Everybody Is Kung Fu Fighting… But Should They Be?

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So if you’ve been paying attention to entertainment news recently, you probably saw that Marvel Studios has finally announced its first project with an Asian lead. The film, Shang-Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings, will be released in 2021 and will star Awkwafina, Tony Leung and Simu Liu as the title character. This is a big deal. It’s what Asian American filmgoers have been demanding for years; a big Hollywood blockbuster with an Asian lead, an Asian director, and even an Asian screenwriter. It’s perfect. Or is it? See, I’m very happy that we, as Asian Americans, are getting a big superhero film of this nature. But the more I looked into the movie, the more confused, and concerned, I became. Continue reading

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Always Be My Maybe (2019)

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16 years after an awkward falling out, childhood sweethearts Sasha and Marcus find themselves in vastly different socio-economic situations. While Sasha has become a celebrity chef, opening a chain of successful Asian fusion restaurants, Marcus has stayed in his childhood home and done next to nothing to promote his band, despite them being quite good. So what happens when they meet each other again? Watch the movie and find out. Continue reading

Brightburn (2019)

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Tori and Kyle have long dreamt of being parents. But, try as they might, they’ve never been able to conceive. Then one night, a ship crash-lands in the woods behind their farm, and they discover a baby inside. Believing this to be a gift from above, the couple adopts the child and name him Brandon. All seems well, until Brandon hits puberty, and starts to exhibit superhuman abilities, including flight, strength, invulnerability, and heat vision. More disturbing than that, though, Brandon starts behaving violently, killing their chickens, breaking a classmates hand, and, eventually, just hurting anyone who displeases him. Tori and Kyle do their best to rein him in, but it might be too late, as Brandon now views himself as a predator and the whole world as his prey. Continue reading

Overlord (2018)

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It’s the eve of D-Day, and a group of paratroopers are being sent to destroy a German radio tower in France. Before they can get there, however, their plane is shot down, and only five men, Corporal Ford, and Privates Boyce, Tibbet, Chase, and Dawson are left alive. Shaken, but determined to complete their objective, the soldiers make their way to the village where the tower is located and discover some strange, horrifying things. What things, you ask? Well, it would appear that, in the hopes of ensuring their thousand-year Reich, the Nazis have been performing experiments on people to create “thousand-year soldiers.” Yikes. So now, in addition to having to blow up the radio tower, it would appear that the paratroopers have to contend with undead Nazis as well. Charming. Can they do it? Well, watch the film and find out for yourself. Continue reading

Set It Up (2018)

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Charlie and Harper are too over-worked assistants. Harper works for a former Sports Reporter named Kirsten, and Charlie works for a guy named Rick, who does… something. Whatever the case, they meet one night while desperately trying to procure food for their bosses, and commiserate over the fact that neither of them has time for a social life. Deciding that the only way to improve their existences is to get their superiors laid, and, in so doing, off their backs, Charlie and Harper devise a scheme wherein they’ll manipulate Rick and Kirsten into falling for each other. Things don’t go  quite according to plan, however, as  the two realize that it takes more then serendipity to keep a couple together.
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Why Woody Allen’s Moonlight Is Anything But Magical

Greetings loved ones! Liu is the name, and views are my game!

After sitting through writer-director Woody Allen’s latest romantic comedy, Magic in the Moonlight, all I could ask myself was, “how in the hell has this man managed to stay in the good graces of audiences for nearly fifty years?” I mean, forget about hating him for marrying his own daughter, this film by itself should give you reason to dislike him. It’s junk; plain and simple. Worse still, its recycled junk. Unoriginal junk. Now you might make the argument that no movie ever made is original, that elements of preexisting works can be found in every new picture, but you see, Magic in the Moonlight is not simply unoriginal as a film. It is unoriginal as a Woody Allen film. The movie, which tells the story of one magician’s attempts to expose a self-declared psychic as a fraud, has so many characteristics of his earlier work–its set in France, the main character is an annoyingly nihilistic nebbish, there’s a romance involving magic, metaphysics and moral outlooks on life–that its not even funny. Look at almost any other movie made by him–Annie Hall, Whatever Works, Midnight in Paris–and you’ll find these exact same features. As one critic writing in the Washington Post so eloquently put it, “Allen shows us here that he’s as good at recycling plots as he is bottles and cans.”

But of course, on its own, banality is not a good enough reason to hate a picture. Forced dialogue and gaping plot holes, on the other hand, are. Good writers will tell you, “show, don’t tell,” and almost every single sentence that a character utters in this movie is telling us something. For instance, in one scene, a man is talking to his wife and he TELLS her the exact character of Stanley, the magician whose been sent to debunk the supposed psychic. Why not simply have Stanley’s actions SHOW us who he is as opposed to having someone TELL us? BUt what bothered me about the movie even more than the dialogue was the romance between Stanley, the magician, and Sophie, the girl he’s trying to prove a fraud. It just didn’t make any sense. Its made painfully clear why Stanley is attracted to her–he’s a rational man whose bleak, unexciting outlook on life is shaken up and made more interesting by her mercurial and mystical lifestyle–but you never understand why she is attracted to him. He’s older, overweight, not that attractive, and harangues her , and what she does, at every opportunity. I don’t know about you, but he doesn’t seem like that good a catch to me. But, for all its flaws, I will give the film credit for a few things. It’s costumes, sets and soundtrack are both beautiful and appropriate to the 1920s, the era in which the film takes place. It certainly does a much better job of representing that period than Buzz Luhrman’s Great Gatsby. (shutter) Good god that was bad!

But, anyway, I wouldn’t recommend this film to anybody, whether their a fan of Mr Allen or not. It’s clunky, cliche, and just not that enjoyable to watch. 6 out of 10, if you ask me. Don’t waste your time on it.