TIFF 2020: PENGUIN BLOOM REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Penguin Bloom is Glendyn Ivin’s dramatization of the surreal true story of Australian Sam Bloom, who was left paralyzed and unable to walk after falling off a balcony during a vacation in Thailand. After her family take in a stray injured magpie that is unable to fly, she learns to adjust to her new disability through caring for the intelligent wild bird. It’s a heartwarming tale, with messages that are a little too on the nose and a script that is a bit too sickly-sweet – but an overall uplifting movie that will most certainly make you want a pet magpie of your own.

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TIFF 2020: NOMADLAND REVIEW

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland is generating a lot of hype right now, having just won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival. It’s a fascinating insight into the nomad lifestyle, and a showcase of Frances McDormand’s talent – the best performance I’ve seen during TIFF so far. Treading the line consistently between bleak and optimistic, loneliness and community, Nomadland kept me engaged and invested throughout, despite not a whole lot actually happening.

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TIFF 2020: GET THE HELL OUT REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

If you’ve always been itching to see a Taiwanese political zomromcom with slapstick humour and over-the-top visual effects, well, Get The Hell Out is what you’ve been waiting for. Director I-Fan Wang’s feature debut plays like a heartfelt tribute to director Edgar Wright’s stylish blockbusters (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim) and is a mostly fun watch that occasionally leans too heavily into the silliness.

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TIFF 2020: SHIVA BABY REVIEW

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby was equal parts hilarious and downright stressful. The film focuses on Danielle (Rachel Sennott), a student in her early twenties who is juggling a murky academic career, a sugar daddy, overbearing parents and an uncertain future after school. Taking place over the course of a single day, Danielle attends a shiva with her tightly knit community and struggles to keep a lid on all of her secrets.

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BREAKING BAD: Season 4 thoughts from a new viewer. Zzz… Oh, is something finally happening?

I very nearly lost my way with Breaking Bad watching this season. Not only was it a chore to watch, turns out it’s a chore to write about, too. I mean… How much actually happened? Particularly around episodes 7 and 8, I have several notes about this being the toughest season to get through. It wasn’t particularly entertaining to watch, and even characters who I used to love lost their spark and became less interesting to watch. Not to mention the fact, it turns out they actually DID kill off my favourite little scientific assistant, Gale. 😦 Continue reading “BREAKING BAD: Season 4 thoughts from a new viewer. Zzz… Oh, is something finally happening?”

BREAKING BAD: Season 3 thoughts from a new viewer. The highs were higher (HANK!), but the lows were lower (One word: Fly)

This has been a tough post to write – I’ve got so many thoughts on Season 3 and when I think about it, I really can’t begin to decide HOW it matches up to the first and second. I should have expected something a little different when the first episode opened with a bunch of people doing The Worm. I mean… What on Earth was up with that, actually? Continue reading “BREAKING BAD: Season 3 thoughts from a new viewer. The highs were higher (HANK!), but the lows were lower (One word: Fly)”

BREAKING BAD: Season 2 thoughts from a new viewer. A strong start that faltered at the last huddle.

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Bloody Hell, how fast does this show move?! In my last post I guessed this season would slowly chronicle Walt & Jesse becoming the ‘new’ Tuco… And that had already happened by episode 5. I was also expecting us to see a remission storyline close to the end of the show, but then – boop – there it is in the second season! I couldn’t believe how quickly they kept things moving, which was nice for pacing as it kept things consistently interesting.

Some highlights this season include the sheer amount of tension they managed to pull off throughout – especially any scene involving Tuco’s father. How did a character who can’t do anything else but ring a bell become so damn suspenseful?! He was fantastic. Continue reading “BREAKING BAD: Season 2 thoughts from a new viewer. A strong start that faltered at the last huddle.”

BREAKING BAD: Thoughts on Season 1 From a New Viewer

I needed a series to get stuck into during social distancing, and what better than one that completely passed me by for years. I’ve started watching Breaking Bad with no spoilers or any idea where the plot goes whatsoever – which I feel is kind of miraculous considering how critically acclaimed the series is. Before I started episode 1, I knew this was a show about drugs, I knew it starred Bryan Cranston, and I knew it’s supposed to be just a little bit good. That’s… Everything, actually.

I’m going to write out my reactions to each season here, alongside my theories for where the plot is going and what’s going to happen next. Let’s get started with season 1! Continue reading “BREAKING BAD: Thoughts on Season 1 From a New Viewer”

What Final Fantasy X could have been – tattoo systems, links to FF VIII, and terrifying hippos

Final Fantasy X released way back in 2001 (Holy shit has it really been that long) but has seen pretty consistent attention from Square Enix over the years with sequels, ports, remasters, accompaniment material, and most recently a version of the game’s Ultimania book translated for Western audiences. I’ve been looking through this book and collected some of the most interesting pieces of trivia and developmental information together in this post to imagine what could have been.

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This early concept art shows us a villain who is giving me some serious FF II Emperor vibes

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The 5 best video games of the decade (feat. recency bias)

I can’t let 2019 end without jotting down my thoughts on my own personal favourite games of the last decade. Yes, obviously this list heavily favourites the latter half of the decade and I admit there’s probably a fair bit of recency bias at play. But I also think it’s just a fact that games have gotten better in recent years as more developers try to push the boundaries of what people think video games are capable of. Here are five of my favourites of this decade. Continue reading “The 5 best video games of the decade (feat. recency bias)”