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Monday, July 24

Nerd News | SDCC goodness

Monday, July 24
It was hard keeping up with the news coming out of San Diego over the past few days, and but here are some highlights. If I missed anything important, add it in the comments!

Is it November 3 yet?

I loved Pacific Rim. (I'm still longing for a Jaegar pilot bomber jacket.) So I'm super stoked for the sequel. However, it was an actual shock to hear John Boyega's real accent in this teaser; I'm so much more used to him sounding like Finn.

Also of note:

Monday, July 17

Nerd News | The Thirteenth Doctor

Monday, July 17
In case you missed it yesterday:

I'm excited. I love that they're trying something new with a woman Doctor, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the show goes out from under Moffat's thumb. (This article talks a bit more about Whittaker and the "prep" for the Doctor regenerating into a female form.)

I wish Peter Capaldi would have stuck around for another season, though. I really enjoyed 12 when Clara wasn't around, and I don't think one season without her was really enough time for him to truly shine.

Also of note:

Friday, July 14

Haiku Revieu | Spider-Man: Homecoming

Friday, July 14
Spider-Man: Homecoming

No more origins
Peter is adorable
Tom is my Spidey

Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man when a new threat emerges.

I'll fully admit to rolling my eyes when I heard that we were getting yet another Spider-Man, so close on the heels of the Andrew Garfield film (which were so close on the heels of the Tobey Maguire ones ...). But after seeing Tom Holland in the role in Captain America: Civil War, I was on board. And after seeing more of him in Spider-Man: Homecoming, I have to say: I think Tom's by far my favorite Peter.

Spider-Man: Homecoming isn't another origin story, and I'm very thankful for that. Instead, it delves more into the person behind the mask, and shows how much of a regular kid Peter Parker truly is. Sure, he occasionally gets to fight alongside (or against, as the case may be) the Avengers, but he also deals with serious teenager things like crushes, homework, and Academic Decathalon meets. Holland plays him to an absolute T—it's hard to believe that he's 21 in real life—and brings a new energy to the role that hasn't ever been there before.

The movie also benefits from the tie-in to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and I don't think that's just me, the massive MCU fan, saying that. The movie felt more cohesive, and they toned down the cartoony elements that, although fun, made the other sets of movies feel more silly than serious. Not that Spider-Man: Homecoming is all that serious, mind you, but the humor and the occasional bit of more thoughtful, darker plot in the film meld very well. (Like the other MCU movies. Not that I like to harp on things or anything.) Plus: I love that Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) got more screen time, and watching Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) attempt to act like a father figure was hilarious in itself.

I really dug the villain twist, too. No spoilers, but I didn't see it coming at all.

I do have a couple of nitpicks: I don't think the movie showcased enough of Peter's intelligence, choosing instead to focus on his spidey skills. (That said, does he have the "normal" spidey senses? A friend brought this up in a post-viewing discussion of the movie, and it's a good question, since they never really talked about Peter's powers. I just sort of assumed that everything, power-wise, was the standard stuff.) And then there's the whole thing with Zendaya's character—highlight for spoilers—why name her Michelle if she's playing MJ (which stands for Mary Jane, for those not in the know)? That "reveal" was all-too-reminiscent of the "Benedict Cumberbatch IS NOT PLAYING KHAN, but he's totally playing Khan" debacle of '13.

I'll be interesting to see where Sony takes the Spider-Man universe from here, now that new life has been breathed into the franchise.

Check it out:

Wednesday, July 12

Haiku Revieu | Baby Driver

Wednesday, July 12
Baby Driver

Baby drives the car
The crazies take the money
Music runs the show

After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

I knew very little about Baby Driver going into the movie, even though I'd watched the trailer. I did know that it was an Edgar Wright film, however, and being a fan of his other films—The Cornetto Trilogy, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, etc.—I wanted to see it regardless. And I'm very glad I did; the movie is a total delight, and a unique one at that.

First of all, the music in this movie is fantastic—and there's a lot of it. Baby (Ansel Elgort) listens to songs through his various iPods for the entire film, and there are more song lyrics than actual dialogue. (I think, don't quote me on that.) The music is in itself a character, and is used in a way that adds so much emphasis and complexity to an otherwise pretty simple story. Without the music, Baby Driver would be just another heist movie. A fun one, mind you, thanks to the characters, but nothing spectacular.

Ansel does a great job at the quiet, reserved Baby. He's also surprisingly lithe for such a tall dude, as shown by his dancing early on in the film. His soft-spoken nature is juxtaposed with the over the top antics of Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzรกlez), and Bats (Jamie Foxx), who are all crazy, but in the best kind of (criminally insane) way. Kevin Spacey is great as the ringleader, Doc; he's the sort of guy that you wouldn't really notice if you passed him on the street, but getting on his bad side is the absolute worst thing you could do. Lily James is sweet as Debora, but I feel like pretty much any young actor her age could have played the role and it would have had the same impact. The real stand-out for me is CJ Jones as Baby's foster dad, Joseph. The man is ADORABLE.

I also really dug how the plot escalated toward the end. No spoilers, but it makes a lot of sense if you've seen other Edgar Wright films. It had me cackling in my seat. And the car chases were so great. It's hard to go wrong with some fancy driving antics, in my book.

I highly recommend seeing Baby Driver in theaters, both because it's a lot of fun and to show Hollywood that there's a definite interest in this kind of under-the-radar film.

Check it out:

Tuesday, July 4

Perhaps it is fate that today is the 4th of July

Tuesday, July 4

This will forever be the best fictional presidential speech in pop culture history.

Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, July 1

Hey July | 2017 Man Calendar

Saturday, July 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:

Find the rest of the 2017 Man Calendar here.