Week of Geek Holiday Edition: Non-Traditional Holiday Movies

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Hi again Geeklings!  Happy December!

Even though we’ve been getting the holiday vibes since before Halloween, it is officially the holiday season.  Snow (not yet, but give it time).  Lights.  Good food.  Good company.  Good times.

And, as per usual with this time of year, there have been a lot of suggestions online and in person of what to watch over the season.  It is the perfect time to curl up on a couch with a blanket and a mug of cocoa and watch something festive.  And heaven knows there are plenty of holiday-related titles out there.

But holiday movies can be tricky.  They can be a little… what?  In your face?  Overblown?  Overly jolly?  WAY too festive and over the top?  For some people that is awesome and they love it, but for others it can be a little much.  There’s a difference between sweet and saccharine.  Between that cozy feeling and getting a headache from all the noise and lights and feeling nauseous from all the cheer.

So what to do?  Fortunately, there’s a new breed of holiday movie out there, the non-traditional holiday film.  Basically a movie that has holiday elements but it’s not the main point of the story, or they’re films you may not traditionally think of when you think of holiday movies.  These films run the gamut from action to horror to romance to so many others.

Some examples include franchise films like Iron Man 3 or Batman Returns.  Both are set over Christmas.  Iron Man 3 kicks off with a New Year’s Eve party flashback and then the rest of the film takes place over the holidays…

Batman Returns features a tree lighting ceremony and holiday parties.  And then you have movies like A Nightmare Before Christmas, which is still debated endlessly over whether it’s a Halloween or Christmas movie.  Or films like Krampus, which throw full horror elements into the holiday season.  So all of these are enough to give you a taste but not enough to be overwhelming.

I made a list, ’cause lists are helpful.  (Heads up though, some of these are restricted, so check the rating.)

So whatever size dose of holiday cheer you like, have a happy one.  Stay tuned for more festive fun coming up, and until next time, End of Line.

The Hate U Give

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I waited for what felt like a full year to read this book. I put it on hold as soon as it came out and dropped everything when it arrived on my shelf. The hype for it was insane… but so well-deserved.

The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr Carter, a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in two worlds. She spends her days in a predominantly white private school, where she watches what she says and how she says it. But when school is over and all her friends go home to their fancy houses and gates communities, Starr returns to Garden Heights, where she no longer has to worry about appearing a stereotype but she also has to deal with the realities of living in “the hood”.

Starr’s two worlds collide one evening when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Between riots, protests, allegations and assumptions, Starr discovers that her actions and words are more powerful than she ever thought. Speaking up could change her life and her community for ever. Speaking up will come with a price. But so will staying silent.

Tupac said that Thug Life means “The Hate U Give Little Infants F**ks Everyone” and, as Starr learns and so many of us know, those words are still heartbreakingly relevant. This line reverberates through every page of Angie Thomas’s genius debut novel. Everyone needs to read this book and take its message to heart.

Hate begets hate. Violence leads to more violence.  And staying silent in the face of injustice changes nothing.

We need more books like this one. We need more diverse books, diverse protagonists, diverse authors writing in their own voice about what they know.

I won’t lie. This was not an easy book to read. I read it through tears and with an aching heart. But I would read it again in a second and I urge you all to read it too. It is one of the most important books written in our time.

Week of Geek Breaking News: Infinity War Trailer… This! Just… all the this!

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Yesterday, in the grand tradition we now seem to have started of trailers for trailers, we got this…

Not only did this floor me that we were getting a first look at Avengers: Infinity War, and it was great seeing what has led up to this, but I also love how this tease was framed, with all the reaction shots of fans watching previous Marvel trailers.  I don’t know about you guys, but I have been these people.  I’ve never filmed my reaction but I have had those same looks on my face as I got a taste of what was to come.  18 times!  (For 18 films, including February’s Black Panther).

And now 19 times.

*deep breath from the diaphragm*

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I… I have no words… How can one put this into words?!  HOW?!  THIS IS EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED AND MORE!

*another deep breath*

Just an observation, this trailer was released this morning, and I saw it was up to almost 500 000 views in it’s first hour alone.  As of this writing (about 12:30pm) it was up to 1.2 million views.  Some of the commentators noticed the view count was stuck for a while.  This trailer broke YouTube for a little bit.

Anyway, back to fangirling.  This is it people!  This is for all the marbles!  This is what nearly 10 years and almost 20 films have built towards.  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE!  In one movie fighting one common foe!  Thanos will finally make a play for the universe.  He’ll finally go after all of the Infinity Stones.  So much is about to go down and we still have to wait a little more than five months to see it happen!  I am excited and nervous at the same time!  (Nervous because it’s clear my guys are in for a rough go)

So what does this all mean for the rest of Phase 3?  How will this set things up for Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel and the Infinity War sequel that will officially close Phase 3 in 2019?  What will be next for Marvel Studios after that?  Who will make it to the end?  (I really hope everyone, but let’s face it, that isn’t likely).  Time will tell, but what do you think Geeklings?  Post your thoughts in the comments or write your own reviews on WriteIt.

In the meantime, watch…

And watch…

And read…

And click here for my definitive ranking of Marvel films.  Watch ’em, read ’em, love ’em, and let’s hope that somehow everything will work out in Infinity War.

Until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: The DCEU fumbles again, What heck?

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Well Geeklings, it has arrived.  The Justice League movie.

Full disclosure; I haven’t seen it yet.  But I and the rest of the world do know two things about it.  Critics aren’t crazy about it.  And it underperformed at the Box Office it’s opening weekend.

WHAT… HECK?!

This was supposed to be it!  The culmination of… FOUR movies!

The film that brings everyone together, including some we hadn’t really met yet!  What the heck?!  (There might be a bit of sarcasm in there, my bad.)

So what’s going on?  This is the fifth movie in this series thus far, and out of the five of them only one has actually performed well with critics, fans and with ticket sales.

Well, I was reading this article the other day, and I think it really hits the nail on the head.  Give it a read for the full picture but here’s a few things I’d like to highlight…

  • This was really rushed: Four movies may seem like a lot, but only three of them really had anything to do with Justice League (Suicide Squad was more of a standalone).  DC’s decision to go the opposite route that Marvel did (with five movies all tying in to the lead up of The Avengers) while developing a Cinematic Universe means that we now have a Justice League film where we only really know half the members.  Where’s the investment?
  • Over saturation: Justice League only followed Thor: Ragnarok by two weeks.  Someone like me is happy to have several super hero films at once but the average movie goer may not be thrilled.
  • Backstage shenanigans: Though some fans may disagree with me, I’ve never been thrilled that Warner Bros decided to put Zack Snyder in charge of this operation.  I’m not crazy about the decisions he’s made thus far, or about how dark and dreary he seems to be insisting on making this universe.  And the only time the franchise has had any real success was when they put someone else in charge.  Snyder had to back out of finishing Justice League for very legitimate reasons, and WB brought in Joss Whedon to finish the movie.  I love Whedon, but it’s never easy to take someone else’s work and try to finish it, and there were A LOT of reshoots.  Often what this all leads to is two very different visions competing against each other and a very unbalanced final product.
  • Fans are just getting sick of all of this:  From the backstage drama to the bad reviews to the constant disappointment and divisive decisions DC and Warner Bros are making, some fans have likely had enough of the whole thing.  I think I’m starting to get to that point myself.  This isn’t working!  And it makes it all the more painful to know that it can work.  Wonder Woman proved it!

Having said all that, I will probably go and see Justice League.  One thing a lot of critics have been saying is that even though it’s not a perfect film it is fun.  Sometimes that’s all I want from a superhero film, and that sense of fun was sorely lacking in Man of Steel and especially Batman v SupermanSuicide Squad tried to be fun, but only as a last minute add on.  And though Wonder Woman had the emotional depth the story needed it definitely had it’s fun moments.  That’s part of what made it such a great film; it could do both.

What do you think Geeklings?  Will you go see Justice League?  Give it a pass?  Either way, how come?  Post in the comments or for more extensive thoughts head to the WriteIt site and pour your hearts out.

And, just to reassure ourselves that DC can win in other mediums, here’s a list of their TV shows…

And some awesome graphic novels…

Have a great week Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek Breaking News: The title of the next Fantastic Beasts movie revealed!

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Rejoice Wizarding World fans!  The next film in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series has a title and release date!  AND a cast photo!

Click here to learn more details about each character, and here for more about the movie.  And while The Crimes of Grindelwald won’t be out until next November, go ahead and sign out Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to catch up (find the textbook here and the screenplay here).  Stay tuned for more, until next time, End of Line.