I was never planning on seeing this movie. Seriously. I could not have been less interested in watching Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth fight aliens and high-five between firing their futuristic weapons. Still, on my school’s college road trip, I signed up to see the only school approved movie, “Men in Black: International,” just to have something to do during our free time in Portland, Maine.
After nearly a decade since the third MiB, the unsolicited reboot released in mid-June stars “Thor: Ragnorak” co-stars Thompson and Hemsworth. Agent M (Thompson) tracked down the MiB after they erased her parents’ minds and was welcomed with open arms. She is joined by Agent H (Hemsworth), a once well-respected member of the organization, who is no longer taken seriously due to his inability to be mature. This unlikely pair joins forces to fight against the alien race: The Hive. 
While these two performed well alongside each other in Marvel movies, their charisma faltered due to a script with the density of a saltine cracker and a predictable story that lacked pizazz, making even the most magnetic actors difficult to care for.
Agent M leads as our protagonist. Other than being played by Thompson, there is nothing about her that strikes any interest as she suffers from being one-dimensional. M’s journey as a person is uneventful — her character in the beginning of the movie is the same at the end — which only works in your favor when your lead is as charming as Will Smith. But without Smith’s level of appeal, the only way this character could be tolerable is if she at least gets better. Instead, she remains boring. 
Agent H, does not make up for M’s blandness. In fact, he is nearly as dry. He plays your typical uninteresting sleaze-ball, whose main personality traits are “hot” and “makes quips at inappropriate times.” While it was nice to see a “Thor: Ragnorak” reunion, contrary to many fangirls’ beliefs, this pair could not save this film.
For a comedy movie, it was difficult to find anything chuckle-worthy for the entire two hours. My theater laughed the hardest when the small old man sitting in the back row of the theater would occasionally shout blunt commentary with his nasal voice, or when a classmate cooed an “And I oop—” when one of the characters took a heavy blow. The funniest jokes in the film only provoked air shooting quickly out of your nose at most, which were usually caused by the one-liners of Pawny (Kumail Nanjiani) the alien who swore allegiance to Agent M and pronounced her his queen.
The film also features a "whodunnit" storyline as our lead duo suspect that a mole is in their midst. This had the potential to add some spice to an overall stale movie, but was screwed up by the fact that there were only two other characters besides our protagonists that pass as suspects, with one acting slightly more suspicious than the other, helped by the mysterious close-ups of the culprit’s “up-to-no-good” expression, as if the writers had no faith in the viewer’s intelligence. Needless to say, I didn’t gasp when the mystery was revealed. Predictability worked in the 90s, but decades later we should not be afraid to improve.
The most devastating disservice was the lackluster ending battle. The final throwdown is always anticipated to be the most intense and exciting part of the movie. And yet, some of the fight scenes in the middle of the movie were more interesting than the final one, and that isn’t saying much since none of the action stood out to me, besides maybe the fight in the street with the twin aliens.
The special effects weren’t the best I’ve ever seen, but there were some aspects of the movie that looked decent. The two alien baddies are played by Laurent and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois, twin breakdancers. Although it’s obvious they are dancers and not actors, they were entertaining to watch, especially in the club scene where they get the chance to bust a move and show off their skills as “aliens trying to fit in at a bar.”
I left the theater scratching my head at how such a highly-advertised movie could be so lifeless like it was missing an ingredient. It almost felt as though nothing happened. This two-hour movie feels eerily brief, and not because time flies when you’re having fun, but because it seemed to lack so much substance that it was somehow able to feel like a half-hour pilot to a canceled sitcom rather than the resurrection of what was once a popular franchise in America. Once I’m done typing, I’m sure I will have already forgotten about it, right about...now. 
You can see “Men in Black: International” at any theater near you.
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Futuristic and suspenseful, "I Am Mother" is a Netflix original movie that was released June 7, 2019. Directed by Grant Sputore, the thrilling sci-fi film takes place in the distant future where humanity has become extinct. A human girl named 'Daughter' is raised by a robot called Mother. Daughter grows up only knowing the bunker and not the outside world due to the fact that Mother has convinced her that it is lethal. Mother designed Daughter to repopulate the earth following the extinction of mankind but when an uninvited guest named 'Woman' shows up at their 'home,' it changes everything Daughter thought she knew.
The technology and special effects in the film are advanced and create cool scenes such as the beginning of the movie where machines are putting Mother together so she can function. There’s enough futuristic technology to make it clear that its setting is far in the future. When Mother begins to function, the movie introduces the amount of human life in the bunker and the number of years since humankind’s extinction.  
Rose Byrne’s voices Mother, Clara Rugaard plays Daughter, and Hilary Swank is Woman. Rose Byrne’s monotone Siri-like voice as the robot caregiver makes you suspicious of her in addition to the fact that a robot is raising a human which makes you wonder how that is even possible. The three characters, Daughter, Mother, and Woman have their own reasons as to why they act and think the way they do.
The story begins when an injured stranger, Woman, pounds on the door of Daughter and Mother’s bunker. Daughter opens the entrance door surprised to see another human from the outside. Daughter instructs Woman to put on the hazmat suit, telling her it’s the only way she would be able to enter the bunker. To fast forward, Mother finds out about Woman, and Woman gets mad at the fact that Daughter’s in the same facility as a droid, saying that she is injured because of one. 
At the end, Daughter and Woman leave the bunker, and Daughter gets mad at Woman because she took her as a hostage and threatened Mother that she would kill her if she didn’t let them leave.  Escaping from Woman, Daughter returns to a protected bunker that has many droids ready to kill her, thinking she is a threat. They let her pass and Daughter sees Mother holding a child, her brother, that she chose from the collection of embryos that were in the bunker. Finally, Daughter kills Mother’s system.
Initially, I thought the movie was weird. At times I found it boring. I guess there was a profound message, but it wasn’t clear and I did not pay attention to it. I rate it low because of my disinterest and the storyline’s conclusion. But it is an original concept that isn’t typically seen in films nowadays, so I took that into consideration. The setting and Mother looked really realistic, along with the frozen embryos and converting them into a newborn baby. The ending leaves you with so many questions. Daughter is looking straight into the lens. What happens to her brother? Will she raise him in the bunker? Will she go back to Woman? These questions leave you wondering about Daughter’s future, survival, and the responsibility she now has.
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Many young women are not ready to have a baby, and they may not be able to deal with that type of responsibility in their life. While many believe abortion is bad, I believe that young women should have access to legal abortions. 
At this current moment, many states are restricting access to abortion, but I believe it needs to stay legal. Access to abortions is good because a woman could be facing many challenging circumstances, such as sexual assault, being young, lacking sexual education, or an abusive relationship. They deserve an abortion because they may not want to have a baby by rape. If they are young, they are probably not able to take care of themselves, so why bring a child into this world? 
There have been many recent cases where abortions should have been used. For example, CBS News reported a story in Ohio where there was an 11-year-old girl who was raped by a 26-year-old man multiple times. Now she is pregnant and she is no longer able to have an abortion. She is traumatized because she is so young and pregnant, and it's her rapist’s baby who she is carrying for nine months. A way they could have helped this situation was by letting her get an abortion.
Another reason why young women should be able to have abortions is that they can end up with unwanted pregnancies which can end up hurting the baby. Jada McClain was a teen mom who killed her infant by throwing the baby in the dumpster, according to ABC news. She hid her pregnancy from her parents. She told her friends that she drank alcohol and did drugs while pregnant to try to kill the baby. 
According to NBC New York News, on Mar. 29, 2019, McClain had her baby in her bathroom. When she delivered she pushed down on the baby’s chest so he would stop breathing. Later on that day, she and the baby’s father Quaimere Mohammad drove to an apartment complex and put the baby inside a dumpster. McClain is charged with first-degree murder, and Mohammad is charged with desecrating human remains. Instead of her getting an abortion or giving the baby up for adoption, now McClain and her boyfriend are facing possible jail time. 
Unlike McClain, some teens are committed to being parents because they have the resources and help from others. However, some young women are overwhelmed with being a parent. According to an ABC news story, on Jul. 19, 2019 in Oxnard California, a 20-year-old mother Andrea Torralba and the 21-year-old father David Villa strangled a newborn baby boy after birth. Medical staff found the baby boy unresponsive due to the injuries that he had received, and he died. 
These are two examples of why abortions are important to young women in this generation. This also sends a message to young mothers to talk and be open with their parents, so their parents can help them.
I think abortions are the best option for women. Some would say that teens can put a baby up for adoption. However, I disagree with this choice, because if someone gives up their child for adoption, a teenager still has to carry the child for nine months. That is a huge responsibility for a young person who is still in school. When they give their child up for adoption, they’re going to be worried about the quality of their care 24/7. 
However, when you have an abortion, everything is all done. You will be able to try again when you are older in life. But when you give your child up for adoption, you’re missing memories that you’re not able to get back. The bond won’t be there, because someone else is raising your child and building a relationship with them. That is why abortion will help teens more than adoptions. 
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Carol Hứa enters Coco Leaf, a popular cafe near Fields Corner in Dorchester that mainly serves Vietnamese desserts. Already, she greets a girl sitting near the door. I don’t know if she knew her or not. As I stand up from the table, she approaches me with a nice “hello” and asks if she can give me a hug. Hứa seems happy and excited, smiling brightly. I haven’t seen her since February when I participated in the leadership program she led. After ordering her iced coffee, we sit at a spot near the window and talk. 
Up until February, Hứa was the youth program director of Viet-AID, an organization that provides accessible and affordable services to the Fields Corner community. She grew up living in public housing in Dorchester and attended Boston Latin Academy. During her high school years, she was involved in Asian American work by participating in the youth program Asian Voices of Organized Youth for Community Empowerment. 
Hứa believed she wanted to be a history teacher until her senior year in college when she saw a job opening at Viet-AID, one of the few places in the city that focuses on the needs of Vietnamese youth. “You know, many of our families are from working-class families. So we need academic support that's bilingual and bicultural,” Hứa said.
Viet-AID does much more than just give youth academic support. They also provide families with affordable housing and childcare, volunteer opportunities for high school youth and a summer program open to first through eighth-grade students. Viet-AID is not just for Vietnamese children, but for kids all over the neighborhood.
Hứa said she was thrilled to accept the job at Viet-AID because it allowed her to do so many things she probably couldn’t do as a teacher. “It was kind of like a really happy marriage where as a youth worker, I get to teach, I get to organize, I get to plan events, I get to do a bunch of things...” she said. Hứa has led youth programs that teach about identity, Vietnam’s history, gentrification and oppression.
When Hứa was young she was confused about her Asian American identity. Programs and community centers like Viet-AID help youths with these kinds of problems and expose them to their own histories and cultures. Hứa felt bad about speaking Vietnamese, even when she enjoyed it as a kid and felt proud. “I went through this transition of like being really proud and then being taught that if I was speaking anything besides English, I'm going to have an accent that's going to be really bad. And then I internalized nativism, right,” Hứa said, describing how it felt growing up.
From being insecure to speak Vietnamese and internalizing nativism, to working at a Vietnamese American community center for six years, Hứa inspires and gets young people thinking about tough Asian American topics. 
When reflecting on her teenage years, Hứa tells me about being a part of Asian Voice of Organized Youth for Community Empowerment and how important it was for her. “It was my first time being able to have a space to talk about my identity as an Asian American person...meeting Asian American college students and going to conferences,” Hứa said. When it came time for her to teach a program that provides a powerful experience for youth, Hứa made sure she was making a mark and helping participants. Through watching Vietnamese American films, having important discussions about immigration, resettlement and lived experiences, the youth interns are then able to conduct their own projects that can range from leading workshops for eighth-graders to writing books starring Asian American characters. Through these projects, the youth are able to grow and learn about their culture and history.
Even though Hứa no longer works at Viet-AID, she was originally inspired to join their team because she wanted to impact the youth. “I think the inspiration is really thinking about how can I support young people to be seen, to be heard, and help some feel affirmed through what they're learning. And really mobilizing them to use our power for good both individually and collectively.” Hứa said.
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Caleb Bove
The Faneuil Branch Library sits in a place no one would expect it to sit, a massive stone building across the street from a YMCA. However, the library seems to be exactly where it needs to be, resting at the center of the Oak Square neighborhood like the keystone at the center of an archway. The person I am there to meet is an incarnate representation of this stability. Having worked at the Faneuil Branch Library for 50 years, Dorothy Keller has fought for funding from the city government, hosted many fundraising events for the community such as the annual “Funky Auction” and has allowed the library to be used as a place of education for both children and adults.
The library itself gives off an aura of safety, with twin maple blossoms outside drooping low over the front pathway into the building. Inside, there is silence, not born from a fear of noise, but from a calm that fills its absence. Keller believes in enforcing this safety. “[Libraries] are the only place that's open to everyone. I mean, it's not a school. It's not a senior center, it's a place where everyone can walk in and feel welcome.” She thinks libraries’ ability to provide free service to anyone is a big part of why they are necessary additions to neighborhoods.   
Keller’s parents moved to Boston from Lowell, something she thinks of fondly as “a wonderful idea.” After World War ll, she and her siblings were born, and their parents moved from a triple-decker to a single-family house in Dorchester close to Lower Mills. Her father worked as a carpenter, and her mother stayed at home during her childhood, but later went on to become a lunch monitor. At 15, Keller got her first introduction into working in a library. 
“I decided that I would apply for job … to shelve books,” Keller said. “And in those days, you had to take a test to work at the library. So I took the test and got a job. I just love the fact that they were very warm people, and that they cared about their community. And it just, it was just a great place to be.”
Unfortunately, libraries are often undervalued by those who fund them though they are invaluable elements of most communities. She explained that it’s not enough to have just one main library in the center of the city. There should be branches in different neighborhoods to reach as many people as possible.
There have been a large number of budget crises in the history of libraries in general, and it is not a pattern that looks to be ending soon. Keller believes that as a female-dominated field there is some discrimination as well.
“I think that that certainly has a has had a negative impact on salaries and how, you're right, how librarians are viewed,” she said.
Keller asked the librarians at the front desk if we could go into her office. The question is just formality, the office will always be hers, even now that she is retired. Once we enter, she reaches up to a shelf, retrieving a large tome of photographs and articles. She handles it gingerly, turning each page with such great care that I am hesitant to touch it myself. Inside is the history of the library we are standing in. In some ways, it has changed, but in others, I am surprised to find, it hasn’t changed much at all. 
When I ask Keller about the impact of technology on the usefulness of libraries, she happily informs me that it has only made the sorting and transport of books easier. 
“I mean, with the electronic catalogs for library collections, anyone can get what they need. And that's a wonderful thing,” she said. “It's great for a librarian to have the interaction with the patron. But I mean, the fact that you can put in a couple of words and come up with a book that you need...it's such an advance.” 
While the creation of the internet may not have helped the number of people who use libraries directly, Keller is confident that libraries will always have a purpose in their original use, that of a sanctuary.
Though Keller is now retired, the Faneuil Library that she helped support for 50 years will support the Oak Square community for the foreseeable future. Not only will she always be a welcomed and beloved member of the neighborhood, but also a source of knowledge and kindness.  
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