Chadwick Boseman 1976-2020

Rest in Power and Love, Chadwick Boseman – a real life superhero

This weekend we lost a young but powerful figure of cinema… Chadwick Boseman, who died at the age of 43 after a four-year battle of colon cancer. I was in the midst of watching a movie on Friday night, specifically a miniseries, on Amazon Prime that I had been wanting to watch for ages. I usually left my phone away while watching a movie, but I somehow checked on it in between episodes, and was absolutely flabbergasted.

If you’re like me, most likely you had been totally blindsided by the fact that  Boseman had been sick all these years. The statement on his Twitter account read that he was was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 and thus he filmed many movies during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.

Looking at his IMDb profile, there were no less than eight films that he must have filmed while he was undergoing treatment:

  1. Da 5 Bloods
  2. 21 Bridges
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. Avengers: Infinity War
  5. Black Panther
  6. Marshall
  7. Message from the King
  8. Captain America: Civil War

All the while he kept his condition and suffering privately, instead, Boseman chose to bless others with his talents… not just in his astounding performances, but also to his many, many fans. Such as this moment where he surprised many of his fans on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:

I remember being moved to tears by his genuine gentleness and grace, and you could tell he really appreciated his fans and they knew that. Perhaps Boseman was excellent in portraying real-life heroes, Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, not only because he was a gifted actor, but also because he too, was a real-life hero.

Many film fans knew him as King T’Challa aka Black Panther, in the smash hit Marvel superhero movie. It was definitely one of my top 10 favorite MCU movies, as Black Panther was more than just a superhero movie… it became a phenomenon and statement of success for representation and diversity. It’s as if the #WakandaForever became a defiant force for the under-represented in Hollywood that people of color ought to have a voice and when they’re allowed to shine, the world will respond in kind. Yes, the film was a state of the art, competently made by Ryan Coogler & his team, and filled with terrific supporting actors… but it’s the power, grace and dignity of Boseman who lead the film that made us believe in T’Challa’s heroism, and what he stood for.

As Boseman was a private person, there were few known facts about him when he lived… and I really respect that. I read a bunch of articles in the past couple of days, simply trying to get a glimpse at who Boseman was, not just as an actor but as a human being… and many of the facts confirmed just what a hero he was in real life.

Here are seven lesser-known facts to me that I thought you might find interesting:

He fought to give An African Accent To T’Challa

Per this article, before filming began, Chadwick was presented with two options: keep his American accent or take on a British one.

Chadwick felt that either option implied that Wakanda had been colonized. He worked with a dialect coach to produce his accent in the film, which is based in the Xhosa language.

He received his Bachelors in directing

Per The Things website, initially, Boseman wasn’t going to become an actor. He wanted to become a writer and director instead. Even when he was at school, he wrote and staged a play. Then Boseman went on to study to Howard University and majored in directing there. After graduating, he moved to Brooklyn and began pursuing his career — writing and directing small off-Broadway plays. Boseman decided to take acting courses only to better understand the actors better. “I really only started acting because I wanted to know what the actors were doing, how to communicate with the actors.” 

He was a playwright

Per TheaterMania, Boseman wrote his first play in high school. Crossroads, which was performed by students, was written in response to the death of a classmate, a young man on his basketball team who was shot and killed.

More about his theatre roots from that article:

After graduating, Boseman taught acting to students in the Schomburg Junior Scholars Program, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. He immersed himself in the hip-hop theater scene, working with Howard classmate Kamilah Forbes to create the play with music Rhyme Deferred, which toured the United States and appears in the Hip Hop Theatre Anthology The Fire This Time. He wrote and directed the play Hieroglyphic Graffiti, which was produced at Negro Playwright’s Theatre, Kuntu Repertory, the National Black Theatre Festival, and the Hip Hop Theatre Festival.

Boseman’s most well-known play is titled Deep Azure, which was commissioned and produced by the Congo Square Theatre Company. It earned him a 2006 Jeff Award nomination for Best New Play.

He did not have to audition for Black Panther

Due to his history of biopics and tremendous roles, Boseman didn’t even have to audition for Black Panther. After seeing the actor in Get On Up, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige knew that it was the man he wanted to see as King T’Challa. “I think it was 24 hours between saying his name in a creative story meeting and talking to his agent and getting on a phone with him and offering him the role of Black Panther, which he accepted,” Feige said,

It’s incredible given the fact that Boseman had just been acting in films for about five years prior to his Black Panther role. His big movie break came in 2012 (when he was already in his 30s) when he got the career-breaking role in 42 as Jackie Robinson. He was up against 25 actors for the role of the baseball great. According to this article,  it was rumored that Robinson’s widow was initially unhappy with the casting and had hoped that Denzel Washington would play the role. However, she was happy with the final result of the film and has since become friends with Boseman.

He was a Christian

I read in several articles that Boseman was raised a Christian and he still kept his faith. Per Christianity Today, Boseman grew up in the church, and it has been reported that his former pastor praised him for always being involved in serving at the church and helping others. Baptised and raised as a Christian, Boseman maintained his Christian faith through his development into Hollywood stardom.

In the video below in his tribute to Denzel Washington, he referenced a Bible verse of Ephesians 3:20, saying, “May God bless you exceedingly and abundantly more for what’s in store than He ever has before. God bless you.”

He owed a lot to Phylicia Rashad + Denzel Washington

Following graduation from Howard University, Boseman studied at the British American Dramatic Academy in Oxford, England. Thanks to his acting mentor, Phylicia Rashad (from the Cosby Show) that Denzel Washington ended up paying for his tuition, plus nine of his fellow Howard theater students, at Oxford University.

He was trained in Martial Arts

Per that TvOverMind article, Boseman was also trained in martial arts. This came in handy for his role as Black Panther and he was well prepared for the action scenes. However, he and other cast members had to attend a boot camp to fully prepare them for the physical aspects of their roles. The stunts in Black Panther’ were predominantly performed by Boseman and the cast members rather than by stunt professionals.


The Yasuke Movie

The hard-working actor had a lot on his plate and one of the films he had signed on to do was to play Yasuke, the first and only black Japanese Samurai.

Per Deadline, Yasuke was a native of Portuguese Mozambique who was brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries. The first black man to set foot on Japanese soil, Yasuke’s arrival aroused the interest of Nobunaga, a ruthless warlord seeking to unite the fractured country under his banner. A complex relationship developed between the two men as Yasuke earned Nobunaga’s friendship, respect — and ultimately, the honor, swords and title of samurai.

Photo courtesy of thegedsection.com

This is what Boseman said about the role in that article written in May 2019:

“The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai,” Boseman said. “That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.”

Oh how awesome would it be to see Boseman in this film… he’s so perfect for the role, and his martial arts training would’ve been put to great use. Alas…

It remains to be seen what would happen to this project. I sure hope it would still get made after Boseman is gone. One thing for sure though, I do NOT want to see Black Panther 2 get made without Boseman… I simply cannot imagine another actor for the part. I think Disney/Marvel should scrap the sequel idea, as it would be disrespectful to recast him and I don’t think it would’ve been successful anyway as fans would refuse to watch it.


I’m still trying to come to terms with Boseman’s untimely death… he’s gone far, far too soon. My heart goes out to his family and friends… and to his wife Taylor Simone Ledward whom he apparently married before he died. I pray the Lord would comfort them during this painful times.

In his relative short career, Boseman made such a huge impact – as a human being AND as an artist. I know he will be missed by many, me included… but for sure, his legacy shall live on.

THANK YOU, Chadwick Boseman… for everything you had done. May God rest his soul.

 

Fun Diversion – Kevin James’ Sound Guy videos

Happy yet another ‘what day is it’ friends! Hope you’re all coping as well as you could during this quarantine/lockdown/shelter-in-place or whatever else it’s called. Sounds like there is light at the end of the tunnel… as more places like malls, restaurants, etc. have opened even at half capacity. I’m waiting with bated breath for salons to finally open!!!

Now, I normally don’t post about YouTube channels… this is still primarily a film blog, but I’ve actually been wanting to post about Kevin James as Sound Guy videos since I discovered it about a month ago!

Ryan Gosling Won’t Give Me A Soundcheck

It was actually my husband who showed it to me and I thought it was hilarious!! Though I haven’t seen all of his movies (I’ve only seen trailers of the Paul Blart movies), I do think Kevin James is funny, I mean he’s so much more fun to watch in Hitch than Will Smith.

If you check out his YT channel, the Star Wars Sound Guy video debuted in mid February, and he’s got a new one up every week or two since. It’s such a brilliant idea for a serialized short and the possibilities are endless! They did such a nice job editing it that made it look seamless!

The SW video where Sound Guy discovers the truth that Darth Vader is Luke’s father is the perfect one to start with, and as many fans know, it’s probably what happened. It’s no secret anymore that the crucial bit of info about Vader’s real identity was kept confidential only between George Lucas, James Earl Jones, and Mark Hamill, so it’s very likely that the real sound guy would have reacted the same way he did, ha!

My favorite has got to be this one from The Notebook! I’ve watched it countless times and LOL-ed every single time!

This one with the crazy shoot-out is pretty hilarious as well… especially since Kevin worked with Will Smith in HITCH and the comedian’s performance was easily one of my fave parts about that rom-com.

Now, the editing of this one is incredible!! It looks absolutely realistic and seamless, I mean the cinematography, lighting work here that matched the real film is amazing. Love the moment where the Sound Guy sang into the boom mic, priceless!!

I think if you go to his channel now, there are more fun videos of the Sound Guy adventure in famous movie scenes, ha!


Have you seen these vids? Which other movies do you want to see the Sound Guy do next?

 

Musings on what’s happening in Minneapolis + the Tulsa Massacre scene in Watchmen

Unless you live under a rock or been living in another planet, you’re likely aware of the chaos and unrest that’s been happening in Minnesota… particularly in Minneapolis.

I was ready to post a review of The Trip To Greece, which I had finished last Wednesday, but honestly… I didn’t feel right posting about such a movie when all I could think about was the police brutality that led to George Floyd’s untimely death on Memorial Day. Though I’ve lived in Minnesota since the early 90s, I have never lived in Minneapolis. I live in the southern suburbs about a half an hour away, but I visit the city often on weekends. It’s so heartbreaking to see parts of the city burn, vandalized and people getting hurt… seeing the devastations that started out as peaceful protests. This past week was filled with protests, looting, rioting, etc. that caused so much chaos and destructions that stretch for miles, not just affecting the neighborhoods where Mr. Floyd lost his life, but other neighborhoods as well. Hundreds of National Guard soldiers were mobilized (even Star Tribune paper said if more were needed, it would be the first full mobilization of the Guard in Minnesota since World War II! – that certainly made me pause), and curfews were enforced from 8pm-6am in many areas in and around the city.

George Floyd mural on a wall of Cup Foods at 38th & Chicago, Minneapolis

Race relations in my adopted country United States is often in shaky grounds… it’s even more pronounced in the events of police brutality towards black men and justice was not served properly (i.e. in the case of Philando Castile where the officer who shot him was acquitted) Now, I don’t want to get political or philosophical about this matter, but I’m offering a brief commentary here as a person of color living in America. Coming from Indonesia, a country that was colonized by the Dutch for over three centuries that left its dark legacy of colonialism, it’s hard to overlook the fact that racial prejudice and superior mentality do exist and passed down through generations. Even amongst the most well-meaning, progressive-minded people, many are still ignorant of the pain certain groups have endured for generations, myself included. Thus I do believe it’s important to empathize with people who come from different backgrounds, no matter what race, but especially those who are minorities and marginalized… as we are all human beings created in the image of God. What happened to Mr. Floyd is wrong and he and his family deserve justice.

Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of Facebook and I avoid being on social media for much of this weekend. But I did come across an article in the Star Tribune that’s eye-opening and heartbreaking… a violent demonstration happened in Minneapolis Field neighborhood in July, 1931, where thousands of white people protested against an African-American couple moving in to the all-white neighborhood.

“More than 3,000 persons assembled outside the home, occupied by A.A. Lee and his family, to hurl defiance at the police and openly threaten Lee and his friends.”

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised about such blatant racism existed back then… but reading that still shocked me. It’s even more sad that this kind of systemic racism still goes on today and in many cities in America.

Another historical incident I did not know about was the Tulsa Massacre, which ironically happens exactly 99 years ago today as I’m writing this, May 31 of 1921. It lasted for 18 hours until June 1st, the following day, where 300 people, mostly blacks, were killed.

I only knew about this event when I saw the explosive opening scene of the first episode of HBO’s Watchmen. The clip on youtube was labeled as ‘riots’ but it was definitely more of a massacre by an angry white mob.

Per Indiewire, this incident highly influenced the series, as Watchmen‘s show runner Damon Lindelof was inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 article The Case for Reparations about the the Tulsa Massacre and destruction of the Greenwood District — aka “Black Wall Street,” the wealthiest black community in the U.S. at the time. I know many fans of the graphic novels are not keen on Lindelof’s reimagining of writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons’s original creation, calling it ‘woke propaganda.’ I did not read the graphic novels, but I always think the story has always been political, even if the novel was perhaps more nuanced and complex than how the HBO show depicts it.

I’m actually glad when a movie/show gives me a brief history lesson so to speak, as I promptly googled the Tulsa massacre after watching it. Since I wasn’t raised here in the US and wasn’t taught American history in high school, I never knew this event ever took place. I thought initially this was a fictitious event in the show that depicts an alternate history. But as it turns out, many Americans didn’t know this was a real event, either. No wonder there was apparently a surge in Google search about that incident following the pilot.

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, that event was marked as the single worst incident of racial violence in American history. This article in LA Times said attempts were made to cover up the events in the aftermath of the killings, and it took decades for historians and state officials to unearth the history. I think erasing history is just as atrocious as the actual historical event itself.

Now, I happen to think the show is outstanding in terms of its emotional quotient, acting (esp. Regina King‘s performance), production quality, and entertainment value. Hopefully one day I get a chance to do a proper post on it, but at the same time I feel ill-equipped to review the show. The racial issues depicted in the show seems so eerily similar to what’s going on in America today. In fact, having finished season one just days before Memorial weekend, that horrifying opening scene is still fresh in my mind.

So, back to the story about George Floyd, I sure hope this horrific incident would not become lost in the future like the Tulsa massacre. It’s heartbreaking that such a dark history was nearly obliterated… how can the new generation learn from past mistakes if they are shielded from the truth? Thankfully, it seems that the world has taken notice about this case, and street protests have spread globally to other parts of the world… London, Berlin and Toronto. In an usual move, even major Hollywood companies like Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Warner Bros, HBO, etc. voice their support for Black Lives Matter movement using their corporate social media accounts.

Now, for those of you from out of state/country who are watching only the devastation and horrible things coming out of Minneapolis lately, I’d like to end this post with this FB post by a Minnesota filmmaker that highlights just what’s going on today…

The protests are still going on and the city is not quite out of the woods yet, but I love how the community comes together and show that they care for one another. My hubby and I dropped off supplies earlier today at a local Food Pantry an hour before the drop off location closed and there were lines of cars trying to donate as well.

My heart is still heavy over what’s happening this week, but I pray that Minneapolis and the surrounding community will see light at the end of this dark tunnel… for peace, reconciliation and harmony, no matter how insurmountable all those things seem to be right now.


For my friends in the Twin Cities, stay safe and be safe.

 

Happy Star Wars Day! My first experience at SW: Galaxy’s Edge

Hello everyone!! Happy Star Wars Day! Well, I was looking at some pictures on my camera and it dawned on me that I haven’t shared my experience going to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge back in March, which I mentioned here.

It seems like a lifetime ago when we were still in LBC (Life Before Corona). It’s crazy really, my hubby and I were in Disney World Florida in the first few days of March, and at the time there was only a few ‘known’ cases in California and life was pretty much normal everywhere, as Disney’s Hollywood Studios was still packed! In fact, we arrived at the park gate by 7:00am and there was already at least a thousand of people in line waiting to get in! And this was supposed to be a low-crowd day according to several blogs dedicated to Disney World.

The looooong line in front of Galaxy’s Edge entrance

They actually allowed us in about 30 minutes before the Park was supposed to open at 8am. By 7:35, we were waiting by the main entrance to Galaxy’s Edge, the most popular area of the Hollywood Studios Park, along with a throng of people. Right at 8AM, we used the My Disney Experience App to get into a virtual queue to get on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. It’s truly the pièce de résistance of Galaxy’s Edge, and that’s the only way to get in instead of using the regular FastPass and/or standby lines.

Well, we thought initially we weren’t going to be able to get on the ride at all… more on that later. But first, let me tell you about our experience riding…

The Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

One thing we wish we had done weeks prior was to get a FastPass for the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride. Somehow I mistakenly thought there wouldn’t be a huge line to get in as everyone was going to the Ride of the Resistance. Oh well, we had to wait about 90 minutes or so, which wasn’t too bad considering we waited for twice as long to get into Avatar’s Flight of Passage the day before!

I was giddy like a school girl even just waiting in line to get into the ride! Disney did a good job entertaining us even as we’re queueing up, as there’s plenty of fun props to gawk at. It’s also quite fun seeing the excitement of people’s faces, especially kids, as they’re about to get on the ride. We loved this ride so much we ended up going twice in one day!

Once we’re done with our first ride on the Millennium Falcon, we took a stroll around the area which is set in the planet Batuu. The park isn’t really that big, but what it lacks in size, it made up in the production design and attention to detail which really immerses you in the experience! The marketplace, which is designed like a Middle Eastern bazaar, which consist not just a myriad of merchandise (like Baby Yoda stuffed toys), but also a ‘pet’ shop filled with some really strange creatures!

One of the most fun parts of Galaxy’s Edge of course is just being at the park and watching/interacting with Star Wars characters who’d show up at random, most notably Kylo with the Storm Troopers, Rey & BB8 and Chewie. They don’t allow people to dress up as SW characters except for young kids.

I didn’t really spend much time in the areas where you can build your own droid or lightsaber (those places are packed w/ kids and adults alike), but I’m glad we got into this popular bar at Planet Batuu…

Oga’s Cantina

We were pretty thirsty by then, thankfully, there were only a dozen people in line in front of us. The cantina’s attendant told us it’s standing-room only since we didn’t make a reservation beforehand, then a few minutes later he escorted us inside. I love the atmosphere of the cantina, inspired by the one in 1977 Star Wars movie.

Oga’s is inspired by the 1977 Star Wars cantina scene. There’s a wisecracking droid DJ right above where we were standing, apparently voiced by Paul Reubens aka Pee-Wee Herman. But of course, the main feature of the place is the cocktails!

The menu, as you can expect, is quite pricey! If you’re into collecting souvenirs, one drink called Yub Nub comes with a souvenir Endor mug, but that’ll set you back $48!

My hubby settled for the most popular drink, the Fuzzy Tauntaun – peach vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice with tangerine, pure cane sugar, and “buzzz” foam (that makes your tongue numb for a while) which cost $16.00 Since I don’t like alcohol, I went with Jabba Juice, a non-alcoholic drink with Orange juice, Pineapple, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, and Blueberry Popping Pearls. It’s only $8.50 and it’s quite yummy!

Now we finally got to the main event…

The Rise of the Resistance

As I mentioned before, we thought initially we wouldn’t be able to get into the ride at all. The boarding group number we got was 85, which was considered the ‘backup’ group. I read in some articles that because there might be some technical issues with the ride, the last boarding group that could get in within a single day would likely be those below #75. I remember feeling really deflated, I said to my hubby, ‘there’s no way we’d get on the ride!’ and we had only bought a one-day admission.

My hubby was more optimistic, and we decided to just find other rides to enjoy while we’re in the park. So we did… and guess what! While waiting on the Star Tours ride, our boarding group was called at around 3pm or so. Basically we got a notification on the My Disney Experience App and we had two hours after our group’s called to get on the ride! Ohhh happy day!!

We had time to get on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride in that two-hour window, which was pretty fun. So we finally got to the Rise of the Resistance ride at around 5pm, and still had to queue for about a half hour or so. By that point I was already so ecstatic that I’d actually get on the ride that I didn’t care. Funny how Disney really made you feel like a kid again and at that point, I was over the moon I could finally get on a ride that’s unlike anything built by Disney before!

The entire ‘ride’ is about 18 minutes long, and billed as a four-ride system that work pretty seamlessly. So there are tons of action going on before we actually get on the ride vehicle itself in a group of eight. As we entered the attraction complex, we’re led to a winding queue through rock formations and trees outside until we reach inside the base. That’s when the real fun begins! A series of animatronics of BB-8 droid and a hologram of Rey tells us about the mission we’re about to embark on. Then we got on a transport ship, which is a standing-room only, piloted by the fish-like creature Nien Nunb and Poe Dameron (woo wee!). But the ship had a run in with the First Order which we could see in the video screens all around us. Before it can make the jump to hyperspace, there’s a battle going on and soon we’re ‘captured’ by the First Order. There’s so much movement inside the ship it was tough to take a photo, but below is a pic of what the transport ship looks like (courtesy of gamespot.com)

The Resistance transport ship

It’s truly brilliant how immersive this whole attraction is, no wonder it’s extremely popular. According to this site, this attraction combines 5 million lines of computer code with animatronic figures, physical sets, digital projections and special effects. Not to mention all the props that you can gawk at as you’re waiting in line, like Poe’s uniform, etc. It’s quite a spectacular technical feat, and you can see why the chance of it breaking down is huge even if just one component isn’t working properly!

I think my favorite part is after we’re ‘captured’ by the First Order. Once we disembarked from the Resistance transport ship, we’re led to ‘detention cells’ within the Star Destroyer. Disney’s employees (here they’re appropriately called cast members) bark orders and do their best to stay in character and try to be as intimidating as possible. It’s all comical to us, but some kids are terrified, as the girl in front of me were crying constantly! The poor parents had to convince her that these are all employees in costumes. I overheard one of them say, ‘they have a house and dogs and everything’ Mwahahaha!!

 

So the dramatic ‘jailbreak’ finally gets us to the ride vehicle itself! It’s a trackless vehicle that seats 8 people. I LOVE this part and the only ‘downside’ is I wish it were longer! It’s the kind of ride you just want to keep going and going… it’s SO. MUCH. FUN. I was in awe of how much details are put into everything… definitely unlike anything I’ve ever riden before at any amusement park. My hubby was able to take a video once we got on the ride vehicle, so you can see for yourself!

Kudos to the Walt Disney Imagineering creative team! That OCR article also stated that the Imagineering team collaborated w/ Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic to create screen-based intergalactic battles that take place in the space windows of the Star Destroyer. It definitely made us feel like we’re part of the Resistance vs First Order story, and not simply a spectator!

I have to say I had a much better experience riding this than watching The Rise of Skywalker, ahah. When things would actually be back to normal again in a year or so, I’d certainly love to go back to Galaxy’s Edge. Perhaps we’ll try the one in Disneyland, CA next time around, but for sure I can’t wait to get on the Rise of the Resistance ride again!


Hope you enjoyed reading my experience to Galaxy’s Edge, it certainly was fun writing it and reminiscing on the fantastic time we had there!

May the Fourth Be With You!

HEARTS WANT short film now on Amazon Prime Video!

Hello blog friends! Wherever you are in the world, I hope this message finds you all safe and in good health.

My first short film, a romantic drama, is now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video!

Hearts Want on Amazon Prime Video!

Two former lovers who reunite for a play face the consequences of a secret that threatens to tear them apart forever.

It’s FREE to stream if you have Prime subscription, but it’s also available to rent or buy for non Prime subscribers for a nominal fee. Would you be so kind as to lend support by watching the film, and better yet, leave a review/rating right on Amazon. I’d really appreciate it if you can also help us spread the word out to your friends & family!

It’s been nearly three years since we filmed our short film in mid April 2017, exactly the day after Easter. You can also read about the filmmaking journey here. Hearts Want had a wonderful journey in various film festivals, both here in Minnesota and abroad.

Thanks to director Jason P. Schumacher and the talented MN-based cast & crew for making this dream a reality. I also want to thank those who have backed this project via Kickstarter. We wouldn’t have been able to complete this film in time for Twin Cities Film Fest where it won the Audience Award for short and made the five finalists for Best Short!

You can keep up with the project via our website and Facebook page. Oh and you can also listen to the wonderful score by Charlie McCarron on Spotify!


Thank you everyone for your support!

What I’ve Been Watching During Self-Quarantine

Hello everyone! Happy Friday! Hope all of you are coping as well as can be expected during this strange and difficult time. My hubby and I have been working from home this past week until the end of the month, who knows it could be longer. Despite all this, I’m counting my blessings and keeping my spirits high as we ride out this Coronavirus pandemic!

Well, thank goodness we live in a world where we have streaming services available! These in-home entertainment helps during a time where social distancing has become the new normal. We have been watching a lot more shows/movies since we have been cooped up at home. I saw on TV Guide that some streaming services even extended their FREE TRIAL to 30 days!

So last weekend I binged on …

BEECHAM HOUSE

I’ve been a huge fan of Tom Bateman and had been waiting for quite some time for this UK show to finally make it to the US! It’s not available on broadcast, but I had joined PBS Passport member in order to watch Sanditon a month ago, so I’m thrilled this one’s finally available to watch in early March!

A look at the lives of residents living in a Delhi mansion during the cusp of 19th century.

Check out the trailer…

Set in the 1795, amidst the clashing forces of British and French militaries and the decline of the centuries-old Mughal Empire. It’s billed as Downton Abbey India, and it’s also got Lesley Nicol who played Downton’s longtime cook Mrs. Patmore, this time she’s playing one of the masters of the house as the protagonist John Beecham’s mother. Bateman is perfect as John, the conflicted former soldier who’s left the ruthless East India Company and made a living as an art trader.

I’m a big fan of filmmaker Gurinder Chadha as well, the creator of the show. I love that Beecham House is partly filmed in the UK and India, the sets in the latter is especially sumptuous, all the costumes, set pieces, actors, etc. all lend to authenticity of the show. Not to mention the opulent house itself with its magnificent details. I love the diverse cast, too! I’ve been crushing on Tom Bateman for some time (he’s terrific in Vanity Fair) and here, his charismatic yet mysterious presence has proven himself ready to be a major leading man.

Glad to see Leo Suter once again after seeing him in Sanditon… thankfully he’s got more screen presence on this show as I had complained how wasted his talents was there. He’s proven to be a versatile actor as his character is quite different from Sanditon, but I definitely fancy him more as a bit of a rascal! The Indian actors are equally fascinating. Pallavi Sharda and Shriya Pilgaonkar are both stunning as two headstrong ladies who refuse to be a shrinking violet (I say that as the English woman named Violet here is a rather silly woman). I love Viveik Kalra in Blinded By The Light, here he’s playing the house caretaker who’s loyal to John Beecham. I hope to see more of him in future projects!

I might dedicate a blog post for this show, but for now, let’s just say it’s absolutely binge-worthy!


The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science

If you like documentaries, here’s one you should check out. It’s particularly intriguing to me because I live just an hour away from Rochester where the Mayo clinic is, but given their impact all over the world, it’s worth learning about just how they got started. It’s truly inspiring stuff!


Yesterday I wanted to see something light and funny, so we watched The Secret Life of Pets 2 on Netflix. It wasn’t as funny as the original, but still entertaining for the most part. My favorite bit is the one with the farm shepherd dog Rooster voiced by Harrison Ford. He’s so perfect for the part, a grumpy, adventurous veteran who’s teaching the city dog Max on how to overcome fear.


Thanks to that TV Guide link, I can finally watch this show on SundanceNow!

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES

Diana Bishop, historian and witch, accesses Ashmole 782 and knows she must solve its mysteries. She is offered help by the enigmatic Matthew Clairmont, but he’s a vampire and witches should never trust vampires.

 

It’s been around since 2018 and I remember really wanting to watch it when I saw the trailer… I mean hello, Matthew Goode!! 😍He sure makes one heck of a sexy vampire, oh la la! Interesting that the series about vampires and witches are set in the field of academia, Oxford University to be exact, and it’s actually filmed on location in various parts of the world… Oxfordshire, Scotland, and Venice. It’s definitely a great escapism for the time being since we cannot be physically traveling to any of those countries until this outbreak dies down.

I quite like Aussie actress Teresa Palmer as well, interestingly enough the first time I saw her in was in Warm Bodies, a zombie comedy. She must have a thing for movies about the undead. She looks so much like Kristen Stewart too, and she’s on that massively popular vampire movies. Apparently this one is also based on a novel, The All Souls Trilogy, by a woman writer, Deborah Harkness. I wonder why they didn’t just keep that title, , rather than what the have now that’s so long and clunky.

I’ve seen four episodes so far as of today, and I like it more and more. Story-wise, there’s enough going for it to keep me watching… there’s the enigma and mystery surrounding the Congregation which is comprised of representations of demons, vampires and witches (though the person who takes care of the location is a human, ha!)… and these species live under some strict rules.

The acting is a bit uneven, but the two leads Goode and Palmer are great and they have a good chemistry. An important factor given the core of the story is a forbidden romance, a bit like Romeo + Juliet but with warring species, not just families. I do have some issues with directing choices and the use of modern songs that kind of cheapen the show a bit, it just doesn’t jibe with the elegance of the setting. Oh, and what’s with these vampires not being affected by sunlight or even Crucifixes, and they go about like humans in their daily activity… eating, drinking, playing with their cellphones, etc. Seems all too convenient to me since they can live for hundreds of years!

In any case, I have four more to go in season 1, and I just learned that season 2 has been greenlit but according to this article, they have wrapped filming. But given some of the filming is in Italy, there might be a major delay if they have to do some more shooting done over there given the Covid-19 situation.


So that’s just a sampling of what I’ve been watching the past week and a half… 

How about you? What have YOU been watching during self quarantine?

 

Happy New Year! What’s your last viewing of 2019 + first watch of 2020?

Happy first day of 2020… and the beginning of a new decade!

Did you go to a NYE party or watch the ball drop on TV? If you did neither, well, high five… I actually didn’t bother to do the countdown as I was in the middle of watching of a movie I’ve been wanting to see in a while. As a member of OAFFC (Online Association of Female Film Critics), I had the privilege of receiving screeners. It’s perfect timing that Bong Joon Ho’s PARASITE arrived in the mail just days before!

Glad I got to see what many critics have called one of the best films of the year. PARASITE won the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, the first Korean film to win such a prestigious award. I haven’t had the chance to review it yet, but it’s one of the most indelible and suspenseful films I’ve seen in a long time and would definitely land in my Top 10 list 0f 2019!

After that my hubby and I actually couldn’t sleep right away, so we ended up watching one episode of The Man in the High Castle. We actually skipped season 2 as we finished season 1 a few years ago. Somehow we lost interest and got interested again after talking to a friend of mine Becky K. who absolutely LOVES the series (and its leading man Rufus Sewell). So we watched the season 2 recap and immediately jumped to season 3 and 4.

As of the time of this writing, we only have three more episodes left in season 4, its final season, and it’s truly been one of the best series we’ve seen this past decade. I think we’ll finish the series tonight, then off to see The Mandalorian with our 2-weeks Disney+ Free Trial.

We’re not sure yet what feature film we’d watch to kick start 2020. Most likely it’ll be a Netflix & Chill weekend and we still haven’t seen The King and that silly Michael Bay flick 6 Underground. As for a rewatch, well, Inception hits Netflix today… can you believe it was released 10 years ago?


What about you? What’s the last thing you watched in 2019? And what are you planning to see to kick off the new year?