What We Do in the Shadows – Season 3 – Review

What We Do in the Shadows Season 3 Delivered a Helping of Humanity

Picking up about a month after where season 2 left off, with Guillermo having killed a huge amount of vampires in order to protect his master, season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows started strongly. The vampire household doesn’t know what to do with Guillermo, whether to kill him because he killed vampires or let him live because they would be dead without him doing it. Before they fully make up their decision The Guide appears and tells them they are now in charge of the local Vampiric Council, and they decide to promote Guillermo from familiar to bodyguard as part of the change.

Most of season 3 is the group doing the day to day activities as part of the council. They argue about who should be in charge and what tasks need to be done. The group in typical style, mess up a lot causing a lot of strange and funny moments. They let loose the original vampire, by not feeding him. Nandor at one point joints a cult of vampires who pretend they are human, which is a great episode.

Throughout this season is a running thread of Colin trying to discover where energy vampires come from, with help from Lazlo. It’s a great storyline that leads to one of the most shocking moments in the series so far. Laszlo and Colin work off each other really well, especially on their boat trip, which is another great episode.

The cast for What We Do in the Shadows is the best cast on TV right now. They are all perfect in their roles. No one but Matt Berry could play Laszlo. Every line he delivers is perfect and the joke always hits. Natasia Demetriou is always great as Nadja. There’s an episode in this season where she’s chasing down the doll version of Nadja, where her tone changes so quickly and sharply, and it’s so funny. Mark Proksch is also excellent as Colin, who else could make his dry humour so funny? Energy vampires bore people and live of their energy, even when we meet other energy vampires in the series, they don’t quite match Proksch’s delivery.

What We Do in the Shadows may be the funniest show on TV at the moment. It’s consistently hilarious and every episode is a blast. Every time a new series comes out, it doesn’t last long enough. Season 4 has already been confirmed, so at least there’s still more to come. In the meantime there will also be the new season of Wellington Paranormal (The other spin-off from the film What We Do in the Shadows) on the way, which is almost as good.

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Reading and Writing

Hello everyone and I hope you’re all having a great Wednesday so far. It’s that time again for my weekly update. It’s been a very quick week, but there were some great films released last week, both on streaming with The Power of the Dog and in cinemas with C’mon C’mon. I also really loved Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. Had a great weekend watching them all.

This week is a bit more bland cinemawise, at least close to me. There’s only 2 new releases. West Side Story, which I’m very excited to see, and Clifford the Big Red Dog which I have no interest in, so won’t be watching it. I’ve got tickets to West Side Story booked for Friday after work. I am very tempted to also go and see the original Matrix again, because they’re showing it in 4DX and I think that could be really fun. I’ve enjoyed all the 4DX films I’ve seen, except from Black Widow which felt like I was just being thrown around for 2 hours, and felt a little sick afterwards. Maybe The Matrix will be better, not sure yet.

There are a couple of new Netflix films that I’m planning on watching, The Unforgivable with Sandra Bullock. I don’t know much about it, but it should be good. There’s also Asakusa Kid out tomorrow, which I’ll be watching. I also bought the new re-release of Mulholland Dr., which I’m excited to watch. I’m probably going to save that for Saturday because I know it’s a mind-melding film and want to watch it completely awake. I’ve seen it before, but that was a long time ago. I’m really hoping they continue to re-release all of Lynch’s films in these nice editions with booklets and special features that don’t really explain anything but are interesting to watch. They’re about half way through now.

With books, I’ve started Something More Than Night by Kim Newman, which I’m enjoying about 30 pages in so far. I tend to start a lot of books and then when one grabs me, I’ll finish that one and then go back to the others I’ve started. Probably not the best way to do it, but I’ve been like that since being a kid. Most things get read, and those that stay on my bedside table for years, probably weren’t for me.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing a post about my favourite episodes of TV, which my friend Liam suggested. I’ve been thinking about it, and I think I’ve got my list sorted. There will be some spoilers, so be warned.

Thanks for reading, and until next time,

Ashley

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Enchanted – A Very Self-Aware and Subversive Disney Film – Review

Enchanted | Disney Movies

Director: Kevin Lima

Writer: Bill Kelly

Starring: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Timothy Spall, Idina Menzel, and Susan Sarandon

Rating: ★★★★

It’s been almost a month since Disney+ day (November 12th), which marked the second anniversary of the streaming service launching in America. That day brought with it a whole bunch of new announcements about the future of Disney+, along with a whole bunch of new content – old and new. Among those was Enchanted, the 2007 classic which had been sorely missed on the service for the previous two years. Now that there is a sequel on the way, it’s a great time to revisit Enchanted or watch it for the first time.

Giselle (Amy Adams) is an optimistic princess-to-be, destined to marry Prince Edward (James Marsden). Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon), Prince Edward’s step-mother, will lose her throne if the two marry, and to stop this sends Giselle to New York, in the hope that she is lost forever. Prince Edward follows Giselle into the strange world to save her, with Nathaniel (Timothy Spall) there to guide him.

Enchanted is a really well-written parody of the classic Disney animated films that we all grew up on. The start of the film is set in Andalasia, which is completely animated in the style reminiscent of Snow White. When they reach New York, which they enter through a manhole in Times Square the film becomes live-action, showing the real world vs the animated. All of the tropes of Disney films are here, including animals that help clean houses, which in New York are rats and cockroaches instead of deer and birds.

Amy Adams is beyond excellent as Giselle. She completely captures the innocence and naivety of the early Disney princesses without mocking them. This is exactly how the animated Snow White or Cinderella would act if they were brought into the real world. James Marsden is also great as Prince Edward, who is a little dumb, but lovable. He’s not as heroic as he thinks he is, but it’s still a fun character.

It also plays with the music that is usually in Disney films. There are a few moments in the film where characters break out into songs by Disney regulars, music written by Alan Menken and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. One of the highlights is the song ‘That’s How You Know’, where Giselle tries to explain how you know you’re loved to Robert (Patrick Dempsey), the New Yorker who looks after Giselle. Robert doesn’t quite understand why everyone around him is singing, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy.

Enchanted is a magical film that is still just as joyful today as it was when it first came out. It’s smart and completely self-aware as a Disney parody while at the same time honouring the stories, we all love. The costume designs are excellent, as are the music numbers and characters. A real treat for all Disney fans.

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Zom-100: Bucket List of the Dead, Vol. 1 – Manga Review

Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Vol. 1: Volume 1: Amazon.co.uk: Kotaro  Takata, Haro Aso: 9781974720569: Books

Zom 100 is  written by Haro Aso and illustrated by Kotaro Takata it tells the story of Akira Tendo, a 24 year old who is stuck working at an exploitative cooperation. Three years ago he joined the company, thinking he could realise his dreams. His hopes were quickly dashed as he realised the company doesn’t care about its employees and expect countless hours of unpaid overtime, including all nighters on a regular basis. One day he goes into the office, only to find that there’s been a zombie apocalypse, which gives him a new lease on life. He quits his job, cleans his apartment and sets out to make a bucket list of everything he wants to do before he’s turned into a zombie.

The first volume collects the first three chapters of the series, along with a bonus chapter focusing on a character who is briefly shown in the second chapter. It’s a satirical look at and office work and lifestyles in Japan, where unpaid overtime isn’t that uncommon. It’s all told through the lens of a comedy manga with Akira feeling almost like Naruto of Luffy from One Piece, in his pure enthusiasm for life once the zombies attack.

The first chapter quickly goes over the previous three years as Akira has been stuck in the soul-destroying job. It gets dark quick, with even a moment where he starts to think suicidal thoughts. His entire life is changed once the apocalypse starts. Instead of seeing the horrors of everything that’s going on around him, he sees it as a new start. The clash in tone from the working life to the apocalypse is really funny.

So far only three characters have really been introduced, alongside some of Akira’s colleague who die quickly. There’s the woman he briefly meets in the shop, Shizuka Mikazuki (who also has the bonus chapter dedicated to her). Kencho is also introduced in the third chapter, an old friend of Akira’s. They grew distant due to working. Kencho was showing off about how much he liked his life, while Akira was struggling with his job, which caused division. At one point Kencho says to Akira that he looks worse than the zombies and then also confesses that the showing off was a front and he actually hated his job as well.

It’s stilly, funny, entertaining and a reminder to find joy in the little things while we still can. I can’t wait to read the second volume of this one.

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Blue Bayou – Film Review

Blue Bayou (2021) - IMDb

Director: Justin Chon

Writer: Justin Chon

Starring: Justin Chon, Alicia Vikander, Mark O’Brien, Linh Dan Pham, Sydney Kowalske, Vondie Cutris-Hall, Emory Cohen

Rating: ★★★★

There’s a generation of internationally adopted people in America who may not hold citizenship and could face deportation, even if they came to the country when they were very young and have stayed there since. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 attempted to fix this, by granting citizenship to any child who is adopted from overseas. This didn’t cover adoptees who had already turned 18 at the time the law was passed and there are still adoptees in America today who may not even realise they don’t hold citizenship.

Writer and director Justin Chon explores this loophole in the law and the horrific situations it has caused in his latest film, Blue Bayou. After the films initial release back in September it was met with a polarised response from the adoptee community in America. The story closely resembles that of Adam Crapser, a Korean adoptee who was deported in 2016. At one point Chon reached out to Crapser, but they didn’t communicate properly, and Crapser has criticised the film for profiteering from his story. It’s caused controversy that have overshadowed the film. Chon has responded by saying that the story isn’t based on any one individual and that he worked with several adoptees to create an authentic story. It’s a messy story that mists up a powerful story and one that will hopefully bring a lot more attention to the importance of the actual situation.

Justin Chon stars as Antonio LeBlanc, a Korean adoptee who is struggling to make enough money to support his family and has another child on the way. His wife’s ex, Ace (Mark O’Brien), is causing issues, trying to see his daughter, thinking that Antonio is getting in the way. After an altercation between Antonio, Ace and Ace’s police partner in a store, Antonio is facing deportation back to Korea despite having lived in the country for over thirty years, since his adoptive parents didn’t register his citizenship.

Blue Bayou is not subtle in its message. Straight from the opening scene where Antonio is in a job interview and his heritage and run in with the law become a sticking point instantly, right through to the callous bureaucracy that he faces when trying to appeal his deportation. Antonio is an incredibly unlucky person whose entire life has been drenched in horrific events. The family that adopted him when he was barely a toddler, abandoned him six months later, leaving him to move from foster home to foster home, until a family take him in only to abuse him. He’s had run ins with the law, when he was younger stealing bikes, and can’t put the mistake behind him. His mother-in-law clearly doesn’t like him and doesn’t shy away from showing it. The cards are stacked up against him.

The film is designed to pull at your emotions. Justin Chon has brilliantly crafted, through a production of over four years, a story that will hopefully bring awareness to a massive injustice in America. It’s a heart-breaking story and while it does go to any length necessary to get an emotional reaction from the audience, it doesn’t feel overbaked. Mainly because the central family drama between Antonio, his wife Kathy (Alicia Vikander) and stepdaughter Jesse (Sydney Kowalske). Their story is emotional, and it does really hit you.

There’s a scene early on, before things really get going, where Jesse and Antonio spend a day together, with Jesse skipping school. She’s worried that Antonio won’t love her as much now that he has a real daughter on the way, he responds by taking her on a day out bonding and showing her his secret spot that he loves so much. It’s a really touching sequence, where Chon and Kowalske really shine. Their relationship is the heart and soul of the film.

Blue Bayou does feel contrived at points, and the real-life controversy is very conflicting, but the story still resonates when you watch it. It’s a powerful and heart-wrenching story that really hits. It doesn’t shy away from being brutal right up to incredibly heart-breaking ending. It hits your emotional heart like a truck and then as the film ends, shows you pictures and facts about the adoptees that inspired the story and helped Chon while he was developing the script and final film. The ending is emotionally powerful and leaves you really feeling the weight of the reality for so many people. It’s an important topic and the film will hopefully help provide attention to it.

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