TV Review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

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Summary: As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends. Based on the Archie comic.
Mild spoilers ahead but nothing that spoils like big plot points or anything like that. This is a late review but this is my LAST SEMESTER OF GRADUATE SCHOOL and I’m trying not to drown. Whooo! lol
Pros:
Cast and Characters. I’m not going to go into super super detail about each character but they’re all pretty great and interesting people and I think all of the actors do a great job in their roles. Some stand out more than others but overall solid cast.
  • Kiernan Shipka as Sabrina Spellman. A half-human, half-witch teenager attending Baxter High, who is just beginning her dark education, while trying to maintain a normal life. She is a sweet girl who loves her family and her friends with a fierce passion and she will do whatever she can to protect the ones she loves. She knows she’s a witch and does a few minor things and there but as her 16th birthday is coming up, she’s really getting ready to be in the thick of things. Growing up she knew of the ritual to come when it came to her birthday and she’s looking forward to it, but at the same time, she doesn’t want to leave her mortal life behind because of the connections she’s made. So, Sabrina has to make the choice of being a mortal or being a witch. Throughout the show she does things with honorable intentions and sometimes things go astray because magic isn’t always predictable and it comes with a price. I think Kiernan Shipka was a great choice for Sabrina, I actually think she is the best for the role and I can’t imagine anyone else in the role right now. She is sweet but passionate and she handles some great emotional moments. She actually made me tear up when she was talking to Harvey in a later episode. I don’t think I’ve really seen her in anything other than her voice over in When Marnie Was There and she was great in that so she can definitely pull off the emotions that Sabrina feels and she’s great!
  • Ross Lynch as Harvey Kinkle.Sabrina’s charming, dreamy boyfriend who is the son of a coal miner and unaware of the dark forces conspiring to keep him and Sabrina apart. I was a little worried about the brown hair look on Ross but as the show went on, it grew on me and I really liked him. He’s sweet and so supportive and I love that he was the nice guy next door, who also liked to draw, who was also a romantic. First him and then Sebastian from The Carrie Diaries, where is MINE!!? He has a hard relationship with his dad, it even borderline on abusive (verbally and emotionally) and he leans on his older brother who he looks up to like no other. I was worried that he was going to just be the love interest, I hate that in general, but he actually had some stuff to do. He had a traumatic experience as a kid which paralyzes him and prevents him from working for his dad in the mines, but he still goes with Sabrina when she has to go in there. That’s what I call love. Then there’s a side plot that deals with a possessing demon and him worrying about if he’s brave enough. I liked his arc but I’m sad at how the season ended with him and Sabrina. Ross Lynch is very likable and I think he kept Harvey likable and not too whiny or annoying because he’s so nice.
  • Lucy Davis as Hilda Spellman. One of Sabrina’s two witch aunts, who has a motherly nature and warm sense of humor and is skilled at brewing potions. I’ve always remembered Hilda to be a bit goofy and the opposite of Zelda which she still is here, she’s definitely the nice one and I love how loving she is. Lucy Davis is super likable and while I think they didn’t know what to do with Hilda after a while she still had some great moments like when she saved Susie in the bookstore. I just hope they allow her to do more in the second season because she is so likable.
  • Chance Perdomo as Ambrose Spellman. He is Sabrina’s cousin from England, who is her partner in crime, but is forbidden from leaving the Spellman home after being placed under house arrest by the Witches Council for attempting to blow up the Vatican. We don’t really learn a ton about him but while he may have done some questionable things in the past he still manages to try and be a conscience for Sabrina. I think he became a missed opportunity as the show went on and like Hilda, they didn’t know what to do with him but he quickly became a favorite character. He wants to be free to do what he wants since he’s been stuck in the house for so long. Chance is so charismatic and likable that I want a lot more of him in the second season. 
  • Michelle Gomez as Mary Wardwell. Sabrina’s favorite teacher and mentor at Baxter High, who becomes possessed by the devil’s handmaiden to become Madam Satan, a cunning manipulator. So, we meet her in the first episode, the regular her and the possessed version and I have to say that Michelle Gomez kills. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in anything but she is so memorable that I can’t wait to see what they do with her in the second season. Her delivery, the way she moves, all of her clothes and her hair is amazing. She is trying to manipulate Sabrina onto a path to better serve their Dark Lord and she is good at it lol.
  • Jaz Sinclair as Rosalind “Roz” Walker.The brash, empowered and outspoken daughter of Greendale’s minister and Sabrina’s best friend. She is big on equality and for students to be able to read whatever books they want, she is very opinionated but clearly loves her friends. We learn that she has trouble with her eyesight and might going blind which she is terrified of happening but something else might be manifesting because of her losing her eyesight which becomes really important down the line. I like Jaz Sinclair (just don’t do anymore When the Bough Breaksstuff mmkay?) and I think it’s funny that she and Sabrina are friends when they aren’t in the comics. I also like the fact that she is loyal to her friends even when she’s sure they’re not being completely honest.
  • Tati Gabrielle as Prudence Night.A student at the Academy of the Unseen Arts, with a personal grudge against Sabrina. She is the leader of a trio of witches, the Weird Sisters. I LOVE HER. At first, I was like “meh, she’s awesome but I don’t like her but then I ended up really loving her. She’s an interesting character and in ways you really sympathize with her because as far as she knows she’s an orphan and it seems like she tries to be this big bad witch in the school just to make up for that. I enjoyed everything about her, her look, the way she spoke and all of her dialogue was interesting. I don’t think she’s in the comics, at least not that I have seen yet but she’s awesome. Tati Gabrielle is a gem. A GEM.
  • Richard Coyle as Father Faustus Blackwood.The High Priest of the Church of Night and Dean of the Academy of the Unseen Arts. I mean, he’s your basic headmaster who thinks his way is right and he has ulterior motives and is creepy and what not. That’s all fine and dandy and I think Richard Coyle plays it up soooo well. I mean, he looks like the bad guy but it’s up to you to decide if that’s what he is.
  • Miranda Otto as Zelda Spellman.One of Sabrina’s two witch aunts, who is sterner than Hilda and very protective of Sabrina. She is also a member of the Church of Night, devout to the Dark Lord. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about her in the beginning, she’s always been the sterner of the two aunts but as the show went on, she is pretty great. There is a great scene with her in the episode with the Nightmare monster that was great and some great emotional moments from her. She really wants her family to be safe and do what they’re supposed to do as members of the Church of Night. She does get involved in some things but I think Miranda Otto plays it so well that she manages to hold on to some dignity even though they go through some crazy stuff. I also love her delivery and all of her clothes are beautiful.
Tone of the Show. This goes hand in hand with the next point but I liked the overall tone of the show. It’s dealing with identity and maintaining morality and humanity and choosing the best path for you. Sabrina Spellman is half witch/half mortal which presents an interesting story throughout the season in which she must do things that could sway either side but because she’s both, she thinks she can do whatever she wants and sometimes without consequences. It’s quite interesting. It is a dark show, not all the time but the witches are children of the night which allows for some cool effects or cool connections to “dark magic”. For example, I think Salem is usually a warlock that was cursed into a cat but in this show, he’s a goblin, whose form we only saw once and it was super creepy who takes the form of a cat to be Sabrina’s familiar. There’s also a subplot with a possessing demon and it last for a little while in the show and also creepy.
Horror Factor. The show is creepy like legit. I think it was cool for the most part because when you’re dealing with witches, there needs to be a tone set for what kind of witches they are and when that’s clear, it opens the door for horror elements. In the first episode there is a scene with a maze and a tree, oh boy, I was like O.O, it all works for this show. If this kind of stuff was in the Melissa Joan Hart version it would be weird because it wouldn’t fit. Even the stuff with the demon and Uncle Jesse freaked me out, the comic is also equally creepy.
Sabrina and Harvey. They’re super cute. I remember in the older show that they had a relationship that took forever for them to get together and then it was on and off again but in this, they start off together, they start off in love and it’s really cute. They love each other and normally I make a little fun of 15 and 16-year olds being in love but I think it’s clear they have something pretty special. It was really sweet. Sabrina adores this boy and she always wants him to be happy especially since he doesn’t have the best relationship with his dad. That’s why what happens in the end blew my mind!
Sabrina and her friends. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about her friends, but as the show went on, I liked their relationship. I loved the loyalty between them (I’m talking about Sabrina, Roz and Susie exclusively) and while they know Sabrina might be keeping something from them, they don’t get upset because she’s not being honest, I mean they’re a little frustrated but they don’t treat her terribly. I liked how a lot of what Sabrina wanted to do was because she wanted to help her friends, she wanted them to be okay if she was gone at academy. They were supportive of each other and clearly loved each other (which is funny because so far in the comics, Sabrina and Roz are NOT friends lol).
Cons:
Really Dark. By dark I mean the show’s lighting isn’t very good. It may be intentional and in ways I get why it looks visibly dark but there’s a problem when I can’t see what’s going on ON SCREEN! If that’s a production choice then they need to change that in the second season. It’s okay, it can be dark but light enough where I can see what’s going on!
Starts Off Really Slow/Drags in areas. The first episode is really kind of slow. I mean it sets up stuff but it feels like it’s dragging on. I thought I was in the second episode but I was still in the first one lol. I think though once it gets going it’s really easy to breeze through but it does have moments where I’m like “okey dokey, don’t care about this. Back to the real stuff!” but it’s not often but it’s there.
Crossing the line. This isn’t really a problem for me but I wanted to address it because I can imagine it being a problem for some. There are elements in the show that are meant to be the way they are because Sabrina is supposed to make choices to push her down a darker path and what not, but I can see where it can be too much for some people. I thought about this a lot while watching the show and sometimes it made me squirm. It was bold and I commend the show for taking no prisoners but be aware that the witches do go “praise Satan”. I think if you’re firm in your beliefs it’s not going to affect you as it’s just entertainment but be aware.
Overall, I really liked the show, it was really good. I think the first episode may be a little hard to get through because it felt a little slow but once I got past that first episode, I blew through the rest of the show. I think it’s really worth the watch, especially if you’re into stuff like this. I think all of the cast does a really good job in their roles and I think all of the characters are really interesting and I’m curious to see what goes on with them in the second season. I like the tone of the show and what the message is which is that good and evil is not just black and white and you have to find out for yourself who you are. I think Sabrina represents a little bit of everyone without all the magic stuff. I’m not much of a horror person but I think the horror aspect really works for the show and it’s creepy but I could handle it. My biggest issue with the show is that it’s visibly dark in that it’s hard to see a lot of times and that it starts off really slow. I also want people to be aware that it might be a bit too much and not to watch it if it’s going to make you upset. Great show!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you watched Chilling Adventures of Sabrinayet? What are your thoughts about it? Let me know! And if you can, check out the comics at your local library!
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TV Review: Anne with an E (2017)

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Summary: The adventures of a young orphan girl living in the late 19th century. Follow Anne as she learns to navigate her new life on Prince Edward Island, in this new take on L.M. Montgomery’s classic novels.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There are a lot of main characters and we do meet some supporting people. I kind of wanted to only talk about a few of them but I figured I should go ahead and hit most of the main characters who have been regulars in both seasons.
  • Amybeth McNulty as Anne Shirley. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the book, but I remember Anne being a bit precocious and annoying and I think Amybeth does that well. She has this dreamy look about her, also a bit awkward so I think she physically fits Anne well. Whenever she talks, she says every word with a dramatic flair. The first time she had to read for class, she stood up and read so dramatically that everyone laughed but I think Gilbert was smitten. Anne puts her heart and soul into everything she does, even when she does the wrong thing with the best intentions. She talks a LOT which is a LOT but usually what she’s saying has some merit, especially in her mind. She has a large imagination and always wants to share it with others. An avid reader, always wanting to learn and very intelligent. She had a sad past which caused a bit of PTSD and I hope in the future she allows herself to talk to someone about it. I really like Amybeth as Anne, she really seems to get the character she’s playing and while it may not be the Anne that purists are used to, (she reminds me a lot of the animated version) but she fits that kind of character. I think she does so well in balancing all the emotions that Anne faces in the show.
  • Geraldine James as Marilla Cuthbert. Of course, Marilla starts off as really mean towards Anne because she didn’t want a girl but a boy. She tries to warm up to her, but it takes a little while and once she really warms up to her, she and Anne have a complicated relationship that shows Marilla isn’t always sure how to handle the outgoing and imaginative nature of Anne Shirley, though I think she handles her very well. In season two, it was very interesting to see how she reacted to the grifters, especially Nate who was the “good looking one” (lol I mean whatever) and he flirted with her and we learn a lot about her childhood and her childhood love and that she might be a bit starved of romance because she really tries different things with her hair for him to notice. We really get to see different sides of her and I hope in season 3, especially with her being sick and having painful headaches, that she takes it easy, go to a hot spring or something and perhaps even fall in love. Geraldine James is great, she can be so hard when Marilla is being mean but whenever she’s sad, you really see it in her eyes. She is fantastic.
  • T. H. Thomson as Matthew Cuthbert. I love Matthew, he is such a sweet man. When he goes to pick up “the boy” and he finds it’s Anne, he is shocked, but he didn’t want to just leave her there. He was way more into keeping her and inviting her into the family than Marilla was, and it was just from that conversation they had on the way to Green Gables. I love how he would just look at her in awe as she talked. Matthew is so quiet, so he is an intense listener and I think Anne and he created a bond that is special. There’s a scene in the first season where he goes to find her because she ran away after Marilla sent her away thinking Anne stole from her and he’s trying to figure out what to say to make her come back with him, and when a cop asks Anne if she was okay Matthew says “She’s my daughter!” and it was so beautiful! It’s one of my favorite scenes. He’s generally always on Anne’s side whenever something happens, he’s always the one to try and do whatever he can to make her happy. R.H. Thomson plays the quiet, awkward man well. Matthew never really knows what to say and you can see him trying to figure it out and I like that.
  • Dalila Bela as Diana Barry. Diana from what I remember is probably the most like her original character, which is fine. She is kind, pretty and friends with everyone. She and Anne manage to connect right away, and Diana is very loyal to Anne and is always willing to teach her things about Avonlea and the people in it. Diana comes from a wealthy family, so she has pretty things and always looks beautiful in her clothes but unlike some of the other girls earlier in the season, she never makes Anne feel bad about her lack of outfit choices. She’s always interested to hear Anne’s stories and participate in her imaginative games, always seems to play the Prince lol. I love Diana, she was always a favorite character of mine because she was so sweet and learned from Anne how to be strong and stand up for herself. I think Dalila Bela is great in the role, I just wish they allow her to do a bit more than what they have her doing right now.
  • Lucas Jade Zumann as Gilbert Blythe. When the show started, I was waiting to see him. We didn’t see him for like two or three episodes but the girls in the class kept talking about him and I’m like “WHERE’S GILBERT!” lol, I remember him being a little bit of a hothead and a bit of a jerk, but I always liked him. So, when we first meet him, he steps in while Anne is being bullied on the way to school. She of course doesn’t talk to him because the annoying girls (who grow on me later) tell her she can’t talk to him because one of the girls like him, he’s intrigued. It’s all over his face and I loved it. When they get to school, he tries to talk to her, but she tries her hardest to ignore him and you can tell he doesn’t like that. So of course, he grabs her pigtails and calls her “Carrots” which is iconic however, he tries to accept the blame when Anne gets in trouble for yelling and slapping him with her slate. It was amazing lol. All in all, I really like Gilbert in this show. I do think they toned down his jerky personality I remember and his temper, though it does seem to be there at times. He’s very smart so he and Anne often go back and forth on trying to outdo each other but I feel like he does little things to make her happy, like misspelling a word during a “Spelling Bee” so she could win. He ends up facing tragedy which allows him and Anne to connect on a different level, but it takes a moment because Anne has “foot in mouth” syndrome lol. He ends up leaving to go work on a steamer to “see the world” because he didn’t want to get stuck in Avonlea, but he does end up returning home after helping a woman deliver a baby, so he wants to be a doctor. I do remember him being a doctor later, so I was like “yasss finally”. I really like the young actor who plays Gilbert. He plays Gilbert very chivalrous but also sad in ways and he has his moment of hotheadedness which I enjoy. I love the way he looks at Anne whenever she’s just talking, I find it super cute. Certain expressions he chooses for the character work well.
  • Aymeric Jett Montaz as Jerry Baynard. He’s one of my favorite characters and he doesn’t even get to do a lot in the show. When we first meet him, he’s the hired hand that Cuthbert’s hire since Anne turned out to be a girl instead of a boy. At first, he and Anne butt heads because she doesn’t like that he’s there since she feels like she could pull her weight as both a boy and a girl, but Jerry is unfazed by her. He’s French so I love his accent and anytime he says something in French, it’s so cute. In season two, we got to see a little more with him, in that he gets mugged by two grifters who ultimately make it to Avonlea and he’s not sure why he’s afraid of them, but he is. I wish they would have done a little more with that. So, I hope to go forward they allow him to do more. This kid is also great, anytime he’s on screen, I think he holds his own and sometimes he’s not doing anything lol. Some of my favorite bits is when he and Anne are traveling and he’s just singing in French and she’s so annoyed.
  • Dalmar Abuzeid as Sebastian “Bash” Lacroix. We meet him in season two when Gilbert meets him on the steamer. He’s from Trinidad and he and Gilbert form an interesting friendship. It really was a way for Gilbert to experience the world and to see that there is more out there besides his little town and that racism is a thing. I think some of the best stuff happens when they get back to Avonlea but while out on the water, he really shares a lot of real world experiences with Gilbert and befriends him and was kind of a “mentor” of sorts while they were out on the water. When they get back to Avonlea the cold weather is a shock to him, but he tries to acclimate lol, but he also gets upset with Gilbert who wants to be a doctor and didn’t stay true to his word about working his land with Bash. So, Bash gets a little side plot where he goes to the “Bog” where all the black people are in Avonlea and has his own story. I liked Bash. He was interesting, and I was surprised that he came back with Gilbert so now I’m curious to see what happens with him in season 3. I like the actor, he was very charismatic.
  • Cory Grüter-Andrew as Cole Mackenzie. He comes in season two, he’s an artist and seems to keep to himself in the beginning. Anne and Diana take a liking to him and befriend him. He’s a very gentle soul and he loves going to school because he doesn’t particularly care for staying home and doing field work, he wants to be in school, he wants to draw. He’s able to find solace in being friends with Anne. He even sketched her once (which made me wonder if he liked her but then I realized, he was struggling with his sexuality). Later, we learn more about him when he goes with Anne and Diana to Aunt Josephine’s party where they discover she and her best friend… Jane? Olivia…. Idk lol were lovers which allowed Cole to realize that he was gay. It was an interesting arc and I’m glad they allowed it to be something that discovered on his own or thought about on his own. He did get bullied a lot from the boys and the teacher (which was ridiculous because he was gay too, but I get it) but he was able to find freedom in the end. I guess we’ll see if he returns in season 3. I thought the young actor did a good job for the most part, whenever I was supposed to feel bad for him, he made me feel that. All the emotional stuff he handled well.
Friendship between Anne and Diana. A big relationship I remember from the book was the friendship between Anne and Diana. They are bosom buddies and kindred spirits and I love how Diana understands Anne to the point that she doesn’t judge her. There are times where she might feel a little unsure of what to do because Anne is so herself whereas Diana grew up in strict household so they’re like different, but they work. I love how passionate they are about being friends, it’s just so pure. When Diana’s mom freaked out about them being friends, it physically pained the both to not be together and I’m like “that’s true friendship” and how without second thought, Diana went to Anne for help when her sister was sick and how Anne, without second thought, did everything she could to help. Amazing.
Shirley-Cuthbert Family. One of the best things about the show is the relationship Anne has with Marilla and Matthew. When Matthew picks her up from the train station, he’s a bit shocked because they sent for a boy but got a girl instead however Matthew was a little more accepting in the beginning than Marilla was. He listened to Anne talk, her imagination was different for him and you could tell that he was just in awe of her. It was quite amazing. It took a little more time for Marilla to warm up to her but when she did, especially after she accused Anne of stealing her family broach, it not only tore her up inside that she sent her away, but she didn’t know what to do when Matthew didn’t return with Anne right away. One of my favorite moments, is when Anne is in a train station reciting poetry for money and Matthew shows up, obviously Anne is hurt that she was sent away, so she kept telling him to go away and when the police asked what was wrong, Matthew said “She’s my daughter”. It was such a beautiful moment because Anne’s expression and the realization on Matthew’s face… ugh so beautiful. Anne and Marilla have some great moments too.
Cinematography. Oh man I think this show is beautiful to behold. Bobby Shore is the cinematographer and some of the shots they get, just wow. There’s a shot where Anne is standing on the ledge of a cliff overlooking the water and the music coupled with the shot in that scene, very memorable. Whenever it snows it’s very beautiful and when Anne first gets to Avonlea, they really show what the world around her looks like, it almost seems like it’s what Anne might see when she’s looking at the world.
Dark Tone. I quite liked the dark tone of the show. It wasn’t always dark, but it had its moments, very realistic. Whenever they showed bits of Anne’s history, it made sense to help show us who she was, or why she was the way she was. I liked how she dealt with things so horribly, but it allowed her to have the kind of experience that would allow her to save children from sickness. I think it fit with this new adaptation of the story.
Cons:
Might be a bit too dark. This didn’t particularly bother me as the show went on but when we got our first flashback of Anne at her old family or in the orphanage, I was kind of shocked. I read the first book back in middle school, I remember loving it and I used to watch the animated show and I loved the 1934 version of the movie with actress Anne Shirley and it had some sad moments but not dark. I can imagine purist having an issue with the dark tone, or that it’s too unlike what they remember that they won’t like it. Going forward, it made sense why they included that with this version of Anne.
Second Season. I don’t think the entire season was bad there was just parts about it that I thought were weak and that it feels too fast in some ways. There are some things I thought were strange. Most of the season had Gilbert on a steamer where he meets Bash and while I don’t mind Bash, I think that whole story line was a little weird. I feel like they did that to have Gilbert realize he wants to be a doctor after he helped a woman give birth in Trinidad. It was great to see some diversity the show lacked, buuuut it just felt out of place. It was… clunky. When they go back to Avonlea it gets better but while Gilbert was gone, I was kind of like “Uh… okay.” There are some other plot points where I’m like “these people can’t be this stupid” or the fact that there’s a lot of messages that felt too on the nose.
More Jerry and Diana! This is only a minor complaint, but I want the show to use Jerry more. I really like that kid. He’s been around since the first season and I liked him from the start. They tried to throw in a little something for him with Anne teaching him how to read and him not trusting the drifters the Cuthberts lodged in their home (there’s a great moment with him and Nate in the barn) but I think they should include more. I’m not into a love triangle between him, Anne and Gilbert, besides I think Jerry likes Diana. As for Diana, I don’t mean them TOGETHER, but I wouldn’t mind that, I just want Diana to be included more. She’s a great character and while I love her friendship with Anne, I would love for her to have her chance. She got to learn a little something about her Aunt Josephine, but I want her to become Diana and not just Diana, Anne’s best friend.
Overall, I really liked Anne with an E and I think it’s a very different adaptation and I think people should give it a chance if they love the world of Avonlea. I understand it might be “too different” but it’s always interesting and cool to see what fans of the source material think and how they might envision the world the author created. I think all the actors do a great job in their roles and I like all the characters, they may annoy me but there isn’t anyone I flat out dislike (out of main people, because that bully kid, Billy I think, I hate him lol). I like the dark tone in some areas because Anne’s history wasn’t happy-go-lucky, and she’s still affected by it. I like the fact that it doesn’t shy away from certain story points but that it confronts them head on. I love the friendship the show built around Anne and Diana which is such a pure relationship that I remember loving from the book and the animated show. I love how loyal they are to each other and how much they love each other to the point where Diana goes to Anne without second thought and vice versa. I love the relationship between Anne and Marilla and Matthew. It was strained at first mostly with Marilla, but I love how it’s still building a strong familial relationship. I didn’t mention this earlier, but I also love the budding relationship between Anne and Gilbert. They don’t always talk but when they do, they manage to be awkward but cute at the same time. The cinematography is also wonderful, the world they’ve built is so beautiful to look at. Now, I can understand why some people might consider it too dark from the world we know in the books and some other mediums. I also think the second season was weaker in places than the first one, I got a little “on the nose” and had some weak plot points that I don’t think the show handled that well. The tone was a little different, but it seemed rushed and out of place… mostly the stuff with the grifters (though I liked that plot, it just was weird) and Gilbert on the steamer. I also would like to see more for Jerry and Diana as they are important in different ways in Anne’s life and we only see Jerry at Green Gables and I would love to know more about his family and his life and see him succeed at reading! Also, just allow Diana to do more than just be Anne’s best friend. BUT I like the show and I can’t wait for season 3!
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Anne with an E? If so, let me know your thoughts below in the comment section!
Have you seen any other versions of the Anne of Green Gables books?
What classic literature would you like to see adapted into a TV series?

Movie Review: To All The Boys I Loved Before (2018)

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Summary: A teenage girl’s secret love letters are exposed and wreak havoc on her love life.
You can check out my review of the book here! This is a short review!
Pros:
Cast and Characters. We do meet a lot of characters in the movie, some of them we see quite a bit throughout but I’m just going to talk about two of them.
  • Lana Condor as Lara Jean. She is our protagonist. She has this thing whenever she falls for a boy and wants to move on. She writes love letters to them, addresses them but doesn’t send them, she puts them into her hat box and hides them in her closet. It’s her way of moving on from them. LJ is probably the quirky one of her sisters. Margot is calm and collected, Kitty and outgoing and loud and then LJ is just… not those things lol. She tries to be like Margot and Kitty in different ways but that’s just not her thing which works for her. She’s funny, awkward and a bit clumsy at the best of times. I really liked Lana Condor in the movie, she was cute, and I think really played the character how she was written in the book because Lara Jean is also very dreamy and whimsical, and I thought she managed to do very well. Also, she had great chemistry with Noah Centineo.
  • Noah Centineo as Peter. He is a lacrosse player and probably the popular guy in school. Everyone seems to like him, and he seems cool with everyone. When he gets the letter from Lara Jean, he tells her “I’m flattered but it’s not going to happen” lol which was still awkward and what not, but he rolls with the moment. When they make their deal, he holds up his end of the bargain but at the same time, he always tried to make sure LJ was comfortable which I liked about him. He was witty and charismatic and when you start notice that he might like LJ, it’s clear it confuses him to some extent. I still quite liked him in the movie, maybe not as much as I liked him in the book, but I still really liked him. I’ve never seen Noah Centineo in anything (I don’t watch The Fosters) but I thought he was fine, he had a natural swagger that I thought Peter had and he was cool, and handsome which all helped the character. He also had great chemistry with Lana Condor.
Supporting Characters. 
  • There are a lot of supporting characters in the movie like Janel Parrish as Margot who was fine in the role of being the calm, collected and maternal big sister. Anna Cathcart as Kitty who is Lara Jean’s younger sister and she was cute and precocious. Madeleine Arthur as Christine who Genevieve’s cousin and Lara Jean’s best friend and she’s is not that present in the movie but whenever she needed to be there for LJ she was, which I guess was her point. Emilija Baranac as Gen who served her role as Peter’s ex and a bully pretty much to Lara Jean throughout the film. Super unlikable lol.
  • Israel Broussard as Josh who is Margot’s ex-boyfriend and one of the boys who received a letter from LJ. He’s cool with the family, he was close with both Margot and LJ, in different ways, and when Margot breaks up with him before leaving for school, he seems a little lost in what to do with their family, but LJ tries to convince him it’s okay. However, when he gets the letter, he just wants to talk to her, but he avoids him. Now, he’s not in the movie as much as he is in the book. I think they hit on some of his bigger plot points, but he doesn’t show up as often which I think helps keep him from being unlikable which I found he could be in the book. They also didn’t do the love triangle thing either, which also helped. But Israel Broussard was good in the role of Josh, the boy next door.
The Romance/Chemistry. It’s very important that Lara Jean and Peter have chemistry and they did. Lana Condor and Noah Centineo were cute together, they had great chemistry even when they were just faking it for their classmates and their family. When they started to get comfortable around each other it just seemed so natural. It was natural in the beginning when they weren’t really friends with each other, they had a natural chemistry, but it grew even more as the movie progressed.
Cute Teen Movie. It’s a super cute movie. I really had a good time watching it because it’s lighthearted, the characters are all likable and it’s harmless. In the end, you could say you learned something about being brave and bold, and looking at people on the inside more so than the outside and all of that, which is true sure, but it’s also just a cute teen movie.
Cons:
The Letters Being Sent. I don’t like how we knew from the beginning that Kitty sent the letters (spoiler alert? lol) because it would have been cool for both the audience and Lara Jean to not know. Kitty had her reasons for it which in a way was kind of sweet, but it was also kind of mean and I just wanted that surprise for the audience to still come later the same way it did for Lara Jean. We didn’t have to see that.
Not Spontaneous Enough/Not Enough Love. I don’t want to compare the movie and the book, but I thought they should have allowed Peter and Lara Jean to do more things together. It just didn’t seem like a legit natural progression to get to the point at the end. I mean, you believe they start to like each other at some point but it didn’t seem like it was real because they didn’t do enough together, at least to me. Peter did a lot of spontaneous stuff in the book which helped LJ get attached to him, like showing up at her house and meeting her father, or when they went to the estate sale. I just wish they did more things together that didn’t really involve them showing off for other people because sure, that helps because of their deal but hanging out outside of all of that would really allow for them to really connect way more than I thought they did in the movie.
Overall, I really liked the movie, I thought it was super cute. I liked all the characters and the actors. I didn’t think anyone didn’t fit their character, nor did I think anyone over did or under did it. They all played their characters the way they were written, except maybe Kitty who was way more of a brat in the books than the movie. I really though Lana Condor and Noah Centineo had great chemistry with each other and managed to play off each other, even when their characters had to be awkward or not “attracted” to the other early in the movie. It’s a cute teen movie where you might learn something because the main characters do to an extent, but even if you don’t, it’s just a good entertainment watch. I only had two negatives which were I didn’t think they allowed them to do enough for me to really believe them in the end, I just wanted to see them hang out more outside of doing it to make Gen jealous. Otherwise, I really liked the movie.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars.
Have you seen To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? I swear it’s a mouthful saying and a handful typing it lol. What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: To All the Boys I Loved Before

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I know there’s a movie on Netflix that I will watch and review soon. I wanted to read the book first and it prompted me to want to watch the movie more, which is a good thing.
Summary: What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Pros:
The Characters. I liked all the characters, the main ones for the most part. I think Margot and Josh were probably a little lower on the list for me, but they weren’t unlikable. I understood them, but they weren’t that important to me. Honestly, the ones I’m going to mention are the main two of the story.
  • Lara Jean Song Covey. She’s the kind of character that I think some people would find annoying and there were times where I would roll my eyes at her, but I overall enjoyed her. I thought she was a quirky, kind, humorous leading character and I thought she was very likable. Ironically, she reminds me of an anime character, which is something she references in the book about how people always think she’s dressing up as some anime character for Halloween, but her energy and how she reacts to things makes me picture how over dramatic the anime characters can be when something happens. While she’s clumsy and a bit over dramatic, she’s endearing and strong and she loves her family. Cute character.
  • Peter Kavinsky. Peter is like the cool guy at school, everyone likes him, and he’s swoon worthy. When we first meet him, he’s being helpful to LJ, but she also reminisces about him which gives us a little more insight about him through her eyes. Once he approaches her about the letter, I thought he was going to be a jerk about it and what not since he’s the cool guy and Lara Jean isn’t popular or anything like that, but he turned out to be just that but with a heart and kindness in him. I really ended up liking him. Alright, he’s not so much a jerk but he had jerk tendencies. I really liked how he related to Lara Jean’s family and how he seemed to care about her in ways that were probably a surprise to him. I’m interested in reading the other books just to see what happened with him.
Family dynamic. I really liked the Covey family. They had a realistic dynamic. Being a younger sister but also an older sister, I understand the feeling of having the responsibility fall to you when the oldest moves on to college. I liked that the sisters were close that they would sleep together just to share the closeness before Margot left for school. Even though Kitty was a little brat sometimes, I liked her relationship with LJ and of course their dad wins the award for “Trying His Best”. You get a real sense that they had a tragedy in their lives and while it was still sore, they tried to work together like a family. They weren’t perfect, but it worked.
The Un-Romance. So, Lara Jean and Peter make a contract to pretend to date for various reasons. LJ had a little crush on Peter after he kissed her in the seventh grade. From the moment he stopped to help her when she got into her car accident, I knew from that moment on there might be a little something between them and I liked it. I quite surprised at how much I liked it lol. It wasn’t really a romance throughout, it was a pretend one, but they worked. I liked how Peter got close to her younger sister and even her father. I thought it was cute how he wrote the letters throughout the day even though half the time, they were things like “You look nice” or “Meet me here…” but it was endearing.
The Writing Style. I really liked Lara Jean’s voice, she was sweet and quirky, and I really enjoyed seeing things from her perspective. I think she could be a bit long winded in how things were talked about or addressed, but I liked how the story just flowed without feeling weird and just caught up in her mind, since it’s told in first person. It was thoughtful, and I liked how Lara Jean viewed things around her.
The Story Idea. The idea of past crushes receiving letters written about them is enough to give pause. I think it’s cool that LJ would write letters to help herself move on and then keep the letters hidden. It’s a mystery as to how they got sent out because she is in utter shock when Peter comes up to her talking about her letter and she has no idea what he’s talking about. I thought that idea was cute. It was everything else afterwards, like the pretend to date thing that I thought was familiar.
Cons:
Josh/Love Triangle. I really dislike love triangles. If they’re done well with interesting characters and serve a point for the story then okay, but I don’t think it was all that necessary here. I mean, Lara Jean liked Josh before and because of the whole letter fiasco, she and Peter made an agreement to work together to keep Josh from bothering her and to help Peter make his ex-girlfriend jealous. Josh of course doesn’t like this. So, throughout the book, whenever he gets the chance, he brings up how he doesn’t think Peter is good enough for her, she’s innocent and what not and to an extent I get what he was saying and trying to do, but not only did he come off rude, but the love triangle just annoyed me. It was just the Josh part of the equation that was just ugh. I didn’t mind Josh, I was indifferent to him, but I felt like he was unnecessarily… kind of a jerk for the sake of a triangle.
Cliché and predictable. Don’t get me wrong it’s super cute, but super cliché and predictable. I knew how it was going to end, I knew what was going to happen almost like clockwork throughout the story. There may have been a few character moments that might have surprised me but in terms of the plot points, I pretty much called all of them because it’s a formula and this book followed the formula. The idea was a bit different, but the execution turned out to be familiar.
Overall, I very enjoyed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I thought it was cute and it felt like a very energetic person was telling me the story. I liked all the characters for the most part, particularly Peter and Lara Jean. They really had a relationship that played well and didn’t feel forced or trying to hard. I thought the whole idea of it was cute and I really enjoyed the writing style as Lara Jean had a voice that kept me engaged. The Covey’s were also a great family. My main negatives are the fact that the love triangle was unnecessary and while I see the point, it made a character who didn’t have to be a negative become a negative. I also thought it was cliché and predictable once the plot gets moving. Otherwise, great read and I read it quickly. It’s fun. I feel like I said “cute” a lot in this review lol.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Have you read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? Did you like it? How does it compare to the Netflix movie?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to like and follow this blog for more book reviews!

TV Review: The New Legends of Monkey (2018)

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Summary: A new take on the story of the Monkey King, Pigsy, Sandy and Tripitaka the monk, on their journey to restore the world.
I remember hearing about this show because of whitewashing rumors. This show is based on Chinese legend “The Monkey King” and people seemed to be upset that the main cast were white actors. When I looked at the promo picture they displayed, I was kind of confused because everyone is a person of color minus the woman on the far right. I recognized the actor playing the Monkey King from Mako Mermaids and I remember he’s Australian-Thai. The other two actors look like POCs as well, so I was confused but I clicked off and didn’t think about it again.
When it was finally put on Netflix, I noticed it, and saw Chai Hansen’s face and I went “Oh yeah, it’s that show… sure.” So while at work, I decided to watch it on my break and I have to say I loved it. I literally finished it in a day. Then I watched it again in a day and a half. I love this show and I hope they get a season two because I’m not playing games with Netflix.
Don’t cancel this show.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. There isn’t a character in the show, regular or guest appearance that I didn’t like. I liked everyone. Everyone is written differently, they stand out from each other, and I think all of the actors (everyone is not always consistently good) do a good job for a majority of the show.
Chai Hansen as Monkey. 
6f3cb4e70b9144a9d0047046e602dd0eMonkey is a brash, childish and kind of arrogant young man. Not sure what his age is, I would assume somewhere in his 20s but in human years since he’s a God. He was supposed to be something great 500 years ago, but because the alleged crime he committed, he was seen as a traitor and thief and later sentenced to spend eternity in a rock. When Monkey was released, he lived on fanfare and there’s obviously much for him to learn but he doesn’t shy away from learning something. I mean, it might take a moment, but he won’t shy away. He’s always up for a fight, and he has no problem speaking his mind, he’s uncensored. I usually love characters like him, he’s kind of rude and arrogant but he’s sweet at the best of times. He’s also a source for a lot of humor in the show. I think Chai Hansen was a great choice for the character, his comedic timing was on point. He was charismatic, handsome in the role, and it’s easy to tell he enjoyed playing Monkey. He had great chemistry with Luciane Buchanan, which might mean something down the line, who knows, I won’t mind either way, but the chemistry is there if it does. His emotional moments were strong, and I can’t wait to see more into his back story. Also, the snarl lol, his snarl was great. He reminds me a lot of Inuyasha and I love that character so Monkey was easy to love.
Luciane Buchanan as Tripitaka. 
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We don’t know her real name. She is a young woman, I’m assuming about 18, who was left as a baby at a… school? I don’t know lol, but she’s been learning from The Scholar, until a demon comes on night, takes the Monkey King’s crown and kills everyone, including the real Tripitaka. So, when she finds the demon, after running to the nearby town, she steals the crown and releases the Monkey King. In order to escape the town after the demon causes ruckus, she receives help from a monastery. So, they help her pose as a monk, so she’s not only pretending to be a boy monk, she wasn’t named Tripitaka, she took it on herself in order to keep Monkey from leaving and preventing her from fulfilling the quest that Tripitaka is supposed to complete. I like her. I wasn’t sure at first because the first episode, her acting is a little meh, but as the show goes on, she gets better, she fills her role better and I definitely ended up liking her in the end. She’s like a mixture of Katara and Kagome, which I mean, they are kind of the same character lol. I love that she just takes on the mantle to get the job done, she’s headstrong, stubborn but also kind and tries to see the good in people… tries. The way she cares about her friends is sweet. She has no idea who her parents are, all she has is a letter from her mother, so there is an episode where she goes to find her old village and we learn a lot about her and she has to learn a lot. She definitely has a great arc throughout the show. I’ve never seen or heard of Luciane Buchanan before, but I think she does a good job. Like I said, in the beginning I was like meh, but she grew on me and I think she grew into the role.
Josh Thomson as Pigsy.
Pigsy
Pigsy is also a God, but he starts off working for the demon Princess Locke. He gets a little push into his morals and what he is, that he ends up going with Tripitaka and Monkey. He likes to eat and he almost is like the big brother figure in the group, he’s seen a lot but he’s been on the wrong side of things, so sometimes his ideas, are kind of crazy lol. However, he definitely grows to care about the others. He and Monkey have some great moments together and I we get to see them learn from each other even more in the second season (Not playing Netflix, second season). He also is a source for a lot of laughter, it just seems natural for the character and the actor. I’ve never seen Josh Thomson in anything but he’s great and likable as Pigsy, even when he was being “bad” I liked him. He’s just likable and his comedic timing is great.
Emilie Cocquerel as Sandy. 
Sandy
Probably one of my favorites in the show. Sandy is a God, perhaps a water God since she has the ability to control water. She lives in the sewers, and she meets Tripitaka when chasing after a demon that disguised itself as a little boy. We don’t really know much about her. She’s living in the sewers, but we don’t really know why. I think it’s okay to say that Monica at least knows her since she gives her food, or gives someone food. Sandy is always willing to fight and when she meets Tripitaka, she’s ready to go on the quest to find the scrolls to rid the world of demons. She doesn’t really fight the ideas, she might give her two cents but she’s always down. She’s sassy, but she grows close to Tripitaka and she’s like the eccentric older sister. Her back story is also a little sad, we learn about her in Tripitaka’s episode and it helps give an idea of how Sandy came to be who she is. I love her. Never heard of Emilie Cocquerel before either, but she’s great. She’s so likable and cute, that I can’t help but to love her character.

 

Supporting Characters. We meet a lot of characters throughout the ten episodes. There are a few that we see more than others, that have more to do than others.
Jarred Blakiston as Font Demon. 
newlegendsofmonkey_03He is the demon we see from the beginning, he kind of reminds me of an evil Elf lol. The first episode when he faces off against Monkey, it’s hilarious because his facial expressions of being unimpressed are the best. His job is to hunt down and the find the others, mostly at the beginning, and we see him again later. I think since he’s a demon, he can be killed and then reborn as another “Front Demon”, it’d be interesting to see what happens with him in the second season.
  • Josh McKenzie as Davari. I don’t want to spoil anything, I kind of guessed his role but he is Monkey’s old friend from back in the day. He manages to have a lot of influence over Monkey, he’s like that hype man who doesn’t always hype for good reasons lol. I enjoyed him though lol.
  • Jordan Mooney as Raxion. He is a demon who is tasked to find Gods to bring back to Jade Mountain to translate the ancient scrolls. He first comes in contact with the others when he brings them to the shaman. We see a lot more of him throughout the season and he’s cool too. He feels ignored and glossed over by the boss and he wants to do something that will gain him favor.
  • Rachel House as Monica. I recognized her from the start, she was Moana’s grandmother in Moana and in Thor: Ragnarök as the Grandmaster’s henchwoman. She is the tavern keeper. She meets Tripitaka first, she even employs her. We see her a few times throughout the show. I like the voice she puts on for the character lol.
  • Daniel Watterson as Shaman. I feel like if this was a serious movie, Jared Leto would play this part because he reminded me of Jared Leto lol. But he creates this “Breaking Room” where he has the Gods that Raxion kidnaps and he buries them in their minds so they can mindlessly translate the scrolls. He’s cool, calm and collected. I’m interested to see what he does in the second season.
The Story. It’s a 10 episode show so it gets the job done pretty quickly and I think it’s handled so well. Of course it ended too soon but I think the fact that there is a consistent narrative and the story flows naturally, even the detours are for character development, it’s a fantastic adventure. I don’t think there is really any plot holes that are glaring. At least not that I noticed the first two times.
Emotional. There are some really good emotional moments throughout the show. We learn parts of characters backstories and most of the time it’s kind of sad. We learn why Monkey was imprisoned, and it’s kind of sad learning it. Sandy’s back story was very sad, she tells it to Tripitaka who thinks the Gods didn’t have families. We don’t know about Pigsy, but I’m sure it’s kind of sad. There are also some emotional moments during the episodes where they’re trapped in the “Breaking Room” because Monkey goes too far into his sub conscience, he says some heartbreaking things. The show has a LOT of heart and surprisingly it’s very emotional. I didn’t cry or anything but I felt those emotions.
Chemistry between Characters. I think the main four characters have great chemistry with each other. They go on the adventure together and spend the show together, they should be able to feel like a unit, and they do. They all have their strengths and they make up for the others weaknesses. They can bounce off of each other well. We don’t really know how long they’ve been trekking, I want to say like a week, but they trust each other enough where they will do things to make sure the other is okay.
It’s Funny! I cracked up a lot during the show. I thought it was really funny. I think all of our leads get to have chances to be funny. I think Monkey is the source for a lot of the humor, due to his arrogance and the trouble he gets into. The episode where they meet the Monkey Clan was a great one because the followers of the Monkey King were a bit eccentric and I very much enjoyed them. Or the interactions between Monkey and Tripitaka because he has to save her, or they get into arguments and his facial expressions are hilarious. Sandy has a lot of great humorous lines as does Pigsy. The humor is lighthearted and I think there’s laughs in there for everyone. I find it hilarious how Monkey has to summon his cloud and the fact that it doesn’t work, so he tries to either play it off, or act like it doesn’t hurt his feelings that his magic isn’t working right lol. It’s so cute!
Fun Adventure. It’s fun to watch. Being that it’s 10 episodes, it really gets moving and it’s kind of nonstop, I never felt a lull in the show. Maybe in the beginning but that’s to be expected. I love the fact that the villain was kept in shadows until we learned who it was. I loved the action scenes, the choreography wasn’t always good but the actors (and their stunt doubles) do a good job with making it look real. I also believe that Chai Hansen can do most of his own stunts so his stuff looks really good. Plus, just watching them go on their adventure, and the different places they go, the different people they meet, it’s just fun. It’s a good time.
Cons:
Cheesy. Not gonna lie, it’s very cheesy. I mean, it’s not like annoyingly cheesy but it’s endearing and cute cheesy. Some of the action isn’t always good so it looks kind of lame. The effects, like when the Gods are moving really fast is kind of meh sometimes too. Also, the Forest Kin, they should have been scary I thought but they were kind of meh too. So while there is a lot of good, it has some cheesy mehness too.
Inconsistent Acting. So I don’t think this is a problem throughout, mostly in the beginning but I think the acting gets hammy when they take themselves too seriously. It’s a fun show and I think for the most part, they know that’s it’s a fun show and when they do that, it just feels natural and the characters feel real. In the first episode the most, I think they try to do too much and I was like “meh” but it really picked up later.
Familiar. I don’t really find this a negative, at least not completely but I think this show feels a lot like other things I’ve seen. It has a lot of elements of Inuyasha, Avatar: The Last Airbender and something else that I can’t remember right now. Throughout the show, I’ll go “Oh that reminds me of…” and I’ll kind of be taken out of the adventure. For example, Tripitaka can “sit boy” the Monkey King with his crown and when it happened, I was like “oh, that’s like Inuyasha”, except I don’t find it funny like you would in the anime. “Sit Boy” is funny in that it just drops him to the ground, in this show, there is a chant she says, that if her intent is to teach him a lesson or something, the crown will kind of tighten or cause pain or something. He was shocked the first time and the second time he looked hurt that she did it. I mean, he was being rude so there was a lot of emotions going on in that scene. It’s still familiar but during my second watch, I was able to just enjoy it without comparing it to other stuff, but I can imagine someone being really annoyed by that if they’ve seen those other shows.
Overall, I very much enjoyed The New Legends of Monkey, I very much enjoyed all of the characters and their antics. I think all of the actors do a great job having fun and making these roles feel like real people even if some of them remind me other characters. Chai Hansen and Emilie Cocquerel are stand outs for sure. I think the main four have great chemistry with each other, being that they feel like a friend unit. I also thought the show was very funny and it’s just fun all around to watch. It’s a great adventure and I had a great time. It’s also emotional, not like cry emotional but it has some moments that gets you right in the feels. With that said, it does have some negatives in that it’s very cheesy in places, the acting was inconsistent in the beginning and it is familiar being that it reminds me obviously of other shows. But overall, I loved it and I can’t wait for season two. SEASON TWO NETFLIX!!
Rating: 3.80 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The New Legends of Monkey? If not, seriously go watch it and have fun. It’s 10 episodes. If so, let me know your thoughts down below!
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TV Review: On My Block (2018) Season 1

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Summary: A coming-of-age comedy about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles.
Pros:
Cast and Characters:
  • Sierra Capri as Monse Finnie a headstrong, bossy tomboy of Afro-Latino descent who is the leader of her friend group. Raised by her single father, she is star-crossed lovers with one of her best friends, Cesar. In Season 1, she makes an attempt to connect with a woman she believes is her birth mother. Throughout the show, Monse seems to be the “leader” of the group, in that she’s the one everyone might look to. She’s bossy so she kind of just takes that role on as well but it works. She also seems to be a bit hot-tempered, in that she has to keep her anger in check because she seems like she’ll be ready to fight you if she has to. She also is holding a big secret in that she has experienced her sexual awakening and she’s a bit on the passionate side, it’s almost uncomfortable sometimes lol. I like Monse, she feels like a teenage girl. I think Sierra does well with balancing Monse’s maturity but also her immaturity because she can go from 0-100 real quick and it’s just too much.
  • Jason Genao as Ruby Martinez. He is a smart-aleck math whiz of Mexican descent often serving as the group’s conscience. I love Ruby, he’s probably my favorite. He’s the shortest of the group but he has a bit personality and a big heart. Ruby cares about his appearance, he wants to always make sure he looks good. He gets a little jealous of Cesar who is just cute without even trying. He’s very organized and a bit methodical in how he does things, but he does it for his friends. He spends like two episodes trying to throw a quinceanera for Olivia because he wanted it to be special for her. That’s so sweet. He is a ladies’ man but he’s awkward too so it doesn’t always work out. Jason Genao is just so great, I feel like Ruby could be very annoying but Jason manages to keep that from happening. Instead, I love him. Plus, he loves to talk, he thinks he can talk his way out of things and sometimes he makes things much worse. I love it. Plus, his little quirks that Jason does for him, like the way he’ll cut his eyes at something. AH! I just love him. 
  • Brett Gray as Jamal Turner. He is the nerd of the group and African-American. He believes that there is a hidden treasure scheme surrounding Roller World. Jamal reminds me of a conspiracy theorist. Someone who just believes all kinds of crazy things, and who is even willing to go searching for it. He also manages to really dedicate himself to things that would be so much easier if he would just speak up, but ya know, teenagers are dramatic lol. His parents love football, his father used to play and he wants the same thing for Jamal but Jamal isn’t really into sports. He’s definitely the most awkward of the group, he is clumsy but he’s also really funny. The entire subplot with Roller World is just hilarious, especially all of the scenes with the gnomes. He can’t keep a secret so there is a great scene that deals with that. Brett Gray was great. He’s really funny and since he has a lot of scenes with Ruby, they really work well together.
  • Diego Tinoco as Cesar Diaz. Cesar is that kid who you often ask, “how is he friends with the others?” because he just seems too cool for them. He’s handsome, he’s suave but he’s also very intelligent which makes sense as to why he manages to find solace with the others. His older brother gets released from prison which puts pressure on Cesar, who is forced into gang life. A lot of his story, is him trying to find the balance between being in the gang but trying to live a normal teenage life with his friends and his new love interest. Things get a little rocky and he definitely relishes in some of the chaos. He doesn’t like it per se, but it’s like easy for him to exploit it. He’s super cute lol, and I very much enjoy watching him ruffle some feathers. However, he’s also a tragic character because he’s forced into something he doesn’t want and it hurts him but he does it. Diego Tinoco is great as Cesar, he’s likable even when you don’t want to like him. He has great chemistry with his love interest and their moments together can be sweet, and sometimes they can be… dramatic.
  • Ronni Hawk as Olivia. She is a friend of Ruby’s family, they take her in after her parents get deported back to Mexico and she becomes a member of the friend group. Olivia is like the pretty girl, she’s nice, she’s fashionable and she fits right in with the friend group. She ends up developing a crush on Cesar which in ways, causes some problems within the group, but nothing that she does intentionally. I like Olivia fine, she’s one of those characters that I could take or leave. If she wasn’t around, that’s cool but since she was, that’s cool too. I didn’t mind Ronni Hawk, I don’t know anything about her, but I thought her Spanish was terrible.
The Story is Mature. At its core it’s about friendship. Our group is getting ready to go off to high school and Monse comes back from summer camp to find that Cesar has made up a rumor about her and has left the group. She is determined to find out what happened, so most of the first episode is her reuniting with Ruby and Jamal and trying to find out what she missed over the summer. She learns that Cesar was forced into the same gang as his older brother who was released from jail that summer. So, the season focuses on them trying to find a way to rescue their friend, while trying to navigate high school, friendships, family and romance. It’s all handled really well, while I do think the school aspect does get a swept under the rug compared to everything else but I understand that that’s not as important as everything else.
The Humor. Being that it’s set in current time, a lot of the dialogue is just funny because I think the way teens talk is already hilarious. So put them in a show like this, where you have characters like Ruby comparing himself to a Ruben sandwich (since his full name is Ruben lol). It’s hilarious. Plus, characters are awkward and they get into situations that teens shouldn’t be in, but they find themselves in so they have hilarious reactions. Plus, Peggy Blow as Ruby’s abuela steals a lot of the scenes she’s in. Jamal has some great scenes with his parents and this creepy dude and his shop with a bunch of gnomes. Oh man, I was cracking up. Expect to laugh throughout the show.
The Friendship. I think the chemistry between the four main kids is really strong and they feel like they’ve been friends for a long time. They’re all different in ways, but they just fit together. When Olivia is introduced, she fits in with them as well. I also believe some of the drama they have, in a friend group, things are bound to happen and friendships will be strained, that’s just how life is.
Very Relatable. The show is very relatable in how the kids deal with their problems. I don’t think problems get solved and that’s that. A lot of happens and it has long-term consequences or it’s no solved so quickly. That’s life and I like the fact that the show doesn’t gloss over the problems. It feels authentic which I think a lot of teen dramas miss out on these days, I may enjoy them, but I know it’s fiction. On My Block feels real. All of the characters are relatable in that kids get older and experience physical body changes, pressure from parents, from friends, romance, gangs, family, it’s all very real. I also like the fact that they just live day by day. Yeah, they have plans for what they want to do tomorrow, but that’s not what they focus on. It’s all about that moment.
Mature Storylines. Even though these characters are like 14-15, their reality is legit. They live in an inner city Los Angeles neighborhood and they witness a lot. There are times where they hear gunshots and they’re scared about it but then to lighten the mood, they try to guess what kind of gun it was. There are gangs, violence, drugs, and that’s just their environment and the show doesn’t make a big deal about it, it just is. The sexual moments of the show are also handled well. They are minors so it can be a little squick but that’s legit too, teenagers do have sex, so don’t be afraid to talk about it. Also, the stuff about families and how Monse does a little research to find her mom, it’s really emotional and I felt that. It’s all handled very well and with maturity.
Cons:
The Acting. It wasn’t all bad, nor was it always bad but sometimes in certain moments or episodes, the acting got really over the top, or like they were trying to hard. I think this is mostly notable in Sierra Capri. Her character seems like the defacto leader of their little group and whenever she got invested in something, she liked to raise her voice or yell and it just was too much. Or certain expressions she would make. It was just weird. I even though that Brett Gray sometimes did too much but his character was kind of the “over the top” character in ways too so it wasn’t as noticeable.
Overall, I really really liked On the Block. I think the first season is worth the watch and I am super excited for season two. Every bit of this show feels measured, and carefully planned out. Nothing was wasted. The 10 episodes we got, showed so much but at the same time, left a lot to explored. It’s such a strong show right out the gate that I literally have no complaints other than the acting. I think all of our main actors are great in their roles, they have great chemistry with each other, and they bounce off of each other so well that I believe they’ve known each other for years. It’s really funny as well, none of the humor feels forced, it almost feels like the young actors ad libbed and the director just let them. It’s so organic. I love how it just feels like I’m watching the lives of real teenagers instead of a tv show. It’s very relatable, the mature storylines really help the show from veering into a dramatic teeny bopper show. My only complaint is that not all of the acting is the best, mostly from Sierra Capri, she’s a bit inconsistent but her best scene was definitely the one when she was babysitting. Otherwise the show is great and definitely worth the watch!
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen On My Block? If not, watch it. It’s on Netflix. If you have, let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Don’t forget to like and follow this blog for more reviews!

Movie Review: Annihilation (2018)

annihilation

Summary: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply. 
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Natalie Portman as Lena. She is a biologist and former soldier, Kane’s wife. It’s been some time since Kane went on his mission and Lena has dealt with his absence in a quiet torturous kind of way. She keeps to herself, she always seems sad and when he returns, she takes it upon herself, after she’s taken to the facility, to find out what happened to him. Throughout the movie, we see her think quick on her feet, use her military background to make tough and smart choices and we see her use her biologist brain to learn about The Shimmer. I think Lena is an interesting character in that she’s kind of quiet, and you’re not sure if you like her or not, but she’s a survivor and usually those types of characters can be a hit or miss and I think because Natalie Portman is likable, she keeps Lena likable. I thought Portman was really strong in this movie and share carries it very well. The action she had to do was cool, the emotions she conveyed I felt. I mean, I think she’s always good.
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dr. Ventress. She is a psychologist and the leader of the expedition. She’s weird but she has her own agenda for leading the expedition. She’s also quiet, similar to Lena but you definitely don’t really trust her and what she might do. She seems really harmless but I would never let my guard down around her. We learn things about her,that reveal her reasoning and it begins to make sense. I don’t think I’ve really seen Jennifer Jason Leigh in much (outside of A Single White Female and I don’t know if I saw the entire film) but she has this uncanny ability to be very unsettling and she has a great scene at the end of the film.
  • Gina Rodriguez as Anya Thorensen. She’s a paramedic who goes on the mission because she’s one of the few who doesn’t have anything to lose. Anya is the cool one, who seems always up for anything, but she’s strong. She tries to protect her team, mostly Josie as she seems like the youngest and Cass. Anya is the first one to show being affected by their time in The Shimmer and it’s interesting to see that development. She has some pretty badass moments too. I’ve never seen Gina Rodriguez in anything, but she seems really likable and she is. This character I think is likable because she’s the tough one, but Gina really gives her some humanity and when we see the decay… she plays that really well.
  • Tessa Thompson as Josie Radek. She’s a physicist and I think the youngest of the group. At least it seems that way, everyone is very protective of her. We learn a few things about her too along the way, and I can’t help but to feel protective of her as well. I think Tessa Thompson does a good job making her characters stand out by being someone you root for even if she isn’t the lead. Josie is smart, but it’s easy to see that what she sees in The Shimmer unsettle her and she just wants to learn and understand. She also has a badass moment.
  • Tuva Novotny as Cass Sheppard. Cass is a surveyor and geologist. She seems like she’s the oldest of the group Lena meets. She, like the other women has a sad past, she’s at the site as a way of escaping just like the others. She is the one who reveals back story information to Lena. She was cool and though I’ve never seen the actress in anything before, I thought she was able to be this person who felt like she’s seen a lot.
  • Oscar Isaac as Kane, Lena’s husband and a soldier in a previous expedition. I love Oscar Isaac, no matter what he does, he’s such a great actor. When we first see him, he seems strange, like something is off about him which makes you want to know how he managed to make it out from the Shimmer. In the present, he spends a lot of the movie in a coma, but we do get to see flashbacks, as well as video footage of him inside the Shimmer. He’s always great and he always finds the balance of being a bit off and being the kind of guy who is adventurous and curious as he seems to be in the flashbacks.
Visuals. I think one of the best things about this movie is the visuals. It’s very beautiful in a lot of ways. It has some scary and gross imagery, and with me being a punk for nasty looking stuff, its gross. but a lot of it is also very beautiful. There is a scene where the group goes to this small town looking place, and you see these flower statue things and it was really weird but beautiful. Not to mention, what happened to Josie was handled really pretty. BUT like I said, the scary imagery, for me was definitely freaky.
The Soundtrack. I thought the music was handled really well. Especially in scenes of exploration, it had this kind of serene feel to it but at the same time, it was alien. There were times where the music overpowered the movie, where it was really loud, I don’t know if that was on purpose, but it definitely made me react to certain things in ways that I might not have without the music. Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow did a good job with the music.
Thought Provoking. This is the kind of movie that would leave people talking afterwards. Some will not like it, some will and some will see the depth of the story and create their own theories and ideas of the ending especially. I think that’s the making of an interesting movie in any aspect. My friends and I were definitely talking about the ending and what we thought it meant. We also chatted about what was really going on and what the aim was with The Shimmer. It was so interesting
Danger is Real. Inside The Shimmer is creepy okay. There were a lot of beautiful things that were evolved from things we know into something else but there were also some dangerous things that became even more dangerous. There are two scenes in particular that deal with the same thing that had me on edge. Between the acting, the visuals and the music/sound… it was so heightened.
The Lighthouse. Just the entire scene in the lighthouse is amazing. All of it. Probably my favorite sequence in the entire film.
Cons:
The Story. Now, I’m not the type of person to tell someone “Oh you just didn’t get it” because I think that’s condescending. Now, I may ask questions to get your thoughts on something but I will never say those other words. But, I do think the movie tries too hard to be… different that in ways it just feels like a giant question mark. Maybe that’s the point but it’s also really frustrating. Answers are not given and I think the movie thinks it’s giving answers, but instead it’s just vague and cryptic.
Boring/Starts off Slow. I do think this movie is really boring in the beginning. I like set up, I like to see characters in their natural element before they are suddenly put in a situation that it nothing they’re used to, but I still want to be interested in their life before. I don’t think the movie picks up until they go into The Shimmer. Everything before that, was really boring, really slow and while I was curious to see what was going to happen, I didn’t really care. If you like action and adventure, while this movie has that, that’s not the focus. Especially at the beginning.
The Flashbacks. Throughout the movie, we got these little flashback scenes of Lena and another man. Without going into detail, when we first saw it, I went “huh?” and when they showed it again, I kind of rolled my eyes. I get why it was there, it showed a bit more into Lena’s reasons BUT I don’t think we needed to see it. Honestly, the moment at the beginning was enough for a viewer to infer what might have happened.
Overall, I enjoyed watching Annihilation, I think it’s an interesting movie that I’m sure people will either love or hate, I don’t know how much middle ground there’ll be. I liked it. My friends and I did talk about it afterwards, with our own theories, and I even asked a coworker who read the book, some questions but after that, I moved on. I’m sure some people will talk about it for ages. The acting was very good, the characters were interesting and I’m curious to see what happened after the end, I hope there’ll be a sequel. The visuals were stunning and I bet seeing this movie in IMAX would be beneficial for the sight of it alone. I thought the music really helped set the atmosphere for the film, especially when in the Shimmer. The danger felt real. Also, the lighthouse, the entire scene was amazing. However, I do think the story is confusing on some levels, mostly because it leaves a lot of things open-ended, or open to interpretation, it’s hard to really get what the movie is saying. I think it’s talking about evolution in a lot of ways, testing the strength of a person but the journey to get there is a question mark at times. I also think it starts off slow and gets a bit boring as the pacing slows down. Lastly, the flashbacks of Lena and the other man, I felt were unnecessary. It just padded the film more. Overall, I liked Annihilation.
Rating: 3.4 out of 5 stars.
I read that the studio wanted this movie to go on Netflix. After watching it, I can see why they would want that, it does feel like it could have been an awesome Netflix movie but I think it’s worth seeing in the theaters… if it’s still in the theaters. This review is overdue lol.
But have you seen Annihilation? Do you think it should have been a Netflix film?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments and don’t forget to like and follow this blog.