Saga – Volume 2 (Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples)

Saga is a comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Volume 2 collects the issues 7-12.
Finished on: 28.7.2019
[Here’s my review of the first volume.]

Marko and Alana are still on the run with their baby Hazel, when they are unexpectedly joined by none other than Marko’s parents. They are at least as critical of Marko’s liaison with a woman from Landfall as the rest of the universe seems to be, but they also won’t just give up their grandchild. So they make their way together towards the writer who inspired Alana and Marko to give their love a chance in the first place.

The second Volume of Saga manages to keep up the already high quality of the first volume while expanding the world and upping the stakes. It is simply excellent.

The cover image showing Marko, a horned man, covered in blood.
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Re-Watch: Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Sense and Sensibility
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: Emma Thompson [here’s my review of her screenplay and production diaries]
Based on: Jane Austen’s novel
Cast: Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Gemma Jones, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Greg Wise, Emilie François, James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson, Harriet Walter, Imelda Staunton, Imogen Stubbs, Hugh Laurie, Robert Hardy, Elizabeth Spriggs
Seen on: 20.7.2019

Sisters Elinor (Emma Thompson) and Marianne (Kate Winslet) couldn’t be any more different. Elinor is always calm, collected and responsible, while Marianne is passionate and impulsive. It is no surprise that they find very different men to like as well – Elinor falling for Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant) and Marianne for Willoughby (Greg Wise). But whether they will be lucky with their loves is another question entirely.

I am honestly surprised that I never reviewed this film here on this blog so far – I am sure I have watched it several times since I started this blog. Be that as it may, it is one of my favorite films and I don’t know how many times I saw it already. But I love it every time I watch it again and this time is no different.

The film poster showing Marianne (Kate Winslet) in one image as she laughs, and Elinor (Emma Thompson) in another image, smiling softly.
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Sense and Sensibility the Screenplay and Diaries (Emma Thompson)

Sense and Sensibility the Screenplay and Diaries collects Emma Thompson‘s screenplay for the 1995 film, adapted from Jane Austen’s novel, as well as Thompson’s diaries for the production of the film.
Finished on: 20.7.2019

I really love the film (I’m rather surprised that I never reviewed it here), so when I heard that the script was published, and that there was even additional material in the form of Thompson’s diaries for the production, I knew I had to track it down. And I’m absolutely glad I did. The script itself is an extremely nice read, but the real treat are the diaries – a warm look behind the scenes with a wonderful sense of humor.

The book cover showing two stills from the film, Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood and Emma Thompson herself as Elinor Dashwood.
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Spark (Alice Broadway)

Spark is the second novel in the Skin Books trilogy by Alice Broadway.
Finished on: 18.7.2019
[Here’s my review of the first book.]

After the recent revelations about her world and herself, Leora is questioning everything. It appears that everything she ever knew is wrong. Saintstone’s Mayor Longsight hopes to use Leora to spy on the blanks in Featherstone, but Leora is not so sure that she can do it. Or that she should. But she can’t really say no, either. And so she leaves the only town she ever knew to try to learn more.

Spark is a really good sequel, a quick read that kept me engaged and gives Leora space to grow in a very understandable way. I liked it.

The book cover that is covered in redtattoo-like markings, showing, among other things, a bird, a squirrel, a feather and a girl in white instead of red, stretching her arm toward the bird.
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Saga – Volume 1 (Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples)

Saga is a comic series by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. Volume 1 collects the issues 1-6.
Finished on: 15.7.2019

Landfall has been at war with its own moon Wreath for about forever and their war has spread out over the galaxy. In the middle of this war, there are Alanna, from Landfall, and Marko, from Wreath. They are in love. They just had a baby – a baby that no one with any say wants to see alive as it calls the entire war into question. But Alana and Marko are soldiers and they are good at their job. They are not about to give up that easily. Soon the entire galaxy seems to be at their heel.

Saga is absolutely excellent: wonderful worldbuilding, great characters, beautiful art. I am very intrigued and really need to know how things continue now.

The cover of the comic showing a woman with wings cradling a baby, hugged by a man with horns.
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Tolkien (2019)

Director: Dome Karukoski
Writer: David Gleeson, Stephen Beresford
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Patrick Gibson, Anthony Boyle, Tom Glynn-Carney, Craig Roberts, Harry Gilby, Albie Marber, Ty Tennant, Adam Bregman, Mimi Keene, Colm Meaney, Laura Donnelly, Derek Jacobi
Seen on: 15.7.2019

John R. R. Tolkien (Harry Gilby) grows up poor and his mother (Laura Donnelly) dies early, so he and his brother get placed into foster care by Father Francis (Colm Meaney). They end up with a rich older woman who also fosters Edith (Mimi Keene) and John and Edith become good friends. The foster place also gives John the chance to attend a prestigious school where he shows great promise and becomes fast friends with Robert (Albie Marber), Christopher (Ty Tennant) and Geoffrey (Adam Bregman). Even after they grow up and attend different universities, John (Nicholas Hoult) remains friends with them (Patrick Gibson, Anthony Boyle, Tom Glynn-Carney). But World War I changes their plans.

Tolkien suffers from a very, very bad script that gives us no real insight into who Tolkien may have been, or even tells its story in a competent manner.

The film poster showing J. R. R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult). Superimposed over his chest are two warriors fighting on horseback.
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Early Riser (Jasper Fforde)

Early Riser is a novel by Jasper Fforde.
Finished on: 13.7.2019

Charlie Worthing is a Winter Consul for the first time, meaning that they get to stay awake with a selected few to take care of the world while the rest of the people goes into their yearly hibernation. Hibernation has become less risky thanks to scientific advantages from HiberTech, but it is still a dangerous thing that not everybody survives or that produces “nightwalkers” – people with limited brain functions. So, Charlie has some big responsibilities on their plate – among them an outbreak of viral dreams. But that is just the beginning of a long winter season.

Early Riser is the first Fforde novel in a few years (and even longer if you’re just looking at novels for adults), so my expectations where high indeed. Fortunately, the book definitely delivers – it bursts with ideas and is an extremely fun read.

The book cover showing a snow globe with two people in bathing suits on the beach beneath a big umbrella.
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Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

Spider-Man: Far from Home
Director: Jon Watts
Writer: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Based on: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s comic
Sequel to: Spider-Man: Homecoming
Cast: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake GyllenhaalMarisa TomeiJon FavreauZendayaJacob BatalonTony RevoloriAngourie Rice, Remy HiiMartin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Cobie Smulders, J.K. Simmons
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 10.7.2019

After everything Thanos and the Avengers have done, Peter (Tom Holland), aka Spider-Man, returns to high school. But there really is no going back to normal anymore. Still, they make an attempt that includes a class trip to Europe. Peter is excited, hoping to find a possibility to finally ask out MJ (Zendaya). But instead Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) contacts him, asking him to take on a new threat in the shape of elemental monsters. Peter should team up with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a new superhero and the only man to fight the monsters and come out alive so far. Juggling class obligations, friends and a secret monster fighting mission may be a little more than Peter can handle, though.

Coming after Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home has its work cut out for itself. Endgame was a big finish that left a lot of characters with a lot of pain, but Spider-Man has always been the more light-hearted, more comic relief character. But I thought that the film handled that challenge pretty well. It was entertaining, that’s for sure.

The filmposter showing MJ (Zendaya), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Peter in Spider-Man gear (Tom Holland) and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) standing in a V-shape with Peter at the front.
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Das melancholische Mädchen [Aren’t You Happy?] (2019)

Das melancholische Mädchen [literally: The Melancholic Girl]
Director: Susanne Heinrich
Writer: Susanne Heinrich
Cast: Marie Rathscheck, Nicolai Borger, Malte Bündgen, Monika Freinberger, Julian Fricker, Yann Grouhel, Christine Kostropetsch, Markus Nechleba, Alexander von Hugo
Seen on: 9.7.2019

The Melancholic Girl (Marie Rathscheck) is looking for a place to sleep, to stay, to belong. But no matter who she encounters, she never quite fits in. It’s depressing. In fact, she is depressed and that depression is a deeply political state: how could you not be depressed looking at the world as it is.

Das melancholische Mädchen impressed me deeply. It’s idiosyncratic, very much its own thing and incredibly funny. I was really blown away.

The film poster showing The Melancholic Girl (Marie Rathscheck) wearing nothing but a faux fur coat smoking a cigarette in front of a wallpaper showing a white beach and palm tree.
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To the Night (2018)

To the Night
Director: Peter Brunner
Writer: Peter Brunner
Cast: Caleb Landry Jones, Eleonore Hendricks, Abbey Lee, Jana McKinnon, Christos Haas, Russ Foxx
Seen on: 9.7.2019

Norman (Caleb Landry Jones) survived a fire when he was a child, but his parents didn’t. He is still traumatized by this, but tries to have a normal family life with his girlfriend Penelope (Eleonore Hendricks) and their little son. After he pulls his best friend Andi (Christos Haas) from a fire, Norman’s own childhood memories resurface and he finds himself drawn to fire.

To the Night is not an easy film, and I didn’t expect it to be. While it is a little exhausting to watch, there is something to it – though personally I got more caught up in a small aspect of it than the grand scheme of things.

The film poster showing Norman (Caleb Landry Jones) painted in blue colors with a red fire behind him.
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