What I’ve Been Watching Recently || (Yes, We All Know This Post is Actually An Excuse to Gush About Heartstopper and Rant About The Secrets of Dumbledore…)

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… πŸ™„

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 πŸ™ƒ – and then got super frustrated because I understood nothing. Well, nothing except “hej dΓ₯” 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… πŸ˜… 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! πŸ₯° 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! πŸ₯°πŸŽΌπŸ₯° 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!

34 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Watching Recently || (Yes, We All Know This Post is Actually An Excuse to Gush About Heartstopper and Rant About The Secrets of Dumbledore…)

  1. jan says:

    Eeeee bring on all the love for heartstopper, that show was everything I wanted and more!! Seriously, the characters are all EXACTLY how I imagined them to be.
    I…couldn’t bring myself to finish the last two episodes of young royals, because the ending of episode 04 was so wtf and I could see what would happen after that. No but the best thing about that story is that the teenagers have pimples on their faces it is the most realistic thing ever.
    I have zero interest in anything the harry potter franchise puts forward (seriously, I would have watched fantastic beasts if it was only about a socially awkward zoologist looking after his animals but now it’s just so bloated i:’m glad I detached myself from the fandom altogether lol)
    Now tell me to go write that heartstopper review I’ve spent a week writing haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      YES!!! THE HEARTSTOPPER CASTING WAS ABSOLUTE PERFECTION!!! Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an adaptation where everything was so close to what I’d pictured – of course, they did have the drawings in the graphic novels for orientation, but I love how much thought and detail they put into making everything and everyone look exactly right. And the actors also nailed the characters’ personalities! Everything about the show is so wholesome and heartfelt that I just can’t stop rewatching it!! πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

      And I had sooo many Young Royals moments when I thought I just couldn’t take it anymore πŸ˜… Like, couldn’t these characters just enjoy one single moment together without something terrible happening or someone else doing something really shitty that would have horrible reprecussions?? 😫 I was so uncomfortable half of the time but also too attached to the characters to stop watching lol πŸ˜‚ But yeah, I loved that the characters looked like actual teenagers!

      Also, I so badly would’ve wanted Fantastic Beasts to just be Newt looking after his animals and being socially awkward!! Anything would’ve been better than these weird Harry Potter connections they’re trying to force without planning them though!! 😭 So yeah, maybe you made a good call to stay away… I’m just so disappointed because even though I don’t agree with a whole bunch of the opinions J.K. Rowling has being voicing lately, I’ve always thought she was a great writer and would try to give fans an amazing prequel series. But apparently not. This just felt like a cheap attempt to make more money πŸ™„

      BUT OH MY GOD, YES JAN, YOU GO WRITE THAT HEARTSTOPPER REVIEW SO THAT I CAN GO READ IT!! 🀩🀩🀩 After all, my own thoughts were in too much of a mess for me to string together coherent sentences myself 🀣

      Liked by 1 person

      • abookowlscorner says:


        But I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying the show so far, Rachel!!! I hope you have a great time with the rest of the episodes, too!! (Also, please know that we, the people, would love your thoughts on everything once you’ve finished… πŸ˜πŸ˜‡)


    • abookowlscorner says:

      YESSSS!! It was sooo good, and so true to the books, and all the doodles they included just made everything so adorable, and the actors were perfect for the roles, and fine, I’ll shut up now before I go on forever πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Line @First Line Reader says:

    I just have to say that I’m reading The Golden Fool right now and I’m in so much pain (!!) that I really didn’t need the additional pain of seeing you only give 3 stars to Young Royals 😒 That show is perfect so I assume you missed something with all that language switching you did πŸ˜πŸ˜‰

    I haven’t watched Heartstopper and also am not going to (too much fluff), but I’m also starting to feel like the only one who isn’t going to mention that as my favorite book-to-movie adaptation of the year πŸ˜… I’m glad you liked it though!

    And as for other recommendations, I assume you know me well enough by now that I don’t even have to mention the newest Marvel stuff for you to know that I recommend it 😁 But to mention something else (that you might already know about though), I recently watched the miniseries Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo which really took me by surprise. The actors were amazing, and even though I knew what would happen, I was still very into it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Does this mean you’ve gotten past Chapter Fifteen? πŸ™ƒ Because, let me tell you, I am still an emotional wreck a month after reading that and don’t think I will ever recover… 😭😭😭 But, obviously, I am extremely excited to hear all of your thoughts post suffering!!! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜

      Also, if it’s any consolation, I think my TV show ratings are about a million times stricter than my book ratings πŸ˜… While I basically never DNF anything I read, I DNF TV shows literally all the time – if I stay engaged past the first episode, that’s already a huge compliment! So the fact that I watched Young Royals all the way through is a testiment to how much I liked it πŸ₯° It’s just – I really wanted to see more of Wilhem and Simon’s friendship before they were suddenly super into each other, and also, so many scenes made me so uncomfortable that I don’t think I could bear to watch the whole thing through a second time πŸ™ˆ And to break into my four- and five-star range, a show needs to have loads of rewatching potential!

      And as for Heartstopper, I wouldn’t say “fluff” is the right way to describe it, exactly… It’s very heartwarming, yes, but it touches on some very deep topics and mental health issues, too, and I definitely had my moments where I sat sobbing infront of the screen. So my advice would be to maybe just try an episode before you judge it too harshly? πŸ™ƒ (I know, this is coming from a very biased perspective πŸ˜‚ But still!)

      And yeah, I had a feeling Marvel would be at the top of your recommendation list 🀣 But you’re probably in luck – once my one brother has finished his twelfth-grade exams and my other brother has returned from studying abroad, I feel like they’re going to drag me to watch all of the Marvel stuff I missed anyway, so there’s no way I can avoid seeing it 😜 And I have actually never read the Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo book or watched the miniseries, inspite of how famous it is, so I might have to take you up on that πŸ€” I do know that my parents have the book somewhere, so maybe I should try that first and then watch the series – after all, I said I would read more German stuff this year and have read like two things so far… I should probably get a move on πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        Physically, yes, I’ve gotten past chapter 15. Emotionally? I think it did some permanent damage I’m never going to get past… That was inhumane!! 😭😭

        And I guess that’s okay about Young Royals then. In a season so short, I didn’t need to be waste time on being friends first and the uncomfortableness is the best thing about! They act like real teenagers and they are awkward as hell so really that is how all teen shows should be 😁

        And well, heartwarming ways of dealing with heavy topics translate to fluff for me. I’m going to be so bored if I watch it πŸ˜… I don’t want to risk it because right now I can say I’m not interested in Heartstopper but if I watch it and don’t like it (like 99% certain of this) then I’m going to have to say that I hate Heartstopper and I’m already on the fringes of this community πŸ˜…

        You’re gonna love Moon Knight, just saying 😁
        I haven’t read the book but we watched the old movie in school. I don’t remember anything but the miniseries just felt very different so I’m quite curious if they took a lot of liberties with that in regards to the book and the real events πŸ€”

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          Anyone who makes it past that chapter without permanent emotional damage has got to be utterly heartless!! 😭😭😭 Seriously, I was a wreck after reading that, and then had to quietly suffer in silence because no one I knew had read the book. But of course, the inhumanity of it also made me love the book (and the Fool) about a million times more… πŸ₯°

          I think I simultaneously loved and hated the uncomfortableness in Young Royals πŸ˜‚ I did like that it was realistic, but why did all of these rich people have to be so snobbishly awful to such an extreme degree? πŸ˜«πŸ˜… Like, August alone gave me several anxiety attacks with all of the stupid shit he set in motion!! πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ But I’m still excited to see where it all goes!

          And I guess I get where you’re coming from πŸ˜‚ (Although I still think the show – especially past the first episode – might surprise you if you gave it a try! You know you can always watch it in secret and just not tell anybody if you end up hating it 😜) But yeah, honesty is probably the best policy; so you do you! Besides, I really can’t complain, because I’ve used this exact same reasoning for not watching shows like Friends or Big Bang Theory… πŸ˜…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Line @First Line Reader says:

            Suffering that chapter in silence does sound awful so I’m sorry for you! I’ve poured all my feelings about it into the live reaction post and that helped a little. I don’t know what I would have done without that πŸ˜…

            Were they really that awful? Yes, August does some things he shouldn’t but I still appreciated him as an antagonist I guess.

            (It’s Alice Oseman; it can’t surprise me)

            Liked by 1 person

            • abookowlscorner says:

              Yeah, writing my reaction post definitely helped me bear the pain, too 😭 Which I guess means we both get to suffer again when we read each other’s reactions, so I should probably start mentally preparing myself… πŸ˜…

              And yes, even if I partially understood where August was coming from, he should have known better! He put the characters I love through so much pain because of his self-centeredness! πŸ™„

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Meena Green says:

    I haven’t seen any of these haha I do really want to read and watch Heartstopper though!
    I saw Heartstopper was finally on my Netflix so I will be watching it soon and seeing your love for it only makes me want to see/read it more! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maria @ The Character Study says:

    I thought I should let you know I’m listening to the Heartstopper sountrack while reading this post, so I think it’s fair to say I’m still not over it and that I relate to the amount of gushing in that section πŸ˜‚ (Also, my German skills might not actually be completely dead, because I did grasp that message so yayyy!). I really enjoyed Young Royals when I watched it, but I do agree that the decisions that were taken were…….. something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I fully approve of your music choices! (And also of your non-dead German skills!) 😁 Though what, you’re not over Heartstopper yet, Maria? After that amazingly in-depth review you gave us, I never would have guessed 🀣😜🀣

      And yeah, Young Royals was a weird one for me πŸ˜„ I mean, obviously I really enjoyed it, otherwise I never would’ve watched it all the way till the end, but it just gave me so much anxiety! I felt like a little kid again, wanting to shout at the characters on the screen to not make dumb decisions! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I might have to try the books at some point, too! Honestly, they sound perfect for when things get particularly stressful – fluffy, easy to read romances are always my go-to options then! πŸ˜‚πŸ₯°


  5. Sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

    I watched Bridgerton as well and found it nice but not too great. I did binge it in one go haha. Heartstopper is still on my list. I don’t have a huge attachment since I haven’t read the books but all the praise for the show is convincing me to give it a go soon. Hope you have a good May!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Same! I binged through Bridgerton way too fast and had a ton of fun with it, but it’s also nothing that left a vivid lasting impression… I’ll probably have forgotten everyone’s names again by the time the next season comes out and will then binge that cluelessly because I’m too lazy to rewatch Season 2 πŸ˜‚πŸ™ƒ

      Heartstopper, though? I absolutely ADORED that!! 😍🀩πŸ₯° I really hope you’ll end up loving it just as much if you do give it a go!

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by, Sumedha, and a great May to you as well!


  6. Suhani says:

    GUESS WHAT?? I watched secrets of dumbledore!! And well thank you for warning me ahead of time because it was VERY UNSATISFACTORY INDEED. I initially enjoyed it while watching it( I think I was just glad to be back in the Harry Potter world ahha) , but then after pondering over it I realised that it was so random? the plot doesn’t pick off from the last movie, AND YES THE PLOT HOLES! There were just too many of them, I don’t have much hopes for the rest of the movies now. The initial half was so slow and the action just came out of nowhere? And also Queenie and Jacob’s wedding was so out of the place?? what was up with that? it was so dumb honestly.

    HEARTSTOPPER YES I LOVE THAT SHOW SO MUCH ❀️❀️❀️ I can’t believe what an amazing adaptation it was, like that castings were so perfect!! And the little animations in the show fit in so perfectly as well, AHHH IT WAS JUST TOO GOOD! and Tao and Elle EEEk!

    Loved this post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      I’M SO RELIEVED SOMEONE AGREES WITH ME ON THIS!! Like, literally, absolutely nothing made sense once you started questioning it! πŸ™„πŸ™ˆ And yes to Queenie and Jacob’s wedding! I mean, are there not gonna be any consequences at all to Queenie having sided with Grindelwald? Isn’t anyone going to confront her about that? Doesn’t she have any traumata she needs to face before she can happily surround herself with friends as though nothing happened??? IT MADE NO SENSE!!! As did the whole Qilin plotline or everything involving Credence… “So dumb” doesn’t even cover it!! πŸ˜«πŸ™ˆ

      BUT OMG, HEARTSTOPPER!!! β€πŸ§‘πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œ That show went a long way towards healing my severely wounded post-‘Secrets of Dumbledore’ heart because it was just so, so perfect in every way possible!!! πŸ₯° I desperately need the next season!


  7. β™‘Evinβ™‘ says:

    I LOVE YOUNG ROYALS AND HEARTSTOPPER! although young royals is the best netflix series to ever be released, in my opinion, everything seemed so authentic and simon & wille’s chemistry was undeniable. i loved the show so much! i felt so empty after i finished watching it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Yes, Simon and Wille oozed that chemistry the minute they laid eyes on each other!! πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° I just couldn’t get enough of them, although I did wish we had gotten to see more of their friendship before things got serious. Like, OMG, that scene at that soccer match was so adorable I just couldn’t stand it, and I wanted MORE!! So yeah, even if my second-hand embarrassment is probably gonna be off the charts again, I’m definitely pumped for Season 2! πŸ€—

      Young Royals can’t compete with my love for Heartstopper though 🀣 Heartstopper was absolute adorableness and perfection and I am still not recovered from watching it!!! I’m glad we agree both shows are great, though, even if our preferences differ slightly πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      • β™‘Evinβ™‘ says:

        yes, that football field scene was everything!! That is true. But I’m convinced this is THE best show as of now.

        Hm, yeah – I can’t pick one out of the two, but young roya-
        yes, heartstopper was just so wholesome. I’m so pumped for season 2!

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          There are simply too many good shows on Netflix right now for me to choose a favorite πŸ₯° Like, I’m already so excited for the new Stranger Things season that I’m sure the minute I watch it, I’ll think that’s the best. And then I’ll rewatch Heartstopper and be like, no, wait, this is actually better… 🀣 So yeah, I guess I’m pumped for ALL the new seasons! πŸ€—

          Liked by 1 person

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