I have been watching more and more stuff with each passing month. In many ways, this is quite excellent because it means that I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of all the bloody streaming services I’m subscribed to. On the other hand, it further highlights my excessive lack of having a life. But when you’re anti-social, agoraphobic and stuck inside due to a global pandemic, what is a human to do? I sure as hell ain’t complaining, that’s for sure! (Great sentence… I know.)
In April I watched, thirteen films (not including re-watches, with re-watches it’s closer to seventeen) and ten seasons of TV. (Did I mention, I have no life?) I enjoyed practically all of it for various reasons, although there were a couple of bitter bits that I was surprised had turned into disappointments. I was also taken aback by how many recent films I consumed. Lately, I’ve been in a mode for more retro titles, but there’s a fair share of content from the 2020 year of Doom and Gloom. Colour me impressed.
Anyhoo, as per usual, I’ve listed everything below, first the films and then the TV serials, in completion order. There’s a small snippet, brief musings, the platform that I streamed it on for those who are curious, and content warnings (CW) where available. I tried to be as thorough as possible with the warnings, but if I missed anything at all, please let me know in the comments and I shall add them to the listing. Thank you, chums!
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) [HBO]: A slasher, horror film that follows a bunch of drunken teens who are celebrating their last summer together before heading off to college where they will pretend to be responsible adults. On the way home, they get into an accident and make some less-than responsible choices in the aftermath, which comes back to bite them in the arse a year later. One of my favourite slasher films of all-time (it’s my first as well!), so when I saw that HBO had added it to their catalogue I took full advantage. I’m not ashamed to admit that I watched this film four times in April (not back to back, although I was tempted). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of horror akin to Scream and Halloween. CW: Cursing. Graphic violence and blood. Graphic deaths (murder). Mention of suicide. Brief scenes with dead animals. Alcohol consumption by minors. Drunk Driving. Sexism.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998) [Prime Rental]: The sequel to the film above, this slasher follows the survivors from the first film, plus a couple of new faces, as they continue to deal with ghosts of their past mistakes. One of the few cases where I love the sequel as much as (if not more) than the original. Unfortunately, I don’t own this or the first film (yet!!), and it’s not available for streaming anywhere, so I had to rent it after my second watching of the first film. I rented it on Amazon for about three to four dollars. Once again, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you enjoy slashers, and also if you liked the first but never saw the sequel. (We never speak of the third film which was total horse shite). CW: Cursing. Graphic violence and blood. Graphic deaths (murder). Mild sexual innuendo. Depiction of sacrificial rituals. Alcohol consumption. Depiction of mild PTSD.
Ever After (1998) [Disney+]: A historical, romance drama about a young girl who is raised by her stepmother after the sudden passing of her father, who was a nobleman. Forced into servitude via her stepmum, she keeps her head down and does her work until she meets a handsome prince with whom an interesting friendship takes root. I’m not a big romance watcher, but I adore this film. When I was a kid, I used to watch it all the time with my mum (she was a Drew Barrymore fan), especially when we needed something to give us hope during tough times. That nostalgia coupled with my own random desire to watch a comforting romance, I picked it up and found that it still holds a very special place in my heart. RECOMMENDED for fans of fairy tales, romance, and historical dramas. CW: Death (natural causes). Mention of dead parents. Bullying. Fatphobia. Classism. Imprisonment. Brief scene involving sale of prisoners. Brief depiction of injuries from whipping. Brief fighting. Public humiliation. Consumption of food and alcohol.
Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) [HBO]: A sci-fi, action-adventure film that is about two super territorial titans that are deemed King of Monsters in their own right. When a shady organisation does some shady shite, they are both drawn out from their homes and end up battling for ultimate superiority. While I strongly believe this was a bad film narratively speaking, I enjoyed the action and the mayhem and a lot of the entertainment dynamics in the second half. Hell, I watched it twice while it was on HBO. Narratively, Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of Monsters were much better, making this a weak instalment. But it does have me intrigued with what the creators will be doing for the next title in the series. RECOMMENDED for fans of B-grade action films featuring big ass and equally badass titan monsters. If you want something with more storytelling depth and dimension, you may want to pass on this like Roadrunner. CW: Heavy adventurous violence, especially between titan-sized animals. Death of titan-sized animals. Massive destruction of multiple cities. Death via destruction and mayhem from cities being completely devastated. Mild cursing. Brief racism. Brief alcohol consumption. Brief smoking.
Chloe (2009) [Hulu]: A suspense, drama about a wife who suspects her husband is cheating on her, so she hires a prostitute to seduce him and to convey everything they do back to the wife. I only picked this up because I was wanting a suspense thriller and that’s what Chloe was advertised as. It ended up just being infidelity emotional torture porn, for the most part. It was also super slow, boring, and predictable. It was a couple of hours that I’ll never get back… As you can imagine, I DO NOT RECOMMEND this film. There are much better marriage and dysfunctional-centric thrillers out there that is far more compelling than a bunch of rich white people feeling insecure about their perfect lives and, thus, becoming severely emotionally destructive because of it. CW: Graphic sexual content including physical sexual relations, detailed discussions of sexual relations, sexual dialogue and innuendo. Nudity. Unwanted sexual advances. Heavy references, discussion, and depiction of infidelity. Cursing. Consumption of alcohol and food. Smoking.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) [Disney+]: An action-adventure film about an infamous pirate captain who seeks to re-obtain his equally infamous ship with black sails from the cursed crew and first-mate that committed mutiny against him. Another one of my favourite films of all-time. This quintet is very precious to me and has helped me through many stressful times. I’ll admit that the story quality for each film can fluctuate quite a bit, but the adventurous spirit, action, wit, sass, and fantasy elements have me utterly smitten like a kitten in a cosy, floofy blanket. Naturally, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND The Curse of the Black Pearl as it’s also the best film in the quintet. CW: Heavy adventurous and swashbuckling violence including gunplay, fist-fighting, sword-fighting, and ship battles with cannon-fire. Mild depiction of blood. Death. Brief mention of drownings. Disturbing imagery including walking undead skeletons and removal of an eyeball. Consumption of food and alcohol.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) [Disney+]: In this action-adventure sequel to the above film, the infamous pirate captain returns as he tries to hunt down a great treasure to avoid paying a terrible debt, while his friends seek to assist him to avoid imprisonment of their own. I thoroughly enjoyed Davy Jones in this film, including all of the action, and the Kraken! The character development that Captain Jack Sparrow has here is also neat and the soundtrack is one of my favourite film soundtracks out there. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to anyone who likes swashbuckling action. CW: Heavy adventurous and swashbuckling violence including gunplay, fist-fighting, sword-fighting, and ship battles with cannon-fire and a sea monster. Death. Mention of cannibalism. Depiction of attempted cannibalism. Depiction of severed beating heart. Consumption of food and alcohol. Brief sexual innuendo. Brief drowning.
Scream (1996) [HBO]: A horror, slasher film where your typical beautifully superficial teenager gets a phone call one evening asking what her favourite scary movie is. When she gets tired of this dude’s attempts at flirting, she hangs up over and over again until her life, and the life of her beau, is threatened, kicking off a mayhem of seriously murderific shenanigans for the small town of Woodsboro. The quintessential horror film of the 90s, the one and only that inspired so many like it. I love this for various reasons, both from a film nerd’s perspective and someone who just enjoys watching dumbass teenagers getting mutilated (I know, I’m savage). After seeing I Know What You Did Last Summer, I got an itch to re-watch this as well. So, viola! Watch it, I did. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of slasher horror flicks. CW: Graphic violence, blood, gore, and death involving bladed weapons. Fist-fighting. Heavy cursing and adult dialogue. Mention of rape. Sexual innuendo. Brief sexual content (no nudity). Sexism. Stalking. Underage drinking. Gaslighting.
Mortal Kombat (2021) [HBO]: A fantasy, martial arts, action film about human fighters who are born with brands that will lead them towards a great tournament where they must battle beings from another realm in order to protect Earth from doom and gloom. It’s a modern-day remake of a classic video game of the same name. Alright, unpopular opinion alert: this film fucking sucked. The fight scenes had great choreography, but they were so god-awfully stiff and fabricated. You could tell by looking at the fighting that it was fake. People reacted to the oncoming assaults in a way that tells the watcher it’s extremely choreographed and premeditated. When I watch a martial arts or action film, I want it to be natural and believable. This film did not have the grace to accomplish that task at all. Also, I hated Kano (I know that’s the point) because he makes a point of being a racist asshole. There is a scene in the film where he spew off grossly inappropriate racial slurs against Asian folx for the sake of comedy. Given the current climate, it was done in extremely poor taste, and no one really calls him out on it too much at all. Last major issue? The pop culture references. I don’t really know why, but this also irked me quite a bit. Any references to Harry Potter and its creator piss me off because J.K. Rowling is the biggest TERF around, but to see references to other pop culture media in a film like this? It felt really out of place to me. I love the original films that came out in the 90s. They are cheesy and awesome, and their fight scenes were epically badass. This one? Bumbling in its fictitiousness and fake feelings as it gets. The only good fights were the ones between Scorpion (older) and Sub-Zero. That’s it. Those were the most natural ones; the one that truly helped to suspend the boredom of disbelief to make it engaging and exciting. As it stands, I would NOT RECOMMEND it. As I mentioned, my opinion is a supremely unpopular one, so if you loved it, more power to you. I’m glad you like it. Just please respect the fact that I didn’t. CW: Graphic violence, blood, and gore. Body mutilation. Graphic death including death by fie, ice, blades, guns, and fists. Death of children. Heavy cursing. Consumption of alcohol and food. Smoking. Sexism. Racism against East Asian people.
Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020) [HBO]: An action, comic book film about the Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn as she sets out to become an independent woman in the wake of her break-up from The Joker. (The fight scenes in this film were 1000% better than the fights in Mortal Kombat.) Another film I didn’t much care for. I watched this with my room-mate and we both felt that DC was trying to turn Harley Quinn into their version of Deadpool. Between the nonlinear storytelling, the chipper antihero-trying-to-be-a-hero-with-respect-to-a-teen dynamics, and a plethora of other things, it was a rip of Deadpool’s style. Because of that, I didn’t like it at all. I love Deadpool (the character and the film), but Harley Quinn is not Deadpool. If they had told her story in a different way, I think I would’ve enjoyed it far more. Plus, the film was super predictable and really boring. I never felt myself getting excited or finding it in my heart to care for Harley’s plight, which sucks because I admire her character in the comics a hell of a lot. As I mentioned, my only real favourite part were the fight scenes. They were supremely dope and entertaining and effortlessly conceived. Overall, I felt INDIFFERENT about Birds of Prey as a whole. CW: Graphic violence including fighting, gunplay, blunt weaponry, animal attacks, and explosions. Depiction of bones breaking and body mutilation. Graphic blood and gore. Death. Heavy cursing. Sexual content and nudity. Kidnapping. Imprisonment. Domestic violence. Sexual violence (attempted and mentioned). Depiction of unhealthy and toxic romantic relationships. Sexism and misogyny. Consumption of alcohol and drugs. Preparation and consumption of food.
Fantasy Island (2020) [Starz]: A psychological horror film about a group of youngens that are invited to spend the weekend at a place called Fantasy Island, where they will get the chance to experience their ultimate fantasies. However, everything on the island may not seem to be as black and white as these folx first believed, especially when the perception of what we think we want as fantasies and the reality of what they truly entail can be so disturbingly…unexpected. I wasn’t anticipating to like this. I thought it was going to be absolutely horrendous, but in an entertaining and very funny manner. While somewhat predictable given the formulaic set-up, the suspense caught me off guard and I found myself rivetted to see what lay at the end of the mystery. It’s not an easy film to watch as it has a lot of triggers for things, but I rather liked it by its finale. I RECOMMEND this for folx that like psychological horror stories. CW: Heavy sequences of terror and violence including the physical torture of a woman, humiliation and bullying, hostage situations, death, and war violence. Death of loved ones. Use of marijuana. Brief mention of infidelity. Mention of gaslighting. Consumption of alcohol. Sexual innuendo.
Mrs Serial Killer (2020) [Netflix]: An Indian, Hindi-language psychological thriller about the beautiful wife of a doctor who shall go to extreme lengths to prove her husband’s innocence when he gets accused and arrested for being a serial killer of women. This was one of my favourite new films of the month! I picked it up because I really admire Jacqueline Fernandez and Manoj Bajpai (the wife and her husband in the film). Jacqueline is gorgeous and I’ve had a crush on her for years. Manoj Bajpai is a method actor and I love his works; he’s quite a versatile actor too, which is probably what I love about him the most. This film is not perfect as it has certain traits that may be frustrating for some, but as a whole, it’s quite a marvellous mind-fuck of a very dark dramedy. They hinted at a sequel at the end and I’m keeping all my fingers crossed that it gets made rather than cancelled. I hope to write a full review for this film in the upcoming weeks, but as it stands, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to folx that like dark dramedies, morbid humour, and psychological thrillers. CW: Graphic violence and blood. Torture. Death via murder. Mention of abortion. Depiction of emotional implications of abortion. Miscarriage. Negative depiction of wedlock pregnancy. Kidnapping. Psychopathy and gaslighting.
Rocky Handsome (2016) [Netflix]: An Indian, Hindi-language action-thriller about a mysterious loner known only as “Handsome” by the daughter of his drug-addicted neighbour. When both mother and child get kidnapped by drug and human traffickers, Handsome goes on bloody venture to rescue them from the asshole who took them. John Abraham (he plays Handsome) is one of my favourite male actors. He was originally a male model and I remember being smitten as all the fucking kittens with him when I was younger. Suffice to say those feelings haven’t changed much. I put this in because of him. While it does follow a rather formulaic structure, the film was riveting nonetheless and very intense. It’s supremely violent with an excessive amount of blood that I haven’t seen in Indian films before (granted, I’ve been out of the Indian film-watching gig for a long time). It’s a bittersweet and dark film that should be avoided if you’re looking for fluff and feel-goodness warmth. But as an action thriller, it’s quite good and exciting. RECOMMENDED. CW: Graphic sequences of violence including gunplay and explosions. Graphic depictions of blood and death, including torture and organ harvesting. Death of child. Death of pregnant woman. Grief. Intense on-screen use of drugs and alcohol. Child neglect. Sexual assault. Forced child labour in drug trade. Brief on-screen nudity of mutilated corpse. Consumption of alcohol and food.
She Season 1 (2020) [Netflix]: An Indian, Hindi-language crime drama and Netflix Original Series about a female constable that gets chosen to participate in a high-stakes undercover mission in order to help capture a ruthless underworld gang. I picked this up after my Ammi (mum) recommended it to me. She’s been really into crime dramas and suspense thrillers (can you tell we’re related?), and she knew I was looking for more Indian stuff to watch. It wasn’t what I expected it to be at all, and while I have a few mixed feelings about certain aspects, overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. Watching this very submissive cop who gets abused and psychologically punched by everyone around her starting to change into a whole different kind of woman because of her mission was deeply… cathartic. I plan on doing a more thorough review to help sort out my thoughts, but as it stands, I definitely RECOMMEND this if you like crime dramas featuring women who learn to stand up for themselves in a world that would see them submit into the shadows. CW: Prostitution. Attempted rape. Sexual abuse by spouse. Domestic violence. Sexual molestation, exploitation, and unwanted advances of a child and a teenager. Sexual content. Drug use. Cursing. Consumption of alcohol and food. Misogyny. Sexism. Fatphobia. Anti-sexual hate. A couple of graphic on-screen death scenes involving lots of blood.
Stargate Season 6 (2002) [Netflix]: A military sci-fi series about teams of Air Force members who go through an intergalactic gateway to travel between planets and explore the galaxy. Season 6 is my third least favourite because of a character named Jonas Quinn. As much as I hate him for… reasons, I also did grow to appreciate certain quirks about him. Additionally, there are a few favourite episodes across the whole series in this season, so I can’t detest it completely. Even so, I still love it and HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. Content warnings vary by episode but mostly include military action and violence. Portrayal of enslaved and oppressed peoples. Torture (non-graphic). Human experimentation. Near drowning. Death and near death of comrades.
Criminal Minds Seasons 12 to 15 (2016) [Netflix (S12), Hulu (S13-S15)]: A crime drama that centres on a special unit of the FBI that focuses entirely on hunting down and capturing serial killers and criminals. I can’t believe I’m done with this series! My journey began back in October 2019 when I became very sick and was placed on bedrest due to my heart conditions for the first time. There were some narrative elements I didn’t like in the later seasons, but overall, the series never ceased being pretty solid all around. I’m glad I finished it as I have a strong sense of accomplishment accompanying its end, and also because I know that this is something I wouldn’t mind re-watching in the future. For the entire series, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this for people that like psychological crime dramas and are fascinated by the criminal psyches. Content warnings vary by episodes, but usually consist of very hefty and detailed looks at brutal death, rape, child abuse (all forms). Sadistic acts of violence and torture. Kidnapping. Psychopathy. Gaslighting.
Locke and Key Season 1 (2020) [Netflix]: A supernatural horror, fantasy Netflix Original show that revolves around a family who survived a terrible and traumatic event. In order to start anew in the aftermath of this horrible incident, they moved to a small town and old family home where the kids discover that the house has many magically mysterious secrets. I wrote up a whole post about five reasons why you should watch this, so I’ll refrain from mentioning all the titbits that blew me away about Locke and Key. Instead, I’m just going to say that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it. A second season will be dropping later in the year. CW: Suicide by fire. Violence including fist fighting, gunplay, choking, and arson. Sexuality between teenagers (no nudity, mild). Underage alcohol consumption and smoking. Mild cursing (no use of “fuck” or related words). Some intense bouts of terror. Mild depiction of PTSD. High school bullying.
The Nanny Seasons 1 to 3 (1993) [HBO]: A sitcom about a fashionable, Jewish bridal consultant who gets fired and kicked out on her rump when her boyfriend dumps her for his mistress. She travels to a wealthy neighbourhood in Manhattan to sell cosmetics but then gets hired as a nanny by a desperate millionaire who’s also widowed father to help care for his three children. Another show I picked up due to the nostalgia factor. I used to watch this all the time with my mum. We would make yummy snacks, get ice-cream and just watch episodes of this laughing and talking about how much we could relate to Fran Fine’s shenanigans. It’s such a vibrant memory in my mind and heart. When HBO added it to their catalogue, I jumped at the chance to re-experience (even though I own it on DVD, oops). The series definitely has its share of problematic shite as it didn’t age well with respect to fatphobia especially, but it still makes me laugh my ass off, and that has been desperately needed this past month. RECOMMENDED. Content warnings vary by episode but generally consist of consumption of alcohol. Preparation and consumption of food (lots). Brief underage smoking. Sibling rivalry. Dysfunctional family dynamics. Fatphobia. Child psychopathy. Sexual innuendo and sexual content (mild, no nudity). Brief discussion of dead loved ones. Bullying between two characters that absolutely hate each other.
After looking over this month’s watching theatrics, I have realised that I need to increase my intake of Asian cinema, particularly Indian shows. It has been way too long since I’ve watched Indian films and dramas, and my desi soul is needing some cultural love. Thus, my goal for May will be to watch more Asian shows and films, with a focus on stuff from India. I know for a fact that I’ll be re-watching Mrs Serial Killer because I want to review it and also try to catch clues I may have missed on my first watching. Maybe having specialised categories every month can help to diversify my watching shenanigans a bit more. Hmmm… I smell an experiment coming my way.
Anyhoo, if you see something listed there that you would like a more detailed discussion or review on, please let me know in the comments! Also, if you have any favourite Asian films, I’ll take those too! Love suggestions of things that bring people joy. Until next time, keep reading and keep potatoing.