Author Archives: Emma

The 9 Books I’ve Read in Self-Isolation: March Reading Wrap Up

In the past couple weeks I’ve have been self-isolating, and in order to keep myself entertained I’ve been 100% keeping up to date with ALL of my school work! Oh wait, no, sorry. I have actually been keeping up to date with about 0% (maybe 1%?) of my school work. What I’ve actually been doing is reading a lot of books and watching some movies and binging some TV. However, today I’m going to be focusing on the books that I’ve read. Mainly because there are 9 (NINE!)

1.) I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

This first book is actually one I read as part of a book club! It’s essentially a “soft sci-fi” which pretty much means it’s a contemporary book with some sci-fi elements mixed in. Following three teens on the journeys they each embark on after earth is contacted by aliens, telling everyone they have seven days until hey are put on trial. I enjoyed this book, but found myself disconnected from the characters due to the way that it was written. And the ending kind of feels like the author just stopped. That being said, I would actually recommend this to anyone looking for an “end of the world” type thing, especially seeing out current situation.

2,3,4.) Tales of the Shadowhunter Academy, Chain of Gold and Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare and others

The reason I have lumped these all together is because they are all part of a much larger series of books known to many as The Shadow Hunter Chronicles. Cassandra Clare has three (going on 4/5 now) complete series, as well as three short story compilations that follow characters known as Shadowhunters — humans with angel blood who fight demons. The problem with the three books I’ve read this past month is that I can’t really recommend them to anyone who hasn’t already read her books, because they do contain spoilers for her other series! That being said, I really enjoyed all three books and if you’ve read Clare’s other books and liked them, I would definitely suggest checking them out. And if you haven’t read any of her books, check out either The Infernal Devices or The Mortal Instruments first.

5.) A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

This is an extremely sweet as well as heart wrenching — but also warming — book. Following a young muslim girl who moves to a new town just one year after the 9/11 attacks. chronicling her year at a new school, the new people she meets, as well as the break dancing club she starts with. her brother. I really enjoyed this book, especially because I have never read anything with this subject matter. Being an own voices story, inspired by the author’s adolescence (break dancing and everything!)

6.) Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell

This book isn’t really a book, and is rather two (very) short stories compiled into two bindings. The first Midnights follows a girl who pines after her best friend and has to watch him kiss a different girl at midnight every single New Years Eve. And the second story, Kindred Spirits, follows a young girl who waits in line for the first movie in the new Star Wars sequel trilogy. And the trials and tribulations of sleeping outside a movie theatre for two days and with two people who don’t know — despite the fact that they share a love for Star Wars. Now I’m not a HUGE fan of extremely short stories like these, mainly because I’m an extremely character based reader. I love to get to know characters, and by the time I got to know these ones — the story was over. That being said I really enjoyed the second story, being a Star Wars fan myself. There were lots of cute little references mixed in that I was able to enjoy.

7.) In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund

This next book I read was yet again for the book club i’m a part of! inspired by the board game Clue, this is a modernized murder mystery. Taking place in a fancy boarding school and following the few students who get trapped in one of the school buildings when there is a horrible storm. The only way I can describe this book is fun. It’s extremely easy to read and gets it’s point across easily. My only complaint is the different points of view that it’s told in throughout the story.

8.) All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

This is an audio book that I ended up listening to as I cleaned my room one day. I signed up for the Scribd free one month promotion, and chose a book I saw a few people talking about online. Putting a modern twist on Agatha Christie novels mixed with The Breakfast Club. X teens are invited to a scholarship dinner with the mayor, but he never shows. With the door slamming shut and trapping them in the room, stuck with a bomb, a syringe, and a note saying: they have an our to kill someone, or everyone dies. Although, unfortunately I just don’t think it was for me. I had trouble believing the overall “reveal” and like many of the other books I read this month — I didn’t love the way that it was written.

9.) If We Were Villains by M.L Rio

The last book I read this month is one I have been DYING to read. Following the 7 teens that make up the fourth years of a very prestigious Shakespearean theatre program. It goes back and forth between their 4th year and ten years in the future when one of the students is being released from jail, for murder. I really really enjoyed this one. It is so pretentious, but that’s something I really enjoy — so if you get annoyed at 21 year olds who quote Shakespeare in everyday conversations it’s not for you. I will also say that I started to read this one day, tried to stop, but then ended up staying up until 3am so I could read the whole thing. But if you don’t like Shakespeare, this is probably not for you.


So there we have it! the 9 books I read in March! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and healthy. If anything this is the best time for us to be turning to things like literature and film, as they help us escape the world outside.

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Looking Forward: Process Post #11

Today was our last PUB201 class, and to be honest I’m a bit sad. Publishing classes are always a fun and a highlight of my semesters — I mean today in our online lecture we started playing pictionary, what other class would that happen in?!

But alas, as it is the last class that does beg the question: where do we go from here?

for me, I’m looking forward to continuing this blog. Especially in a time like this I think not only those who pop in and read my posts need this — but so do I. It’s been so much fun to post different reviews, lists, and everything in between this past semester and I’m looking forward to continue to do so!

However, in the upcoming weeks I do have exams. And if I can’t focus on studying when I’m freakishly busy with work — how on earth am I going to be able focus when I literally have all the time in the world!? So, that being said, I will most likely be able to get back up and running some time after the 20th of April (my last exam).

I look forward to posting all the reviews (mainly books because literally every single new movie has been pushed back to the end of the year or 2021 🙁 ) While also using all the knowledge I have gained from this course. Including SEO, Google Analytics, and everything in between. I also look forward to taking more Publishing courses in the future, and most likely sticking a shiny Publishing minor alongside my English Major.

P.S — Thank you Suzanne and William!

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Motivation: Process Post #10

The other day I was talking to my friend over FaceTime. I said to her, “my TA wants us to post a response to the overall discussion question and then a another response to someone else in the class — I don’t have time for that!” To which she replied, “actually Emma, you literally have all the time.”

This was a moment when I really noticed the way that this change in pace has affected my motivation to complete school work. I literally have no excuses. I’m not going into work right now, so my usual excuse of having to teach kids dance from 3-6 Thursday through Sunday isn’t going to work when i’m not up to date with the many tasks I know i’m behind on. And I literally have all the resources I need in order to be the successful — ie: working computer, internet, food in a kitchen — and I’m very lucky for that. However, I did realize the other day (while trying to write I long paper in approximately 48 hours) that I have the most uncomfortable desk chair and will likely need to upgrade before my summer courses begin or my back WILL begin to resemble a cave man’s.

But anyways, I’m hoping that in the summer I will be able to motivate myself to keep up to date with my classes. I think (and i HOPE) it will be easier due mainly to the fact that those classes are always going to be online. What was most difficult these past few weeks was not just doing classes online, but the abrupt switch to online. I felt like I got whiplash going from a 3 hour lecture on film history to a short recorded lecture that my professor sent out.

So that being said, I’m hopeful for the coming months. And I hope that this all starts to settle down soon. Because if there’s one thing that’s not helping — it’s everyone freaking out.

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Imagine: Process Post #9

I’m not too sure if everyone has seen this, but last week actress Gal Gadot posted this video to her Instagram account. And it caused quite an uproar. I could see the sentiment behind it, but all in all I think it’s pretty cringey. Most people just asking: “what’s the point?” There was no charity attached to it, which could’ve to possibly encouraged people to donate to those in need — but it was instead a bunch of celebrities awkwardly singing Imagine by John Lennon horribly off key. Although, what it did do was make me interested in looking to see what different celebrities have been doing online. Not only trying to brighten people’s days, but helping charities as well. And two of the main things that stood out to me were: living room concerts and late night talk show hosts.

Living Room Concerts

“living room concerts” are simply celebrities (usually singers) posting videos on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, or through live stream services where they perform different songs. While I’m not sure who did the first one ever, John Legend was one of the first big celebrities to do it. Doing an Instagram Live along with his wife Chrissy Teigan and their children. What’s interesting about this is that when John posted the video to his Instagram, he used the hashtag #togetherathome, tagged fellow musicians to do the same, as well as included links to the WHO (World Heath Organization) and this website. And what the website shows is a way in which they are getting different musicians to come together and encourage people to stay home — all through music.

Similarly I’ve been seeing videos on various different Broadway themed sites. As some of you might know, all of Broadway has shut down due to the virus. Thus resulting in thousands of Broadway performers (and those who work behind the scenes) without work. Sn Broadway.com’s youtube channel, they’ve been done a live show hosted by Rosie O’Donnell with numerous broadway guests — all to raise money for The Actor’s Fund! Similarly, Broadway World has been posting videos on their website and Instagram page of various Broadway performers doing living room concerts. And another one of my favourite things has been Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has been asking his Twitter followers to send songs they want him to play on the piano — all while sat in front of his beautiful and giant Cats oil painting! (another awesome charity is Broadway Cares, known for the Aid’s fun they regularly raise money for when shows are happening!!)

Late Night Talk Show Hosts

Now I’ll admit, one of my guilty pleasures is watching late night talk shows. I don’t watch them all the time, but I really enjoy some bits of Seth Meyers and Jimmy Fallon’s shows. And in this quarantine I’ve actually been tuning into Jimmy Fallon’s Youtube channel quite regularly, because he’s been doing The Tonight Show: Home Edition for the past few weeks. I believe Jimmy Kimmel was actually the first talk show host to do this, but I genuinely enjoy the way that Fallon has been running his show from home. He has his wife film (as well as not laugh at a single one of his jokes), and his two young daughters often steal the show — with an inability to listen to him, and the youngest always ending up climbing all over him. What I also really enjoy about Jimmy Fallon’s show is that they’ve been highlighting various charities throughout the episodes (on the first episode alone they have already raised over $53,000 dollars for Feeding America). So I think he’s done a really good job of not only continuing to entertain people, but bring awareness of what’s going on. [Seth Meyers, Conan, James Corden, & Stephen Colbert have also been doing at home episodes of their talk shows]


I think there’s quite a difference between the video Gal Gadot posted, and the one’s I’ve included here. I get what she was most likely going for, but it definitely didn’t have the same affect as these celebrities, who are coming together to bring awareness to not only the virus, but bringing help to those who have been affect most — all while continuing to do what they do best and entertain the general public.

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The Power of FaceTime: Process Post #8

I’m an introvert. And so, I’m someone who usually prefers time to myself. So, if i’m being honest, self-isolating hasn’t been the most difficult thing for me to do. However, as the weeks go by, I have begun to get restless. As much as introverted people enjoy their time alone — that does not mean that we are all recluse. Some of the things I have enjoyed doing during my self-isolation is reading and watching movies, but I’ve also been FaceTiming my friends and family. I think I’ve used the FaceTime app on my phone more in the past couple week than I have in the however many years I’ve had an Apple device! (like 8 years?)

I live at home with my parents, but I have three older brothers who live with their significant others. Two of them live in Vancouver, while the eldest and his wife live in Toronto with my baby niece. And so, in order to talk to one another regularly, we’ve been having makeshift family dinners in order to connect with one another during quarantine (at about 3pm because of the Toronto/Vancouver time difference and because my niece eats at 6’clock). In some ways I would actually say that the virus is bringing us closer, as ironic as it might sound. I see the two brothers who live in Vancouver quite often — but I’m definitely not able to talk to the oldest as often. Although, through the power of the internet, we’re all able to check in on one another and make sure everyone is doing well — and it’s of course awesome to see my baby niece walking and “talking” (she has about two words in her vocabulary “light” and “hi”).

Alongside my family, I’ve been trying to stay in touch with my friends as well. One of my best friends and I would always meet up at SFU on Wednesdays, during a break we both had between classes. And so, even though we’re not in school, we’ve been facetiming at the same time! It’s not only nice to see my friend, but it still feels like I’m maintaining a part of my old routine.

So while I’m doing a lot of reading and watching a lot of movies, I’ll be honest and say that those are things I would always do during my free time. So, during this time, I’m also trying to keep in touch with those around me — and I’d suggest you all do the same!

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Movie Series to Marathon Now: Self-isolation Recommendations

If you haven’t already, now is the time to revisit your favourite movie series — or discover new ones you haven’t seen before. And if you can’t think of any films, I’m here to give you EIGHT series that you can marathon — as well as the number of hours it will take you to watch them all. Since these are all quite long lists, I will be linking the Rotten Tomatoes collections to make linking much easier for me. So, you’re interested in watching any of these films — just click the links and you’ll find every one!


1.) Star Wars (25hrs)

To me, this is one of the obvious ones. Although, there are a couple ways that you can watch these films. There is release date order — and timeline order. If you have never seen a Star Wars film in your life — I would suggest watching in release date order (option A). However, you also have the option of watching them chronologically (option B). Which would be when each film takes place over the timeline of all Star Wars films.

Option A.) RELEASE DATE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Episode 4: A New HopeEpisode 1: The Phantom Menace
Episode 5: Empire Strikes BackEpisode 2: Attack of the Clones
Episode 6: Return of the JediEpisode 3: Revenge of the Sith
Episdoe 1: The Phantom MenaceSolo: A Star Wars Story
Episode 2: Attack of the ClonesRogue One: A Star Wars Story
Episode 3: Revenge of the SithEpisode 4: A New Hope
Episode 7: The Force AwakensEpisode 5: Empire Strikes Back
Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryEpisode 6: Return of the Jedi
Episode 8: The Last JediEpisode 7: The Force Awakens
Solo: A Star Wars StoryEpisode 8: The Last Jedi
Episode 9: The Rise of SkywalkerEpisode 9: The Rise of Skywalker

I’ve chosen to not include the many animated TV shows, because that would just further complicate things (this article places each show in the chronologic order). However, if you’re watching on Disney+ I would suggest adding in the live action show The Mandalorian (in option A it would go between Solo and Ep.9, and option B between Ep. 6 and 7). It’s not necessarily essential to the overlying plot of Star Wars, but the show is so good (and that’s not just because of Baby Yoda!)

Image from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

2.) The Lord of The Rings (9hrs 18mins or 18hrs 3mins)

To me, the first series that comes to mind when I think movie marathon is Lord of the Rings. Similarly to Star Wars — you also have a couple viewing order options:

Option A.) RELEASE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGIC ORDEROption C.) SHORT CUT
LOTR: The Fellowship of the RingThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two TowersThe Desolation of SmaugThe Two Towers
Return of the KingThe Battle of the Five ArmiesReturn of the King
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Fellowship of the Ring
The Desolation of SmaugThe Two Towers
he Battle of the Five ArmiesReturn of the King

Having seen all three painfully long Hobbit movies in theatres, I don’t think they’re necessary viewing. They’re nowhere near as good and impressive as the LOTR, but they do provide context to the story as a whole so if you don’t mind the extra 9 hours— watch them. 


Thankfully the rest of the movies on this list don’t have complicated viewing orders — so you would just watch the following series in release date order!


3.) Harry Potter (21hrs 52mins)

Another series that comes to my mind almost instantly when I think of marathoning is Harry Potter. And one of my favourite things about watching them one after the other is that way in which you not only watch the story develop — but the actors grow! It’s also cool because the movies were being filmed as the books were coming out — so no one really knew the fate of their characters! 

4.) The Hunger Games (9hrs 8mins)

A personal favourite of mine — but definitely not one that many people think about. The Hunger Games is (i think) one of the very few successful YA book adaptations, especially with the second movie Catching Fire (which is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen). The Hunger Games are very close to my heart so I find it very difficult to not just ramble on and on about them, so just watch them. 

Image from The Hunger Games

5.)The Twilight Saga (10hrs 11mins)

Now, the Twilight movies are nowhere near as good as the other movies I’ve mentioned in this list. However, they are extremely entertaining. And so, I still decided to include them on this list (and they also have the best soundtracks ever, so listen to those afterwards!)

6.) Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049 (4hrs 39mins)

Now I will admit that this is less of a marathon and more of a double feature. If you have only seen Blade Runner 2049 I would highly suggest watching the original one and then follow up with the sequel. And if you’ve only ever seen the original — watch 2049, the only thing you’ll be disappointed about is the fact that you didn’t see it in theatres!

7.) MCU / X-MEN (50hrs 3mins or 24hrs 26mins OR 74hrs 29mins)

So, I kinda lied when I said that none of the other series on this list would have complicated viewing orders — but I wanted to save the biggest marathon for last. Yes, every single movie in the MCU. I’m sure there are many people who did this before Endgame came out last year. However, if you weren’t one of those people — now’s your time! Similarly to my first few picks on this list, you have a 2 options for watching these films. 

Option A.) RELEASE DATE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Iron ManCaptain America: The First Avenger
The Incredible HulkCaptain Marvel
Iron Man 2Iron Man
ThorIron Man 2
Captain America: The First AvengerThe Incredible Hulk
The AvengersThor
Iron Man 3The Avengers
Thor: The Dark WorldIron Man 3
Captain America: The Winter Solider Thor: The Dark World
Guardians of the Galaxy Captain America: The Winter Solider
Avengers: Age of UltronGuardians of the Galaxy
Ant-ManGuardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Captain America: Civil WarAvengers: Age of Ultron
Doctor StrangeAnt-Man
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2Captain America: Civil War
Spider-Man: HomecomingSpider-Man: Homecoming
Thor: Ragnarok Doctor Strange
Black Panther Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity WarThor: Ragnarok
Ant-Man & The WaspAvengers: Infinity War
Captain Marvel Ant-Man And The Wasp
Avengers: EndgameAvengers: Endgame
Spider-Man: Far From HomeSpider-Man: Far From Home
Image from Marvel’s The Avengers
CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
X-Men
X2: X-Men United
X-men: The Last Stand
The Wolverine
Deadpool
Deadpool 2
Logan

However, if you want to spice things up — you can add the X-men films onto your marathon. They aren’t part of the MCU, and don’t coincide with any of the events in those films — but this is the order in which you can watch those:

However! These films are not simple either! There are some alternate timelines in these films and thus different viewing orders because certain movies aren’t included in each timeline. if you want to know more, and perhaps watch the films accordingly, I would suggest reading this article (because I don’t have the time to explain the different timelines because it is confusing). 

And lastly, as you might’ve noticed, I didn’t include the many Marvel TV shows that have happened on various networks (Netflix, Hulu, FX). I didn’t include them because it’s somewhat unclear if they are all canon or not — so, if you want to watch those too, I’d suggest reading this article as it places them all in the MCU timeline.


So there we have it! Plenty of movies to keep you occupied throughout the rest of this quarantine! Some of these are nice and simple marathons, and some will take DAYS, so prepare yourself! and stock up on snacks while you can.

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A Spoonful of Vanilla Helps the Medicine Go Down! Peer Review #3

For my third (and final!) peer review I am going to be looking at the blog of Christina from A Spoonful of Vanilla

A Spoonful of Vanilla is a blog filled with recipes everyone and anyone can try at home — giving us recipes that are also vegan and gluten free ones too! With a simplistic and minimal theme, what really stands out and draws you in are the photos. The baked goods she makes stand out against the white background and almost beg you to try and make them yourself. And while each photo is of a different baked good — they all fit together cohesively to push the aesthetic of her blog as a whole. And that is seen even more so when you look at her instagram — made easily accessible through both the side bar and icon in the upper left corner. Her Instagram is filled with just as many photos of delicious looking treats. Baking is inherently visual, and so I think instagram is a great social media app to use alongside the blog. Because If you see a photo of a delicious looking cake on instagram, and the caption says: “there’s a simple recipe for this in the link in my bio” — I’m going to click the link! I also think this minimalistic theme makes it look very professional and clean — two things you definitely want from a baker!

One of my favourite features of this blog is that on each recipe you can easily adjust the serving size — which would make it about 100% easier to double or halve the recipe if you wanted to. And if you’ve tried to halve a recipe, you would probably know that it’s not as easy as it may seem! Each recipe also clearly shows the amount of servings it will make, the difficulty of the recipe, prep time, baking time, and then the complete time in which it will take you to complete the recipe! I really appreciate that this is at the top of the recipe — because it helps to know right away if you even have time to make something, or if it is easy enough for an amateur like me to do! 

Alongside her recipes Christina also sells her baked goods. This is easily noted by her “orders & pricing” tab at the top of her blog. And she clearly states that she works in a peanut-free kitchen— which is great. However, this feels much more like a blog — with a business on the side. Rather than a baking business — with a blog on the side. A suggestion I have is altering the bio on the right sidebar. And perhaps saying “I’m a baked based out of Vancouver, BC etc etc.” Which I think would put the business aspect front and centre! I also think adding an about me page could similarly help and make the site feel more personable — thus making customers feel like they know who’s making their cookies!

Other than that Christina has an extremely cohesive blog. It is clear that it’s about baking, and the mix of visuals and text are perfectly balanced. One of my hobbies I’ve begun to adopt in the last few weeks of quarantine is baking, so I’m hoping to try some of Christina’s recipes soon! 

you can find a spoonful of vanilla and Christina’s recipes here

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4 New-ish Movies To Watch At Home: Self-Isolation Recommendations

Self-isolation might be hard for some, but it is necessary. I myself am someone who actually prefers to stay in, but I will admit that i’m starting to get a little bit of cabin fever (sorry, not a good time to make jokes about fevers). However, one of the many ways I am keeping myself entertained is by reading a lot of books and watching a lot of movies. Because sometimes you just want to completely block out the real world and get lost in a fictional one that is much brighter and better than the one we are living in right now. And so, this is the first instalment in *drum roll*….. Self-Isolation Recommendations! I tried way too hard to try and think of a title that rhymed, but this the best I could do (if you say it fast it kinda rhymes).

I have to admit, one of the things that hit me the hardest this past week was the closing of movie theatres. For me, one of the many ways that I try to escape from the real world is to sit in a dark (often cold) theatre and fully immerse myself in a film. However, I will admit that the closing of theatres does make a lot of sense. Seeing as they are also riddled with germs and who knows what else. But, because of these theatre closures and general fear because of the impacted economy, a lot of movie release dates are getting pushed back (ie: No Time To Die, Mulan etc.). OR, they are being released to streaming and VOD early. And while it is sad that a lot of these films weren’t able to get the full run in theatres that they might’ve deserved — it’s nice to have some new content to watch while we are all stuck at home.


1.) The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man was just released in theatres on February 28th. It performed quite well in the box office and received rave reviews — especially highlighting Elizabeth Moss’ performance. This film is a modern retelling of the classic H.G Wells story of the same name, where a woman’s ex-boyfriend “dies” and he proceeds to become invisible and terrorize her everyday life. I would exercise caution when watching this as we all might start to go slightly crazy from being cooped up at home for so long, and I don’t think police want us to start calling them and telling them there’s an invisible man in our living room.

2.) Emma

Emma — which is a movie I quite like the title of — is an adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel. Released in theatres on March 5th, it follows Emma Woodhouse described quite simply as “handsome, clever, and rich.” And while she is all of those, one of her favourite things to do is to meddle with her friends and family’s love lives and do some matchmaking. In a way Emma is the reversed Bachelor, whereas she picks who each of her friends should marry. And if you decide to watch this film, might I suggest you start a Jane Austen film marathon — she does do a very good job of making just a simple touch of the hand extremely sensual *insert Pride and Prejudice Mr.Darcy hand flex* — which might be exactly what some people need in these trying times of zero human contact.

a still from the 2020 adaptation of Emma

3.) The Hunt

Now, a film which is quite different than Emma is The Hunt. While this film was released on March 11th, it actually has an interesting back story because it was originally meant to come out on September 27th, 2019. The film was hit with extreme backlash because of it’s subject matter — seeing as it is about people who hunt literal human beings. Though it was announced that the film’s released date would be pushed back indefinitely because its original release date was close to the horrible Dayton and El Paso mass shooting which happened in early August. However, finally being released in March the producers said no changes were made to the cut of the film and it is the exact same thing that would’ve been released in October. This is yet another film that I would exercise caution when watching because if we are stuck isolating for much longer and we start to run out of food — this is not what I want people to first think of!

4.) Onward

And now, finally, one for the kids. Disney and Pixar’s latest collaboration is Onward, a tale of two brothers who try and bring their late father back from the dead using what little magic they have. This film was initially released in theatres on March 5th, however it’s now available to rent online and will be on Disney+ on April 3rd. This film also stars the voices off Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, so it seems that Disney either has a limited number of actors willing to work for them — or they make Marvel actors do at least one other movie with them.

a still from the animated film Onward

So there we have it! 4 movies that are (relatively) new and super easy to watch at home! I will be honest right now and say I haven’t watched any of them, but I can’t wait to! So sit back, (try and) relax, and enjoy the show(s)!

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The Force Is Not So Strong With This One – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming to dvd, digital download, and Disney+ this week, I decided to finally post the review I wrote for the movie 3 months ago. I never posted it because I felt very frustrated by the movie, but alas… here are my feelings.

The time has finally come, the final instalment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy and (apparently) the last film in the Skywalker saga has been released and i am here to talk about it. I myself am a big fan of the Star Wars films, and have been thoroughly enjoying the sequel trilogy since it’s debut with The Force Awakens back in 2015. Written and directed by J.J Abrams TFA was able to bring old and new fans of the Star Wars movies together, enjoying the return of old characters and introductions of those who were new. That was then followed by the second movie: The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson. This movie was met with both extremely positive and very negative reviews back in 2017, pretty much dividing the Star Wars fandom by those who either loved or hated The Last Jedi. I myself was indifferent to The Last Jedi, and most certainly didn’t feel the extreme love or hate that others did. Though i was very excited to see what J.J Abrams would then do when he ultimately returned to write (alongside Chris Terrio) and direct the final film in this trilogy.

The Rise of Skywalker picks up about a year after the end of the last film. With Rey training with Leia, Finn and Poe flying with BB-8 to gain first order secrets, and Kylo Ren seeking out the rumoured now-alive Palpatine. Though as the movie begins to gain way, it feels as though all character and story development from the last film has been ignored. Ultimately sending the story downhill.

Rise Tico, played by the wonderful actress Kelly Marie Tran, has been almost completely pushed to the side lines. Almost never leaving the rebel base or saying more lines than i can count with one hand. She actually had a pretty major role in The Last Jedi – having saved as well as kissed one of the main characters (Finn), she also said a line that could pretty much encapsulate the entire franchise: “that’s how we’ll win. not fighting what we hate. saving what we love” Yet in this film she has a screen time of 1min 16 seconds, and her interactions with Finn (wherever they are) feel as though they are between co-workers, rather than romantic interests.

Rose Tico in The Rise of Skywalker (Lucasfilm)

While I can admit that there are certain moments where i felt a sense of nostalgia and excitement as a Star Wars fan, i couldn’t help but immediately be caught off guard by them as well. As much as i loved having Billy Dee Williams back as Lando Calrissian and seeing him command the Millenium Falcon again — it felt forced. There was no real reason he was there, other than to please fans and make us feel nostalgic. But there was also no explanation as to how or why he was where he was. How had the resistance never come into contact with him before now? does he know about Han? We witness Leia training Rey, because as we know from TLJ, Luke is now one with the force. Although, if Leia is strong enough with the force to train Rey, why did she not train her son herself rather than send him off to Luke? And why did we not know more about Leia’s force abilities until now? Then, with the return of Palpatine, there is no explanation as to how he survived, or how such powerful force users such as Luke Skywalker (or even Kylo Ren for that matter) never sensed him until now. While it was cool, it would’ve been cooler and made more sense had it been introduced sooner or been established well and properly. This makes it quite obvious that there were no prior plans to have Palpatine return, and thus makes the entire trilogy feel like each writer/director was blindly moving the plot forwards with no clear idea of how it would ultimately end.

Poe, BB-8, Chewie, and Lando in The Millenium Falcon (Lucasfilm)

Instead of nicely concluding the saga, it felt as though Abrams and Chris Terrio (co-writer), tried to write the screenplay by piecing together all of the different fan theories and predictions they could find on the internet, resulting in a weird mish-mash of fan-service and retconning. While I have no problem with catering to fans now and then, it only works when the plot lines actually make sense and line up with one another. In this instance it felt like the writers wanted to please each different group of people watching. Their attempt to fix the divide that The Last Jedi made only resulted in many more upset and frustrated fans. I would much rather the plot make sense and be not what i wanted, instead of it be a weird mess full of plot holes and questions left unanswered.

All in all i found The Rise of Skywalker to bring me joy at parts but then completely take it away. Like giving a baby a piece of candy, but only letting them have one bite. Each time i thought it was getting better it ended up getting worse. Adam Driver as the interesting and complex Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is what ultimately saves this movie for me, playing one of the best Star Wars characters we’ve seen. Although this ending (and his to be specific) left me unsatisfied and frustrated, and as a Star Wars fan — i think it’s safe to say the original trilogy is the best and only trilogy.

Going Online: Process Post #7

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the coronavirus that is causing much mayhem across the world. As of Friday March 13th it was announced that all in-person courses at SFU would be going online! Now, while this is something that most definitely had to happen, but I am also frustrated for a couple reasons. First of all, I genuinely enjoy the classes I have this semester and enjoy going to class because of the lectures my profs do, and, I am terrible at committing to online courses.

The first time I ever took an online course was in Grade 10. I did a special dance program when I was in high school called the “Pre-Professional Dance Program” (or as me and my friends called it: PPDP) which pretty much meant I got to leave school one blog early to go to dance class. My high school worked on a 4 block day timetable, which would then switch a the end of the semester (very similar to university). The class that PPDP would take the place of was gym class. Thank goodness. As well as one the two electives I got to choose each year (also fine because the only elective I cared to take was drama) However, PE 10 is a course that is required (at least in BC) for one to graduate high school. As is the dreaded Planning 10 class — which students often end up taking online so they don’t have give up an elective. Although, because of my PPDP, I was forced to take these two classes online. Yes, Gym online.

To be fair the gym course was easy enough, I did about 10 quizzes (which were all open book) and I just had to prove that I was getting enough daily physical activity (which was also easy seeing as I was doing about 20 hours of dance a week). However, the Planning 10 course is a whole other story. First of all, even if you did the version of the course that was in class, it’s boring. But put all the information in online power points where I can easily change the tab and watch tv on Netflix? even more boring. I procrastinated the hell out of this course, and (somewhat) luckily there was no completion deadline on it — so I could take however long I needed. Although when they say that I don’t think they mean almost 2 years. Finishing Planning 10 online was one of my greatest achievements, mainly because I don’t think anyone (including me) thought I could do it.

I was of course scared when I decided to then take another online course in University, especially seeing as there was no way they’d let me take 2 years to complete it. But with my determination, I was able to complete it and get a solid mark along the way. However, that was one course, and a course that was intended to be online. Whereas all the courses I am taking right now (3 to be exact) were not made to be taught online, and couple of them are bound to be quite difficult for me to now comprehend via my laptop rather than two and a half hour lectures.

My main goal for the 4 weeks is to try and stay organized. I still have assignments that are due and final exams to prepare for, but the only way for me to not become overwhelmed is to prepare myself. One of the ways I hope to do this is maintain the schedule I already had. I had class on Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays — so I will do my school work on those days.

But with all this being said, I completely understand the decision for us to switch to online courses. While we might not realize it yet, the situation we are all in the middle of is quite serious. Social distancing is one of the best things we can do not only for ourselves — but for others. As an introvert myself I don’t find this too difficult — but if you are someone who usually loves to be out and about 24/7, think about it first.