Double Feature: Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (2022) & Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical (2022)

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (2022)

Director (and co-writer): Stephen Donnelly

Voice cast: Luke Evans, Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Fra Fee, Giles Terera, Trevor Dion Nicholas, James Cosmo, Jonathan Pryce

A supernatural, time-travelling, musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s cult Christmas story – IMDB

A Christmas Carol has been remade so many times at this point that whether you have read this classic novel from Charles Dickens before or not, its an extremely familiar story of a horrible man who has three ghosts to visit him in one night to reflect on his future, see the present and what his future will be if he keeps his ways. Even over here we have reviewed a good few versions despite never having read the source material.

Netflix’s version Scrooge: A Christmas Carol takes this Charles Dickens’ classic and pairs it with the 1970 Leslie Bricusse’s screenplay for musical film adaptation Scrooge and packs it with a decent voice cast. Having not seen the 1970 version, this Scrooge doesn’t offer anything too different. Instead, a lot of parts actually reminded me of Mickey’s Christmas Carol (which I watch almost on an annual basis). The animation is pretty decent especially for its design for the Ghost of Christmas Past which is a good reinterpretation of the character.

Turning A Christmas Carol into a musical is a good idea. Its rhythmic and adds some pep to this rather serious story. The singing is pretty on point and it helps that the voice cast is pretty decent with Luke Evans as Scrooge. Luke Evans has a voice that matches Scrooge very well and delivers the needed tone for the cranky money-obsessed man. Much like Olivia Colman as Ghost of Christmas Past which is a real joy and has some of the best lines in the film. However, as fun as some parts are, the songs are decent but not quite catchy enough. There are probably two songs that stand out like the first one with the nephew singing called I Love Christmas which sets up the stage perfectly and then Thank You Very Much which was a lot of fun in context.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical (2022)

Director: Matthew Warchus

Cast: Alisha Weir, Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough, Sindhu Vee, Carl Spencer, Lauren Alexandra

An adaptation of the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical. Matilda tells the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination, dares to take a stand to change her story with miraculous results. – IMDB

My only venture into Matilda is surprisingly only the 90s adaptation and that was actually pretty recent years. Matilda is based on the Roald Dahl novel of the same name except this one is based on the musical adaptation. There’s so much to love about this version of Matilda. Its definitely a musical done right as most of the songs and dance choreography are very good. As I did a little research, these songs are all from the stage musical. Its a fun venture into this world.

The cast of Matilda unsurprisingly consists mostly of children and these young actors are quite good overall. There’s a focus on Matilda and a few of her classmates but also some of the older kids as well. Alisha Weir as Matilda is quite fitting as she nails both the singing and attitude of her character. The cast of kids around do put together some fun moments whether in their musical number or their scene. Around them are five adults in the cast with them. The most notable is Emma Thompson who has been transformed into the harsh headmistress of Crunchem Hall Trunchbull. Emma Thompson is starting to pop up frequently in these unexpected roles and in this one, she is nearly unrecognizable. While opposite her is Matilda’s teacher Miss Honey played by Lashana Lynch who does a pretty good job at the meek role. Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough has Matilda’s parents are actually quite funny and is an exaggerated version of crooked parents especially with their facial expressions. While not a big role, the most fun is probably the traveling librarian played by Sindhu Vee who always listens to her and her stories with fascination.

Matilda has a lot of heart and most of it is because the fun in the story is its naivety. The kids talk about telekinesis (or should I say as one of the kids in the film calls it telekinepsis) and even in their times of oppression and bullying from their headmistress, they still find a way to work together to revolt in their small little way and find their small victories. Throwing lizards in her cup or mixing care products together or gluing a hat to someone’s head: its all seemingly harmless actions. The songs in the musical also reflect this quite a bit since the highlights are definitely the ones with the kids like Alisha Weir’s solo with “Naughty” which ends up being a song that hangs in the air being reprised in different parts. Of course, the dance choreography of Revolting Children has its own hook which is commended on its complexity since it is for kids (and as my husband has told me has struck a TikTok revolution of people using that scene with all sorts of background songs).

At this point, Netflix has released a few musicals. While some of been star-studded like The Prom (review) and a few Christmas ones like Jingle Jangle (review), they have all been rather lackluster (yes, I haven’t seen Tick Tick Boom yet). Matilda the Musical is fun and charming and does so much right. The singing is great, the songs and choreography are creative and catchy and the cast ensemble does a fantastic job. Musicals should make us not only love the story no matter how familiar but also has the songs stuck in our heads and Matilda’s soundtrack has been hanging in my head for quite a while. Its been a long time since I’ve had this feeling and boy, does it feel good.

Project Wolf Hunting (2022)

Project Wolf Hunting (2022)

Director (and writer): Hong-Sun Kim

Cast: Seo In-Guk, Dong-Yoon Jang, Dong-Il Sung, Gwi-Hua Choi, Park Ho-San, Moon-sung Jung, Jung So-Min

Follows dangerous criminals on a cargo ship who are transported from the Philippines to South Korea, as they unleash a sinister force after an escape attempt leads to a riot.- IMDB

Premiered at the TIFF Midnight Madness as the opening film, Project Wolf Hunting is an violent action thriller that fits the term madness to a tee. Recent years (maybe even decade or more) has seen a rise of hyper violent films hit the market and create a lot of accolades and conversation especially on the film festival circuit, a good example being The Sadness (review) which is one of the most gruesome and disturbing films I have seen to date. Project Wolf Hunting does a lot right from the setting to the hyper violence but it also lacks in its overall plot and characters.

Setting a film on any marine vessel as its one setting (for the most part) is actually a rare move (although look at director Hong-Sun Kim’s filmography, one of his earlier films were also set on a ship). There are a few movies who do it but its still a fairly underused setting. Project Wolf Hunting utilizes its space very well as it moves its characters throughout the ship which poses its own issues right from the get-go. Everything comes into play and they all have their purpose. The narrow passageways and the close pipes and even the deck and different levels all add to what is hidden and how the group can use its abilities to their advantage but also leave space for more discoveries to expose a little backstory to the threat at hand.

This brings up a central issue of this 2 hour film: the story. Sure, we can argue that films like this is all about the visual element in the satisfaction of watching hyper violent scenes, the endless ways someone can be killed ruthlessly and the excessive amount of fake blood a human can actually exude with each kill until every surface is covered in blood. However, we watch this film, there’s no doubt that it all becomes rather mind-numbing especially when the plot is fairly generic in its twist of events. The first part is actually pretty clever when the actual prisoner escape attempt riot starts and not a whole lot of violence has happened at this point so it becomes impressive to see all this being a huge plan that had started even before everyone got on the ship. Even the twist and change of enemy force is expected since it was revealed early on but the enemy design is surprising at first. The deal is that there are a lot of characters, a lot of body count and just not enough cohesive backstory to keep itself engaging. It doesn’t help that while the plot takes some predictable twists that a bigger threat is brewing on the ship with a big secret that will gradually be revealed, how all this goes down feels a little unclear.

The question Project Wolf Hunting brings up for these sort of films is a key one: How do you balance plot, blood and violence? Is it enough to just cover a generic plot with blood and violence and use the shock factor? For myself, the answer is probably no as the film loses its appeal as the violence and blood loses its shock element from simply its overabundance, pounding away the purpose one kill at a time. To be fair, the film started on the right foot in the first half. The action sequences and the kills do have some creativity that works with the setting and some extremely brutal ones as well. Looking past all the violence, the prisoners grouping together to create a riot to escape is pretty clever and even if the leading prisoner character is a tad generic in its psycho-killer ways, he still had a certain extreme brutality that made him rather convincingly creepy. Even the timing for the entrance of the new enemy along with their design was sufficiently spine-chilling but what transpires from that point to the end right up to the finale and that ending that almost feels like it could work up for a possible sequel really does feel so lackluster.

For viewers who are there for simply the hyperviolence and bloodshed, Project Wolf Watching is everything it promises. There are every way possible to kill and some pretty creative deaths as well with various items and weapons. There is an over the top use of blood that would probably put Quentin Tarantino’s to shame (but then The Sadness was even more extreme in its bloodbath extremity). The sole amount of blood a head slowly being crushed can pour out from its orifices is apparently an astoundingly ridiculous amount and that’s just one very quick example. The director never forgets that the heart of the film is this element.

*Project Wolf Hunting will hit digital, Blu-ray & DVD on February 14th and available for pre-book on January 10th. Find more info HERE*

**Screener provided by Well Go USA

Double Feature: Tokyo Godfathers (2003) & Perfect Blue (1997)

Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Director (and co-writer): Satoshi Kon

Voice cast: Toru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, Aya Okamoto, Shozo Izuka, Seizo Kato, Hiroya Ishimaru

On Christmas Eve, three homeless people living on the streets of Tokyo discover a newborn baby among the trash and set out to find its parents. – IMDB

*Posted on Friday Film Club*

Inspired by the 1948 American Western film 3 Godfathers, Satoshi Kon wrote and directed Tokyo Godfathers, a film that differed from his previous directorial efforts as it was grounded in realism and no fantasy. Tokyo Godfathers tells the story of three homeless people: a transgender woman Hana, a middled aged alcoholic man Gin and a runaway teenage girl Miyuki who find a baby in the garbage pile on Christmas Eve. They take the baby in and name her Kiyoko and decide to use the information provided in her belongings to seek out her mother and find out why. Its how this dysfunctional family comes together as this week long adventure ends up finding solace and resolution for the three’s own issues. 

Tokyo Godfather is a thoughtful film that portrays its homeless people not with sadness but with solitude . Each of these three have chosen homelessness because of a past event and now are all alone because they haven’t faced their problem. It’s a heartwarming story even if a bit odd at times especially since their search takes them to meet some very odd situations from a yakuza boss being trapped under his car to a Latino hitman right down to the big finale of finding the parents of Kiyoko. It’s all a series of events that connect these three together who were homeless friends but never really knew the deeper stories of each other. Each person’s story is different and representative of a different thing right up to the little baby’s as well.

Tokyo Godfathers delivers three colorful characters and takes us for a fun and sentimental journey from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Eve. While the time doesn’t really have a measure here and the three do a lot of walking to move around, it still feels like they do encounter a lot as they face one dead end after another and find more clues to the next location Kiyoko’s mother might be. There’s a lot to love about Tokyo Godfathers and is also a wonderful alternate holiday film to give a watch. 

Perfect Blue (1997)

Director: Satoshi Kon

Voice cast: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji, Masaaki Okura, Yosuke Akimoto, Yoku Shioya, Hideyuki Hori, Emi Shinohara

A pop singer gives up her career to become an actress, but she slowly goes insane when she starts being stalked by an obsessed fan and what seems to be a ghost of her past. – IMDB

Satoshi Kon’s feature directorial debut is animated psychological thriller Perfect Blue, which is based on the novel Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis by Yoshikazu Takeuchi. Featuring one of Satoshi Kon’s trademarks of blurring the line between reality and fantasy, Perfect Blue tells the story of a idol singer who decides to give up her idol to become an actress and makes some immense changes to her image with the acting decisions which also make her start to lose grip of reality when the stress of the change and the uncertainty of her choice clashes with the external forces of an obsessive fan and a growing number of dead bodies connected to her.

Perfect Blue is some top notch animated film. While the film is a little behind its times in technology, the setting of idols and overobsessive fans is a conversation that is still relevant. The psychological thriller nature gives the film space to have some rather extreme moments but where the film starts boggling the mind is the constant feeling that the main character Mima is losing her mind as she sees the idol version of herself judging her for her actions which is an inner struggle that she is having. It doesn’t play only on the external fear of being stalked and her fans reaction to her decisions but actually dives deeper into Mima herself as she deals with them to change her image and reaches a breaking point. The twist in the big finale also matches with her reality and the psychological issue.

For an animated film, the film’s art style feels very grounded in reality. It doesn’t have the more cute animation but here it reflects the material. As you watch the film, Mima may be an animated character but she feels very real. The character has many dimensions much like the supporting characters that pop up around her whether its her agent or her manager. The agent drives her down this rabbit hole and slippery slope while her manager also has to face up to her decisions and has her own disagreement to it. The reveal of the stalker is also one that becomes rather shocking and does a good job in mostly giving it that set-up to make it more surprising. Perhaps what makes this animation stand out are the bigger obscene scenes whether its the filming for the rape scene to the attack and fighting scene against her stalker, it all gives this film the grittiness that the genre needs.

There’s a lot to love about Perfect Blue. Satoshi Kon’s animation style and directorial trademarks shows off perfectly on this film. While the film is based off a novel, other than the key elements of B-idol, stalker and horror being kept, the author allowed Satoshi Kon to create a story revolving those elements which he brought in another screenplay writer to achieve which brings in the play in a play and the inner psychological struggle for Mima. The collective elements of both the original source material and the screenplay are what makes this film fairly revolutionary back in the 1990s in terms of anime. Its a film with a lot of depth and honestly feels like another watch might even help catch some more details.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

Director (and writer): Rian Johnson

Cast: Daniel Craig, Janelle Monae, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Noah Segan

Famed Southern detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece for his latest case. – IMDB

Glass Onion is something of a sequel to Knives Out and takes place in May 2020 in the midst of the pandemic when a tech billionaire Miles Bron issues puzzle box invitations to his best friends for a little weekend of murder mystery game on a Greek Island. Surprisingly, Southern detective Benoit Blanc who is spending excessive time in the bathtub trying to understand Among Us receives one as well. Like him, the former partner Andi also shows up at the party despite the fallout. As Blanc explores the island, he soon learns that he wasn’t invited by Miles and soon learns that this murder mystery game might not be a game after all when every single guest seems to have their own motive to kill Miles and this search is solidified when a death does happen.

Knives Out is hands-down the best first watch I had in this year so its sequel is one that’s been very high on the anticipated films list (as my main source of new releases are all on Netflix and they have some slim pickings). Knives Out and Glass Onion, while both captivating that Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mystery style, they are both different foundations of cleverness. Knives Out was all about the moment where the rug is pulled from under its audience and how to get away from it but Glass Onion places its cards all on the table and its about catching those details and then creating doubt in those pieces and bringing it all in to make sense. Its purposefully silly but its intended to be that way, which is what gives it that dark comedy element. Comedy, of course, is subjective however it worked for myself incredibly well especially in the final act.

The setting for Glass Onion is also twofold as physically they are heading to an island in Greece which holds the Glass Onion structure, which is also a central piece of its setting but the structural elements of this architecture plays greatly into the mystery and this group of friends on the island. Its setting is used effectively to add more depth to it scene to scene from its smokeless gardens to its actual interior. There is just one detail that feels incohesive and inexplicable in the endgame which involves the setting. The physical element is great but the actual time setting is 2020 during the first few months of the pandemic when everyone was on lockdown which makes some of these characters and moments feel like theres a deeper message behind the whole plot and its characters especially the owner of the Glass Onion who made the murder mystery game.

The cast this time is still pretty incredible as well. Not quite the collection of acting veterans like the first film but still holds quite a few. Rian Johnson also is currently directed four final appearances through his two Knives film with Stephen Sondheim and Angela Lansbury playing as themselves in a cameo as Benoit Blanc’s good friends who are playing Among Us with each other. At one moment in the film, it actually feels like they are reenacting Among Us on the island and its actually pretty neat even though I’m not quite sure whether that was intentional or not. Packed with a rather clueless celebrity Kate Hudson has Birdie and her assistant Peg played by Jessica Henwick, Edward Norton as Miles Bron, Janelle Monae as Andi with some cameos of Hugh Grant, Ethan Hawke, Yo-yo Ma, Serena Williams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s voice and of course mentioned before, Stephen Sondheim and Angela Lansbury. Edward Norton as the billionaire is truly such a suitable role and his small expressions to the whole feeling of this character really links closely to some billionaires in real life (almost feeling like there’s a hidden statement there). Janelle Monae is a personal favorite of mine as she might not always be in great films but she’s always great in those films and this one is no exception. As for Benoit Blanc, this more comedic version of him actually works really well for Daniel Craig and that Southern air with exclamations of “fiddlesticks” and “shitballs” truly is so much fun.

Overall, Glass Onion is a real treat. In terms of mystery complexity, Knives Out actually pulls ahead on that one with a plot twist that created more shock value. Glass Onion is a different beast but still manages to be incredibly entertaining. The final act is probably one of the best pay-offs that I’ve watched in a long time which teases its audience a little with a lot of “dumb” (as Benoit Blanc calls it). Great casting, beautiful use of the setting, approachable mystery: I’m always one to gripe about those over 2 hour films but Glass Onion just flew by. There is one scene that I feel hasn’t been explained yet and seems like a plot hole perhaps but the whole set-up and twist is so clever that this is one of those cases where a great pay-off can offset those little flaws.

Double Feature: Falling For Christmas (2022) & Last Christmas (2019)

Falling For Christmas (2022)

Director: Janeen Damian

Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Chord Overstreet, George Young, Jack Wagner, Olivia Perez, Alejandra Flores, Sean Dillingham

In the days leading up to Christmas, a young and newly engaged heiress experiences a skiing accident. After being diagnosed with amnesia, she finds herself in the care of the handsome lodge owner and his daughter. – IMDB

I’m guessing the selling point of Falling For Christmas is Lindsay Lohan and the script does have at least one little bit (maybe I missed others) that does pay homage to the Christmas segment of Mean Girls. However to say that this Hallmark film is different than others wouldm’t quite apply here. In fact, the plot itself other than the obvious amnesia bit was very reminiscent to previous Netflix Christmas films like Christmas Inheritance (review). All the plot points are about as generic as it can get for films such as this.

With films like this, the biggest thing is always the cast and the chemistry. There’s no doubt that the Christmas and winter element will be in full abundance and that does not disappoint here at any level. From family warmth to Christmas activities, this film offers it all up really well. Looking at the cast though, there are elements that work mostly in the family scene at the ski lodge with the daughter and mother and the whole fighting for the lodge’s survival.

The chemistry between the two leads played by Lindsay Lohan and Chord Overstreet doesn’t quite work that well. Chord Overstreet is actually pretty decent in his role but somehow, Lindsay Lohan feels a little wooden for the most part. The scenes at times have their silly charm but for the most part, its mostly as the amnesiac her is learning how to do all these chores and making a mess when its most comedic.

There’s honestly not a whole lot to say about Falling For Christmas. Its a very generic Hallmark-ish romantic comedy for the holidays. Sure, the holidays part fits the bill and there’s certain elements that are fun but its nothing too special or memorable. In fact, some of it does fall into cringe, predictable and boring category and I’m the person that actually doesn’t mind a lot of sappy rom-coms.

Last Christmas (2019)

Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Emma Thompson, Madison Ingoldsby, Boris Isakovic, Lucy Miller, Maxim Baldry, Michelle Yeoh, Lydia Leonard

Kate is a young woman subscribed to bad decisions. Working as an elf in a year round Christmas store is not good for the wannabe singer. However, she meets Tom there. Her life takes a new turn. For Kate, it seems too good to be true. – IMDB

Last Christmas isn’t your normal Hallmark fluffy and sappy holiday film. In fact, it kind of takes on a bit of the literal interpretation of the lyrics of the song “Last Christmas”. It does have a feel-good but bittersweet sort of feeling to it by the end. The film is almost like a late coming of age much in the line of films like Young Adult.

Last Christmas has a rather stacked cast with Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh being in the same film following their mother-son relationship in Crazy Rich Asians (review) and Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones. Never was there a day that I’d expect to see Michelle Yeoh in a holiday film but here she is and truly embracing it playing as the owner of the year-round Christmas store and gave herself the name Santa. There’s one bit where she talks about her nicknames that is incredibly entertaining, most of them feeling very unfathomable for this elegant lady. The shining point of this film does lie in its cast which delivers up some pretty good performances from the self-centered Kate to the wise and handsome Tom to the guidance of Santa (the person in the movie, not Santa Claus). Right down to the cast at the homeless shelter that truly does bring a lot of shine to the film as a whole.

There are some predictable elements in the film and nothing here feels like it hasn’t been done before. The ending reveal while still has its surprising element still feels like its been used before, however the dynamic between Tom and Kate is what makes that reveal feel acceptable and even a little heartbreaking if anything. Christmas movies don’t have to be all happy and joyous and while this one still maintains a little bit of those elements and even adds some nice short musical elements to it, it still works well enough in terms of the chemistry between the characters and the flow of the events. Some of it does feel a little unnecessary like the whole comedic and bizarre romance for Michelle Yeoh’s character and the constant discussion of sauerkraut.

Overall, Last Christmas might not a completely unique film but as a Christmas movie, it still works relatively well. While the subject does get a little heavy and it isn’t all completely happy happy joy joy and the Christmas element does feel like its just set during the time of year more than being in the center driving force, it still is rather meaningful as it looks into homelessness, family and making amends for the rebellious choices and finding a balance. As I think more about it, there definitely is a certain charm to it.

Adventures & What’s Up – November 2022

ADVENTURES (more like updates)

Baby Update

November brings in Triple V’s postponed 4 months followup with ended up being at 4.5 months. Everything seems to be doing good. He’s definitely developed a lot this past month especially in learning things on his own. He’s figured out rolling over on both sides which helps since he likes to sleep on his side and tummy and we are at a stage that I no longer can correct it to his back. He is learning how to sit with little support and for the most part its ok. He also recently figured out how to self-soothe. What we are working on now is getting him to nap a little more efficiently without all the resistance.

2nd Booster Shot

After last month’s scare with the husband catching COVID and the whole quarantine, once things settled down on my front, I set up the appointment for the 2nd booster shot to make sure I have the necessary protection for Triple V’s sake. Surprisingly, this booster shot was the most smooth as other than massive muscle pains the night of the shot, that was the extent of my discomfort.

Visit From My Cousin

In these post-pandemic days, due to our newborn, we still live mostly cautiously as much as possible. My cousin who happened to have a baby the exact same day as Triple V also is super cautious but had something important to come into town so dropped by to see the family and it was nice. Fun times to catch up and talk about our babies.

NaNoWriMo and Podcast

Its been years since I’ve done NaNoWriMo but this year I decided about 10 days into the month to use it as a kick in the behind to get some scripting and outline done for the podcast project which I had wanted to launch this year and decided that 2023 would be a good start. I might not have gotten anywhere near 50K but I did get a full 2 episodes drafted out and after a change in strategy have the beginning of a bunch of other episodes as well. The start is the hardest for most of my stuff so getting that out of the way is already a big deal. It doesn’t really matter how many words, the goal was to have something done since this project now the same as before and even the finished stuff still has some additions to add to it. Its all part of a big plan to hopefully minimize the final editting and be more time efficient. The necessary editing work will probably still need to be done but I can at least try.

Blood in the Snow Film Festival

The final film festival of the year always goes to Blood In The Snow Film Festival. While the festival is done, I am still working on getting the reviews done as nearing the end of the festival, a technical snag happened…which I will talk about in the next part (which is also why this post is coming out late). All the reviews can be found in the Movies tab above under the subsection of BITS under Festivals.

PC Blue Screen Of Death

Yeah…My PC got the Blue Screen of Death and actually died. Its just an endless loop of bsod and restart. I am waiting for my friend to have time to help me take a look to see whether we can save it somehow. You will notice that my writing has dropped and is less fancy and such but between an outdated slow Chromebook and my phone WordPress app, its really slowing down the efficiency. I am slowly getting used to it so hopefully will get a bunch of stuff done soon.

Holidays Marathon Soon

Theres no argument that Christmas and holiday films are getting a tad thin. I am working through some of the Netflix stuff as I wait for more Christmas releases. With that said, it probably won’t get going until maybe next week or 10 days before Christmas. Its still going to happen but like last year (I believe), just a tad later.

WHAT’S UP

Books

  • The Magic Is In You
  • Your Favorite Seuss: A Baker’s Dozen by the One and Only Dr. Seuss
  • Starry Starry Night
  • The Fragrant Garden
  • Good Night Moon
  • Calvin and Hobbes
  • Plus a bunch of kids books: Little Critters, Berenstain Bears, etc.

Its not hard to see where things are going in terms of reading. Although with the PC not working, it might be on the rise again. Its either books or games that I plan to give more time after I get all the writing stuff done (if the PC isn’t fixed yet) or simply a mix of both since there’s one more month and super behind with the Goodreads Challenge.

On the reading front, its been awesome rereading books and also reading new kids books that I have never read before so Triple V and I are discovering things together even if he doesn’t know it yet.

Movies

  • Fortune Feimster: Good Fortune (2022)
  • Enola Holmes 2 (2022)
  • Midnight at the Magnolia (2020)
  • Reclaim (一家之主, 2020 Review)
  • Falling For Christmas (2022)
  • Last Christmas (2021)
  • Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

BITS 2022

  • The Protector (2022)
  • BITS 2022 Mournful Mediums Shorts Program (Review)
  • BITS 2022 Emerging Screams Shorts Program (Review)
  • L’Inhumain (The Inhuman, 2021)
  • Residents of Arcadia (2021 Review)
  • Shifted (2022 Review)
  • BITS 2022: Funny Frights & Unusual Sights Shorts Program
  • BITS 2022: Pre-Feature Shorts (Review)
  • Cult Hero (2022 Review)
  • Cryo (2022)
  • The Devil Comes At Night (2022 Review)
  • Dark Nature (2022 Review)

Due to the festival, its been a pretty busy movie month. My feeling about Blood in the Snow Festival was that the shorts were mostly a ton of fun and creativity where as a lot of the films were pretty slow burn bar a few that were just wild. There was a nice progression in the programming since I started with The Protector which was rather slow and ended on Cult Hero which was just a downright wild ride. There are a lot of really good premise for the films.

As for the non-festival films, its no surprise that I caught Enola Holmes 2 the first few days it landed since I probably have rewatched the first one 10 times at this point. I started watching some Christmas stuff to make some headway for the holiday marathon right around the corner and it has to do with us decorating for Christmas in mid-November usually. Finally watching Tokyo Godfathers as it was going to leave Netflix in December so took care of that the moment I realized and it was such an odd and awesome film.

TV

  • Call Me By Fire 披荊斬棘 S2
  • Love In Time 我的秘密室友 (2022)
  • Heart Signal 心動的信號 S4
  • Unsolved Mysteries: Volume 3 (2022)
  • Guillermo Del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities (2022)
  • Hello Summer – Relationship 相遇的夏天S4 (2022)
  • Dating in the Kitchen 我 喜歡你 (2020)
  • Rock & Roast 脫口秀大會S5
  • Wednesday (Season 1, 2022)

Currently binging: Our Fiery Life 我們的滾燙人生 S2, See You Again 再見愛人S2, Singing With Legends我們的歌S4, Snack Vs Chef (Season 1)

I’m kind of surprised how many shows ended the past month but it does make sense since I am now not watching as much TV either. Skipping past the Chinese variety shows, Love in Time is pretty good and its adapted from a Taiwanese series. I did start that series but my iQiyi sub ended and I am taking a break from that since its a tad pricey to have all these subs. Waiting for a deal before resubbing. My main feeling is that the Taiwanese one has better acting  Love In Time has a good premise and adaptation but the main leads really leave something to desire. On the other hand, Dating in the Kitchen adapted from film This Is Not What I Expected is pretty fun and it has lots of cooking so I’m there for it.

On the Netflix front, Cabinet of Curiosities is coming up on Movies and Tea but I thought it was overall really good and highlighted some great directors. Wednesday is also a great series. I haven’t watched Addams Family since my age was in the single digits so I honestly remember nothing but I love the humor and the script.

Games

  • Subnautica
  • Mahjong Solitaire
  • Reigns: 3 Kingdoms

All currently playing games. I had started Subnautica as it left Game Pass middle of November but really liked it a bunch so caught it on the Steam Autumn Sale on half price bundled with the Below Zero amd decided to pick it up before the PC died. Once the PC is better, I should get back to it. I have to start over since I played on different platforms but at least I know what I am doing this time around.

As for the other two games, they are both Netflix games. I had started Mahjong Solitaire probably last month but forgot to talk about it since its just my relaxing sporadic game. I am excited to play more of Reigns 3 Kingdoms since I have played most of the Reigns game and really do love the concept. This one is set in China during 3 Kingdoms time and work up to Emperor so should be fun. Literally just started so probably have a good many deaths before creating any type of tracting and impact.

Blogathon Reminder: Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 – One Week Left!

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

Hope 2022 has been great for everyone so far! This is just a friendly reminder that the Ultimate Decades Blogathon 2022 submission deadline is just around the corner in one week before February 14th. Remember that if you do want to participate or just have seen this and need a little more time, just give us a shout and we can work something out. You can reach out to myself at kim.tranquildreams@gmail.com or Drew at drewt510@gmail.com .

You can find all the info and guidelines and contact info to us in case you missed the announcement post, you can find all the details HERE.

We can’t wait to receive your submissions and see what movies you chose!

What’s Up & Adventures – January 2022

Welcome to 2022’s first adventures post and its all new and shiny. If you missed the 2022 Upcoming Plans post, this year I’m trying out combining the What’s Up and Adventures. With the current state this month of Montreal, Adventures are rather thin although I’m going on a completely new journey internally and physically so that’s something. With that said, Adventures to begin and then we’ll wrap up with the What’s Up at the end for a monthly round-up of the books, films, games and TV that I checked out.

Letterboxd Year in Review

Films Logged: 219
Hours Watched: 472
Most Watched Actor: Samuel L. Jackson
Most Watched Director: Quentin Tarantino

Letterboxd Year in Review always arrives later than the year-end recap so here’s a quick overview of some of the stats there.

Booster Shot

Booster shot is done! It went much smoother than the second dose to my surprise. I was pretty happy about it though since it meant that I could still do some stuff during the weekend as I recuperated. Not much to say there. I just had a little pain in my upper arm and that’s about it.

11th Blogiversary

Its been 11 years of blogging with this blog! There’s been lots of ups and down in life and also a lot of changes in content and more projects coming and going. I had some plans for the blogiversary that kind of fell apart. There’s just a whole lot to be thankful for and really happy with how I’ve built this space even if sometimes it feels like blogging is a lot less popular and the familiar bloggers are slowly less and less everyday. Either way, I’m excited for this new year. Lots of fun stuff coming up that I’m just having a hard time getting off the ground mostly because of work deadlines and lots of overtime but that’s slightly better now so hopefully you will be seeing more frequency on the posting front!

What’s Up- January 2022

Welcome to the new style for the What’s Up as it pairs with the Adventures post! This time around I will leave most of the actual opinions to the reviews themselves which will be released within a month of completion for the most part. Might be a slow start yet again due to work schedule for this month however everything’s partially written. I usually do highlights as well for this section to share what I think stood out to me. In this new one, the titles will be in bold for those that I particularly feel is worth your time.

Books: Nothing yet. Books in transition to a new shelf.

Films:

  • The Birds (1963)
  • 6 Years (2015, Review)
  • All The Bright Places (2020, Review)
  • Howl’s Moving Castle (rewatch, 2004)
  • Booksmart (2019, Review)
  • Carrie Pilby (2016, Review)
  • Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)
  • Poupelle of Chimney Town (2021, Review)
  • Alligator (1980)
  • Dude (2018, Review)
  • Every Day (2018, Review)
  • The F*ck-It List (2020)
  • Aziz Ansari: Nightclub Comedian (2022)

TV:

  • Light The Night (華燈初上, Part 1&2)
  • Voir (Season 1, 2021)
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer (Season 1, 2021) Review
  • Love At Night (夜色暗涌時, 2021)
  • The Silent Sea (Season 1, 2021)
  • Deadly Class (Season 1, 2018)
  • Too Hot To Handle (Season 3, 2022)
  • The Wheel of Time (Season 1, 2021)
  • The World of Fantasy (靈域, 2021)
  • Hellbound (Season 1, 2021)

Currently binging: Shining For One Thing (一閃一閃亮星星, 2022)

Games: Currently playing: Genesis Noir

Cute Kitty Pic

That’s it for this Adventures and What’s Up recap!
Hope you enjoyed it!
What have you been up to?

Tranquil Dreams Podcast #10: What’s Up 2021 Week 17

Welcome to the next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast! This week’s What’s Up 2021 is covering Week 17. We are officially back to weekly format.

In this episode, I take a look at what I’ve been reading, watching, playing and binging on Week 17 of 2021. Reading is a little uneventful however among the many things talked about in the other sections, some of the highlights are talking about what makes Dumplin’ a worthy rewatch, a capsule review of Oscar-nominated Chinese film Better Days as well a dive into the wrap-up of Chinese idol survival competition Produce Camp 2021 and their new temporary boy group INTO1. I also share some upcoming plans on new discussion topics on my mind lately to add some variety.

Hope you enjoy!

Related Links

Room – Game Review
Dumplin’ – Film Review
Paradise Hills – Film Review
Paradise Hills – Movies and Tea Podcast
Better Days – Film Review

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Listen to the Show:
Anchor
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Breaker
RadioPublic

Tranquil Dreams Podcast #9 What’s Up 2021 Week 16

Welcome to the next episode of Tranquil Dreams Podcast! Its time to go back to a weekly recap for the What’s Up segment as I discuss what I’ve been currently reading, playing, watching and binging. This past week had a few film rewatches and a discussion of my love for Netflix guilty pleasure TV as well as my thoughts on some Chinese TV series that I wrapped up: A Murderous Affair in Horizon Tower and The Sword and the Brocade. Some of the few things that I discussed in this episode along with a touch on the lesser categories this week in reading and playing. 

Hope you enjoy!

Related Links

Enola Holmes – Film Review
Anna and the Apocalypse – Film Review
The Circle (Season 1) – TV Binge
Too Hot To Handle (Season 1) – TV Binge

Music in the Episode:
There It Is by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4519-there-it-is
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license

Listen to the Show:
Anchor
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Breaker
RadioPublic