Showing posts with label netflix. Show all posts
Showing posts with label netflix. Show all posts

Friday, February 14, 2020

Best Reactions from Stranger Things Season 4 Teaser

Best Reactions from Stranger Things Season 4 Teaser
Stranger Things season three left fans heartbroken but optimistic. To save face from spoilers, for those who don't know, a beloved character was seemingly killed off in the latest season finale. Fans mourned their death with the characters' loved ones and assumed that was the last we'd see of him.

Cue to the teaser of Stranger Things's season four and fans suspicions - ones who believed the character was still alive - were surprisingly confirmed before more details of the next season came to light.

Of course, the fandom responded as it does - with the best reactions on social media. Here are some tweets helping us celebrate and anticipate the next season. 

This post contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) Recaptures The Rom-Com Magic

To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You / Netflix
From Set It Up to Always Be My Maybe, Netflix has become the new home for romantic comedies. Adapting the best-selling novel by Jenny Han into a three-film franchise, To All the Boys I've Loved Before captured the hearts of bookworms and movie lovers in 2018. And the streaming platform's plans to keep the series's heartfelt success going for its next two features continue strong.

Lara Jean Song Covey's (Lana Condor) secret love letters that were never supposed to see the light of day end up in the mailboxes of her old school crushes. To save face from embarrassment and coming in-between her sister and an ex (to whom one of the letters is sent), Lara and one of her crushes Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) start a fake relationship. Their attempts at keeping up with appearances while getting to know each other personally gives way to real feelings.

We last left the couple on the lacrosse field optimistically declaring their feelings for each other, but going back to Adler High School behind is tougher than they think. After risking it all and willing to take a chance on love, Lara Jean and Peter are no longer pretending to be a couple - they're the real deal. As Lara struggles to navigate her first real relationship, a fellow love letter recipient John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher) springs back into her life, leaving Lara to question what being in love truly means.

Where To All the Boys I've Loved Before brought us along on the journey of Lara Jean's struggle to trust giving her heart over to a real relationship instead of a fantasy, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You brings into view the expectations Lara places on herself as she falls in genuine love for the first time. Both Lara Jean and Peter have to confront insecurities from past relationships (namely with Peter's ex Genevieve played by Emilija Baranac) - they must learn to shed the restrictions of their fake-ship and invest in each other wholeheartedly.

As perfect as love stories might read on the page, it's an entirely different challenge to experience them in real life. Offering a perfect mix of rom-rom chemistry and grounded, relateable performances, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo pick up where they left off, vibing off of each other as the characters gradually grow up. As the beating heart of the series, Lana Condor once again brings humor, heartbreak, and self-awareness to her role as Lana. She perfectly fulfills the role of the conflicted and personable heroine we don't often see in romantic comedies anymore. Next to Centineo's Peter whose energy is as contagious as over, Jordan Fisher's John steps into the role of the sensitive and artistic dreamboat who might steal Lara's heart with ease.

Despite the first film's release two years ago, it doesn't feel as if time has passed at all between the two films. The sequel makes a few major switches behind the scenes - the director's chair passes from Susan Johnson to Micha Fimognari, while Sofia Alvarez adds J. Mills Goodloe as her screenplay partner. From her splendidly bold and colorful costumes to cinematography by, Lara Jean's world takes us back to the nostalgic sphere of rom-coms that sweep us off our feet. Also serving as cinematographer, Fimognari keeps the visual palette from the first film, giving the trilogy a consistent atmosphere and look that you can't get enough of.

For the most part, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You recaptures the same charm as its set-up, revitalizing the nostalgia for rom-coms of the past. It has more adorable characters, gorgeous costumes, and tender mishaps between the letter-writing love triangle that'll make you swoon as rom-coms should do. At times, it also expands its missteps, namely failing to let Lara Jean explore life outside of the confines of her view about and by Peter or John Ambrose. While the first film explored the similarities between Lara and Peter but balanced out the hiccups of their unorthodox arrangement, the consistent string of miscommunication and mix-ups limits the foundation of who they are individually. Some issues throughout their relationship, particularly Peter's inability to look past Genevieve, never exactly feels resolved or that the main relationship grows as much as it could. Subsequently, the cast's chemistry makes the story work even in its strongest and weakest moments where you can't help but feel like rooting for them.

Ringing in the old days of John Hughes's movies, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is a rare gem, continuing the magic of the first flick and becoming a solid follow-up for a trilogy. Led by effervescent star Lana Condor, the film offers an enthusiastic and heartwarming diversity to a round of complex and endearing characters. The story reminds us of what it's like to fall in love and the journey of learning to communicate and be vulnerable in a relationship. As a romantic-comedy series for a new generation, the charm and joy from the mini-franchise leaves us wanting more for its final and third installment.

Rating: ★1/2☆
Have you seen To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You? What did you think?

Please Note: I was provided with a screener in order to watch this film. To All The Boys I've Loved Before and To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is currently available to watch on Netflix.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Watch On Netflix: Stranger Things 3 (2019)

There’s just no avoiding Stranger Things. When a new season releases on Netflix, you run towards the Upside Down arms open – Mindflaying domination over Hawkins, Indiana be damned.

The third season of the popular series kicked off with another edition of Nancy Drew adventures for our heroic misfits: Steve, Robin, Erica, and Dustin investigate a mysterious code at the new Starcourt Mall. On the other side of town, Eleven with Mike, Lucas, and Will try to discover why the Upside Down is having a sadistic affect on Max's brother Billy. Meanwhile Nancy and Jonathan struggle with their new responsibilities after high school, as Joyce and Hopper discover that the Russians are coming (or have never truly left).

If that seems like a lot to read, it might not come as a surprise that it’s also a lot to digest while watching the newest episodes. As the third chapter in the Stranger Things saga, the series finds a balance in righting and recycling some of its previous flaws.

As a precaution, if you haven't seen Stranger Things 3, read at your own risk. This post contains spoilers!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Watch on Netflix: Bird Box (2018)


2018 has given us quite a few reasons to believe that women can do more in Hollywood than what they’ve been regulated to. Similar to films released earlier this year such as science-fiction flick Annihilation or romantic-comedy Crazy Rich Asians, the latest apocalyptic adaptation Bird Box is another example of an unexpected film telling a different story than the ones we’re always used to: female roles can be complex, actresses don’t have to stick a certain genre, and men can be more than  the only strong character.

Based on the book by Josh Mallerman, a mysterious virus triggers people into killing themselves sparking an international apocalypse. Mallory, an artistic hermit who's not prepared to give birth to her child let alone the end of the world, must fight to step outside of her shell in order to survive. Forced to live alongside fellow survivors – an Army vet Tom (Trevant Rhodes), a MAGA conspiratorial Douglas (John Malkovich), a young and naive pregnant woman Olympia (Danielle Macdonald) - she has to remain guarded enough to stay alive but also not lose hope in humanity.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Watch On Netflix: Set It Up (2018)

For the past several years, romantic comedies haven't flourished like they used to. Gone are the days where one quirky love story after another swept us off our feet and dominated the box office. While The Big Sick and Love, Simon have recently become beloved favorites, regular hits seem few and far between. After significant word-of-mouth through social media, there might be some hope left for the ol' harmless genre with Netflix's Set It Up

Two hardworking assistants Harper and Charlie (Zoey Deutch and Glenn Powell, respectively) are anxious to live a normal life outside of the office and enjoy more free time to themselves. To get a much-needed break and reconnect with neglected aspirations/relationships, they decide to secretly set up their bosses Kristen (Lucy Liu) and Rick (Taye Diggs) for a quick hook-up that might just become the real deal.

Fascinatingly, Set It Up is not entirely different than most 'chick flicks' you'd find on the Hallmark channel - which isn't an insult to Netflix's surprise hit at all. Like all rom-coms, the story is a bit of a fairy-tale and more happy-go-lucky than real life fails to be; there's cutesy montages, sappy quotes about what it means to fall in love, a dance-party-Spotify-worthy songlist. Drawing on elements of what's worked in the past for the genre - heartwarming characters, the right cast, and a joyful setting - director Claire Scanlon and writer by Katie Silberman revive the rom-com wheel to create a funny and light-hearted movie night and a big hit online.

Where the movie truly shines is the leads. Zoey Deutch charms the hell out of her role as Harper, an awkward, dorky 'insert foot into mouth' aspiring writer who's become too comfortable filling out her boss's requests in order to take a leap of faith and combine her love of words and sports into a different career. (Something I relate with all too well, fyi). Glen Powell is the perfect counterpart as Charlie, a likeable guy-next-door who puts up with his hotshot boss in order to be promoted and live the high-life, but in getting everything he wants, he might inadvertently fall down the same loveless path Rick's on. As a pair they truly steal the show, wonderfully alienating each other until they fall in love as we fall in love with them.

As for Harper and Charlies' bosses, the script for both Kristen and Rick isn't horrible but could be a bit stronger. There's simply more to love about Lucy Liu's performance and wardrobe than Taye Diggs's. The former's boss-from-hell is fierce, independent, and demanding yet as down-to-earth-as possible, while the latter's quite one-sided and doesn't put his charisma to good use. Though Diggs is typically wonderful in everything he does, his character is less of a perfectionist womanizer with a heart of gold underneath, and more of a spoiled tantrum-thrower with shades of decency thrown in. While the rest of the cast has a sense of humor tailored to them (Harper's sarcastic/clever, Charlie's dry, Kristen's sharp), Rick's one-liners are so random they'll require a double-take. Additionally, Kristen/Rick's initial run-in can only be described as awkward, in comparison to the rest of the movie that's quite subtle and wholesome. While Rick's faults goes to the writing more than the actor, everyone blends together quite smoothly; Liu has a lot more to work with here (she might even get her own sequel), but with Diggs, they manage to exude 'will-they-or-won't-they' chemistry as well as Deutch and Powell.

The most refreshing aspect about Set It Up might be how it avoids falling into tropes with its characters, especially its heroine. The script, and Deutch, have a great time with Harper as a hard-working and dorky-to-the-max protagonist, and also showing that she hasn't had a lot of romantic partners but that doesn't necessarily define. Charlie, who thinks he's quite the ladies man, doesn't try to change her personality or looks to improve her life. Their relationship starts out as strangers who want the same things, which develops into a relateable friendship and something more. There's no man-boys forcing women to be something they're not (looking at you Judd Apatow) or a girl being forced to choose between work and love (looking at you...every other rom-com ever); all of the characters are on equal playing fields. As Netflix churns out feel-good flicks left and right, this one's reminiscent of traditional romantic movies that are thoroughly missed.

Set It Up might not be the most original romantic comedy, but sometimes that's the best kind of escape; girl and boy meet; for the most part get along and wear their 'friendship blinders' until they discover what they've been missing: each other. The movie has a lot to love just the way it is. With a great cast and delightful setting, it's genuinely worth a watch or two.

Have you seen Set It Up? What did you think?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Stranger Things Artwork

Stranger Things Artwork
Happy October! It's so exciting that Halloween is just around the corner. What better way to kick off this spooktacular month than with artwork from the hit series Stranger Things. Inspired by the nostalgic eighties and eclectic characters of Hawkins, Indiana, this collection of artwork hails from every corner of the web, especially the upside-down. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Season Review: Stranger Things

Netflix Stranger Things season review
Plucking similar children from The Goonies and setting them into a conspiracy within The X-Files and E.T., Netflix's nostalgic series Stranger Things is out of this world.

When twelve-year-old Will Byer (Noah Schnapps) mysteriously vanishes, his pals try to find him by putting their D&D knowledge, walkie talkies, and bicycles to the test. As Will's mother (Winona Ryder) and the chief of police Jim Hopper (David Harbour) start their own investigation, a mysterious girl Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) with supernatural powers may hold the answers about weird disturbances occurring in their small town.

While the show remarkably weaves together laughs and scares into the backdrop of an eighties sci-fi quest, the cast steals the show. To start with the kids as Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) who are Will's closest friends are refreshingly natural. It's been a while since I felt performances by child actors were animated as well as complex. The boys are so buoyant and full of personality. With Will out of the show 90% of the time, the actor/characters' bond restore the purest connection friends share: the loyalty, hope and trust it takes to be apart of a pack.

Distinguishing one role over another is a difficult task. Every actor is an essential part of the show, but when Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven enters the scene, hold onto your eggos! She is someone of a very few words and whose actions speak much louder. Her character's abilities make her powerful and mystifying, and Brown brings a true humanity as a secret weapon, eliciting a fierce and tender performance.

In a true feat of meta-casting, Winona Ryder is on hand as Will's mother Joyce. Though the notable actress didn't go into an official retirement, the eighties icon 'comes back' with a striking perseverance. As a hardworking outsider of their small town, Joyce becomes increasingly unraveled and determined to find her son. Managing the difficult task of being aware how family and strangers see her desperation, Ryder acts a fine line between fragility and unshakable determination. Some critics have written her performance as hysterical, but she undoubtedly is another bad-ass mama bear whose protective nature is as fierce as it is warm and endearing. Seeing Ryder again in any capacity is pure joy, and she doesn't disappoint here.

I would say the series is a character-led adventure with enough creepy atmospheric elements to keep their quest interesting as well as entertaining. Series creators The Duffer brothers found a magical recipe to create the hit of the summer: write characters inspired by Steven Spielberg's young-adult catalog who have big hearts and a bigger sense of wonder, and cast them in a suspenseful Stephen King-esque world. Their binge-worthy experiment oozes with scares, delights with nostalgia and provokes epic feels.

Perhaps their most impressive achievement is how the series lives as a tribute to the eighties pop culture the brothers loved growing up. Although the Duffers make a plethora of references of movies from yesteryear, their influences aren't flat and flashy. The attention to detail towards the cast, costume, set, music and cinematography feel like something straight out of the eighties instead of a one-dimensional homage. For some, the creators might've gone overboard. For someone like me who is mildly aware of iconic science-fiction and horror movies, the show balances old and new to avoid being boxed in by certain film elements it mirrors.

Stranger Things is a welcoming change from a pretty slumber summer within television, and even newly released movies. The series' eight episodes play out almost exactly as one epic vintage blockbuster and even eight individual ones. If you haven't watched it yet - curl up under some blankets. Be prepared to laugh, get scared, and believe the hype. Trust me. Friends don't lie.
Rating: ★★★
Have you watched Stranger Things? What are your thoughts?