Double Feature: Love O2O (2016) & Escape Room (2019)

DOUBLEFEATURE (6)

Welcome to the a long overdue double feature. There’s nothing in common with these two films. I skipped over a few movies that I saw in between everything in the last month or two that I don’t really want to write about. You can see what I watched and ratings over on my Letterboxd so here we are with this random double feature with Love O2O (also called Just One Smile is Very Alluring) which is a Chinese romance and then the second is a horror movie from earlier this year called Escape Room.

Love O2O (微微一笑很倾城, 2016)

love o2o

Director: Tianyu Zhao

Cast: Angelababy, Boran Jing, Yu Bai, Janice Wu, Songyun Tan, Yi Cheng, Jiuxiao Li, Xian Li, Zijie Wang

A college stud tries to level up his relationship with a computer science major after becoming attracted to her skills in an online role-playing game. – Netflix

Its odd to see that a movie adaptation and a TV series adaptation of a novel is done in the same year however that is what happened with Love O2O. Both are available on Netflix right now and I had recently reviewed the TV series HERE. Its hard to not compare the two so while the movie is a much more shrunken size of the TV series with some of the characters in the movie version carrying multiple roles that different people played in the TV series. I have never read the source material so I don’t know which is the more accurate adaptation. The movie did get released before the TV series in 2016 so it works fairly well as a standalone film.

Love O2O is pretty fun. Perhaps because there is comparison, the film feels much more rushed because it has limited time to cover different elements from romance to fulfilling a game development dream and friendship which are three elements that make this story really good in the first place. The film itself works best because its one of the more positive stories on all elements. Sure, it adds a little drama with the young developers and friends hitting their first roadblock but it never breaks out of the idea of being a team and staying positive and working together to move forward. The message here is one that deserves a lot of attention and encouragement.

On the romance side of things, Angelababy works really well as the female lead. She fits the role very well especially with her interaction with Boran Jing. They do have a certain level of chemistry. Its hard to really picture Boran Jing in a romance film like this usually but oddly, he kind of grows on you because the character still fits him. It could all come from comparisons to the TV leads as well for myself and expectations but the differences here work also.

Fact is, Love O2O as a film has less depth because it doesn’t have the time to explore a lot of what its tackling. The story itself works better as a TV series but there are a lot of elements here that make this fun watch and still works in its own way.

Escape Room (2019)

Escape Room

Director: Adam Robitel

Cast: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Deborah Ann Woll, Nik Dodani, Yorick Van Wageningen

Six strangers find themselves in a maze of deadly mystery rooms and must use their wits to survive. – IMDB

It seems that the theme of 2019 is to make sure that there are no more fun and exciting activities in life to do as a lot of them are potentially great horror movie premises from seeing Aquaslash which make water slides slasher territory to now Escape Room being too real for its own good for its participant, its really a crazy world out there. All jokes aside though, Escape Room is a premise with a lot of potential seeing as its kind of like Saw pretty much but without the gruesome bits of losing body parts and bloody messes. With an entire cast other than Deborah Ann Woll that I had never seen, this one didn’t seem to have the star power (or maybe it did and I wasn’t aware) and had a decent premise and had the potential to do well. Did it? Its a yes and no answer for that one.

Its a yes because the escape room elements worked really well for the most part. The setup from the starting reception area that turned out to be the first room that turned into a gigantic oven all the way to solving one area to the next, the stakes were higher and higher. At the same time, the story was meant to link together with one character as escape rooms tend to be structured as while also giving a reason for why these six strangers were chosen to take part in this escape room. I’m not going to sell that this movie isn’t a whole stretch of imagination on that point because most people if they received a mysterious cube inviting you to participate in an escape room game probably wouldn’t accept it, no matter the prize because even if it wasn’t a death trap, its probably a  scam because normal people, let alone corporations, won’t give away free money. However, point is, the movie does make the effort to give these characters justification to why they even chose to accept to join this Escape Room game in the first place obviously without knowing that it was a sinister plan. So with that said, while some of the characters were slightly annoying, they did have a certain balance to it all.

Where it doesn’t work is that the final act really lets it down. For one, the movie starts where the final act will potentially happen at the end of the film which already is a big giveaway on who makes it and doesn’t in the grand scheme of things. It isn’t a good way to make these things happen especially if character elimination is part of the whole game. With any of these thrillers, there has to be a twist to give it the surprise element and in this case, it is so very obvious.  Going right back to my point on why the film doesn’t work, the final act is just pushing the story too far and then it doesn’t end but decides to wrap things up some more while teasing a second film (probably if it does well). Its a pity because the potential was there and it was pretty thrilling even if some rooms was just more of a passerby than a piece of a complex puzzle.

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What’s Up 2019 – Week 32

Tranquil Dreams (12)

Another week has gone by and another What’s Up to talk about. Things are definitely looking upwards now as things are being sorted out more. My energy level post-Fantasia is finally getting back to normal but I’m still staying away from too many movies and movie reviews just to get a little change. All the projects are slowly getting back on track gradually…for the most part.

READING

Within

  • Within by Clare C. Marshall

Currently reading: Wild Dark Times

I’m currently 7 books behind on the Goodreads book challenge so reading is going to be a huge priority. With that said, I’m working through both blog tour commitments and other things of the sort right now to clear things off my pending list as well as getting back to some of the more recent purchases that I haven’t gotten around to reading. Reviews for Lifelike and Within are coming up, especially with finishing Within this past weekend. My Goodreads goal still feels like a doable goal right now as long as I keep up the reading momentum.

PLAYING

faraway tropic escape

  • Bonza
  • Faraway: Tropic Escape
  • Toy Story Drop

Still going on my mobile games run. Its still revolving around the same games while trying to see some new games, mostly in preparation for the mobile games roundup segment to be revived. I’m trying to make more time after for some actual games on Steam and Playstation 4.

WATCHING

lost in translation

  • Lost in Translation
  • Escape Room (2019)
  • Marie Antoinette

Suffice to say that Movies and Tea is relatively back on track as we are back to recording the third season and chugging along with Sofia Coppola’s directorial work. The Virgin Suicides is already out to start off the season currently. I’ll keep my thoughts for Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette for the show and possibly the review that I’ll eventually post on the Movies and Tea blog. As for unrelated films, I’m working through my discounted rentals while I was at Fantasia. The first expiring soon is Escape Room, released earlier this year. Its an alright movie right until it reaches a lackluster ending. My highlight of this week: Lost in Translation.

BINGING

river flows to you

  • River Flows To You

Currently binging: We Grew Up, Heart Signal 2, Another Me, Dream Space 2, The Coming One 3

I took some serious time this weekend to finish up River Flows To You, which turned into a massive cry fest but then its one of those series that I really like a lot because the drama is done well and the leads are two of my faves currently in the Chinese drama thing and this type of story works for them. It has a lot of layers to the different characters and works a bit like Rush to the Dead Summer (review) but really gives it a more positive contrast (and refers to it a lot actually) and gives it a better ending. I feel in some ways, its trying to do justice to that series that was good but had a pretty questionable ending.

As for everything else in progress, some of it is ending soon with The Coming One 3 heading into semi-finals next week and Heart Signal 2 is also heading to its ending as well. I’m probably going to catch up with Another Me as the major focus as I catch up with a ton of TV binges. Expect a lot of them to come up in the coming weeks because its just too much overdue that its weighing on me until I get it all wrapped up and posted.

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

What’s Up Week 18: Currently Ongoing Update

Welcome to Week 18 of What’s Up! We’re back on track now and things are slowly rolling back into action. Its mostly currently ongoing things but at least something is happening rather than nothing. It sounds a bit pathetic when I look at it but the energy levels are back to normal by the end of the week and its time to get more movies watched (and reviewed) and some more games as well.

READING

Justice For Belle

Currently reading: Justice For Belle

I’m currently reading Justice For Belle. I mean, I’m literally only 10% into it so I have the absolutely basics and set up of the story right now. However, this is an ARC so…it goes live on May 15th which should be around the time that I get the review up, maybe on the 16th. It gives me some time to finish reading and form my thoughts. I need to pick up my pace in terms of reading as I’m falling behind on the Goodreads Challenge.

PLAYING

danganronpa trigger happy havoc

Currently playing: Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc

I’ve been meaning to start Danganronpa for a while and finally dived in at the end of the week. I literally just finished the prologue and decided that I’m not playing this one with the husband because if thats the case, I have to read it out and its a lot of reading as its very much a visual novel with some mystery twist, I think. Anyways, this one is set for a long haul as I believe it clocks in at about 30 hours so not doing the recording for it either because its going to be too long.

WATCHING

the silence

  • The Silence

There is this new wave of movies that target your senses and the latest horror Netflix Original, The Silence is all about being quiet again just like A Quiet Place. I have a few issues with The Silence so its going to be interesting to write up that review. Overall, lets just say, it starts off good and spirals downwards real fast. Not the way you want your horror movie experience to be. Sad, because I really love Stanley Tucci and he gets this leading role and its for this lackluster horror film.

BINGING

  • Z Nation (Season 1)

Currently binging: The Brightest Star in the Sky, Put Your Head on My Shoulder, Idol Producer, Produce Camp 2019, Flipped, You vs Wild, Brave New World, Escape Room, Z Nation

I’m enjoying everything that I’m currently binging but as The Brightest Star in the Sky comes to a close with 2 more episodes falling into the next week, its at the point where I’m having very deep feelings and love for this series. At the same time, Idol Producer is an older series so I ended up trying to be more on track with the current Produce Camp 2019 since I have some trainees in there that I’m really interested in giving some support for. At the same time because of Produce Camp 2019, I ended up pushing forward watching Flipped because of Kido Gao. I got back into watch Brave New World, a variety show and Escape Room as well is catching up as well. Z Nation is still the show I watch with my husband and we finished Season 1 and went right into Season 2. As for my pick right now is trying out You vs. Wild, an interactive Netflix series which I’m doing one episode per day and so far, its been quite fun. I’m liking it more than Black Mirror: Bandersnatch which I only tried for 10 minutes and stopped.

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

TV Binge: The Chamber of Secrets Escape 密室逃脱:暗夜古宅 (Season 1, 2018)

Moving away from movies for today, we’re taking a look at a Chinese TV game show called The Chamber of Secrets Escape.

Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxeBkIJb4qE&list=PLUM8x224JrX9wa0S9MatA4vQ-6v8Qm_x6&index=10

The Chamber of Secrets Escape (Season 1, 2018)

the chamber of secrets escape

Host: Ma Ke

Cast/Guests: Danson Tang, You Ming Huang, Yi Xuan Zhou, Zhi Yuan Xia, Xi Yue Cao, Xiao Yu Lu, Wen Han Li, Mei Ren Wang, Han Yu Gao, Amelie Xu, Bo Wen Wang

This is an ancient style chamber escaping reality show which the celebrity guests are to use their wits to pass each checkpoint and also whether they show good teamwork or working together against the opposing team. – My Drama List

***I’m going to say sorry in advance that the show is only in Chinese. I have the urge to use the Youtube translate thing and do it but I currently don’t have the time to commit to that yet. ***

With a total of 10 episodes, this season is a quick and fast one to go through. The Chamber of Secrets Escape : The Dark Night is all about pitching a group of people into different elaborately built puzzles with different back stories and different goals and twists in the escape room game. The eliminated participants have to go run this corridor of darkness which literally is a 100 metre corridor where you are being chased by a dog. Its a race between getting to the ladder at the end to salvation. The winners of the show have a donation made in their names to a pre-selected school in the country.

The Chamber of Secrets Escape

The host himself is Ma Ke who does a nice sinister feeling as he welcomes the participants and leads them on the journey as a behind the scenes sort of puppet master. I think that was the feeling this started as and even in the first or second episode, it felt that way on how the game set the tone of how it was more about the psychological aspect of it as it talks about how when people are faced with dangerous situation how their human nature would react. Granted these are actors and celebrities, I do wonder whether there is some aspect of it staged beforehand and the environments are controlled as well but they do give them leeway to be fairly exciting. Its one of the reasons that makes this so much fun to dive into.

The Chamber of Secrets Escape

The puzzles here can be fairly hard to put together. At the same time, the show has a definite focus on the game show human nature and opposing and teamwork and trust emphasis that the viewers only get glimpses of the puzzles so it isn’t one to sit down and have time to figure out. However, this is a game show so the human relationships here are put as priority to add in drama and suspense. I do love how the show defines some of its main participants like Danson Tang and You Ming Huang, who are there for 9 of the 10 since the 10th episode changed all the familiar faces from before. The dynamic of three of the most frequent participants definitely breathed life into the show.

Overall, its a fun experience. As with some of the other game shows on this channel in the same family, its one that makes me want to participate in real life in some of these maps. Maybe not the zombie ones because even if I knew it was fake, it would still be creepy. The budget behind these sets and stories and puzzles look so great and its what brings these stories to life and creates the atmosphere.