What’s Up 2019: Week 41

Tranquil Dreams (45)

Festival mode is back for this week’s recap! It was a busy week of a few things that came up and had to get added into the crowded to-do list, not to mention the other little things in the offline reality. Either way, I elevated the multitasking to a whole new level and here we are!!

READING

Hope

Currently reading: Hope by Terry Tyler

Deciding between writing festival reviews and reading has been the most part finding its own balance to make it all happen. Hope is luckily progressing well and probably still in the last push before the blog tour post needs to go up. It has an intriguing plot and setting and for the most part, its not the lack of a good plot thats stopping me from being more on track on the whole reading front.

PLAYING

A Life in Music

  • A Life In Music

Having finished this free mobile game just recently, nothing is in progress. A Life In Music is categorized as an educational game which looks at Italian Opera as well as meshing in a story about two strangers who meet spontaneously and separate as they follow their passions. Mixing visual novel story telling with a little rhythm is quite a nice little twist. I’m playing some more of the long form mobile games lately to clear out some of the downloaded games on my phone to eventually delete and free up some space.

WATCHING

Diner

  • Adam Devine: Best Time of Our Lives
  • The Ranger (2018)
  • Little Joe (2019, Review)
  • Evil Dead (1981 rewatch, Review)
  • Evil Dead II (1987 rewatch, Review)
  • Army of Darkness (1992 rewatch, Review)
  • Color Out of Space (2019, Review)
  • Family Romance LLC (2019, Review)
  • Evil Dead (2013, Review)
  • Diner (2019, Review)
  • Adoration (2019)

Kicking off the week with the Netflix stand-up comedy by Adam Devine which was better than I expected and then being called up as the backup for The Lambcast podcast for The Evil Dead franchise brought on a sudden rewatching to add into the schedule while managing to shift my Festival du Nouveau Cinema to make it all work out. Its been a busy first few days trying to make the most of the long Thanksgiving weekend. Clocking in 5 movies at FNC 2019, the standout film for this week goes to Diner which is the movie I’d foresee myself gladly rewatching  and having a blast every single time although Color Out of Space definitely has its really great elements also.

BINGING

Well-Intended Love

Currently binging: When I Grow Up, Relation Ship, Dream Space 2, Well-intended Love, Soft Memory

Nothing is quite finished this week. Between these currently binging ones, Netflix series Well-Intended Love is nearly done although definitely nothing too crazy and might have gone a little long. I’m not sure yet as I’m in the final few episodes. Mango TV’s Dream Space 2 is also reaching its final episode in the next week so that will wrap up soon as well. The newly started one is Soft Memory currently on Tencent (available on Youtube), its alright right now but I’m having some logical issues with some of the plot. I’m only 4 episodes in so who knows how it will go!

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

Halloween Marathon Finale: Evil Dead (2013)

Its the Halloween Finale!!! We’ve made it to the end and what else to end it with but the final movie in the featured franchise(s), right? It is time for the 2013 remake of Evil Dead. I’m not sure if we can call it a remake but, I guess its rather a modernized version of it all. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself! I went into this one with a tad bit of fear and rather anticipating it because after seeing Don’t Breathe (review HERE) this past summer at Fantasia Festival, I was having high hopes for Fede Alvarez doing this one and Jane Levy being in this as well. It sure sounds like a good start and I had a warning about it being disgusting at some parts. With all that in mind, its time to jump in!

Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead

Director: Fede Alvarez

Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas, Lou Taylor Pucci, Elizabeth Blackmore

Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods.-IMDB

Some of you lovers of the original Evil Dead are probably going to judge me but I had a lot of fun and fear watching this version of Evil Dead. Maybe I’m just more modernized. It was good that they paid quite a bit of respect to the original by keeping a lot of the iconic scenes and moments. The roles are generally visible in this cast as compared to the original. There are some other different imagery and actually some of the roles seem to be supersized to help solve the mystery a little quicker. What I do like is that it was still a rather quick watch. My guess by memory (which I could be wrong) is that it was about a hundred minutes in length and that is the rare formula but one that works well for film. Much different from the original, this one felt like it built atmosphere better and it had a better backstory than just some friends going out to a secluded cabin for no reason. Kudos for the cabin looking basically exactly the same as the original. It is these key things that should remain intact especially when it doesn’t matter how modernized society gets compared to the wilderness. Back to the reason, they are there to help one of them go cold turkey and get rid of her drug addiction and makes a pact that no matter how much she wants to leave, they have to commit to keeping her there and staying. It also helps that the relationships of the characters are developed here and we can sense a tension between the brother who left a while back and the sister who is the reason they are all here and the backdrop of what they set and the dilemma of the situation as it grows and seeing what decisions they will make.

Evil Dead 2013

After a whole franchise of the three previous movies and reading through the comments of what made this series memorable, it is fairly obvious that this remake might not seem completely holding that same campiness that built its reputation. However, something about this Evil Dead gets part of it right. Most of it I brushed over up there. The main thing is the atmosphere. Fede Alvarez builds a rather good atmosphere. He never rushes the story. Everyone wants to see the remake have similarities to the original and in fact, guilty as charged, when the violence and death started, it was an automatic expression to see if what went down in the woods would happen in this one or whether a Bruce Campbell character would come up and have to take up the courage to cut off their evil hand, especially when we already know that the possessed girl in the basement still pops her head out as the door is chained shut which also is the only scene I knew about before even seeing the original or this one. Maybe they don’t hold the same vibe because this one still is rather serious but rightfully so because the atmosphere in this one is set up differently while keeping the brutal violence and gore paired up with a lot of creepy moments. (That could be because I’m an amateur at horror and I get scared really easily.)

Evil Dead 2013

The cast in this one is actually quite decent as well. I already told you where I saw Jane Levy. She doesn’t disappoint as Mia as she fights the pain of getting rid of the addiction but also brings in the question of making what she sees and experiences a reasonable doubt that her friends and brother has at what she tells them because it could well be a hallucination or a story she concocted to get out of the pain. Her character actually gets quite impressive and wow to the transformation. That really is all I can say. Aside from that, Jessica Lucas is the second familiar face here and that is because she’s been in Melrose Place and Cloverfield and I think, 90210. (Yeah, I watch a lot of teen shows.) I actually like her as an actress so she did alright for her role here. We can’t really get out of talking about characters without looking at the main guy who plays David, Mia’s brother and portrayed by Shiloh Fernandez. Looking at his filmography, the only other place I saw him was in The East (also a film that I love a lot, review HERE). David was a rather tough character and in the end, it is hard to say whether we do root for him. He kind of is the new Bruce Campbell but maybe not. The core of teens in the secluded cabin and horror always builds up these typical groups and to be honest, it wasn’t all the different here. In fact, the characters still make some rather stupid decisions.

Evil Dead 2013

The main discussion of remakes is really what makes it important. For those new to the franchise, this is a fresh start without having to know the past but having the fans appreciate the little bits of detail that give a nod/homage to the original. Evil Dead does well on this front. With fresh eyes, perhaps it is still worth it because it is different. For those who has seen the original, the main thing is whether those changes were really good. As I mentioned countless times, the atmosphere is the winner here whether its the gloomy and creepy woods or the house or even the transformations and how it all went down. The opening helped the story develop before just dropping friends into the scene. It also was good to take into consideration the book deciphering and making it something they could discover and piece together on their own. However, there is an unfair amount of time for these characters. We know who is the main characters here and it makes it effective for us to care about them but with five people in the house and everyone having to eventually be involved (and you know and expect it even before it happens), its hard to care for characters when they aren’t always apparent. The particular person I mean goes mostly to the very disposable character that plays David’s girlfriend who actually in this remake has a pretty brutal outcome and nods to a rather entertaining and important scene from the original trilogy and yet, while it was quite a bit of impact to see that scene happen, it didn’t make us care as much because the character essentially meant less. It is these little things that happen that perhaps may not shine as much for those who liked the original. I’m just guessing here because some of you who read the review of the original Evil Dead know that I wasn’t particularly raving about it. I much preferred Evil Dead 2 and especially Army of Darkness over it. Some of those scenes really just flashed in a thought like that and whether it was as effective as its original moment. I’m guessing the feeling is going to be different for everyone.

Overall, this version of Evil Dead is one I liked quite a bit. It gave me the creeps and it was rather gory at parts. It did a great job at building a ominous atmosphere and the characters and backstory here actually have a little more depth and gives the situation and the characters a little more meat. It doesn’t have the same tone as the original for the most part and focuses a lot on the suspense and gore but the pacing is better here. On top of that, it is respectful to the original by keeping the location and many scenes similar and to the fans, perhaps that might mean something (even if it is a backlash at how it might not be done right). For the most part, Evil Dead was done right and it was a gory, creepy and rather intriguing horror to watch especially how they changed it up or kept it the same. Some of those decisions are good or bad for the movie but in the end, I think it merited more wins than questionable fails. For that, Evil Dead is definitely a win in my book even if its not perfect.

Have you seen Evil Dead? Did you like it? 

This marks the end of the Halloween marathon/month! Thanks so much for dropping by!
To see a full rundown of this month’s marathon reviews, you can find it under Movies on the above menu.

Halloween Marathon: Evil Dead 2 (1987)

We are back to continue the Halloween Marathon’s second featured franchise. It is time to give Evil Dead 2 a go. After the less than enthusiastic feeling I had about the first one, I can’t say I am too excited but I need to be objective and let’s just say, it cannot be any worse in the character development for Ash, right? Plus, my incredible Game Warp Podcast cohost (also MBDS podcast host) assures me that the second one is better. I trust him and his movie preferences so let us move on and get this started!

Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Evil dead 2

Director and co-writer: Sam Raimi

Cast: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley, Ted Raimi

The lone survivor of an onslaught of flesh-possessing spirits holes up in a cabin with a group of strangers while the demons continue their attack.-IMDB

Evil Dead 2 is no doubt better than the first one. One of the main pros of this movie is that it embraces its campiness and takes us for a more comedic ride which yields more laughs while still having some good creepy horror. It does start a little slow and the beginning seems to want to connect the previous movie by somewhat rehashing it a tad and getting us caught up if we didn’t see it before. That is a good move. Bruce Campbell’s character also takes a while to build. For a a little bit of the movie in the beginning, he still drove me a little crazy with his indecisiveness and sentimentality however, the development of his character is embraced much better to resemble a rather memorable character with some extra fun moments. Evil Dead 2 is very similar to the first movie however, it improves on the bits I didn’t quite like about the first one so that is a plus.

Evil Dead 2

Evil Dead 2 is definitely going in the right direction. I had some doubt as the movie started and I was trying to figure out whether it was really a continuation or whatnot. By the time, we knew that Evil Dead 2 was heading into an odd and quirky route especially as we watched Ash go a little nuts with the evil spirits. As we watch him slowly spiral downwards, we also see a development in his character whether it is his more frequent one-liners and his silly and over-exaggerated expressions and then transforming into a bad ass. This is where we know that it is going to start being a fun ride. Plus, the characters in this one get a little more screen time so they have a little more time to have some meaning to them although none of them really mean anything to particularly Ash when two are here in relation to the man who essentially released the evil spirits or at least initiated it and two others was just there for the ride and earning some extra money but ended up getting stuck. However, even the cast in this one carries a much better tone in the way they are than the original.

Evil Dead 2

Evil Dead 2 has one thing that a lot of movies has and you know, a similar flaw was apparent in the first movie and that is lack of logic in some parts. It is much better in terms of having characters that are smarter but in contrast there are also ones that are incredibly stupid as well. Just saying that if one of the characters freak out about needing to find someone in the woods, in the place of Ash, I would have recounted everything that happened to his friends and then his hand and so on so forth. One of these facts has got to be convincing enough. But, I stand behind Ash in this one because he also demonstrates a lot of common sense and logic near the end especially when trying to end this once and for all.

Evil Dead 2

Overall, Evil Dead 2 improves on the original a lot. There is a very good balance of odd, creepy and funny. In many ways, it embraces its campiness much better. I have my questions on certain parts. Most importantly, I’m starting to see Ash in a much better light. Perhaps he is not the iconic character yet but his character has developed a lot in this one and has turned into one that I can get behind.

With that said, I do look forward to seeing how things unfold in Army of Darkness and I am hoping  (after many people have told me) that it will be an absolute blast.

Have you seen Evil Dead 2?
Come back next week for the review of Army of Darkness! 🙂

Halloween Marathon: Evil Dead (1981)

Its a new week and we are right on schedule with the second featured franchise, Evil Dead. I only know of this franchise and not much else so Evil Dead is completely new to me from start to finish. The only thing I might know a little bit of is the main dude is an iconic character. See, vague as heck in my mind but its okay, that is why these featured franchises end up here, right? I need to discover what all the hype is about!

Lets check it out!

Evil Dead (1981)

Evil Dead

Director and writer: Sam Raimi

Cast: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Richard DeManincor, Betsy Baker, Theresa Tilly

Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.-IMDB

I’m going to be downright honest right here and not even bother to sugarcoat it. A lot of you might disagree with me or just think I’m crazy but I did not like Evil Dead. I’ll explain it and I’ll even tell you what I think works, particularly referring to the premise and designing the set with a seemingly low budget (because 80s movies tend to be in that situation). Evil Dead is kind of like the model of cabin in the woods movies and the characters themselves seem to be exactly what it is about. Maybe it is what started the whole trend. The atmosphere and the design, despite its low budget and campy and dated effects, all work well enough. I know what I’m in for when I start up a 80s movie so I don’t criticize it on that. I even took a few days to settle my thoughts a little on this one before doing the write-up.

Evil Dead

Evil Dead has some pretty poor characters and it is paired up with the really slow pace movie that took forever to take off just didn’t work for me. Let us put the slow pace aspect aside because when it does pick up, there are some incredibly effective getting under your skin creeps, particularly when the possession starts and things start getting serious. After thinking about it a little more, the main issue of Evil Dead is that for what it accomplishes in reality, it takes itself a little too seriously. Its a shame because it sets up quite the mood right from the beginning as they build up the tension of getting into the house and the camera making it always look like someone is observing them. Those parts are pretty impressive to watch even if the swinging chair is hitting the house and stops suddenly and we already know it would or sounds come out of the woods and we know that something is out there, for example.

Evil Dead

What Evil Dead does most poorly is the characters. The first girl, Shelley heads outside with a sound she hears outside. Logically, who would do that? Just walk out into the woods which is in the middle of nowhere and not tell one other person in the house? Fast forward even to after the first possession happens and there is somewhat an idea that a danger has happened and they have heard the tapes and realize that body dismemberment is the only way to stop these attacks at least for a moment. The other characters aren’t quite the focus and we already know that because a lot of camera time is placed the so-called iconic character, Ash, played by Bruce Campbell. Ash is a frustrating character to no ends because he is somewhat of a sentimental fool who would be that perfect man you’d want to see in a romantic comedy but not in a life-threatening situation. He has a heart and that is fine. But after all that has happened, he can’t put his heart to stop the madness that has possessed his friends and that is pure ridiculousness. Perhaps, it gives his character some reality but it was hard to get behind his decisions that would inevitably stretch out the movie with yet another  horror sequence.

Evil Dead

Talking about horror sequences, nothing quite beats the laughing lady which is incredibly annoying and creepy all at the same time. There is one scene that creates a lot of uneasiness and it also created a lot of frustration because Ash could not do what he should to stop it all and falls for the tricks of the demons, in a way, or just his sentimentality takes over him too much. Whatever it is, it was at that moment that I just had enough of the character and wanted him to stop. It also is the moment when I started to wonder what made him so iconic.

Overall, Evil Dead is effective in its own slow pace horror despite its campy and outdated effects. There are some good horror sequences that cause a great deal of uneasiness however, the characters here leaves much to be desired, especially that of Ash who makes me wonder what gave him enough to be the iconic character of this franchise. Hopefully, the sequel will answer that question and give him a much braver and more courageous character.

Have you seen Evil Dead?

Announcement: Halloween Month!!!

October is here! You know what that means? The official announcement for the start of Halloween/Autumn month!!! 

great-pumpkin

I have a ton of fun stuff planned for this Halloween month. Let’s start it off!

Horror marathon: SCREAM franchise & EVIL DEAD franchise

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We are continuing this year with the Wes Craven franchises and doing Scream! I’ve only ever seen Scream 2 before and I don’t remember much. However, I am a little nervous about Evil Dead. I hear its pretty scary. Still, I’m going to be put on those big girl pants and give this a go.

Horror Marathon: Other Movies!

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Of course, my movie marathon will never been just 8 movies! I have been neglecting my own movie collection so I pulled out a few movies that I haven’t seen yet either because its from my husband’s collection when we moved in together or just movies we bought that I haven’t had the time to watch yet.

However, I do have a few titles I want to look at as well from Netflix! I doubt everything I post here will be seen. As you will see, I have a lot planned and there is only 31 days of this month so I just have to keep it balanced. For Netflix, here is a quick list I’m looking at.

  • Sharknado 3
  • Bone Tomahawk
  • Insidious: Chapter 2
  • Sinister
  • Scouts Guide for Zombie Apocalypse
  • Extraordinary Tales
  • and more….

Which of these or any other ones currently available on Netflix do you suggest I watch? I’m totally up for suggestions.

Books & TV series

On terms of books, I have a few selections in my Kindle that I wanted to get to. I already started reading it and the first of the reviews will be coming around this week. Since reading takes a bit more time, I’m doing shorter reads like graphic novels and novellas. If I do manage to get through a full book, that would be great. For this one however, no suggestions. I already have a general list slated out from the current books I own. I need to keep my own promise to clean out the Kindle before buying more books.

As for TV series, we’re doing a few TV binges. I can’t promise how many there are however. For now, the first to show up will be a mini series that I kind of started but didn’t finish before because I got distracted by other things. Other than that, I’m aiming to get Scream Season 2 done and of course, Scream Queens. We’re going to be screaming a lot. 😉 And yes, I am debating Stranger Things. Its not listed as horror but it is considered scary on Netflix.

On a side note: If  I do get Scream 2 done, then I will be launching the new segment I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ll be talking about that a little more if that does happen.

Autumn themed segements: Food & Crafts

I know some of you aren’t exactly horror fans so for that, I promise you that I’ll keep it entertaining. I have some baking projects planned so recipes will be up. I’ll try to keep it assorted from desserts to breakfast to dinner and maybe even fun cocktails or drinks.

Also, I’m going to try my hand at some crafts. Recently, I got a few decorative pumpkins so I’m going to try to do something with them if I can. And other decorations to get back into doing these fun, creative bits. Crafts are time-consuming and special so I usually reserve it for themed months like October.

Segments that won’t stop because of Halloween month

I know that Autumn and horror might not even be your cup of tea. That is okay. If you come here for travel, the Vancouver and Kelowna weekly travel posts will continue. If there are restaurants to review, I will do so as well and those days will be double post days. Also, Game Warp Podcast announcements will continue. This month happens to be Halloween themed and darker tones. On top of that, we have a special day coming up which is my 1st Wedding Anniversary so maybe I’ll do something with my husband and that day is non-horror for us and on the blog. Before that, we also have the Unboxing and Recap for Miss Fresh somewhere in the month. I can’t remember if Meowbox is also coming this month or next. And tomorrow starts off with a horror-themed unboxing as well!

Unfortunately, after going through my schedule, I decided that Netflix A-Z will resume in November. November is also NaNoWriMo and I’m debating on whether to join or not. I am a little overloaded this year but I do have some really great ideas so we’ll see how well things go. 🙂

Gaming and Twitch Streams

Some of you aren’t exactly interested in the gaming segments but if you are and happen to stop by, I will be streaming horror games on Twitch. My highlight will be Until Dawn which I’ve been meaning to be play forever. I actually have an early access point and click adventure as well which I may be streaming soon (like in the next few hours from when this post goes live). You’ll have to check out the Game Warp Podcast Facebook or Twitter (@GameWarpPodcast) to get those streaming hours. For now, I usually stream sporadically over the weekend. If I finish it, I might do Slender: The Arrival or maybe start Outlast. I haven’t quite decided yet. Or just follow me on Twitch and you’ll get the notification when I start a stream. My Twitch channel is HERE! Actually if you can help me out, I’m trying to get at least 50 followers so if you are interested in game, help me out!! 🙂

That’s it for the Halloween/Autumn month Announcement!
It replaces the Weekly Adventures segment.

Have fun and enjoy! 🙂
Please drop any movie suggestions!