Double Feature: The Lodgers (2017) & Luz (2018)

Welcome to the next double feature as we continue with the alphabet and head into our L selections! The first is an Irish gothic horror called The Lodgers and the second is a German (and Spanish) supernatural horror film. Let’s check it out!

The Lodgers (2017)

the lodgers

Director: Brian O’Malley

Cast: Charlotte Vega, Bill Milner, Eugene Simon, David Bradley, Deirdre O’Kane, Moe Dunford, Roisin Murphy

1920, rural Ireland. Anglo Irish twins Rachel and Edward share a strange existence in their crumbling family estate. Each night, the property becomes the domain of a sinister presence (The Lodgers) which enforces three rules upon the twins: they must be in bed by midnight; they may not permit an outsider past the threshold; if one attempts to escape, the life of the other is placed in jeopardy. When troubled war veteran Sean returns to the nearby village, he is immediately drawn to the mysterious Rachel, who in turn begins to break the rules set out by The Lodgers. – IMDB

The Lodgers is a gloomy sort of film. Its filmed with a dark atmosphere and lingers in a mysterious air as the story of The Lodgers, their rules and these twins’ stories are gradually revealed of why they are bond to the house and what is expected of them. The story does take a nice pace in revealing it and maintains a rather creepy vibe especially in the first half when its laying out the story and the mysterious vibe with the crumbling estate and what the predicament of the twins and the lodgers. Its in the second half when things start unfolding that it starts feeling like it loses a little of its steam since the twist is revealed in a fairly obvious way by that point and its easy to understand where the twist is. To be fair, its actually one of the scenes of the female lead seeing the figures of her parents in the lake that seem to repeat itself one time too many.

The Lodgers falls under one of the issues where the “monster” aka The Lodgers reveal is where it renders the horror element lesser than when it was a mystery.  While that is the case, the whole underwater scene is shot so nicely of where the lodgers reside and who they are. There’s something very fantastically creepy about the deep underwater darkness and its captured so well.

Other than that, there are essentially three main characters here. The female lead Rachel (Charlotte Vega), her twin brother Edward (Bill Milner) and Rachel’s suitor Sean (Eugene Simon). There are a few other supporting cast that help further set up the story and the mystery surrounding the twins and their estate. The three main leads do create a nice dynamic especially watching the interaction between the twins as well as between Rachel and Sean.

The Lodgers do have a few tropes and such but somehow it does have this very chilling and ominous feeling throughout. Its twist is revealed gradually but is rather easy to find the hints to what its trying to build towards by probably the middle of the movie. There are some unique elements to the story that definitely deserve a watch especially with its estate setting being used from inside the house to the grounds as well as having a great cinematography.

Luz (2018)

luz

Director (and writer): Tilman Singer

Cast: Luana Velis, Johannes Benecke, Jan Bluthardt, Lilli Lorenz, Julia Riedler, Nadja Stubiger

Luz, a young cabdriver, drags herself into the brightly lit entrance of a run-down police station. A demonic entity follows her, determined to finally be close to the woman it loves. – IMDB

The best way to describe Luz is probably “odd” and “bizarre”. The whole setup of the movie has this old film filter over its scenes. At the same time, its incredibly psychological. Visually, it uses a lot of close-up shots as well as still shots to capture the moments and emphasize an uneasiness in the scene. It fluctuates between what is reality and hypnotic dimension especially for the character of Luz. There are so many little details set up to bring in a lot of intrigue (and maybe get lost a little in this whole possession) of what is actually happening in the room and what is happening in Luz’s mind. Its all done in such a unique style that adds so much to the story itself.

I do have to say that what works for Luz for some viewers might be what doesn’t work at the same time. Its a strange experience watch and one that challenges piecing together the different parts of the story line especially at the beginning as the events seem to blend together and connecting the characters. As it works towards the finales, the characters and the possession element and the hypnosis world and reality all easily can become this confusing to follow story. For some this confusion might be quite the fun ride. For myself, that ride was unique and as things started to slot back into place, the execution is key to where it all stands out at its best from the cinematography to its use of sounds.

Luz is a hard film to talk about it. Its quite the horror experience on a psychological level and takes a unique approach to the whole possession premise right from start to beginning.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these films? Thoughts?

Music Obsessions- July 2020

Welcome to the next Music Obsessions! We’re in a new month and as things seem to be heading in a better direction, music that I’ve has been fairly fun and matching the season to build up some nice energy!

Timelapse – Corsak

I can’t remember if I used Corsak’s song last month but this one was changed up to a band format in Chinese variety show Me To Us and it was so good that I had to hunt down the original. Its a very motivating song with a rather good message about growing up and dreams and such. Its been quite impressive to catch up with his music and definitely feel like he has some great potential to get bigger as he is a well-rounded musician. I’m definitely looking forward to see more of his music..actually…you’ll be seeing another selection of his later this post 😉

Ice Cream – ZTao

I’ve definitely shared Z.Tao’s music before but I’m also a little on and off with his songs. This one is a change in a style (from the music I’ve heard of his) and goes in a happy, summer and cute sort of song. I mean, its called Ice Cream so its a very sweet song and you don’t really need to know the lyrics and can hear it in the melody.

曜 – R1SE

After Nine Percent disbanded, the next boy group that I’ve been most interested in their progress is R1SE. Its a bit sad that these groups coming out of these competition shows are limited contracts since this group definitely jives well together and has some unique views on how they do their shows and you can see when they have a lot more control in the variety show We Are Blazing just like when they were in Produce Camp 2019. This song is for their one year group anniversary and it really does show their capability in both their vocals and dance performance plus I like the beat a lot.

Chasing – Corsak

I told you that there was another Corsak song! This is a very different song but its an uplifting song that has really grown on me over repeat listens.

元气畅想 – EzGoin乐队
(Me to Us Finale – Special Performance)

Big fan of Me to Us! This band-focused competition show was a ton of fun to watch. Although, this group ended up losing before the big finale, they obviously had enough popularity to get them back for the sponsor song that they wrote which is also very fun and positive. Its all about the happy and no pressure mood and they really do deliver especially bringing in elements of sound effects for the zero calorie carbonated water brand. Very clever and definitely a nice one. Sure, I could go with the final performance or the collab performance with Nicholas Tse of the winning band (which I had originally wanted) but this song goes a little better with the theme of this month’s music obsessions.

As an extra:

Of course, I won’t give up a chance to share anything with Nicholas Tse so here is a snippet of the performance (since I’m pretty sure the full performance has some kind of copyright claim that they can’t release on Youtube). Sad because the whole performance would have the really great part where he shows off his electric guitar skills. I would say that this song definitely defined Nicholas Tse in his early days in the music business but also gave him the bad boy Canto-rock music edge that not a lot of people were doing so this was a highlight point (when is it not when it comes to Nicholas Tse for me…) when he chose this one as a collab song with Tarzan band. The lyrics are fast so I can understand why the lead singer of Tarzan had issues with learning Cantonese lyrics. Still a great performance. Man, Nicholas Tse is awesome! Its been 20 years and he is still fantastic.

That’s it for this Music Obsessions!
What have you been listening to?

Blog Tour: The Memories We Bury by H.A. Leuschel

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From June 29th to July 5th, you can purchase her book for ONLY $0.99 on Amazon! You can also try to win a digital copy of The Memories We Bury by entering the giveaway below!

The Memories We Bury
By: H.A. Leuschel

The Memories We Bury

Publication Date: April 17, 2020
Genre: Contemporary/Psychological Suspense

SYNOPSIS

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In ‘The Memories We Bury’ the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

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REVIEW

The Memories We Bury is a psychological sort of novel that alternates between the first person narrative of its two main characters: Lizzie, a new mother and her elderly neighbor, Morag who has a strong desire to be needed and control and views this opportunity to be a chance to nurture another child. The first person narration style gives these two characters a slowly building development and very much suited as in many ways, this story is something of a character study, especially in terms of Morag who gradually reveals the reason why her children have left her and the other secrets that others have hinted at but never mentioned as it builds up to the big finale where she truly oversteps. On the other hand, Lizzie’s side of the story is much more about motherhood and the suspense behind her suspicions of Morag and her intentions. As their friendship develops over the course of the story, the dynamic changes and it moves between control and manipulation. In that regard, both of the characters are very well-written.

The flow of the story is probably one of the elements that is much  more of a slow-burn. Just like the chapters move through a timeline to give an idea of the progression of time, which didn’t really impact my own reading experience too much. The story unravels very slowly. It could definitely have been paced a little better. As mentioned before, the characters did need the time and events to develop however, it did also feel like it dragged on a little in the middle bits between the beginning build-up which was intriguing to introduce and set-up the two characters and the big climax that was quite scary and shocking overall.

Overall, The Memories We Bury keeps in line with the strong psychological elements of H.A. Heurschel stories. Much like some of the previous works that I’ve read, this one also delivers with another completely different sort of relationship as it jumps into the topic of motherhood as well as friendship. The characters are intriguing to watch and even manages to add a little uncertainty at the end. Its an impressive way to end the story which leaves a little space to contemplate.

Score: 3.5/5

Where to buy: Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Photo - Helene edited

Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy, specializing in the study of the mind. Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first novel, Manipulated Lives, a fictional collection of five novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists. She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

June 29th

Cocktails & Fairytales (Spotlight) https://www.facebook.com/CocktailsFairytales
The Purple Shelf Club (Review) https://www.purpleshelfclub.com/
Rajiv’s Reviews (Review) https://www.rajivsreviews.com/
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June 30th

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com
The Faerie Review (Spotlight) http://www.thefaeriereview.com
Tsarina Press (Spotlight) https://www.tsarinapress.com
Libroum in Sepiternum (Review) http://libroruminsempiternumhome.wordpress.com

July 1st

Meli’s Book Reviews (Review) https://melisbokreviews.wordpress.com/
My Comic Relief (Review) https://mycomicrelief.wordpress.com/
Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

July 2nd

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com
Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com
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July 3rd

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com
Book Reviews by Satabdi (Review) http://satabdimukherjee.wordpress.com
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What’s Up 2020: Week 26

Happy Canada Day! 🙂

Let’s get right down to business! Things have been going pretty well this week’s recap in all departments of reading, watching, playing and binging!

READING

call numbers

  • Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians (Review)

Currently reading: The Memories We Bury

I’m in a bit of a reading blitz phase since I apparently have some lag in reading and bad organization so I end up binge reading a lot. In the matter of a 2 days of focused reading, I went through Call Numbers which is definitely a nice setting and built a decent foundation to kick off for its second book. You can check out the review now.

As of now, I’ve moved onto the next book which was a last minute commitment so I’m working hard on reading through this one right now. Luckily, I’ve read this author’s books before and they are quite easy to get into. The Memories We Bury are alright at about the 20% mark. Review coming up very soon.

PLAYING

glass masquerade 2

Currently playing: Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions

Steam Summer Sale is currently in progress so they had a sweet deal of having a few dollars off from purchases over $35 if I remember correctly. I picked up Glass Masquerade 2: Illusions which I loved the first game, one that I had played earlier this year and is this relaxing experience. After that, I picked up a sweet deal on Soul Calibur VI, Luna and Gorogoa. All games that I’ve been wanting to play. The last week was a bit meh so Glass Masquerade 2 came at a good time to relieve some stress.

WATCHING

ready or not

  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
  • Kidnap (2017, Review)
  • Killer Legends (2014, Review)
  • The Lodgers (2017)
  • Luz (2018)
  • Gone Girl (2014 rewatch, Review)
  • Ready or Not (2019)

Productive movie watching as I tried to get ahead with the double feature selections although once you fall behind, its really not too easy to catch up on. With that said, 2 selections for Movies and Tea this week as well as 4 movies for the double features and then the last one and the one that I’d love to highlight (although there were some decent titles this week) is the rental for Ready or Not. Can I say again how much I love Samara Weaving in this type of movie? Mayhem (review) was great and The Babysitter (review) was really fun Honestly, its so much fun to watch. I’d have no problem watching this one over and over again. Now to pick this one up at some point to own permanently.

With that said, I do want to give an honorable mention to Luz and The Lodgers which is the upcoming double feature which were two rather unique titles. The first was a tad odd but did land a lot of the creepy feeling and the second had a few typical horror jumpscare moments but overall, did have some unique elements and twist to the whole thing.

BINGING

mr fox and miss rose

  • Crazy Delicious (Season 1, 2020)
  • Mr. Fox and Miss Rose (2020)

Currently binging: We Are Blazing, Woof Meow Story, Yes I Do 2, Go Fridge 6, Wonderful Little Forest, Produce Camp 2020, You Are My Destiny, Viva La Romance 2, Rap Star, We Are Young

Lots of variety shows handing in the air. I love food reality competition shows and Crazy Delicious did deliver alright on that level. I’ll talk about it in an upcoming TV binge post. With that said, I wanted to give a moment to Mr. Fox and Miss Rose that just wrapped up. I honestly think they got cheated out of this because this aired at the same time as two other more popular choices so Tencent promoted those shows more and didn’t even put this one in its header banner on the Youtube channel. Such a pity because this one was so much fun to watch and it wasn’t even a teen schoolyard romance. The characters and the story and how it linked these characters to The Little Prince all was done so well that it should have gotten more views. I need to seriously think about doing a week of solely TV binge posts at this point as I’ve had too much backlog that only half written.

With the variety show Great Escape 2’s coming up next week, I’m really happy a few of these variety shows are ending in the next week or so to clear up some of the time. All the shows are currently ongoing so it makes for a hard time to remember which is playing when. Actually, the last few weeks have had another Tencent show that I’m watching but it doesn’t have an English title so I never added in. Its really crazy! New addition this week is supposedly the only channel doing a boy group competition called We Are Young run by Youku and featuring among the 84 contestants a good few that did well in other competition shows but didn’t make it in the final winning boy group. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes as a portion of the mentors are also from other shows like Produce 101/Produce Camp 2019 and Idol Producer. As for Produce 2020, its heading into the final episode next week and Katy Perry did a video for the show which is pretty cool.

That’s it for Week 26 recap!
What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?

My June Adventures!

In a blink of an eye, we’re at the end of June and summer is here. Weather’s been a bit nuts here with a crazy heat wave/drought and then the last few days has been raining and much more comfortable. A little update on the Montreal confinement situation or well, we’re pretty much deconfined at this point although still get cases everyday so you can decide how you feel about that situation. Of course, with this ease of situation, my work situation is getting back to pre-COVID normal soon, which I’m not too sure how I feel about it but I don’t make the call so I just have to follow through with it. Although, today’s announcement (I’m writing this the day before posting so I don’t know yet if its going to happen) is supposed to make wearing face masks mandatory on public transit so that’s definitely rather reassuring.

COVID-19 is part of our lives now for over 3 months now so it has to be addressed before we head into other things that has gone on this past month! Let’s check it out!

Nike Training Club – 4 Week Program

I’ve slacked off during the entire lockdown phase and really struggled to get back on track with working out. The weather is warming up and hiking is starting back up (as you will see later on) which also requires a little bit of outside training to make sure my muscles are strengthened and build a bit of endurance to do the harder trails so I’m getting back on track with another 4 week program on Nike Training Club to kick things off. This time is different from before as I’ve added in the running option.

wp-1593519857716.jpg

As the month ends, I should be getting back. Thing is, the weather turned so nice that I ended up being the most motivated to go running as you can see above so I didn’t stick to the program a whole lot but at least it made me want to be more active in other ways like pool workouts and hiking and running while still adding one of the workouts from the program to get some weights or body weight exercises in. At this point, its more of a guideline than following the program and its in the final week.

Movies and Tea Podcast

As I’m getting a rhythm of getting our archive on Youtube for Movies and Tea on a weekly basis, if you  haven’t caught up with the first season of Movies and Tea, you can start catching the episodes every Monday. The general idea now is that while we get through Season 4, I’ll be updating the archive of Season 1 every week until we start up Season 5 and that will be uploaded when it goes live so that we’re not always behind. Currently updated to Season 1, Episode 5 with our big Resident Evil Franchise episode.

With that said, I’m not going to go share all the episodes of Movies and Tea posted on Youtube but here’s the latest one above so that you can go check it out and subscribe to our channel if you enjoy it!

Hiking: Mont Cathedrale (Carre) & Marais du Kingsbury

Brompton - Mont Cathedrale

First hike done and the recap of the hike is already posted so you can check it out HERE.

Summer Game Fest

summer game fest

We might have lost E3 this year but Summer Game Fest is the next best thing with a bunch of conferences spanning over May to August. We’re a bit late to the party so missed out most of the May events but June included the Playstation 5 reveal and conference (Recap), EA Play Live (Recap) as well as PC Gaming Show 2020 and a new show called Future Games Show (Recap). We didn’t get around to doing the recap for PC Gaming Show and now its already weeks later so a bit late to do it however, you can check out our thoughts on the other shows. There was a bunch of other things like developer showcases which present the new Crash Bandicoot game titled Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time.

Cute Kitty Pic

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That’s it for this June update!
I’ll share some garden updates next time. I just forgot to get all my pictures taken.

What have you been up to?

Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians by Syntell Smith

Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians (Book 1)
by: Syntell Smith

call numbers

Life is a book… and every person is a chapter.

Everything’s looking up for Robin Walker. It’s 1994 in New York City, and he’s been transferred downtown to the 58th Street Branch Library. Ready to move up the ladder, Robin is excited about the opportunities that await him.

But success, personal or professional, is as elusive as a first-edition rare book. Robin struggles with his strange new work environment as this motley crew of employees generates more drama than a runaway bestseller. He doesn’t know who to believe – or who to let in. And as potential romance mingles with devious machinations, there’s no telling where Robin’s story will go. All he knows is that he must see it through to the very last page. – Goodreads

*Received in exchange for honest review*

Call Numbers definitely has a good setting. Libraries don’t seem to be used enough as a central location where events go down. There probably are other titles but I haven’t read them before. Its also a novel that reminds the readers that any location with people is a place for drama and some level of office politics. In this case, this story starts off with a new part-time clerk, Robin joining this library with their own tight-knit group of employees who reject his presence because it has hindered one of their owns future there due to their situation. As he tries to adapt to the new environment and be accepted, this group proves to have their own agenda to challenge him constantly.

Call Numbers is separated into different groups of characters and each side of the story jumping through each of these characters. There’s a lot of characters. While its not exactly hard to follow once all their personalities and plots are straightened out, its quite an information overload situation at the beginning of the book to know each of their names and their alliances and where they stand in the spectrum of this person and then what their own personal challenges are. Having more characters gives a good foundation to have more paths to take in the future of the story and fills up the book but then, it has the downfall of being hard to get into at the beginning as it can get a tad confusing to follow. Although, once the characters are more familiar, its quite an interesting group of characters to read, at least the majority of them, of course, the focal point being Robin and the two managing this library branch, Sonyai and Augustus.

Suffice to say that the characters are the star of this novel and they are quite plentiful as mentioned before. The issues they go through are real enough to understand their different situations. However, if there was something that did bother me a little more is the whole set up for a cliffhanger endings. Its rather a personal preference that books are standalone even in a series and not leaving it hanging in some dire situation to continue to read about in the next novel. It definitely affected my score a little.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

Double Feature: Kidnap (2017) & Killer Legends (2014)

Next up, we’re heading into our K double feature! I’m going to say that this one was a touch one to pair up since selections were limited.  Let’s check it out!

Kidnap (2017)

Kidnap

Director: Luis Prieto

Cast: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Chris McGinn, Lew Temple, Jason George

A mother stops at nothing to recover her kidnapped son. – IMDB

Feeling a lot like The Call (review) in terms of its thriller style, Halle Berry stars in this thriller about a recently divorced mother who is truly quite the lady as she doesn’t give a second thought and chases after the kidnappers who have taken her son. There’s a lot of really unbelievable bits in this one. Just like how her rather rundown minivan is in a car chase with an 80s Mustang GT or something along those lines (although I’m not car expert so what do I know?). While her actions might feel more instinctive and acting on the moment so some of it makes you feel like its passable in the believable element but then you have these kidnappers who are a little odd as they reveal themselves at some point and it just doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do in the whole scheme of things especially seeing as the plot takes a turn to lay out who these two are albeit a rather shallow back story. Its main focus is on a mother retrieving her kidnapped son against all odds.

I’m honestly not hating on Kidnap. Sure, some plot points are hard to get behind. There are some stupid decisions and it did get a little boring to watching Halle Berry on a constant car chase that takes up a good part of the film, mostly in panic and fear. It feels a little shallow in terms of content. However, it knows what it wants to be and there is some growth in Halle Berry’s character throughout the whole ordeal (as it should with something so traumatic as chasing down kidnappers and doing things most normal mothers wouldn’t be doing). It has a few thrills and redeeming moments but also seems like the plot is too straightforward and doesn’t go deep enough to be a fun thriller as the reveal itself fell a little flat as well.

Killer Legends (2014)

killer legends

Director (and writer): Joshua Zeman

Delving into our collective nightmares, this horror-documentary investigates the origins of our most terrifying urban legends and the true stories that may have inspired them. – IMDB

I don’t watch a lot of documentaries and honestly, when I do, sometimes I’m not sure that I’ve reviewed a whole lot of it. Killer Legends is something of an educational research documentary. It takes four urban legends that have been rather popularized through horror movies and takes a dive into cases where those types of serial killers had occurred in real life. Most of them dive back to decades ago well before movies were made from them but Joshua Zeman and researcher Rachel Mills heads to the different cities where these cases happened and revisits the locations of the murders based on case files as well as talks to the residents to see their thoughts on those long ago cases and how many people actually still remember it and who they thought were the suspects on these (mostly) unsolved mysteries, as some of them have caught a killer but also speculations that there were uncertainties.

Seeing as I’m not one to go deep diving on the Internet for information on this topic and looking up cases from decades ago and such, this documentary was pretty good. Each of the four urban legends are ones that I’ve heard of and have seen movies related to it in one form or another. There were real life case file pictures added into the research and makes things more real and the whole set up of how the research and killer profile was pretty interesting (seeing as I was a big fan of Criminal Minds). The one that probably is the most intriguing is The Babysitter and The Man Upstairs section while the most surprising might go to the urban legends behind the Candyman with the real life case connection. The other two stories is the Hookman which definitely feels more familiar (with recent viewings of Zodiac and I Know What You Did Last Summer) which was a fairly creepy look as its the one case that haunts the town of Texarkana and remains unsolved which is always chilling to hear about, and finally wrapping up the Killer Clown urban legend which wraps up the cautionary tale behind this whole documentary and with this, giving it the purpose.

I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the two running this whole documentary as the conversation feels not as smooth as it should be but the people they choose to interview and the information that they gather and put together does add a little substance to these urban legends and what they mean to the people who lived through the times and in the cities that they occurred. Its not about solving these mysteries but rather taking a second look at the info available and piecing it together and they do a decent job on achieving that through the course of the documentary and the four urban legends which makes it well worth a watch.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen these two films? Thoughts?

 

TV Binge: Queer Eye (Season 5, 2020)

Queer Eye (Season 5, 2020)

Queer Eye Season 5

Cast: Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness

A new Fab Five set out to Atlanta Philadelphia to help some of the city’s people refine their wardrobes, grooming, diet, cultural pursuits, and home décor. – IMDB

Season 5 of Queer Eye couldn’t have been released at a better time. With the world being hit by many things including pandemic. Its not been a great 2020 and yet, Queer Eye’s message from the first season always feels like we’re not defined by our differences but our similarities and that’s why every season, we see them moving to different place in the United States as well as picking different people with varying gender, backgrounds, etc. With the latest season changing base to Philadelphia, its yet another batch of “heroes” to discover all with their own touching stories.

At the fifth season of Queer Eye, its still full steam ahead. There are some very small changes to their structure. Its not really needed since they had a pretty good balance. With each person and what they need to makeover, its more about finding that more emotional change to clear out some of that emotional baggage and burden and then balancing it with the other external elements of style, home design/organization, food, grooming. In that sense, while Karamo’s role of culture is a big one, it meshes in with some of the other Fab Five’s task.

What really does stand out in Season 5 is that this season, they picked a lot of people who on different levels related more to one of the Fab Five group and gives them their time to guide each of these people with their own personal experiences. It feels like sometimes the show does help the people they choose but at the same time, it also helps the Fab Five grow as well as there is an obvious change (in a good way) of how they are as people. One of the best parts of watching shows like this is not only seeing the nice makeovers and the shock and often gratitude of the moment but also seeing these more personal stories being told that are very well relatable on different levels. Its the positive vibes that flow in every moment and the value of being able to embrace change that gives so much life to the show itself.

At the fifth season of Queer Eye, you pretty know what to expect from the show. Its a makeover show but somehow, it brings a lot more to the table than just that. Its about everyday people and their difficulties and how to get their life back on track. I’m sure that the show works on many levels because its relatable. Sure, we’re not going to go and do some intense makeover but its a way to look at the people around us as well as even our own lives and issues in a different light and with it, whatever positive message applies to the viewer. Bingeworthy, emotional and sending out positive vibes as always.

Hopefully, we’ll be seeing the sixth season of Queer Eye sooner rather than later.

What’s Up 2020: Week 25

Bonne Saint-Jean to my fellow Quebecers (if there’s anyone reading this from Quebec)!

Almost halfway through the year everyone as we hit Week 25 and summer is finally here. The tail end of this week left us in extreme heat wave so I spent a lot of time sitting in or by the pool to cool down than sitting in my partially air-conditioned home. Plus, the Summer Game Fest started off over the last two weeks and it took us a little by surprise so had to clear out some schedule to do some coverage over at Game Warp.  Let’s see how it all went down!

READING

call numbers

Currently reading: Call Numbers: The Not-So-Quiet Life of Librarians

Sitting by the pool and reading is one of those things that I truly enjoy doing during the evening so I finally moved forward with Call Numbers. I’m about at the 25% mark (maybe a little over) and I need to get more time to read some more but its been an interesting read as its about the dynamics of these characters working at this library.

PLAYING

steam game festival

Summer Game Fest bought along the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition which was a pile (more like a mountain) of free demos to try out on upcoming or released games. It was more games than I could keep track of so I just sat down and downloaded the demos that looked like it would be my cup of tea and took a chance on it.

  • The Almost Gone
  • Moncage
  • Ami
  • Arrog
  • A Juggler’s Tale
  • Backbone: Prologue
  • Unbound: Worlds Apart
  • Slender Threads
  • Under
  • Genesis Noir

With that said, the first 5 demos in the list have already had a First Impressions post go up on Game Warp that you can check out HERE.

I’m working on the last 5 as a second batch so that should come out soon.

WATCHING

social network

  • The Social Network (2010)
  • Jack Frost (1997, Review)

Much to my awesome co-host’s credit and the latest season recordings for Movies and Tea, I finally got around to watching The Social Network. Biopics aren’t usually my go-to genre but this one is pretty good. Its the obvious standout of the week as I can’t say the same for the other movie I saw which was more of a B-horror comedy that I wasn’t overly enthusiastic with but then did have some fun. Still, in terms of biopics, The Social Network does do a good job especially with its characters and how its executed. I won’t say too much and leave it for you all to listen when the podcast eventually comes out (but we’re way ahead with recording so it might be a little while).

BINGING

me to us

  • Me To Us (Season 1, 2020)
  • Floor is Lava (Season 1, 2020) Review

Currently binging: Produce Camp 2020, Wonderful Little Forest, You Are My Destiny, Mr. Fox and Miss Rose, Woof Meow Story, Rap Star, Viva La Romance 4, Go Fridge 6, Yes I Do 2

It seems spring/summer season for variety shows and whatnot are all clashing together with content. I’ve been caught up on a bunch of Tencent TV series and then watching a lot of variety shows from Mango TV.  A few new things started up like Viva La Romance Season 4, the first season of Rap Star which is a contest for hip hop music and Wonderful Little Forest which is a show about taking a bunch of young kids on littler adventures to learn about nature.

The highlight for this week goes to the wrap-up of Me To Us which is a show about putting together bands and crowning a band to promote. The structure of the contest and how it puts together the voting system of both industry experts and public audience is a nice one that I’m going to probably do a TV binge post on it.  The first season crowned the band that I liked the most throughout the whole show (and the video above is one of their performances, not the final one since that’s not up yet) plus it has my all-time fave Nicholas Tse as one of the mentors. I’m really hoping that this show gets a second season. Bands have a fairly limited audience in the Chinese music landscape as boy groups and girl groups keep having these competitions, which are good but bands are such a different style and if they do, hopefully retaining the three mentors in this season.

That’s it for this week’s recap!
What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

 

Double Feature: Jigsaw (2017) & Jack Frost (1997)

Up next for double feature is the J selections!

Jigsaw (2017)

Jigsaw

Director: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig

Cast: Matt Passmore, Tobin Bell, Callum Keith Rennie, Hannah Emily Anderson, Cle Bennett, Laura Vandervoort, Paul Braunstein, Mandela Van Peebles, Brittany Allen, Josiah Black

Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one suspect: John Kramer, the man known as Jigsaw, who has been dead for over 10 years. –IMDB

Seven years after the seventh movie of this franchise, Jigsaw arrives. I’m not going to lie that I was a bit skeptical about how this could go considering that I found the last few movies of Saw a little bit meh. It still had some fun elements but it had a significant drop in horror value since the first Saw movie. To be honest, what is there to expect from Jigsaw? Its an attempt to revive the franchise and it picks up over 10 years after John Kramer is expected to be dead. For the most part, it does work pretty well and exceeded my expectations from it. It was a fun time with some decent traps and the whole twist at the end really comes together as its both a police chase and the game playing out together.

Jigsaw’s good bits are definitely in the escape room style and goes somewhat back to its roots. In this one, the group all start chained together and starts to realize that they all have some crime that has caused them to be in this position and its their way to admit those faults, whether they can get out or not is of course, pretty much set in the game. Each of these games as they move from one room to the next is a step more dangerous than the previous one and its a good structure. It brings in a lot of tension mostly from how each of these games play out because honestly, the outcome of these characters are fairly predictable for the most part. Plus, the gruesome and extremity of each trap is usually where movies in this franchise excel and this one is no exception.

The whole police section of the movie that plays as the outside factor of tracking these captured victims is a whole other level. It all dials down to figuring whether its Kramer behind all this as well as finding each of these victims and ends up where it all starts and cycles back into a twist as the story comes together. The story itself, especially the twist, was quite fun as a reveal. It became a little more apparent where it was going but then there was still a bit of surprise and cleverness which is always appreciated. Jigsaw was a fun comeback for the franchise and it’ll be interesting to see where they take it from here.

Jack Frost (1997)

jack frost

Director: Michael Cooney

Cast: Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel, F. William Parker, Ellen Seeley, Rob LaBelle

After an accident that left murderer Jack Frost dead in genetic material the vengeful killer returns as a murderous snowman to exact his revenge on the man who sent him to be executed – IMDB 

I’ve been some pretty odd choices for Shudder, most of them being quite random. The J selections on Shudder is rather limited and it was between Jack Frost and another French horror that I’ve heard mostly bad things about so here we are, heading back to 1997 to watch the horror Jack Frost. This one is silly and low budget. There’s not a whole lot to be scared about and its not extreme or anything.

There’s a lot of overacting and a lot of it is really odd, especially in buying into a killer snowman deal. Sure, there’s a little more to it than that but still, its watching a snowman, cut to a puddle of water and then hear some sound effects of it moving into another area. The connection of water and snow all comes into play in its different forms and in that sense, it does make a snowman a pretty lethal deal if it can move like it does. At the same time, its a bit hard to buy into it since this is some guy who gets hit by some experimental acidic solution.

Luckily, the movie itself doesn’t seem to take itself very seriously as this is categorized as a horror comedy. The whole idea of it is being mostly entertainment and the so bad its good variety. Jack Frost is very bizarre and I’m not exactly a huge fan of it. It has its fun moments because of the obvious low budget and how its all executed. Its mostly pretty ridiculous in some of those plot points and how the people get killed which makes it all the more funnier, in the laughing at the movie way and not the having a lot of fun way.

That’s it for this double feature!
A good pick and a meh pick, right?
Have you seen either of these movies? Thoughts?