What’s Up 2019: Week 52

Its time for the last weekly What’s Up recap for 2019! We’ve been doing this officially in this new format for a year and its one of the segments that I truly do enjoy writing about. It not only helps me track whats going on but also let’s me remember things that I’m doing that I might have forgotten over the week..trust me, it happens.

Suffice to say with the final week ending in December included a lot of holidays…its not quite as eventful in a lot of the categories but here it is!~

READING

legends of the exiles

Currently reading: Legends of the Exiles

I tried to finish Legends of the Exiles but it just didn’t happen. I will finish it sooner rather than later but my assumption will be that other books with set dates of reviews to write might precede it. We’re reaching something that I’m not quite too fond of at the moment and its lost my motivation in reading it just for a second but I’m going to tough through it in hopes that maybe its just that moment. Its more of a pet peeve than anything.

PLAYING

overcooked 2

Currently playing: Overcooked 2

Boxing Day brought us Overcooked 2 which is fantastic because its one of the few coop games that the husband and I truly love to play together. Its currently in progress as we work through the different cooking challenges to help the Onion King fend off the UnBread. Who would have thought those words would be in a sentence, right? Its still as fun as the first one even though we are still fairly early and it still feels quite the same except with some little twists and one new mechanic (as of now).

WATCHING

Snowpiercer

  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol (rewatch, Review)
  • A Garfield Christmas Special (rewatch, Review)
  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas (rewatch, Review)
  • A Wish for Wings That Work (rewatch, Review)
  • The Princess Switch (rewatch, Review)
  • Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987, Review)
  • Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019, Review)
  • Pet Sematary (2019)
  • Mean Girls 2 (2011)
  • Snowpiercer (2013)

You can tell this week overlapped Christmas as I spent Christmas morning watching all my fave Christmas specials and even snuck in The Princess Switch which is still as enjoyable as when I saw it last year and then may have figured out what next year’s sequel will be like because in this world of Netflix, I was confused about something before. We will see if I guessed right when the holiday comes by next year.

Other than that, I ended up catching up on a few 2019 movies and other 2010s movies. While Pokemon Detective Pikachu was a ton of fun, there is really no arguing that Snowpiercer is a fantastic movie that I shouldn’t have put off watching for so long because that was so awesome. Review coming up…

BINGING

brightest star in the sky

  • The Brightest Star in the Sky (2019, Review)

Currently binging: Who’s the Murderer 5, Eternal Love

The shortest list ever for TV binging this year, I think as I wrap up the year. I wrapped up The Brightest Star in the Sky and even wrote the TV binge, which is great but it is kind of a repeat viewing on my part but remains as good as the first time and probably better. Who’s the Murderer 5 is still going on and I’m still loving it. As for new TV binges right now, its Eternal Love that was a big deal in 2017 when I first started watching Chinese dramas and the sequel is coming up this year at some point so I wanted to catch up with it. It is on Netflix Canada so it makes it so much easier to watch.

That’s it for this What’s Up 2019! 
We will be moving to What’s Up 2020 next week!
With this weekly recap wrapped up, the 2019 overview and 2020 plans and (slight) changes will be up later today!

Double Feature: Silent Night Deadly Night 2 (1987) & Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019)

So…I lied in the last double feature (HERE) about being the last Christmas lineup because we decided to watch another Alternate Christmas horror film on Shudder on Christmas day. Oops…haha! Pairing with this 80s slasher is this year’s uber cute movie, Pokemon Detective Pikachu. Lets check it out!!

Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

silent night deadly night 2

Director: Lee Harry

Cast: Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, Jean Miller, Ken Weichert

The now-adult Ricky talks to a psychiatrist about how he became a murderer after his brother, Billy, died, which leads back to Mother Superior. – IMDB

I have never seen the first film so we could only hope that it would work out, seeing as Shudder only has Part 2 and not the first, it must work relatively well as a stand-alone. Starting from a sequel, no matter how much it doesn’t really need the first film’s knowledge and still is easy to follow is not too easy to accomplish but I wonder if some of the little questions of the character here would make more sense with knowledge of the first one.

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 is not too good. Maybe as a lets all sit around and make fun of it deal, it did have that entertainment purpose. The dialogue was pretty bad and then you pair it with the very exaggerated and trying really hard to be villainous acting of Eric Freeman with the furiously moving eyebrows and big eyes and that really did make it all the more ridiculous altogether. It didn’t matter that the movie went along to tell the story of how it began with the brother and that made more sense than how he had those triggers that made him vengeful because it wasn’t really about the brother more than it seemed like he also was triggered by certain elements that changed him. Some story elements didn’t make a ton of sense.

Overall, Silent Night Deadly Night 2 was pretty meh. I mean, it was pretty mockworthy fun as we sat around repeating the dialogue and the crazy eyebrows which sometimes were quite hard to do in general in its frequency. It did add a twist that we didn’t quite see at the end although how it was done is quite a mystery.

Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019)

pokemon detective pikachu

Director: Rob Letterman

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, Chris Geere, Suki Waterhouse, Josette Simon, Rita Ora

In a world where people collect Pokémon to do battle, a boy comes across an intelligent talking Pikachu who seeks to be a detective. – IMDB

I am going to be straightforward that I am not as big of a Pokemon fan as others. I know the basics and pop back into Pokemon Go every once in a while but I don’t think qualifies me as a “fan”. Detective Pikachu did some great promotional efforts though, with Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu and the trailers being so much fun to watch that it sold it to me right away. Plus, Pokemon is cute, REALLY cute so here we are…

Pokemon is Pokemon, its not meant to be deep or have some mega unexpected moment. In fact, keeping it simple might be its best execution and that is what this movie does. It blows you away with its comedy and the little bits of mystery and witty dialogue and just the sheer ability of being able to implement a variety of Pokemon types so well is quite the accomplishment. Its a fun time from start to finish. The ending did manage to squeeze in a little twist (about the father) that makes sense why something wasn’t done during the movie. Its a clever detail.

I didn’t have particularly any expectations for this one except to have a cute and fun time and I had that in spades. It was all that I had wanted and a lot more. Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu is brilliant. The dialogue packs in a lot of memorable moments. Plus, its all very witty and awesome. Sure, the danger of the whole situation and whatnot was pretty easy where they were going with the villain twist and who is behind the whole deal but I’m sure no one expected this one to be some deep story. Its simple and straightforward mystery and it ticks all the boxes of what you’d want from a Pokemon story. In fact, it does it a lot better than most video game inspired stories.

And for fun, here’s one of my favorite parts:

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

Music Obsessions – Christmas Special 2019

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Welcome to this year’s Christmas Special for Music Obsessions! We will be getting right down to business as we take a look at some Christmas song covers that I’ve found were pretty decent over the past month or so.

I’m going to not go and talk too much about any of these choices and just let you all listen to it and enjoy! Today’s a day to celebrate and probably not a lot of you are sitting by the computer or looking at the phone anyways. I just wanted to share some Christmas music and take it easy!

Silent Night – Boyce Avenue

Dueling Pianos Jingle Bells – Jon McLaughlin

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Voiceplay

Oh  Holy Night – Claire & Dave Crosby

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Pentatonix

That’s it for this Music Obsession Christmas Special!
Merry Christmas everyone!!

What’s Up 2019: Week 51

 

Tranquil Dreams (4)

Welcome to the second last What’s Up for 2019! Man, this year has gone by fast. As with any year-end, its always busy. So with that said, this one is a bit slow on all fronts but I am working out some fun things for 2020 so its all in almost last minute planning mode plus work has been wrapping up the year-end crazy and before holiday rush as well so its kind of lowered the energy and time a little.

READING

legends of the exiles

Currently reading: Legends of the Exiles

I am still working on wrapping up this book as its one of the final commitments of 2019 that I haven’t finished yet for this year. Currently sitting at almost the 20% point, its a much longer book than I expected it to be. I may have stumbled into a category that I was trying to avoid but I have lived up to avoiding it in 2019 for the most part so I guess a final book that touches on that genre is okay. I am going to take some time to read on the few days off so look forward to this review before the end of the year. I’m pretty confident that I will finish it.

PLAYING

This week has been mostly mobile gaming and watching streams of other people playing games: Dead By Daylight and Bloodborne mostly and even caught a stream midway of Donut County which has gotten me interested in checking out the entire game so hence why not seeing the whole thing was a good thing. Mobile gaming wise, I’ve been playing a lot of Alto’s Odyssey until it decided to not work on my phone anymore so I’m playing some word games like CodyCross and back to Color Piece Out. I will talk about all this in the next Mobile Games Roundup to wrap up the last 2 months of mobile gaming.

WATCHING

michelle wolf joke show

  • Super Monsters Save Christmas (2019, Review)
  • My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever (2018, Review)
  • Ronny Chieng: Asian Comedian Destroys America! (2019)
  • Michelle Wolf: Joke Show (2019)
  • Christmas Evil (1980, Review)
  • All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018, Review)

Hmm…so holiday viewing hasn’t really been as outstanding this year as I’d like. Surprisingly, I was in the mood for some stand-up comedy Netflix specials and checked out Ronny Chieng which I can’t say is my type of humor. I get his humor because I know the whole language thing but his style didn’t really give me a laugh more like a small chuckle. What did land really welll is Michelle Wolf’s Joke  Show! That was a total blast! It was a ton of fun and had some solid jokes from start to finish. Its very  her style and still works really well.

BINGING

viva la romance 1

viva la romance 2

  • Viva La Romance (Season 1, 2018)
  • Viva La Romance (Season 2, 2019)

Currently binging: The Brightest Star in the Sky, Who’s the Murderer 5, Viva La Romance 3

I simultaneously decided to watch the Viva La Romance all three seasons at the same time and then slowly it fell off the map due to other things. I decided to go back to finish it all up. First with Viva La Romance, where it all started and how the original show’s first version was with some really nice Chinese celebrities, one of which is the wife of Jordan Chan, Cherie Ying who I love them both as a couple so that was a ton of fun. The first season was a lot of fun because the couples themselves together and individually had so much contrast to their personalities that it worked well. Season 2 was a lot of fun also because now there’s Anita Yuen who I really liked back in the 90s and I like her husband Chilam Cheung as well and it also had the first time Ziyi Zhang joined a variety show and its a side of her that was very new and I really liked that part.

As for ongoing stuff, The Brightest Star in the Sky has only a few more episodes before it finishes (as it has finished as this post goes up). I love the series so much and will work on working on some of my favorite series of 2019 since I’ve really pushed those TV binges back. Either way, the other two are variety/reality shows and currently ongoing and Who’s the Murderer 5 is the one that I’m current on whereas now that I’m done Viva 1 & 2, I will be continuing the Season 3. That’s really it for this week’s recap.

Its Christmas Eve so Happy Christmas Eve to everyone!
Have a great time with family if you celebrate Christmas!
I will have a fun little post tomorrow for Christmas day..lighthearted, short and fun! Its why this was boosted a day earlier than usual.

Double Feature: Christmas Evil (1980) & All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018)

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Welcome to the last holiday double feature for this year. Not double feature because that is staying, just before Christmas, no more holiday reviews. So we are ending with a nice change of pace to alternate Christmas horror found via Shudder: 1980’s Christmas Evil and 2018’s Christmas horror anthology All The Creatures Were Stirring.

Christmas Evil (1980)

Christmas Evil

Director (and writer): Lewis Jackson

Cast: Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dianne Hull, Andy Fenwick, Marc Neville, Joe Jamrog

A toy factory worker, mentally scarred as a child upon learning Santa Claus is not real, suffers a nervous breakdown after being belittled at work, and embarks on a Yuletide killing spree. – IMDB

Christmas Evil is really a Christmas film as its not only set in Christmas but a horror story of a mentally unstable man who was scarred so deeply as a child that Santa Claus isn’t real that he chooses to make himself into Santa and takes revenge on all those who did him wrong. Being 1980 film, there is definitely that 80s slasher vibe that goes with it which actually is quite endearing to watch. However, the film does suffer from some issues of being rather slow in the first half of anything happening other than setting up all the bad things that happen to Harry and then his desire to become Santa.

Deal is, there is still this unsettling feeling with Christmas Evil especially in the second half when Harry loses it completely and from the moment that he commits to turning into Santa and starts all the actual killing spree parts, it gets rather fun to watch in an 80s horror way and as much as I don’t find them particularly scary, it has the entertainment element. This is pretty much where Christmas Evil fits in.

All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018)

All The Creatures Were Stirring

Director (and writer): David Ian McKendry & Rebekah McKendry

Cast: Graham Skipper, Ashley Clements, Constance Wu, Jonathan Kite, Jocelin Donahue, Mark Kelly, Matt Long, Amanda Fuller, Catherine Parker, Morgan Peter Brown, Michelle DeFraites, Stephanie Drake, Peter Cilella, Makeda Declet, Megan Duffy, Brea Grant, Matt Mercer, Diva Zappa

When an awkward date on Christmas Eve leads a couple into a strange theater, they’re treated to a bizarre and frightening collection of Christmas stories, featuring a wide ensemble of characters doing their best to avoid the horrors of the holidays. From boring office parties and last-minute shopping, to vengeful stalkers and immortal demons, there’s plenty out there to fear this holiday season. – IMDB

All The Creatures Were Stirring is a horror anthology with five horror stories set during Christmas and revolves around the central story of two people going on their first date on Christmas Eve to see a play where these five stories are being acted out. As with more horror anthologies, its a hit and miss deal with a lot of the stories. There’s an obvious indie low budget thing going on here as well which for some does add to the charm. If anything, its a lot more about some of the interesting creative elements added into the scenes than the stories as a whole which at times were downright odd or hard to get into while there were two that did stand out.

Dash Away All and In A Twinkling are the two that definitely were highlights of the anthology. Dash Away All is set in a parking lot where a man locks his keys in his car and ends up asking two girls to borrow a phone and ends up having this really fun twist. In A Twinkling is about a bunch of friends going to visit for a surprise Christmas party and the night takes a turn for a worse when they enter into a black and white loop from outer space. These two were a tad funny and had a hint of creepiness.

The Stocking Were Hung was okay with an Secret Santa party at work which turns into a Jigsaw killer sort of thing. There are some clever bits here but it feels a tad familiar (especially with Saw having so many movies in that franchise already). All Through The House is a horror Christmas Carol sort of deal which is pretty much the same sort of stuff but they did have one thing that I remembered kind of gave me a little jumpscare. It just feels a tad weird in its pacing. The last one to talk about is Arose Such A Clatter which really was the least appealing BUT it had the whole “killer” point of view going on that kind of made it a little more unique in the way they executed it.

The central story which is generally called To All A Good Night is what links these pieces together. It does capture the awkward element well but then it seems to lack some substance to it as it does try to have a twist ending and ends up leaving it as an open-ended deal which is a good and bad thing, leaving the mystery but then makes it feel incomplete especially since this being the piece that connects the stories together means the story itself isn’t fleshed out in between the stories. Some good, some decent and some meh stories here making this one that I might not want to revisit considering it took me a few sittings to get through it this time already.

That’s it for this holiday double feature!
Have you seen these two films before? Thoughts?
Are Alternate Christmas films part of your holiday viewing?

DIY Crafts: Branch Wreath (Take #2)

Probably the last crafts post (although I am trying to squeeze in one more thing before Christmas comes around) for the holidays and its a Take 2 of Branch Wreath. We’ve been having some really crappy weather so its rather gloomy. To cheer up my in-laws, because I do that every once in a while when I have something fun to share, I decided to make them a new wreath, specifically a branch wreath (since that is apparently my new obsession).

This one is definitely more for my mother-in-law who likes angels (according to my husband) so we found the only angel decor and built the wreath around it.

Here’s our shopping haul at Michael’s:

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  • Gold Branch Wreath
  • 1 Mistletoe
  • 1 Fir and Pine Cones
  • 2 Angels
  • 2 Holly Leaves with Birds
  • 2 Eucalyptus and White Berries
  • 2 Snowy Branches (I don’t know how to describe them but its the long white ones)

After a lot of deliberation and moving things around and a floor full of gold sparkles and branches, this was the final result.

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In my opinion, I actually think this one beats my own (which I am not working on fluffing up a little to give it more volume). This is where this one has more of and works pretty well also. It feels more dimensional and has some depth with layers of different decors. I did hot glue the pieces into the wreath so that my in-laws can store it without anything breaking off.

Improvements to this one (because what crafting wouldn’t have that in my opinion):

  • I’d have added another angel to give it a row which would make it an obvious centerpiece.
  • Would have gotten some wire to tie down some of the stems that are embedded in the wreath as I had to twist it forcibly and then glue it to the wreath and hopefully it won’t come out

Other than that, I’m pretty happy with this one. It highlights the theme I’m going for and adds the greenery and the color scheme works pretty well. I like the symmetry but also the parts that stand out are the ones where its subtle changes with the mistletoe on one side and the fir and pine cones on the other, giving it subtle differences. Its an improvement in my opinion from the previous one because it adds some three dimensional feeling to it.

I’m not quite sure that I’d work with a gold wreath again though because its a very dominating sort of backdrop color palette that very few things seem to work with. Maybe I’ll try out the silver wreath next time (or maybe the red which is the remaining option, I think, but that might also be hard and not easy to decorate the house with).

Future wreath themes to think about: North Pole or Rustic Woodland

You can check out my previous wreath post HERE.

Double Feature: Super Monsters Save Christmas (2019) & My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever (2018)

The next double feature is a holiday themed children features! I don’t know when I started to get into the Super Monsters specials as I don’t watch the normal series anyways but they are a decent 20+ minute long. As for pairing it with My Little Pony, I actually do like My Little Pony, the old stuff and watched some of the newer specials as well so here we are (plus its pretty slim pickings for Christmas kids films that I haven’t reviewed on Netflix…).

Super Monsters Save Christmas (2019)

super monster save christmas

It’s Christmas Eve in Pitchfork Pines, and the Super Monsters are joining forces to deck the halls, find Santa’s missing reindeer and save the holiday. – IMDB

Super Monsters is honestly geared towards kids. Whether its the characters and their cutesy appearances to the dialogue that revolves around emphasizing the good values to have through the consequences what happens, its all about delivering a positive message (similar to a lot of other kids shows). Its a harmless movie this time about a neighbor (who we learned is related or friends with Santa Claus from last year’s special) who gets overzealous about his Christmas decorations and blows the power for everyone but of course, the Super Monsters try to fix it to soon realize after Santa finally stops by that someone has detached the reindeer and they run off to play hide and seek of all things. Of course, Super Monsters to the rescue again.

There is nothing essentially wrong with this one. It directs its attention solely to its intended audience. Its not quite the entertainment for parents perhaps but it does offer some nice lessons on Christmas and friendship and working together. It has a little bit of singing and music and stays pretty colorful and cheery with lots of Christmas-y things. I’m not a parent but for its length and its quick-paced plot points, it should grab a kids attention.

You can check out my review last year of Super Monsters and the Wish Star HERE.

My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever (2018)

my little pony best gift ever

Director: Denny Lu & Mike Myhre

Voice Cast: Tara Strong, Andrea Libman, Ashleigh Ball, Cathy Weseluck, Tabitha St. Germain, John de Lancie

In this one-hour Christmas-themed special, the Mane Six and Spike are each hoping to find the best gift ever for Hearth’s Warming. – IMDB

While I’m not a huge supporter of this new My Little Pony designs with giant heads and such instead of the sleeker design when I was a kid, these My Little Pony movie specials are actually pretty. It does feel like perhaps its geared kids a little older than Super Monsters above.

The movie feels like an actual story with the ponies changing tradition and deciding to do a Secret Santa gift swap. They obviously call it something else but I never quite realized how fun all the ponies have and its not some dumb down dialogue but it does work pretty well even if they do play with some movie references like their take of meshing Sleeping Beauty’s fairies with The Christmas Carol or whatnot. That’s just one example. Its all about the value of gifts and of course the best gift ever is defined here. If you watched some other My Little Pony shows or movies then you might already know what it is because its a big focus all the time.

This one was surprisingly fun to watch and pretty entertaining. Its still not exactly geared towards parents but more to keep kids attention but this is not for young kids so it has more complete dialogue and the music is pretty catchy. I wouldn’t mind watching more My Little Pony movies if its like this one (but then maybe I’m a bit biased).

That’s it for this kids double feature for the holidays!
Have you (or your kids) seen these two? Share your thoughts in the comments below to give a more accurate kids perspective on this one.