What’s Up 2020: Week 18

Welcome to the next What’s Up! Week 18 was a rather slower one, kind of. Like I had said before, it was also a week of immense stress and lots of overtime so in turn, a lot of things suffered from it. Luckily, next week’s recap returns to normal so we’ll be all back on track with everything (hopefully)!

READING

Undead Ultra

Currently reading: Undead Ultra

Very little reading was done! My main reading material has been catching up with news mostly for work purposes. Suffice to say, not enough progress in Undead Ultra to say much more about it. I am rather frustrating for not finding more reading time though.

PLAYING

Samsara Room

  • Samsara Room

Currently playing: Pinball FX3

Last week had the release of Samsara Room, which is a remake of Rusty Lake’s first game. It was offered for free on Steam and mobile devices which is always great. The game itself is very much to Rusty Lake’s style of puzzles/escape room. It was a fun little game with some decent puzzles for sure. I’m working on some mobile games roundup posts for Game Warp currently so this might get on one after I finish up the current post. There’s some gaming reviews backlog but things are slowly getting back up and running.

On the other hand, I finally started Pinball FX 3 which is one that’s been recommended to me by my podcast co-host Elwood after I had been on the pinball craze with Demon’s Tilt previously.

WATCHING

The Edge of Seventeen

  • Escape Room (2017)
  • The Edge of Seventeen (2016 rewatch, Review)

Currently watching: Fight Club (1999)

Movies was on a low. i watched a bad movie to start the week and that was 2017’s Escape Room. Don’t confuse it with the more recent Escape Room that I reviewed HERE. Very different experience. It was so bad that I couldn’t use it as my feature film so I ended up rewatching a sure-fire, The Edge of Seventeen. Its been a few years since I’ve seen this one and it still is really fun to watch.

Much to a lot of people’s surprise, I haven’t seen Fight Club and was doing it for Movies and Tea recording. Way ahead in recording so you can guess what our next season is pretty much about at this point. I got shocked by the movie’s length and lost the focus to watch so about half done and stopped.

BINGING

wolf creek

  • Unrequited Love (2019 rewatch)
  • Wolf Creek (Season 2, 2017)

Currently binging: Youth With You 2, Me To Us, The Love Equations, Produce Camp 2020, Welcome Back to Sound, Go Fridge (Season 6), Yes I Do (Season 2)

TV is still going the strongest. After The Untamed, I’m not going to lie, its not done yet. I’m still incredibly obsessed with it so I haven’t found the mood to start a whole lot of new TV dramas. There’s one that just started that I want to see but just not in the mood at this current moment. Either way, variety shows have been bursting out everywhere. New seasons for shows that I like. Everything in the “currently binging” section is all new shows updated once or twice a week so once I caught up with everything, I went back to rewatch Unrequited Love which I am also working on a TV binge for and a second watch has got me scratching my head even more why they are remaking this so soon. Either way, we will see whether the new one works as well when it gets released.

As for Shudder, it finally got Wolf Creek’s Season 2 which we’ve been waiting for since we finished the first season a year (or maybe two) ago. Luckily, this is an anthology series so every season the story is different because the first season is slightly foggy (more for my husband). This one was very different to the first season but overall, other than the first episode, it was a pretty good one. I’m not sure whether Season 3 was confirmed but I did see in my research that Wolf Creek 3 is in the plans.

The only changes for this week for currently binging goes to the newest season release for Go Fridge and Yes I Do on Tencent and iQiyi respectively.  There are some changes to the structure but overall, it seems like its going to be a good time.  Only one episode in so we never know, right?

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

TV Binge: The Circle (Season 1, 2020)

The Circle (Season 1, 2020)

the circle

Host: Michelle Buteau

The Circle is a 3 week limited series social media competition with a social experiment central focus as different contestants living in apartments in one building communicate through social media only and try to gain popularity to get the top spot in the end to win $100,000. In the process, the lowest ranked players are at risk of being blocked where new players will enter to take their place. At the same time, players can enter as themselves or as catfish.

There are so many angles to look at this show. I’m not going to lie that going into this and watching a bunch of different people interact through social media is something of a cringey feeling as you never know who these people are. However, if The Circle does do anything well, its that every contestant (whether intentional or not) proves a few important points about the world interacting through a screen: the level of trust, the easily misinterpreted messages due to lack of interaction and of course, the judgement of a first impression/appearances and photos. Sure, its only 12 episodes and like 12 days or something that these people are together if they were the surviving initial group that makes it to the end and its not enough to truly know who these people actually are in real life but the fact that the show, as the audience observes them and their reactions in their own space, some of the people will change initial opinions. 

The first angle of the show is obviously what everyone goes into this for: entertainment. Its a competition so there will be tension especially as the viewers find their players that they want to win this and in the face of ratings amongst themselves and who gets eliminated, it builds fairly well. The Circle feels natural enough especially as the show goes on and the players settle in. The best moments are probably those where there are shocking moments of player reveals, especially for the catfishes. Plus, watching people react to what others say is pretty fun overall. Sure, some of the players have some big personalities and might even seem a bit annoying in the beginning but its funny how things change in the course of the game. 

If you look at this on the social experiment angle on what social media does to the society and how it builds up an image of what others feel is more accepted regarding appearances or even personality and other preset thoughts and prejudices that people build, it turns into a rather deep contemplation at the end as to whether what the catfishes were proving is a bad thing or whether if you connect with a catfish and its only the appearance that is fake means that it was all a lie in the first place.

Its interesting how we view social media and online interaction at times and for that, I’d say that on some levels, The Circle actually gives some room for contemplation of how online interaction does subconsciously and they did pick out a good group of players that showed a lot of angles of how people can view them or why they picked their catfish alias. If anything, The Circle has proved that the convenience of online interaction has both its pros and cons and highlights some stereotypes that people generally have. The Circle is a surprisingly interesting look at this through a rather entertaining game/competition. 

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 28: Fantasia Films Take Over!

Fantasia Festival has started at the tail end of the week. Other than the TV binge, everything else will progress slowly for the next three weeks as movies flourish. With that said, let’s see whats up!!

READING

The serpent-Bearer

  • The Serpent-Bearer and the Prince of Stars by C.S. Johnson

Currently reading: Within by Clare C. Marshall

Light reading is definitely in the picture. As I finished up The Serpent-Bearer graphic novel, the review only goes up later with the blog tour. After Montreal Comiccon, I decided its high time to get around to last year’s book purchases and make it to this year’s sometime this year preferably. Within is the first one to read, mostly because its a lighter book to carry around as I venture around long treks to the festival with my Chromebook.

PLAYING

Linelight

Currently playing: Linelight

Currently hooked on Linelight, a minimalist indie puzzle game that I picked up during the Steam Summer sale. It definitely lives up to expectations and has an amazing soundtrack. I’m still in the first world of puzzles so its going to be a while until I finish it but its a nice gaming dose everyday.

WATCHING

little monsters

  • The Hate U Give
  • Creed 2

Fantasia Festival movies

With Fantasia about, its hard to not pick one of the movies that I’ve seen at the festival and hope that it circulates soon to a big screen or digital or something or another. I can’t say that I’ve seen anything too horrible this week however my first movie at Fantasia definitely had the best balance, execution and pacing out of the all the movies in the first 4 days of the festival. Almost all the reviews should be up so you can check out the links above in case you missed any of them. I can’t not give a mention to The Hate U Give which was an amazing movie (and makes me want to read the book) while Creed 2 was a disappointment. As for Fantasia, other than Little Monsters winning my heart, Paradise Hills was also pretty neat with some fantastic ideas especially for the sci-fi fantasy fans out there.

BINGING

Your Highness Class Monitor

  • “Your Highness” The Class Monitor

Currently binging: Love Signal 2, River Flows to You, Go Go Squid!, The Coming One III

Your Highness Class Monitor ended early in the week. I have some thoughts about this one and it had a lot to do with a change in perspective in how I felt about the characters and a bit of disjointedness in the series. I have a huge delay in TV binge right now that I’m working hard to catch up on but I might get this one done before, if I find time. However, in the currently binging is mostly new shows as I start River Flows to You and Go Go Squid!, the latter definitely winning my heart so far.

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

What’s Up Week 16: When TV is the Best Multitasking Companion…

Tranquil Dreams (28)

Overlapping long weekends are usually a great time to catch up on some work and for myself, it was time to finalize a lot of stuff thats been sitting around so suffice to say that I did get some TV and movies going but a lot of other things as well. Easter weekend is always that tricky time where its busy at work and never certain on what happens in general. However, there is a decent balance here. Although, there is a great tilt towards TV as that is one of the most effortless parts of my life and its always fun to put on in the background.

READING

FOREVER PEOPLE

Currently reading: Forever People

I’m still working on reading Forever People and very close to the ending now. The review will be going up later this week as part of blog tour.

PLAYING

rime

  • Rime

Currently playing: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

We are working on shorter indie games in our backlog these past few weeks. I’m hoping to get a lot of the reviews done afterwards. Rime was a one that I started last year when we got it via Playstation Plus free games. I can’t remember which month but I was really excited about it. Overall, the game is visually beautiful and runs about 3 to 4 hours with a fantastic soundtrack but just a few little technical things that I’ll talk about in the review (at some point when I get it done). The playthrough however should be on the channel next week. Game Warp channel has The Unfinished Swan’s playthrough going up this week, in case you are interested.

WATCHING

holidays

  • Holidays
  • Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

A drop in movies this weekend and it had to do completely with me because I had a bunch of stuff to do and I didn’t want to start a new movie and not be able to focus on it or fall asleep. However, we did finally get around to some more titles on Netflix. I really don’t know which I prefer out of the two though, maybe holidays because the horror anthology had some really fun segments even if some of them were downright weird. But then, it was Easter weekend so Holidays sounded like a suitable choice.

BINGING

  • Go Fridge! (Season 4, 2018)
  • Black Summer (Season 1, 2019)

Currently binging: The Brightest Star in the Sky, Put Your Head On My Shoulder, Great Escape, Master in the House, Produce Camp 2019, Z Nation (Season 1)

As with our main title up top, TV is yet again my most focused topic. However, this week I wrapped up two pretty good ones so I’ll talk a little about both of them. Go Fridge is Season 4 which is last year’s season. Its a fun little show where back to back episodes focus on two celebrities and their fridges and the content inside which goes between a talk show in the first part and then a team battle between the two teams of chefs as they make a custom menu based on what they’ve learned during the talk show part and the contents in the guest’s fridge and see which one wins. The second one which we binged in two days is the new Netflix series Black Summer, which essentially is set in the Z Nation universe and set before that show. I know that now because we started watching Z Nation after we wrapped up Black Summer. When I was doing research, it seems there’s a lot of criticism about Black Summer but with exception of some overacting, its a pretty decent show and I’d like to see a Season 2 for it. I’ll go into more details in the upcoming TV binge.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
We’re progressing slowly but work is a constant in my life with extended work hours and overtime so things are going to slow down especially in the next What’s Up.

What’s are you watching/reading/binging/playing? Share it in the comments below.

Game Warp Podcast: Doki Doki Literature Club (2017) Review

Time for our February featured game! We are finally catching up with our backlog and should be right back on track very soon with the March featured game in a few weeks.

February’s featured game for Game Warp Podcast is Doki Doki Literature Club!, developed by Team Salvato. If you don’t know what it is, this is a free to play psychological horror visual novel. Its also a title that you should go in completely blind to get its full experience. In this show, we discuss some general topics like the story, pacing and characters and game mechanics while spending a little part at the end with spoilers, preceded the segment of course with a spoiler alert in case you haven’t played the game yet. With how great this game was done last year, give us a watch to see if it matched up to all the hype.

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Game Warp Podcast Reviews What Remains of Edith Finch

November’s featured game over at Game Warp Podcast was this year’s narrative adventure by Giant Sparrow called What Remains of Edith Finch.

What Remains of Edith Finch is already grabbing some nominations in the upcoming Game Awards and it seemed fitting to take a look at it. Elwood and I review this game and the twist it takes on what we know nowadays as walking simulators.We take a look at the story, or should I says stories and the gameplay mechanics and whether we think its worth all the praise its been getting since its release earlier this year.

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Game Warp Podcast: Yomawari: Night Alone (2015) Game Review

Game Warp had a slight hiatus and ran a bit behind with me and Elwood taking a little vacation break almost back to back. However, here is our review of the Halloween featured game for October with Yomawari: Night Alone, a survival horror indie game developed by NIS America.

Horror games seem to love using vulnerable little girls in brutal situations and Yomawari: Night Alone is not any different. In this review, we discuss the gameplay mechanics and the characters and the story.

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Game Warp Podcast: ‘Seasons After Fall’ Game Review

The next Game Warp episode is our review of Seasons After Fall, developed by Swing Swing Submarine. Seasons After Fall was released on PC primarily and recently released on console. Seasons After Fall is an exploration platformer with hand-drawn art style. It uses the concept of seasons and utilizes nature to become a game mechanic.

Join us as we discuss this game from its mechanics to its art and the story.

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Podcast: ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ Review

The next Game Warp Podcast is here. we are breaking out from the indie mold for a moment and looking at a Playstation 2  Greatest Hits from 2003 developed by Ubisoft called Beyond Good and Evil. Beyond Good and Evil follows Jade, a photojournalist who is tasked by the underground IRIS network with uncovering the sinister plans of the Alpha Sector and the DomZ, with her humanoid boar uncle Pey’J and agent HH. With the recent update on the long-awaited sequel which will be coming to reality, we take ourselves to Hillys and its world to see if Beyond Good and Evil is as great as everyone else says it is. Or maybe, is it just nostalgia?

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Are you looking forward to the sequel of Beyond Good and Evil?