The Witch (2016)
I just watched Emma (2020) and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) and all I can say is:
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Life has gotten VERY crazy over the past couple of weeks (it feels more like months-time is irrelevant now). To escape watching the news again and again I have turned to TV and movies now more than ever. While some of these I watched at the start of the month, when life felt more normal, more have been added since “social distancing” and quarantine. But these are my top choices for the month overall. Some will seem familiar from my top Quarantine picks (check out that article if you’d like here) and that’s because many have been my recent watches.
LOCKE AND KEY
I cannot stop talking about this show. It is no way similar to this, but I feel like I have not loved a Netflix show like this since Derry Girls last year. This is the show I keep asking people if they have watched it and telling them to if they haven’t. So you should watch this show :)
Locke and Key follows the Locke family as they travel to their father’s ancestral estate after his tragic death. It is their mother’s idea and the three Locke siblings don’t want to leave their home in Seattle and find it tough accumulating to their new home and school. The youngest son, Body, is the first to hear these magical keys that lead to the larger mystery of this story. When I finished watching I had to quickly jot down my notes on the show. I am so happy that I looked at Netflix’s Top 10 list to decide what to watch next. I got hooked easily and while certain characters had annoying moments, in the end I really liked them and cannot wait to see how the story progresses in season 2. SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS…… I knew Ellie was going to be “Dodge” in the last episode when she got thrown through the door. It was just too easy. There was still like 20 minutes of the show left and then when she yelled out Tyler. It just felt right, but I was not expecting Gabe to be the 3rd personality! This echo really knows how to manipulate people. And now Eden too!
The idea of having magical keys and the different powers for each was really creative and something I would have never thought about. Lots of people have compared it to Stranger Things, Narnia and Stephen King novels, and while those are somewhat accurate there is so much more to it. Must check it out for yourself!
Before movie theaters closed (here in New York) I was lucky to see Onward in theaters. Even though I’ve already seen it, I am still very excited that it will be released to Disney Plus in a couple of weeks (days?) and is already available to buy digitally.
Disney/Pixar had me guessing what this would be about for a while (like they usually do with their teaser trailers). But the more this was advertised, the more I got intrigued. It was a very cute film about the importance of family. Not just father and son, but also the bond of brothers. It took a slight turn I didn’t think we’d be taking, but am happy to see represented on the screen. I love all the moments the Dad did walking around (only a bottom half). It was pretty funny, especially when he had his top half on. I liked how they used a leash to keep track of him and how they communicated with him by tapping his feet. I think my favorite was the dancing though. Super realistic with the whole driving thing and getting on the freeway. (When Barley says something about never being ready it felt very accurate.) I wish their dad could hear them though. I understand why he couldn’t, but still it would have been nice considering the ending. Loved the MOM POWER! She was fantastic. I loved her duo with the Manticore. I also liked how realistic it felt, well despite not having mystical creatures in our world. I liked how they focused on beings taking the easy way out and losing a piece of yourself and your history. I wish I could experience a quest like that.
THE LODGE SEASON 2
The Lodge is a Disney Channel UK show that I was lucky to watch the first season of back in 2016 or 2017 (it’s so long ago I can’t remember). I kept trying to find the second season after it didn’t air on our Disney Channel, but had no luck. That is until Disney Plus. It wasn’t one of the first shows to air on the streaming service, but since coming out in November, the 2 season Coming of Age Musical Tween show is FINALLY available. I was thrilled! (If you can’t already tell.)
Naturally I started by re-watching the 10 episode first season. Each episode is about 25 minutes long, so it was a fast watch. I forgot how well I knew the story-lines and overall plot. For those unfamiliar with the show, the first season follows Skye Hart who is traveling back to the countryside with her dad, Ed to work (and own) the family’s hotel called the Lodge. Her grandad has been managing it for years and needs some help. Also after the recent passing of Skye’s mum it is nice for them to head back to somewhere that was so special to her. (This seems to be a common thread this month. Compared to Locke and Key this is a lot brighter.) Of course, the Lodge is experiencing some money problems so they have to solve that issue and fast because one guy in particular wants to buy it and create a luxurious spa resort (classic bad guy stuff). Skye winds up being the star of a reality TV show called My Amazing Life, which brings the publicity, but more drama than she intended. The show is filled with the classic teen drama: from love triangles to secrets and there’s also a mystery plot involving her mom and a mysterious man with the initials SJ. A bonus is the musical component. In true musical form the songs are often performed in the moment when a character is feeling sad or happy, but there are also concert performances on the show as well. Some of the songs are quite good and ones that I can’t get out of my head.
SPOILERS FOR SEASON 2
So, I definitely enjoyed the first season more than the second. Part of that was due to the plot. Obviously the Lodge was still not 100% solid, but I wanted to move past the money problems of the first season and explore some other stuff. (I don’t know what, but something else.) I also felt it was slower moving. While the episodes are about 25 minutes there isn’t much time to work with, but it often felt like we were still looking on a clue or hurtle for longer amounts of time then needed. I didn’t love the songs as much. Now as I am listening to some of them back I am liking more, but overall I thought season 1′s soundtrack was better. A lot of these songs sounded a like. I liked whenever Kaylee sang, but honestly thought she was singing the same song in a different version (now I know there’s about 3 different songs). Too much techno was used and lots of choreographed dancing that was at times strange. My biggest complaint was that Skye chose Sean over Ben, which was her biggest mistake. Throughout the season you could still see their chemistry in the looks they gave or moments that were said. (Her dad was the BIGGEST Team Ben fan.) But she only discovered it at the end when he was already with Danielle (wasn’t a fan of that ship either because of the way they rushed it). Even though there’s no season 3 (and it’s been years so it’s not coming) I will believe Skye and Ben are endgame. Because just look at them…
Another one that the more I saw it advertised and read reviews, the more I wanted to watch it. I saw this in theaters after Onward, but just before major social distancing started. There were 5 of us total in the theater, which made it feel like out own personal home theater. Loved this movie a lot more than I thought I would. It paid homage to the novel really well as well as previous adaptations that came before it, yet still was recognizable as its own re-telling. For a full review check out my article: REVIEW EMMA (2020).
In the past few weeks (few episodes, actually) I have done a complete 360 with my opinion on the CW’s Nancy Drew. In this first season I was immediately intrigued to enter the mystery and explore a CW show without superheroes (which I honestly do love, but I like how the CW is expanding their shows again). In the fall I kept tuning in for new episodes, but as the season went on they would pile up on the DVR more. My main problem was the supernatural element. I didn’t understand why they had to have ghosts be real in this world. I wanted a classic mystery (I guess in the same vein as Scooby Doo, where the murderers were real people rather than a mystical entity). I started to get used to this element, but I didn’t love it. (This was the time when we had a lot of heavy supernatural material and possessions, etc.) My DVR didn’t tape episode 12, so I watched it through a YouTube review before watching the next one (you can see how much I cared then–now I would have opened the app and watched the episode for sure). The next episode was the Whisper Box, which was great, but it wasn’t until episode 14 that I truly fell in love with this show (and started to watch the episodes the day of). Part of it is definitely that I got used to the style of the show and also that parts of the mystery are starting to wrap up, but what I’m noticing is my main reason is Ace. His character continues to get more screen time and we continue to learn more about his life with every episode. I loved meeting his dad and seeing their relationship. His detective skills combined with Nancy are my favorite part about this show and I ship them so much now. He brings a humor to this show like saying he has enemies at the library. Nancy and Ace’s looks to each other as they read Lucy and Ryan’s emails while at the library. OMG the chemistry! If the writers don’t act on this relationship in later seasons, I don’t know what they are doing with themselves. It’s right there and yet Nancy has two other love interests right now. There’s been so many other things in the last few episodes and I am dying for this show to come back this upcoming week.
I need more of these moments!!
PARTY OF FIVE
At the start of this month I had done a much better job watching this show and since then I haven’t been as good. I think I still have 5 or 6 episodes left, but I know it ended almost a month ago by now, so I will be able to catch up! I was familiar with the original Party of Five from the 90s and had wanted to watch that show for a while now, but due to the amount of seasons I hadn’t gotten around to it. So, once I heard this one was airing I was really excited to give it a chance. I like that it’s by the same creators as the first season and I can’t explain it, but I was really happy to see the iconic font with the title card. This show is so relevant for our current society. It addresses so many of the issues we face with the government today. Instead of having their parents die in a car crash like the original series, here they are deported which brings a whole other side to the story line. I like how we get to see the kids deal with them being away and the hope to live with them again while also seeing their current conversations. There’s so much drama and I am just hoping for some lightness at the end of this season because these characters deserve it!
from now on everytime a letterboxd user says something mean about Emma. (2020), i give Anya Taylor-Joy a little kiss. as a treat.
“The hair was curled, and the maid was sent away, and Emma sat down to think and be miserable.”