My November Adventures

November was a bit of a mess of a month. I was close to a burn-out after back to back film festival coverages and its why it took a while to wrap up the remaining films for those festivals. Luckily, that’s all done. With work also being an explosion of work, its been quite the crazy ride. I don’t foresee December being a lot better but at least, the slowed down posting schedule got my focus back on writing posts. With that said, not a really exciting month overall but still a few things to talk about plus at the end, there’s some December plans.

Not talking about any new projects until December’s wrap-up or January’s beginning of the year post as I have some final decisions to make on some possible changes or a new project/segment.

Blood in the Snow Festival

The ranking for the feature films (with the except of one Parallel Minds that I didn’t see):

  1. Come True (Review)
  2. For The Sake of Vicious (Review)
  3. Anything For Jackson (Review)
  4. The Return (Review)
  5. Hall (Review)
  6. Bloodthirsty (Review)
  7. Bleed With Me (Review)
  8. Shall We Play? (Review)

Overall, Blood in the Snow Festival was a good one. There were some really fun discoveries and some good direction on the stories that were being told. All the reviews for the feature films are up. I usually do something for short films but it already took so long to get this batch done that I haven’t had time to do that. I might still go back and highlight a few that I thought were rather unique and entertaining.

New Restaurant

New restaurant opened up yet and its a Hong Kong style noodle shop who has both curries but even more for the fish soup base that they have for their noodle soup. The noodle soup is ordered similar to what you’d do for Japanese ramen where you get to pick the base, the type of noodle and then 2 toppings. The soup itself actually has quite a bit of extra ingredients added in. I had the combo which included a drink and mine was the lemon ribena which is something very much part of the Hong Kong landscape. Can’t go back to visit in this current landscape but at least there’s food to make me feel more connected, right?

New Spices & Masks

The husband had some company coupon codes sort of deal so we went ahead and took a look at the catalogue. I have some fun candles on the way that didn’t make it on this post but we ordered the spices kit from Gourmet Inspirations. So far, we’ve only tried the Veggie Fusion which adds a nice kick to the veggies.

As for the masks, the Instagram posts says it all. I’ve tried a few companies that make masks and Hop La Gogosses is by far my favorite so I’ve returned a few times. Not to mention, they are close so when I have time, I usually try to do a pick-up instead of getting it delivered. They have these custom ones so you get to choose the front and back from a range of choices.

Black Friday Haul

  • Best Buy: Chromecast
  • Google Play: The Almost Gone, Very Little Nightmares
  • Cineplex: Rental: Guns Akimbo
  • Steam: Gnog, Jenny LeClue Detectivu, Celeste, Transference, Sea of Solitude, The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories
  • Xbox Ultimate Game Pass

Black Friday has pretty much mostly been an online deal even before the whole pandemic landscape so seeing as I did overall spend less this year, I ended up picking up on some of the sweet deals online for games and such. The only physical item I got was a new Chromecast. Our old Chromecast was starting really casting some things really well and was starting to get a little tempermental so we changed it and it seems to work better.

Everything else was mostly gaming related. Xbox Ultimate Game Pass for PC was dropped to $1/month and that’s great since I had a few games to catch up on so my next month of gaming is pretty much sort out since when I cut my subscription 2 months ago, I still had a few games that I hadn’t tried out yet.

As for Cineplex, there was some good rentals but the one that I’ve been meaning to watch is Guns Akimbo so that’s going to be done soon.

Christmas Marathon & Upcoming Plans

End of November means that its time to welcome in the Christmas Marathon! Christmas movies have been fairly slim pickings but thanks to Netflix releasing an immense amount of Christmas movies (whether good or bad), there’s a little more selection. Hopefully enough to fill out these few weeks leading to Christmas. It should start tomorrow December 1st if all things go well.

A quick mention on December plans while we’re at it. I’m trying to work out all the backlog and releasing some more current release stuff, mostly TV (Netflix and Chinese Drama TV binges). I’m going to blend it all in this month while catching up with some 2020 TV series that I’ve missed or didn’t finish. Fingers crossed that I can work on as much as possible.

That’s it November Adventures!
Nothing too exciting and just a lot of spending overall.
What have you been up to?

BITS 2020: Come True (2020)

Come True (2020)

Come True

Director (and screenplay): Anthony Scott Burns

Cast: Julia Sarah Stone, Landon Liboiron, Tedra Rogers, Chantal Perron, Carlee Ryski, Christopher Heatherington

A teenage runaway takes part in a sleep study that becomes a nightmarish descent into the depths of her mind and a frightening examination of the power of dreams. – IMDB

Dreams, nightmares, science fiction and fantasy all come into play when talking about Come True. It starts off on a premise that may feel familiar as its about a teenage runaway who ends up joining a sleep study in order to find a place to stay while making money but at the same time, it helps her look further into her dreams and nightmares. As the study comes to play and it starts to see what the study is about, she starts to get closer to the unknown figure that appears in her sleep. What is reality and nightmare and where does it all draw the line?

Come True is one of the best offerings of BITS 2020 and that has to do with a good combination of everything: visuals, characters, the story and wrapping all that up with a mindblowing ending. The atmosphere creates a building tension. Its a deep question about what is going on with this character and her dreams and how does it all connect which makes it stand out all the more as it creates this looming question. Perhaps what makes it stand out is using one unique situation to build on, giving shape to a more fleshed out situation from it being in the dreams to how dreams a converted into visible elements on screen and then further into how this translates into reality or not. The unknown is the main element of horror and its done fairly well.

These characters and cast are pretty well done also. The character that is the most fleshed out is the main character Sarah, played by Julia Sarah Stone, who experiences this whole situation where is everyone else seems like they just cross by her. However, it never forgets that the main character may be going through her issues but she is still a runaway teenager and she can still have fun with her best friend and find ways to fix her situation on her own even if its an unsettling choice to join an sleep study off some ad for money. She has suffice back story to make the audience care about what she’s going through. On the other side is the researchers who are observing these subjects, including Jeremy, played by Landon Liboiron who seems to be popping up on my radar quite a bit since he was in Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (review) who is a pretty decent actor and this role is works well for him. Jeremy is also a relatively well-written character. He plays a character that has some unknown motive and creates this connection with Sarah. To be fair, the story focuses on Sarah’s character the most, which is a good direction to not create too many tangents and makes it more complex.

Unlike Anthony Scott Burns debut feature film (review), Come True is definitely a hidden gem. One that carries an intriguing story and a well-crafted atmosphere. Its a mixed genre sci-fi horror that dives into the world of nightmares, dreams and reality, blurring the lines between them. If dreams could be mapped out, wouldn’t that be something, right?

BITS 2020: The Return (2020)

The Return (2020)

The Return

Director (and co-writer): BJ Verot

Cast: Richard Harmon, Sara Thompson, Echo Andersson, Marina Stephenson Kerr, Erik Athavale, Gwendolyn Collins, Zoe Fish, Kristen Sawatzky

After the death of his father, a brilliant college student returns to his family home where he learns that the horrors from his childhood aren’t as dead and gone as he once thought. – IMDB

There’s no doubt that based on the synopsis above that The Return sounds like a unique horror experience. However, The Return isn’t quite as generic as it makes it out to be. In fact, its one that starts off with a general horror tropes seen in ghost stories. Creepy dolls, jumpscares, slamming doors: the basic elements of a haunted house, right? Its all wrapped up a college student going back to his childhood home after his father passes away in a questionable manner. With his girlfriend and best friend in tow, they go to the funeral and sort through the house when his long return dredges up something else and eventually bringing him to dig up some things in the past that he has forgotten.

The Return’s first part although fairly predictable in its scares actually manages to build a decent atmosphere. However, the first part is also the weaker part of the film. Not only are the scares fairly familiar haunted house tropes but its really the pacing of revealing this “ghost/monster” (whatever you want to call it) to quickly that messes up a little of the turning point/twist. With that said, it also tries to pack in too many scares in a short amount of time that decreases the scare element. At one point, the “monster” revealed itself over and over again in quick frequency and anything in frequent amounts tends to dull the effective of what its trying to achieve. With anything lurking in the background, the mystery of how its executed is incredibly important and somehow that seems lose a bit of that in the first half, even though the set up was done well enough story-wise.

The second half is much stronger as it consists of a clever twist and at the same time, it has a lot more action of the characters actually being in some kind of peril. The threat is in action a little more. While some reactions were a little silly, the search for what happened to the main character and his lost memory along with connecting all the dots to why his childhood home is haunted does add a lot to making it much more unique and adding in some of the mixed genre elements, in this case a bit of science fiction and time travel.

The Return is one of those movies that might not be really at first glance or even the beginning segment as the setup does feel a little been there done that in horror films however, once the past of the main character becomes more clear and and the things start to build up along with a clever twist, it does add a lot of charms to it. Its not exactly a pure horror film however, its unique because of this and adds a lot of extra points when those other elements come into play.

BITS 2020: Bloodthirsty (2020)

Bloodthirsty (2020)

Director: Amelia Moses

Cast: Lauren Beatty, Greg Bryk, Katharine King So, Michael Ironside, Judith Buchan

Grey is an indie singer who is having visions that she is a wolf. When she gets an invitation to work with notorious music producer Vaughn Daniels at his remote studio in the woods she begins to find out who she really is. – IMDB

After her psychological thriller team-up Bleed With Me, Amelia Moses’s second film at Blood in the Snow Festival is a psychological slow-burn werewolf film, Bloodthirsty. Feeling a bit like the psychological journey of Raw at the beginning with the main character Grey having these dream sequences of eating animals and going with her girlfriend tagging along to a music producer’s remote studio to create her album, it turns into a journey of self-discovery that unleashes another side of her. Without knowing anything about the film, Bloodthirsty feels like a lot of different horror movies and its the unknown the truly gives the first half a slow-burn but intriguing psychological trip. Both Grey and the music producer Vaughn have a mysterious dark edge. Vaughn seems to be hiding something about his past which comes to light as a final twist at the end.

Its always great to see more directors exploring a werewolf premise. Recent years has seen more of this films show up taking different tones. Bloodthirsty is a more serious story about a girl embracing her true nature but at the same time, struggling to let go of her current things. As she unleashes the beast inside, the main question is what are the consequences. Bloodthirsty grabs the right tone and atmosphere. As its characters are music-oriented, the soundtrack is also distinguishes the gradual changes in Grey’s character from the change in her music and the lyrics. Its a great angle and one of the strengths of this movie. Paired up with the remote setting of the house in the woods, they all come into play to give it an ominous feeling.

Looking at the characters, its a small cast that basically floats between the growing connection between Grey, played by Lauren Beatty (also in Bleed With Me which also questions whether the two stories have some sort of connection as both characters revolve around blood) and Vaughn (Greg Bryk). Vaughn becomes something of a mentor who helps Grey find her musical inspirations and make more music but at the same time, he pushes her into a certain direction to follow her desires and temptations starting from little things like eating meat (a big step for her vegan character). There’s a dark side to Vaughn which sometimes plays a little too heavy which destroys a bit of the subtlety of developing Grey’s character which takes a little more time. Perhaps its that push and pull that gives the pacing a little imbalance. Plus, these two dominant characters also render the two supporting characters of Grey’s girlfriend Charlie (Katharine King So) and Vaughn’s housekeeper Vera (Judith Buchan) feel a little insignificant except for two scenes respectively that help give the story a push.

Bloodthirsty is a decent horror film. Extra points for taking on the werewolf premise. It has a great setting as well as a good story premise. Lauren Beatty does a decent performance as Grey and same goes for Greg Bryk. Their characters build to the finale. The twist is fairly good although the ending is a little questionable (not exactly to my liking). Its really the imbalanced pacing and some execution choices that leaves me a little less enthused. However, the soundtrack sets the tone really well and a great angle. Plus, Michael Ironside has a cameo/supporting role which is always great to see. Overall, Bloodthirsty is a decent werewolf film but its definitely much more than that as it tackles more of a subtle psychological angle which I do appreciate.

My October Adventures

In a blink of eye between 31 Days of Halloween and festival coverage, October wrapped up. Our partial lockdown has been extended for another potentially 28 days as Montreal hopes for the new cases/deaths number to decrease in the next month instead of the current constant. I’ve reverted in the middle of October to a partial work at home status which is kind of the best scenario that I could hope for. With that said, its been a fairly calm month as we kept to regional protocol and stayed home other than to pick-up the occasional food pick-up or grocery runs and mostly for work purposes. After a little glimpse at what’s going on personally, let’s see what I managed to muster up for this month’s adventures…its mostly recaps at this point. Let’s check it out!

Festival Du Nouveau Cinema 2020

Festival du Nouveau Cinema ran for the majority of the month. It was a wild ride as this festival always has deeper movies and takes a little more time to process which makes the writing process in a tad of a delay since I’m not going to lie that the movie choices started a little rocky. Still, I wanted to do a little something for it and here’s the rankings from best to worst (obviously in my opinion) of the 19 films that I watched based on my current feelings and memories of them:

  1. Topside
  2. My Salinger Year
  3. Red Post on Escher Street
  4. Caught in the Net
  5. Moving On
  6. La Hija de un Ladron
  7. Violation
  8. Undine
  9. Poissonsexe
  10. Wisdom Tooth
  11. Mum, Mum, Mum
  12. Cocoon
  13. The Book of Vision
  14. Drowsy City
  15. The Tremor
  16. The Cloud In Her Room
  17. Sin La Habana
  18. Kill It and Leave This Town
  19. Siberia

That’s the rankings. Half of the movies have been reviewed at this point and there will be the rest of the reviews going up in the coming week.

Halloween Marathon

This year was a little different as I aimed to do 31 Days of Halloween/Horror which overall worked out as I did mostly double features and then wrapped up the last few days with Blood in the Snow Festival coverage. There were some off days and I had fallen behind by one day with a week left and pulled it together to wrap up on October 31st. I consider that a win even though I didn’t count the TV Binge of The Haunting of Bly Manor as one of the days, which I probably should have. Out of all the movies, here’s the top picks that I saw in no specific order:

  • A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
  • Raw
  • Unfriended: Dark Web
  • #Alive
  • Trick ‘r Treat
  • Happy Death Day
  • For The Sake Of Vicious

You can find all the reviews and full list of this year’s and previous year’s Halloween marathon HERE!

Blood in the Snow Festival 2020

Blood in the Snow Festival 2020 started up at the end of October and is going on until November 7th. Different from Fantasia Festival and Festival du Nouveau Cinema, its showing on Super Channel and has a specific schedule for the different features and programs airing. You can find all the info for how to sign up for Super Channel and schedule on the festival’s site.

I’ll be covering everything here: shorts programs, features, pre-feature shorts and perhaps the Web Bites if I figure out a good way to do it.

Trying New Restaurants

1930 Shanghai

1930 Shanghai is a restaurant that specializes in Xiao Long Bao which is the Shanghai soup-filled dumplings. They are one of my favorite foods. This place makes decent ones. While they look the same here, I had one order of the normal pork -filled flavor and then had one where it was chicken and mushroom. Both were really good.

Comon Restaurant

I’m usually not a huge fan of Fried Chicken nor do I tend to eat it a lot but my friend told me about this place and picked up some chicken. . Their take-out boxes for the chicken are in pizza boxes which is pretty creative. I ordered a Bibimbap which was pretty good but felt was a little overpriced for the size and the taste wasn’t anything too different from other places. The fried chicken is also pricier but it does taste really good. I ordered the Fried Chicken with Green Onions (pretty obvious) but unlike some other restaurants in Montreal, their chickens are all bone-in, which isn’t a huge problem since I like bone-in meats but definitely something that others might want to keep in mind if you want to try it out.

Cute Kitty Pic

That’s it for this weekly adventures!
What have you been up to? Any Halloween celebrations – simple or not?

BITS 2020: Bleed With Me (2020)

Bleed With Me (2020)

Director (and writer): Amelia Moses

Cast: Lee Marshall, Lauren Beatty, Aris Tyros

During a winter getaway at an isolated cabin, a self-destructive young woman becomes convinced that her best friend is stealing her blood. – IMDB

Cabin in the woods, cold winter and bunked up for a getaway with a couple and a best friend is the set up for Bleed With Me. The isolation, the single setting and the obligation for the characters to interact with each other builds up through a well-executed atmosphere and tension, wanting or not, its inevitable. As best friends Rowan (Lee Marshall) and Emily (Lauren Beatty)are using this trip to bond, Emily and her boyfriend Branden (Aris Tyros) are there to take some time together where Branden voices his reluctance to bringing Rowan along.

Bleed With Me is shot from Rowan’s angle right from the beginning as she drowsily lies down in the backseat of the car for the road trip. The audience sees what she sees. Its a clever way as her observations and feelings as well as the effects of her blurry sight when she wakes up in the middle of the night keeps the unknown feeling going. As she tells her stories and experiences to Emily and Branden, her character starts to form especially of self-harm issues. Especially since Rowan is set up to be socially awkward especially in this weird third wheel situation as she flails between keeping her distance to give Emily and Branden space but also drinking to try to ease herself and fit into the conversation.

As she starts suspecting that Emily is taking her blood at night and growing increasingly suspicious of her as more cut marks appear on her arm, its a big mystery where the uneasy starts to take effect as it plays on whether she is really experiencing it and Emily has ulterior motives or whether its all in her mind, playing on the psychological horror/thriller element very well. The small cast delivers some good performances, notably Lee Marshall. Although, deliberate or not, Lauren Beatty’s character sometimes feels like its laying the creepy vibes a little heavy, especially when Lee Marshall’s portrayal of Rowan is much more subtle.

Bleed With Me uses its dim setting, the environment and the isolation as well as the character development to give it an unsettling feeling and to keep suspecting between Rowan and Emily. As Rowan explores the cabin on her own and how Emily reacts to certain things, the mystery starts to have a few hints towards what this all is about. While the ending is a tad odd but the sum of its parts and the entire movie before then worked really well together. Using dark settings and low lightings along with her blurry/distorted vision and the horror of the unknown, Bleed With Me is an effectively unsettling horror film.

BITS 2020: For The Sake Of Vicious (2020)

For The Sake Of Vicious (2020)

Directors (and writers): Gabriel Carrer & Reese Eveneshene

Cast: Lora Burke, Nick Smyth, Colin Paradine, T. J. Kennedy, James Fler

An innocent nurse, a tortured maniac and a suspicious hostage face off against a wave of violent intruders as they descend upon their place of refuge on Halloween night. – IMDB

Running at a swift (rare) 80 minutes, For The Sake of Vicious is a revenge action thriller more than a horror movie. Its more of the former than the latter. It starts off quickly with the three character, a nurse playing out like a mediator controlling the situation between two men: a father seeking revenge for his daughter on the man who raped her and the man who he suspects is responsible but evaded his sentence. The tension in the conversation reveals the personality of these characters. Before its resolved, a swarm of masked men come in under command by the man that was seemingly asked by the hostage to come to help. Its unclear how all of this comes into play together. Packed in its single setting and a turn to survival sort of action film, it turns into a non-stop heart-pounding fight scene moving throughout the house as more masked men come in one batch after another. The revenge plot gets a little lost in the action as it loses sight of that angle but turns more towards why these men are asked to attack them.

The single setting of the nurse’s house is a little house with some tight rooms and narrow hallways which gives it a bigger sense of dangerous as the fight scenes moving from one room to the next. The use of the space is explored really well as it uses the items broken to their full purpose and there are some nifty attacks with the tools/weapons that they use. It also helps that the cast did all the stunt themselves which makes it so much more engaging.

The characters also create their own sort of dynamic. As they fight for survival with the infiltration of masked killers and the helmeted assassin (or what I think he is meant to be), Romina (Lora Burke), Chris (Nick Smyth) and Alan (Colin Paradine) end up having to set their differences aside to work together in order to survive and possibly have some resolution to the previous conversation. Lora Burke delivers a stellar performance as usual. Its a different role from her prior roles in Poor Agnes and Lifechanger but one that drives the plot. She finds her strength but still has a side of her that is shocked by the events as any normal person innocently thrusted into this situation would be. Nick Smyth’s role feels a little overacted although it does deliver how his character is very unhinged and troubled and very desperate to get a confession but still has a fight to survive. Colin Paradine’s character is done fine as Alan gets left hanging on whether he is just a shady man or he also is a shady man that raped a child. The verdict hangs in the air since the discussion never finished before the killers arrived giving it that extra thriller element.

Revenge thrillers are always a tough storyline to tackle. In some ways, venturing off from it and focusing on the action, like a dialed down The Raid gives it a lot of style. It makes the revenge plot change direction into something else unexpectedly, making it more suspenseful than if they pushed further with the rape-revenge that could be more emotionally manipulated. This is definitely a decent way to approach this will giving it a little twist. The story gets a little thin because of the heavy focus on the action but somehow, it really does work out to be a satisfying action-packed effectively executed watch.

BITS 2020: Anything For Jackson (2020)

Anything For Jackson (2020)

Director: Justin G. Dyck

Cast: Sheila McCarthy, Julian Richings, Konstantina Mantelos, Josh Cruddas, Yannick Bisson

A bereaved Satanist couple kidnap a pregnant woman so they can use an ancient spellbook to put their dead grandson’s spirit into her unborn child but end up summoning more than they bargained for. – IMDB

Kicking off this year’s Blood in the Snow Festival is Anything For Jackson, a horror film that revolves around Satanism and supernatural possession and an unexpected pair of grandparents in lead roles. Anything For Jackson is a unique horror film. While Satanism is almost never my first choice in horror premise, this one is rather intriguing. Perhaps it has to do with the two awkward grandparents and it might that the expected becomes a little unexpected by the end.

Sheila McCarthy and Julian Richings lead this movie as two grandparents who seek out this ancient book that can hopefully bring their grandson back. The movie starts as they execute the first step of the plan which not only giving us two unknown characters but also throwing the viewers into the story right away to gradually learn about them as they interact with the pregnant woman that they kidnapped. The two are truly incredible to watch their roles progress as things inevitably turns out to be more than they bargained. The change in tone right from the start especially on how the two elderly couple breaks out of the expected mold of what grandparents feel like being warm and friendly turns into this other side of them. Turning the known premise on its head right from the start.

Anything For Jackson is more than that. It moves between the present of what they are trying to achieve and the little hiccups along the way and giving a parallel of how they came up on this idea and how they planned the whole thing. As the final act comes into play, the set of their relationship with this kidnapped girl and how it takes a rather different supernatural turn of events as well as the Satanism ritual all pulls in different characters that all come into play. The movie subconsciously takes the viewers for a ride from the structure of one event of the next and each one making it feel more intense and dangerous than the previous time. As more people get added to the equation, the chances of being revealed becomes much more pressing. Its the clever execution that adds so much to this horror film.

Anything For Jackson is a hidden gem. It twists the story right from the start with its leading characters and is probably one of the quickest film to set up its main plot. It only features a handful of characters but the way its filmed and the structure of the story and progression all works out smoothly. Its not exactly a jumpscare sort of film but more of a tension building sort of atmosphere from the cinematography to how the whole thing gets slowly out of the control more and more. The type of movie that’s right up my alley. Let’s face it: there’s no way that its unexpected that things will go out of hand because if they didn’t, there wouldn’t be a movie but it still manages to keep it very engaging. Coming from someone not really into the Satanism angle in horror, this one was a pleasant surprise!

BITS 2020: Shall We Play? (2020)

Shall We Play? (2020)

Director (and co-writer): Anne Forry

Cast: Matreya Scarrwener, Michelle Creber, Jessica McLeod, Philip Granger, Dolores Drake, Blake Williams

A troubled teenage girl, downloads a new app, ‘Shall We Play?’ in an attempt to heal her past but unknowingly, the app possesses her into the game. – IMDB

As we all try to find the new game that can be turned into horror, Shall We Play tries to modernize a familiar game, Ouija except in this case its a phone app called Shall We Play which unleashes an evil that possesses its user. There’s really nothing wrong with the premise that Shall We Play aims for except a lot of things feels a little overused like sound cues, casting choices and even the sinister bits aren’t executed too well, making the movie feel increasingly frustrating to watch as it progresses especially when the beginning does start off well with some mystery and creepy atmosphere to eventually lose its way.

The biggest issue probably would be the writing that makes these characters seem a little flat. The flow having some issues as a result. The dialogue and conversations being one of the bigger issues. There are some characters like Grandma that feels like she’s trying to be creepy but also feels like its meant to be that way. an annoying character of the main character’s friend Jess and a scene that was supposed to be a turning point get really oddly scripted. The mom character also had some issues, not exactly the acting but just how the character dialogue gave her this really unbearable feeling.

With that said, the main character Stacy, played by Matreya Scarrwener was done really well. She was able to move through the possession phase well and grasping the different changes in her personality. At the same time, the character design of her the other friend Emma played by Michelle Creber was also a good element. They both seem reasonable as friends and work together logically.

Considering that the premise of evil possession isn’t exactly my cup of tea and the second half didn’t really give justice to how it started, Shall We Play definitely already starts off a little less in my favor. Shall We Play tries to be different but the script and dialogue that lets it down more than the atmosphere that it creates. There’s some decent use of sound design at the beginning and a couple of effective jumpscares so overall, a rather middling horror experience.

What’s Up 2019: Week 48

Welcome! Its the next weekly recap of What’s Up. Week 48 lands is in the first day of December already. Its hard to imagine how quick 2019 has gone by. This week was a lot of wrap-up: festivals and podcast prep material. Things need to head into Christmas and winter holidays mode soon.

READING

love potions and other calamities

Currently reading: Love Potions and Other Calamities

Reading in a low right now as festival and the wrap-up consumed most of my time but we will be getting on track next week with more reading time.

PLAYING

Afterparty

  • Afterparty

Currently playing: Rusty Lake Roots

Im anticipation of the upcoming recording for Game Warp, my main focus has been on completing Afterparty. For gamers who have played Oxenfree before, you also know that one playthrough is never enough because they have such a cause and effect choice based storyline that from my research, at least 3 endings to this. So second playthrough is happening for sure, somewhat debating to stream it although I haven’t streamed in a long time (always depends on time).

WATCHING

Freaks

  • Freaks (2019, Review)
  • Lady Bird

Its been a good batch of viewings this week. Its nice to get to the end of the year and have a string of good films. Usually, I just make really bad choices. Freaks was an early screener in anticipation of its digital and bluray/DVD release and a very good scifi film of sorts. On the other hand, Lady Bird is more my type of movie as a dramedy with Soairse Ronan (one of my fave actresses) and the coming of age of her character heading to college on the road of love and friendships.

Blood in the Snow Festival

Z

BLood in the Snow Festival ended in the middle of the week, just when I had a writers block so everything got pushed back for a week in order to wrap everything up. I luckily did go back to watch the last feature film, Z because it ended winning the festival awards for Best Director and Best Feature and I can somewhat agree with it.

BINGING

Nailed It! Holiday

  • When I Grow Up (Season 1, 2019)
  • Lipstick Prince (Season 2, 2019)
  • Nailed it! Holiday (Season 2, 2019)
  • Sugar Rush Christmas (Season 1, 2019)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer 5, The Brightest Star in the Sky, Put Your Head on my Shoulder, Viva La Romance (S1, 2, 3)

As I dive into a lot of rewatches because of its landing on Netflix or some other Youtube channel, the variety/reality shows that I’ve been watching all gradually wrapped up its season. Lipstick Prince Season 2 was a short 4 episodes long, which is barely half a season but it seems like they will have a next season from how they ended this season. At the same time, When I Grow Up, which I’ve enjoyed a lot with some famous fathers and their kids going on trips to reconnect and discover different cities and cultures in China with some pretty subpar living conditions to much better ones by the end.

HOWEVER, as touching and funny as those previous ones are, Nailed It! Holiday is always the one that captures me especially this year was very much some great amateur bakers that they chose. Some truly hilarious moments. Just slightly more than Sugar Rush Christmas, even though the latter is more in the whole traditional Christmas festivity. Either way, some fun baking shows both amateur and more professional baking competition Netflix shows that fits well with the season. I’ll have the TV binge for those up soon for the December month line-up!

That’s it for this What’s Up!
Next week’s recap will be more festive, I promise!

What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?