Webseries Review: Kissing in the Rain

Earlier this week I reviewed a webseries about Poe writing The Raven called A Tell Tale Vlog and if you haven’t checked out either my review or the webseries you should do both. Right now.

Go. Do it.

The creators and producers of A Tell Tale Vlog have a few other webseries under their YouTube channel Shipwrecked Comedy, including two season of Kissing in the Rain. Each episode is about two minutes long. The first season is seven episodes long and the second season five.

Kissing in the Rain is the story of two actors who continuously end up starring opposite each other in different movies based on literary characters. Each movie has a scene where the actors find themselves kissing in the rain. But in spite of the onscreen chemistry the actors relationships with each other are awkward, tempestuous, and sometimes silent. Little bits of real life leak out after the director calls cut.

This series is absolutely adorbs. I mean ridiculously adorable. Sean Persaud plays romantic lead after romantic lead as a romantic lead. It’s a bit mind bendy, but in a fun way. Mary Kate Wiles plays opposite him and she has honed her craft as an actor, some of the best webseries acting I have seen. Plus, she’s so purty. Their little story has its own arc over the seven episodes, which I absolutely devoured, and their chemistry as they play actors playing parts is equally as strong as the chemistry between their characters.

It was with some trepidation that I began the second season, which stars Sinead Persaud and Sairus Graham, because I didn’t think there could be as cute of a couple as Sean and Mary Kate. However, while not quite hitting the adorbs spectrum in the same manner as the first season, Sinead and Sairus have their own chemistry as they play period scenes with each other. I like how in the second season the producers started saying which characters the actors were playing, because, while I got a few from the first season, I’m sure I missed some of the comedy from not knowing exactly who they were supposed to be.

Another interesting concept that the creators of Kissing in the Rain added to their webseries were the first seasons episodes Companion Canon Drabble written by Yulin Kuang and the Follow the Kissing in the Rain Fan Canon Experiment via tumblr. Basically:

Anything reblogged to the main Shipwrecked Comedy tumblr following the release of Episode 1 will become canonical. That means fanfiction, fanmixes, one-line headcanon, fanart of imagined scenes, and anything else our Shipsters can think of.

The goal of this experiment was to involve the audience by using Tumblr to “create a curated, community-written canonical companion work” to the first season of Kissing in the Rain. I have not delved into the Tumblr experiment, but I did reach each Companion Canon Drabble by Yuliln Kuang. While each episodes stands on its own and each season has its own tale, the writings of Yuliln do add to the experience and I recommend taking the time to read them.

Kissing in the Rain plays out literary characters literally kissing in the rain, tells its own tale of two awkward actors, and made me laugh more than once and squeal a time or two as well. If you like period pieces, awkwardly romantic moments, or watching people make out, check out the webseries Kissing in the Rain.

Webseries Review: A Tell Tale Vlog

I was contacted a while ago (::coughlasthalloweencough::), by Yulin Kuang to view the YouTube channel Shipwrecked Comedy. Created by Yulin Kuang, Sinead Persaud, & Sean Persaud, Shipwrecked is a sketch comedy channel that is “[h]ere to fulfill all your historical literary comedy webseries needs.” One of the series on Shipwrecked is, A Tell Tale Vlog, the vlog of Edgar Allan Poe with commentary by Lenore, the beleaguered spirit.

Summary:

 “You’re not the only ghost in town.” Edgar Allan Poe attempts to record a writing vlog while the lady ghost Lenore haunts his study.

A new mini-webseries by Shipwrecked, loosely adapted from “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.

Each of the 8 episodes of A Tell Tale Vlog is about two minutes long and follows the awkward ramblings of Poe, played by Sean, and his “Poe-em,” The Raven. Poe’s fake mustache is to die for. If you need a little giggle, watch the first episode below and check it out! Lenore, played by Sinead, pops up several times per episode with her own sighings about life as a ghost. My favorite lines from her are “Such a ghost whore,” and “Next time you see me, I might not be here.”

This channel is full of comedy gold. I laughed every episode, some of them several times. I enjoyed how the series uses technology to add to the story rather than interfere with it. Poe’s written pleas that pop up on his videos are quite amusing and I thought a genius way to give him dialogue without making the sketches longer. For example, as he is signing off of one episode more of his thoughts pop up on the screen, “Lend me your thoughts on my new poem ‘The Raven’ in the comments below.” A beat and then, “If you don’t like it, I can write you another.”

This is one of the best webseries I’ve seen in a while, and each sketch well written. The acting is excellent, the sound engineering great, and the wit of the writers will make you laugh.

Webseries Review: The Court Supreme

I was contacted by, Arik Sternberg, the writer and produce of The Court Supreme who thought I might be interested in viewing it and sharing it with you all. I was not compensated for this review. He told me:

 It’s a surreal legal comedy about the highest Court of Law in the Universe, where pop-culture characters and comic book stereotypes are put on trial.

Pilot Episode: Blood-Knight vs The Blade of Doom

Summary from The Court Supreme

When a BLOOD-KNIGHT from the proud Berserker clan wants to start a new life and leave all the blood and gore behind, he finds out that the cursed blade that served him dutifully during his many battles, is not willing to let him go so easily, especially not when she finds out that she is going to be replaced by a woman.

 

Left with no other choice, the BLOOD-KNIGHT calls upon the eternal justice of THE COURT SUPREME to release him from his Curse and/or Contract.

While obviously a pilot webisode, there are a few excellent moments in the Blood-Knight vs The Blade of Doom. The concept of stereotypical comic book characters on trial or in front of a judge was quite intriguing to me. I like watching people verbally spar, and enjoy doing it myself, to the chagrin of my friends. There is no actual fighting, but I was prepared for it, and since I went in with only an expectation of verbal debate, wasn’t disappointed. In fact, the website explains the webseries is for a specific audience.

So if you read too many books, love language and its rhetorical pitfalls, are fascinated by legal maneuvers, enjoy cultural stereotypes & archetypes, and don’t mind getting into a good argument from time to time – then this web series is for you. 

I liked the question of standing and mootness, though not called by those in the webisode. Basically the lawyers argue whether the Berserker can even bring a case if there is no one to bring the case against. Once that is hammered out, the next question is what is the cause of action, and here the episode took a twist that actually surprised me, The Blood Knight wishes to divorce his Lady Blade of Doom, because he cannot claim it is a defective product, rather that his his contract with the blade is more akin to an accidental marriage. I admit this tickled my fancy and I chuckled a time or two. 

But, I do have a few objections. I have some legal objections, claiming to be a court of equality the judge wants to split everything in half, whereas, here in the states many courts look more at an equitable division in divorces or under the public policy of what is just and right for any particular divorce. This is because the courts have figured out that often one spouse will stay home and not make a lot of money while supporting the other person, loosing job and business opportunities and so an equitably division is often more favorable than an equal fifty/fifty split. But perhaps I dig too deep legally in a comic book setting and perhaps the courts in Canada, where this series is based, have a different public policy around divorce which fed into this universes policies around divorce.

Also, I would have had several objections to lines of questioning in terms of relevance, but there were no objections entered into between the two arguers. I found that surprising, but perhaps this court does not allow objections or such objections are entered into later in the series. 

My other major objection is the sound quality. Understandably, a self financed and produced series isn’t going to have access to amazing sets or cinematography, but using what appears to be a big theater was perhaps not the best choice for picking up sound without echoing. Because the whole episode is just people talking, the quality of sound was a tad of an issue. Not horrible, but not the greatest. 

I did like the ending and the sentencing was not what I expected, and that was a pleasant surprise. The acting was decent and believable as people who like to argue some rather strange cases. The episodes do run a tad longer than some webseries, the first episode was over 15 minutes long. I liked that there was depth to the arguing, but it could have been tightened up a bit as well. 

 I enjoyed the first episode enough to start the second and may see myself finishing the other three as well. This series is exactly what it advertises, interesting rhetoric about comic book stereotypical characters and the problems they face, in the court room.

Television Review: Bitten

After catching up on some of my Netflix series I decided to check out Bitten as it keeps popping up on Netflix as something I might like. But Netflix can be wrong and so I was a bit wary when I started the series. I’ve watched three episodes, my usual requirement to adequately determine if I do or do not like a show (versus whether or not I like the pilot). My initial reaction, as brought on by the very first scene and many thereafter is: That’s a lotta nekked. And the boys are not afraid to show their butts. (Their very nice nekked butts.)

bitten-castWhile not as gory as True Blood’s vampire and werewolf series, nor as sexually explicit, Bitten definitely dances on the edges of overly sexualized characters as substitute for plot. However, as the series progresses and the characters become a bit more fleshed out (or clothed out?) it gets more and more interesting. 

SyFy’s Summary

Based on the Women of the Otherworld novels by #1 NY Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong, Bitten is an emotionally charged supernatural thriller starring Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, Ted) as Elena Michaels, the lone female werewolf in existence. Desperate to escape both a world she never wanted to be part of and the man who turned her into a werewolf, Elena has abandoned her pack and taken refuge in a new city. There, she works as a photographer and hides her werewolf existence from her new boyfriend. When bodies start turning up in her pack’s backyard, Elena finds herself back at Stonehaven, the werewolves’ ancestral domain. Torn between two worlds and two loves, she quickly realizes that – when push comes to shove – she’ll stop at nothing to defend her pack.

Laura Vandervoot plays her character smart and grounded, and she is what saves this show from being overly campy. Thought I admit to laughing at the show on a number of times in the pilot especially. I really like Elena’s relationship with her boyfriend Phillips. They seem to trust and take of one another on a day to day capacity that isn’t just about danger saving, and Phillip genuinely cares about her for her whole well being not just her sexy side. I hope they last, but I’ve a feeling it might not. Especially with Elena’s incredibly sexy (and hairy) ex-boyfriend back in the picture. 

The human’s change into wolf is painful for them, and painful for the viewer to watch. The graphics are just not that great. All of the wolves are glaringly CGI. But when there is no CGI to mess it up, the cinematography is excellent, with the use of light and shadows to aid in the story telling. The mythology is a bit vague and not as well narrated as it could have been done. Also, I like all the different characters and how the “cousins” interact with one another. Just like any dysfunctional family.

But I do like seeing a female lead in a werewolf show and I’m willing to continue to give the show a chance. Seeing as there are now two seasons, other people must have agreed with my assessment. I definitely see potential for the cast to grow and for the story about the “Mutt” to unfold over the series. It also makes me want to see if I can find the books, usually characters are better developed on the pages of a book, though not always. Poignant at times, a little cheesy in others, Bitten is a decent supernatural series with potential for stronger plot and deeper character development. 

Also, nice butts on both genders. 

Read another review here

Audio Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Unabridged)

I recently read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams in audiobook form narrated by Stephen Fry. The audiobook is 5 hours and 51 minutes long and I listened to it via Audible. 

hitchhiker's guide

Summary via Audible

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last 15 years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”) and a galaxy full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; and Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

For some reason I thought I had read this book some years ago before the movie came out, but as I listened to the story unfold, the mysteries of the universe weave themselves in circles and found out why bringing a towel along on a hitchhiking adventure is a good idea, I realized I remembered nothing. Either I never read the book, or it was so long ago that I completely forgotten it, or memorizing Bar Exam information and pushed it out of my brain. 

What I loved about this book was that all the random pieces of information meant something. It all came together beautifully, and as things fell into place and little universal wonderings revealed, I came to understand why this book is such a cult classic piece of geek history. Arthur Dent is the perfect eyes through which to view the unexpected. His character is so rather bland that the rest of the crew are unusual and beautiful spinning planets around him as center. And I loved the author’s explanation for why pens disappear, it really all makes sense now. 

Stephen Fry did an amazing job as narrator. He was excellent at creating different voices, accents, and cadences to give depth to the characters. It was easy to tell the characters apart by the voices he created even before the narration indicated who was speaking. A couple of his voices sounded similar, but for the most part they were easy to tell apart. 

I also found myself lulled asleep on occasion by the soothing familiarity of a well written story. On nights when I couldn’t get to sleep because I dreaded getting up the next day just to work and study some more, I would play The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and fall asleep smiling at some of the more ridiculous parts of the story. This meant going back in the morning and finding the part where I fell asleep (and honestly the only thing I hate about audiobooks is that this is not easy to do), but it was worth it. 

If you haven’t picked up this classic book or have thought about re-reading it, I recommend letting Stephen Fry tell you the tale in this audiobook version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

Movie Review of The Last Unicorn and Playing Dress Up

I’m currently watching The Last Unicorn, Anniversary Edition, which I borrowed from the library because my niece likes unicorns, still believes in magic, and is confident the workers on the side of the road are pumping magic treasure into the ground. The Last Unicorn is set in medieval times and is about a Unicorn that sets out to find other unicorns, convinced she is not the last one left on the earth. Along the way she encounters danger, adventure, and monsters. The Last Unicorn, based on the book by Peter S. Beagle, boasts the voice acting talent of Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Alan Arkin, and Christopher Lee with songs performed by America.

Some notable moments are the riddle speaking butterfly that made my niece quite excited. I mean, talking butterflies with hats, what more could a five year old ask for? Plus he calls the unicorn sunshine, or sings about sunshine, I couldn’t quite tell from the kitchen where I was cutting apples; but my niece was quite happy and said, “You know my grandpa with the long beard? He calls me ‘Sunshine.'” Which made me laugh quite a bit, because her description was hilarious and accurate. She’s talking about my father, and you tell me if she was spot on.

dad

OK, so it’s not the longest beard I’ve ever seen, but it is pretty intense. In fact, when his hair is sticking up and wiry someone once aptly called him a bush with two eyes.

The movie is far more detailed and the plot line more extensive than I would have thought. The art work is quite good, with the animation classic scooby-do (I’m sure there is a proper term for this, but that is what I call it). The background is very vague and the characters detailed, but with little shading. Some of the animation gets a bit muddled with all the magic going on, but an eye pleasing experience over all.

I didn’t finish the movie though. As I said it is rather detailed in plot and my niece got bored about halfway through when the plot hadn’t even taken off yet. It just kind of meandered along really, I was bored myself. So I suggested we get dressed up and go for a walk. Which we did, and had a grand time. I mean to go back and watch the end of the movie, but high fantasy isn’t really my thing and I couldn’t justify giving time over to a movie I didn’t really want to watch when there are so many other shows I’m behind on. Like HIMYM. (I just got around to watching my DVR of the show and watched the series finale and WHAAAA???)

I mean, doesn’t this look like more fun anyway?

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Movie Review: Seeking A Friend for the End of the World

In a month everyone dies. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightly in a indie comedy about an asteroid that is about the destroy the Earth. Nothing much matters any more, and nobody belongs to anyone. But Dodge and Penny decide to help each other finish unfinished business, Dodge is off to find the girl that got away and Penny just wants to find a working plane to get back to her family overseas.

seeking a friend for the end of the world

This movie is a realistic and depressing look at what people will be doing when the world ends. Not fighting zombies, not eking out a coexistence with the Chakz, but trying to find peace in the face of the inevitable. Knightley and Carell are an unlikely match that works well. Their chemistry slowly builds, changes, and makes sense as the story continues. The movie is funny, poignant, and a little sad.

I liked the feel of the movie, that people will be who they have always been. Dodge continues to try and sell insurance to a world that is about to cease its existence and Penny takes back her emotionally abusive boyfriend she doesn’t care about because it’s the familiar. It takes a different kind of connection than an asteroid hitting the earth to shake them up from their routines, it takes a clashing of human connection to force their mindsets to change.

If you don’t mind a little bit of sadness in the midst of a beautiful human connection, watch Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. You may laugh and you will probably cry, but the beauty of the moment will be worth it.

“This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.” T.S. Eliot

Dead Mann Walking

I recently borrowed Dead Mann Walking by Stephan Petrucha, a comic book writer who worked on The Walking Dead, from the library, and actually finished it. I know, what? More than the feat of actually finishing a book, because lately that has been a hard road to hoe, I actually enjoyed it as well. Bonus.

dead mann walking

Dead Mann Walking is the story of Hessius Mann a zombie detective. That is, he’s a zombie who used to be a cop and is now a detective for zombies and anyone else who will pay. At some point in the not too distant future, a way to eternal life emerges, a miracle, people can be brought back to life. Wrongful convictions don’t mean permanent death and those wrongly killed at the hands of the State are brought back to life, including Mann who was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder.

But then people realize that the dead brought back to life start to decompose after a time, they don’t feel pain like a liveblood and some of them even go feral. The new type of being is called Chakz and they don’t have the same rights as those with blood rushing through their veins. Mann lives and works in a condemned building, he cleans his wounds with bleach and super glues broken bones back together.

One day the Eggman (not his real name, it’s the name Mann comes up with to remember that he has a client) shows up at Mann’s door with a proposition, find a Chakz for him and the Eggman will give Mann a lot of money, but he needs the zombie detective on the case right away. Mann sets off to find the lost Chakz and discovers the case is more complicated than he first thought, which is a problem. Mann used to have a photographic memory, but since he has been brought back from the dead his brain is not as sharp as it used to be so he uses a recording device, that is, if he can remember where he put it.

It took me a bit to get into the book as I’m not the world’s biggest zombie genre lover, but once I got into the thick of things, the story really picked up and takes off faster than a half faced zombie’s feral run. Petrucha’s writing is excellent and his universe well plotted. Personally, I liked that the zombie apocalypse happens because of science. That depending on their emotional state the zombies have different states of being. It’s not just monsters eating people.

I also loved all the twists and turns the story took. I tried to figure things out before Mann since he has a bad memory and all. Unfortunately, as the narrator he also forgets to tell parts of the story, so while I figured out a few things, there were twists I didn’t figure out before they happened. Which I love! Mann does solve a mystery or two in this book, but there are a lot of questions left at the end which is why I practically ran to the library to get the second book in the series.

Graphic Novel Book Review: The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes

The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman is a graphic novel series I keep hearing about, so I decided it was time to at least attempt to read it. We all know I’m not the biggest fan of graphic novels.

SANDMAN

Synopsis from GoodReads

In Preludes and Nocturnes, Neil Gaiman weaves the story of a man interested in capturing the physical manifestation of Death but who instead captures the King of Dreams.

Summary from Such a Book Nerd

Beginning in 1916 with a ceremony attempting to capture Death, Sandman kicks off big.   The ceremony goes wrong, and instead The Sandman – a strange figure – is brought to earth/reality.  From that moment on, people fall into the sleeping sickness, and don’t awaken for decades.  Sandman is kept in a  glass bubble until 1988, when his original captors are old men.  Finally freed, he’s out for revenge on those who kept him locked up all those years.  Arriving home, he sees the remains of his crumbled kingdom – which, in his absence, has fallen apart.

He learns from the three graces that he must collect three items to regain his power – a bag of sand, a helmet, and a ruby.

What I enjoyed about this graphic novel that it had some short stories, a few longer pieces of the arch for the season (the collecting of the three items), as well as, laid the ground work for the larger story about the sandman. I thought the stories were well written and that the art added to the feel of the story in a way that made sense and made the story telling more interesting.

Some of the art work was very heavy and dark. And I did find it interesting that the silhouette of the sandman looked kind of like Gaiman. But of all ways to consume a horror story, the graphic novel may be my newest favorite. I’m not a huge horror fan (dare I tell you, but Stephen Kings Salem Lot puts me to sleep without fail as it is overly descriptive?) But I did find the horror stories compelling in this format.

Perhaps my favorite  character though was Death. She was quite memorable, and one of the reasons that I will probably continue reading the graphic novels. 

sandmandeath

You can read another review here on Such a Book Nerd or on Some Reading.