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Friday, March 30

Haiku Revieu | Love, Simon

Friday, March 30
Love, Simon

Heartwarming and fun
Harkens back to old rom-coms
Important movie

Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he's gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.

I read Becky Albertalli's Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—the YA book that Love, Simon is based on—a couple of years ago for FYA Book Club, and I loved it. It's a super sweet, funny coming-of-age novel about a young man who isn't quite sure how to reveal to the world that he's gay. And from the moment I heard that it was going to be a movie, I was on board. Hesitant, because it's such a great novel, and we all know how adaptations can go, but excited for Simon to get his day on the big screen.

Happily, I can say that my hesitations were pretty much for naught, because Love, Simon is a fantastic adaptation—and an all-around delight of a movie.

The movie is very reminiscent of romantic comedies of old, with a freshening up for today's audiences. (I've seen it described as John Hughes-ian, which I think is very apt.) It's cute and awkward (SO AWKWARD) in equal amounts, and you'll find yourself falling in love with Simon, his friends and his family from the very start.

Nick Robinson—a current YA film go-to—is adorable as Simon. He's not a stereotype, and I think anyone can see their own early identity investigations in his, regardless of whether they're a young gay man. His struggles, while not universal, are believable and honest; they resonate. Simon's parents, played by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, are brilliant (even though it's somewhat hard to watch the two play parents) and are involved in some of the most moving moments of the movie.

As Simon's email relationship with Blue (an anonymous guy at Simon's school who's also hiding the fact that he's gay) progresses, it's easy to get swept up in the romance of it all. You'll cheer, you'll shed a tear, and you'll be all the better for it.

Definitely get to the theater to see this movie, and show the powers that be that representation matters!

Check it out:

P.S.—I also highly recommend reading the book, but maybe not right before or after you see the film.

Friday, March 23

Happy birthday to my ride or die

Friday, March 23
I don't know if y'all know this, but this guy—

—is my absolute fave. And today's my favorite day: his birthday!

Happy birthday, Mister. <3 <3 <3 So glad I have you by my side for all of life's adventures. To the ends of the universe!

Wednesday, March 21

Haiku Revieu | Annihilation

Wednesday, March 21

Pretty visuals
More scary than suspenseful
The book was better

A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don't apply.

I made the mistake of reading the book version of Annihilation right before seeing the movie. I really enjoyed the suspense of the book and the very unique way it was written. I knew that it wouldn't translate exactly, but I was super interested in seeing what made it from the page to the screen. Unfortunately, aside from the high-level ideas, the movie was very different. And not one that appeals to me. I won't go into depth on the differences, because spoilers, but take my advice and don't read the book before seeing the movie. (I can't say if reading it after would be good or not, but I'd be curious to hear from anyone who goes that route.)

Visually, the movie was really beautiful, in a creepy and intensely graphic way. I'm not really a horror fan, and was surprised at the level of scary in the film; the book, while suspenseful, didn't come across what I think of as horror. (I don't read much of the genre, however, so I could be mistaken.) Ultimately, the combination of the strange plot and the creep factor made me feel more uncomfortable than anything. I think my initial review to Colt after leaving the theater was, "well, that was disturbing."

I did like the cast and the fact that the only dudes in the movie were secondary characters. (The same can be said about the book; in fact, the men play even less of a role.) I'm here for more lady-led films that aren't romantic or "girl's night" comedies or traditional "chick movies." There's nothing about the main characters in Annihilation that necessitated them being played by women—other than that they were in the book—and it's nice to see this sort of representation in film. I'm all about bucking the norms.

I know a lot of people whose opinions I trust have seen and loved this movie, but it's just not my cup of tea.

Check it out:

Tuesday, March 20

Haiku Revieu | Black Panther

Tuesday, March 20
Black Panther

Wakanda forever
Shuri is the best

T'Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T'Challa's father's mistake.

It's been a little more than a month since I saw Black Panther, but it's impact remains fresh in my mind. The hype is definitely real with this one; it's one of the best Marvel movies to date—and stands on its own as an excellent film, not "excellent for a superhero movie." (Side note: I hate that descriptor. Just because movies have superheroes in them, or space battles or faeries or whatever, doesn't mean they can't be just as impactful as all those "serious" ones.)

Although we were introduced to T'Challa and Wakanda in Captain America: Civil War, we really get to know the character, his family and friends, and the amazing place that is Wakanda in Black Panther. It expands the MCU, in a figurative sense, immensely; the culture and the colors and the music and the people are all so different than what's come before, and it's so, so welcome. Yes, I'm a privileged white American woman, but I understand how deeply representation matters, and the portrayal of Wakandan culture made me tear up with happiness. As much as I love the MCU, it's about damn time that someone other than a white man gets to be front and center.

That said, it's not just T'Challa who shines bright in this movie—though Chadwick Bosman does a fantastic job—his support system is made up of amazing women who steal the show; particularly Leticia Wright as Shuri and Danai Gurira as Okoye. As the canon smartest person in the MCU, Shuri is an amazing role model for young women everywhere, and Wright played her perfectly as the "kind of annoying, but totally awesome" little sister. Okoye belongs in the Badass Ladies Hall of Fame alongside Diana of Themyscira, and Gurira has such presence onscreen. I'd be remiss not to mention Lupita Nyong'o and Angela Bassett, too, whose characters show that Wakanda is an advanced civilization in more ways than just technology.

Another standout was Winston Duke's M'Baku, who shows a range of character growth in a short period of time. And Michael B. Jordan was killer (heh) as Erik Kilmonger; charismatic and intelligent, he's the kind of villain who makes it easy to see why some people root for the bad guys.

The characters aren't the only thing I liked about Black Panther, mind you. I was also super impressed with the variety of African cultures the filmmakers incorporated into the movie. The settings and costumes were absolutely stunning, and helped Wakanda skyrocket up my list of fictional places I'd love to visit. In a visual sense, Black Panther is more akin to the Guardian of the Galaxy movies and Thor: Ragnarok than the other main Avengers films. It's a delight for the senses.

I couldn't be happier than Black Panther is doing so well, and I really hope Hollywood takes note. (They'd be stupid not to, but ... you know.) Have you seen it yet? If not, what are you waiting for?!

Check it out:

Friday, March 16

Nerd News | Avengers: Infinity War official trailer

Friday, March 16
I'm not going to watch this1 but I so badly want to.

I'm really not prepared for this movie. I've already bought tickets to see it two different times opening weekend, and I'm considering taking the following week off work to recover.

Also of note:
  • There's finally a trailer for the fifth season of The 100, and it unsurprisingly suggests that the season will be as fight-filled as the ones before it. CAN'T WAIT.
  • There's a new Lara Croft/Tomb Raider video game releasing in September. I am a huge fan of the rebooted games, so this is exciting news. 
  • Ava DuVernay (Wrinkle in Time) has joined the DCU and will direct a New Gods movie. I know nothing about the New Gods, but I'm hoping her hiring means that DC's realized that their lady directors are the ones who actually know what they're doing. (You know, 'cause the dudes keep giving us things like Justice League.)

1 I avoid anything more than the first teaser or two these days so that I'm not spoiled about the movie. Trailers tend to reveal more than I'd like.

Thursday, March 1

Hey March | 2018 Man Calendar

Thursday, March 1

Desktop version:

Peep the rest of the 2018 Man Calendar here.