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Friday, November 18

Haiku Revieu | Arrival

Friday, November 18

Amy Adams shines
Aliens are not like us
This film gives me hope

A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.

Before seeing Arrival, I was worried that this was going to be one of the type of alien movies I don't like, movies like District 9 in which humanity is The Absolute Worst and after watching I feel like utter crap about the entire human race. I know humans aren't the best, overall, but I prefer a little bit of "humanity" in my alien movies; i.e., there can be some bad guys, but their actions are balanced by the good ones.

Thankfully, I was wrong. Arrival is a stunning, hopeful movie that shows what we could do, "if only."

I won't go into too much detail, because this is definitely a movie I don't want to spoil for those of you who want to see it. But I might recommend not watching when you're having a particularly emotional day, because this is a heavy film. (We saw it the day after the election, and suffice it to say, I was a mess afterward.)

Amy Adams is glorious in the film, and completely steals the show. Her co-star, Jeremy Renner, is good, too, but Amy absolutely shines. The entire supporting cast, which also includes Forest Whittaker, could have been faceless mannequins and the movie still would have been wonderful. I truly hope she gets some sort of award for the role, because it's utterly deserved.

If you're in any way a fan of thoughtful science fiction, please do yourself a favor and see this film. (Side note: The trailer might make it seem a little scary, what with the alien hitting the glass with its appendage, but it's not like that at all. No jump scares, I promise.)

Check it out:

P.S.—Part of my brain kept confusing this movie with The Arrival, an alien movie from the 90's starring Charlie Sheen. It's terrible, but also worth a watch in that "SyFy movie of the week" kind of way.

Wednesday, November 16

Neville Longbottom: The (Not) Chosen One

Wednesday, November 16

Hey friends!

I recently wrote a piece for Birth. Movies. Death. as part of their celebration of Harry Potter prior to the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The piece was meant for a possible magazine, but was published online instead. Which is a good thing, all in all, since that means that I get to share it with a wider audience—including you!

Head over to Birth.Movies.Death. to read my piece, and check out the rest of the great Harry Potter Week content while you're there!

Tuesday, November 15

5 on 15 | Magic

Tuesday, November 15

Learn more about the 5 on 15 project.

Monday, November 14

A Nerdy World Turns Two

Monday, November 14
Today, this little ol' blog turns two years old. And, you might notice, I treated it to a makeover for the occasion.*

I'd love to know what you think of the new look—and, going into ANW's third year, I'd love to know what you'd like to see more of around here. Head to the comments and leave me some love and/or constructive criticism.

(I updated the last few posts for the new look, but haven't gone further than the front page. So if your comments have something to do with cleaning them up, know that it's on the list of things to fix already. 😜)

*If you're reading this in a reader like Feedly or Bloglovin', click through to see the changes.

Friday, November 11

Haiku Revieu | Doctor Strange

Friday, November 11
Doctor Strange

Benedict is Strange
Marvel meets mysticism
"I've come to bargain"

A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.

Y'all know how I feel about Marvel movies (click if you're new here), so it should come as no surprise that I was excited about Doctor Strange. I'm also a fan of Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch, so the combination of the two was definitely enticing.

But before we get into my thoughts on the movie, I want to recognize the discussion that surrounded some of the casting in Doctor Strange. Many people called Marvel out for casting white actors—specifically Tilda Swinton—in roles that should have been given to an actor of color. I understand and respect the cries of cultural appropriation. (Read more about the situation here.) As a white woman, I can't empathize with this situation, but I can and do certainly sympathize with it. And I'm sorry that this continues to be an issue in Hollywood.

Casting issues aside, I thought Doctor Strange was a fun experience. It's very different from previous Marvel movies, but I love that Marvel is taking chances on such "out there" material. As Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) said in the movie, the Avengers protect the physical parts of Earth, and they (Mordo, etc.) protect the "other" parts.

I'm not familiar with any Doctor Strange comics, so I have no clue how the movie was in comparison to comic storylines, but the casting team did get one thing right: Benedict Cumberbatch looks so much like all versions of Stephen Strange I've seen (even the more emo/Criss Angel-looking ones from recent animated series). His performance, too, was great. It wasn't the most nuanced thing I've ever seen him do, but Strange's transition from self-centered surgeon to hero was wholly believable, and Benedict did well at both the more serious parts and the humorous ones.

I liked the rest of the cast too; issues aside, I loved Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One (but I love her particular brand of kooky in general); Chiwetel was intriguing as Mordo, and I'm very interested to see where his character goes from here; and Mads Mikkelson was fantastically maniacal as Kaecilius. (I'm sure he's tired of being typecast as a villain, but he's just so good at that sort of role!)

I really dug the Inception-like weirdness of the movie's graphics, but at times, the CG was really, distractedly bad. Thankfully, those moments weren't many, and didn't really detract from the plot as a whole. The plot itself wasn't overly complex, but served as a good introduction/origin story to the characters and how they intertwine with the rest of the Marvel characters we already know and love.

And I really loved the first post credits scene, which (highlight to reveal spoilers) has me thinking that we'll see Doctor Strange team up with Thor and Loki in Thor: Ragnarok. I am all about Benedict and Tom Hiddleston acting opposite one another.

All in all, a fun movie, and a good addition to the Marvel franchise. Definitely one to see in theaters, too, if only for the graphics.

Check it out:

Monday, November 7

Nerd News | Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer

Monday, November 7
Happy N7 Day, y'all! And a happy day it is, since the Bioware gods have gifted us this new trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda:

I've written about this before, but Mass Effect means a lot to me. The original trilogy is the first video game series I've ever played all the way through. The story sucked me in from beginning to end—yes, even the damned Mako missions—and I'll always have a special place in my nerd heart for Commander Shepard and crew. So saying that I'm a little excited for a new visit to the ME universe is a bit of an understatement.

After Colt sent me the link to the trailer, I responded thusly (in green):

Also, please notice his excitement, too. We make an excellent pair.

Learn more about the game, and the Andromeda Initiative, here.

Also of note:
  • Beauty and the Beast is my favorite of all the Disney princess movies, and the recently released photos of the live action version has Younger Mandy feeling quite giddy.
  • This new Wonder Woman trailer gives me hope.
  • I hadn't heard of the new Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone movie La La Land until recently, but after seeing this trailer, I am so on board.
  • Here's a trailer for John Wick 2, which also looks awesome. I loved the first movie—minus the incident that set John off in the first place, which still makes me choked up just thinking about it—and had hoped that we'd get to visit the the crazy, assassin-filled world again.

Tuesday, November 1

Hello, November

Tuesday, November 1

Download this page of the 2016 Man Calendar for personal use by clicking on the image; it will open in a new window. Right/control click to save it. Then print the page on letter-size cardstock, and trim it to 6"x9".

Desktop version:

Download full-size version here.

The 2016 Man Calendar:

Mr. November: Bob Morley
Mr. October: Tom Hardy
Mr. September: Idris Elba
Mr. August: Chris Hemsworth
Mr. July: Benedict Cumberbatch
Mr. June: Chris Pratt
Mr. May: Henry Cavill
Mr. April: Chris Evans
Mr. March: Jensen Ackles
Mr. February: Tom Hiddleston
Mr. January: Lee Pace