books and movies and things – june review


I’ve never been the blogger to do a monthly review, but I figured it can’t hurt anything. I’ve had more time over the summer (during my two months as a nanny for my cousins) to read books and watch movies/tv. Plus, I started posted my poetry again.

Books

  • The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins: As prequels go, this one wasn’t too bad. I didn’t love it because it’s hard to feel empathetic for the main character, Coriolanus Snow, who (spoiler??) is really terrible to everyone in the first three books. That aside, if you want to know more about Panem before Katniss’ life, I would recommend. It has some interesting explanations for some things in the first books.
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I picked this book up without reading any pages, without reading the synopsis… I just had this feeling it would be good. It was. If you like LGBTQ+ reads or coming-of-age stories, this is one I won’t forget. I hear there’s a sequel coming in October…

Movies

  • Thief: This is a heist film from 1981 with James Caan. I am not a huge James Caan fan, but it had a pretty decent soundtrack. As 80’s films go, this one hit the mark. The opening scene that introduces our main character was interesting to watch at the very least.
  • The Night of the Hunter: I loved this film. It’s a noir-ish crime from 1955 about a murder-crazed religious man who seeks out a family for stolen money the childrens’ late father left behind. There is a strange point where the film no longer follows the original storyline and completely breaks off, but it was still really cool. Definitely watch this one.
  • JoJo Rabbit: I have been waiting to see this one for a while, but I finally got ahold of it — I’m not always a comedy person, but this one had be rolling. It’s a satire about nazis, so it’s definitely a delicate balance of humor and sadness. But between the cast list (Rebel Wilson, Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson) and the trailer, I knew I had to see it, and I wasn’t disappointed.

TV Shows

  • Game of Thrones: I am on the last season. I mocked this show for its insane popularity, because it was just another fantasy show in my mind. But I finally sucked it up enough to watch it, and I can see why it got so much fame. It’s absolutely genius. There’s not a moment in all eight seasons where I’ve been bored. That is HARD to do. Of course, they have source material, but even so! The world building and the way they draw the audience into a relationship with the audience is brilliant. I’m sorry I waited so long.
  • The Tatami Galaxy/Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei: If you aren’t an anime person, don’t let this trip you up. This is a subbed not dubbed anime about a college student who’s having trouble being happy. He keeps rewinding time (whether intentionally or not isn’t said) to start his college years over in order to get a different outcome. The synopsis doesn’t really explain it well, so fair warning. I quite enjoyed it.

My Updates

  • A New Book! I’m working on my FOURTH self-published work. If you haven’t read any of them, you can find them all on my Instagram shop, here. (The Instagram shop is only available on the app, but you can also click on the links I mention.) It’s going to be called Gently Used. It will be a collection of poetry, just like Lessons i learned when i was older and mind weaving. The other book, the garden boy, is a poetic essay format. I don’t have a timeline for the new one yet, but I’m working on that…
  • Instagram Poetry: I’ve decided to continue my Instagram author page as just a poetry page. I’ve always enjoyed other poets on Instagram, and I think it’s a good way to grow my readership. Do go and follow it if you’re so inclined.

So that’s about it for June. I hope you have a lovely July.

-ellynn ❤

Juneteenth: Celebrating Black Filmmakers


Featured Image by Wynn Pointaux from Pixabay

It is Juneteenth! If you don’t know what that is or why, click here (because that website does a much better job of explaining a history I have no right to explain). I’m a whitey mcwhiterson, and I do not spend enough time highlighting Black figures on the seventy million platforms I have. And because I am an aspiring filmmaker, I’d like to talk about three of my favorite Black filmmakers. Please spend some time educating yourself today!

Kemp Powers

A recent gem who’s come out of some BIG projects, Powers was behind the masterpieces Soul (2020) and and One Night in Miami… (2020) as well as Star Trek: Discovery (2017). Wow! The utter creativity of this man’s mind just repeatedly blows me away, and seeing him at the Academy Awards brought me so much joy. If you haven’t seen his films yet, please do indulge.

At different points in our lives and careers, we’ve all been … ‘lost souls,’ based on our definition of it. Because when you find something you enjoy and you’re passionate about and you actually are pretty good at it, it is so easy to take the extra step of hiding behind that thing and using it to not deal with so many other elements of life.

kemp powers

Ava DuVernay

I am absolutely obsessed with Ava DuVernay. She has 27 producer credits starting from 2008, as the producer for This Is The Life — a documentary about The Good Life underground hip-hop scene and the rejection of gangster rap. She’s also directed 21 works, helped write 15, and she’s got more than that under her belt!

I think that if we really want to break it down, that non-black filmmakers have had many, many years and many, many opportunities to tell many, many stories about themselves, and black filmmakers have not had as many years, as many opportunities, as many films to explore the nuances of our reality.

Ava duvernay

Chinonye Chukwu

An up-and-coming superstar, I can’t wait to see more from this artist. Clemency (2019) was absolutely gut-wrenching, with all the brilliant power you’d expect from a female-led prison film. Do watch. I think what’s so wonderful about Chukwu’s work so far is how much emotion she can squeeze out of a few seconds. And her work on the upcoming film about Emmett Till is bound to blow away our expectations.

When I started to detach from ego and embrace the unwavering belief that I am enough, I started making films for myself and embracing the craft of filmmaking again. Consequently, my work got so much better.

chinonye chukwu

Now, I kept this list short because I’d rather you deep dive into these three artists than just scroll through a list of names. I really hope you’ll take the time to interact with the work by these spectacular artists, not just because it’s Juneteenth, but because they have made great art that deserves to be seen.

That’s the issue that I’ve noticed lately. Non-Black folks enforce engaging with Black creators not out of a natural appreciation for their work, but out of a desire for activism. It shouldn’t be revolutionary to appreciate Black creators and artists. It should be automatic, and that’s the problem. That’s why Juneteenth shouldn’t just be one day — it should be every day. And yes, it should be a national holiday! But the practices people encourage on Juneteenth shouldn’t be limited to one single day in a year. June 19th isn’t the only day you should amplify Black voices.

Much love,

-el ❤