Weekly Digest

This week I am seriously digging:

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Atlanta, Season 2

The first season of Atlanta was so good, I feel like I’ve been waiting a life time for it to return. And now Donald Glover and friends (including the amazing Lakeith Stanfield) are back and it’s just as good as ever. Not only is deeply observational, it also has a lot to say about the state of the world, from the point of view of its mainly black cast.

It’s also funny as hell with some of the most off the wall scenarios (particularly episodes 1 (“Alligator Man“) and 6 (“Teddy Perkins“)). One of my favourites so far is episode 5, “Barbershop” which is pure perfection in its simplicity but is written so well and made me cackle all the way through.

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Killing Eve

I’m two episodes into this Phoebe Waller-Bridge co-written thriller and I’m frankly OBSESSED. Starring Sandra Oh, Fiona Shaw and always-flawless Jodie Comer as super-assassin Villanelle it’s already been pretty explosive.

Currently playing on BBC America it’s one of my most favourite current shows and I can’t wait to see how Oh’s Eve Polastri fares in her mission to uncover the identity of the woman knocking off several of the world’s most prolific people. What’s more this all feels very female and while we do meet your usual bullshit male bureaucrats, it’s very much the women who shine here.

Jillian, I think you will LOVE.

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This Jumpsuit (Above)

Look at this total babe in her orange kimono sleeved jumpsuit.

I can’t imagine myself looking half as good as this in it, however I still want to swan around in this in the warmer months, a straw bag swinging from one arm and my own statement earrings embellishing my ear lobes.

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Penguin Modern Collection

There are 50 books in the Penguin Modern collection and are only £1 a pop, so you can grab yourself some classics from the greats without breaking a sweat. So far I’ve got:

Fame by Andy Warhol
New York City in 1979 by Kathy Acker
Food by Gertrude Stein
The End by Samuel Beckett
Investigations of a Dog by Franz Kafka
Three Japanese Short Stories by Akutagawa and Others
The Breakthrough by Daphne Du Maurier
The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson
and The Custard Heart by Dorothy Parker

Not bad for under a tenner, eh? And they look amazing on the bookshelf or in my case, dotted around the flat.

What are you digging this week?

Catch Up

 

Remember when blogs were a form of journalling? When we’d write down what we’d done in that day or how we felt about certain things as if our online space was a fluffy pink lockable diary from the 80’s? (Nineties, 2000’s, whatever).

I feel like somewhere along the line I’ve lost what blogging means to me – even more so every person and their barista has an internet presence, be it a snarky Twitter feed or a mini-blog in the form of Instagram stories, is it even a thing anymore? As I type that I know that doesn’t matter at all, I’ve never had that much of a following and that’s completely fine – the interaction I’ve had via my blog has been meaningful and life-affirming in a way 10k likes could never be (I’m assuming).

I do this for myself first and I can’t imagine that ever-changing. But I do want to get back to a more passionate place. I love reviewing films, I love talking about books and TV I like too – but where are the feelings, where is the truth? So I’ll be exploring that in my posts moving on. Who knows where this will take me?

Anyway, a catch up, Dear Diary! My husband and I are currently on annual leave and I’ll be honest, I’m enjoying doing absolutely nothing. Films, Drag Race and reading in the bath, none of the spring cleaning I’d planned to do, none of the socialising I imagined myself doing (that part’s an out-and-out lie, sorry). It’s what we need right now and I’m not going to fight my desire to nest.

We also just got back from a few days in Amsterdam which was really lovely and chilled. We didn’t go as crazy as that city sometimes warrants but we wandered and ate and took a boat trip and looked at dicks in the sex museum and generally just hung out – it was perfect.

I didn’t partake in Amsterdam’s number one delicacy but I still enjoyed sitting outside the coffee shops, watching people. It’s such a cool city just to be in.

Today I’m catching up on blogging, both here and on my film blog, watching a few films for the podcast and I might do a Trixie Mattel inspired make up look, if I’m feeling it. I’m absolutely loving the freedom to chill out in my pants and do what I like. Tomorrow we’re doing a double bill at the flicks. All in all, a good week is (un)planned and I intend to enjoy it before reality comes knocking again.

Have a good week all!

Weekly Digest – TV Special

Easter holidays means time off work for me this year (yey) and that obviously means it rains everyday and I get to nest indoors watching my shows.

This is what I’m currently digging…

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Ru Paul’s Drag Race – Season 10

I’m not blown away by anyone in the line up yet but then I’m only two episodes in and Netflix is releasing episodes week by week, so I can’t just rinse it in one sitting.

I think there’s potential for drams between Miz Cracker and Aquaria, and I’m kind of into The Vixen – but other than that we’ll just have to see.

Alongside Season 10, I’m also playing catch up on Season 5 and All Stars Season 2, which is a different kettle of fish altogether. Season 5 had so many stand-out queens – Alyssa Edwards, Alaska, Jinkx Monsoon, DETOX – that it’s almost unfair to all the other seasons. Anyway, I’m having the most fun.

Who’re your fave queens? Mine are Kim Chi, Detox and Adore Delano!

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Mr. Robot

I’ve only seen one episode but man, it was a banger. I’m now obsessed and can’t wait to dig in further. It has a sort of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vibe with Rami Malek‘s socially anxious Elliot Alderson working for ‘Evil Corp’ by day and hacking shit by night.

He’s just met Christian Slater and done something dramatic that will set in the motion a series of events that will change his life – and society – forever. Presumably.

Eek!

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The End of the F***ing World

Everyone’s been gushing about this since it appeared on Netflix but I just wasn’t that into it. The two main characters – played by Black Mirror’s Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden – are kind of hard to love.
But I got there and then I really enjoyed myself. It’s quite bleak but also sweet with a great supporting cast, including Steve Oram and gorgeous Gemma Whelan.

What have you been watching?

Roxanne Roxanne (Film) Review

Funny how our March Madness Month has been more or less focused on films by and about fucking fierce women, isn’t it? Guess we weren’t quite ready to hang Feminist February back in the wardrobe, which is f-i-n-e fine with me.

To this week’s film which is no different, a neat little Netflix Original charting the rise of teen rapper Roxanne Shante.

*Minor spoilers*

Roxanne Roxanne (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

In the early 1980s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders.

My Review

Shante (Chanté Adams) and her family live in an overcrowded apartment in Queens. Things seems to be looking up as the women, Shante’s mother Ms. Peggy (Nia Long) and her daughters get set to move out and into a bigger home.

Ms. Peggy and her man have been planning a new life for the family while Peggy has been saving every last penny, finally stacking up 20 gees after years and years of hard work. Shit takes a turn when her boyfriends ups and leaves one night with the money in tow. Who fucking knew?

Throughout this movie it seems the girls’ are destined to learn than men are rubbish and never worth the effort. They hang around waiting for a father than never shows and suffer the wrath of their hard-working single mother who loves her girls dearly but has no time to suffer fools, because men. It’s actually the relationship between Shante and her mother that I liked the most about this film – Ms. Peggy is a force to be reckoned with but she ain’t taking no prisoners.

Following a rough patch at home, Shante moves out and in with a male friend (couldn’t work out if this was a friend or cousin actually). She shoplifts to order for a small gang and this is how she makes the benjamins to live. This set up can’t last forever and Shante learns the hard way that adulting is not easy and has no choice but to return home.

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Shante, the hero of this story, has shown a unique talent for rap battling from an early age and earned herself something of a local infamy. Because of this she finds herself regularly challenged to battle by snot nosed neighbourhood boys.

One day – in between laundry shifts – Shante throws down a couple of verses on a neighbour’s track and before she knows it, has blown up on the radio. Popularity though comes at a price and she finds herself growing apart from her school friends and family. She also meets Cross (Mahershala Ali), a charismatic older man keen to hitch his wagon to her rising star.

I found the older man/16-year-old thing really icky to watch even if it a true representation of what happened to the real Roxanne Shante. When Ms. Peggy confronts him for sleeping with her daughter I cheered. Although Mahershala Ali is one of the most exciting actors around at the moment, he plays sleazy Cross just a little too well. I hated him and I hated the violence he rains down upon the person he supposedly loves.

When Shante and Cross take their relationship to the next level, all sorts of Hell breaks loose. Will Shante survive to become the Queen of Rap, or what? You know what to do.

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My Thoughts

God this was boring. I mean, I love a rags to riches tale and I loved Shante but why did it feel so long when it was only 90 mins? It didn’t show me anything new, didn’t really inspire me to feel anything at all – and Shante has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it birthing scene that I thought I’d imagined. As a bridge across time I got its purpose but it didn’t work. There’s not that much character development either.

Nia Long and Adams are the stand outs in this, they’re brilliant with what they have to work with – and I would have been delighted with more one on one between them. All in all this movie just isn’t all that, sadly.

My Rating

2/5.

What does my Queen think of this one? Would she challenge it to a rap battle or take it on tour? Find out here.

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Atomic Falafel (Film) Review

A comedy about potential nuclear havoc this week – and you might be asking, where’s the LOL in that? Well, you’d be surprised.

Another prime example of Jill picking a film I’d never choose for myself – and me thoroughly enjoying myself.

*Spoilers*

Atomic Falafel (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

Two girls from nuclear towns in Israel and Iran spill their countries most valuable secrets on Facebook while trying to prevent a nuclear crisis.

My Review

What do you get when you place a general, the minister of defense, a commander and the chief intelligence officer together in an underground bunker in Israel? Apart from a load of middle aged men blowing hot air around, that is?

You get conversation about how to deal with the threat hanging over them by Iran, obviously. Complete with strategic sandbox props. And the brigadier general Partosch figures, since the world is against Israel anyway, that the only solution is to hit Iran with a fuck off great atomic bomb in seven days’ time.

However, when the International Atomic Energy Agency rock up, things take a turn. Among the IAEA is German Oliver Hann (Alexander Fehling), a hot piece who immediately catches the eye of lovely Mimi Azrian (Mali Levi), our local falafel van driving activist. Oli is highly and deathly allergic to uranium which makes him kind of useful to have around, in the context of tracing nuclear weapons at least.

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Mimi’s daughter Nofar (Michelle Treves) meanwhile, is hellbent on getting laid by her boyfriend, computer whizz Meron. They get distracted however when they get hold of a military command disc and decide to fuck shit up.

Nofar also meets teenage rapper, Iranian Sharareh (Tara Melter) online and their blossoming friendship has a lot to do with their ongoing campaign for peace between the countries. Oh and Mimi’s late husband, and Nofar’s father, was also Iranian.

Oli stays in Israel much longer than his original duties require when he starts to fall hard for Mimi – obviously, you can’t just walk away from excellent falafel. As the seven days draw to a close and the kids get themselves into more trouble with the authorities, will peace actually be achieved?

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I’ve left out a lot of nuance from this review. It’s really charming and has a real attention to detail. While it paints some of the military big wigs as buffoonish, it also places a lot of responsibility in the hands of our brilliant teens. Nofar, Meron and Sharareh are joyous to watch and I can quite believe that they have the power to bridge peace between the two warring factions. Plus, Sharareh is freaking cool and talented as well.

That said, our heroes are also afforded the time to be concerned about teenage things such as losing their virginity, getting decent grades at school and uploading content to social media.

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My Rating

3.5/5.

What did wifey think of this one? Would she feed it extra spicy sauce or leave it to be blown up? Find out here!

We’re All Born Naked

I know Drag Race isn’t perfect. I understand that sometimes it gets it very wrong – fat suits, dubious slang, controversial hot takes on trans issues – there aren’t excuses for these things. However, I am slowly working my way through the show on Netflix and I keep falling in love with contestants, again and again. New problematic fave it is then.

I’m sickeningly behind and only started at Season six so I better #werk to get it all in – but woah, how much fun?! I’m currently on Season eight – the Kim Chi Season – which friends have said is one of the weaker runs but I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it.

Here are my highlights:

*minor spoilers*

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Kim Chi everything

God, Kim Chi is so bloody relateable. Clumsy, lumbering, gentle – and insanely, magically talented – Kim Chi broke my heart more than once as she revealed that her family don’t know she’s a drag artist yet, and that as a child she always struggled to fit in. Although I can’t imagine what she’s been through obviously, a little bit of me can identify with the feelings of awkwardness and the inability to move that body without falling down a lot. I cried and cried in the episode where she broke down in front of the panel talking about how she’d finally found her place in the world. Damn, girl.

Kim can’t dance and she’s not the best actor but she is head and shoulders above the rest in the costuming/make-up stakes – and my favourite contestant to date. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Best Looks

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Kim’s signature look is massive manga eyes, cartoon silhouettes and bold colour everywhere. Let’s not forget her music video look:

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Best Quotes

“I came to DESTROY EVERYONE, with my make-up.”

“Donut come for me!”

“I came to chop suey the competition!”

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Acid Betty‘s Sea Creature Look

As far as I’m concerned, the show doesn’t get any better than this. I’m sure it does really and I will eat my words but of what I have so far witnessed in this Season, between Acid B and Kim Chi, I’ve never seen such creativity. It’s next level theatre and probably the main reason I’m here. I might stay for the shade and the character growth but I’m here for the looks – and Betty serves it up like a queen.

I’m was very disappointed when Betty was eliminated so early in the show. She was a stone cold bitch but I loved that about her and I also loved that she’d just started to open up about how little she fit into the NYC scene. She had so much more to bring to the table – luckily for me she’s prolific on social media so I can always get myself a fix when I need one.

Best Looks

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Betty’s Season eight finale look was FIYRE while her unique take on the Madonna theme, based on the Bedtime Stories video may have fallen flat with the judges, I was a fan of its dreamy Marie Antoinette vibe.

Best Quotes

“No need to adjust your TV sets. This acid trip is all real!”

“I do freaky drag… the drag scene should not be homogenized, and not everyone should look the same.”

“Acid Betty, out!”

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Team New York

In Season eight, Team NY was comprised of the aforementioned Acid Betty, Bob the Drag Queen and Thorgy Thor – a formidable threesome who may have loved each other but also knew exactly how to wind each other right up.

At the beginning of the episode, in which Team NY band together on a challenge, the trio strive to plant doubt in the minds of the other teams. But things take a hilarious turn when Bob and Thorgy rub each other up the wrong way and almost implode with their bickering.

Thorgy is a unique and interesting queen who I also enjoyed watching every episode – and I liked that she was neurotic and anal about the challenges she faced. I think the competition was a little poorer after she left too. Of all the queens in Season eight she was most like a character that could fit into Rent – and I loved that.

Thorgy’s Best Looks

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Lichtenstein meets Studio 54 by way of a Crayola box – Thorg wasn’t scared of being ugly at times and there must be such a lot of freedom in that. Especially in contrast to all that sterile perfection…

Thorgy’s Best Quotes

“Don’t borrow anything from Thorgy, because it has voodoo. You will go home, or lipsync for your life if you borrow something from me.”

“Witty catchphrase, you know what I mean?”

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Bob the Drag Queen

I can’t not mention BTDQ in her own right because I really enjoyed her turn on this season. The comedy element could grow tired at times but in general I love it when a contestant brings something else to the table and humour is a big thing in a sea of similarly glamorous drag artists, some of whom could be D-U-L-L af. (Looking at you Derrick Barry).

Bob of course had her own story and the humour hid a lot of his pain but I’m so glad he saw it through to the end *spoiler*.

Best Looks

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Rocking Madonna’s boy scout look from the 2013 GLAAD Awards, bringing Orange is the New Black realness to the Snatch Game and blinging it up. Fun all the way!

Best Quotes

“Purse first! Purse first! Walk into the room purse first! Clack!”

“Why y’all gagging, I bring it to you every episode!”

“Find something about you that you like and focus on that. If I don’t like my face, if I don’t like my skin, if I don’t like my weight. I think to myself ‘I have a nice teeth.’ And it may just start with that one tooth. Look at that tooth. That’s a nice tooth, man. And then once you can accept that little thing about yourself, you can just accept you for who you are.”

So those are my standout observations about Season eight. I can’t promise this will be a regular thing, these are just some of my thoughts on something I’m currently digging.

What are you watching/loving – thoughts on Drag Race?

The Fits (Film) Review

Welcome to March Madness (a week late, sorry) – basically an excuse to do whatever the fudge we want, like we’ve ever needed an excuse.

*Spoilers*

The Fits (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

While training at the gym 11-year-old tomboy Toni becomes entranced with a dance troupe. As she struggles to fit in she finds herself caught up in danger as the group begins to suffer from fainting spells and other violent fits.

My Review

There’s been a bit of a trend over the last couple of years for films that don’t bother to explain themselves. They are what they are and what you make of them is up to you. The Fits definitely falls into this camp. This dreamy, sometimes nightmarish amble through adolescence and friendship is at times fascinating, even brilliant – and just a tad boring.

Toni is a quiet, hard-working child dedicated to her boxing training and helping out her older brother at the gym he also trains in. One day she becomes enamored with a female dance troupe. To begin with she watches them from afar but eventually, with the encouragement of her brother, joins the squad.

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The main draw of this troupe seems to be their unswerving confidence and although this does not appear to come naturally to our silent protagonist, she puts the work in to improve her dance skillz – and even make a friend or two.

Things take an unusual turn when one of the dance leaders suffers an unexplained seizure. It’s shocking but as she recovers quickly and without consequence, it is soon forgotten. Until the next girl suffers ‘the fits’- then the next. Slowly but surely this phenomenon spreads through the group and Toni and her pals fear becoming the next victim. Fear, however, soon turns to something else. The fits come with a certain badge of honour and most of the girls want to be part of the rising hysteria.

It soon becomes clear that Toni is being left behind because she hasn’t suffered an attack yet, will she lose her grip on everything she now holds dear? Or will life just kind of take care of business for her?

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My Thoughts

This isn’t really your average beginning, middle and end movie. It’s more of a happening, a feeling – a rumination on puberty and of coming of age in a sometimes hopeless place. Royalty Hightower is enigmatic and lovely as our heroine. Toni barely speaks so dialogue is light and to bring such heart to a character through facial expression and mannerisms is impressive, particularly at such a young age.

It does border on dull a few times but there might be method in that madness because when I got to the climax I was blown away. It’s surreal, it’s stunning and it brings everything back together. It’s all a metaphor, innit? I recommend if you’re into this kind of dreamy film-making and aren’t afraid to unpack it all yourself.

My Rating

3/5.

What did the queen of the dance troupe in my heart think of this one? Would she leave it to her own devices in an abandoned corridor or film it on her iPhone? Find out here, obvs.

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