Monday, February 17, 2020

Parasite: Movie Review

With the Oscar wins, I figure I have to finally put in my review on Parasite, a film I watched months previously. Parasite falls into the indie thriller genre of films that normally wouldn't pique my attention, save for the large amount of hype it received among US audiences. While more dark and morbid than the movies I find myself leaning into these days, I was thoroughly entertained throughout its run time and sucked into the many twists. Like most things, it's a story better enjoyed spoiler-free, so that you can be properly caught off guard when the movie suddenly veers into a new direction. What makes it unique is that it successfully weaves between entire genres, moving with steadfast strength from comedy to drama to horror. It's for sure worth a watch, if only for the very effective and relevant social commentary it makes.

Friday, January 3, 2020

What I watched over the holidays

The holidays are nothing if not for the time to binge dramas and movies. With all the new streaming platforms, the options are vast, and I had quite the few weeks of doing nothing but sitting and watching everything I could. Here's my quick takes on all the new shows I caught up on:

Friday, December 27, 2019

My Favorite Podcasts: True Crime

True crime and other nonfiction podcasts were initially made popular by Serial, although I confess to having been bored stiff while listening to both its famed season 1 episode as well as the recent season 3 series around the ineffectiveness of the justice system in Cleveland. For me, a true crime podcast must be salacious and suspenseful enough to keep my attention while also feeling substantive and educational enough to be worth my time. Below are some of my favorites in this genre, and would love to hear any other recommendations you may have.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

When the Camellia Blooms: Series Review

I'm moving ahead and calling this the best drama of 2019, and one that even long-time Kdrama retirees will lap up and adore. When the Camellia Blooms hits all the right notes, remaining uplifting, funny, edge-of-the-seat-suspenseful and romantic, while avoiding so many Kdrama plot traps and cliches. It navigates through its story with precision and ease, perhaps a bit languid at times, but never failing to pick back up and deliver its punches with whole-heartedness and tear-inducing heft. I love this drama, and can't recommend it enough.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Becoming by Michelle Obama: Book Review and Reactions

This was a marathon of a book, but after forcing myself to sit through all 15 hours of Michelle Obama's Becoming (the audiobook version narrated by her), I have at last finished it. I had hoped that Michelle's book may be more stimulating after hearing her interview on Oprah's podcast, but alas, the book falls into the same predictable narrative stream and carries the same self-aggrandizing tone that other recent famous-people-mid-life-autobiographies have done. It's not that it isn't worth a read, as there are plenty of juicy nuggets regarding life in the White House as well as thoughtful interludes and reflections on the challenges faced by minority groups in the US, but it's also more than a little long and meandering and surprisingly frustrating, ultimately not worthy of 15 hours of one's focused time. I can only recommend the audiobook, and only if you listen to it while doing something else. 

Below, I'll go through the main highlights of the book as well as my reactions to it (it was mixed to say the least), including what my key frustration was.

Why I will never take a Basic Economy flight again

Tis the holidays, which means lot of stressful travelers, packed airports, and congested roads and trains. It's within these conditions that I, through a series of inopportune developments, missed my Basic Economy flight on United and learned what the true costs are within the seemingly cheaper flights offered in this category. While a departure from my usual content, I figured this may be interesting or helpful for other travelers out there, so here goes what happened and what I took away:

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Weekend in Austin, TX

Back in November I had a chance to spend a weekend in Austin, TX. It was filled with food, music and no shortage of sites and places to visit. Here's the itinerary we followed and all the stops we made:

Sunday, November 10, 2019

My Favorite Podcasts: Business Edition

I've been an avid podcast listener for a while now, and my go-to genre is business topics and interviews. Podcasts feel like an engaging and often enjoyable way to take in the latest developments and get the perspectives of experts. I can also listen to them while cleaning or doing work that doesn't require full concentration, and over time I've accumulated a list of favorites, listed here for those who may be on the hunt for something new to listen to:

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Hudson Valley Apple Picking: A Day at Harvest Moon / Outhouse Orchards

A popular New England activity that I'd never actually tried before is apple picking, which for New Yorkers means going upstate about 1.5 hours to one of the quaint apple farms and markets between September and October.

This year, I decided to brave the commute and headed to Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard and its neighbor conveniently across the street Outhouse Orchards in North Salem, NY. Note I don't have a car (as with most city-dwellers), so the ability to commute in via Metro North from the city was critical.

Below are my tips on getting in from NYC, as well as quick thoughts on both orchards.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Kingdom: Season 1 Review

Kingdom, written by Kim Eun-Hee of Signal fame, is one of the first fully Netflix produced Korean dramas, and is also one of the first thriller Korean dramas that I've completed in years. I don't consider myself a fan of the horror or thriller genre, preferring cheery and sweet romances to terrifying, action-packed fare, but Kingdom is one of the best dramas I've ever seen. It features an impressive cast (Joo Ji Hoon, Ryu Seung-Ryong, Bae Doona) and an ominous yet enthralling mythology beneath its horror story roots. To call it merely a zombie horror is to not do it justice, since the tale wraps around so many fascinating characterizations and layers of myth and ethos in its telling.