TV Binge: Accidentally in Love (惹上冷殿下, 2018)

Accidentally In Love (惹上冷殿下, 2018)

accidentally in love

Cast: Fiction Junchen Guo, Yi Ning Sun, Yi Qin Zhao, Mu Xuan Cheng, Li Ma, Mo Zhou

Chen Qing Qing is the daughter of a rich household desperately wanting to avoid an arranged marriage and find love on her own terms. On the day of the wedding, she flees town and heads out to enroll in the same college where her parents studied, hoping to find out more about their death. She changes her appearance and name in an effort to hide her true identity and does her best to blend in with her classmates. Her desk-mate in school turns out to be the famous singer, Si Tu Feng, whom she’s already had multiple run ins with. The two don’t start off on the right foot, quarrelling constantly and causing each other trouble. But could there be more between them? – MyDramaList

Where to find it: Accidentally in Love is a Netflix series.

QUOTES/SCENE

accidentally in love

STORY

Accidentally in Love is a rather formulaic kind of story. It starts off with two characters Situ Feng (Junchen Guo) and Qing Qing (Yi Ning Sun) both running away from their own family obligations and running into each other accidentally which leads to a bigger conflict, connecting them together. It also leads to their dislike of each other and then gradually through time, secretly finding each other’s more shining points as they become friends and gradually find the courage to fall in love with each other despite all the obstacles. In the process, their friendships and crushes and childhood friends and past all come into play as the college is a central location of where the story unfolds.

Chen Qing Qing runs away from her engagement party to enroll in her deceased mom’s college in disguise to keep away from the searching eyes of her grandfather in hopes to find out more about her parents and track down her father, whom she knows nothing about. In the process, she doesn’t want to fall into the planned path without having a chance to see the outside a little more. On the other side, Situ Feng’s story is about his disagreement of his career choice with his father, while also struggling to write and sing the music that he would like to do instead of what his music company wants him to do. For him, its also about proving that he can be himself and still find his success.

The series revolves around expectations versus reality, social status, and the effect of physical appearances. It is a little over the top in parts deliberately and overall, is a fairly fun and comedic little series with a lot of feel-good elements.

LENGTH/PACING

Episodes: 30 episodes
Episode length: 30 minutes (approx.)

Clocking in at 30 episodes with an average of 30 minutes per episode makes this a very quick watch. Its perfect for binging and also keeps it pretty well-paced. There’s almost always something going on whether its another of Qing Qing’s ideas or another of Feng’s little music things or some conflict that occurs because of past misunderstandings or present arguments or fun encounters. The story moves fast and while there are a good number of characters that pop in, it only chooses to focus on a few of them. There aren’t really any true villains but just friends with personal issues trying to stop things from going astray from where they anticipated.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

If we look at characters, there are some obvious relationships going on here as well as friendships and even some “enemies” are worth look at.

accidentally in love

The first is the obvious couple and the end game for our main leads: Qing Qing and Feng who are so simple and naive in nature, making them such a fun little pair to watch on screen. Both Qing Qing and Feng are naive in their own ways and each have their own little issues to deal with that when they meet, they end making each other better or at least they try to be a better person for each other. Its a natural development in their relationship as well that gives them quite a nice chemistry where its more rivalry at the beginning to finding a way to work together as students and friends and eventually embracing those lovey dovey bits. They are both charming and funny characters that can easily be loved that it makes their story so much more easy to connect to and root for.

accidentally in love

If we talk about the couple I was rooting for, this supporting characters Fang Fang (Mo Zhou) and school badboy Lin Yiyang (Yiqin Zhao) are the ones that change a lot throughout the series and they are the unlikely couple to root for but hinted from the beginning. There’s a Chinese saying which translates to “One thing best/vanquishes another” and its popularly used in relationship when a stronger character also finds that person who is able to “control” their attitude a little. Its not the right wording but it works here where the character with the most change is to both of these supporting characters and they are so fun in their roles as well.

Aside from that, there are other characters. Some of them are in the rivals. The first is the childhood friend of Feng who believes she should be with him and tries everything to get between them and sometimes in a frustrating way, which writes her in a very manipulative but also easily manipulated character that goes to some extremes that I don’t particularly like. At the same time, there are also other smaller supporting roles like Yiyang’s two minions who are wondrously dumb but adds so much humor. Then you have Feng’s agent who also has a so-called dominance but never quite gets there and yet plays up to something rather sarcastically funny as well as he overreacts at times and such.

OVERALL

Accidentally in Love might have a familiar plot concept but where it excels is being able to keep it very light-hearted. It is still a drama, so there are moments of heavier content however, it still lands a lot of the comedic moments. The rivalries here never are too heavy and lined a lot with some silly characters that keeps the tone in a fun territory while the characters all have pretty decent chemistry. The episodes are short enough to keep it paced well and the series itself is also very acceptable amount of episodes. Its deliberately over the top but it all adds to the humor its trying to achieve and most of it lands very well. Its definitely one to check out!

MAIN THEME

 

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Since September by Noelle MacLeod

SINCE SEPTEMBER
by: Noelle MacLeod

Since September

*Book received in exchange for honest review*

For Sheridan St. John, things just haven’t been the same since September.

It’s early autumn when wall-flower Sheridan and her best friend, Cyndi, move to the city to begin their lives as young adults. On their own for the first time – and away from the harsh criticisms of Sheridan’s mom – the girls are enjoying their new independence. But after a wild night of partying, Sheridan’s grip on reality starts to weaken. When a gruesome tragedy then strikes her family, she’s convinced it’s all an epic nightmare… one from which she must somehow awaken if she is to survive. – Goodreads

Since September is a thrilling little psychological ride. Whether it lands in the horror zone is still on a fairly light degree although the imagery of some parts are done pretty well to give a good idea of the gruesome bits and the more creepy psychological bits. Structured as a novella, the story paces itself really well to never actually have any mundane down moments and it wraps together the false sense of security for its character Sheridan while also giving it some gripping moments which gives a lot of credit in the writing itself. Although the endgame is fairly obvious, Sheridan doesn’t know and having more knowledge in this case gives her character the space to develop a bit on why she is the way she is.

Essentially, the story is split into two parts: before and after the turning point event that changes the location pretty much. The second part is similar to the likes of movie Girl Interrupted, which is somewhat of a spoiler but is a compliment because of all those supporting characters in this space. Its important to have those supporting characters as they elevate the story a little more, giving it a bit of humor or the life it needs or the encouragement to move forward for Sheridan’s character. These supporting characters are all fairly shallow and that has to do with the novella territory which is a short length story so lacks the depth for growth.

This is a novella so to avoid any more spoilers, I’m going to wrap up. Overall, Since September is a fun read. Its a pageturner for sure. The story is character-driven and Sheridan is a good character to navigate. There still leaves some mystery to her at the end but the pieces presented in this story works together well enough. My only thing here is whether the readers figuring out the twist before the character revelation was deliberate or the fault of dropping a few too many clues beforehand. There is a very fine line in navigating the realm of psychological stories and while some scenes felt a bit repetitive in structure, decreasing its psychological horror elements, however there’s still a nice sense of thrills and the set-up at the beginning is done pretty well also.

Goodreads score: 4/5

What’s Up 2019: Week 37

Tranquil Dreams (15)

As the weather cools down, summer is coming to an end and festival seasons are also slowing down. Still stuck with a cold, its been an all around odd week but still fairly productive. Week 37 is here and with a good dose of reading, playing, watching (and rewatching continues) and of course, my favorite, binging!

Let’s check it out!

READING

The+Moonlight+Pegasus+cover+ebook

  • The Moonlight Pegasus (Review)

Currently reading: Since September (43%)

Its been great getting back into reading which also helps that I’ve been finding some nice reads. After blitz reading through The Moonlight Pegasus which was quite a fun book, I just forward to Since September which is a psychological thriller-esque novella. Novellas are really nice to break between books and Since September, although I’m not even 50% done has been pretty nice. The endgame is quite obvious but I feel like its slightly deliberate and I kind of appreciate it for how its all set up.

PLAYING

injustice: Gods among us

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us

Currently playing: still in debate…

I finally got back to wrapping up the Injustice: Gods Among Us. Well, “finishing” since its not all done because I’m not that skilled but I have a pretty good idea of whats a part of the game and how it all feels on top of the story mode (which I had finished previously). I’m going to be working on a review for it to get things moving again over at Game Warp. If I can even get one or two reviews done in a month along with the monthly mobile games roundup, I’m going to be pretty happy. Goals, right? Let’s see how it all goes.

WATCHING

The Beguiled

  • Letters to Juliet – rewatch (Review)
  • The Beguiled (2017)
  • How It Ends (2018) (Review)

As we move along with Movies and Tea, The Beguiled tops my movies of this past week. I guess that says a lot about how the podcast recording at least on my point of view will turn out. Still, thats coming up soon. I’ve been rewatching movies that make me feel good, mostly because its keeping me more positive. Going back to watch Letters to Juliet, I’m starting to realize that while I still enjoy these little romantic comedies, I’m starting to see a lot of the flaws in it more but meh, its still enjoyable enough. At the same time, How It Ends review has already gone up. Its not great but you can see my thoughts in the written review instead. It also rings the bell that I’m running out of films for the double features..yikes!

BINGING

The King's Avatar

  • The King’s Avatar (2019)

Currently binging: Dream Space 2, Super Vocal 2, The Mist (Season 1), When I Grow Up

The King’s Avatar has sadly finished! Its bingeworthy and all around really fun to watch. It has zero romance and all about professional e-sports and tournaments and about a renowned e-sports player who has to start over and builds his own team while training some unexpected underdogs to get back into the professional leagues. Its motivating and fun and just inspirational. To be honest, its a breath of fresh air because it really puts the spotlight on the little conflicts in this career and this world as well as moving between reality and giving some great animation for all the fighting and battling sequences involved in their matches. Its a series to get away and truly embodies why gaming is great (even for myself who isn’t really huge on e-sports). I’m hoping that they find a way to move into a Season 2, although if they do, I’m fairly certain, they will start pulling in more dramatic elements like family and romance.

On the other hand, while Dream Space 2, Super Vocal 2 and a new variety reality show called When I Grow Up is going on right now, the husband decided to start up the TV series, The Mist which is currently available on Netflix. We’re about 6 episodes in (out of 10) and to keep things simple, I’m not too impressed so lets just say, at this current point, I’m not surprised it got cancelled. Either way, we’ll be working on wrapping it up over the weekend probably.

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

Double Feature: The Boy Next Door (2015) & How It Ends (2018)

DOUBLEFEATURE (68)

Welcome to this week’s double feature! A very random combination, right? Its actually quite random in terms of how it all came to be as well. The Boy Next Door was really just because it looked like something that didn’t need a ton of energy to watch while How It Ends was a random Saturday night movie choice of my husband’s. Nothing deliberate but let’s just say both of these were at certain degrees…left a bit to be desired.

The Boy Next Door (2015)

The Boy Next Door

Director: Rob Cohen

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, Ian Nelson, John Corbett, Kristin Chenoweth, Lexi Atkins

A woman, separated from her unfaithful husband, falls for a younger man who has moved in next door, but their torrid affair soon takes a dangerous turn. – IMDB

Call me crazy but I’ve been meaning to watching this one for a while, of course, knowing that its been rated pretty poorly. Honestly, its not too surprising. After all, there are few factors here that have almost always failed me in films. The first being my constant search for an erotic thriller that works well, the second being that I don’t find Jennifer Lopez as a good actress and third, these movies always have bad dialogue and predictable execution. I’m going to say right away that The Boy Next Door fell into exactly what I expected of it. So I guess, it can’t disappoint but at the same time, it was kind of a waste of time, luckily, I had it on for a multitasking moment so that kind of worked out.

Where to start with this, right? The Boy Next Door is a predictable erotic thriller. Its erotic bits are really just based on that one scene between Ryan Guzman’s Noah and Jennifer Lopez’s Claire. Granted, that scene was pretty steamy and sexy so I’m not going to take that away from it. It does help that these two are pretty people and the chemistry there was pretty on point. The majority before and after it: the dialogue, the start of the film, the ending, the overacting was just ridiculous. Its the usual thing you’d expect. Its a been there done that sort of thriller which doesn’t offer much of anything new.

I gave this movie one star on Letterboxd and that was based on the fact that there was that one steamy scene that was done well and Ryan Guzman and Jennifer Lopez are pretty-looking people to look at.

How It Ends (2018)

How It Ends

Director: David M. Rosenthal

Cast: Theo James, Forest Whitaker, Kat Graham, Grace Dove, Nicole Ari Parker

A desperate man tries to return home to his pregnant fiancée after a mysterious apocalyptic event turns everything to chaos. – IMDB

How It Ends is categorized as an action disaster film. I can see how it would fit into there but then its more of a road trip film if anything and the disaster happens but then remains the background mystery that hinders the road trip. Looking at the ratings for the movie right now, its really low. Thing is, Netflix movies are a lot like this its strong at the beginning and then as the movie goes along, it just falls apart. The same can be said about How It Ends. The beginning and the set-up does work as it sets the stage for how the characters involved are in terms of relationship and gives them a basis of their personality and where everyone stands before setting up the turning point which is the mysterious event that breaks connection to one of the characters and uniting the other two, the fiance and the father together to go through all obstacles to reach her.

On many levels, How It Ends isn’t really that bad. In fact, Forest Whitaker does a good job as the father and Theo James also did a decent job as well. Together in their roles together, as with a lot of road trip movies, their issues get sorted out as their deeper personalities do start showing as they get through one obstacle to the next. The story gets a little awkward when more elements move into the picture like picking up a third person to join into the road trip, which has its good and bad points to it. At the same time, some of the events that happen do help pad out the situation at hand and start piecing together what has happened while keeping the big reveal for the the ending. If we talk about the “big reveal”, its never fully explained what happens and only hints at the possibilities, making the ending in some ways open-ended, possibly giving it space for a sequel (maybe?).

Its always hard to talk about movies like these where it starts off with all the premise and elements that do it a lot of favors and then as the movie goes along, more things get added in and it just seems to break away those good points. The way its set up still works in a way but it would be more of like a prequel to a TV series or something. At the same time, the movie is not for those who dislike coincidences, for example, you drive by a ash-filled location and coincidentally a fire truck was abandoned there with the one gas mask to use. They can definitely be ignored or admired as forethought but deal is, are there that many coincidences to make it believable to a certain extent or is every event set to create obstacles and feels very deliberate? That’s an issue with How It Ends. If you don’t mind all that, this movie is alright.

That’s it for this Double Feature!
Have you seen The Boy Next Door and/or How It Ends? Thoughts?

Movies and Tea #22 – Somewhere

Next up in Season 3 of Movies and Tea in the Sofia Coppola films is 2010’s indie drama film Somewhere starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. Its one that definitely feels like its less talked about probably because its less known than her other works.
Head over to Movies and Tea to listen to our discussion of Somewhere. While you’re over there, drop us a comment on whether you have seen this and your thoughts on it.

Movies and Tea

After the mixed reception to Marie Antoinette returned with Somewhere a film similar in style to Lost In Translation while also working memories of her own childhood growing up on her father’s sets as she here we follow Upcoming badboy Actor Johnny as he reconnects with his daughter Cleo and perhaps in turn finds what’s missing in his own life.

Further Viewing

Wonder Boys
Nowhere
The Rules of Attraction
Jersey Girl
Definitely Maybe
We Bought A Zoo

Music on this episode

Phoenix – Love Like A Sunset Part I
The Police – So Lonely
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare

Listen to the Show

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Double Feature: Split (2016) & Aquaman (2018)

DOUBLEFEATURE (10)

The next double feature has come around and this time we’re going a lot more mainstream than the last one. They really have nothing in common (at least I don’t think so) but happens to be films I recently watched. The first is Split which we saw over the Fan Expo weekend and paired with that is Aquaman, continuing my not in order viewings of the DC films, but it was a cheap rental so here we are.

Let’s check it out!

Split (2016)

Split 2016

Director (and writer): M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Izzie Coffey, Brad William Henke, Sebastian Arcelus

Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th. – IMDB

Having not seen Unbreakable before, this movie is a second movie in a trilogy which ends with this year’s Glass (which I haven’t seen either). However, it does feel like a standalone film so that is okay. Split is a film that predominantly felt like it had some positive ratings so being something that looked more of a psychological thriller, it was on my to-watch list. With that said, Split was a pretty good film overall but in the spectrum of things, James McAvoy is really the star of the show that takes it away. Its more a show of how flexible his acting can be rather than the actual context of the story being an intriguing one. That’s not saying that there weren’t thrills and maybe even some cheap jumpscares.

The story of Split can be viewed in two ways. The first is the pressing matter of this man who comes in with various personalities that these girls discover and soon through the psychiatrist scenes and such, there’s a knowledge growing on who is the boss among these personalities and their nature while at the same time, there’s this second matter of seeing Casey, who is obviously the tough one of the three girls, played by Ana Taylor-Joy who does a decent job and her flashbacks to her childhood related to hunting with her father and uncle which goes on some tangent that I didn’t quite appreciate.

Split is an okay movie. The story itself shone because of James McAvoy’s character and the multiple personalities that went through the scenes and it was fascinating to see those moments but as the film drew to a close, it felt like it went off track and didn’t quite end as strong as it started.

Aquaman (2018)

Aquaman

Director: James Wan

Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Randall Park, Graham McTavish

Arthur Curry, the human-born heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, goes on a quest to prevent a war between the worlds of ocean and land. – IMDB

I’ve only watched 2 DC films to date: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (review) and Wonder Woman (review) which was a pretty low point and a fairly high point respectively. With that in mind, Aquaman was bound to hit somewhere in the middle and it did. It wasn’t exactly out of my expectations which were pretty low to begin with. Having not done a ton of research either, it was surprising to see the cast that it had including Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren and of course, Amber Heard (which I honestly think the last film I saw her in was All The Boys Love Mandy Lane).

If I were to talk about what is wrong with Aquaman, boy, we would be here for a while. The simple version is that its actually quite meh. The dialogue is a not too good. A lot of it feels really stupid. The effects aren’t too great especially the whole underwater conference and riding these different sea creatures. The characters themselves are also quite shallow where it never seems that we connect with them enough to care. At the same time, the whole deal with the revenge situation and such feels a little disjointed. Now, if we were to talk about some good things. Jason Momoa probably would be one of them as he fits into the Aquaman role quite good and I’m not even too huge on a man sporting a man-bun. But, there are some fun moments that he brings out as Aquaman.

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

Blog Tour: The Moonlight Pegasus by C.S. Johnson (Review/Giveaway)

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The Moonlight Pegasus
By: C.S. Johnson

The+Moonlight+Pegasus+cover+ebook

Publication Date: July 2016
Genre: High Fantasy

SYNOPSIS

Sapphira is a desert world with little plant life, where the people live in the shadows of gray sunlight, sickened by the Dark Plague. To cure the people, the Guardian of Dreams sends the Spirit of Truth to bring the light back into his darkened world. In the form of Pegasus, he enters the world through the pure, innocent dreams of Selene, the reluctant princess and heir-apparent to the throne. Now, with her brother Dorian as king, another rebellion is stirring. All eyes are turning to Selene to bring peace through an arranged marriage. However, Selene only has eyes for her true love—her protector, Etoileon. As the rebellion unleashes its fury upon the kingdom of Sapphira and the supernatural forces collide, Selene is caught in the middle of all conflicts—the battle for her world, the battle for her love, and the battle for her very soul.

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REVIEW

The Moonlight Pegasus is a story with many faces. Its a story about love, faith, good and evil, war and family. Rightfully so, it also is quite lengthy but surprisingly also manages to keep a pretty good pacing right from the start. The world itself is set on a planet called Sapphira and revolves around kingdoms and the islands surrounding it. There would seem to be a presence of religion in terms of resurrection and faith and belief disguised in a higher entity called The Guardian that watches over the people and some levels of sacrifice for the greater good.

The Moonlight Pegasus is a bit overly long and that has to do with giving the time for these different elements to fall into place while merging together as the climax of the situation approaches. Its done in a pretty good way especially in the flow of events. At times however, it feels like one of the Chinese TV dramas, and the fairly soapy kind, in terms of the dialogue but considering the fantasy world it is set in, it seems to fit although there are some wordings that don’t seem to quite fit the characters here and there but they are not frequent.

A big element of the first half of the story is about the love between the main characters which the princess Selene and her protector Etoileon. Their roles and back stories on how they met are described and their current situation and even their feelings for each other, which really emphasizes on how those involved are the most blind, because the way the interact with each other and the words they use is almost too obvious that they have feelings for each other and yet, they both are reluctant to say anything, which is the type of drama that I personally find a tad frustrating. However, these two characters are written really well and suitably so as we see what is in their destiny by the end of the novel. The “surprise” I would expect wasn’t exactly a surprise either maybe like I said, a lot of the stuff that happens here is almost straight out of a normal Chinese TV drama, especially those set in dynastic China and dealing with royalty.

On the other hand, what is taken a little lighter and less focused on was the war side which only had glimpses of its affect and the going ons, putting the King Dorian more in the backdrop. Fact is, there was a good deal of characters as well. A lot of the story was giving space to the “good” characters including meeting Pegasus whereas, it makes the evil on the other side with only a few bits here and there in the spectrum of the story as a whole.

The Moonlight Pegasus has some issues in dialogue and some imbalance in the different elements it tackles. However, it is a fun book to dive into because of the fantasy world that it builds and the two characters leading the story.  While there is a sequel to the story, this first book does set the stage quite well while still wrapping things up so it can stand alone keeping its story contained, which is always a plus.

Goodreads score: 4

Purchase link: Amazon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-pic

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

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