Misc · Uncategorized · What I've Been Watching

What I’ve Been Watching: June/July/August

Yeah, I’ve watched a few things these past few months. Once again, I’ve listed the order I’m reviewing/ranting about them down in the list below. The bolded ones are my favorites out of the bunch and I’ve included trailers for each one. Without further ado, let me share them with you =)

Movies                                              

Horror

  • The Ring
  • Mirrors
  • Occulus

Science Fiction

  • The Force Awakens
  • Mockingjay
  • Star Trek
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Star Trek Beyond

Historical

  • The Duchess

TV

Science Fiction

  • Mr. Robot
  • Stranger Things
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender (cartoon)

Realistic

  • It’s Okay That’s Love (Kdrama)
  • Unreal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ring

This was a decent horror movie but I don’t understand why it’s considered a classic. There were some scary moments (omg the part when the girl climbs out of the TV..*shudders*) but the storyline especially the backstory behind the videotape wasn’t really that compelling to me.

 

 

 


Mirrors

 

My thoughts: This actually might be the worst horror movie I’ve seen in my life. People told me to watch it just for the scene where the girl in the bathtub peels off her face with her bare hands but the special effects were so bad that I just laughed. There was no sense of character, plot, or logic. In this one part, the security guard goes into the abandoned house and he’s looking at the mirror and for some reason, a random bird flies out of a bush inside this decrepit, old building. Please, director. You’re not scaring anyone and you know it. This movie was a hot mess; please stay away from it with a ten-foot pole.


Oculus

 

I’m a little embarrassed to admit I haven’t finished this movie and I don’t really care anymore. It was just a little boring. I stopped halfway through and at that point they were still setting up the scare. It is one of the smarter horror films though that doesn’t rely on jump scares to frighten and actually has a compelling storyline.

 

 


Mockingjay

 

I actually liked it more than I thought I would and I discuss why here.


The Force Awakens

Ummmmmm, I was slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I completely adored the action scenes especially the one at the end with Rey. I love that a woman is the main protagonist of such an iconic series (how many times in blockbuster movies do you see women going through the hero’s journey?) It was almost jarring to see a woman being part of big prophecies that are usually reserved for underdog heroes (usually white males). Love C3PO and the return of Chewbacca, Princess Leia, and Hans. What I didn’t like is the fact that the character development was a little off especially for Finn and at the end, SPOILER Hans died and everyone was like ok, moving on now.

Star Trek (2009)

Rewatching this movie after watching Star Trek Beyond really shows how much these characters have grown. I really loved the plot in this one and the development of the crew’s relationships along with its trademark humor. This movie definitely has a focus on Kirk and Spock. I know that the first two movies don’t stick all that much to the original but I think they stand really well on their own. Aside from the lack of female presence, I completely adore these movies as far as blockbusters go. They have just the right balance of scifi opera fun with smart and poignant character relationships and moments.


Star Trek Into Darkness

  • My favorite of the trilogy so far
  • I did wish they had casted a POC for Khan because that was what he was but Benedict Cumberbatch is a magnificent actor albeit a little too dramatic at times. But he actually makes a challenging opponent.
  • The scene with Carol Marcus still makes me cringe so hard and it’s so blatantly gratuitous that I’m wondering what the writers were even thinking at that part.
  • The ending where Kirk is risking his life always makes me emotional *sigh* I just love Kirk and Spock’s relationship
  • I love the chase scene between Spock and Khan

Star Trek Beyond

  • The action scenes really shine esp the ones on the ship (I mean what did I expect from The Fast and Furious director)
  • I completely adore the relationship between Bones and Spock
  • I seriously wish Uhura had more to do than just say pretty things; it’s a disrespect to her character
  • I love the addition of Jaylah but her story arc was done by the middle of the movie and then she was just pointless after that smh so much potential

 

 


The Duchess

I don’t think you can go wrong when Keira Knightley stars in a period piece even if the hairstyles are so freaking ridiculous haha. Her acting in this one is brilliant per usual and the storyline is heartbreaking. I’m actually quite surprised at how complex the person she was arranged to be married with was. Clearly, the audience was not meant to like him but he shows a depth that could have been swept under the rug. Another surprising thing was that this movie is actually quite a nod to feminism which was cool. The ending was a little unsatisfying for me mostly because I just wanted her character to be happy…


TV

Science Fiction

Mr. Robot

Currently on: Season 2, ep 2

Mr. Robot is sort of a cross between Fight Club and American Psycho. It might be a show about hacking but it’s predominantly interested in the human psyche and social commentary: our reliance on technology and societal constraints. The social commentary can get annoyingly heavy handed in my opinion and simplifies the issue way too much which is ironic since this is a pretty complex show in terms of character. It’s definitely not your average digestible drama with a linear, fast plotline and easily labeled characters which is really refreshing. It’s slow and oftentimes confusing (imo) because it alternates a lot between the Elliot’s state of mind and what is actually happening. I’m in love with Rami Malek’s acting. You really can’t keep your eyes off him (the things he does with his eyes). In addition to brilliant acting, the cinematography is uniquely stylized and its electronic score is to die for.


Stranger Things

The hype is definitely deserved for this show. It’s an 80’s inspired supernatural show with horror elements that’s very reminiscent of things like ET, Stand by Me, The Goonies, Super 8 (coincidentally my favorite movie ever), and Stephen King novels. In fact I’m starting to think that ’80’s parents don’t know where their kids are half the time, that all ’80’s boys really like Dungeons and Dragons and that ’80s high school kids were actually separated into the loners and the popular kids. But it does enough things differently that make it stand out. The mystery aspect (what is this weird demon thing and where the fuck is Will) is consistently engaging and kept me on the edge of my seat. The acting is so well done and I love the chemistry between the group ensemble. The themes of friendship and loyalty between the characters are heartwarming and really make you care. There’s also a few truly creepy scenes that were really exciting. Btw my header came from the lovely makeitstranger.com logo generator.


Voltron

I adored this so much that I did a full review of it here.


Realistic

It’s Okay That’s Love

On the lovely recommendation of Summer over @xingsings, I decided to watch this kdrama. Her review does it way more justice than I do so you should check it out. I must say the strength in this drama lies in its character chemistry, both between the main characters and the side characters. And it’s so refreshing to see a kdrama embrace female sexuality more. It reminded me a lot of It’s Kind of a Funny Thing by Ned Vizzini where it explores mental illness in a humorous and endearing way (albeit at times really inaccurate) and it has a little romantic subplot between our two main characters who have mental illnesses. It definitely leans more towards the vibrant and optimistic side of things than the dark but it doesn’t skimp on the dark emotion especially near the end.


Unreal

This show was such a pleasant surprise. Never in my life did I think I would like a show about a fictional version of The Bachelor. But I love it. The characters are despicable but utterly compelling, especially the two main ones whose relationship resembles Walter’s and Jesse’s from Breaking Bad. The writing is top-notch and the drama doesn’t hold any punches. It just gets more and more dramatic and intense as each episode goes on but never in a way that I felt was unbelievable or shocking just to be shocking. The ways in which Quinn and Rachel manipulate the show and the contestants is so disgusting but so clever at the same time, you can’t help but see how it unfolds. It was also a very unique satire on reality TV and the way that women tear each other apart.

Which ones have you seen? What did you think of them? Are you planning on watching on any of these? I would love to hear your thoughts! =)

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Book to Movie Review · Uncategorized

Book to Movie Review/Discussion: Mockingjay Part 2

Mockingjay Part 2

Based on: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Director: Francis Lawrence

Screenplay by: Peter Craig, Danny Strong

Producers: Nina Jacobson, John Kilik

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore

SPOILERS BELOW


I probably won’t be the first to tell you that I thought Mockingjay Part 1 was definitely a step down from the perfection that was Catching Fire. I guess I have to forgive it somewhat, the source material is not a fan favorite including for me–my biggest problem with the book being such a jarring tonal shift from Book 1 and 2 as to almost feel like part of an entirely different series. I went in and watched Mockingjay Part 2 with low expectations considering all the mixed reviews but surprisingly I liked it a lot. In fact, I think I liked it more than the book.

There is way, way too much to discuss in one single post so I’m just going to touch on the points that stood out the most to me.

First of all, let’s talk about Peeta and Katniss. If you’ve read my Winner’s kiss review, you’ll know that I’ve come to loathe the amnesiac plotline for many reasons, emotional cop out, contrived, yada, yada, yada. And I wasn’t a fan of the device for Peeta either. But after looking back on it more than 4 years after reading it, I think it has grown on me. And the Peeta and Katniss dynamic in this movie was mostly well done thanks in part to the improved screenplay and of course, the always top notch performances. One of my favorite scenes was when Haymitch comes up to Katniss and Katniss was already ready to give up on Peeta but Haymitch says that no, it doesn’t matter what you want, it’s for Peeta. It kind of speaks volumes about who Katniss and Peeta are as characters. Katniss is someone who does not show pity and if you are the weak link, then screw you. But Peeta has always been the one to not leave anyone behind and in the book as Haymitch so accurately says, that if it were reversed and Katniss was the one injected with tracker jacker venom that Peeta would never for a moment think about leaving or killing Katniss. I think Josh Hutcherson did a great job showing Peeta’s conviction that these new twisted hallucinations were entirely real but that gradual shift to confusion once he’s learned that the events weren’t real was also really well acted.

Ok but honestly, it just hurts that it’s happening to Peeta, literally the sweetest fictional character in the history of fictional characters..but I guess I can see why Collins did it..I guess

I love the tension between the rebels at the beginning of the movie when Katniss is about to give a speech and chaos just erupts with rebels killing each other and Katniss says, “we are slaves to Snow” and the rebel says “I’m not a slave”and Katniss says “I am”. Chills, man, chills. But Katniss also says to him, “why are you killing rebels, your neighbors, your family” which is so powerful because we think Snow is evil because you

know, he kills people but here the rebels are killing other people too. Snow is operating on his own morality (I will kill children but I don’t do it without purpose) but then so are the rebels because these rebels and even Coin thinks that he/she knows what is best for Panem but when is that boundary crossed.

With everything else going on in this movie, I‘m pleasantly surprised they paid so much attention to how the impact of media propaganda but I’m really glad they did because it’s just so relevant today. It was so chilling when Caesar Flickerman, who once seemingly had only the best words for Katniss, is now speaking for the Capitol, saying things like “Katniss and her foolish rebels” or “the girl who was so violent now meets a violent end”. It’s just so scary because if you think about it, Caesar Flickerman can easily play two sides because you don’t actually find out what he stands for throughout the entire series. But he says things with such conviction and charisma that everything out of his mouth seems believable.

And ahh, the deaths. How do I put my thoughts together on that. It’s such a polarizing topic especially considering who dies (esp. Finnick and Prim). But, oh god, was Finnick’s death so heartwrenching because he was literally the one left behind and the mutts just consume him. Ugh, it hurts but I’m ok with it..

For me personally, I’m of the firm belief that a death in a book should be, for the most part, symbolic. It should mean something. For example, Mufasa’s and Bambi’s mother’s death, the loss of innocence. Boromir’s death, showing the power of the Ring. So even after the movie I still don’t know exactly to what purpose Finnick’s and Prim’s deaths serve. If anything, these deaths were such a bold choice on Collins’ parts precisely because it does not serve a clear purpose. I mean this entire series was catalyzed because Katniss volunteered for Prim and then she ended up..dead. No matter how main of a character or how important you are, war does not discriminate and it just kills whoever is in the way. But, at the same time, it seems like such a complete waste of a character. Like fattening up a pig only to eventually slaughter it. So, in conclusion, I’m still confused. I do really like the scene where Snow is about to be executed but instead Katniss kills Coin and Snow is killed by the people. How fitting.

And finally, the epilogue. I’m not sure why I’m not entirely satisfied with the epilogue. The editing makes it seem like the beginning of a horror movie which I guess is kind of the point because it’s a very haunting scene but still..

Sidenotes:

  • Katniss’s battle armor is always so bada, video game developers take note: the outfit is formfitting BUT FUNCTIONAL IN BATTLE.
  • Speaking of badass, that word is stamped all over Cressida played by Natalie Dormer. She just commands every scene she’s in even if she just said one word.
  • Another badass is Johanna. She is so harsh but so funny.
  • omigosh the mutts looked so scary..but that action scene was so thrilling. A+
  • Gale is actually not that annoying in the movie which is surprising because I wanted to kill him in the book.

So in ranking, I think Mockingjay Part 2 is my third favorite. almost being on part with the Hunger Games for second place. Obviously Mockingjay Part 1 is my least favorite and Catching Fire is my favorite by leagues.

What are your thoughts on Mockingjay Part 2? What’s your ranking of the movies?

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