TV Review: Loki

In Avengers: Endgame, when a few of the Avengers went to New York (2012) to retrieve one of the much needed Infinity Stones, Loki grabbed the Tesseract and escaped his captors, who were the 2012 versions of the Avengers. This show answers the question of where Loki ended up after using the Space stone. 

Loki, by using the stone, created alternate realities, or a branch in the timeline. So, the TVA (Time Variance Authority) reset that branch, and there is only one remaining timeline left. It is later revealed that the TVA’s job is to make sure there are no alternate timelines, and they were given this job by the Timekeepers. When someone travels off of their timeline or changes something that shouldn’t be changed (according to the TVA) that person becomes a Variant, meaning they are an alternate version of themselves. The mysterious Timekeepers are in control of the TVA, and they are the ones who look into the future and give instructions on the way events should be taking place. 

This show is really entertaining. I think that it shows us a different part of Loki’s personality and character. Since he has been portrayed as a villain most of his time in the MCU, this is an extremely important part of Loki’s developing personality. Another part about this show that I liked was how there were constantly plot twists and new things being revealed to both Loki and the viewer. I would recommend you to watch this show if you are a Marvel fan or enjoy exciting and adventurous TV shows.

-Peri A.

TV Review: Ginny & Georgia

Recently dropping on Netflix, Ginny & Georgia has quickly become very popular amongst teens around the world. Packed with witty comments and hysterical jokes, it climbed to Netflix’s top ten list within 24-hours of dropping.

This TV series follows a teenage girl, Virginia “Ginny” Miller, and her mother, Georgia Miller. When Georgia’s very wealthy husband suddenly dies in a car accident, Georgia moves her two children, Ginny and Austin, to Wellsbury, Massachusetts. Finding some stability in the town, Ginny and Georgia use this town to leave their past behind and to truly get a fresh start.

Starting with Ginny, this television series emphasizes her character in ways many other shows have not. Ginny is one of a couple biracial characters in the show as her father is Black and her mother, Georgia, is white. Since she grows up primarily with her mother, she can’t fully grasp which culture she is supposed to fit into. Although she seems a little lost with her own self-identity, her beliefs and morals are steadfast and unwavering. Within the first twenty minutes of the show, Ginny shows her unwillingness to be a bystander to racism and underrepresentation in her education. Overall, Ginny is a strong 15-year-old lead who depicts not only the problems in society but also a relatable teenage life.

Next, is the famous Georgia Miller, or maybe infamous. Georgia is the definition of a strong woman who does not rely on anyone. She flaunts her beauty and Southern accent not only to attract men but to get what she wants. Georgia will stop at nothing to give Ginny and Austin the childhood she never had, even if her children don’t recognize it. Throughout the ten episodes that have dropped, her character has been developed through scenes from the past and present. The constant flashbacks make every aspect of her present life clear, and this is what makes Ginny & Georgia such a phenomenal show.

Lastly, I just wanted to add that this show is one of the closest representations of a high school teen’s life. I recommend it to anyone at least sixteen years and older because it does have topics and scenes on the more sensitive side. So, please make sure that you are a part of the appropriate audience/age to watch. I only touched on two of the characters, but there are so many personalities and underrepresented aspects of life within this show that it would be a mistake not to give it a try.

-Katherine L.

Movies We Love: Cars

Cars is an iconic movie that most people have seen but if you haven’t seen it Cars is a movie about Lightning McQueen who is a race car who is one of the best out there.

At the beginning of the movie, McQueen is very self-centered and he does not respect his team around him and he thinks that he is a one-man team and doesn’t go in for a pit stop which made the race ended in a three-way tie for first place. Over the rest of the movie, some events happen like him being stranded in this random town. This town ends up helping McQueen get back on his feet and help him become a better person. When it comes to the end of the movie he has the choice of winning the race or doing the right thing and he decides to help his friend end the race after a big crash. That is one example that shows how much McQueen has grown as a character over the movie and also an example of what makes this movie something special. Even though this movie is quite old I would still urge you to rewatch it sometime because it’s quite nostalgic rewatching an old movie.

-Howard M.

Cars is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

TV Review: Marvel’s WandaVision

WandaVision | Watch Full Show Online

My parents are always raving about old sitcoms like The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Facts of Life or Friends.  Sitcoms, in their day, were the perfect half hour to hour where family and friends could gather for a show and a laugh with little worry.  They were children of the 70’s and 80’s, so I get it, but as a child of the 2020’s I prefer more action.  Disney Plus’ WandaVision is a perfect marriage of our mutual loves.  To add to its appeal, it comes from Marvel.  The creators of Marvel have expertly woven pop cultural references from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000 television with Marvel action packed story telling.  Not only that, but the writers take a deep dive into Marvel lore, providing excitement for everyone from the basic fan to the aficionado.  This ended up being a show that our family watched together, something my folks would call “must see TV,” though I am so glad I live in an era when I can watch what I want when I want.  Beware this review may contain spoilers

WandaVision begins as an idyllic 1950’s sitcom in the vein of The Donna Reed Show or Leave it to Beaver.  We are the audience watching an hourly scheduled program, of which Wanda is the main character.  How audiences found entertainment in these vanilla black and white comedies, I’ll never understand but, as pop culture goes, they reflect American values of the time.   The first episodes keep in step with the idea of a 1950’s happy home where the husband goes to work and the wife stays at home in the kitchen.  Weird, right?  We see that Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) is blissfully married to Vision, a sentient robot created by Ultron to destroy the world but who is later reprogrammed to help the Avengers.  Right away, the set up is a surprise because when audiences last saw this pair, Wanda is grieving the tragic destruction of Vision by Thanos at the conclusion of Avengers, End Game.  Here, Vision is very much alive and functional.  The couple is in love, recently married, and have moved to the perfect American small town, Westview, where they appear to be happily trying to fit in as “normal.”   At first it appears their ruse is working but there is a very peculiar and eerie undertone that something is not right.  As the sitcom transforms in rapid time from the 1950’s to the 1960’s we realize that not everything is as it seems in this little town, and by the time we reach the big hair and fluorescence of the 1980s, we learn that our protagonist has a dark secret and danger is lurking in a neighbor right next door.   We also are clued into a concurrent present day storyline, in the outskirts of Westview, that threatens to collide with WandaVision’s tranquil and out of time-sync town.

What is particularly attention-grabbing is that past Marvel characters, who were seemingly peripheral to the ultimate Marvel storyline, make appearances in WandaVision and are integral to the movement of this story.  You can’t help but almost cheer when they arrive on scene like an old friend you haven’t seen a while and remember how cool they are to hang with. I don’t want to give too much away except to say that Agent Woo has some amazing and quotable lines from this series.  If you don’t know Agent Woo, do yourself a favor and revisit Antman.  Oh and check yourself, you may not be a true Marvel fan.

WandaVision: What Big Marvel Cameos Could Happen? | Den of Geek

Without a doubt there is a blurring of lines between good and evil in WandVision which the audience comes to understand as we learn how and why Wanda escaped to Westview.  What is clear, however, is that actress, Kathryn Hahn, brilliantly sneaks up on you as the evil villain.  She is suspicious from the start but the true nature of her back-story unfolds in a wonderfully diabolical manner, drawing from historical fiction dating back to the Salem witch trials of the 1690’s.   She drives Wanda in the direction of her destiny as the Scarlet Witch.  Hopefully, this is not the last we will see of Kathryn Hayn and her mischievous character in the Marvel Universe.

Lastly there is a deeper message about running from problems and pain in WandaVision and that message is delivered via the ridiculousness and lightheartedness of the sitcom.  The sitcom is the perfect escape from the real world.  Typically, it is funny, sometimes even cheesy.  The basic sitcom plot involves the introduction of a problem that is most often resolved, with hijinks to boot,  by the end of the half hour. Who wouldn’t want to hideout in that kind of easy-natured fun, at least for a while.  Unfortunately, life is not a sitcom and even Wanda, with all of her powers, can only suspend reality for a brief time before her spell begins to bend and become vulnerable.  The pain of her losing Vision, along with the pain of her other life struggles, can’t be resolved in a half hour sitcom and trying to bury it there hurts everyone around her.  She has to embrace Vision’s lesson “But what is grief, if not love persevering?” In the end, Wanda emerges stronger, and more powerful and the audience is left to ponder her next move and also to ponder the ultimate question, “where will the Marvel Universe take us next?”

Johnson D.

Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events Review

I remembered reading this series in the fifth grade, so naturally, when I stumbled upon this series again on Netflix I had to watch it. Although it has been over years since I’ve read it, I was still able to make connections. This series is all about the orphans, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire as they try to get to the bottom of their parents’ sudden death. On top of this, they have to escape the clever Count Olaf who is willing to do just about anything to get his hands on the kids’ fortunes. Every episode gets them one step closer to uncovering the big mysterious deaths, which I must admit is like nothing I’ve seen before, but also includes Count Olaf and his clever disguises. Unfortunately for the three orphans, Mr. Poe (the man who is in charge of getting them to a safe home) doesn’t always see eye to eye. 

At first, I did think the series was a bit repetitive, but a couple episodes later everything started to get interesting again. There are points where you feel as if the plot is similar in every episode and personally, I’d rather watch a show that continues the same plot. After continuing the series, I realized that the more I watched the more the plot would continue, rather than seeming like every episode was a new story. Regarding the ending, it’s like nothing I’ve heard of before, but I would have preferred more closure. Although the ending wasn’t what I hoped for, it’s still worth watching because the story behind their parents is super interesting! I would rate this show a 8/10!

-Kaitlyn Y.

Movie Review: Bad Genius

The film Bad Genius is a 2017 Thai movie filmed by Nattawut Poonpiriya and can be found on Netflix. There wasn’t much media coverage over this film simply because it wasn’t produced in the United States and therefore didn’t gain popularity outside of Thailand; nonetheless, it’s a cinematic masterpiece.

This movie is very unique; it’s difficult to find movies where you enjoy the stress and emotional rollercoasters. Although the movie is considered as a mature film, it’s an extremely underrated movie that holds a lot of meaning and can connect to students regardless of nationality. Every student understands the immense pressure of test-taking, especially for tests that can determine your entire future.

With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this thriller-type heist movie is based on a student named Lynn, one of the best in her school, who gets accepted into a private university. Her wealthy friend Grace is struggling with school and persuades Lynn to help her cheat on an exam in exchange for money. Realizing the amount of money necessary to financially support her family and attend university, Lynn begins making money off of helping kids cheat during exams, but another top student named Bank gets suspicious, Lynn and her friends get caught, and Lynn loses her scholarship. The other kids who were caught cheating then take revenge on Bank by leaving him injured in a junkyard, forcing him to miss his exam and lose his scholarship as well. With hope for their academic future low, Lynn and Bank work together in creating a well-thought out plan to help students cheat on the STIC (an SAT exam for international countries).

At first, the plot of this movie may serve as a bad example for students, but the movie includes so much more in-depth meaning. Nattawut Poonpiriya, provides direct references to the social class inequalities and corrupt systems found in schools, specifically Thai schools. Both Lynn and Bank are underprivileged and come from poor financial backgrounds; the only reason they choose to help their rich, privileged friends cheat is because they need the money to afford a good university.

The way they filmed this movie is innovative as well, adding onto the stress and tension during specific scenes. During their exams, viewers can see that the only nervous ones are Lynn and Bank, while their friends are simply at ease; in reality, intelligence and top grades can only get you so far without family connections and wealth.

Although the message is quite negative, the impact of the movie reaches its viewers in a different way. Not only is it an external battle, but also a moral dilemma between dreams and reality.

-Natisha P.

What is Modern Family?

Modern Family (season 10) - Wikipedia

I am here to recommend one of my all time favorite television shows to binge. I do know that a lot of good shows never seem to have enough episodes, so this one is a long one, the famous Modern Family. Many people have heard of it but have yet to watch it, and let me tell you it is hilarious. Modern Family ended in 2020 but has 11 seasons for you to watch. This show revolves around 3 different families that are all related. 

The first family is Gloria, Jay, Manny, and Joe Pritchett (Joe is a new addition later on in the show). Jay is an old white man while Gloria is the young Columbian that marries him and brings her son, Manny, from a past marriage. Though many are skeptical about their relationship, they are an amazing couple. Gloria is one of the characters that just make you laugh the entire time. She is full of jokes and is constantly criticizing Jay’s old man habits. 

The second family is Cameron Tucker, Mitchell Pritchett, and their adopted daughter Lily from Vietnam. Mitchel is the son of Jay Pritchett, with Jay’s past wife. This is one of those families that you cannot look away from. Cameron is from a rural town and always finds a way to include his life from the farm into every conversation while exaggerating many events. Mitchell is the put together lawyer that tries to keep him in check. One of my favorite parts of this show is them constantly criticizing others for stereotyping them as a specific type of gay couple while fulfilling half of the stereotyping at the same exact time. 

The last family is Claire, Phil, Haley, Alex, and Luke Dunphy, my personal favorite family. Haley is the typical teen that always wants to go out and part, Alex is your nerdy middle child, and Luke is the young and carefree child constantly getting into trouble. Claire Dunphy is the mother and daughter of Jay, who is a housewife with a strong opinion. Phil Dunphy will most likely be one if not your favorite character in the entire show. He is a real estate agent with a passionate hobby of magic. He always wants to be the “cool dad” who his children see as one of the “boys”. This family is one of those crazy ones with kids running around everywhere and parents who are just as crazy.

Those families sound very different, one of my favorite aspects of this show is how we get to see being brought together during family events. There are many awesome relationships between the uncles and nieces, cousins, etc. We get to see the conflicts between adult siblings and their parents along with how they end up making up with one another. You will definitely get a hoot of this show if you love comedy while following a crazy extended family.

-Lily G.

TV Show Review: Yu-gi-oh! 5D’s

Yu-gi-oh 5D’s is a remake of the popular children’s show Yu-gi-oh in the early 21st century. The show aired from 2008 to 2011 and has a cumulative 4 seasons. Of all the remakes of the original show, this version is often regarded as the most well built show. The show is widely popular among the younger generations as Yu-gi-oh has been a part of many people’s childhoods.

The show, primarily based on the iconic duels between card monsters, incorporates new game mechanics and gimmicks to keep the show fresh. The show adds shiny, advanced motorcycle technology and sleek character designs that come with such concepts. The monsters and main characters all are well designed and all have redeeming features that attract viewers. Fan favorites such as the main characters Yusei and Akiza are all built on their intriguing background story in addition to the well designed cards they utilize. The characters and character development in this iteration of the show is exceptional compared to previous and latter versions and is something that makes Yu-gi-oh 5D’s stand out. The story is also a boon for the show. While it may not be the greatest story in the world, it is still very good compared to most card game shows and cartoons which make it fun to follow and keeps you invested. Unlike a lot of cartoons, the story is fluent and builds on itself.

5D’s is very well built overall, the animations are not only fluent, but keep the show exciting and nostalgic for many viewers. The duels in this show are always tense and entertaining, showing why the Yu-gi-oh franchise was so popular with younger viewers in the first place. Each duel being well animated, while building lore and story at the same time is somewhat of an anomaly in cartoons and this show is a step above the others in the way the duels are integrated into the world-building. 

My only gripe with the show is that sometimes it can feel like the pace is too slow, but the action in each of those episodes makes up for it. There are rarely any filler episodes, if any, so each episode doesn’t ever feel like a waste of time as they are all important to the overall story. 

Overall, the show is a great watch if you have not seen it and want to watch something with the classic, early decade animation. There are so many interesting characters and relevant, important duels that it is easy to stay invested in the characters and show. I would rate it a 9/10 and encourage others to give it a try!

-Benjamin L.

Shark Tank TV Show Review

Many people dream to become rich by being an entrepreneur, but many are unable to achieve that goal. On Shark Tank, all of that can change in 15 minutes. 

In Shark Tank, 6 different Sharks come onto the show and listen to all of the pitches. The Sharks on the show are not real sharks of course; they are humans who are very successful entrepreneurs. Then, depending on how they feel about the sales and inventory, they offer a deal as an investment. These investments can be in the form of royalty deals, loans, or deals for equity in the company. Only 5 Sharks can appear on the show for each episode. There can be celebrity guest Sharks on the show who were able to be successful entrepreneurs in their careers, too. 

The 6 Sharks, Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary, have made investments that have changed the paths and outcomes of companies like Squatty Potty and Scrub Daddy. They help companies go from a hundred thousand dollars to a million dollars in sales in only a couple of years, sometimes even in months. 

The way the show works is that 5 Sharks listen to the entrepreneurs’ inventions, ideas about add ons to products, etc. First, entrepreneurs make a presentation and hand out samples to the Sharks. Sometimes they even set up the stage for large products, like earthquake bunker beds, hammocks, tents… They ask the Sharks to test/try their inventions. Next, they give brief information about their companies ( sometimes about themselves, too ) and tell the Sharks the deal that they are looking for. Later, after the pitch, the sharks can ask questions and have the entrepreneurs explain details about their sales and other partnerships. They usually ask questions like, “What are your sales like?” or “What do you need the money for?”. Then, they decide if they want to offer exactly what the entrepreneur was looking for, or if they want to make a new offer. The entrepreneurs have the right to accept, decline, or counter the offer. 

Shark Tank is a great show to watch because you can learn a lot from the Sharks. You can learn about how to be a successful entrepreneur from the advice they give to the ways they invest in companies. Also, you can learn from the Sharks’ experiences with their own companies. 

I love to watch Shark Tank because of the various things about business and entrepreneurship you can learn. In addition, I enjoy seeing different products that may be a big part of the future of our planet. I give this TV show a 10/10 rating because it shows if you work hard you can achieve anything. 

-Mert A. 

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Solider

In the second movie in the Captain America series, Steve Rogers finds himself fighting his long-time best friend, Bucky Barnes. Bucky has been brainwashed by HYDRA and now goes by the name The Winter Solider.

As one of the strongest members in HYRDA, The Winter Solider puts up a strong fight. Although Captain America had no intention of killing The Winter Solider he has hopes of bringing the old Bucky back. Yet The Winter Soldiers’ sole purpose is to kill Captain America. 

The movie introduces us to a new character, Sam Wilson. Who also goes by the name The Falcon. Personally, I did not support the casting of Anthony Mackie as the Falcon because I felt as though he lacked in some areas. 

The CGI and visual effects in the movie are phenomenal. The casting of the movie was well executed. Although one thing I disliked was the lack of depth in some scenes. Yet for the time limit, it was acceptable. Overall the movie was well executed and had a nice plot. They did not drag the movie and kept it intriguing. The movie was almost flawless and I would deeply recommend it to anyone interested in action, superheroes, and marvel.

-Sanjana S.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.