What’s Up 2019: Week 42

Tranquil Dreams (1)

Another week as passed. Festival du Nouveau Cinema is now behind us and having a sudden drop of a little remote coverage for Toronto After Dark (which is ongoing currently) for short films, we’re still in a heavy watching action. Of course, Toronto After Dark also is mostly horror films so that fits with the Halloween marathon. A lot of other stuff was going on at the same time so lets see what happened!

READING

Hope

  • Hope by Terry Tyler (Review)

Currently reading: Murder of Montague Falls

Slowly getting back into the reading vibe! There’s a few blog tours coming up and other reading commitments. I was pretty close to deadline for Hope but it all worked out and actually was a really nice thrilling read. Right now, I’m in the first of 3 novellas in the Murder of Montague Falls novel. So far, its pretty neat and very matching to the Halloween horror sort of vibe so thats coming up as well.

PLAYING

cube escape: Harvey's Box

  • Cube Escape: Seasons
  • Cube Escape: The Lake
  • Cube Escape: Arles
  • Cube Escape: Harvey’s Box

I’ve been revisiting the Cube Escape series in an attempt to review them. The best way I’ve figured out is to just go at it through the Mobile Games Round-ups which keeps them fairly contained, almost capsule reviews, style and still share some of them in case some of you haven’t checked it out and are looking for something fun. At the same time, I also wanted to play their latest one which I happened to have backed on Kickstarter and never got around to playing so I wanted to replay it from the beginning to piece together the story again. Four games in so far (Cube Escape series) but there’s still a good deal of not only Cube Escape but also the full games on Steam.

WATCHING

Mickey and the Bear

Festival du Nouveau Cinema 2019 Films:

  • Sole (2019, Review)
  • J’ai Perdu Mon Corps (2019, Review)
  • Mickey and the Bear (2019, Review)
  • A White, White Day (2019, Review)
  • Dirty God (2019)

Toronto After Dark Short Films:

  • Turbo Killer (2016 short, Review)
  • Far Horizon (2019, Review)
  • Flip (2019, Review)
  • We Three Queens (2019 short, Review)
  • Eyes Open (2019 short, Review)
  • Make Me A Sandwich (2019 short, Review)
  • International Shorts After Dark: Maggie May, Puzzle, Eject, La Noria, Your Last Day On Earth, Place

Crazy long list this time! Its why I decided to separate them by full features and short films and which festival they belong to. In terms of Festival du Nouveau Cinema, the story that touched me the most is Mickey and the Bear! Hands down, the one that hit me the hardest and it being a directorial debut really shows the power of new eyes in cinema coming up on the scene to look out for. At the same time, J’ai Perdu Mon Corps and Sole are two that I liked a lot also. The former will be landing on Netflix as an Original film so that’s pretty exciting (especially if you like French animation).

As for short films, my fave probably would go to We Three Queens for the holiday horror element that hasn’t been looked at before (at least I haven’t seen it), Turbo Killer for its exciting visually stunning, fantastic music video style creative sci-fi story and well as for horror drama-ish with tons of creativity, La Noria takes that one without any doubt.

BINGING

dream space 2

  • Well-Intended Love (2019)
  • Dream Space 2 (2019)

Currently binging: Soft Memory, When I Grow Up, Relation Ship, Creepshow

Feeling quite nice nowadays as the whole TV binging thing has been much more toned down at a normal level. I wrapped up Well-Intended Love, which I felt was a few episodes too long and really did lack a lot of the whole chemistry and whatnot that I would have liked. I didn’t really hate it but just slightly indifferent about it, I guess. We’ll see where Season 2 goes, I suppose as that’s in filming now. However, my choice goes to Dream Space 2 which definitely had its up and downs. Its not quite as entertaining as the other shows of the same style (or even its first season) but I had some participants that I was really liking a lot so hoping that their whole leaving the show together will result in some happy ending in the future.

As for currently binging, I let the husband choose the next show to binge together and he went for Creepshow on Shudder. We’re three episodes in, which is 6 stories and I have to say that while its relatively fun to watch, its a lot of hit and miss but I think it all dials down to what type of horror you enjoy more of.

That’s it for this What’s Up!
Its been a crazy busy week with one more of the same to go as well as wrapping up the final few bits of Halloween month!
What have you been reading/watching/binging/playing?

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What’s Up 2019: Week 41

Tranquil Dreams (45)

Festival mode is back for this week’s recap! It was a busy week of a few things that came up and had to get added into the crowded to-do list, not to mention the other little things in the offline reality. Either way, I elevated the multitasking to a whole new level and here we are!!

READING

Hope

Currently reading: Hope by Terry Tyler

Deciding between writing festival reviews and reading has been the most part finding its own balance to make it all happen. Hope is luckily progressing well and probably still in the last push before the blog tour post needs to go up. It has an intriguing plot and setting and for the most part, its not the lack of a good plot thats stopping me from being more on track on the whole reading front.

PLAYING

A Life in Music

  • A Life In Music

Having finished this free mobile game just recently, nothing is in progress. A Life In Music is categorized as an educational game which looks at Italian Opera as well as meshing in a story about two strangers who meet spontaneously and separate as they follow their passions. Mixing visual novel story telling with a little rhythm is quite a nice little twist. I’m playing some more of the long form mobile games lately to clear out some of the downloaded games on my phone to eventually delete and free up some space.

WATCHING

Diner

  • Adam Devine: Best Time of Our Lives
  • The Ranger (2018)
  • Little Joe (2019, Review)
  • Evil Dead (1981 rewatch, Review)
  • Evil Dead II (1987 rewatch, Review)
  • Army of Darkness (1992 rewatch, Review)
  • Color Out of Space (2019, Review)
  • Family Romance LLC (2019, Review)
  • Evil Dead (2013, Review)
  • Diner (2019, Review)
  • Adoration (2019)

Kicking off the week with the Netflix stand-up comedy by Adam Devine which was better than I expected and then being called up as the backup for The Lambcast podcast for The Evil Dead franchise brought on a sudden rewatching to add into the schedule while managing to shift my Festival du Nouveau Cinema to make it all work out. Its been a busy first few days trying to make the most of the long Thanksgiving weekend. Clocking in 5 movies at FNC 2019, the standout film for this week goes to Diner which is the movie I’d foresee myself gladly rewatching  and having a blast every single time although Color Out of Space definitely has its really great elements also.

BINGING

Well-Intended Love

Currently binging: When I Grow Up, Relation Ship, Dream Space 2, Well-intended Love, Soft Memory

Nothing is quite finished this week. Between these currently binging ones, Netflix series Well-Intended Love is nearly done although definitely nothing too crazy and might have gone a little long. I’m not sure yet as I’m in the final few episodes. Mango TV’s Dream Space 2 is also reaching its final episode in the next week so that will wrap up soon as well. The newly started one is Soft Memory currently on Tencent (available on Youtube), its alright right now but I’m having some logical issues with some of the plot. I’m only 4 episodes in so who knows how it will go!

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

TV Binge: A Discovery of Witches (Season 1, 2018)

A Discovery of Witches (Season 1, 2018)

A Discovery of Witches

Cast: Matthew Goode, Teresa Palmer, Valarie Pettiford, Malin Buska, Owen Teale, Alex Kingston, Aiysha Hart, Edward Bluemel, Gregg Chillin, Trevor Eve, Louise Brealey, Elarica Johnson

Diana Bishop, historian and witch, accesses Ashmole 782 and knows she must solve its mysteries. She is offered help by the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, but he’s a vampire and witches should never trust vampires. – IMDB

A Discovery of Witches is a fun little gem. Season 1 is neatly packed at 8 episodes and stars the talented but rather underrated (in my opinion) Matthew Goode (I mean, have you seen him in Stoker?) and the very charming Teresa Palmer as they are paired up as two magical individuals, vampire and witch who unexpectedly and much against the magical order’s rules, fall in love with each other, except maybe its not that surprising with later discoveries.

A Discovery of Witches

Granted its only a few episodes long for the first season, the story does have some odd execution issues that probably lean more on building a romantic foundation between the two characters a lot in the first half before bringing in the magical dangers in the second half. This execution is good and bad. Its good because the characters of Matthew and Diana become quite the connected couple and we can root for them together. The bad is that, it takes a little away from the thrills of this world of magic and keeps that part relatively more shallow and piles it on a lot more in the second half. I haven’t read the source material so maybe that is also how the book is.

A Discovery of Witches Season 1

While I say that, Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer are amazing as a couple and probably will end up on couples to ship together for sure. Their characters Matthew and Diana are fascinating together even when some of the dialogue is very been there done that and maybe even a tad cringey however somehow whenever ancient vampires come into play, it all becomes a little more acceptable because they are expected to be old-fashioned. The connection they have is great on screen and they have some believable chemistry and passion between them. It also helps that Diana learns from him as he learns and protects her from the magical world that she isn’t quite familiar with. At the same time, they balance out because while she lacks control in her powers, she is also a tough character with determination not only for their love but other elements as well. TV couples that somewhat grow and better themselves together make for strong characters.

A Discovery of Witches Season 1

Where this season and possibly the story itself has its limits is in some relatively annoying characters who almost seem endless and have no sense of danger to them. Like the girl above playing Satu (Malin Buska) who honestly is supposed to be scary or unsettling through the constant character design of quiet and glares. Her character felt quite useless throughout although how they end the season 1 (and depending on what Season 2 does with it) might change that thought. While there are other fairly disposable characters here presented, which probably only feels that way because the season is so compact and has a good number of characters revealed but never quite having enough place to be memorable or meaningful.

This first season of A Discovery of Witches is honestly setting up a lot of foundations and giving an outline of the characters and the world and magical politics, that set the stage for whats to come in future seasons. Many shows tend to do that as something of an introductory. Luckily, there’s enough here to have Season 2 greenlit and hopefully will be released soon.

What’s Up 2019 – Week 39

Tranquil Dreams

The last week of September signals the end of Q3 of 2019. Man, time flew by this year. Its already getting chilly outside and my autumn jacket is out. This week has been busy and fun and a whole lot of starting to prepare for upcoming things mentioned earlier on the September adventures post HERE.

READING

Sketch by Didi Oviatt

Currently reading: Sketch by Didi Oviatt

Back to a slow reading week as I’ve been a tad tired this week because of work rushes and other things going on. I’m still reading Sketch and probably more than a quarter done at this point. I should finish it up soon. Its actually quite good and has me guessing on what will happen next.

PLAYING

Mobile Games for the September round-up over at Game Warp has been my main focus. While I’m about to start up the next long form game very soon as things get settled again. I have a big plan to replay some games that I had wanted to review but never did last year that were on the phone and played for mobile. Its a franchise so might be just a franchise recap or like a few games per roundup. I’m still deciding. Nothing to much to talk about this time around for gaming but definitely have several games to get back to and wrap-up or get started.

WATCHING

Anna and the Apocalypse

  • Anna and the Apocalypse (2017, Review)
  • The Babadook (2014, Review)
  • Blue My Mind (2017)
  • The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Its been a very questionable list of movies that I’ve chosen to go into blind for the Halloween horror marathon. Just look at the four films this week, right? One is full of zombies and is a horror comedy but is a Christmas movie, the second is pure psychological horror, the next is a transformation horror but more of a drama and coming of age and the last is more in line with horror. Either way, my double feature plans are slightly falling apart right now because of certain changes and hopefully will get back on track. However, the first one is out to kick off the marathon and also has my fave movie of this week, Anna and the Apocalypse that I have gone on to rewatch the movie multiple times during the week because I love the soundtrack so much.

BINGING

A Discovery of Witches

  • A Discovery of Witches (Season 1, 2018)

Currently binging: When I Grow Up, Dream Space 2, Relation Ship

Its been definitely a tame week in terms of TV, which seems to be uncommon of late. With the Shudder subscription, we’re taking some time to spend more time on there right now. The first thing that caught our eye was to check out A Discovery of Witches. I have my husband might have some slight regrets on watching it but as for myself, I have some thoughts on it but overall, I’m looking forward to Season 2, whenever it gets released.

That’s it for this What’s Up for Week 39 as we wrap up Q3 of 2019!
Its been a crazy ride this year and What’s Up has given me a really good perspective of whats been going on and such!

What have you been reading/watching/playing/binging?

TV Binge: Million Pound Menu (Season 2, 2019)

Million Pound Menu (Season 2, 2019)

million pound menu

Host: Fred Sirieix

Million Pound Menu is currently in its second season. Its main concept is that various restaurants concepts or food trucks or simply developing ideas are brought in to compete for a chance to run a pop-up restaurant for a few days to test their idea and functionality to impress several investors and hopefully end up getting an offer to invest and partner with them to take the next step.

While I can’t remember season 1 really well, Season 2 is structured where the first step is to put three restaurants against each other to cook the four investors of the panel their most popular/outstanding dish and to share their vision and concept for their restaurant as well as lay out their deal. The investors have to come to a consensus on one restaurant team who progresses to the next step to get a chance at the pop-up restaurant. In that process, investors who aren’t interested can drop out. Day 1 of the pop up restaurant is a soft launch dinner service where its open to public and the investors dine together to try out the menu and service. If they are satisfied, they progress to the next morning to discuss their business plans. If they pass this part, its the final stage of Day 2 lunch service at full price where the investors come back separately to dine alone and understand how the public feels about the concept and the food. At the end of Day 2, the investors have until 7pm to return if they want to offer them an investment.

Million Pound Menu is only 8 episodes long and it works to its favor because it is about investments and the progress of the meals and such. The show is edited fairly well to capture those moments in the services where the issues occur or the highlights of the discussions between the restaurant owners and the investors regardless of which meeting it is. There’s always that part of having the reason of why an investor backs out when they do. Its a decent show to see whether its the different concepts of restaurants but also gives the mentality behind investments as well as business plans and what different investors view a different path for some of these restaurants. What’s nice here (different from say shows like product-based investment shows like Dragon’s Den/Shark Tank), the investors can offer a different deal and modify the amount they plan on investing. There’s a certain level of flexibility there.

While I think that most of the investors are pretty intriguing to watch, the host Fred Sirieux is also quite knowledgeable but has an element of being over enthusiastic. It might his accent or how its shot that makes him that way. He does balance a lot of it well as he does help out the different restaurant owners and gives them advice when he sees things going wrong. However, the hosting is sometimes a little over the top for my liking. Obviously not enough to stop watching, but its something to point out. There are some neat restaurants presented here and its always a bet on whether the investors do end up coming back or not. Its a fun show and its about restaurant investment which is pretty interesting in general.

TV Binge: Accidentally in Love (惹上冷殿下, 2018)

Accidentally In Love (惹上冷殿下, 2018)

accidentally in love

Cast: Fiction Junchen Guo, Yi Ning Sun, Yi Qin Zhao, Mu Xuan Cheng, Li Ma, Mo Zhou

Chen Qing Qing is the daughter of a rich household desperately wanting to avoid an arranged marriage and find love on her own terms. On the day of the wedding, she flees town and heads out to enroll in the same college where her parents studied, hoping to find out more about their death. She changes her appearance and name in an effort to hide her true identity and does her best to blend in with her classmates. Her desk-mate in school turns out to be the famous singer, Si Tu Feng, whom she’s already had multiple run ins with. The two don’t start off on the right foot, quarrelling constantly and causing each other trouble. But could there be more between them? – MyDramaList

Where to find it: Accidentally in Love is a Netflix series.

QUOTES/SCENE

accidentally in love

STORY

Accidentally in Love is a rather formulaic kind of story. It starts off with two characters Situ Feng (Junchen Guo) and Qing Qing (Yi Ning Sun) both running away from their own family obligations and running into each other accidentally which leads to a bigger conflict, connecting them together. It also leads to their dislike of each other and then gradually through time, secretly finding each other’s more shining points as they become friends and gradually find the courage to fall in love with each other despite all the obstacles. In the process, their friendships and crushes and childhood friends and past all come into play as the college is a central location of where the story unfolds.

Chen Qing Qing runs away from her engagement party to enroll in her deceased mom’s college in disguise to keep away from the searching eyes of her grandfather in hopes to find out more about her parents and track down her father, whom she knows nothing about. In the process, she doesn’t want to fall into the planned path without having a chance to see the outside a little more. On the other side, Situ Feng’s story is about his disagreement of his career choice with his father, while also struggling to write and sing the music that he would like to do instead of what his music company wants him to do. For him, its also about proving that he can be himself and still find his success.

The series revolves around expectations versus reality, social status, and the effect of physical appearances. It is a little over the top in parts deliberately and overall, is a fairly fun and comedic little series with a lot of feel-good elements.

LENGTH/PACING

Episodes: 30 episodes
Episode length: 30 minutes (approx.)

Clocking in at 30 episodes with an average of 30 minutes per episode makes this a very quick watch. Its perfect for binging and also keeps it pretty well-paced. There’s almost always something going on whether its another of Qing Qing’s ideas or another of Feng’s little music things or some conflict that occurs because of past misunderstandings or present arguments or fun encounters. The story moves fast and while there are a good number of characters that pop in, it only chooses to focus on a few of them. There aren’t really any true villains but just friends with personal issues trying to stop things from going astray from where they anticipated.

CHARACTERS/CHEMISTRY

If we look at characters, there are some obvious relationships going on here as well as friendships and even some “enemies” are worth look at.

accidentally in love

The first is the obvious couple and the end game for our main leads: Qing Qing and Feng who are so simple and naive in nature, making them such a fun little pair to watch on screen. Both Qing Qing and Feng are naive in their own ways and each have their own little issues to deal with that when they meet, they end making each other better or at least they try to be a better person for each other. Its a natural development in their relationship as well that gives them quite a nice chemistry where its more rivalry at the beginning to finding a way to work together as students and friends and eventually embracing those lovey dovey bits. They are both charming and funny characters that can easily be loved that it makes their story so much more easy to connect to and root for.

accidentally in love

If we talk about the couple I was rooting for, this supporting characters Fang Fang (Mo Zhou) and school badboy Lin Yiyang (Yiqin Zhao) are the ones that change a lot throughout the series and they are the unlikely couple to root for but hinted from the beginning. There’s a Chinese saying which translates to “One thing best/vanquishes another” and its popularly used in relationship when a stronger character also finds that person who is able to “control” their attitude a little. Its not the right wording but it works here where the character with the most change is to both of these supporting characters and they are so fun in their roles as well.

Aside from that, there are other characters. Some of them are in the rivals. The first is the childhood friend of Feng who believes she should be with him and tries everything to get between them and sometimes in a frustrating way, which writes her in a very manipulative but also easily manipulated character that goes to some extremes that I don’t particularly like. At the same time, there are also other smaller supporting roles like Yiyang’s two minions who are wondrously dumb but adds so much humor. Then you have Feng’s agent who also has a so-called dominance but never quite gets there and yet plays up to something rather sarcastically funny as well as he overreacts at times and such.

OVERALL

Accidentally in Love might have a familiar plot concept but where it excels is being able to keep it very light-hearted. It is still a drama, so there are moments of heavier content however, it still lands a lot of the comedic moments. The rivalries here never are too heavy and lined a lot with some silly characters that keeps the tone in a fun territory while the characters all have pretty decent chemistry. The episodes are short enough to keep it paced well and the series itself is also very acceptable amount of episodes. Its deliberately over the top but it all adds to the humor its trying to achieve and most of it lands very well. Its definitely one to check out!

MAIN THEME

 

What’s Up 2019: Week 37

Tranquil Dreams (15)

As the weather cools down, summer is coming to an end and festival seasons are also slowing down. Still stuck with a cold, its been an all around odd week but still fairly productive. Week 37 is here and with a good dose of reading, playing, watching (and rewatching continues) and of course, my favorite, binging!

Let’s check it out!

READING

The+Moonlight+Pegasus+cover+ebook

  • The Moonlight Pegasus (Review)

Currently reading: Since September (43%)

Its been great getting back into reading which also helps that I’ve been finding some nice reads. After blitz reading through The Moonlight Pegasus which was quite a fun book, I just forward to Since September which is a psychological thriller-esque novella. Novellas are really nice to break between books and Since September, although I’m not even 50% done has been pretty nice. The endgame is quite obvious but I feel like its slightly deliberate and I kind of appreciate it for how its all set up.

PLAYING

injustice: Gods among us

  • Injustice: Gods Among Us

Currently playing: still in debate…

I finally got back to wrapping up the Injustice: Gods Among Us. Well, “finishing” since its not all done because I’m not that skilled but I have a pretty good idea of whats a part of the game and how it all feels on top of the story mode (which I had finished previously). I’m going to be working on a review for it to get things moving again over at Game Warp. If I can even get one or two reviews done in a month along with the monthly mobile games roundup, I’m going to be pretty happy. Goals, right? Let’s see how it all goes.

WATCHING

The Beguiled

  • Letters to Juliet – rewatch (Review)
  • The Beguiled (2017)
  • How It Ends (2018) (Review)

As we move along with Movies and Tea, The Beguiled tops my movies of this past week. I guess that says a lot about how the podcast recording at least on my point of view will turn out. Still, thats coming up soon. I’ve been rewatching movies that make me feel good, mostly because its keeping me more positive. Going back to watch Letters to Juliet, I’m starting to realize that while I still enjoy these little romantic comedies, I’m starting to see a lot of the flaws in it more but meh, its still enjoyable enough. At the same time, How It Ends review has already gone up. Its not great but you can see my thoughts in the written review instead. It also rings the bell that I’m running out of films for the double features..yikes!

BINGING

The King's Avatar

  • The King’s Avatar (2019)

Currently binging: Dream Space 2, Super Vocal 2, The Mist (Season 1), When I Grow Up

The King’s Avatar has sadly finished! Its bingeworthy and all around really fun to watch. It has zero romance and all about professional e-sports and tournaments and about a renowned e-sports player who has to start over and builds his own team while training some unexpected underdogs to get back into the professional leagues. Its motivating and fun and just inspirational. To be honest, its a breath of fresh air because it really puts the spotlight on the little conflicts in this career and this world as well as moving between reality and giving some great animation for all the fighting and battling sequences involved in their matches. Its a series to get away and truly embodies why gaming is great (even for myself who isn’t really huge on e-sports). I’m hoping that they find a way to move into a Season 2, although if they do, I’m fairly certain, they will start pulling in more dramatic elements like family and romance.

On the other hand, while Dream Space 2, Super Vocal 2 and a new variety reality show called When I Grow Up is going on right now, the husband decided to start up the TV series, The Mist which is currently available on Netflix. We’re about 6 episodes in (out of 10) and to keep things simple, I’m not too impressed so lets just say, at this current point, I’m not surprised it got cancelled. Either way, we’ll be working on wrapping it up over the weekend probably.

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