What’s Up 2019: Week 38

Tranquil Dreams (43)

Welcome to Week 38 of What’s Up! We’re almost done the 3rd quarter of 2019! Fall is almost here and things are definitely going back on course. Everything is almost back on track and next week, we should be seeing a lot more of the signs of October horror themed things coming into the picture (although one thing here actually is going to be for October). At the same time, I’ve also reactivated my Shudder subscription and should keep it for at least 2 months or so unless something else fun comes out and holds my interest after that.

Let’s check it out!

READING

Since September

  • Since September by Noelle MacLeod (Review)
  • The Dragon Head of Hong Kong: An Ava Lee Prequel by Ian Hamilton (Review)

Currently reading: Hope by Terry Tyler

Two novellas definitely made up the majority of my reading this week. I wanted something fun to break between the blog tour reading and decided to finally get around to continue on the Ava Lee series by Ian Hamilton which pretty much never disappoints. I’m a good few books behind on the series as it is so I’m hoping to catch up with it especially since the Kindle versions have been on sale on Amazon lately. With that said, both books were pretty fun to read. Since September had a Girl Interrupted vibe to it and The Dragon Head of Hong Kong was a prequel that talked about how Ava Lee started her job which is interesting as it comes after the first phase of the series ends.

PLAYING

kaiju big battel: fighto fantasy

Starting next: Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy

Since this week, I’ve been focusing mostly on some mobile games to wrap up the Mobile Games Roundup, the plan to start Kaiju Big Battel: Fighto Fantasy was delayed which will hopefully be the restart/comeback of our Game Warp restructuring to go back to our initial roots of having an episode for Game Warp per month with a highlighted game. We will try to get some new releases in there but games will be decided on our collective interest to discuss and obviously accessibility. However, we are still somewhat restructuring and finding our footing again in writing reviews and slotting time to record for Game Warp and such so there may still be changes but the effort to get back to action is there.

WATCHING

mary poppins returns

Two rewatches this week of films that I really do love quite a bit and they are both for Movies and Tea as one is our After Hours Shark week pick and the other is my pick. Its coming up on Movies and Tea in the coming weeks so I won’t talk too much about it but you can check out my reviews when I first saw the films.

With that said, I caught up with Battle at Big Rock which is a short that supposedly follows Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which I haven’t caught up with yet. Regardless, it  feels fairly standalone and was pretty fun. You can find it on Youtube. As for my recommendation this week for a fresh new feature film would be Mary Poppins Returns. I still don’t think doing a follow-up was necessary but in terms of how it lands, its very similar in set-up to Mary Poppins but it still has a fun and musical vibe to it.

BINGING

million pound menu

  • Million Pound Menu (Season 2, 2019)
  • The Mist (Season 1, 2017)

Currently binging: Relation Ship, Dream Space 2, Super Vocal 2, When I Grow Up, A Discovery of Witches (Shudder)

I never reviewed the first season of Million Pound Menu but I did catch up with the Season 2 of it this past week as its one of the newer releases on Netflix. I’ll be talking about that one in a TV binge. We ended up finishing The Mist as well which I can’t say is anything to call home about but TV binge for that one fits into the October horror month so I’ll have that out in next month to also help out with the progress.

The first signs of using the Shudder is showing up already with the mention of Tigers Are Not Afraid in the “Watching” section. We’re halfway through A Discovery of Witches which is Shudder series starring Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer. So far, its alright. A lot goes on so it feels a little convoluted.

As for currently watching, Youku finally released their version of those matchmaking reality shows on Youtube called Relation Ship. After this one, I’ll be doing a huge post on this type of variety show because I’m still very inspired about this subject. Other than that, its When I Grow Up which is a trip for some celebs, father and son/daughters duos who go on the trip in a camping/hiking style that brings them together or understand each other better. Its interesting because renowned actors from Hong Kong like Tony Ka Fai Leung and Elvis Tsui (who was in Stephen Chow films as supporting roles) as well as some popular China stars. Its nice to see some of these renowned stars now finally participating in these reality shows that shows their personalities more.

That’s it for What’s Up Week 38!
What have you been reading/playing/watching/binging?

Double Feature: Mary Poppins Returns (2018) & Tall Girl (2019)

DOUBLEFEATURE

The last double feature before the horror month is this one! As I try to work through some of the Disney movies on Netflix before it leaves, I managed to get in Mary Poppins Returns and then paired it up with something that I ended up watching as a multitasking film and it was the rather new Netflix Originals, Tall Girl.

Let’s check it out!

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

mary poppins returns

Director: Rob Marshall

Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Pixie Davis, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Jeremy Swift, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury

Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael’s children through a difficult time in their lives. – IMDB

Arguably, a lot of the Disney remakes or sequels feels unnecessary and the same goes for Mary Poppins Returns. However, while it is unnecessary, Mary Poppins Returns still achieves quite a fun family adventure. It follows a lot of the same formula as the original in terms of the events and even using some of the same lines in reference. It all helps link the two together even if the setting is decades apart and Mary Poppins isn’t the same actress and the children in the original are all grown up and the children in this one are the children of Michael Banks of the original. In all those elements, it does build a good bridge between the two and holds a lot of the essence of the original even if it still doesn’t have the same charm as the first one.

What does change in this one are the songs. All the songs are different from start to finish even if say what used to be the Chim Chimeree song is another sequence with streetlight leeries (is that what its called?) and they do the big dance number also . Then the bird lady is replaced by the balloon lady portrayed as cameo by Angela Lansbury. Dick Van Dyke comes back not as his original role but as another cameo role as well. Not to mention, Colin Firth comes in as a supporting role as well. Some of the other changes is adding in a bit of romance for its characters. Of course, the biggest change is Emily Blunt playing Mary Poppins which was always a question of how it would change. While she doesn’t have quite the same charm as Julie Andrews, she does hold up her own. In fact, this role is so different from other roles she’s done (that I’ve seen) that it actually surprised me in a good way and I really enjoyed her take of Mary Poppins plus they still gave her some sharp dialogue and replies.

Mary Poppins Returns might not be necessary but its still a fun family film with some decent music and characters that I wouldn’t mind watching a few times (not hard since I’ve already watched it one more time afterwards). All in all, a pleasant surprise!

Tall Girl (2019)

Tall Girl

Director: Nzingha Stewart

Cast: Ava Michelle, Griffin Gluck, Sabrina Carpenter, Paris Berelc, Luke Eisner, Clara Wilsey, Angela Kinsey, Steve Zahn, Rico Paris, Bria Condon

Jodi, the tallest girl in her high school, has always felt uncomfortable in her own skin. But after years of slouching, being made fun of, and avoiding attention at all costs, Jodi finally decides to find the confidence to stand tall. – IMDB

Netflix Originals teen movies are usually a big bet to take. So far, I’ve really only liked the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and was alright with Sierra Burgess is a Loser (which really doesn’t hold us as much when you think more about it). In many ways, the issues with Sierra Burgess are pretty much the same ones that apply here. Teen romances have that really big issue with making girls always question their own self-confidence when they want to get the attention of a guy they like when they should be confident about themselves and their physical appearances, in this case, its her height, which constantly gets mocked by the people in school.

In the case of Tall Girl, the characters go through a weird character arc that everyone ends up going through this segment in their story where they are very hard to root for and somehow find their way back, of course whether its too late is the question for whatever situation they are tackling. While Tall Girl does have a few okay things and the better ones is how it chooses to end and the more inspirational speech that the main character Jodi talks about as she embraces her confidence and feels confident with her height.

Tall Girl just feels shallow and hollow. All the characters aren’t too deep and the story is rather formulaic and predictable. Its a story about finding your self-confidence and facing your feelings sort of deal, which is pretty basic but has a few good messages to share. What its trying to share has good intentions but just the execution and the script and some of the acting left a lot to be desired.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen Mary Poppins Returns and/or Tall Girl?