Happy Friday, everyone!
Currently, I seem to be dragging myself from one exhausting week to the next – this one featuring a six-hour teachers’ conference, the struggles of using a big compass on the blackboard to show my seventh graders how to construct triangles, and my general behindness on lesson-planning due to me spending all week rewatching my favorite Heartstopper scenes… Whoops! 🤣
However, since I have been spending quite a bit of time binging things this month, I thought now would be the perfect opportunity to share some of my cinematic opinions! I know this is supposed to be a book blog … but honestly, don’t people who love stories also love them in movie form?
So yeah, you’re getting thoughts! My April might not be that representative of what I usually watch – about 60% sci-fi, 20% trashy stuff (although that percentage increases exponentially around Christmas time), and 20% chaotic other things that I randomly decide I’m in the mood for – but who knows? Maybe some of you are still interested in seeing how I supplement my bookish input through visual content every once in a while. So let’s get into what I watched in April, in the order said watching took place!
Note: All images from the respective movies and shows were taken directly from posters their makers released to the press.
I already wasn’t the biggest fan of Crimes of Grindelwald, so it’s safe to say that my expectations for Secrets of Dumbledore were very, very low. But of course, being the massive Potterhead that I am, I couldn’t NOT watch it!
So watch it I did. And it was even worse than I’d expected.
Honestly, I think this movie’s only redeeming graces were its actors – Mads Mikkelsen as Grindelwald was awesome 🤩 – and the fact that we got to see the German Ministry of Magic. I mean, we had actual German actors playing the German roles and speaking German that wasn’t just people garbledly yelling “Sauerkraut” or “Lederhosen”! I’m seriously impressed!
But everything else was, unfortunately, a mess. A whole bunch of plot strands from the second movie were mysteriously dropped, only to introduce new plot points that didn’t make any sense, either. Key characters (**cough Nagini cough**) were suddenly inexplicably absent, making you wonder what the point of them was in the first place. Previously established rules of magic apparently just didn’t hold anymore. Dumbledore went from an extremely private and closed-off person to someone who suddenly told all of his secrets to Newt without any kind of prompting at all. Characters’ actions never had any long-term consequences. Plans that were presented as very logical didn’t really hold up to any sort of logic once you started questioning them. There were a whole bunch of new characters and places that were never actually explored in any depth at all. The movie’s “big reveals” were so stupid that I seriously wondered if they had been planned in advance at all… 🙄
The only good thing I have to say about this movie is that it wasn’t Cursed Child-level bad yet. But I also no longer think it is possible to salvage Fantastic Beasts from bad-to-mediocre-dom. With the number of terrible plot holes it has introduced, I just can’t take it seriously anymore, so I am afraid I no longer consider the franchise Harry Potter canon. Sorry not sorry.
Was Bridgerton, Season 2 exactly as trashy as Bridgerton, Season 1? Yup. It was all angstiness and drama and smut, and I was totally here for it!
(After all, I needed to spend Easter break recovering from school and have been using so much Russian lately – if you missed my wrap-up, my parents took in a Ukrainian refugee family who speaks nothing else – that I felt I could use a bit of extra practice by binging one of my go-to foreign language series 😁 The whole reason I got hooked on Bridgerton in the first place is that its shallow plot makes for very simple vocabulary, rendering it extremely watchable in other languages! )
Like Season 1, Bridgerton’s Season 2 is all about romance, dancing, and family drama. This time, we follow the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony, who is intent on marrying to fulfill his family duty. Love isn’t supposed to be in the picture, because if there’s anything Anthony has learnt in life, it is that loving people too deeply can only hurt you. But then he meets the Sharma family who has just moved back to England from India, and things suddenly turn a whole lot more complicated…
To sum it up: I think I might have enjoyed this season even more than the previous one! Of course, part of that could simply be due to the fact that my Russian has significantly improved since then, meaning that I actually understood more of what I was watching this time around. But there were also so many of my favorite trashy tropes in this! An enemies-to-forbidden-lovers romance. The brooding, seemingly stand-offish rich guy who is struggling to come to terms with a traumatic past and focuses on duty instead. Complicated sibling relationships.
If you’re craving a bit of smutty fluff, I recommend checking this series out!
I had actually started watching Young Royals before, but gave up because I was convinced I had to watch it without subtitles in the original Swedish – you know, to strengthen my non-existent language skills 🙃 – and then got super frustrated because I understood nothing. Well, nothing except “hej då” or random bits where the characters suddenly switched to English or Spanish…
However, in the time since, I have become much less ambitious and decided, what the heck, I’m just gonna turn the English subtitles on. And lo and behold – the show suddenly got a whole lot more interesting!
Young Royals follows Prince Wilhelm of Sweden, who is sent to an elite boarding school after he gets into a fight at a nightclub and disgraces the royal family. While Wilhelm initially hates Hillerska and how everybody there expects him to be as popular as his older brother, Crown Prince Erik, his feelings change as he grows closer to Simon, a boy from the local town who is attending Hillerska on a scholarship...
Overall, I enjoyed this! I really liked seeing a school setting similar to the one I had grown up with for a change – not that my school was super snobby or anything, but the way lessons are organized in Germany is much more similar to the Swedish system than the American one – and I also thought this show had great social commentary and many cute moments.
That being said, though, I also don’t think I’ve seen many shows that filled me with as much second-hand embarrassment as Young Royals did… 😅 Seriously, the decisions characters made in this series made me almost more socially anxious than I am in my actual life, which is saying something! Plus, I felt that the main romance was a bit rushed and could definitely have been dragged out a bit more.
Still, will I watch Season 2 when it comes out? Probably 😁
You can thank my sister for getting this review – because if I had known Ex Machina was a thriller, I would never, ever have voluntarily watched it. And neither would my littlest brother. We are literally the biggest scaredy cats ever and already start clutching each other in fear the minute a scene has an unexpectantly creaking door…
Our sister, though, has a faible for the gruesome. She’s a huge horror movie/true crime/thriller fan, so obviously, when she suggested a “great movie she’d recently discovered” for a post-Easter sibling movie night, my brother and I were suspicious. However, my sister assured us that Ex Machina “wasn’t creepy at all” but a “harmless sci-fi film with a geeky protagonist who likes coding”, heinously exploiting the knowledge that her nerdy siblings wouldn’t be able to resist buzzwords like “robots” and “artificial intelligence”.
Well, my brother and I still spent quite a significant portion of this movie scared out of our wits. THIS WAS SUPER CREEPY, OKAY?!!! But at the same time, I also kind of liked it?
Ex Machina takes place on a secluded island, to which a computer programmer named Caleb Smith has been invited by the world-famous CEO of his company, Nathan Bateman, as a reward for winning a contest. Once there, Nathan tells Caleb that he has been working on creating sentient robots and that he needs Caleb’s help administering the Turing Test – a method of determining whether a machine has achieved human-like consciousness – to his latest model, Ava.
This movie definitely makes you theorize. It gives you a lot of food for thought, confronting you with deep moral and ethical questions in a Black Mirror-esque way. And, no matter what my sister thinks, it’s extremely creepy.
AGHGXYHUIGGAYUOZUZEWEQIYYAOQ!!!!! This series! IT IS EVERYTHING!!! 😍😍😍 And yes, it might even have achieved the impossible and shot right up there with The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Rings, and Jurassic Park to become my one of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations ever.
Anyway, the moment it was announced that Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper graphic novels were being adapted by Netflix, I was filled with apprehensive excitement. “Apprehensive” because I was worried Netflix would mess this up. “Excitement” because I love Heartstopper and have absolutely devoured every single installment up until now!
(Yes, I realize I only have reviews for Volumes 1-3 up on this blog. That’s because I have yet to acquire a physical copy of Volume 4. Poor-university-student-me read the whole thing in installments on Alice Oseman’s Tumblr, hoping that her friends would get the hint and eventually give her the book-version for her birthday. But alas, alas, my friends do not seem to have realized just how much I love Heartstopper, seeing that several of them apparently thought I needed reminders that the Netflix show had come out…
I’m truly disappointed, friends! As if there was any way I did not already know this! 😤 Of course I watched everything the minute it came out!)
I needn’t have worried on Netflix’s account, though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an adaptation that did the source material this much justice! Heartstopper, which follows two teenage boys falling in love, was every bit as adorable and heartwarming and deep in Netflix form as it was in graphic novel form! 🥰 Nick and Charlie were the purest human beings ever. Tao’s snarky sarcasm the absolute best. Elle the caring mother hen every friend group out there needs. Tori and Tara and Darcy and Mr. Ajayi exactly as cool as I imagined them. Harry and Ben exactly as awful. And Isaac!! 🤩 He was such a great addition to the cast, and one of the most relatable characters I have ever seen on screen!!! (Honestly, if you ever want to know what I was like in school, just look at Isaac and that should tell you pretty much everything.)
But yeah, I’ll shut up now. I am clearly not able to give you any coherent thoughts on this show anyway. Just go watch it yourself if you haven’t yet and make up your own mind!
(Oh, but also, can I just say that Alice Oseman’s train cameo was the coolest thing ever?! And that I loved that this show had a school orchestra that actually sounded like a school orchestra and not the London Symphony Orchestra? We finally got some realistic teenage classical music representation! 🥰🎼🥰 And please, please, please Netflix, can you adapt Loveless eventually, too?)
So yeah, these were a few of my very chaotic thoughts on my recent cinematic experiences! If you’ve watched any of these yourselves, I would love to chat spoilers in the comments! And if you have any other movie/TV show recommendations for me, please don’t hesitate to share!