dill & fennel

April - dill & fennel

April

My first entire month in quarantine. Plenty of time to read, watch movies, and play Civ 6 (and keep losing). I also picked-up Gran Turismo and raced virtual cars for countless hours. This month felt like a year.

Books

Polaris Rising — Jessie Mihalik

A mix of space caper and Harlequin Romance, there was entirely too much straight sex in this for me. But, if you think “space operas should have more picking out dresses and rough hands on waists,” then this is the book for you.

Zero Sum Game — SL Huang

Ah a female protagonist who uses her math expertise to leap through windows and shoot bad guys! This book ruled. I’m not sure what this character’s “struggle” is going to be, because in the first book at least she’s a little invincible, but either way it was fun.

The Factory — Hiroko Oyamada

A strange, short book with some challenging dialogue formatting. I really loved the small vignettes of slightly-slanted banal work life in The Factory. I’m excited to read more of Oyamada’s work, because despite reading quite a bit of Japanese fiction, I haven’t had the chance to read very many Japanese women. I hope that I either get better at kanji to the point I can read from the source, or more translators translate other women.

Movies

After the Storm

Koreeda is one of the best directors when it comes to presenting the sadly funny banality of life. I can’t fathom someone else who could present a deadbeat dad and dysfunctional family with such pathos. This isn’t quite as heartrending as Shoplifters, but it comes close.

Game Night

Just a good time. Everyone seemed like they were having a great time, and it hopped along at a good clip while keeping me laughing.

Hustlers

I love a good grift. I’m still low-key mad this wasn’t about a lesbian romance between J Lo and Constance Wu though.

Jumanji: Next Level

Have you ever wanted to see the Rock play Dan Devito? What about Jack Black playing a younger black guy? This movie was more bizarre than the last but hey, it was also fun.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

The extras’ costuming in this film is deeply strange, with a mix of “Indiana Jones pan-middle-east” and “Mad Max”. This whole film was a glorious mess, and I loved it.

The Guest

This was surprisingly funny and very bizarre. I really enjoy Dan Stevens, ever since his turn as Xavier’s son Legion.

Prisoners

In preparation for the eventual release of the new Dune film I wanted to familiarize myself with Villneuve’s ourve. This is a very good mystery film with a grittier Gyllenhal than his turn at Zodiac.

Rythym Section

A training montage revenge flick that slowly transforms into a pretty thrilling action movie.

Bloodshot

“I don’t mind the scars, I just don’t like the stories they tell.” With a time-to-tanktop of just under 5 minutes, you know from the jump this will be a new Diesel vehicle. This movie had it all: underwater tai-chi, weightlifting, Guy Pierce, and a drinking competition to hone in on Vin’s favorite shot. Of course, as a Chinese-financed movie, there’s no blood or sex or skeletons. Also why didn’t they put that one guy’s eyes in his head instead of on his chest?! “He’s a techie, just like me!”

Radius

Interesting conceptually, but it didn’t really go anywhere besides the concept. It would’ve been better as an anime, lol.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Well, fuck. That was gorgeous and sad. This movie built until my heart ached, and wove a story of falling in love.

Crawl

It’s no Underwater, but I guess if you want to see a great reason not to visit Florida, this is a perfect anti-ad.

Underwater

This turned out was cooler that i was expecting. Can’t say much more without spoiling anything.

General Magic

After seeing the fictionalized versions of many of these folks in Steve Jobs, and hearing so many stories about others—some of whom I’ve met—this was a really interesting look at a company that catalyzed much of what we use every day to live online.

Steve Jobs

Oh, hey, it’s Shiv! It’s kind of fascinating that the entire story is told through the lead-up to the presentations that implanted Steve Jobs in so many of our brains. I really enjoyed seeing this, and also think it’s funny this came out only 2 years after the Kutcher film. Also, Fassbender has a way cooler vibe that the actual Jobs… I mean, he’s Magneto!

The Social Network

One of the wildest things about this movie is the that Facebook’s valuation at the time of the credits rolling was only $25 billion. A few years later, it’s nearly 500 billion. I left Facebook 3 years before this film came out, and briefly returned while in Portland. I get the sense the characters in the film might be less likable in real life.

Apollo 13

Such a fantastic film. It’s surprising how well this held up, with many practical effects and no terrible CGI. It’s been 25 years and this one still had me on the edge of my seat.

Overlord

This felt a bit like a video game. Lots of nazis getting blown up? Weird underground lab? Strange NPCs? Check.

Birds of Prey

It’s a low bar, but this is definitely the best DCU movie since all the serious Nolan Batman films. Not only was it silly fun, it managed to build interesting characters and solid battles that put the overwrought CGI-fest of Avengers to shame. I hope if they make more of these they keep the formula. I really want to see a love story between Poison Ivy and Harley.

1917

A very intense movie but it was also beautiful in its own way. I get why this won awards. Weird cameo by Doctor Strange though.