TV Binge: Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 1, 2017)

Reality TV has always had some sort of following on regular television. Along the similar veins of American Ninja Warrior, Sylvester Stallone’s co-created obstacle course beast is the new Netflix Orginal Series, Ultimate Beastmaster. Filmed in the California Dessert and grandly built with 4 different obstacles sectors and 108 competitors from 6 different countries and filmed over 8 days with 12 different hosts from USA, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Korea and Germany. This is a huge feat in itself. The question now is how compelling is this show going to be? Will it live up to expectations? How will they keep it entertaining?

Let’s check it out!

Ultimate Beastmaster (Season 1, 2017)

Ultimate Beastmaster

Creators: David Broome & Sylvester Stallone

Eighteen competitors run an obstacle course known as “The Beast”, where nine of them will be crowned “Beastmaster”, and will compete against each other to be crowned Ultimate Beastmaster. – IMDB

 There’s something incredibly appealing about watching man perform and compete in challenging obstacles. It is similar to watching for example Olympics or Crossfit competitions. I gather that is the appeal of watching American Ninja Warrior. The Ultimate Beastmaster takes this initial concept and creates an entertainingly challenging course full of very competent challengers who are fighting for this title. Being in Canada, we got the American cut which means we spend most of it with hosts Terry Crews and Charissa Thompson. Terry Crews is a great host with lots of one liners and adds a lot of fun just like the other sections with the other countries’ host that are fun and colorful in their own ways as well. The competitors themselves, no matter where they are from, are also very fun to watch in action and of course, as we listen to some of their backstories with the US competitors having more complete backgrounds (because this is the US edit), really give us a good idea on who to cheer for in each round and speculate who will make it to to the finale. Its 10 episodes of fun and entertainment.

Ultimate Beastmaster

The best part aside from its variety of competitors and the colorful hosts are for the beast of a structure themselves. The obstacle course is very challenging. It relies heavily on a complete well-rounded physique. As the episodes progress certain episodes will have various modifications in their courses like changing the rope to swing from one obstacle to the next or adding extra difficulties in slope for another. As we watch the competitors, we gradually learn who are probably more capable and perhaps the best part is cheering for the underdogs who we never expect to go through and finally do. There’s going to be favorites and sometimes, we found ourselves cheering for so many of them. Plus, everyone has a different approach on how they complete these obstacles or whether they go for the point thrusters often placed in challenging places and making decisions that could make or break their run of that level.

ultimate Beastmaster

To become the Ultimate Beastmaster is a huge title, the hard work in each episode makes us know the competitors that win and head into the episode 10 finale which crowns the ULTIMATE Beastmaster. They run the same course luckily but with higher difficulty. Knowing that this series with filmed over eight nights makes us realize that these competitors really didn’t have a lot of time to rest before having to jump into their next run, especially for those entering into the finale. Their wounds haven’t had time to heal and everything can really be against them, even if they have a certain level of expectation. However, it also depends on how the competitors are grouped.

Ultimate Beastmaster

Overall, there is a great thrill in watching Ultimate Beastmaster. The concept of making it international and hosted and shown in different participating countries is very commendable. The course is challenging and monstrous. There’s so much to love about this show. While we hope for a new season, the question remains whether they will use the same course or whether the beast structure will stay the same and the obstacle course itself will be reconstructued in order to make it refreshing. It is definitely one to watch if you enjoy these types of shows.

Have you seen Ultimate Beastmaster?

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

The final part of the Toronto ComiCon weekend meet-up with Drew is our Friday’s night movie going adventure to see the live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Drew and I both have Disney segments on our respective blogs and it really highlights how much we love it in general. Plus, we just finished our 90’s Blogathon so hey, it all fits perfectly together. As objective as we would like to be, it is hard to not compare it to the original animation. I am just going to be honest here before we start.

Lets check it out!

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

beauty and the beast

Director: Bill Condon

(Voice) Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Kevin Kline, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Ian McKellan, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson

The beauty of animation is how magical they can be because they are imaginative and creative. To bring something like that to life creates a lot of challenge. There has be matching music and atmosphere and most importantly, the magical chemistry that we can feel with these characters which is usually easier to believe when its animation than in real life. I would be lying if I didn’t go into Beauty and the Beast optimistically skeptical. Why? I haven’t watched anything from Emma Watson since Harry Potter series ended and I only know Dan Stevens as the creepy dude in The Guest and an extremely small part of Season one of Downton Abbey. Not a lot to compare to and I didn’t really look too much at the voice actors either. The question now, after a few days of the initial excitement and thinking about it: does it live up to its original? The answer is no. I have to reluctantly say that because of a few aspects. However, I also never expected it to live up to the original so I still had a lot of fun with it.

Beauty and the Beast 2017

Beauty and the Beast’s best part is creating its atmosphere and the world. It is absolutely gorgeous. The effects and CGI put us right into the setting of the town and especially the castle and forest areas. There was a darker tone however, it does manage to capture a great part of the magic that made the first one great. Of course, the original animated film offered up some of the most beautiful animation with its rich colors and catchy musical tunes. That comes to the second part that gives this movie something more. While retaining a lot of the music from the original, they manage to put a few new songs in. The nostalgia and magic of the old music still is the fun parts of the movie plus it shows a true determination of creating a animated film with this one that stays true to a musical with actually not a lot of dialogue.

Beauty and the Beast

Belle is one of my favorite heroines/Disney princesses. To be honest, Emma Watson did a decent performance. I can’t say that she was particularly memorable though. She fit in well because she had a good enough singing voice and the movie’s overall magical appeal swept me away. That isn’t to say that I didn’t like her. I just can’t really pinpoint a part of hers that stuck out to her. On that note, her chemistry with the Beast worked well enough that the story made it easy to fall in love with the story again even knowing what would happen and in that final scene where there’s that twist, I had tears in my eyes, which was definitely unexpected. Turning over to Dan Stevens as the Beast, his face was pretty much CGI and yet perhaps it is because of that, it was easier to keep it imaginative. When he was angry at the beginning, there were moments of fear and later as he softened, his features also made it so much more gentle. There was so much more to love in how Dan Stevens portrayed the Beast than Belle which seems to be the opposite of how I remembered the Disney animation.

Beauty and the Beast

The stars and the most dynamic characters of the original was almost always these supporting animated enchanted characters. Who knew that clocks and candelabras and teapots could make us fall in love with them, right? That is something that really stands out also in this live action. The voice cast is a fantastic ensemble with Cogsworth being voices Ian McKellan, Lumiere by Ewan McGregor, Mrs. Potts by Emma Thompson and of course, the man who tends to sneak into every movie in some supporting part and almost makes it shine, the grand piano (Maestro) by Stanley Tucci. I loved them the most in this live action adaptation (or is it a remake?). There are so many similarities to the original but somehow their enchantedness makes it easier to imagine them in this way.
Beauty and the Beast

Finally, we can’t not talk about the most self-absorbed villain, Gaston. I honestly like Gaston quite a bit and his sequences especially the Gaston songs and bits are quite humorous in the animation and I’m pretty happy about how they approached this character and Luke Evans take on it. There were a lot of funny moments and it helps a lot. The ending battle with the Beast was a little underwhelming but it was never meant to be overly long even in the original. Gaston isn’t really a true threat ever. I’m not sure any believes that he’ll amount to anything too much especially not when his right hand man is Lefou who is just there for comedic relief. Josh Gad didn’t quite stand out as much either.

Overall, Beauty and the Beast is a decent live action take of the original. In comparison, it is hard to meet the original’s masterful animation however there is still a lot to love especially because this one takes good care in creating a beautiful environment and magical atmosphere. The winter and snowy landscape with the dark but beautiful castle captures lots of mystic, especially watching the take on the castle falling apart as the magic wears away from each rose petal falling. While some characters are a little underwhelming in their portrayal, the majority did a pretty great job however the magic of the story itself did carry itself and shadowed the shortcomings in the moment.

Have you seen Beauty and the Beast?

Toronto Comicon Weekend Haul!

This past weekend was a fantasticLly awesome one as I headed out to Toronto for Comicon (just like last year). Its been a crazy process getting back and having everything cleaned and put away and getting back on routine so today, I am doing a simple one to talk about my haul.

I will take a few days this week (probably two) to share the Toronto experience because just like last year, as something of a reward or whatnot, I met up with Drew to hangout and visit Toronto and Comicon together. And just like true movie bloggers, we got in a movie as well amd even made it to a party (comicon related) as well as a sightseeing location. Lots of fun and a packed schedule but I think it turned out pretty great. Look for those posts while I get those new segments finalized (something I ran out of time last week for).

Lets check out what I picked up both before and at the Toronto Comicon.

Before the Comicon, I had a little bit of time before Drew arrived so I went out for a little shopping. I had a few stores on my list to hit and they were:

HMV
(because they are closing out of Canada so lots of discounts)

HMV

Disney Store
(never been to the one at Eaton Centre)

Disney Store Eaton Centre

David’s Tea
(spontaneously remembered  was running out at home)

David's Tea

Toronto Comicon was a weekend thing and we bought the weekend pass so we went on Friday to scout out the show and then did most of our shopping on Saturday after all the Q&A panels. Here’s what I picked up:

Movies & Video Games

I got a super sweet deal for Uncharted 4 at Iceman Video Games which was also there last year. I’m pretty happy about it. They had some awesome choices and selection.

However, I really want to talk about Raven Banner where we stopped by to look at horror movies. They were fantastic and we had a great talk about horror indie films in general. Not sure they’ll read this post but that chat was a highlight of the ComiCon for myself. It really defines why we do this movie blogging thing and meeting people who are equally passionate about this. It was a fun and enlightening chat.

Novel and Comics

Toronto Comicon

Let’s look at this from left to right.

  • Toronto Comics‘ Yonge at Heart is a Canadian comic author that sets in Toronto. This is a free preview to get a snippet of their comic for their Kickstarter campaign running right now till beginning of April, I believe. I saw them on Twitter before the trip and really liked the art style and the idea of using a Canadian setting. You can check out the Kickstarter here.
  • Remy’s Dilemma by Andrew Snook is a novel with this plot below from their website. A part of selling your work is being passionate about it. And Andrew does a great job at it. To be honest, his enthusiasm as he told his story and the joy he had recounting the story was so genuine that I could feel the awesomeness in the story. I haven’t started reading it yet but this looks like a fun journey with Remy especially when its set in two provinces in Canada that I’ve visited numerously  and live in.

The world is coming to an end. That’s what Remy believes, anyways. While double-checking his lifelong to-do list to ensure he has led a rich life, he realizes he hasn’t come close to completing his goals. Panicked and short on time, Remy embarks on a chaotic road trip to complete the most important item on his bucket list… – Snook Books

  • Moonshot & Titan from AH Comics: Moonshot is an Indigenous Comics Collection (Volume 1) with various stories from different artists. With the purchase of this one (inspired by my peaked curiosity after my playthrough of Never Alone a few weeks ago), they also gave the gift of their graphic novel Titan: An Alternate History, which is great because then they saved me having to decide on which one to get with my purchase.

Artwork

Foiled Art

Foiled Art makes this beautiful little pop culture pieces. They do a lot with gold or silver (or both for limited edition) but I honestly thought that this galaxy one looks superb. It really brings out the art and pops. This is going right over my work station at home because its so fantastically awesome!

Chasing Artwork

Howl’s Moving Castle by Chasing Artwork

I love love love Miyazaki art and Chasing Artwork is a great artist. There are two comics out currently which I passed up on but these pieces are so atmospheric and creative. I actually stood there pondering which to get. He also has one for Nausicaa which just took my breath away. I’m personally a huge fan of Howl’s Moving Castle so this one is great.

Archie Dan Parent

Betty and Veronica by Dan Parent (with autograph)

For those of you who don’t know (which you might not because I don’t review comics), I love Archie comics and really I haven’t looked much at the newer ones although they do look cool but these traditional ones. I know I have a few volumes sitting in a box after we moved. I just can’t remember where so I couldn’t take it with me but Dan Parent was there who does a ton of these illustrations. I particularly loved this print and look he signed it also. Consider me a little star strucked when I saw him because I wanted to say a ton and just couldn’t.

The haul could have been so much more. There was so many great writers and artists that the choice was hard to make. However, I retain the idea of picking up stuff from the ones that I skipped but has an Etsy shop or other form of online retail. I have to say this was a pretty successful weekend!

What do you think about the haul? Anything that catches your eye?

Backcountry (2014)

Backcountry (aka Blackfoot Trail) has been a movie on my radar for quite some time. Something about the wilderness being our enemy seems always so intriguing. Think about Frozen, not the Disney animated film but this one here. Maybe not intriguing but the unpredictability is threatening at times because we can’t quite anticipate what to do, except try to prepare the best possible for it. Plus, I love to support Canadian films.

Let’s check this out!

Backcountry (2014)

backcountry

Director (and writer): Adam MacDonald

Cast: Missy Peregrym,  Jeff Roop, Eric Balfour, Nicholas Campbell

An urban couple go camping in the woods and find themselves lost in the territory of a predatory black bear. – IMDB

Backcountry is a story about survival based on a true story. A couple goes out to the woods lead by boyfriend, Alex who wants to take his busy girlfriend, Jenn to Blackfoot Trail to not only get away from the urban life but to a specific spot he remembered was really pretty when he was younger. Except to finally realize that they were not only lost but with a bear following their tracks. So much thrill can come from this concept and don’t get me wrong, it does because the story takes its time to let us know our characters before putting them into danger and while the thrill of outsmarting nature is great, it is hard to ignore the basic common sense. Please do note that I do not know the true story and never read up on any details so this write up is just from a standalone.

Backcountry

For people who are beginner hikers, or beginner anything really, we all know to go in prepared. This is where we already know where the story will go because Alex, upon being offered a map to the trail and against all caution, decides to go without taking the map. This is about as spoiler as I will get, I promise. How do you cheer for someone who doesn’t even know to protect themselves and have all odds on their side? Now, Jenn doesn’t even pay attention on anything else or listen in on what the ranger says so she just walks in trusting it is all good. I’m all about trust but like I said, you can never be prepared. However, the first part (or half) of the film is really about character development and letting us learn about who these two people are. The decisions they make define who they are and probably what will happen to them. Perhaps also take their story as a cautionary tale.

Backcountry

Early in the film, we start realizing that there a presence of a bear in the area. However Alex chooses to ignore it even when a few more things happen. If I was them, I wouldn’t have continued. No matter how beautiful the scenery is mostly because its more disappointing to die than to wait to come back and enjoy it when its safer, something our two characters really are quite naive about. However, here is where I will stop talking about the main characters but about the introduction of danger. The creepy feeling of camping and having something outside and how sometimes we can’t predict or even know they are there actually creates the fear in the audience before our characters do because we know more than they do at that current point in time. Definitely one of the finer aspects of Backcountry is creating the gruelling and threatening atmosphere and giving it time to slowly build up.

Backcountry

There are a few other characters in this film. The ranger plays a cameo role with just one short scene. The other is an Irish hiking expert (forgot the actual term) Brad who poses as a intimidating person. What is the meaning of his character? That is the question we should ask ourselves if not to simply inject a slightly bigger name because it is played by Eric Balfour. This character is deep and hard to grasp and it makes his short appearance so much more powerful when we see how Alex and Jenn reacts and the strength in our mains. I honestly believe that was the purpose because it shouldn’t be to divert our attention since most do know, especially with the posters, what this movie is about, I’m guessing (which I could be wrong). In many ways, his character managed to intrigue and create mystery.

 Overall, Backcountry is a slow-burn wilderness survival cautionary tale based on a true story. The main characters are given time to develop and for us to know them better while letting the dangers slowly approach. While the atmosphere and intrigue and urgency of the situation is done very well, there is a part of me that can rationalize bits that escape common sense however, still wonder if its just my way of wanting the characters’ decision to make sense. There are some quite brutal sequences and the second half is much more engaging than the first which is mostly about building up our characters before breaking them down.

Have you seen Backcountry?

Ella Enchanted (2004)

Ultimate 90’s blogathon is done and wrapped up. It is time to embrace some movie reviews. I have to admit that I actually didn’t watch a lot of movies over the last three weeks. I took the opportunity to catch up on TV series and gaming, which was a really nice change in pace.

I am a fan of Anna Hathaway and especially in those Princess Diaries days and I am also a sucker for princess/Cinderella stories which makes Ella Enchanted all the more fantastic. It has been a while that I’ve wanted to see this one so I was excited to see it land on Netflix! Lets give it a go!

Ella Enchanted (2004)

ella enchanted

Director: Tommy O’Haver

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Minnie Driver, Aidan McArdle, Joanna Lumley, Lucy Punch, Jennifer Higham, Eric Idle, Vivica A. Fox

Ella is under a spell to be constantly obedient, a fact she must hide from her new step-family in order to protect the prince of the land, her friend for whom she’s falling. – IMDB

Ella Enchanted is an innocent fun movie, actually much more than my first impressions that I remembered of it back when it released. While it does give a Cinderella-esque story, Ella embodies quite a few princesses we are familiar with. She does have an evil stepmother who brings two stepsisters and they do push her aside but Ella also has a fairy in the household and ends up getting a curse, like Sleeping Beauty except her curse is one of being obedient. While it seems great as a baby for their parents, as she grew up, it started to cause her to do many things she didn’t want to. Ella lived with no choices and under people’s desires because of this curse. However, she is very kind and accepting. It is hard to not cheer for Ella when she sets out on her journey to find Lucinda, the fairy who granted her this “gift” and feel bad for her predicament when she gets caught up in bad situations.

Ella Enchanted

Anne Hathaway does a great job at being Ella. There’s a bit of the whole innocent and Princess Diaries’ vibe in her at this point. It is a likeable trait and shows lot of potential in being more as an actress. We do know that she is capable of bigger and more mature roles nowadays. Most of the scenes with Ella as some of the best because she is so fun to watch. Along with the fact that her and Hugh Dancy have pretty good chemistry that it makes their love story even more appealing. I haven’t seen Hugh Dancy in a lot of movies. The one I remember slightly might be a few years ago when I saw Confessions of a Shopaholic (and then IMDB tells me that I’ve also seen him in Blood and Chocolate and The Jane Austen Book Club, oh well). He is a charming man for sure and fits well in the role of Prince Char. Perhaps the most entertaining part of Ella Enchanted is watching these two characters. While over the top to a certain degree, still manages to remain believable.
Ella Enchanted

Aside from our main characters, Ella’s crew of friends that she makes along her journey probably are the silliest. She has a magical book that is her household fairy, Mandy’s (played by Minnie Driver) boyfriend. There’s an elf who wants to be a lawyer and not sing and dance. There’s some silly orcs (I think) and of course, some friendly giants. The story is that Char’s uncle is ruling over the kingdom before he comes into coronation, which is pretty much when the story is set and he has decreed rules that make the other species feel repressed and treated cruelly. These friends while filled with a heart of courage and help with making this funny, sometimes can be a little off beat from the story. It still is fun and innocent especially seeing as this is a truly harmless story and one that we’re pretty familiar with.

Ella Enchanted

Finally, our villain. All fairy tales have one. Ours is none other than Char’s power lusting uncle Edgar played by Cary Elwes. And he also has a sidekick which is a magical CGI snake called Heston. Are you sensing an Aladdin’s Jafar feeling here with his Iago? Either way, Ella Enchanted is very lighthearted and even in its most sinister and dark moments still manages to keep it light and funny. Edgar is completely comedic in many ways. The other villain, in some ways, is the stepsister played by Lucy Punch who really just wanted Ella out of the way in order to get her hands on Prince Char for herself. Nothing too threatening about this character other than the fact that she’s merely a pawn in the whole ordeal to Ella’s dilemma. What makes sure that we are definitely watching a mash-up princess movie and not Cinderella is that our villain isn’t the stepmother who would mimick the role of Lady Tremaine but really has a small role here and who is not at all threatening.

Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted is an innocent and fun movie. It never lets us forget that we are watching a fairy tale story with an impressive heroine geared towards a younger audience. It keeps it light by staying comedic and making it a funny affair to watch. There is good chemistry between Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy who are clearly the strength of this film. The story is familiar and simple and quite predictable and yet, there’s something charming about it. Perhaps it is because fairy tales, especially live action ones nowadays are getting so dark that its nice to visit one that remembers to keep it fun and fantastical.

Have you seen Ella Enchanted?

TV Binge: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 1, 2017)

We are in for some TV binge posts this week. I have been slacking off on writing them up. Let us start this week with something the most current: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was adamant on finishing the first four books before watching this series. If you missed the reviews, you can find here and here. On the record, I love the movie adaptation and the cast and I watched it without any knowledge of the source material. I still think it handles what it has well enough.

The question is how do they approach it as a TV series. Netflix has rarely disappointed in its series so I was incredibly excited for this one. Let’s check it out!

A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 1, 2017)

A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

A Series of Unfortunate Events has a fun and sinister premise. It is full of imagination and adventure. There are clever inventions and also an educational vocabulary adventure filled with colorful characters no matter how dark and grim of a situation the Baudelaire orphans get caught up in as they narrowly escape Count Olaf time and time again. In that sense, the TV series grasps the ton of the books incredibly well. They handle it with a great balance while stringing in some simultaneous events to keep us intrigued. While this may limit themselves in terms of how long the series can run, it is smart idea to take the books and split it into two episodes. Season 1 covers the first four books in the eight episodes. At the end of the fourth book, there is a change in events that should spring forth in the next season. I’ve only read till book 6 so I don’t know what goes on in books 7 and 8 but there is a new discovery and characters that will give it a fresh change to keep it interesting.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The cast here does a fantastic job in capturing how these characters are. The Baudelaire Orphans are played by Malina Weissman as Violet, Louis Hynes as Klaus and Presley Smith as baby Sunny. These three are the focus of the story itself. They are the ones dealt with all the misfortune. In many ways, Violet, Klaus and Sunny are hold a wonderful connection to each other as siblings. There is a likeable factor to them because they are so intelligent and because they’ve lost so much and trapped with such either useless or evil adults. However, there is a question of how the character in the series actually pick up to fend for themselves (much quicker than in the books).

Talking about useless adults, we can’t dive into a talk about the series without talking about their absolutely useless and constantly coughing Mr. Poe, a man who is responsible for their future until Violet comes of age to inherit the Baudelaire fortune. Mr. Poe, played by K. Todd Freeman is portrayed so incredibly clueless and possibly self-absorbed that in fact, him and his family are quite funny to watch. This brings forth a dark comedy tone that works well to not only give us a grim situation but know when to inject some dark humor.

We can’t have a conversation about characters without talking about the master disguise villain, Count Olaf who will do absolutely anything to get his hands on the Baudelaire orphans. Neil Patrick Harris, for myself, is a hit and miss sort of actor. He has done great roles such as Mr. Horrible and Gone Girl. I’m not a fan of How I Met Your Mother so I never watched it much. However, he always carries a charm in taking on different roles. In many ways, Count Olaf is a perfect platform (much like Jim Carrey’s portrayal) where he can do all sorts of voice acting and show off a ton of his skill set to capture and bring this Count Olaf character to life and man, does he prove himself worthy! Just his facial expressions is irreplaceable.

A Series of unfortunate events

Perhaps one of the nicest touch is to keep our narrator, Lemony Snicket to pop up in the most random places as he continues on with the story. He gives us comparisons and sheds light on vocabulary, just like the books did. He adds a very serious tone to the story. In this case, Lemony Snicket is played by Patrick Warburton, a man with a unique voice. If you don’t know who he is, he’s done the voice of Kronk in Emperor’s New Grove. His voice is commanding and just amazing and fits his narrative so well. Especially adding in his background appearances to aid the progression of the story, it is possibly one of my absolute favorite parts of the series.

There is a lot of cameos here filled with familiar faces. Perhaps the most known would be Joan Cusack playing Justice Strauss, Catherine O’Hara as Dr. Orwell and Don Johnson (as Sir). Aunt Josephine and Uncle Monty are played by Alfre Woodard and Aasif Mandvi respectively and look incredibly familiar and yet I can’t pinpoint where I’ve seen them before. However, they all do really well in their roles. I’m a huge fan of Catherine O’Hara.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The familiar faces don’t stop. In fact, this Netflix Originals adds in a little extra mystery with injecting Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders who plays parents who are locked up and escaping some interesting situations and trying to get home. Now, are they the Baudelaires? Are the Baudelaires orphans not actually orphans? These are questions that this invokes. Who are these two mystery couple? Aside from that, we also get a deeper knowledge of what that secret society and the telescopes that the Baudelaire orphans find from their parents including the recurring symbol as we get undercover roles from Sara Canning as Jaquelyn and Luke Camilleri as Gustav. This side of the story about the eye and the telescopes really bring out a different side of the story that we’ve never learned much before and it adds in a nice mysterious touch and something that unfolds a little in each episode and wonder how this will all pull together.

Overall, the first season of A Series of Unfortunate Events is an intriguing one. It did take a while to build in the first few episodes but does a well job and captures a very suitably dark comedy tone. The cast captures its roles great whether it is our charming narrator to the evil villain to the resilient Baudelaire orphans. They add in a bit of mystery by showing a little more about the mysteries. Its a great way to keep the story intriguing and entertaining all at the same time. It is definitely one I am looking forward to Season 2 to see how it continues.

Have you seen Netflix Original A Series of Unfortunate Events? 

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon Kickoff: Robin Williams Triple Feature

Welcome to Ultimate 90’s Blogathon! 

Ultimate 90's blogathon

We’re officially kicking off the blogathon.  It will run for the next few weeks from Monday to Saturday both here and on my awesome co-host, Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews. Today, we kick off together with our own reviews. We will be alternating reviews here and over there from all of our fantastic participants. A huge thanks is in order for all the reviews we’ve seen. There are some great selections to look forward to. Over the next few days, I will be creating a page on the menu for Ultimate 90s Blogathon and will update the posts as they go so if you miss any, just head over there to find it.

Let’s get this started!

I was born in the mid 80s, meaning I did most of my growing up in the 90’s. Its where I can relate the most and also why this blogathon means so much more to myself. The 90’s was filled with iconic actors and roles/characters and some great movies. My childhood wouldn’t have been the same with this actor though. Life wouldn’t have as many laughs and happiness going on in our house. Robin Williams was a great comedic actor taking on fun and inspiring roles and there are so many that it is hard to choose from. It is why I decided to choose three that meant the most to me, be it memories of spending time with my family or just movies that I can’t get enough of today. These are iconic roles that he took on. I’m sure it will differ for each of you. I know Drew and I both had different choices as well. So will you. If you are a fan, share which of his movies you loved and which would be in your Robin Williams triple feature. Now, for my choices and they are in no particular order!

Aladdin (1992)

aladdin

Director: Ron Clements & John Musker
Voice cast: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Weller, Gilbert Gottfried

When a street urchin vies for the love of a beautiful princess, he uses a genie’s magic power to make himself off as a prince in order to marry her. – IMDB

Aladdin is a true Disney classics. It left us with not only a princess movie which it does have a male protagonist as a focus, many renowned songs including the wildly catchy Prince Ali or the uber romantic A Whole New World but also a fast talking somewhat silly genie voiced by Robin Williams. Aladdin is fun and fast-paced. It has a villain, Jafar with his goofy sidekick. The Sultan is kind of a clueless father with a pretty pure heart that really has the best intentions for his daughter, Princess Jasmine. While Jasmine is not one of my favorite princesses but she is strong-willed and I love tigers so her pet tiger Raj stole my heart. However, the showstopper is the dynamic and enthusiastic and incredibly funny Genie. Robin Williams uses his many voices to give this character life and makes him interesting to watch with a lot of fun moments.

Aladdin doesn’t only have a love story. Its more than that. It looks at greed and power. It has sneaky creatures and misguided authority. There is ignorance among some characters and only seeing and judging the physical appearance than the true nature. The dialogue itself is sharp and comedic and fun thrown in with hints of emotions as we learn out characters and how they change. The vibrant characters are not limited to their main players but even Raj and Abu, Aladdin’s pet monkey shows companionship and teamwork. Wrapped up in a fun package but still full of excitement and tells an adventurous story, Aladdin is excelled by Robin Williams but also is one of the great Disney offerings in the 90’s.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

mrs. doubtfire

Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Lisa Jakub, Harvey Fierstein, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson

After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children held in custody by his former wife. – IMDB

The lengths that a desperate father would go to be with his children brings a lot of great moments, both comedic and heartwarming as he transforms himself into a housekeeper. Mrs. Doubtfire is an iconic role in itself. She was a feisty housekeeper that tried to classy but also stood her own because she was actually a he. Whether is Mrs. Doubtfire dancing around cleaning the house or burning up her breasts or even throwing a fruit at the back of Pierce Brosnan’s head, it all adds to how fantastic this character is. At times, we even forget about the man under the transformation.

Stepping out of Robin Williams iconic role, a cornerstone of 90’s child actors was Mara Wilson who plays the youngest child. Mara Wilson did a few roles in the 90’s, like Mathilda and Miracle on 34th Street. She is one of those unforgettable child actors that was so cute and smart. Of course, we also had our James Bond of the 90’s, Pierce Brosnan as their mother’s new love. And mom is played by Sally Field. Lots of big well known names here. The kids are incredibly fun to watch and everyone delivers a great performance paired up with some amusing and entertaining dialogue that really touches us and tugs some heartstrings at the end. Its really hard to not love. Mrs. Doubtfire is a film that I watch over and over again and still remains as entertaining every single time.

Jumanji (1995)

jumanji

Director: Joe Johnston
Cast: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth, David Alan Grier, Patricia Clarkson

When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game. – IMDB

Jumanji is irreplaceable. It is adventurous and dangerous. There are scary things that can be summoned from the board game. Jumanji itself is a pretty eerie concept of having a board game that is alive on its own and has created a whole world of its own to thrive for its players. However, Jumanji is a Robin Williams favorite because he plays Alan Parish who comes back after twenty odd years of being trapped in Jumanji’s jungles and need to pick up the courage to get back into the game to finish it and hopefully reverse all the damage already done. Movies that feature someone in the past going to the present or the present going to the past will embrace changes from the sudden decade shift and usually, hilarity ensues. That is the winning formula of this movie.

Jumanji does also boast some great performances from Bonnie Hunt who plays as the girl who ran off in fear when Allan was sucked into Jumanji and has to finish the game also. Her fear and denial are the things that make her funny but we do see her character development as she finds the courage to be more. Kirsten Dunst plays the little girl, Judy who just moved into the old Parrish house with her aunt and starts the game without knowing that she is only continuing a previous game. Her brother, Peter, played by Bradley Pierce is a rather quiet character. Everyone in this movie learns to face their fears and find a deeper courage to keep going on and persevere towards your goal. There is a family theme as well. This action adventure keeps us on our toes as we watch each of them roll the dice and wonder what else can come out of this game. Even if I’ve seen it before, I still sit at the edge of my seat anxiously waiting for what happens as if I didn’t know before.

What 90’s Robin Williams movie do you like?

Remember to head over to Drew’s Movie Review to look at this Ultimate 90’s Blogathon Kickoff review HERE!