TV Binge: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 2, 2018)

It sure feels like a long time that I have been working on this TV Binge. A really long time! If you missed the Season 1 TV Binge post, you can find it HERE.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 2, 2018)

a series of unfortunate events s2

Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, Presley Smith, K. Todd Freeman, Lucy Punch, Nathan Fillion, Sara Canning, Patrick Breen, Sara Rue

Stepping right off from Season 1, the Baudelaire Orphans now have gone through a bunch of odd guardians. Each one failing because of the horrible Count Olaf and his mischief or simply because they were some shady or clueless characters. Some cases even a mesh of the two components. It was filled with dark humor and a rather formulaic way of the Baudelaires always getting away. Entertaining as always but still the idea of the episodes always followed a same pattern. Unlike a lot of viewers, the first season took me a little while to get into. With where it left off in Season 1, this Netflix Original has established itself and its tone along with the characters so we should be in for a fun ride in Season 2.

Fortunately, we do get exactly that. Filled with more clever vocabulary lessons and random narration from Patrick Warburton in the oddest locations, the Baudelaires set off for a second season that is much more sinister and dangerous than the previous one. While the tone of the show hasn’t changed much, the events are more brutal. This is still a family show so the camera always cuts away from the potentially disgusting bits. Before we get ahead of ourselves too much, Season 2 covered Books 5 to 9 in the series: Austere Academy, Ersatz Elevator, Vile Village, Hostile Hospital and Carnivorous Carnival. Structured much like the first season, each book adaptation is separated into two parts. We get some new characters introduced (and in some cases, taken away). Honestly, I like this structure, it gives it a somewhat nice slice of moment. You can choose to binge watch the entire series if you want but you can also watch it like separate stories as the Baudelaires escape Count Olaf with less and less leeway leading to a nail-biting cliffhanger.

Overall, Season 2 is pretty strong. I got involved and immersed a lot quicker. It helps to see each of the characters grow more mature and smarter. The Baudelaires end up gaining a lot of coy and street smarts to pair with their natural intelligence. They each get their own spotlight, even little Sunny. The series remembers to be fair. As they get smarter, Count Olaf also devises much more intricate plans that give us surprises and each part as its own twists and turns that work to its advantage.

For things I loved/liked a lot in Season 2:

New Friends

A Series of Unfortunate Events

At the end of season 1, we stopped when we saw the Quagmires, now landing in the first six episode of this season. Quagmires and Baudelaires learn about their similarities and they are both brave and resourceful in their own ways. Call them the dynamic foursome if you will but the bonds they create in Austere Academy carries them to save these loyal friends for the next two stories in Ersatz Elevator and Vile Village. Its a nice change in pace to have them here. While most of the credit does go to following closely to the source materials pacing, it is nice to see these four work so well together. In these extreme situations, it is important to have allies.

New Villain

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lucy Punch joins the villainous Count Olaf troupe  as the wealthy woman who is the student of Count Olaf and his girlfriend, Esme Squalor. She is packed with all kinds of accents and characters. Honestly, she is a joy to watch on screen. I’ve only seen her do weird odd roles in other movies before so its quite the breather to see her really embrace this role and take it in a wonderfully entertaining and wicked direction, especially in Hostile Hospital. She adds just a little bit of extra wickedness to Count Olaf which changes the game a little from the silly henchmen & henchwomen in his ragtag troop.

New VFD Members

a series of unfortunate events

VFD and a mysterious sugar bowl, along with the reveal of the narrator’s identity all get a part in Season 2. It adds depth and context as well as some answers to the million of questions stirring in our minds that are left unanswered for both the viewers and the Baudelaires. Nathan Fillion adds his charming self as Jacques Snicket who ends up recruiting Olivia Calaban, a librarian who tries to help the children and is smart enough to be suspicious. Olivia Calaban is a wonderful character played by Sara Rue and is eventually recruited into VFD. She has some of the answers but being new, she is more passionate about the mission that Jacques Snicket teaches her. They are a great team and as we learn about the VFD, we see that its a chase to figure out how everything pieces together.

New Locations

a series of unfortunate events

A Series of Unfortunate Events has been very location-based so far. In the first season, we had some incredibly imaginative locations belonging to an array of odd characters. In Season 2, we continue on with this trend. We see the Austere Academy and the orphan’s shack. In Ersatz Elevator, we move to a wealthy penthouse location as well as the various fishy (literally) restaurants. Then we move on to the Vile Village where crows migrate from one location to the next at a set routine. Hostile Hospital is a incomplete half hospital with one of its wings still in construction limbo and of course, the most fascinating of all, is the rundown circus of Madame Lulu’s Caligari Carnival. The production design and tone and lighting all add to the environment of the series.

Overall…I kept it quite to the point in this one. I still love the young cast playing the Baudelaire Orphans. They are fantastic. Neil Patrick Harris is great as Count Olaf. The success of Season 2 despite its episode formula is the depth of the story. We learn more, the characters develop further and the situation gets more dire and dangerous. It has all the great points of the first season and adds a little more, just enough to keep us curious but still unveiling a bit more to give the story some context. With the fantastic ending and the brilliant pacing in Season 2, I can’t wait for Season 3 (which should be the final season if they follow the progression of the books).

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The Final Act of Joey Jumbler (Short 2018)

The Final Act of Joey Jumbler (Short 2018)

the final act of joey jumbler

Director (and writer): Harley Chamandy

A party clown must fight to keep his smile on. – IMDB

Have you ever wondered about the facades of the people you meet every single day? From the random passerby to the bus driver that you see everyday. Everyone greets and has all their polite moments, but the stories behind those smiles are sometimes the ones that we never expect. Its why we shouldn’t judge someone by what they do or who they are because everyone has hidden struggles that others do not know about. The Final Act of Joey Jumbler is exactly that. This short film takes us on a day in the life of Joey Jumbler as we see him start his day, go for his job as a clown/entertainer at a party and then back to his personal life, which is him trying to be happy and strong for his little girl.

There is a lot to love in The Final Act of Joey Jumbler. It runs at about 10 minutes and gives us appropriate pacing in telling this story. It hits some moments but never dwells on it for too long. In just a few locations and a few acts, we get the idea of the life and feelings that Joey Jumbler has. Part of this is for the main character, Alain Boucher as Joey Jumbler who delivers a great role. “In Memory Of” at the beginning of the credits also reveals that the story is inspired by Boucher’s real life story, who Chamandy previously worked with in his debut short, Mirage.  At the same time, the credit goes to this 18 year old young filmmaker, Harley Chamandy who directed and wrote this short film, as well as cinematographer, Stephanie Weber Biron, in their collaboration and knowing when to use close ups and frame the shots. Its delivers the emotions and struggles in a heartfelt way.

Everyone has their own story and no matter their profession, deserves their respect. That is one of the messages here. There are a variety of messages that Harley Chamandy’s short film is telling. Be it the difference of social ranking from the scene with Joey Jumbler ridiculed for doing his job but seemingly offending the rich adults of the party or the idea that having money doesn’t make you a better person as both the spoiled kids and the adults were obnoxious. If you look at Making Of this film, it talks about this scene relating to the divisive feelings and conflicts reflecting the Quebec Anglophone and Francophone community and the Quebec. While I do live in the community, perhaps I saw it more of a generalized view of the differences between just wealth and disrespect being the central issue. While that angle will give it more of a personal angle, it also creates a box for the audience it can reach because this is a more regional issue. Touchy issues are good to use however, in this case, Quebec Sovereignty and the obnoxious wealthy Anglophone only makes this movie pin a judgemental view of the two groups represented by only a few individuals. Living in Quebec personally, its one that is deeply rooted and deserves more than a simple one scene to reflect on, perhaps if this issue is one that holds so close to Chamandy’s heart, it is a potential next project but one to be treaded very carefully as with most political films.

At eighteen years old, Harley Chamandy shows a lot of promise in the storytelling depth. It will be interesting to see where this filmmaker will take his voice into a full-length film and what he will deliver next.

The Final Act of Joey Jumbler is currently available to view on Vimeo. Check it out HERE.

Recap: Goodfood #22

A little bit behind schedule for last week’s Goodfood. We only made the final meal for yesterday’s lunch. Luckily, it was a box full of relatively quick meals, which always helps on busy weeks to be healthy and not have to carve out huge amounts of time to cooking.

Contrary to the last box, this one was all about new recipes and exploring some new foods. Its an adventure that we love. We are skipping the next two weeks of boxes so maybe I’ll whip up some fun meal to explore. There has been a few recipes I’ve been eyeing.

Let’s not go off on another tangent and take a look at what was on the last week’s menu!

Summer Shrimp Rolls
With Green Peas, Tarragon and Lemony Cabbage slaw

So…nice way to start this but we forgot to take pictures of the meal before eating it. It happens that we forget every once in a while.

Summer Shrimp Rolls are pretty good. They were pretty easy to do and the flavors are really distinctive. I liked it a decent amount. When I first looked at everything, I couldn’t imagine how it would work together but it actually does go well together. They had an overflown looking rolls so we put as much as we saw fit and I ate the rest on the side which worked well also.

Steaks with Roasted Tomato Chimichurri
& Spinach-Potato Salad

steaks chimichurri

I feel like the constant topic of these menus are changing it up to my own beliefs. I’m not claiming to be better or more knowledgeable than the Goodfood chefs. I followed everything here almost to a T, except for the spinach-potato salad. I served that separated because the roasted potatoes turned out so great that if I were to add the washed (meaning wet) spinach to it, it would just make it soggy and counteract the time it had in the oven and lose the texture and flavor. Its my opinion of it and I liked it. The cut of the beef was quite thick and since I’m not the usual steak cooker at home, I had to put it back on the stove after slicing it to give it a more done cut. We don’t like seared meats and more leaning on the well done or Medium done at the minimum. The roasted potatoes is great and the chimichurri spices are awesome!

BBQ Pork Tournedos
with Garlic Green Beans & Charred Scallion Rice

pork tournedos

The thick meat here also had a bit of problems for us. My husband took care of this meal. For him, it seemed to be fairly simple to do. I loved the charred scallion rice. I’m not much of a straight up strong scallion flavor person but the rice had this beautiful aroma that just made it taste super delicious. The garlic green beans are awesome. I think my husband added a little bit too much salt so its not the recipes fault. The salt and pepper seasoning is based on personal preference and our salt tolerance is pretty different since I eat fairly bland foods, according to other people. The tournedos were pretty good once we got the cooking done for it. I’ve never been a tournedo person. I would much rather just cook pork chops with a side of bacon, but then thats just me.

Fresh Dan Dan Noodles
with Ground Pork, Baby Bok Choy & Yu Choy

fresh dan dan noodles

There was a lot of hesitation for this one. My husband didn’t really want it. In the end, it didn’t matter because I ended up eating the two meals. A rarity with these boxes since usually I hit more menus that I can’t eat when they get here and changing it would just be a waste of time and ingredients. I hadn’t had dan dan noodles in a long while so I figured learning how to make it was cool, especially since its pretty simple to put together. It is a very efficient meals. I thought the bok choy and yu choy mixed together was great. The chinese five spices are always delicious and adding in that there was a good deal of sauce, even after reducing it, the noodles still had absorbed a bit of it and made everything taste really good.

Overall, it was a decent box.
We had a few tweaks here and there but it had alright dishes.

Road to Riverdale, Volume 2

If you missed the Volume 1 review, check it out HERE.

Road to Riverdale, Volume 2

Road to Riverdale

In the past two years, the little town of Riverdale has changed in a number of amazing ways. The entire Archie universe has been given a fresh coat of paint and it’s only getting bigger and better from here. Road to Riverdale presents to readers all of the second issues of each of our new series so far, including Archie, Jughead, Betty and Veronica, Josie and the Pussycats and Reggie & Me, timed to the Season One Finale of the brand new CW series Riverdale. This volume also contains a new story based in the show’s universe as a bonus for viewers! – Goodreads

Its surprising to see the there is a volume 2 of Road of Riverdale. I had talked about it when I first bought this that I had gotten it online without looking carefully and realized that its just a snippet of the different volumes in the Archie comics universe. If you want to follow through just snippets of their lives, these ones give you a good idea of the stories of each of the characters with their own graphic novels in the revamped Riverdale. This one does acknowledge the link of the revamp to the CW series, Riverdale so they added in an extra story for it, which is pretty neat. I’m a fan of the TV show (although I am currently behind on Season 2), so it was a touch that I appreciated.

The purpose as it stands with the review of the first one is to really get an idea of the stylings of each of these characters and their own stories. What is nice is that while we get the focus on different characters, like Archie is different from the tone in Jughead, as Betty and Veronica is different from Josie and the Pussycats. These diverse characters give us a hint of a different version of high school lives of these teenagers living in Riverdale. That is the charm of reading Road to Riverdale. For myself, I already try to catch up mostly with Archie however I am planning on getting the volumes from Betty and Veronica and Josie and the Pussycats as well because of Road to Riverdale because those tones work for me. However, it keeps me in the loop with say the Reggie & Me and Jughead stories also, which I feel less invested in.

With that said, I had already reviewed the full volumes of Josie and the Pussycat snippet and the Archie snippet. You can find them below:

Archie, Volume 2
Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1

There honestly isn’t much to review here for Road to Riverdale. If you want a snapshot of Riverdale, these books are easier than having to follow 5 different series and still get the enjoyment as they pick the most standout story of the book (I would assume for the two that I didn’t read). Its a fun little trip to Riverdale. I still maintain that the revamped graphic novels are a modernized and stylistic version of the old comics as it retains the characters and their natures. While the TV series takes the characters but essentially changes them up quite a bit along with their back story and character arc. My best example always is that The Vampire Diaries did that and it worked out for an 8 season run so no reason that the TV series can’t do that. Putting aside the TV series (as this isn’t the discussion, that is coming up in a future TV binge post), Road to Riverdale has its benefits and charms for those looking for a quick visit to Riverdale.

Weekly Workout Recap – Week 6: Slowly Back on Track

Workout

Suffice to say that things were not doing too good in the last two weeks. Last week in particular only managed to get in a Sunday workout. Still, one workout is better than none. I do want to keep at least a 3 workout thing in whatever form I can manage. With that said, there was a lot of creativity and things working out to make it happen.

Let’s just check it out!

Monday & Tuesday

The first two days of the week was the overwhelming crazy E3 coming to an end. With that said, it included a lot of coming right home to work on drafts and getting in the recap posts over to That Moment In. We were plagued with time zone differences as usual as well as just being bombarded with all kinds of news. Don’t get me wrong, I love every bit of it but just not so easy to get in workouts.

Wednesday

A day of unexpected events took its turn for Wednesday. Tuesday’s recording wasn’t able to be done so we did another recording after work. BUT..it was not a rest day. I had planned to go for a long walk at lunch and with an unexpected power outage at the office for an hour, I ended up having an earlier lunch and doubling the time I intended to go for a walk.

Distance: 3.3 km – moderate walking

Thursday

It was a busier day at work with lots of little tidbits to get taken care of. Ended up not getting any workout done.

Friday

Another walking day scheduled in during lunch time.

Distance: 2.5km
Time: 30 mins
Moderate speed

Saturday

Zumba time today! I’ve decided to diverge away from the Tone It Up workouts as they were making it slightly routine and boring so I wanted to change it up with cardio. I can’t seem to find time to go out to run and my area has recently had a uncaught kidnapper/predator in the neighborhood so the city also advises against it. Its why I like Zumba as it raises my spirit and energy, a decent amount of challenge and is a full body cardio workout. Some repeats from last week but overall, some routines I just randomized on my Zumba playlist on Youtube.

Sunday

Father’s Day ended up with family visits and getting other things done. You’ll read about in the next Weekly Adventures. I did do a little gardening today. Although, I can’t say it was particularly exercising, especially since most of my day was spent E3 edits for Game Warp for next week.

Overall…

I’m slowly making the best of a busy situation. I got some Zumba in and a lot more walking than I usually did which was my form of exercising. I have been having some knee pains so the running has been taken off for a little bit until I get some running tape or whatever you call it. Things should slow down next week so I’m going to try to get back to weights, more Zumba and hopefully some jogging/walking sessions.

Double Feature: Indiscretion (2016) & Bad Match (2017)

Let’s get into some of those seductive thrillers…kind of. At least that was the theme I seemed to be going for, but then Bad Match might not exactly match it, at least both are about scorned lovers.

Indiscretion (2016)

indiscretion 2016

Director (and co-writer): John Stewart Muller

Cast: Mira Sorvino, Christopher Backus, Cary Elwes, Katherine McNamara, LisaGay Hamilton, Melora Walters, Shane Callahan

A married woman’s affair comes back to haunt her when her obsessed lover infiltrates every part of her life. – IMDB

Let’s just start by saying Indiscretion is exactly a bad movie. Actually there are some elements and parts that work well enough but its just a little been there done that. You can’t fault the film for jumping straight to the point and getting the affair/weekend fling over with fairly quickly at the beginning of the movie. Its probably so that the crazy young love or crazy in love lover can spiral out of control and fall out the hinges completely as he does some pretty shady stuff. To be honest, there shouldn’t be any problems with this movie, except I just didn’t find it very thrilling. Its a common problem with thrillers. Indiscretion has Mira Sorvino and her real life husband Christopher Backus playing the married woman and the discarded artist lover respectively. They had mad chemistry especially during their weekend fling moments and the sexy moments. Rightfully so, of course. Christopher Backus does have that creepy lover feeling down fairly well. Then we have Cary Elwes in here and I can’t, for the life of me, understand why he is involved in this because I find him a really impressive actor and he is in this one dimensional role as the husband who is too busy working on his political campaign.

Indiscretion was set up in an interview format with Mira Sorvino’s character which leads us to already make conclusions as to what happened to certain people and that the outcome probably wasn’t too good if you noticed the grammatical tenses they spoke in. Those moments jumped by to the reality of the situation. I say this because you probably need to really dig deep to see how the twist is going to happen. I think the twist was the most clever part of the film but it also did somewhat feel like it came out of nowhere when it first happened. For those who want to watch the film, this is spoiler free so I won’t dive into that. Just know to listen carefully to the film because I thought back and realized that it did drop some hints throughout but then, Indiscretion lacks the immersive and intrigue I needed to be that concentrated to care.

Some good and some bad, Indiscretion falls below average with an ending that pulls it a little higher in the clever twist department but the execution of the film throughout could definitely have been better. I get the back and forth in the timeline thing and recounting pieces make for a puzzle to put together. Its a risky move that I’m not sure completely paid off.

Bad Match (2017)

bad match

Director (and writer): David Chirchirillo

Cast: Jack Cutmore-Scott, Lili Simmons, Noureen DeWulf, Brandon Scott

An internet-dating playboy’s life spirals out of control after meeting a woman online. – IMDB

After a string of a fairly lackluster thrillers, Bad Match definitely was a pretty good one. Surprisingly good because its hard to really like a thriller where you don’t really care about the guy that is being targeted because he is a playboy. However, there are some convincing roles here. Jack Cutmore-Scott and Lili Simmons are great at delivering through their roles. Plus, it helps that the camera work here takes some predictable moves like peeking from somewhere from afar however never revealing who is behind it making it feel both creepy and suspenseful.

The underlying fear here is honestly behind the whole online privacy issue that is quite obviously around nowadays. It happens when we don’t remember to put up our defenses and change the privacy settings on social media. It happens when we treat these online dating services without the caution it needs because it does have its dangers. And of course, it even spans into relationships you build in online friends that you have never met. It gets a little judgmental with some of the victims here however, the message Bad Match potentially delivers is an important one.

Whats really nice is the pacing they use in Bad Match. It ramps things up gradually and then it just goes out of control as you watch Harris, Jack Cutmore-Scott’s character, spiral as the events keep getting worse. At the same time, Lili Simmons also keeps it a mystery for us because she has this intensity of being someone who is at a different place on her views of what she expects with her encounter. The two characters are written well to keep everyone guessing especially Lili Simmons character to wonder whether to trust her or not.

I’m going to stop here with Bad Match because I don’t want to go into any spoilers accidentally. I love it when I find a thriller that surprises me as it seems like a generic film but actually delivers something really different and that ending was just awesome. This is a pretty decent one!

My Weekly Adventures 67: The Start of “Summer” Events

weekly adventures

Welcome to an evening edition of My Weekly Adventures!

This will be a fairly quick one! Like when I ended up my last Weekly Adventures, we overlapped a weekend and week of E3 activities so really, not that much ended up happening. However, there were some little fun bits that I didn’t blog extensively about either!

Let’s go!

Mont-Ham Hike

Mont-Ham

The second hike of the year goes to Parc regional du Mont-Ham. You can see the full post here.

It was a challenging and crazy hike but the weather was perfect and the scenery was absolutely worth every single hard moment. It was incredible. We are working on where to go for the next hike. Keep your eyes peeled, it should be happening in a week or so, well for the long weekend if we can manage to fit it in  one of those days.

We are heading into July and it might turn out to be hard to get a hike in but we’ll try 😉

F1 Grand Prix Weekend

grand prix grand prix grand prix grand prix grand prix

Honestly, what is there to say? I usually do a separate post for Grand Prix but, its been fairly underwhelming. Porsche is always the heavy hitter and I’ve seen a lot of Lamborghinis around town. They are all pretty cars but you know, the variety is lacking from say, what the event had years ago. The event has expanded to a few locations now so that leads to the festivities over in the park where it had some electronic music going from Piknik Electronique and some food stalls…

Charlie’s Shack & Lobster Rolls

One of the things I love about Montreal events in the last few years is the food. This time, I had a lobster roll at Charlie’s Shack and boy, was it ever so delicious!

A Little Shopping

I love Buy 3 Get 4th Free sale at Indigo. Its very irresistible! 🙂 At least now I can catch up with my Archie graphic novels and also managed to get the Quebec National Geographic book for sale. We are already getting some long-term travel plans set and looking to see if there are some locations for day trips to hike or sightsee. Maybe some hidden gems.

Cute Kitty Pic

tabby cat

That’s it for this quick round of My Weekly Adventures!
Its been definitely less productive here than usual, but I’m trying to get a ton of stuff done.

What have you been up to?