Autumn TV Recommendation: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I’m four episodes into this show and I’m feeling a lot of things. It’s not perfect by any means. Like Riverdale, it’s taken a story we know and love, and given it a dark modern twist. I guess it’s aimed at a YA audience and that might be why I don’t love it as much as I want to. Yet, anyway.

That said I’ve only dipped my foot in so far and there are a lot of things I do like, so I’m going to keep on going. The upside is that it’s come out at just the right time of year – and it’s a show my husband will actually willingly watch with me.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

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.

Sabrina Spellman (Kiernan Shipka) isn’t like most girls. She’s half-witch, half-mortal for a start and as her 16th birthday approaches, she must make a decision that none of us have ever had to make: sign herself over the the Dark Lord himself in exchange for unimaginable power or… not.

Meanwhile, there’s the issue of her boyfriend Harvey, and friends Susie and Rosalind (Lachlan Watson and Jaz Sinclair) to consider. How’s she supposed to leave them all behind to start a new life at witch school? Especially when Susie’s being horribly bullied.

Can she conceivably live a normal mortal life or will her magical side win out? These are the things Sabrina is working through with a little help from her aunts and her cousin Ambrose (Chance Perdomo). I think he’s her cousin.

I adore Zelda and Hilda. Ambrose too is delicious and a welcome addition to the Spellman household. Salem, Sabrina’s familiar so far is mute which I find disappointing but I guess it’s to be expected in this contemporary retelling. Still, it’s disappointing as he always used to get the best lines in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.

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I’m also quite enamored with Mary Wardell (Michelle Gomez), Sabrina’s teacher who is currently possessed by a demon who feasts on male flesh (yay). Although there is sure to be more drama afoot, at the moment she is an ally of the girls’ at school, advocating their women’s group and now, their banned books club.

And finally, the Weird Sisters, the mean girls who rule witch school. They’re so gloriously bitchy and wonderful. I expect big things from them. So yes, there is a lot to love so far and with so many TV shows, it’s more about the supporting characters than the main ones. I’m not quite sold on Sabrina the protagonist yet but there is time.

I’d like more magic, more bitchiness and less romancing Harvey. I want less school unless it’s about the feminist women’s club and I want more Madam Satan.

This show is proving to be very inter-sectional and feminist, I can only hope that continues. There have been some great lines while the whole concept of Sabrina not handing over her freedom to the devil, even if he can give her all the power and magic in the world is an interesting one. It’s bold to say no to the big man himself, and Sabrina is ruffling feathers left and right.

As she says herself, she wants freedom AND power. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that. I, for the record, would grab power and sign over my name in a heartbeat.

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What are you watching?

Sierra Burgess is a Loser (Film) Review

Netflix is currently in the throes of a rom-com renaissance. Finally giving us smart new romantic movies, directed mostly by women, we’ve been spoilt lately with the mighty To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018) and to a lesser extent Claire Scanlon’s Set It Up (2018). Both movies are better than most films of this nature and I am loving it. So when I heard about Sierra Burgess starring my one true love Shannon Purser I got super excited.

SBIAL is not directed by a female director though and it’s also sadly not nearly as good. Are the two connected?

Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

A case of mistaken identity results in unexpected romance when the most popular girl in high school and the biggest loser must come together to win over their crushes.

*Minor spoilers*

My Review

Sierra Burgess sets itself up in the usual way, establishing roles early on and leaving us in no doubt of who’s who in the social hierachy. Sierra (Purser) is the daughter of a famous literary father and a self-help guru mother (Alan Ruck and Lea Thompson) and ‘isn’t like other girls’ – or at least she prides herself on being one of the only girls who doesn’t care about her appearance. She’s smart basically and not distracted by such trivial things. (Yes there’s a slightly superior air to her but why not when she’s treated like literal dog shit by some of her peers?).

Veronica (Kristine Froseth) by contrast is a stone cold fox but a shitty person. She’s super mean to anyone ‘less’ and pretty horrid to her friends too. She absolutely has her sights set on humiliating Sierra just for the pure fun of it – which is how this whole tale begins.

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Let me tell you that I will always root for the underdog. Sierra isn’t always likable but she is motherfucking Barb from Stranger Things and therefore, I’m her homegirl for life. She isn’t ugly by any stretch but I get that we’re supposed to consider her the lowest of the low on the looks and body beautiful scale (e.g. she’s completely normal). When Veronica pinches some of Sierra’s tutoring flyers and gives out her number to a hottie Jamey (Noah Centineo) who believes it’s Veronica’s – well, you’ve got yourself a modern-day retelling of Cyrano.

You didn’t think Sierra could pull this off on her own with her hideous ginger face and oafish stature did ya?

Sierra starts romancing Jamey by text very quickly but soon hits a wall when he asks her to face time. Being the resourceful brainiac that she is, she quickly sees a window of opportunity and goes for it. Veronica, you see is trying to impress a college boy who thinks she’s a dummy. If only someone were on hand to school her in the ways of the ancient philosphers in exchange for a borrow of her face and body for a couple of hours?

So our unlikely duo team up to pull the wool over the eyes of their boy crushes – and fall in love with each other instead. Well, sort of, unfortunately not in the way I was cheering for – but in the friendship sense. For me this is the most important relationship to come out of the film, who needs boys?

Bitch Force Three

Sierra quickly learns that Veronica’s picture perfect life is very far from it (her mother, played by Chrissy Metz, is bitter, miserable and extremely hard on Veronica) which doesn’t excuse her behaviour but does explain some of it. Meanwhile, Sierra suffers for the pressure placed upon her by a brilliant and famous dad. She’s also just found out that she can’t just walk into her chosen college with straight As – she needs to stand out.

As the girls scheme and Jamey falls deeper and deeper for the Veronica/Sierra hybrid, things get increasingly elaborate (and stupid) – and Sierra’s friend Dan (RJ Cyler) implores her to come clean. Look, I don’t buy most of this and although I want to believe that the geek can get the hot guy (because I know it happens), this set up just doesn’t ring realistic at all. The cat fishing is creepy and nobody is as good and pure as Jamey is. We’re supposed to examine teen stereotypes here and realise that that’s all they are but surely the dishonesty would render forgiveness impossible – or at least never as quickly as it pans out onscreen? I know that’s a boring take but sue me.

Anyway, there’s a bit where Sierra pretends to be deaf and it’s really stupid. Then she does something horrible to Veronica proving that she’s no better than the school mean girls. The film is not terrible but it just isn’t in the same league as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and I resent it for that.

The final prom scene is very much a homage to John Hughes’ Pretty in Pink, down to the music and Sierra’s frock but it’s still not a good enough vehicle for my babe Shannon.

Justice for Barb (still)!

My Rating

3.5/5.

What does my girl think of this one? Would she catfish the fudge out of it or remain honest and true throughout? Find out here.

Selfie from Hell (Film) Review

We start September with a new horror currently featured on Netflix. It tackles one of the most prolific afflictions (?) of our generation (as I type that I realise that we’re not actually talking about MY generation but the one beneath it, maybe even further down that that. God, I’m ancient).

*Spoilers*

Selfie from Hell (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

After her cousin comes to visit and falls ill, a woman starts to receive strange cell phone messages.

My Review

We all know that selfies are bad and anyone who partakes might as well be murdered horribly as punishment, right? I think we can all agree. Obviously that isn’t the message here and I jest but one of my pet peeves is people who hate on social media even though its all part of evolution and the world we live in – and is generally a positive thing, sue me.

Anyway, this film doesn’t really do anything by way of a message which might be where it falls down. Perhaps if it had been making a comment on social media on the whole it would have been stronger but the result is all just very… so?

Hannah (Alyson Walker) is a good girl because she’s clean and pretty and conscientious. When her cousin Julia (Meelah Adams) comes to stay it is immediately apparent that something is majorly off about her. She looks dog rough for a start and this isn’t being mean, it’s the truth – the girl is clearly not well.

On arriving at Hannah’s, she soon falls into a stupor which leads her cousin on a dubious mission to find out just what the fuck is actually going on.

I might be a little hazy on the order of the day here as I was distracted (by social media, go figure) but Julia is from Germany and has traveled to the US to visit her cousin, Hannah. Back in her home country, Julia is a vlogger (popular enough to have a couple of conspiracy theories about her posted on the web but she’s no Zoella).

Before we even meet Hannah I believe there’s a spooky selfie taking sequence that reveals a nasty surprise for Julia – whenever she snaps a cheeky duck face, it is revealed that she is not alone. Fuck that, honestly – that would probably be the only way to deter me from taking pictures of my own beautiful face.

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“Please stop sending me Farmville requests. PLEASE!”

Back in the US with Julia in a catatonic fug, Hannah is desperately worried and determined to figure shit out. She first of all starts digging around Julia’s laptop which clues her in on some of her cousin’s recent vlogs. Or one, namely Selfies from Hell, Part 1. But where is part 2…? Ooooh.

Watching Part 1 doesn’t answer any of the questions Hannah has so she does what any sensible heroine would, she googles how to access The Dark Web. Is it that easy honestly? She also recruits her cyber/Skype love interest Trevor (Tony Giroux) who is a dab hand with a hard drive (pnar) who gives her just one piece of advice: don’t give out any personal information on The Dark Web. So she doesn’t and everything works out just fine. SYKE.

Obviously she gives out her personal email address within 17 seconds of speaking to someone – Trevor’s big plan is to go onto TDW and ask anyone if they know anything about these mysterious 13 selfies Julia’s been banging on about (apparently it’s a video which is kind of confusing and not what a selfie is but NVM. If you watch all 13 selfies then you’re basically in BIG TROUBLE).

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At least something was

Hannah gives her deets to user F34R3473R (fuck typing that more than once), gets sent first a nasty message, then receives several pervy phone calls. Who knew? During her Nancy Drew investigations, Hannah also uncovers multiple articles surrounding Julia’s mysterious death – but hang on a minute, she’s asleep upstairs in the spare room, non?

From here we loose grip on the narrative as Hannah finds herself in a sticky situation with the pervert stalking her, Trevor watches the 13 selfies (duh) and the evil entity reveals him/itself. I can’t really remember what happens at the end except to say there’s no happy ending for anybody concerned.

One interesting thing about Selfie from Hell is that main actress Meelah Adams produced a short by the same name (which then became this film) as part of her bachelor thesis on the effects of viral videos. I want to like it more for that reason alone. Unfortunately, it’s not very good beyond the deeply relateable premise.

It isn’t horrible, apart from not making the most sense, it’s just instantly forgettable. And let’s face it, there can’t be a more interesting playground to explore that The Dark Web so how is it so boring? I mean, apparently you can buy a raccoon on there – what’s not to love?

Performances aren’t great, the production values are not great and it isn’t that scary – however, the selfie scenes are creepy, I’ll give them that.

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“Keep searching, it’s a raccoon or nothing…”

My Rating

2/5.

What does my girl think of this one? Would she add it to her Instagram story or delete that shit forever? Find out here.

Weekly Digest – TV Special

While avoiding the World Cup and not watching Love Island, I’ve been doing far more intellectually significant things, obviously, such as watching these naked, lying under a fan and eating Wispas.

GLOW – Season 2

Liberty Bell and friends are back in the ring though things are far from plain sailing for any of them. Ruth (Alison Brie) becomes a problem for Sam (Marc Maron) when she gets ideas above her station and directs a really quite good promo video for the GLOWs. She also flirts with a cameraman and tries to rebuild her friendship with Debbie/Liberty (Betty Gilpin), which is easier said than done.

Deb, meanwhile fights for her Producer role (and to be heard as a woman) and is forced to examine the message the GLOWs are sending out to America when it is accused of being too sexy. Meanwhile, Sam struggles with newfound fatherhood and the girls are required to compete with one another to get in the show week on week, which causes friction, who knew.

GLOW is wonderful Technicolor goodness all round – bright, female popcorn viewing and it’s an easy watch, which means a lot on a Sunday afternoon.

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Good Girls

I’m already fully addicted to Good Girls, the Mae Whitman/Retta/Christina Hendricks starring comedy/drama about three mothers struggling to make ends meet. When they knock off a grocery store they could never dream they’d end up on such a roller-coaster ride, inadvertently involved with gangsters and trying to get straight despite every single obstacle that keeps popping up.

Or are they about to go a different way? If Beth’s head for lady boss business has anything to do with I think we have our answer.

The women are amazing, not only dealing with the drama but also their own lives. Beth is working through the aftermath of her husband of 20 years’ affair plus four children; Ruby has a sick daughter and needs to find a way to pay for experimental treatment, while Annie and her daughter Sadie have to face bullying as Sadie works out who she is.

It’s fantasy stuff I suppose but it’s fun and I like fun.

Preacher – Season 3/Luke Cage – Season 2

I’m only one episode in on each other these but so far so good.

Luke (Mike Colter) is a celebrity right now in his neighbourhood and Harlem is abuzz with his heroics. How long will this last and what are Mariah (Alfre Woodard) and her reluctant man toy Shades (Theo Rossi) up to? Meanwhile, Misty Knight (Simone Missick) comes to terms with the loss of her arm (pretty well if the above image is anything to go by) – and something terrible is surely about to happen for Claire (Rosario Dawson) and Luke because they’re so blissfully happy together. I can’t handle it!

While I am quite done with the Marvel Netflix shows, I really enjoyed the last Luke Cage and some of the episodes are directed by some great female directors, including Lucy Liu and Kasi Lemmons. Can’t say cooler than that.

As for Preacher, Jesse (Dominic Cooper) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) rush to save the life of Tulip (Ruth Negga) as is hangs in the balance. Sadly this requires the assistance of Jesse’s heinous family and some supernatural ju-ju. What could possibly go wrong? I’m delighted we’ve finally got to this point in Preacher, in the graphic novel my favourite parts revolve around the swamp lands and Jesse’s evil grandmother (played by Split‘s Betty Buckley). So consider me sitting here with high hopes.

What are you watching?

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?

Weekly Digest

Welcome to the first WD of 2018!

This week’s entry revolves around three TV shows because that’s basically all I’m doing at the moment. Working, coming home, reading or watching TV. It’s not the most exciting life in the world but it is January so it’s kind of expected, right?

This week, I’m digging, in no particular order:

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Lovesick

IMDB Synopsis

After finding out he has an STD, Dylan must get back in touch with every girl he has ever had sex with to let them know the bad news.

I’m behind the times a tad but Netflix has kindly just added Season 3 of this sweet little show and I’m delighted to be able to sit down and enjoy it. It’s fluffy viewing and very angsty about unrequited love and shagging but there’s something relateable about it. I think it captures your early twenties really well and the main characters are pleasant to look at.

I’m personally here for the friendship between Evie (Misfits’ Antonia Thomas) and Abigail (Hannah Britland) which is somewhat doomed given that Evie is in love with her best friend Dylan, who’s in a relationship with Abi. Awks.

(I’m only a few episodes in, so all this is of course subject to change).

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Dark

IMDB Synopsis

A family saga with a supernatural twist, set in a German town, where the disappearance of two young children exposes the relationships among four families.

This show is super weird and atmospheric – and I suspect, quite brilliant, though sometimes I feel as though I’m not following along as tightly as I should.

Something I do know, however, is that this feels like something exciting and new – and I’ll definitely be sticking around until the story has fully unraveled.

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Black Mirror

IMDB Synopsis

An anthology series exploring a twisted, high-tech world where humanity’s greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide.

The big don of viewing pleasures, BM is back and I’m so glad.

Season 4 has been more consistent and stronger than the last, and although at times it feels like we’re doubling back on themes we’ve already explored with Charlie Brooker, it still feels (to me) like fresh television.

I’ve enjoyed all of them this time round but my standout is Black Museum, which was GREAT. Special shout-out to Arkangel, directed by my girl Jodie Foster and Hang the DJ, which was a happy little tale (much like my all-time favourite BM episode, San Junipero).

Almost gutted I watched them all in such quick succession. *Shrug emoji*

What are you digging/watching this week?

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (Film) Review

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Second review of the week (check out the first one here), just because this film is worth a mention, and Jill and I just happened to catch it respectively as soon as it hit Netflix this weekend.

*Spoilers*

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

Director & Writer: Macon Blair
Stars: Melanie LynskeyElijah Wood, Jane Levy, Devon Graye, Christine Woods

IMDB Synopsis: 

When a depressed woman is burglarized, she finds a new sense of purpose by tracking down the thieves alongside her obnoxious neighbor. But they soon find themselves dangerously out of their depth against a pack of degenerate criminals.

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My Review

Have you ever just had the shittest day? One so bad it prompts you to question everything, including your place in the world? Ruth has.

Not only has she just been burgled, she’s also been shamed and let down badly by the fuzz. She’s fucking pissed. And when the police fail to help her a second time, she decides to take matters into her own hands with a little help from her odd neighbour Tony (Wood).

This vigilante business has a tendency to spiral out of control though, and does when Ruth gets back her laptop but not the family silver, bequeathed to her by her late grandmother. Grandma appears like a vision at intervals throughout the film to gee Ruth along in her quest, like she needs the encouragement. She’s got would-be ninja Tony for that.

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Name a more iconic duo. I’ll wait.

The unlikely duo unravel the mystery of the missing silver via a series of clues and good old-fashioned luck, but accidentally stumble onto a scene much bigger that they ever expected. There’s a lot of violence and some life lessons learnt along the way, but of course.

Getting mixed up with some super nasty characters, including messed up Christian (Graye), psychotic Dez (Levy) and their leader, Marshall (David Yow) leads to a lot of blood shed. The question is, will Ruth ever get her silver back? And more importantly, will she get the one thing she really, really wants: for people to just stop being arseholes?

Well, there’s only one way to find out, motherfuckers.

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“They call me Panty Hoe. Geddit?”

My Thoughts

Macon Blair‘s directorial debut wasn’t going to be overly fluffy now, was it? The star of the truly excellent Blue Ruin and Green Room (by director Jeremy Saulnier) has picked up a few tips along the way, and is undoubtedly a filmmaker to keep an eye on. By blending humour with hyper-violence and wonderfully real observations, Blair has basically got the winning formula. I couldn’t love him more.

There are elements that are just so perfectly executed that they’ll surely stick in the mind for some time. Highlights for me include Melanie’s memorable bedtime story to her friends kid, in which she ponders the injustice of a stranger breaking into her own home, her eye-watering run in with the elderly owner of a junk shop (ouchy) and a particularly vivid puking scene.

Melanie Lynskey’s Ruth is so identifiable and authentic. Jill commented in a message to me that it was refreshing to have her dress as a real woman and that’s so spot on. She’s a woman you’d be friends with, the one you’d have a pint with on a Friday night – and I want more of that. Wood too, is starting to grow on me and you best believe I never thought I’d say that about Frodo.

I love this movie, I love the tone, the detail, all performances and Jane Levy (always). I can’t wait to watch it again to be honest – or see what Macon does next.

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Are you achin’ for some Macon?

My Rating

5/5. Excellent and couldn’t be more my cup of tea. 

What did Jill think of this? Did she want to break it’s fingers or go on a vigilante road trip with it instead? Find out here

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Don’t get cocky now, Elijah. I said you were growing on me.