Fantasia 2017: Abu (2017)

Kicking off the Fantasia Festival this year for myself surprisingly is a documentary called Abu. It screens on July 16th at 2pm at Theatre D.B. Clarke. You an find the Festival information HERE.

ABU : Father (2017)

Director/Writer/Producer: Arshad Khan

As a gay man, Filmmaker Arshad Khan examines his troubled relationship with his devout, Muslim father Abu. Using family archives and movies, Khan explores his struggle with his identity and compares it to his parents attempts to fit into Canada. – IMDB

Documentaries aim to educate, invoke thoughts about certain issues and tell its audience a true story which generally is the raw truth. Director, writer and producer of Abu takes us on a deeply personal journey of his life. While the movie Abu, meaning father, entails a heavy focus on his troubled relationship with his own father from values and views, his story dives into deeper issues of assimilation into Canada as a immigrant family, particularly as a Pakistani family. It also looks at his personal struggles and coming of age of being a gay man and in this also looks at the struggle between his family of modernism and traditionalism. Abu says quite a lot in its 80 minutes run-time.

No one can judge someone else’s life story, as we can’t judge Arshad Khan’s. This is his journey. For that, he exposes many truths and realizations from his youth to the present; starting his story from letting the audience understand where his parents came from and how they met and got married. His documentary laces together video clips from back in Pakistan and snippets of popular Bollywood movies (and performances, etc) and interviews with a few members of his family as he narrates his story step by step, bearing his observations, feelings and experiences. There is no doubt in our minds that this documentary shows us his hardships and it should relate to many people: immigrants, men, LGBT community, those growing up in Pakistan, those who relate to generation gap issues with parents, and the list goes on. Even if it doesn’t relate to it, this story tells truths about how he grew up and some very poignant issues ring up particular issues that are hidden away from other’s eyes, be it because of conservatism or religion. However, what is a downfall of this documentary is that while some events may seem to set a platform for various issues, there are mundane parts that make this documentary lose a bit of where it wants to take its audience. While it may seem necessary in his journey, some bits are extras that only serve to extend the running time and doesn’t serve to add to what this documentary is trying to portray.

The creativity of using real life video clips and interviews from family as well as adding in the modernization of cinema which addressed the issues he was talking about, helped create good supporting material to his narration. Plus, it is impressive to see the use of the once familiar VCR static fuzziness be used as a transition tool here. The documentary itself starts off with an animated sequence and these sequences do appear sporadically throughout this journey. The experiences he tells us about in this personal journey also resounds on many levels and highlights mostly hidden issues that many don’t talk about publicly. What Abu does well and truly deserves our attention is telling this poignant and emotional story, particularly in the last third (or second half) of the documentary as the issues truly come to light and Arshad Khan talks about dealing with issues such as anger, frustration and forgiveness as well as the change of dynamics not only with his father but his mother as well. Perhaps it takes a while to get into understanding why anyone would want to hear someone else’s story but give this documentary some time to get its ducks in a row and everything truly comes together in a meaningful, thought-provoking and educational way regarding religion, immigration and family.

***As a personal thought, most of you know that I’m not an immigrant but my parents are. I’m not part of the LGBTQ community. However, this documentary still managed to strike a chord especially in some of the later scenes. Its the family aspect that truly gets me. This goes to a point that in many ways, this film brings up many issues the relate in a multi-faceted way and that problems can transcend through different people because of similar instances. For that, there was one part that truly had me emotional.***

What’s Up Sunday aka Mother’s Day Recap

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!
Hope you are all having a happy and relaxing Sunday!

Obviously, I consider myself a cat mom so I kind of get to celebrate Mother’s Day at home. But then, my weekend was given to my mom, my aunt who is visiting and my mother in-law. Hence why there is no streams or post yesterday.

Today is really just a last minute buffer post as I prepare for next year. I took a few days off this week mostly because I’m done with burnout but still wanted some time to relax and do the stuff I like, plus, I wasn’t really in the mood for writing. Apologies for that!

Quick Update on what I’m Watching, Reading & Playing (aka nothing much)

I could do a segment on the typical what I’m watching, reading and playing but to be honest, I’m really doing none of those things except for rewatching a second time Refresh Man, which is one that I had finished like a day before I rewatched it. So it is kind of anti-climatic. Plus, I finished Riverdale Season 1 yesterday so that’s done as well. Gotham and Client List is still sitting in the waiting to be finished pile but I haven’t wanted to jump back in yet. In terms of reading, I’m deciding what to read next so nothing to report on that. As for playing, I finished Pinstripe the other day and by Tuesday, all the playthroughs will be up on the Game Warp channel and the review will go up next week as well. I have to start the featured game of May, Little Nightmares.

Mother’s Day Weekend

Saturday

Mother’s Day weekend is a huge juggle of time with a few prior must-dos.  We decided to do a lot of celebrating on Saturday. We started the morning with a dinner with my mom and my aunt and took them to breakfast at Allo Mon Coco. It was really tasty and a lot of fun to chat and just relax.

In the evening, we went over to my in-laws and spent some time. We ordered in from St Hubert and all some nice chicken meals. I made brownies as our gift to them. Not sure how they liked it though since this is a new recipe. I’ll be sharing the recipe next week. It was a lot of fun. We put on a super odd movie with Dolph Lundgren which I can’t remember the name of anymore.

Sunday

Sunday was pretty chill. I went over to my mom’s to spend some time with her and my aunt for lunch. Then we headed out to do some shopping at the mall. We had a bit of spare time so despite the rain, we decided to head to the garden center and take a peak. My mom picked up some vegetable plants: tomatoes and peppers as usual and she decided to try her luck at planting okra this year despite my failure last year. I think it could be a success for her since she takes much better care of her garden than I do. Maybe I’ll give an update on that later in the summer. As for myself, this what I got. That is only the first part and the container gardening and front yard for now. I’ll be heading back next weekend to pick up more, especially since I really need to pick up a ton of soil before I can really be ready to garden.

Finally, to wrap up a fantastic weekend spent with family, we went over to my mom’s to have dinner which was incredibly delicious as always. I’m sorry that this is the shot during dinner. I just forgot about taking it before.

That’s it for the Mother’s Day recap!
How’s your Mother’s Day? Did you celebrate? Have fun? Was it relaxing?

Regular programming of daily posts should resume tomorrow! Needed some time off last week but I think I’m cool now! Missing writing a little.

4 Essentials for Breakfast in Bed on Mother’s Day

Breakfast in Bed is a rather novel and strange idea to myself. Why eat dinner in bed and make it all dirty because I might be the one to have to clean the sheets however, it is one of those lazy Sunday concepts that just warm up our hearts when we have the opportunity.

Coming from a Chinese family, breakfast in bed was non-existent. My parents, especially my mom, is an energetic and proactive woman. Even today, she doesn’t like wasting time in bed doing nothing. I still remember being a little girl and when I hung out with my mom on the weekends in bed, the time wasn’t wasted because she would take the time to teach me how to recite Chinese poetry.

Every mother is different however my mom valued the little things and she particularly likes to be frugal. With that said, this essentials for breakfast in bed is tailored to my mother specifically. Who says we can’t make Mother’s Day memorable without breaking our bank, right?

A Big Warm Hug

No Mother’s Day (or any day) can be free of a hug or hugs. What better way to start the day with one. It costs nothing and comes from our heart. Words of thanks and kisses on cheeks, the whole deal of love and gratitude for everything my mom has done for me. We might not always see eye to eye but she still is my best friend because I can’t help telling her everything even when I don’t quite know if she understands all the stuff in my life, particularly this blogging and podcasting thing. Still hugs are warm and loving and the perfect way to start the day. As I get older, we learn that there is no greater luxury that being able to steal a moment or two of doing nothing but relaxing in a cozy spot like our bed and its comfy mattress. If you are looking for a luxury mattress, consider checking out Leesa.

Fresh Cut Flowers from the Garden

Frugal comes into this. My mom loves flowers. In fact she is quite the gardener. Some days I wish I had half the skills she has however she never stops to teach me more. However, Mother’s Day is never without any flowers. The garden usually is blossoming with daffodils and tulips and if we are lucky, sometimes peonies are starting as well. This year being an exception because the weather is still lingering in the single digits (Celsius). This year’s fresh cut flowers will for sure be a bouquet of tulips from my yard.

Healthy and Hearty Breakfast

My mom is a health nut. Which has its benefit because as my husband likes to say, she is one tough cookie. She travels and in many ways, much more active than I am and competent in everything. My mom is quite the superwoman in my heart even if age slows her down a little bit now. Breakfast for her is all about being healthy. Its feeds and cleanses our bodies and prepares us for the day. When I lived with her, no matter how old I was, she’d always have something ready for me in the morning. Her choice would probably be plain oatmeal with assorted dried fruits and almond milk. That would be frugal option as we’d have all the material at home. However, if we were to go a little more traditional Chinese breakfast, it’d be congee with some rice rolls (like above).

Handmade Gift

via Pinterest

Finally, a handmade gift! What is more frugal than something that you’ve put your heart into. One year, my best friend and I celebrated a collaborated Mother’s Day gift where we did a photo story video with our own singing and put it all together with pictures when we were kids till grown up and took our families to dinner. It was a pretty fantastic gift. Both our moms loved it a lot and it was to thank them for what they did. I can’t share that video of course and since that idea is used, I’ll resort to making something either decorative and useful or even better, my mom’s idea of a best gift is something you can eat. She loves eating healthy snacks so what better than putting together a trail mix, right? A jar of trail mix so she can enjoy it for days to come while reading the newspaper or binging TV dramas.

Here’s my frugal version of Breakfast in Bed on Mother’s Day with these four essential components! 

What are your essentials for breakfast in bed for mom?

My Weekly Adventures #42

Welcome to the next My Weekly Adventures! The last two weeks have been busy. But you all already know that. It was full of irregular posting schedules and just a hectic crazy real life work issues and responsibilities and truly zapped all the energy I had. I did end up spending more time on editing for Game Warp and gaming streams and the likes. I did end up doing a What’s Up post and another day off post that covered those. However, a few others things did happen and of course, there is one particular thing I’m not very pleased that I haven’t got around to doing. It was always a little expected that I wouldn’t since every year is the same deal around this time.

Lets check out the last two weeks!

Easter Breakfast with Family

Normally we don’t do much for Easter. It is just another day off to spend with family and do nothing at home and relax. That sort of thing. My husband also took the week off so we had time as well. If the weather was better, we may have looked into somewhere to hike. However, my sister in law invited us and my in laws over for a family breakfast and man was there a lot of food. It was delicious!

Game Warp Streams

I was debating whether to add this in and then I quickly realized that my last two weeks was a lot of Game Warp recording and streams. In fact, I may have found the schedule that works for my schedule. It has been hard to find a consistent one but perhaps I have. We now do commentary when we play or interact with the viewers since we set up the mic so its a fun time if you drop by for first look at games or want to cheer me on as I am a fairly unskilled gamer.

The last two Tuesdays were launch day streams, I played Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Episode 1 and Pinstripe, a game that I backed on Kickstarter last year. Still wrapping up Pinstripe this week.

As for Twitch schedule for myself: Tuesday nights at 10pm to Midnight EST & Saturday (most probably 3 to 5pm EST). All official announcements are made on our Facebook page here.

A Lot of TV Binges and Movies!

Aside from a lot of working, I did do quite a bit of playing. Not just games but movies and TV series. I have so many binges to write up, it is a little unreal. However, in general, I just haven’t felt like writing because I was so exhausted from work. TV binge posts for The Neighborhood and Girlboss are coming up. I might start doing double features for movies and only keep fleshed out longer reviews for movies I saw in theatres. Or in general new releases, since Netflix Originals tends to be a thing now and I rent from the Play store a few times a year when there is a good deal. Regardless, I’m also watching a Taiwanese TV series right now which I might dive more into. I feel like I’ve neglected international and particularly Asian cinema since I started the blog and got into movies because it feels like no one really cares too much about it. However, I care about it. So its time for me to do this in order to stay motivated.

Cute Kitty Pic – New Sleeping Spots

Upcoming: EVERYTHING!!! Game of catch-up here 🙂

That wraps up My Weekly Adventures!
I know its a tad short but trust me when I say that once today is over, I’ll be back on my game!

What have you been up to?

Freaky Friday (2003)

Well, look at this…the movies from November’s viewings are spilling into December. These family teen Disney movies had been so plentiful and I just didn’t have the energy to write so many reviews so here we are. With that said, I kind of works with the lighthearted winter holiday movies theme that is going on here. Its just that is taking me a while to put together seeing as I reviewed so many of them before. You can find all the reviews from past holiday marathon in the menu above under movies. With that said, I haven’t seen Freaky Friday so I figured it was a good time to do some catch up (just like the previous The Lizzie McGuire Movie review I did HERE). Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis: I mean, what could go wrong, right?

Freaky Friday (2003)

Freaky Friday

Director: Mark Waters

Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Mark Harmon, Harold Gould, Chad Michael Murray, Rosalind Chao

An overworked mother and her daughter do not get along. When they switch bodies, each is forced to adapt to the other’s life for one freaky Friday. – IMDB

 There is a wonderful entertainment value in Freaky Friday. I can’t say that I would watch this all the time but it has this really harmless fun feeling. Exactly how Disney family features usually are. While the plot is a little funky and its weird to see Jamie Lee Curtis play a role like this one especially since in her early days she was a scream queen and then in the recent years, she’s the dean on Scream Queens TV series, its hard to imagine her in such a comedic role but playing a rather uptight character that had to do a flip to act like a teenage girl. I always like these sort of flip personalities sort of thing because most of the time (even in the most ridiculous ways), hilarity ensues.

Freaky Friday

I have to admit that I don’t quite like this one as much as The Lizzie Mcguire Movie or The Parent Trap. There are moments where it feels like I should find it funny and yet I didn’t really want to. Maybe an overuse of the same humor like the Chinese Restaurant owner who keeps insisting on having the party held at their restaurant for a discount. Although those parts with the owner and her mom felt weird but still rather fun. What does make Freaky Friday good is the message it delivers of not really understanding someone and their decisions until you step into their shoes, maybe not as literal as the movie but it makes a good point about family and communication.

Freaky Friday

While these types of movies usually go over the top a little with the acting and very guided story lines, this one does deliver emotionally at the end. As much as I was sure about how I felt about Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis’s characters respectively, it was hard to deny that I grew to like them more as we connected with them and in the end, it triggered some nice feelings as they embraced what they felt they needed to do naturally. The addition of the supporting characters actually adds a little extra although no one had quite as much as screen time as these two ladies. I did enjoy seeing Chad Michael Murray, who just seems to be hovering over a ton of stuff I’m watching of late and man, it makes me want to watch A Cinderella Story (again!).

Overall, Freaky Friday is a good enough Disney movie. Definitely not my favorite. However, it does have some nice feels and some good humor going on. It kind of hits in a plot territory that I appreciate and have a soft spot for. Still, I don’t see myself wanting to run back to rewatch this one too frequently but I’m definitely not opposed to seeing it again if it ever does occur. I guess what I’m saying is that I had fun but slightly indifferent.

Have you seen Freaky Friday? Did you like it?

The Parent Trap (1998)

Fun fact about me: I’m a huge fan of Lindsay Lohan when she was a young actress even up to her teenage roles, probably ends around Mean Girls. I remember that I have no idea how I landed on watching The Parent Trap when I was young but it was long enough ago for me to not really remember too much of it. This was a pretty fresh watch. However, I’m big on these twin movies. I still love It Takes Two to absolute bits. After a month of horror, its high time for some more family fun sort of movies. I was saying that it was teen comedies but I think the correct term of it is family features mostly in November. Sometimes, we just gotta take it easy especially when my mind is in high panic phase or at least it will be soon if it hasn’t already.

Let’s check it out!

The Parent Trap (1998)

The Parent Trap

Director: Nancy Meyers

Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Elaine Hendrix, Lisa Ann Walter, Simon Kunz

Identical twins Annie and Hallie, separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents later they discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together.- IMDB

The best way to start this write-up is to first say that I haven’t watched the original The Parent Trap so I’m taking this one as a standalone, which it should be, even if it is a remake. The Parent Trap is kind of your cliche family movie. In many ways, I prefer It Takes Two over it if we were to compare, especially since there are many similarities between the two and I like the Olsen twins a tad more than a double of Lindsay Lohan. However, she does do a great job especially realizing that at a young age, she could do the British accent and the normal, plus there was some pretty fun parts. The Parent Trap isn’t a long movie either and carries some pretty entertaining times.

The Parent Trap

First of all, the cast is pretty good. Playing the father is Dennis Quaid who I do enjoy watching from time to time. Oddly, most of them are family films, except for Vantage Point. However, the fun isn’t exactly with these two adults meeting again and rekindling their love in a few days and putting all differences aside. The over the top character of Meredith, makes for some funny moments especially when she reacts quite funnily and as annoying as this character would be in real life, it offers a comedic element. My favorite character, other than Lindsay Lohans, have to go to the characters Chessy and Martin (portrayed by Lisa Ann Walter and Simon Kunz respectively) because they play the father’s sister and the butler on the mom’s side and was the adults pulling the strings and they were just hilarious together.

Parent Trap

The Parent Trap does have some fun characters and that really elevate the movie quite a bit. The very young Lindsay Lohan is remarkable and cute. Probably one of the extremely shining moments of this rather cliche movie. In fact, having two Lindsay Lohans here shows the diversity of her acting. She doesn’t come off as bratty either. In fact, we actually can see the innocence of the two little girls here who really are hidden in the dark about having a twin and then not really understanding what made their parents fall apart but having that immense desire to put them back together since they are single still. Life (and love) is more complicated than that but the simplicity of Hallie and Annie does make for many fun moments.

The Parent Trap

Most family movies work with a formula, and The Parent Trap is no different. However, it is surprisingly entertaining and has lots of great moments. Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, and the other cast are all having fun with their respective roles and giving us some cool characters. In that end, that is what matters, right? Lots of movies are formulaic, especially with the amount of sequels and remakes that we get in one year nowadays, but the feeling we get out of some of these family movies carry weight. The Parent Trap is a at many times not only fun but has its fair share of heartwarming moments as well.

Have you seen The Parent Trap? How about the original? How do they compare?

Vancouver & Kelowna: Family Time at a Wedding!

Day 2 of vacation was all about getting ready for heading out to my cousin’s wedding. We are settled into Kelowna and I had some jetlag issues and woke up at 4am. Somehow it doesn’t bother me too much because weddings are always fun. Most of us just can’t get over Kelowna’s beauty and peaceful little town.

We ended up having a little habit with my husband who always woke up earlier than everyone to head out by ourselves for a little. This first morning in Kelowna was when we wanted to head out to get some refreshments for the day and little snacks and ended up getting a message from my cousin that lives in Kelowna to head out to breakfast with her and her family. You all know how much we love breakfasts so we just couldn’t refuse, especially when we were on our way to hunt for food also.

Curious Café

Breakfast was at Curious Café. Here’s the menu. A restaurant post will be up later this week.

By the time we got back, it was a little bit of preparation and dolling up for the wedding. For me, that just meant putting on nail polish. Regardless, that was done. The first event was the tea ceremony and it was mostly for the relatives involved in this. My cousin and I just showed up to take some pictures. For the purpose of respecting my family’s privacy, there will only be pictures of my husband and I and some of the set-up and food.

Tea Ceremony

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Wedding Ceremony on the Rooftop Terrace (mostly the view)

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Reception Hall & Meal

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The wedding ceremony and reception and everything was at Hotel El Dorado in Kelowna. It had spectacular views. One of the things I loved about this venue was the meal service. They gave everyone a chance to reconsider what they wanted with the menu they now could see and what it was matched with. Due to my dairy allergy, I didn’t miss out on much and that was a pretty sweet feeling. Everyone had a creamy soup and I had a tomato bisque with some crackers. The meal was the beef option and it was on top of rice instead of mashed potatoes (I think). And for dessert, I had fruits (which is the usual alternative)

Sunset

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Just look at this sunset by the balcony at the reception where the open bar was located. The second shot is my first try at using the panoramic function on my phone. You’ll see a ton of other shots using that function because it just captures the scene so nice!!!