TV Review: The Umbrella Academy Season 1 (2019)

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Summary: A disbanded group of superheroes reunites after their adoptive father, who trained them to save the world, dies.
READ the graphic novel. Your local library probably has it. If you have access to Hoopla Digital then it’s free through your library. It’s really good and funny. Illustration is a little odd but it grew on me. That is all.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. So, we have our main six characters with some minor main characters throughout the show. I don’t think there’s really anyone I dislike dislike. In the comic, I really only liked Five. But Five and Klaus are my favorites in the show but the others I actually like as well.
  • Tom Hopper as Luther Hargreeves / Number One. So, we meet Luther, he’s living on the moon for reasons we find out later. He’s lived there for four years as a mission from his father. He would be considered “the good son” as he’s the only one who did not leave the team nor moved out of their house. During a mission he was severely injured and Reginald saved him with science. I won’t go into it further because it’s a nice reveal. Luther is a bit naive in that he hasn’t lived in the real world so he doesn’t really know how to handle certain things. He’s supposed to be the leader and he really tries to act like one, but he is really self-conscious about not only his appearance but I think of his skills as a leader. He’s “number one” which is something he says often but he doesn’t always act like one. I think that’s from a general thing of not really knowing his family anymore or knowing how to handle this world he was never really part of. For a while, it bugged me because I knew the actor looked familiar, I figured it out though, he was in Game of Thrones as Sam Tarly’s younger brother. He’s fine in the role. I mean, he’s tall and broad and a boy scout ultimately. He kind of reminds me someone, or like he was trying to channel Chris Evans as Captain America or something… but he’s fine. He had nice chemistry with the other actors.
  • David Castañeda as Diego Hargreeves / Number Two. He’s the one I probably like the least (both in the show and the comic, especially the comic). He’s a rebellious and he can curve the trajectory of anything he throws, his weapon of choice is knives. He’s the typical “angry one” of the family. The one who holds the grudges, who is the loudest when he doesn’t agree with something, and the one who always runs off to be a vigilante. He’s almost like an unlikable Raphael (TMNT). He did have a nice relationship with their mom which was probably the heart of his character, mom and Patch but things happen lol. I do like that he’s pretty much down for anything though, if it has something that allows him to throw his knives or bust through doors… he’s down. I recognized the actor from Switched at Birth and I wish he had a bit more charisma in general. He’s also fine in the role and some of the emotional moments are probably his best acting but I think he’s the weakest actor out of the main characters.
  • Emmy Raver-Lampman as Allison Hargreeves / Number Three. She’s from Hamilton! It was driving me crazy because I knew I knew her. She also reminds me of Kylie Bunbury. She has the ability to manipulate reality by lying with the phrase “I heard a rumor…”. Now that she’s an adult, she doesn’t use her power much anymore because she’s used it in situations that had consequences. She is also an actress. Allison is determined and her relationship she tries to save and foster with Vanya, I thought was a really strong part of the show. She was the only girl on the team and along with Vanya, the only sisters. She feels connected to Vanya and really tries to strengthen their relationship and in some instances, I think she succeeds. I like Allison. I like that she speaks her mind and doesn’t back down just because she’s outnumbered by her brothers. I do wish she had a bit more character though and maybe in the second season we’ll see her be fleshed out a bit more. I like Emmy Raver-Lampman. She was also fine in her role, I liked her clothes, her energy was always good and I thought she stood out among the guys. I think the last two episodes were her strongest.
  • Robert Sheehan as Klaus Hargreeves / Number Four. Definitely one of my favorite characters. He’s flamboyant and just lives his best life. However, he is a drug addict which dulls his ability to communicate with the dead. He’s afraid of his powers so he drinks and does drugs to make it stop. However, there is one ghost who is always around no matter what. I quite like their relationship but I don’t want to spoil it. Klaus does his own thing but it’s clear he also likes to tag along with his siblings because whenever they’re going, he wants to be with them. Now at first it might have been because he wanted to get money to pay for drugs but as the show goes on, I think it’s because he wants to be included. He even says at one point “I’m the one person in that house who no one would notice is missing” which is true and a shame. He is the heart of the show and I really loved him. I’ve seen Robert Sheehan in one movie I think but he’s so good in this role. I liked Klaus enough in the comic but I LOVE him in the show and that’s a tribute to Robert Sheehan and what he did with this character. His quirks, his reactions to things and just the energy he had. I can’t wait to see more of him.
  • Aidan Gallagher as Number Five / The Boy. Now HE’S my favorite. I liked him the most in the comic and I love him in the show. He has the ability to jump through space and time. He is the catalyst for the plot of the show as his appearance kicks everything off. He traveled to the future and ended up in a post-apocalyptic world and got stuck. He managed to survive for years on his own before doing lots of things and then returning. We learn a LOT about him so I can’t give anything away. He’s soooo interesting and entertaining. This kid is so good in this role as he is playing a 58-year-old man in a 13-year old’s body. His mannerisms and facial expressions, even the way he talks just works so well for him. I liked him a lot in the comic, he was the one who made me laugh the most because it’s so crazy but I liked him even more in the show. He’s condescending, really smart and just does things because he’s the only one who gets shit done. Sure, it doesn’t always work out but at least he’ll do it and not sit on his hands talking about it forever. I think Aidan Gallagher does a great job! Like I said, the way he moves, plus the way he uses his powers is super cool. I just liked his character. I hope we continue to see more of him and that they don’t age him up because I’m not interested in that.
  • Ellen Page as Vanya Hargreeves / Number Seven. She is a meek and insecure violinist with no supernatural abilities which has alienated her a bit from her siblings. Vanya is around a lot when the siblings get together but more often, she is by herself or with the guy she meets. I don’t dislike Vanya but she is super annoying because she’s dumb. Like, I get that they all have their issues since their dad was pretty abusive in ways but be smart girl. Anyway, her and Allison have a lot of great scenes and I think Ellen Page has great chemistry with Emmy Raver-Lampman.
Supporting Characters.
  • Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha. She is part of a duo of ruthless assassins. She is the more brutal of the two it seems and one of the best in her field. She’s there to do her job and follow protocol because that’s what she’s supposed to do. We do see some interesting growth from her though. MJB is fine overall. Some of the action stuff is pretty cool. I really loved her suit.
  • Cameron Britton as Hazel. He is Cha-Cha’s partner and the milder of the two. He seems to be losing interest more and more in his job and he’s pretty likable. He and Cha-Cha both. He has a nice little side story line as well. I’m not sure how invested I was in it, but I thought it was cute. I like this guy, he has likability about him.
  • John Magaro as Leonard Peabody. He’s learning violin from Vanya and without spoiling anything, he is kind of important to Vanya’s storyline. He’s annoying though and I did not like him. Also, his voice is super annoying but I guess he’s fine.
  • Jordan Claire Robbins as Grace. She is their mom for all intents and purposes. She’s really sweet and very attentive to their child. I think she’s very likable and her relationship with everyone is really nice, especially the one she has with Diego. Sometimes her smile is a little creepy though lol. Jordan Claire Robbins is good in the role.
  • Adam Godley as Pogo. A chimpanzee and Reginald’s closest assistant. He’s like an old sage who knows a lot of Reginald’s secrets and slowly reveals things to the kids. I see why people have mixed reactions to him but I think he thought what he was doing was right. The CGI on him is very good and Adam Godley has a great voice for the role.
  • Colm Feore as Sir Reginald Hargreeves. The Umbrella Academy’s adoptive father.  He manages to get seven of the 43 kids who were born on the same day and he raises them to be superheroes. He was very distant from them though and they all pretty much hate him, though I think they also secretly love him because he’s the only father they knew. Anyway, the flashback moments we have of him are so interesting and we don’t know what his real deal is. He does have a great scene later in the series and I wonder how he felt for his children. How did he feel when Five never returned? He did erect a giant portrait of him. He erected a statue after Ben’s (Number 6) death so I wonder his true feelings. I didn’t realize Colm Feore was in many things I’ve seen but he’s good here and the pompous like voice he puts on fits this role.
Use of Powers. Throughout the show the only person whose powers we really get to see on a regular basis is Five’s since he has his own thing going on. He seems to have the most use for his. I mean, Diego has this whole vigilante thing going on but his knife throwing power (skills really) are more like cool than something I would be like “oh yeah his power is dope”. Klaus has his thing but we don’t really see him accept it and get into until towards the end. Luther is strong so sure and Allison doesn’t use her powers. I like that we got to see some flashbacks of them as kids using their powers and I just hope in the second season they show us the Eiffel Tower mission because that’s the first one we see in the comic and we really can see them use their powers more. So ultimately, I like how Five uses his abilities and the last two or three episodes definitely has some cool power stuff going on.
The Action Scenes. Y’all these action scenes are well choreographed and the music is paired so well with them. In the first episode we get this awesome diner scene with Five, then in episode two we get another action scene with Five in a department store. The fight scene in the house was pretty good. Oh! The fight scene with Five in a later episode that I don’t want to spoil is also really good, quick but good. I wish we saw a little more but perhaps in season two they’ll give us more action scenes to great music.
Very humorous. I’m currently watching it a second time and I still find certain things funny and I even laugh at things I might have missed in my first watch. I think it’s a very funny show. Klaus and Five have a lot of great moments. Hazel and Cha-Cha are also really funny, especially when they’re together and mostly in the first two or three episodes they are in. Some of the humor can be dark, some of it like dirty humor. I laughed quite a bit. One of my favorite funny parts is when Five goes to this lab trying to find something and he jacks this guy up who calls him “Young man” lol and then later in that same lab with Klaus. Plus, the bowling scene with that mom and her kid going up to Five. HAHA I die every time. It’s some great stuff.
Interesting Story. It differs a little from the comics but it’s still an interesting story. Their “father” has died and there is a mystery around his death. Then Five returns and he’s raving about the end of the world and he has his mission and it takes a little while before the others put stock in what he’s talking about. Then you have Hazel and Cha-Cha who are after Five so you don’t know what they’re going to do lol. Then Allison has her plot with her family and her trying to connect to Vanya… I mean there’s a lot going on and I think the shows handles each story line well. I think everything manages to get the same amount of attention enough to make you care about what that character has going on.
Sisterhood.So, I think the crux of the story is the relationship between Vanya and Allison. We see flashbacks here and there of their childhood but we didn’t see them really interact so we don’t know if Vanya’s solitude was from them directly or indirectly through their father. It’s implied but ya know. Allison really tries to connect with Vanya  because it’s just the two of them in a sea of their brothers who have a lot going on. I really like it and I hope we get to see more of it in season two because regardless of what you think of Allison or even Vanya, Allison was really trying to be a sister to Vanya and she may not have always gone about it in the right way (but who’s to say ‘the right way’) but she always tried. Especially towards the end, they share this smile that I thought was super sweet and, in the end,  Allison is the one who might have made the best decision for their family.
Emotional Moments.There are a few in the show and I think they are handled extremely well. Some of the ones that stick out to me is the one with Allison and Luther in the phone booth. I actually teared up a little bit. It was emotional but the acting from both actors was really good in those moments, especially Emmy Raver-Lampman. Klaus has a few moments in the latter half of the series. He goes to a bar after something big happens and just the quiet moments… wow. Diego has one with his mom in the middle of the series where he makes a choice to do something and the acting was good between both actors in that scene as well. Towards the end, Vanya and Allison have a great moment in a cabin and that is all but such a great scene and well-acted by both actresses.
The Soundtrack. This show uses music so well that anytime it came on, it didn’t feel out of place. There was of course musical score but they also had a lot of songs integrated into the show as well. The very first fight scene with Five in the diner has a song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” and I don’t know why but it totally fits the scene. In the second or third episode, there’s another scene with Five in a clothing store and Hazel and Cha-Cha have caught up with him, that song fit that scene so well too. There’s ANOTHER fight scene in the mansion with the siblings and Hazel and Cha-Cha that also had great music. Also, one of my favorite scenes is when Five leaves the mansion in episode two, this is when he is actually 13 and the song “Run Boy Run” comes on as he is walking down the street and going through time… it was so good. Listen, the music is used so well here, it rivals Guardians the Galaxyof best use of music lol.
Cons:
Broken Records.BRUUUHHH if I heard Luther say “I’m Number One” one more time, I’m going to punch him. There are TOO many times in this show where characters repeat themselves like we didn’t just hear you say that last episode. Your dad was a jerk, okay great, you’re number one… super. You don’t rumor people anymore, awesome. You were told you were ordinary all of your life. Great. Awww, you believe in her when no one else does… fantastic. I mean sheesh. All the time! Shut up! The audience is not stupid, we do not have to be reminded of that kind of stuff all the time. We get it. Trust your audience to know what was said last time. Trust that we’re keeping up and if someone isn’t, that’s not your fault, they can re-watch the show.
Overly-Dramatic. So, I like that these are people who happen to have superpowers, that’s cool that them being super isn’t the main thing about them or the show. However, sometimes it just feel like their problems are extra and they need to get over it and move on. Probably because they spend so much time talking and talking and talking about it all the time… all the time that it becomes annoying. Luther and the whole thing with being on the moon and not feeling like he’s important boooyyy, Diego and trying to compete with Luther (even if he tries to act like he’s not) and this whole brooding thing. Allison with Patrick and Claire and Vanya with her whole. Honestly, I was with Five in that whole “you have no idea what’s important”. I’m not discounting their problems but SHEESH.
Slow Pacing. There are a few times, mostly in episodes 6 and 7 and the scenes with Vanya and Leonard that I thought were really slow. There are parts of 6 and 7 that are really good but overall, they slow down compared to the rest of the show. I mean 8-10 picks up the pace and never lets up until the show ends. So, it kind of sucks that you have the first episode which is slow and then it picks up for a while and then slows back down. I can imagine some people having a hard time really finishing the show because of that.
Acting Abilities. While I think everyone is overall fine in the show, there are some who stand out against others who aren’t as good, at least all the time. I think Robert Sheehan, Ellen Page and Aidan Gallagher were really good in their roles and their characters had nice quirks because of them. Emmy Raver-Lampman was mostly good, there was a few times I was like meeehhh. Tom Hopper seemed to me like he was trying to channel Chris Evans’ Captain America and I couldn’t help but to think that the entire show and it kind of irritated me. I don’t know if that was intentional or just him… but I didn’t like it. Stop it Tom. David Castenada is probably the weakest to me acting wise out of the siblings, he’s not like the worst ever but compared to the others he does stand out in his abilities. Maybe it’s just his character but outside of the emotional scenes I’m like ehhhh. Also, I enjoyed Mary J. Blige as Cha-Cha but she’s also not that great either. I don’t think she was as good as she probably needed to be for this role because there were some moments with Cha-Cha towards the end where I feel like she couldn’t pull of the “introspective” thing or “vengeful murdery woman” as well as she should.
Overall, I really liked The Umbrella Academy. I think it’s worth the watch for anyone who is into superhero materials or comic books. As I didn’t really like any of the characters in the comic, I think it’s a great service that I liked them for the most part in the show. Number Five and Klaus were my favorites in the show. I think all of the characters though are interesting in their own rights, whether or not we got to see everything to know them. The music was well chosen and utilized in the show, especially in the first two episodes with all of Five’s scenes. It’s a very funny show and even on the second watch, it’s still funny. I liked the emotional moments, particularly the phone booth scene and the scene with Diego and Grace. One of the strongest aspects of the show is the sisterhood between Allison and Vanya. It starts off rocky but we watch it grow and we watch how Allison really tries to connect with Vanya and this relationship comes full circle towards the end of the show. As for the negative, I think the characters can be very whiny and overly dramatic with their issues. They are also broken records! SHUT UP! I do think the show has pacing issues particularly in episodes 6 and 7. Lastly, all of the acting isn’t the greatest. Anyways, Five is still my favorite followed by Klaus so watch the show if anything FOR THEM and the MUSIC lol. It’s a good show though lol.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars.
Have you seen The Umbrella Academyon Netflix yet? What are your thoughts on it? Who is your favorite character? Least favorite? Do you have a favorite episode? What are you looking forward to see in the second season?
Let me know your thoughts down below! Thanks for reading!
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Movie Review: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018)

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Summary: A human child raised by wolves must face off against a menacing tiger named Shere Khan, as well as his own origins.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. The voice over cast is extremely good. I didn’t know who was in the movie before I watched it so I wasn’t really placing anyone. I then noticed Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Benedict Cumberbatch were in the movie and then I figured out who they were lol.
  • Rohan Chand as Mowgli. First of all, this kid is adorable. Extremely. I thought he did very well in the movie. There were a few times where it wasn’t coming through exactly like in the emotional moments but overall, I thought he managed to push through it. I like the moments where he’s quiet and he’s just watching because he has very expressive eyes. Some of my favorite moments was when he just got into the man village and he was learning everything, the camera would just watch him as he watched and learned and it was really beautiful. I also thought he did very well with reacting to the animals around him, showing his fear, his anger and the emotional bits. As I said, it didn’t always hit but I thought he did very well. He was very sympathetic.
  • Christian Bale as Bagheera. He is a black panther who finds Mowgli after his family was killed and takes him to the wolves. He becomes one of Mowgli’s mentors and friends. We also learn from him that he was born in human custody. Bagheera is kind and caring and while he believes in Mowgli, he’s also worried about him when it comes to living in the jungle with Shere Khan on the loose. Bagheera often makes choices that would protect Mowgli even if it seems harsh at the time. I knew I recognized his voice when I first started watching the movie, I think Christian Bale is great at voice overs (Howl’s Moving Castle anyone?) and his voice is so soft with honey like tones in the movie that it really works. There’s a great scene where Mowgli and Bagheera are talking about Bagheera’s history and it was a moving scene.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Shere Khan. He is a crippled Bengal tiger and Mowgli’s arch-enemy. He’s ruthless and will do anything to get what he wants. I think with him being crippled (his front right paw is like bent back so he can’t walk on the pad of his paw). Benedict Cumbersnatch is good at voice acting, he’s played many a villain in motion capture. I thought the voice he put on for the character was sinister.
Supporting Characters. There are a lot of side characters, some whose names I didn’t retain but there are a few who might not constantly be in the film but they have important roles.
  • Cate Blanchett as Kaa. She is a python and a seer. She is the main narrator of the film and it seems that she is on Mowgli’s side. We see her mainly twice, once where she saves Mowgli and then another time when he goes to her and she shows him some important information. I guess she could be a “mentor” but she’s not around enough for me to really say that. Cate Blanchett is always a win and her voice is amazing as always.
  • Andy Serkis as Baloo. He’s not the Baloo we know from the Disney movies, but a grisly, drill sergeant teacher. His face has a lot of scars showing his life, which was cool, but he looked a little odd. We did get to see him fight a few times which was cool. I don’t think he and Mowgli had a relationship that rivaled what we’ve seen before but the role he played, where he encouraged Mowgli to be at his best. One of my favorite parts was during the Running and he freaked out on Bagheera because of what he did. Andy Serkis is always great in motion capture and he’s great here too.
Dark and Gritty. I’ve never read the book, it’s on my list and I don’t know the tone of the story but this is very different from the Disney versions which director Andy Serkis made clear. For one thing, Baloo is this grisly mentor instead of a happy-go-lucky friend. Also, with the hunter and how Mowgli ends up deciding between the village and the jungle that was pretty intense. The monkey scene as well, there isn’t a King Louis but the monkeys end up knocking him out while dragging him to their hideout, and Shere Khan leaves this giant scar down Mowgli’s arm… I mean it’s also a little bloody. I quite enjoyed it though. I also think there was a little more at stake here in that Shere Khan was doing things that would break jungle law. The Hunter storyline in general and what we learn about Bagheera.
Bagheera and Mowgli. I didn’t want to compare this to Disney’s The Jungle Book (2015) but in this case I kind of have too. In both Disney versions, one of the biggest praises is the friendship that Mowgli has with both Bagheera and Baloo. Obviously, they are on two different levels with Baloo being the fun-loving friend and Bagheera being the protective one, but this movie does it a little differently. Baloo and Mowgli aren’t really friends at all, but he and Bagheera are and I thought the relationship they had was beautiful. Bagheera truly cared about him and did everything he could to protect him even if it came off in the wrong way. The scene by the cage, that is one of my favorite scenes.
The Man-Village. This might be a little spoilery, but meh lol. I really enjoyed the scenes in the man village. Mowgli wakes up in a cage and just watches everything around him and we see how some of the people react to him as he is a little jungle baby. Then when we finally see him out and about in the village, there’s a great scene between him and Frida Pinto as she washes him and teaches him the ways of the village. There’s not a lot of dialogue that goes on while he’s there, mostly because he doesn’t understand their language (though I wonder since he understands the animals, can other humans understand them or how that works. I mean, it’s fine but I’m curious). Then they have a Festival of Colors and I want to go so bad lol, but it was great and to see him fall into it and enjoy himself. It was great. I really liked all of that stuff.
Cons:
Shere Khan’s Motives. I guess he doesn’t really need any but I’ve always thought the idea of him killing humans just to kill them was lame. I mean, sure, it’s a villain move, but he’s so hellbent on getting Mowgli because he missed him the first time without an actual cause? It doesn’t make for a very interesting villain personally. He keeps doing things that breaks the law of the jungle… but why? He didn’t necessarily need to say why, but it would have been nice to discover that.
A Little Too Dark. There were a lot of times in the movie where I couldn’t see what was going on. I shouldn’t have to adjust my TV’s brightness for the movie to be seen. It was really annoying a few times so I just had to shrug it off.
Weird CGI. I don’t think all of the animals looked that great. It was cool that they had scars and battle wounds ya know, they’ve lived in the jungle but some of them looked scary and not in a good way. I think particularly the wolves and Baloo didn’t look great.
Rushed In the Last Act. I prefer the first half definitely because I thought it was pretty well paced but the last half flew through the story. I liked the stuff in the village, especially when he was in the cage, but once he finds that stuff with Lockwood, it just goes so fast that it feels so different from the first half. His standoff with Shere Khan was so quick I was like… meh.
Overall, I quite enjoyed Mowgli: Legend of the Jungleand I tried not to compare it to Disney’s version in 2015 and yes, it’s very different. I thought most of the characters were interesting, particularly Mowgli, Shere Khan and Bagheera. All of the motion capture and voice over acting was handled really well and I thought Christian Bale really portrayed the character of Bagheera in an interesting, compelling and sympathetic way. I will also give Rohan Chand his props for playing Mowgli. This is his first leading role and I thought he handled himself really well, he’s really great to watch. I enjoyed the dark and gritty tone in that it felt like there were actual things at stake, the hunter storyline, the kind of frightening images and of course the monkey stuff lol. I also really loved the storyline between Bagheera and Mowgli, they seemed a lot closer in this version and it allowed them to have a different kind of relationship that was really emotional. The man village scene was beautiful, without the dialogue it really helps just watch Mowgli grow immersed. Now, I did have a problem with how dark the movie looked in that I couldn’t tell what was going on. The CGI wasn’t always the best. The last act was extremely rushed  after what I thought was nice pacing in the first two acts. Also, Shere Khan’s motives were kind of meh. I get it but meh. But it’s worth the watch if you love The Jungle Book.
Rating: 3.59 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Netflix’s Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle? If not, you should check it out, it’s worth the watch especially if you love The Jungle Book. If you have seen it, let me know your thoughts down below and let’s discuss!
Thanks for reading and be sure to like and follow this blog for more movie reviews!

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!

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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