2018 in Film

Last year, I started strong thinking I was going to watch a ton of movies, my best year yet! It was even a resolution of mine, because I was armed with MoviePass and the opportunity to watch movies as a contributor for Punch Drunk Critics.

But then… well… I stumbled pretty hard. When my mental health took a hit, I definitely didn’t go see any movies, especially when MoviePass became harder and harder to use. My PDC reviews dropped off in the summer. (Sorry Travis!)

A couple of things I noticed with this year’s movies:

  • It was a big year for superhero movies for me and I didn’t even see all of them.
  • No early screenings this year! I just didn’t have the mental bandwidth to wait in line and spend the time this past year, and I was less incentivized once I started paying for movie subscription services.
  • Despite the long stretch of time I was in China this year, I didn’t get to go to the movies while I was there,

Without further ado, here are all the 2018 theatrical releases I watched last year:

2018 in movies
Collage of movie posters for movies watched in 2018

Read More »

Advertisements

2018 in Books

As I’ve done the past few years, I participated in Goodreads’s annual reading challenge. Having exceeded last year’s goal and finishing at 19, I set my 2018 book goal at 20 books.

I wound up reading almost 30, coming in just short at 29 books.

A few quick reflections on my reading challenge this year:

  • I felt a lot faster finishing books this year, in large part because I was not reading the A Song of Fire and Ice series this year, having finished that last year. It took me weeks to finish each of those books with the scant amount of reading time I had, so the quantity of books I read last year took a toll because I read several 1,000+ page books.
    • The longest book I read last year was 1,177 pages, whereas the longest book I read this year was 818 pages.
  • That being said, I sped through my first five books and then really felt my decrease in velocity when I hit that 818-pager.
    • It typically takes me a few days to about 3 weeks to finish a book, given that I read almost exclusively on my commute to and from work. It took me almost 3 months to finish this year’s behemoth.
  • I enjoyed reading a lot more mindfully this year. There were days when I would steal away for a quick walk outside to clear my head during the workday, or take lunch by myself on a nearby bench, with my Kindle in tow to get some sunshine and reading done.
  • I much preferred the mindful reading to what I find myself doing often, which is walking to and from the subway while reading. This is, admittedly, not a very safe practice.
    • But! While doing this in DC one day, I walked past a friend who was doing the exact same thing! She was the one who looked up from her book to recognize me, but I felt so validated seeing her with her open Kindle in hand, too.
  • With the end of the Blogging for Books program, I didn’t feel as much of the obligation getting through books I didn’t enjoy but was reading for review this year.

Here are the books I finished reading in 2018:

Collage of book covers
The covers of the 29 books I read in 2018

Read More »

Looking Back on 2018

Happy 2019 everyone!

Erm… it’s been an awful long time since my last blog post, and an awful lot has happened since then. To be honest, I kept thinking about explaining my absence and settling back into the regular posting schedule, but every time I did, I felt super anxious about both the explanation and the regular posting. It was a lot easier to not think about the blog.

But I’ve missed blogging a lot, and I could not let myself not post my annual year-in-review posts, which are the highlight of my blogging year every year. I’ve been reflecting on my calendar years basically since I started blogging in 2001, and I wasn’t going to let my rough year ruin my streak!

So let’s just start fresh and run through a list of what I did this year.
(Note: Photos, videos, and reference links will be added at a later date, so stay tuned to social media to see when this post will be ~complete~ in that respect. A lot of polishing is needed here, but I will be doing it.)Read More »

Looking Back on 2017

How is January already halfway through? I’m running behind on my year-end/new year blog posts, but let’s have a look at what 2017 looked like for me:

Fun fact: I began and ended 2017 in China!

  • Dyed my hair red – for real this time

    dsc02753
    January 1 from the glass bridge at Zhangjiajie
  • Walked across the tallest and longest glass-bottomed bridge in the world in Zhangjiajie
    dsc02743-1
  • Flew alone on an international flight for the first time
    • Which included my first ever visit – via layover – to the Middle East
  • Signed up for ClassPass
  • Attended my first-ever Washington Capitals game (and my first NHL game in well over a decade, if not my first NHL game ever)
  • Dined at a DC Michelin star restaurant for the first time – Rose’s Luxury
    dsc03021
  • Sent off our panda cub Bao Bao before she goes to China
    16230520_1823379327910808_7079183960210669568_n
  • Presented to a class of new hires who are me from one year ago
  • Slept with a zillion wires for my first sleep study
  • Visited San Francisco to see friends and support Ben presenting at a conference while:
    DSC03376

  • Asked Danny Boyle about how his movies are interpreted by audiences at home and abroad
    17342598_10212434740527234_6084259416073470464_n
  • Sipped on drinks out of a lucky cat cup at a cherry blossom + Super Mario-themed pop-up bar
    17267352_206870349796436_4314071155913785344_n
  • Watched The Little Mermaid ballet on my own
    camerazoom-20170330193439110-01.jpeg
  • Met Representative Maxine Waters at the US Botanic Garden
    17494739_1622445467784590_1509680544982499328_n
  • Experienced the repetitive patterns of profound genius at Infinite Kusama, the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Hirshhorn
    17438881_1949547851998553_8636716367925477376_n
  • Attended my first-ever Washington Wizards game (and my first NBA game ever)
  • Saw Chicago! at the Kennedy Center, starring Brandy (!!!)
  • Tried acro-yoga and a bit of aerial yoga
  • Danced the Charleston and put aside my aversion to flapper style for a Gatsby party
    18161369_1587041794670046_7848676898031796224_n
  • Met Tim Gunn before hearing him speak about disco fashion at the Library of Congress
    18278667_10212903221158957_9208130720660911951_o
  • Toured downtown DC while learning about the assassination of President Lincoln through an awesome immersive walking tour with the Ford’s Theatre18278381_10212917470155173_999720346742464472_o
  • Danced and sweated at 7AM on the Kennedy Center terrace
  • Down-dogged at cat yoga
    https://sipofstarrshine.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/c6a64-18580298_1595161887162583_1722322567626227712_n.jpg?w=806&h=806
  • Learned loads at RevolutionConf during my first visit to Virginia Beach
  • Tasted samples prepared by 3 of the top Asian cuisine chefs in DC
    20170524_185741-01
  • Asked Edgar Wright about the hidden details of his work
  • (Finally) Cosplayed at AwesomeCon, my first ever convention
    DeadpoolHearthands
  • Attended the opening day preview of Ai Wei Wei’s new exhibit at the Hirshhorn19437142_2165047673721933_5763673148604022784_n
  • Showered my friend Gretchen with love and gifts for her soon-to-arrive baby
    Taylor, Jen, Gretchen, and her mom!
  • Danced at 7AM beneath the new National Building Museum’s summer installation, Hiv19764978_1700346696937905_1001085391261925376_n
    • Namaste’d beneath The Hive, too
  • Visited my brother while he was interning in Delaware
  • Cooked 9 Blue Apron mealsDSC03074
  • Slept through another sleep study, through the night and the day
  • Floated down the river during my first river-tubing trip
  • Witnessed the Great American Solar Eclipse in person with my family
    21041759_1658822807501820_7716332273989058560_n
  • Returned to my home city of New York for Labor DayIMG_20170904_232418_746.jpg
  • Revisited Paris with Ben
    • Visited the LouvreEmpty Louvre hall
    • Visited VersaillesDSC04659
  • Pondered color and interactivity at Artechouse22351661_1442356609218754_1138615913436676096_n
  • Laughed watching Whoopi Goldberg do standup at the Kennedy Center
    22427295_385892018493692_4239852055159635968_n
  • Felt so many feelings watching Death of a Salesman at Ford’s Theatre
  • Cheered on knights at the Maryland Renaissance Festival
  • Nearly won a Disney trivia night with a 2nd place finish
  • Experienced my first omakase dinner at Sushi Hachi
  • Wore a week of Sailor Senshi-themed blazer-centric outfitsScreen Shot 2017-10-30 at 9.40.07 PM
  • Channeled Rey for Halloween as part of a Star Wars group at work20171031_115957
  • Saw Christopher Nolan speak at the Library of Congress
  • Partied at the National Air and Space Museum’s Found in Space
  • Visited New Orleans for the first time!
    DSC05640

    • Delivered a lightning talk about karaoke because it’s me
    • Received a chipped tooth courtesy of a drunk coworker (seriously)
  • Walked with locals at my first ever WalkWithLocals instameet
  • Watched another Washington Capitals game
  • Traveled to Buffalo for a business trip
    25039492_892617864230157_3666917239077994496_n

    • Saw Chad Michael Murray standing about 3 feet in front of me in the hotel lobby
  • Celebrated my birthday with hot pot and karaoke and friends
  • Flew to China to celebrate the holidays with my family
  • Rang in the new year with about a million people in the streets of Hong Kong

    December 31 from Victoria Peak

For better or worse, it has been a really eventful year. I feel super motivated to go into 2018 and achieve so many things. Stay tuned for my resolutions post to see what specific things I hope to achieve and how I plan to achieve them!

Previous years: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

2017 in Film

I seem to say this every year but I didn’t watch as many movies as I wanted to in 2017. Especially as the year started winding down and the holiday season started ramping up, I stopped wanting to commit to attending movie screenings (2 hours of run time + waiting in line for a good seat + the commute to and from these theaters).

One thing that did change my movie watching this year was joining the team at Punch Drunk Critics. I am getting to watch some really cool indie flicks and documentaries that I wouldn’t otherwise be going to see and the PDC team has been so great to work with so far. I can’t wait to do more with them in 2018!

Without further ado, here are the new releases I watched in 2017:

2017 in Film

  1. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World
  2. Table 19
  3. *Beauty and the Beast
  4. T2 Trainspotting
  5. Gifted
  6. Get Out
  7. The Fate of the Furious
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  9. Wonder Woman
  10. *The Big Sick
  11. Baby Driver
  12. *Spider-Man: Homecoming
  13. Footnotes
  14. Girls Trip
  15. A Family Man
  16. The Dark Tower
  17. The Good Catholic
  18. It Happened in LA
  19. The Breadwinner
  20. Thor: Ragnarok
  21. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

*Watched outside of original run (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, on a plane)


It’s been a great year for movies and I’m excited for what 2018 has to bring. With me continuing to write for PDC and having just received my MoviePass in the mail, I hope this year I can watch more movies!

This year, I’d also like to try tracking the movies I watch on Letterboxd, since I’ve have a bit of success tracking books on Goodreads and haven’t used my Letterboxd account in about 4 years!

What movies did you love last year?  There are a lot of great ones I know I’m missing, especially with awards season happening right now. Movies this past year also got very split opinions, with people loving or hating them more than in the past.

What movies are you excited for in 2018? Personally, I’m really excited to see Black Panther and, despite how much AOU disappointed me, Avengers: Infinity War, because I’m always going to get hyped for the Avengers. I’m also really looking forward to Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, among many other releases coming up this year.