24 in 48 Readathon: TBR & Plans

I think I am a genius, and at times I thank myself for being the organized, amazing person that I am when I listed a bunch of readathons that will be happening in 2018 in the beginning of the year and added their dates to my calendar. Because last week I got an email notification and a calendar reminder of an upcoming event: the 24 in 48 Readathon!

You are all probably familiar with this readathon: inspired by the 24-hour-long Dewey’s Readathon, this one takes place for over two days, where we try our best to read for half of those two days. It’s a challenging and definitely intriguing concept for me, and if you are my friend on Goodreads you probably know that I haven’t been reading that much these past few months.

Of course I can list all the reasons why I haven’t read the amount of books I usually read in June and July here, but why bore you out? Instead let’s just focus on the future! I am excited to join the 24-in-48 readathon in the weekend of the 21st to the 22nd July, and I am super duper ready to read a bunch of books!

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Here are the books I plan on reading for the readathon:

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

I mentioned that I was currently reading this audiobook in my May Wrap Up post, and I am not ashamed to say that I’m still listening to it. I’m two-thirds into it, but in my defense, it’s an extremely long book. I plan on listening to this whenever I’m not sitting down to read, like if I’m cycling or traveling, or just preparing my breakfast or getting ready to sleep (if I’m going to sleep at all *wink*)

Girl in the Mist by S.T. Young

This is one of the final e-ARCs I have in my NetGalley shelf that has actually been published (oops!), and I’ve only read a few pages of it and it doesn’t really seem that interesting! However since this is more of a action, mystery novel, I think I’ll be able to fly through it during the weekend.

Aquarium by David Vann

25705810A novel I bought quite a while ago in Amsterdam when I saw it was discounted, it was written by David Vann whom I actually met once in Ubud, talking about his life and his inspiration for writing. I read his other novel called Caribou Island and his writing is phenomenally beautiful, and I expect a similarly atmospheric and gorgeous story with lots of lovely writing in this novel. It’s about a girl who goes to the aquarium everyday and befriends and old man, and I’ve read two chapters from it and it has adorable illustrations of the fishes they were talking about. I personally love fishes, snorkeling, the beach, swimming and anything related to water, so definitely something I will enjoy and hopefully fly through!

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

It has been months since I last read a classical novel, and though I’m not 100% sure if the decision of reading this particular classic in this readathon is a good idea. However I just want to keep this ebook in my Kindle just in case I get bored of my other ebook, The Girl in the Mist, and want to switch things up. And this is a book that I’ve been wanting to read for such a long time anyways, ever since I went to Paris in May.

Picasso, My Grandfather by Marina Picasso

20021419I picked up this tiny little memoir written by Picasso’s daughter in the Picasso Museum when I visited it last month in Barcelona. I figured after strolling through the museum and knowing so much about the paintings, the techniques used and Picasso’s art, I knew very little about the artists himself. I was torn between this novel and another memoir written by his girlfriend, but this appealed to me more because of its short length. I am not convinced I will start or finish this one for the readathon, since I already have a lot in my TBR. But it’s definitely a book I’m looking forward to read in the very near future!

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So here are my plans for the readathon:

  • I decided that I will not follow the time zone of the host and start the readathon on Saturday, 21st July at 00:01 am and end at Sunday, 22nd July at 11:59 pm my time, which is GMT +2 (Amsterdam time)
  • For Saturday I have nothing scheduled, so I’m planning to
    • Wake up early in the morning, at around 7 am (because I still need my beauty sleep) and immediately start reading
    • Read my physical books and ebooks for 6 hours with 4 half-hour breaks for breakfast and lunch, so ending at 3 pm
    • If the weather is nice, take a bike ride to a park near my house (around a 10 minute ride, during which I can listen to my audiobook), bring a blanket and lie under the sun while listening to the audiobook and drinking iced tea
    • After reading or after the picnic, take a one to two hour long break by watching a movie, or writing a blog post, etc, and have dinner with my housemates at around 7 pm
    • Then continue again after dinner from 8 pm until I get too sleepy to understand anything, which I hope will be at more than midnight. Also I’ll definitely take fifteen-minute breaks once in a while.
    • Overall on Saturday I’ll have to read in total 12 hours
  • Sunday is more tricky because I also have nothing planned but I might be so tired of all the readathoning the day before that my spirits will be low, but here’s my plan:
    • Depending at what time I slept the night before, I’ll try and adjust the alarm before I sleep to wake up as early as humanly possible. Note: the sun will rise at around 5 am, so technically I will be able to read in daylight from 6-ish.
    • Immediately start reading throughout the morning, but I’ll have to stop at around 10 because I have to get ready for church, which will take place at around 10:30 am to 1 pm.
    • Afterwards, I will probably go straight home and read in my bed. If I’m in the mood, I might go to the park again straight after church and listen to my audiobook for a couple of hours. In any case I’ll try and read as much as I can until dinner.
    • Again, dinner at around 7 to 8, might even be longer because my housemates would probably want to watch a movie or play some board games. I can always excuse myself and go to bed alone, but we’ll see the overall situation and my mood.
    • Try and read more at night before going to sleep after midnight when the readathon ends.
    • Overall on Sunday I should read for at least 10 hours.
  • Snacks for the readathon: haven’t bought anything yet, and I’m trying to watch my weight so it will definitely be something healthy, like fruits or at the very worst candies. Tea and at times coffee is something I’ll definitely be having throughout the weekend!
  • I was thinking of tracking my time using a stopwatch or downloading an app for it, but we’ll see.
  • I’m also probably going to post random updates throughout the weekend in my Instagram story with the hashtag #24in48, just to keep up the hype and excitement! I will post reading updates on my Goodreads as well.

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I don’t think I’ve ever planned out a readathon so thoroughly and been so excited to read for 24 hours before! Wish me luck, and definitely let me know in the comments if you’re joining on the readathon as well.

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My summer so far

Summer officially started somewhere at the end of June but the hot weather had already arrived weeks and weeks before. For me, the first weeks of summer was filled with scientific journals, writing for my final thesis, sweltering under the heat of the Dutch sun, enjoying the freedom of the holiday with my family, graduating and receiving my bachelor’s degree, and more traveling and vacationing.

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Enjoying the sun in Barcelona

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I graduated!

It has been marvelous so far. I personally dislike the headache-inducing sunshine in the midday of summer, and in general I just do not like warmth. But in July I had a lot of fun when I first went to Barcelona for five days, and when I arrived back home my stomach was filled with excellent jamon, my skin was a shade darker from the Spanish sun and from swimming at the pleasantly refreshing Mediterranean sea. We had a blast, exploring Sagrada Familia church, the Park Guell, going on a bike tour and a walking tour, visiting the crowded beach and strolling around the various markets of Barcelona.

After the quick trip to Spain I went back home with my mom and explored around The Netherlands (where I’m currently living) for a couple of weeks. Rotterdam was the predictable destination, of course. We went on a free walking tour exploring the history and architecture of Rotterdam, which was fabulous. My family and I also became tourists around The Hague and got on the Hop on Hop off Tourist Tram, routing through Scheveningen and all the way to the city center, where we also explored the centrum. Not to mention I went to Madurodam for the first time ever, and revisited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, which was amazing.

Then a week ago, we went on a family vacation to the three Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It is definitely a place where not many people go to, but these three small countries are beautiful and there was so much to explore.

36866230_2128074817441545_6017295026176917504_nThe beautiful cobblestone streets in Old Town Tallinn

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Strolling across Vilnius Old Town with my family.

But I will not waste my time telling you about my week-long trip to those three countries just yet, because I will make separate blog posts about the main attractions in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius as well as tips and tricks for tourists to travel there, for those of you interested to visit the cities in the future.

So, what to expect from this blog in the future?

  • Some travel posts about the Baltic countries;
  • An upcoming bookish post about a readathon I’ll be joining
  • A long overdue June wrap-up
  • Another bookish post about my highlights of 2018 so far

So stay tuned for more blog posts from me!

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Mysteries and Families: the Books I Read and Bought in May

May was a warm and lovely month. I continue to read a small amount of books this month, bought plenty of books I cannot wait to read, including some audiobooks! I also went to Disneyland, which was a first experience that was both unforgettable and tiring, but so very amazing. May was also the month where I had a hectic several weeks in which I have to submit my final thesis for my bachelor’s study. Anyways, let us start with the books that I hauled this month!

Books I Bought in May

  • This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp – Dutch Comic Con, Utrecht
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus – Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris
  • Madame Bovary of the Suburbs by Sophie Divry – Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris
  • The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling – Audible
  • The Child Finder by Renee Denfeld – Audible

Books I Read in May

The Cutting Season by Attica Locke (review)

16037293The Cutting Season by Attica Locke centres around Belle Vie, a historic plantation house managed by our main character, single mother Caren. The story starts with Caren’s daily activities involving her daughter and managing the employees in the plantation that was suddenly interrupted by a murder.

This book was something different than anything I’ve ever read. Though classified as a mystery novel, this book has so much more. The main character Caren is flawed and very human. Not only that, the mystery surrounding this story was very influenced by the history of the place, involving the black people history in Louisiana and a lot of American past with emphasis on the social and economical aspects. The main character being black, and the rich family owner of Belle Vie being white, also the fact that the murdered woman was an immigrant, added another layer of solemnity and a sense of importance in the discovery of the murderer in the story.

The writing in this book was also wonderful to read about. The scenes were laid out wonderfully, each moment in each location focusing on the characters and their interactions more than the actions and the things they discovered.

All in all this book was very well put together, and had an important story to tell. It was not just a mystery novel, It’s so much more, and it taught me a lot about black history and American history in general. The story was intriguing from the beginning till the end, and the social aspects surrounding the story, added with the amazingly written characters made the book such an enjoyable read.

4/5 stars

Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo (review)

31349579Stay with Me is a relatively short novel about a young couple in Nigeria: Yejide and Akin, who have been trying to have a baby for years and years. The story revolves around these two people’s point of views – Yejide is a strong-willed woman with huge passion for her life and loves her husband dearly, and Akin is a gentle-hearted, quiet and loving man who buries secrets within himself. It’s an intricate story about love and relationship, but also about family and honesty.

The lack of characters in this book was made up by the amazingly written characters that were present – the two main characters of the story were very dimensional and felt so real, with real emotions. I loved Yejide, even so I felt like I enjoyed Akin the most. I loved his tenderness and his flaws. His relationship with his mother, his father, and especially Yejide were all unique and special, and beautiful to read.

I think the author did an immensely wonderful job in crafting this novel. The writing style was not special in any way, it was unique in a sense that it was quite choppy, how years would fly away in one sentence and each scene just focuses on moments that were important to the story and the author was able to combine and piece together all these moments beautifully.

This book was definitely a page-turner, not because of the writing style but because you just want to know so much about these characters and their lives. It’s set in a place where family is very important, and so is tradition.  And the traditions involved in the story, also the history embedded into several parts of the story was just very well executed.

With a heartbreaking ending, I didn’t really cry tears while reading the book, but I definitely came close to it several times in the story. The way the plot evolves and how these characters’ lives changed over the years were just wonderful to read about, and definitely shows how life is so unpredictable, that anything can happen but also that you have a choice on what future you want to have. It’s so much more than a love story, it’s a story about loss and heartbreak and children, and a story about brotherhood and political history and being a parent. And though I am not a parent, I am a daughter, and this book felt so real and heartbreakingly wonderful in all the right places

4/5 stars

Books I’m Currently Reading

  • A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston – audiobook (finished! Will talk about it in my June wrap-up)
  • This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp – paperback
  • The Family Tabor by Cherise Wolas – e-ARC (DNF-ed)
  • The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling – ebook

What books did you read in May?

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Neither Here Nor There: Spring TV Shows Recent Watches

It’s been a while since I posted a recently watched post featuring TV shows! Although I adore movies, I occasionally watch some TV shows that are amazing and extremely memorable. In the past four months I tried many different series that have stuck with me, or just the ones I’ve given up on after the first couple of episodes.

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Let’s start with the shows that just couldn’t live up to my high standards and that I didn’t continue watching:

  • Young Justice – something my boyfriend wanted me to watch, but after 10 episodes I wasn’t really pulled to continue watching.
  • Marvel’s The Defenders – only managed to watch the first 2 episodes but never had the urge to continue it, probably because I only watched Daredevil out of the five heroes.
  • End of the F*cking World – heard about the hype, tried watching the first episode, was too weird for me.
  • True Detective – it’s very interesting, but a little too dark and serious
  • Mindhunter – another interesting series around the same time I started trying to watch True Detective, mainly because I was feeling in the mood for crime series, but just didn’t gel with me too much.
  • Westworld – tried it because of the hype, but just couldn’t muster the effort to continue from the second episode. Though I have a feeling if I had pushed myself more I might like it.
  • Money Heist – tried the first episode, felt a little too melodramatic for me, I had expected something more like Ocean’s Eleven.

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And now, let’s move on to the amazing shows I highly enjoyed this spring, in order of my least to my favourite.

  • Riverdale – have been following this since the first season with my housemates. It’s trashy and has a horribly drama-y plot, nothing I’m usually interested in. Honestly, I think this second half of the new season has gotten worse, and I’m only following this because my other housemates are watching it.
  • Erased – a random show we decided to binge-watch during the winter break, it’s interesting but not really my thing.
  • Queer Eye – I am not a fan of reality shows because I think they’re not real and fake, but this one was another one we watched together with my friends and it was fun to laugh with. It’s also nice to watch people so open with gay people.
  • Somebody Feed Phil – this is a wonderful travel, food series about a hilarious host, Phil. He’s very unique and goes around a lot of interesting places. Watched this one randomly here and there.
  • Violet Evergarden – a series my boyfriend encouraged me to watch, this was beautifully made and turned out to be something I really liked! The story was slow but touching, and the animation was just gorgeous.
  • Skin Wars – this reality show was yet another random show me and my close friends decided to watch whenever we don’t know what to watch during dinner or lunch. It’s fun and creative, but a little too drama-ish.

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Aggretsuko

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A random series me and my friends just clicked on Netflix one evening, and we ended up being pleasantly surprised that it was so good! It’s cute, highly relatable, and was very very addicting. Especially because I’m currently working in a full-time internship, Retsuko’s work life really resonates with me. Overall it was hilariously unique and adorable at the same time!So sad that there were so few episodes.

The Good Place

I briefly mentioned that I was watching this show last year, and me and my boyfriend loved it so much! The new season came sometime in the new year, and we were hooked. The direction where the characters are going has gotten much more interesting, and the entire cast were just wonderful. We waited for every new episode excitedly until it sadly ended with the finale.

Friends

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This has always been a favourite ever since I watched the entire series from beginning till the end in my first year at uni. Since it came on Netflix me and basically everyone has been randomly watching episodes from the series when we don’t know what to watch.

Modern Family

This family-centered humorous show has stayed in my heart for years and years ever since I first binge-watched the earlier seasons on a 10-hour plane ride. I didn’t really keep up with the newest season, but would occasionally watch it if I have the chance. And whenever it shows up on Comedy Central I never cease to get a few laughs out of it.

New Girl

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At first I didn’t think I was the kind of person who would enjoy a show like New Girl. It was very romance-y and the characters felt way older than me. But when I started rewatching it a couple of years ago I really fell in love with the characters, and since the my boyfriend and I watched this endlessly. We were so excited when the new season came up a few weeks ago, and we still continue to wait for the newest episodes to come on to watch together. I looove the uniquely hilarious humour they have!

Brooklyn 99

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Another series I’ve mentioned in a previous post! Brooklyn 99 is back with its new season, though by now the finale has already aired. I love the characters and the dialogues in this show, and they are such a joy to watch. We were devastated when we heard it was cancelled, but now that it’s revived, I cannot wait to see more Jake and Amy. They tackled so many wonderful issues this new season, and had exceptional episodes week by week.

What tv shows did you watch this past few months? Any favourites?

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Caught on the Big Screen: February, March and April

It’s been a while since I made a movie centered post, and here I am to bring to you, all the recently released movies that I watched at the cinema throughout the past three months! This came a little later than I intended, so I also included the movies I watched in May. I will list them according to my least favourite to my most favourite. Let’s go!

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Maze Runner: The Death Cure (3D) – 3/5

As the final movie in the Maze Runner series, The Death Cure was a solid and typically young adult movie. I read the first two books of the trilogy but gave up on the last one. Due to the several year gap between the second movie and the third, I barely remember anything that happened before. However the movie did well to refresh my memory, and the beautiful faces of some gorgeous-looking men was something I was definitely not complaining about. With an exciting plot that was never dull, and a lot of things happening towards the end, I thought it was a fun 2 hours. Was it worth to watch it in 3D? Probably not.

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The Shape of Water (2D) – 3.5/5

mv5bngninwq5m2mtngi0oc00mda2lwi5nzetmmziyjvjmdeyowyzxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymjm4ntm5ndy-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Guillermo del Toro strikes again, bringing home a handful of Oscars for this highly acclaimed movie. Most of you have probably heard about The Shape of Water and what the story is about. I watched it merely days before the Oscars were actually aired, so I didn’t have too high expectations of the movie, I was mostly just curious what all the hype was about. Though it was beautifully shot with great care in the cinematography, special effects, music and colors, bringing out the atmosphere of the scenes beautifully, story-wise I was just not a fan. It was just too weird for my taste. However, looking at the story as art and not as a scientist that think about everything logically, it was a very enjoyable movie, and overall it brings out a beautiful message about loneliness, friendship, love, and fighting for what you care for.

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Game Night (2D) – 4/5

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A movie I didn’t expect to like as much as I did, Game Night stars two very famous actors in a comedy thriller about a couple and their friends on a game night. It had a lot of funny moments, and the story itself was not too wacky (which I hate in a comedy) or gross, or boring. It was fun, fast-paced, had some laugh out loud moments that kept us chuckling even hours after watching the movie. Great, light, and totally fun movie to watch with your friends.

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Pacific Rim: Uprising (3D) – 3/5

I deeply enjoyed the original Pacific Rim movie, its premise and the execution of the idea, the sci-fi elements and the humour and the wonderful characters. This movie is set a few years after the previous movie, where problems rise again as another attack seemed to appear from not kaijus, but other beasts of the world. It was action packed and had funny moments, but overall it was just a fun blockbuster with empty story and unmemorable plot.

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The Post (2D) – 4/5

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Ever since I saw the trailer for this movie, I was already intrigued. As a daughter of a former newspaper journalist, when I was young I wanted to be a reporter as well. Then I decided I didn’t like being chased by deadlines and that I didn’t have the social skills to be a journalist. I am always still fascinated with the newspaper and journalism industry, and have always adored movies around that theme: The Newsroom, and more recently Spotlight. This was no exception. Though it felt a little too long-winded, and the story was sometimes too slow that it got boring, the story was exciting, and it felt very relevant to today. It was thought-provoking, and additionally, the cinematography and the acting was marvellous.

 

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Avengers: Infinity War (IMAX 3D) – 4/5

mv5bmjmxnjy2mdu1ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzy1mtuwntm-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Though I’m not a huge Marvel fan, my boyfriend is, so we would always, always watch the new Marvel movies when they come out in the theaters. I’ve always found them very entertaining, and had great cast and exciting stories. As someone who doesn’t read the comics or know much about the story, I had no expectations for this highly hyped movie. It was enormous in magnitude, cast, setting, action scenes and overall story. I really enjoyed the plot and the villain was well written, and a lot of the scenes were actually well-written and despite the large amount of characters and plot points needed to be ticked off, the movie was great. It was also highly worth it to watch it in 3D.

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Ready Player One (2D) – 4/5

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Most of you have probably heard about this movie based on the famous book, about a boy playing in a huge virtual reality game in a quest to find some easter eggs dotted around the game, while finding himself along the way. It was hugely entertaining for me, someone who hasn’t read the book yet. It’s very colorful and keeps you glued to the screen, and every scene was orchestrated wonderfully. Though it had some cringe-y young adult moments, and the ending was fairly predictable, it was highly enjoyable and very well made. However I had been wondering if it would’ve been worth it to watch the movie in 3D, because of all the colorful scenes and the dynamic effects.

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Black Panther (IMAX 3D) – 4/5

This is another one of Marvel’s most talked about movie ever, and personally I thought it deserved every right to be so hyped. Everyone probably has already watched it, so I don’t think I have anything to say that other reviews haven’t said already. With great effects, amazing premise and an all-round excellent moviemaking, Black Panther is not only relevant and important, but most importantly it’s very fun to watch. Is it worth it to watch in IMAX 3D? Most probably.

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Isle of Dogs (2D) – 4/5

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I have always loved Wes Anderson’s movies, ever since I first watched Moonrise Kingdom in high school. Yet I have never watched any of his movies on the big screen. When I first found out about this movie I was so excited, and the fact that it had DOGS was just a plus point. Everything about this movie was perfect: the characters, the voice acting (Bryan Cranston NAILED IT and I can just imagine his face whenever Chief talks), the directing (of course), the Japanese elements and the small funny moments scattered throughout the movie. The music was amazing, the dialogues were characteristically Wes Anderson, so were the colors and the slightly “out there” plot. Everything was wonderfully made, and though at times it stalled and went a little bit boring/slow, it was such a wonderful, cute, genius movie.

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Lady Bird (2D) – 4.5/5

mv5bodhkzge0ndqtzdc0zi00ymq4lwjinmutyty1ogm1odrmngvkxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtmxodk2otu-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_I’m not sure why I ranked this movie as my favourite movie I watched in the big screens so far, but it does show that I’m not easily impressed with movies that have 3D or IMAX – a simple, yet touching movie on regular 2D can easily become a good movie without any special effects. Lady Bird won a lot of prizes and have been hyped a lot, though I have read mixed reviews about it. In my personal opinion, this movie was beautiful, with great story and AMAZING acting (I’ve always loved Saoirse Ronan), and the message behind this movie was so touching that it made me choke up. The music and directing was beautiful, and the scenes were so amazingly set up, especially with the unique and often hilarious dialogues. I relate a lot to the characters, and fell in love with them so much. As Chris Stuckmann said, there were so many unspoken messages all through the movie but mostly around the last parts, and everything was just so well made and hit me hard in the feels.

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Recent watches on the small screen

  • Fullmetal Alchemist (Live Action) – 2/5
  • The Glass Castle – 4/5
  • The Big Sick – 4.5/5

What movies did you watch in the cinemas this month?