Bought an Xbox One S

I’m actually typing this on Edge on the console using the controller, so this willl be short.

I hope to post more frequently now that I have a console I really like. Currently I am playing Murdered: Soul Suspect. It’s a great game and I’ll post about it soon. Only physical copy of agame I have is The Technomancer. I played it a little on PS4 and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to playing it on Xb1S.

Anyway, this took like five minutes to type. I should get a keyboard. All future posts will be from my phone or computer, but this has definitely been an interesting experience.

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The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Episode 7

I have finally reached the final episode of the first season of Anne With An E. So much happened in the seven episodes that it actually feels like more than that.

While the previous episodes contained a cross between humour and drama, this one was mostly drama. When the episode ended I was literally crying. The way they ended it makes me excited for season two.

The episode is an accumulation of everything that came before it. For as far as Anne has come as a character, she still has doubts that the Cuthburts want to keep her. When they start having financial troubles, she immediately is afraid they’re going to get rid of her. Marilla has to assure her that she is part of their family forever.

Another thing you can see in her growth is when it comes to math. In episode three when she first goes to school and sees long division, she looks like she is about to pass out. But in this episode she has to use it to figure out how much they owe the bank and she does it in a matter of seconds. I love how subtle this part is. They don’t shove it in your face that she learned, they just present it and trust you’ll make that connection yourself. They could have thrown in a line where she said, “Isn’t it wonderful how quickly I picked this up?”, and I’m glad they didn’t.

 

Reviewing this series has inspired me to do something new on this blog. you may have noticed that there’s been quite a change, and that the names of the other entries of this series have been changed. I have decided to start a new blog series where I review TV shows, usually episodically such as this one was done.

Until season two!

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Episode 6

This show has a way of being both humorous and dramatic at the same time. Right from the opening shot it’s very dramatic, with Diana running through the snow to get help. Within a few minutes, you’re laughing and happy by the outcome of that situation. But then a few minutes later you’re crying over the next thing.

This sounds like a complaint, but it is not. The writers manage to do it in such a way that’s not jarring. It flows perfectly from one emotion to another.

Of the six episodes I’ve seen thus far, this is the most story-filled one. They somehow packed so much into 45 minutes that I thought it was another hour and a half episode like the first one. But it was still coherent and didn’t feel like they were overwhelming the audience with information.

I don’t even want to really talk about the story specifics, but I will say that Anne grows so much as a character in this one episode. She’s not the excited and nervous little girl from six episodes ago. There has definitely been some major character development, and it looks like we will literally get to watch her grow up. Assuming they adapt the other books, we’ll watch her grow up, get married, have kids, and grow old.

And I would love to see that.

One episode left.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Episode 5

The moment the episode starts, the show goes somewhere most aren’t willing to go. Anne starts her period. It goes full Carrie for a minute, with her freaking out thinking she is dying. Anne even tells Marilla to remember her. It’s played both for laughs, and as a way of addressing serious topics.

But that’s nor the focus of the episode. Anne feels like she is an adult now, so Marilla allows her to invite Diana, her bestfriend, over for tea. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Diana in the other episodes, but she’s really an important character this time. I mean, she was important in the other episodes. But up until now she’s essentially just been the smiling, all-wise character who helps Anne transition into being accepted in with the rest of society in Avonlea.

But this time, Dalila Bela gets an opportunity to really act and shows why she was the best choice for the role. You can really see how close Anne and Diana have become in the…actually, I don’t know how much time has passed. But there’s snow in this episode, so I’m sure plenty of time has passed. Diana tells Anne that she loves her, and you can tell that Anne has never been told that by anyone before, so it means the world to her.

Oh, I know I haven’t mentioned the teacher, Mr. Phillips, much in the previous posts. That’s because he’s not been very important to the story other than a little rumour in the third episode, which was actually true. But he is more prominent in this one. I just have to point out that he is a terrible person, I don’t think I’ve disliked a fictional character this much since Paulie. I don’t really have anything more to add to this, I just wanted to address that so I don’t have to incase I need to in future episodes.

A secret about Marilla and Matthew’s past was revealed. Apparently they had a younger brother who died young. Neither want to talk about it, but knowing how these things work, we’ll find out more as time goes on. It shows a picture of the three of them as kids. The picture was shown in an earlier episode, and I remember wandering who the third kid was, but the thought passed almost as soon as the scene moved on.

Two episodes left in the season. I’m really excited!

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Episode 4

Within a minute into the episode, it’s clear that Anne has essentially snapped since we last saw her. She’s constantly talking to herself openly in front of everyone, to the point where she almost accidentally burns Green Gables down had Marilla not shown up. But it’s obviously fairly quickly that she not only had PSTD from her past experiences, but also depression.

As I said in my review of Loving Vincent, back in those days depression wasn’t really a diagnoses, so people just saw her as mad. Even though Marilla was advised to just let her come around on her own, she forced Anne to do as she says right now. As a result, Anne wasn’t ready to go back to school, and instead lied about it.

Of course, once Marilla finds out, she calls the minister to talk to her. But this being the 1890s, he suggests that Anne doesn’t need education, she needs to learn to be a wife. This doesn’t sit well with both Anne and Marilla, who both spend the rest of the episode thinking about what he said.

As luck would have it, the house of someone who hates Anne catches on fire. Anne is smart enough to know how to slow the flames, making it easier to put out, saving the house. Ruby, the girl whose house it was, has to stay with Anne until the house is repaired. As is common in real life, spending time with someone you can’t really stand and getting to know them makes you like them more. At least, that is usually what happens. That’s what happens here. Ruby and Anne become friends.

The episode ends with Anne deciding she doesn’t want to grow up to just be a wife, and goes back to school.

This episode references something from the book that wasn’t in the previous episodes, Katie Maurice. Katie was Anne’s only friend from her previous family. But instead of her being a physical person, she is Anne’s reflection. Without her being in the previous episodes or even mentioned, Anne just starts talking to her in this episode without the writers explaining who she is. Viewers would have had to read the book (or seen the other adaptations) to get the reference.

Other than that one complaint, great episode. I’m not officially more than halfway through the season. Three episodes left.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Episode 3

After covering Episodes one and two and now three, I think it’s safe to assume that I may be covering the whole season. While the episode was much smaller in scale than the previous episodes, it was still of great importance because it was the largest introduction of new characters since the first episode.

Anne starts school, and in doing so meets several of the local children. Of course, they still judge her because this is Avonlea and she is an orphan. But even when she tells the truth about finding an older teacher having “intimate relations” with a student, she’s accused to sullying the student’s name, and of course no one believes her.

This is also when she meets Gilbert Blythe, whom she will eventually marry, assuming the series goes that long, and assuming they follow the story.

The episode also focuses heavily on the growing feminist movement from the time. Marilla is invited to a meeting, and the word “feminist” is used and someone says they liked the sound of it, so I know this is meant to be at the beginning of the movement. This is a major change from Road to Avonlea. When it’s brought up in that show, it’s viewed basically as “dangerous thinking”. But in this series, it’s seen as a needed change (and it was). However, I think the show is starting it a little early.

This is set in the 1890s, and it didn’t happen on Prince Edward Island until 1922. Still, it’s nice to see it addressed in a positive light for a change. Which shouldn’t be surprising.

 

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Episode 2

I’ve just finished the second episode of the series I posted about yesterday. I was wondering how they were going to take that short book and turn it into multiple seasons of a TV series, but watching this episode I found out how. They’re not exactly following the book. They are definitely taking liberties on the story.

At first I didn’t like the changes, but then I gave it some thought and realised that this is actually a good thing. Now we’re going to get more stories of Anne at Green Gables. True, there are multiple books in the series, but it’s generally just the first one that gets adapted. Not to mention that the era of her life this is covering is just in the first book.

There are nine books in the series, and span her life from age 11 to age 75, so they have plenty of content to work with. Unfortunately I’ve only ever read the first one, but I keep meaning to read the others. Maybe this series will encourage me to?

I actually just stopped typing after I typed that line and bought the collection on my Kindle. So now I own the entire series (except for the ninth, which wasn’t released until 2009 (while the rest were published between 1908 and 1921).

But anyway, I actually love what they’re doing with this series. They’re taking the story that’s been told countless times over the past hundred years and expanding on it, going more in-depth with the characters, and exploring the story in new ways. I don’t know if I’ll cover each episode, but seeing as there are seven in the first season and I’ve covered the two I’ve seen, I might have something to say about each one.

I just want to end this by adding that the final scene of the episode is something I haven’t really seen much in modern entertainment. Usually a scene is either emotional or funny, but never both. But the last scene, especially the last minute, made me both tear up and laugh at the same time. And, once again, it was the amazing talent of Amybeth McNulty that makes it possible.

The Blogging Dead: Anne With An E – Episode 1

Anne With An E is a new Netflix Exclusive series which is based on Anne of Green Gables. I just finished watching the first episode, and I have so many things to say about this show, I don’t know where to begin. So I’ll start with why I started watching it.

I was initially introduced to Anne of Green Gables through the Kevin Sullivan series of films based on the books, as well as his spinoff series also based on the books, Road to Avonlea. Road to Avonlea is perhaps my favourite TV series of all time, as well as the accompanying movies.

Anne With An E clearly draws inspiration not only from the original book, but also from the Sullivan series. For example, here is Marilla Cuthburt in the Sullivan films/show, played by Colleen Dewhurst.

Marilla 1990

Now here is Marilla in Anne With An E, played by Geraldine James.

ANNE_101_Day5_0641.nef

There’s other examples, but I’m having trouble finding them in image search. Point is, this feels like an updated version of the franchise I know and love. Even though they’re based on the same source material, they could have very well changed the look of everything and made it look completely different, but they look similar enough that I pretty much knew what everything was right away.

Yesterday I did a short Facebook post about the Murder on the Orient Express remake that recently came out. It’s relevant to this, so I’ll just copy and paste the text of that post below…

I just finished the new Murder on the Orient Express (which I’ll call OE17) . Last night I watch the original 1974 version. After watching OE74 I was wondering why they would even bother doing a remake. It was pretty much perfect. The dialogue, the casting, writing, etc. It all worked almost perfectly. So why even bother remaking it? The only reason you should remake something is if you are going to bring something new to the story, even if it’s just modernizing it. Well, OE17 still took place in 1934, and they changed very little of the story. I’m a little conflicted here, because I can’t decide which of the two I prefer. While OE74 was the better film in regards to star power and everything listed above, OE17 is definitely more interesting. Both visually and cinematically. They don’t just stay on the train the whole time, they actually get out and walk around. Even the climax of the film, when he reveals what actually happened, takes place outside of the train. So they did change things, but it’s still the same story. This is why I keep seeing so many critics calling it a bad film, because it’s just telling the same story. However, it is presented in a different manner than previously. Does that make it a necessary remake? No. That’d only be if it was modernized, which would have been weird because passengers trains aren’t nearly as common these days, and I think the story only works in the 1930s.

So I guess I give OE74 a 9 out of 10, and OE17 an 8 out of 10. I liked both films, but the original slightly more.

The reason I bring up my review of an unrelated film is because this could almost be seen as the same thing. Anne With An E is literally just a remake of Anne of Green Gables. It hits the same beats, and even is word for word at times.

However, this is totally different because it’s in the form of a TV series. Instead of cramming everything into an hour and a half or two hours, they get to spread it out over several episodes. And I don’t think they finished the story, because in my research for this post I found that they’re doing season two. So that tells me that they’re taking this story and expanding on it. Which is something the Orient Express remake didn’t do.

Another thing I loved about this is that every frame is gorgeous! I was wanting to include pictures, but they’re proving harder to find than I was expecting, and I can’t seem to take screenshots on Netflix. It literally blacks out the video when I try

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So since I can’t show off how gorgeous the visuals looks, I’ll talk about the second greatest thing about this show. Amybeth McNulty as Anne Shirley. I’ve never heard of her before this, but I want to see her in everything from now on. She has a true talent, and she really is what sells this for me. Visuals are good and everything, but if you don’t have a believable lead you’re wasting your time.

She plays Anne as you know her (talkative, full of imagination, etc.), but you see a side of the character you’ve never seen before. She clearly struggles with PTSD brought on by how she was treated in the past. By families she’s worked for and the children at the orphanage/asylum. Every adaptation I’ve ever seen of this story has completely glossed over that, and to be honest I’ve never given it much thought until now. Someone, especially a child of thirteen, going through everything she’s been through since she was three months old, would definitely have at least some form of PTSD.

Amybeth portrays this perfectly. She’ll get a far off look and it’ll cut away to a flashback. Several times while watching I just wanted to reach through the screen and give her a comforting hug, because she really sells the torment this character is going through.

I’ve only seen the first episode, but I’m already so excited about this series! It’s currently available for streaming on Netflix.

 

Desolation of Blog: The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride

I recently “reviewed” The Lion King (if you could call that a review), and now I’ve watched the sequel. It’s been a really long time since I’ve seen it. I saw it when it first came out, which was twenty years ago this year, so I hadn’t seen it in twenty years. Wow, wording it like that really makes you feel old. . .

Anyway, since I hadn’t seen it since I was 10, I didn’t really remember much about it. All I knew was that so many people called it one of the worst sequels ever made and talked about how it’s a prime example of Disney cranking out pointless straight-to-video sequels. That’s part of the reason I’ve put off watching it after rewatching the first one for the millionth time.

But today I’m really bored so decided to put it in. I’m a member of the Disney Movie Club, after they do featured titles each month. If you don’t decline then they send them to you anyway and bill you for it. They recently had The Lion King II and The Lion King 1.5 as featured titles the same month. I forgot to decline. So now I accidentally own the whole trilogy on Blu-ray.

But is it as bad as everyone has been saying? You’d probably think that the fact I made this a Desolation of Blog post instead of a Casabloga post says that I think it is. But if it really was, I just wouldn’t post this at all. Just like with my Casabloga review of The Lion King, so much has been said about it that I couldn’t think of anything new to add, I just did that post because I wanted to add it to my Casabloga list. With Desolation of Blog, there is no list. SO much negativity has been thrown at Simba’s Pride that if I really thought it was that bad, I would just move on.

The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride isn’t Casabloga good, but it is still good. It isn’t a pointless film, and it definitely furthers the story. You even get character development from characters you know well. Most notably from Simba himself. In the first film, he’s presented as a perfect king with no (or limited) flaws. He’s basically good personified. But in the sequel, he’s honestly a bit of a jerk through most of the film.

Between the films, he had banished Scars’ entire family to the Outlands. He now has a blind rage towards all of them, even Kovu, Scars’ chosen heir, though he had nothing to do with Scar and wasn’t even his son. Kovu rescues Kiara, Simba’s daughter, and he still doesn’t trust him. Granted, Kovu was part of a plot to kill him, but he didn’t know that.

It doesn’t take long for Kiara to melt his heart and they fall in love. Over the course of a musical number, you can practically see his heart melt. He goes from cold and calculated before the song, to loose and laughing at the end and stays that way for most of the rest of the film.

I think that the reason this film gets so much hate is because it’s unfairly compared to the original. It’s nowhere near as good as the original, and I don’t think it was meant to be. This isn’t as big of a story as that one was, and yet the outcome is the reunification of the Pride Lands. Not to mention that the songs aren’t as memorable as the first one’s, except maybe He Lives In You, which is so good that they used it in The Lion King Musical, which is based on the first film, not this one.

While this may not be as good as the original, I still feel it’s worth checking out. I give it a 7 or of 10.