Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season One [Review]

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.jpg

Synopsis:

Successful and driven, Rebecca Bunch seemingly has it all — an upscale apartment in Manhattan and a partnership at a prestigious law firm — but she feels like something is missing. After a chance meeting with a former romantic interest, Rebecca impulsively decides to give up her life in New York and relocate to West Covina, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb she hopes will be the perfect home base as she embarks on a quest for love, adventure and true happiness.

Starring: Rachel Bloom

Rating: 7.6/10 Stars (IMDB), 98% (RottenTomatoes)

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Opinion

I had first heard about this show from Christine, over at PolandBananasBooks, and from one of my friends and both of them had been raving about this show, so I decided to add it to my Netflix watch list. With a grand total of 18 episodes, one full season, and a season two premiere on October 21st, I honestly couldn’t have chosen a better time to binge watch this hilarious musical-comedy-CW show.

Although I am a little – very – bitter at The CW at the moment (iTunes Pass? Really? I bought Hulu so I could watch your shows, and now you want me to pay $40 per show, per season if I miss the live airing of a new episode? Can I say RUDE!), I can’t deny the fact that they have great shows that I enjoy watching. From Arrow, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, to the dark The 100, to Reign, and now Crazy Ex-Girlfriend… Well, I think you get the gist. I watch a lot of shows from The CW.

So what’s one more, right?

Although it took me around three weeks to watch the first season (college leaves one with very little free time, hence why I’m not keeping up with all of my shows at this moment in time), but at least I can say I was hilariously entertained! This show makes you fall in love with Rebecca Bunch, a successful lawyer who makes the move from New York City all the way to West Covina, California (*cue theme song playing in head*) and takes on a job at a new firm, making new friends, and finding happiness for herself.

Or, well, that happiness comes in the form of stalking her old boyfriend, and coming across many misadventures with her new BFF Paula.

What intrigued me about the show was the musical aspect. Now, I am a sucker for theatre and musicals, so when I saw that it was a comedic musical television show, I had to check it out! There are about two songs per episode, which gives it the perfect blend of regular show and musicality, and are often the most humorous moments in the show, as we take a peek into the wild imaginations that all of the characters have.

More than that, we see amazing character development from the major and minor characters. Although the focus may be on Miss Rebecca Bunch, all of the people that surround her in life also overcome their own obstacles and grow from there. Usually in a show there are multiple characters that I dislike; in the case of this show, I was rooting for all of them – even the obviously satirical ones – and wished them the best.

Although, don’t be surprised that there are many television tropes that are found within this show. These days, it’s almost unavoidable to include some of the tropes and situations that are written into rom-com shows, and this one wasn’t any different. There is no denying that the tropes – “Oh no, I texted him and now need to delete it off his phone!”, “He’s going there, so I need to go there to!”, etc. – were prevalent in almost every episode, but they were also spun in a unique Rebecca Bunch fashion, which made it more lighthearted and amusing.

Am I excited to see where season two is going to take us? Yes. Seeing as I have already seen the first episode of the new season, I can tell you all that we are tackling some more serious themes and issues, but I am also hoping that we aren’t going to lose the lighthearted aspects that we saw in the first season.

I am excited to see where this show takes us, and if you haven’t seen this show yet, I highly recommend it! I’m sure it’ll leave you laughing and smiling and rooting for the characters in the same way I am.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children [Review]

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

Miss Peregrines Movie Poster.jpg

Synopsis (Taken from RottenTomatoes):

Inspired by Ransom Riggs’ YA bestseller, Peculiar follows the adventures of Jake (Asa Butterfield), a grieving boy who stumbles into a time loop populated by strange and wonderful people — just in time to be drawn into their life-or-death battle against a terrifying foe (Samuel L. Jackson). Packed with quirk (and franchise potential), the story sets the table for a cinematic feast of truly Burtonian proportions; unfortunately, reviews describe an end product that’s something less than the sum of its parts. Perhaps too frightening for younger viewers and too loose with the source material for hardcore fans of the books, Burton’s Peculiar Children may prove a hard sell — but one not without its charms for the director’s fans and those seeking something strange and a little dark at the cineplex this weekend.

Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson

Rating: 7.3/10 Stars (IMDB), 3.7/5 Stars (RottenTomatoes) (As of 10.2.2016)

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Opinion

As I sit at my computer, wrapped in my “I Am Peculiar” blanket that I purchase from the Hot Topic Miss Peregrine’s line, I can’t help but think: Why is it so hard to make a book-to-movie adaptation?

Don’t get me wrong, I honestly can say that I really did enjoy the movie adaptation for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (I’m going to refer to it as Miss Peregrine’s, for the sake of typing purposes), but there were parts of it that I felt simply had fallen apart by the time we hit the end of the movie.

For the first, I want to say, hour and fifteen minutes of the movie, the adaption struck true to the book. It was paced well, we got to get to know all of the characters and find our empathy for them, and we were quietly eased into the Peculiar world without confusion. The cinematography was beautiful, the characters felt true to the 1943 time period that they were forever stuck looping through, and the colors were breathtaking. I felt myself getting sucked into the story all over again and I was truly grateful for that.

Since it is a Tim Burton film, I was rather surprised that it wasn’t creepier. When I was reading the first book, there were times where I had to set it down because I was terrified of the possibility of having nightmares that night (I’m a bit of a scaredy cat). However, that wasn’t the case with this movie. I never turned away from the screen, and I always felt very comfortable with the level of creepy factors that were introduced within the film. And, true to Burton form, we even got a moment of claymation when Enoch was displaying his Peculiarity for Jacob.

Nevertheless, I did come into this movie with low expectations. (I suppose I should have started with this point first – oh well.) It was hard for me to get through the books, so you can’t label me as a hardcore fan of the trilogy. I admired the story that Ransom created, but it did take me almost two months to read all of the books. Due to that fact, I wasn’t expecting the adaptation to be great or anything, but I was pleasantly surprised with the first half of the film. It was beautiful, it rang rather true to the books, and it was everything and strong adaptation should be.

And then the movie kept going.

In order to talk about what I didn’t like about the movie, I am going to have a section that has slight spoilers about it. So if you have not seen the movie, or read all of the books, stop here! Or skip down to my spoiler free continuation.

SPOILER SECTION

The one thing that I was rather frustrated with was what they did to Emma’s character. She was fire! Why is she the one with the air peculiarity? When I saw the movie, I understood. It turns out, Olive and Emma were switched in their Peculiarity. This was a result of the events that occurred in the second half of the movie, which was a weird brush over of the events in book two and a piece of the final show down in book three – it was weird and confusing and not thought out well. Anyways, to get to what I was trying to say, they needed Emma to have the air Peculiarity in order for her role as a main character to make sense. If she was still in charge of fire, they would not have been able to accomplish the changes that they wanted to make.

And I have to say, those second half of the movie changes that they made… I’m not sure that they were made for the better. When we reached the end of book one, I had a moment of: “Okay, this is a weird and rather sudden place to – Oh? We’re still going…? Why?”. In the second novel, when the kids escaped their collapsing loop, they escaped on rowboats and continued on a quest of loop jumping in order to save Miss Peregrine from her impending peril. In the third novel, the kids discovered this master mansion that would allow them to step into a room and step into another loop; this was the grand finale, and wonderful showdown to defeat the Hollows once and for all.

In the movie, we somehow managed to glaze over book two, completely distort the true purpose of time loops, and ended up with a part of book three. I was sitting in the theatre with a “what the actual hell” expression on my face. In addition, the ending was left pretty open for another movie to occur, but seeing as they already, in a way, ran out of source material, I am not sure as to how that is going to work.

The final issue that I had with the movie: Samuel L. Jackson. *Gasp* I know, I’m shocked that I feel this way as well. Now, I love Sam Jackson as an actor. He’s talented, he scores amazing roles; however, he was not the right fit for this movie. You see, he played the villain, and his villain’s always come with a strange humor. In the case of this movie, the humor always came at bad timing and took away from the tension and importance of the moment. Which was disappointing from my standpoint, but it is what it is.

END OF SPOILER SECTION

In the end, I found the casting to be perfect for this movie. Each actor and actress really took on the role of their character and I wasn’t distracted by them as a person, but was truly able to sink my teeth into the movie and enjoy it for what it was. They were fun, spunky, serious – whatever they needed to be, they did it well and I was very impressed with all of them, child and adult alike.

Do I think these movies are going to be shaped into a franchise? Honestly, I’m not sure. It did justice for the first book, but the end of the movie was messy and felt rushed, which left doubt as to how much material they will have for a continuation.

Do I think this movie will do well in theatres? I think it will. It has something for a range of ages, and as a nineteen year old college student, I can honestly say that I did enjoy what they offered.

Me Before You [Review]

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

Me Before You Poster

Synopsis (Taken from RottenTomatoes):

Adapted from the bestselling novel by Jo Jo Moyes, Me Before You tells the story of the unexpected relationship that blossoms between a contented small town Englishwoman and the wealthy, paralyzed Londoner who hires her as his caretaker. Theater director Thea Sharrock makes her feature directorial debut with this MGM/New Line Cinema co-production.

Starring: Emilia Clark and Sam Clafin

Rating: 7.8/10 Stars (IMDB), 4/5 Stars (RottenTomatoes)

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Opinion

As I write this review, I am sitting at my laptop and I’m plugged into the soundtrack of this amazing book-to-movie adaptation. (And my foot is asleep, but that’s besides the point.) If you have yet to read this book or see this movie – first off, you need to; secondly, I highly recommend having tissues on hand.

I think this movie did so well – adaptation wise – because the author of the novel wrote the screenplay. It is rare for an author to have control that like that, but I am pleased that Jojo Moyes had that ability! Also, props to her for writing the screenplay, because those are not easy to write (I know from my own [failed] experience). In addition, this allowed her to shape the story in her own way and I definitely took note of the scenes that she changed or removed entirely, but those removed details did not subtract much from the movie at all.

I’m just going to quickly mention why I didn’t give this movie a full 5/5 stars. My one and only issue with it has to do with the pacing. In the beginning half or so, it was pretty rapid fire scenes. For instance, there were moments when I scene would only be characters looking at each other or maybe a line was said. By the time we reached the middle and end of the movie, events and scenes were much more drawn out. If the pacing was more even, I know I would have loved every second of it.

Also, I did feel that you had to have read the book before watching the movie in order to fully understand the character dynamics and events within the movie. You’re thrown into the story rather quickly and without much explanation. While it gave the movie a rather indie feel, it was also confusing for those who weren’t familiar with the story.

The cast did a wonderful job with this project. They made it very easy to get invested with the emotions of a scene or the decision that a character had been made. And they handled the controversial themes of this book and movie wonderfully. I know those themes have gotten some negative limelight and reviews (take a peek over at RottenTomatoes and you’ll get a feel for what I’m talking about), but I feel that they came off fairly well for the time frame they had in this movie, which is a little under two hours.

However, what truly sealed the deal for me was the soundtrack. I don’t believe many of you know this, but I am a huge music lover. If I’m not watching a show or a movie, you bet there is music filling up the silence around me. Because of that, I am constantly searching the things I watch for music that moves me in some way (it’s a great tool for when I’m writing!). The music in this movie was simply beautiful. It perfectly highlighted the emotions in each scene and brought the movie to a touching close. It was a nice mix of acoustic and indie music; also, the movie used many major artists for the soundtrack, such as Imagine Dragons, X Ambassadors, and Ed Sheeran.

Overall, I truly did love this movie. It captured all of the important moments from the book, allowed us to fall in love with the characters all over again, and brought us all to tears. I can’t wait for the DVD to be released, so I can experience it all over again!

Now You See Me 2 [Review]

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

Now You See Me 2 Poster

Synopsis (Taken from RottenTomatoes): 

THE FOUR HORSEMEN (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan) return for a second mind-bending adventure, elevating the limits of stage illusion to new heights and taking them around the globe. One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, the illusionists resurface for a comeback performance in hopes of exposing the unethical practices of a tech magnate. The man behind their vanishing act is none other than Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), a tech prodigy who threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all.

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Jay Chou, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman.

Rating: 7.2/10 (IMDB), 3.8/5 on Rotten Tomatoes (as of June 10, 2016)

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Opinion

When I saw the first Now You See Me movie, I was absolutely blown away. It had me second guessing at every turn and completely enraptured with all of the characters. NYSM was probably the best movie of 2013.

But what I was more impressed with was how this movie didn’t hit the sequel slump. I don’t think it was better than NYSM, but it was by far one of the best sequels I have ever seen (excluding the Marvel Universe, of course).

If anything, the Four Horsemen were back and better than ever. While it was sad that Henley wasn’t a member any longer, Lula was the comedic relief that was definitely needed within the movie. This movie held the perfect balance of mystery, tension, comedy, and magic. I’ve always been interested in hypnotism and magic tricks, and to see them wrapped up together into an action packed movie.

One of the other aspects that I really enjoyed was the various locations the movie visited. While we stayed in the USA during the first movie, this one took us on a trip across the world (to stereotypical locations in a movie) which helped add conflict to the plot line. In addition, the plot was nicely paced, and there was never a dull moment. Also, we got the chance to look into the Eye and learned just a little bit more about it. While we are still in the dark about many things, the Eye turned out to be more than I imagined it could be.

One aspect that I didn’t like about this movie is how much it relied on the mystery/crime element of the plot. While it was a great plot creator and pushed it along, it reflected a little too much of the first movie. I know, there needs to be connections, but this one was a overwhelming.

Otherwise, I loved the characters (per usual), loved the new faces, and I love the fact that they left the movie open for another one! Hopefully it does well enough that we can make this into a trilogy, because I never tire of watching the wild adventures the Four Horsemen go on.

Where I Watch My TV and Movies

If there’s anything that Americans can be labeled as, it’s definitely couch potatoes. Now with my college schedule I don’t have a lot of time to sit down and straight up watch a tv show when it’s premiering, so I’m left to waiting for it to be put up online sometime during the next day or so. When home, I do have DVR, but all my scheduled show recordings were shut off since I wasn’t around (thanks family!). So that left me with the question: How am I going to watch my tv shows?

The answer came in two different forms: my cable provider’s website and Hulu.

Cable Company: 3/5 Stars

Being away at college, it’s hard to keep track of everything going on at one time. (Exhibit A: right now, I’ve been interested in cultures around the world, so I’ve been watching more international tv shows, which greatly distracts me from keeping up on my own shows.) My cable website was great for keeping up on shows that you can’t find readily on Hulu, like the new season of Doctor Who, but it wasn’t able to help me keep track of my shows the way I needed to. (Also, I didn’t want to add more to my already out of control sticky note lists of stuff.) Plus, the log in was always very finicky and wouldn’t let me half the time. This is why I was lead to using Hulu.

Hulu-Logo

Hulu: 4/5 Stars

Now, I don’t have the fancy plan that makes the shows commercial free, but I am still paying to use the service. That sucks sometimes, considering that I’m in college and throwing $7.99 a month at a luxury service, but I do share it with my roommate, which makes me feel better about using the website. Sure, have the 90 second commercial breaks get to be a little annoying at times, but I love having the favorite and queue system revved up for my use.

For those who don’t know how Hulu works, the favorite and queue system is a genius idea. Basically, you favorite a show that you’re watching or love and can change the settings so the show will automatically be added to your queue whenever there is a new episode. Otherwise, you can go into each show and manually punch shows into your queue. Either way, there is a prepped list of shows already there for you and you don’t have to go scrambling around to a million different websites to watch your shows. But you do have to pay attention to episode expiration dates, because they won’t always be there forever.

(I’m sure some of you are thinking: Why didn’t she just use the cable sign in to watch her shows on the channel websites? At the time that I bought Hulu, the channel websites didn’t have a contract with my family’s cable provider, so I was left to my own devices of finding an alternate – legal -method.)

Netflix

Netflix: 4/5 Stars

Yes, yes, I also have Netflix, but this one I don’t pay for. As all good daughters do, I leech off of what my parents have provided for me. In high school I absolutely loved Netflix. I was constantly watching it in my free time, and it was the #1 place to go to for the shows I was interested in watching at the time. Now that I have Hulu, I find myself wandering onto Netflix less and less (mainly because the shows I’m waiting for it to upload are the ones that are already ready on Hulu). I just find that I am more interested in watching tv shows versus movies, so Netflix doesn’t have as good of a selection in that aspect. However, I know that once summer comes around I’ll probably find myself on there more often, because it’s definitely better to binge watch on there verses on Hulu.

Amazon Prime

Amazon Video: 2/5 Stars

Let’s be honest- who even uses this service? I have it currently because I have Amazon Prime (the whole prime student deal was awesome, but I really only use it for the two day shipping deal), but never actually use it. Especially since it’s been giving me a stink about how my computer is only able to host SD movies, when it’s HD compatible. It’s just not as easy or nice to use as some other platforms are, which is why I don’t use it (and amazon makes sure that I know that I’m not using it. Hello, annoying emails.)

So that about sums up where I watch my tv! Are there any platforms where you prefer watching your shows?

*****

“On Friday night, I was reading my new book, but my brain got tired, so I decided to watch some television instead.”
― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Shannara Chronicles [Review]

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

shannarachronicles

Synopsis (Taken from MTV.com)

‘The Shannara Chronicles’ is a new TV series based on the best-selling fantasy novels by Terry Brooks. Set thousands of years after the destruction of our civilization, the story follows an Elven Princess, Amberle, a half-human half-elf, Wil, and a human, Eretria, as they embark on a quest to stop a Demon army from destroying the Four Lands.

Internet Rating: 8/10 Stars

Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Opinion

This was a show that wore me down through commercials, before I actually watched it. You know what I’m talking about – when the commercial plays over and over and over again and you can’t get the show out of your mind and suddenly you’re watching it and don’t know quite what happened.

Yup. That was me with this show.

Only, thanks to the MTV promotional of allowing the audience to watch the first four episodes early (with TV provider log in), I found four hours of my life disappearing as I sat and didn’t move and just watched the show. I don’t mean that in any negative way – I mean it in a good way. The show sucked me in and kept me there until I ran out of show and had to wait a full two weeks before I got a new episode.

For an MTV show, I was impressed with how much money they poured into Shannara. It was unlike any show of theirs that I have ever seen. Everything was beautiful and there was no way to discern what was real and what was CGI. Honestly, I felt as if we were in a Lord of the Rings movie at times. No complaints there! Every episode came with its own adventure, which was interesting and intense in its own way. I’ve never watched a show that was so dynamic in so many ways at one time.

All of the characters were well-rounded, dynamic, and had strong chemistry with each other. I also felt that the writes did a great job with world building, for there was nothing that was I questioning or misunderstanding. I felt as if I had stepped into a completely new world and I was able to immerse myself completely in it (well, until commercials interrupted, that is). The sets, the costumes and make up – everything was perfect. It was also nice to see MTV break out of reality TV shows and produce a high fantasy/science fiction masterpiece.

One of my favorite aspects to this show was the way in that they tricked the audience about who the main character truly was. I came to this realization during the season finale – that only so-and-so matters, and that the rest of the characters can die. Can we say Game of Thrones much? But that deception added more suspense and tension to the last episode, so coming to that realization was definitely worth it (while also very depressing).

Overall, I really enjoyed this show and I hope it returns for a second season! I highly recommend it to those who are looking for a good fantasy show to pass by the time – and, bonus, it’s only eight episodes long!

Here are Some Images from the Show!

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*****

“We live out our lives as we are meant to live them-with some choice, with some chance, but mostly as a result of the persons we are.”
― Terry Brooks, The Druid of Shannara