoilers ahead!!!

What I like:

  • Betty & Veronica

betty and veronica

I’ve always been a fan of these two ladies. They have a much more different vibe here as they work more on their friendship together than being rivals over Archie. In fact, these ladies aren’t about Archie so much as they care about each other and are different in their own ways. Betty is nice on the outside but has an odd dark side that is hidden most of the time whereas Ronnie tries her best to change her old ways and be nicer to everyone even if she sometimes takes the wrong approach.

  • Betty & Jughead

riverdale

Rumors had it when the show started that Jughead had a possibility of being asexual and that would be a meaningful character so when he turned out to have a romantic arc with Betty, there was some backlash. However, the best part of the show and my most favorite bits are with Jughead and Betty together or separately. They are close and understand each other and have so many great moments where they support each other. Most importantly, they are both nice people who are unique from their group and in many ways, also each have their darker side and their secrets and together they make each other stronger.

  • Jughead

Jughead is possibly the most complex character on Riverdale. Along with Betty… However, he has hidden facts and family ties and all sort of things along with his lack of connection with his emotions and his tendency to build a wall from other people except a trusted few. Plus, he also is the narrator of the show and the going-ons. Season 1 in reality was about him. He has so much more in here than in the comics as he now has a girlfriend and while he does love his burgers, he still has other things to deal with. So much to learn and uncover especially with way Season 1 ended. Its going to be an exciting ride into Season 2, or at least I can only hope.

  • Cheryl Blossom

Riverdale

Another complex character here is Cheryl Blossom. She wants to be loved. This is one of those turning points in the show for her character that I honestly loved. It showed a side of her that was strong and would resist the power her parents had over her especially to please them and be who they wanted her to be no matter how wrong it was. Although, the way she grew up does implicate that she’s going to be doing some more drastic things and who knows what else she’ll be up to.

What I didn’t like/needs more work

  • Archie

archie

Thank goodness that this show is called Riverdale and not named after the comics and called Archie. While we’d expect it to still be called Archie in our minds, especially for fans of the old comics. This show’s weakness for about 70% of it was Archie. He actually might be the one person exactly like the comics. Maybe just a little less clumsy but he’s pretty lost and indecisive in what he wants so he never knows when to chase after what he desires. There just seems to lack depth in his character and hopefully in Season 2, it will be something of a Vampire Diaries situation where he will have his stage and character development after the first season’s foundation has been put down. I didn’t not like Archie, just thought he was a little boring, even with all his drama and his family and all that stuff.

Overall…

Riverdale is a really great show. I liked a lot of the components. Up there is what I honestly loved for the show and the one thing I hope they’d improve on. However, the mystery of the show works really well as they follow the trail of Jason Blossom’s death. There are some fantastic moments. The supporting cast was also in the parents’ roles. It was a little more messy on that front possibly intentionally however, it was more soap drama than anything else although, another thing worth mentioning is the bromance between Jughead and Archie as well as the Riverdale High crew. There was a cameo that last one or two episodes with Molly Ringwald as Archie’s mom which was nice to see as well as some familiar faces. There is no doubt that my favorite characters are Betty and Jughead together and separate but usually what starts together won’t last so I’m trying to keep my expectations low so it doesn’t break my heart if and when something happens.

riverdale

Riverdale is incredibly well done. The tone change and the characters really come to life in this show. There’s some bits and pieces that need some polish but I’m more than confident that by Season 2, they will get everything together and it’ll be an even crazier ride.

My Weekly Adventures #48

Its been a month since our last update! Honestly, the last one would’ve been just pure Fantasia Festival recap. I was going to put together a Top 5 or 10 films of Fantasia that I saw but after one recording, I just wasn’t happy with it so ended up putting that to the side. I still want to do something more for Fantasia Festival. Just giving it a little time to cool down as I catch up with some outstanding posts. Regardless, that is my own housekeeping and I won’t bore you further with it. On the note of housekeeping, the indexes for both books and movies are updated till the beginning of August so if you are looking for anything, you’ll find it there. I’ll work on restructuring that a little more by the end of the year.

Without further ado, let’s see what went on this past month! πŸ™‚

Fantasia International Film Festival

Its obvious that the first thing to talk about is Fantasia Festival. It took most of July and overlapped the last My Weekly Adventures. Here’s some of the photos that I took from the Q&As. I did more recording than pictures. I’m thinking of compiling something out of it but working on that. Maybe it’ll be too late when I finally get around to it. However, you can find Fantasia movie reviews both in the Movies section or the drop down to Fantasia Festival, which will queue up all the last 15 posts or something about it.

If you look back at the Fantasia Festival movie list before I started (this post HERE), a good 40% of it probably had changed for many reasons. However, the original plan was around 15 movies and I watched about 14 and had an extra post for the short films. Things worked out quite well, I’d say. I will however get the Top 5 or 10 films list done soon. As I’m writing this, it feels necessary to give it a final wrap-up even if its late.

What made Fantasia Festival even better, other than the press pass was having my best friend join me for a day and my husband join me for two movies for back to back weekend date nights. I’d say this event coverage was pretty awesome! πŸ™‚

New Blinds & Decoration

Seeing as I managed to spare some normal expenses in July, I decided to achieve the 2017 goals of changing our kitchen curtains which were lacy white curtains to actual blinds. After some discussion, we got the dark brown bamboo blinds and they are fantastic and match our color scheme perfectly. We just forgot to get a small one for the door but we will live. However, on our trip to Bouclair (a home decor chain in Quebec), I found this darling decoration on top. In case you haven’t realized, I love the word dream so one more thing to add to the den as I slowly transform it into my little world.

Sessions 375 x Ile Soniq

sessions 375 x ile soniq

August is like the music festival month. The first weekend kicks off with Osheaga Festival and then last weekend was Ile Soniq. For those who don’t know, I’m like electronic music quite a bit. I’ve been listening to it and honestly as the years gone by, I’ve become more selective. I’ve always wanted to go to Ile Soniq but never really had the chance, mostly because I don’t want to go to these events by myself. However, Phoebe (aka The Starry Traveler & my co-host of Battle of Ingredients, which will return from hiatus very soon) dropped me a message and said that there was a free event in celebration of the Montreal 375th birthday called Sessions 375 x Ile Soniq En Ville. I met up with her at a midpoint and headed there with her and her bun bun. She has the goal of exposing her little one to all kinds of stuff so we didn’t go into the event grounds because of long line-ups and crowds and safety purposes but we watched and listened from afar and it was good enough for us.

The evening ended with a meal and I’ll be sharing a post on that soon. We have two foodie posts coming up. πŸ™‚

Matsuri Japon Festival & Brossard Cultural Fest

J-Dog

Imadake

Matsuri

Takoyaki

Every year, Matsuri Japon Festival and Brossard Cultural Fest lands on the same day so as usual, my friends and I head out to these events. First stop for lunch is Matsuri and we shared all those foods and my friend had some noodles also, which is not here. The day was incredibly local showers since we were in and out of rain and seriously one patch would have rain and the other would not.

Brossard Cultural Fest

Brossard Cultural Fest

Next up at Brossard Cultural Fest! We just made a little walk around, had a natural juice popstick and then got rained on a little and then left for home. There were some cute bouncy inflatable things every where for the kids and it was so awesome. My fave was the giant T-Rex but there was also a huge tiger, etc. Super cool stuff!

Game Warp – Instagram Fun

Not sure if I had mentioned it before but Game Warp Podcast has a Instagram. We mostly share random gaming stuff that we come across and hope to expand our platform a little more. Earlier this month, we decided to do a little social experiment, thought up by my fantastic co-host to see if we took selfies and held some random gaming stuff, we could get some more views. We ended having quite some fun with it and I’m thinking of doing that again. Mine turned out pretty good, which is so rare so I even changed a few of my profile pic to this one.

Yes, I know shameless promotion again! You got it! If you have Instagram, go and give us a follow! πŸ™‚

Cute Kitty Pic

Upcoming:

  • Battle of Ingredients (summer hiatus ends)
  • Foodie Restaurant Recaps
  • Movie Double Features
  • TV Binges
  • Books
  • Top 10 Fantasia Films Seen

That’s it for this My Weekly Adventures (more like Monthly)!
What have you been up to?

Recap: Goodfood #2

Guess what? (or maybe I told you in the last recap HERE) We went for another Goodfood box right after that trial first week because the menu looks fantastic.

The second box came as expected. What is really nice is that I had wanted to skip it and couldn’t figure out how to get it done and the customer service was very prompt in answering my questions and had detailed answers to help me navigate through it. Good customer service is another great point of this company.

The box came right on time. This time the weather was great however, the box did have a little broken part at the bottom. Perhaps something about their delivery service system should be improved. There should be more care especially when handling a box designed to insulate for a certain amount of time and has meats inside especially in the summer. Luckily, the week before the temperature did happen to drop a little so we were okay for the most part.

Regardless of that, the menu for that week was great and to be honest, most of it turned it pretty awesome as well. Here’s the recap!

Korean Vegetable Bibimbap
with Shitakes, Kale and Quick-pickled Veggies

Korean Bibimbap

This was a ton of work to put together from the pickling to the chopping. However, it was also really worth the effort because it was delicious. Not to mention a recipe that I’ve kept thinking of redoing once I get a chance to buy the spice that it uses in the rice. However, they did give us a lot more kale than we needed. As my husband made a valid point, more is better than less. So we had a generous portion of kale that was used for just a veggie side for the next day. This was the main reason why I wanted this week’s menu and I’m glad that it lived up to my expectations.

North African Spiced Chicken
with Grilled Vegetable Tabbouleh and Fresh Chickpeas

North African Chicken

Possibly my husband’s favorite meal in this box. The North african spices were very flavorful and paired up with the fresh tabbouleh with grilled veggies and some crispy fresh onions/shallots (can’t remember which as I’m writing this up) and cucumbers, it worked great together.

Maple Pork Burger
with Oven Roasted French Fries and Bacon Dipping Sauce

maple pork burger oven-roasted french fries

Sorry for the not perfect picture here. We actually made this one morning and then went down to watch TV and just kind of ate the two separately. I had the fries first and it went super well with the dipping sauce. That sauce was actually to die for. Then we had the burger. Mine is without the uncooked veggies so its pretty bare-bones. However, my husband ate his and didn’t take a picture so well, this is what I’m left with. However, this burger was good. I actually like pork burgers more and more now because we are growing some odd thing towards beef, maybe because its harder to digest so it makes us bloated. Personal problems. However, this was tasty also. Its a burger and it was a nice twist on the traditional beef patty.

BBQ Rubbed Steaks
with Summery Sweet Potato and Zucchini Hash

BBQ Rubbed Steak

Yummy! This one was so awesome! The zucchini and sweet potato had a nice crispiness to them even thought it was cooked and then the spices and the steak were fantastic. It wasn’t a huge portion of meat but just enough to make this have a nice healthy balance. Its definitely one that I plan on doing again or maybe using the same vegetable portion and match with chicken or pork chops or something like that.

Overall…

This Goodfood box was great. There were some amazing meals. However, all of these had relatively longer prep times. That is one that I do suggest to add to the meals is the prep time. I’m not sure if their time right now includes both prep and cook because some of the things with more to cut do become quite lengthy. I always budget out an hour or more to do these recipes with more chopping to do because honestly that is where the slow part is for myself. Of course, if you are a chopping master in the kitchen, this should go by quickly. However, these recipes to incorporate some level of multitask so it helps shrink the cooking time by a little also. My fave of the bibimbap, my husband’s was the north-african chicken and we both like the rubbed steak and the pork burger was decent also. This box was a definite winner.

We are taking a little break from meal subscription boxes to get back to cooking normally but I’ll report back next month probably with more if the meals match our tastes.

Double Feature: Knight and Day (2010) & Bang Bang (2014)

Welcome to another double feature!

This time we have a deliberate pair-up. Knight and Day was released in 2010 and is a through and through Hollywood production with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. According to Rotten Tomatoes (and a few people that I mentioned to), it isn’t really that well received. Which makes it weird that it was turned into a Bollywood film in 2014 called Bang Bang! starring familiar faces like Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, both of which I’ve seen movies of before. You’d think that I saw Knight and Day first but I actually saw Bang Bang first and then decided to give the original a shot to see how they compare.

Knight and Day (2010)

Knight and Day

Director: James Mangold

Cast: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgaard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano

A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name. – IMDB

Knight and Day is pretty much and action comedy with hints of romance. Its a fun ride with some awkward moments. You can never fault Tom Cruise for not delivering on action but how can we be satiated when we have the last two Mission:Impossible, right? With that said, there seems to be forced dialogue and some things that don’t always flow well along with characters that try to be deep but never quite hit the potential. It might simply be the fact that Tom Cruise has always been a cool dude so when he is doing the passive thing or saying some sarcastic or some misplaced encouragement or whatnot to Cameron Diaz’s character June, there is the rare moment that it works but mostly, it doesn’t seem to fit the character too well or maybe its because its Tom Cruise and it doesn’t fit him. Always a danger of this happening when using huge stars.

Knight and Day also has some familiar faces like a cameo by Gal Gadot. Viola Davis is the Director who is the head of the good side, aka managing the spy and her mission is to catch Roy who has gone rogue. Then you have Paul Dano who is the nerd kid who invented a powerful something that everyone is after. Possibly, the most fun is in the final act particularly after a truth serum is used. Cameron Diaz has always been a hit and miss. For example, I didn’t like Bad Teacher but I love The Holiday.

Overall, I honestly don’t have much to say about Knight and Day. Its good for a watch and it was fun and entertaining but something didn’t feel right and the more I think about it, it might just be awkward dialogue and my not seeing Tom Cruise as this character.

Or it could be that I saw the remake first…

Bang Bang (2014)

bang bang

Director: Siddharth Anand

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Pavan Malhotra, Danny Denzongpa, Javed Jaffrey, Jimmy Shergill, Vikram Gokhale

A young bank receptionist gets mixed up with Rajveer Nanda, a man who has a mysterious background. – IMDB

Some of you know that with Netflix having more foreign films, I have opened up my world slightly and slowly to Bollywood films. They do take up a ton of time but its usually a decent experience so far. I am a fan of Hrithik Roshan since Dhoom 2 (review HERE). The man is like the whole package and some and in Bang Bang, he proves that he can also be almost like Tom Cruise. Knight and Day being a Bollywood remake is the perfect fit. The corny dialogue and the serious and fun but over the top action: it works here so well. The key here is that Bang Bang keeps a tone that is very light-hearted. To be honest, the Bollywood singing and dancing parts are used quite sparsely in comparison to other films so it makes it possibly even an easily entry point for those that feel less inclined because of these usually odd transitions. I always find Bollywood musical segments appealing to watch. This one is absolutely no exception especially because both Katrina Kaif and Hrithik Roshan got the moves.

Bang Bang only changes the story a little as in its stealing a diamond Kohinoor and that its a more personal affair than the original. At the same time, Bang Bang also remakes some of the scenes almost exactly the same. In fact, some of the dialogue is also incredibly similar. If you went into Bang Bang having already seen Knight and Day, a good at least 70% of this will look familiar. Bang Bang definitely does lack originality on that front. There is no denying it, especially in many scenes like the beach scenes where only the escape is different or how the attack was constructed. Same applies for the final scene that I loved so much in the original.

However, what Bang Bang makes up for is the charm that it has with Hrithik Roshan playing Rajveer and Katrina Kaif playing Harleen. Somehow, the music and dance and their personalities truly shine and match with this story. Its a much better fit for these characters. There is some cheesy moments but it also comes with the expectations and Bollywood films that I’ve seen tend to be structured in this way tonally. It just blends very well together with what this type of story tried to achieve. Of course, Indian cinema has changed now and there are horror films and other more dramatic entries and especially more action which is void of the whole Bollywood musical thing.

With that said, I like Bang Bang more than Knight and Day. I like Knight and Day for its finale whereas Bang Bang was much more of an overall experience.

Have you seen Knight and Day and/or Bang Bang?
Also, if you did see it, I made a little banner for this double feature. What do you think about it?