A different kind of plague has emerged with renewed force in the last year alongside COVID-19: the rise of hate crimes against Asians and Asian-Americans in the U.S. The spike in anti-Asian violence began around a year ago when the coronavirus pandemic first reached American shores, and was exacerbated by former President Donald Trump and other federal officials repeatedly calling COVID-19 the “China virus” or the “Kung flu.” But recent months have begun to rack up a body count — notably, an elderly Thai man who was killed in San Francisco in January — and the growing public advocacy of Asian-American celebrities, who have called for change.
Last week, Disney+ released a statement offering its support to the AAPI organizations amid the rising hate crimes, and now Pixar has gone a step further: releasing two Pixar SparkShorts created by Asian filmmakers in solidarity with the Asian and Asian-American communities.
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If you were to make a list of the most indelible actor/director pairings of all time, it wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi. The duo have worked together multiple times since first teaming up for a short film back in 1976, and now Campbell has taken to Twitter and may have hinted that they’ve just added another tally to their long list of collaborations. Is Bruce Campbell in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the big Marvel Studios sequel that Raimi is currently directing? We admittedly don’t know the answer for sure, but the actor is certainly having fun purposefully stirring up a conversation to that effect. Check out his tweet below. Read More »
(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, political, and opinionated about anything and everything.)
This post contains spoilers for The Mandalorian and the latest episode of WandaVision.
For better or worse, the debuts of The Mandalorian and WandaVision on Disney+ within just 14 months of each other represent something of a game-changer in this Streaming Era. Amid so many different shows all competing for the same spotlight in a post-Game of Thrones vacuum, here comes the unstoppable might of Disney’s Star Wars and Marvel brands to break through the clutter of our current “Peak TV” reality. Achieving pop culture relevance as these two shows have is no small feat, to be sure, but it’s even more notable to do so while expanding from dominating cinemas to taking over our living rooms on a weekly basis.
Because of these factors, it’s difficult to compartmentalize one smash-hit series from the other – as divergent as their goals and intentions may be – when evaluating the ripple effect they both will have (and have already had) on the trajectory of their respective franchises… and most significantly, on how we as viewers engage with them. Weirdly enough, the stories of a lone bounty hunter looking after his orphan sidekick and a grief-stricken superhero cocooning herself in a television fantasy have become a bellwether for studying the volatile dynamic between pop culture entertainment and audiences on a large scale.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the many eerie similarities between these two shows: from misplaced complaints about “filler episodes” throughout both seasons of The Mandalorian and the first few episodes of WandaVision, to their gradual prioritization of shared universe connections over self-contained narratives.
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Cobra Kai moved to Netflix for its third season right at the beginning of 2021, and the producers are wasting no time getting back to work on the next season. Production is already underway on Cobra Kai season 4, and the first photo from set reveals the title of the season premiere. Plus, the new season will be turning a couple recurring cast members into full series regulars, and two new cast members have also been recruited. Read More »
(Welcome to Ani-time Ani-where, a regular column dedicated to helping the uninitiated understand and appreciate the world of anime.)
February just ended and many entertainment outlets just wrapped up publishing endless lists about the best romantic comedies. The problem with the rom-com, like with any popular genre, is that their tropes are so well-known that it can become tiresome to go through yet another story of an odd couple getting together and breaking up due to some stupid misunderstanding, all before a grand finale where love is professed and everyone lives happily ever after. To paraphrase the great poet, Maxwell Lord, rom-coms are good, but they could be better.
Enter Horimiya. This anime speeds through the bad parts of a rom-com to get to the funny, wholesome parts. The story is a tale as old as time: she’s a star student loved by everyone, and he’s an introverted otaku with messy hair. But what if she wasn’t just miss perfect, but a really good sister who took care of her little brother as well as all domestic chores while her mom is at work? And what if he actually was the embodiment of the “oh no, he’s hot! meme?
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In 2019, a man named Rick Singer helped the kids of wealthy families get into their dream colleges by cheating on college admissions tests, falsifying sports credentials, and more. This turned into a huge scandal that counted the likes of actresses Lori Loughlin (Full House) and Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) among the perpetrators who gamed the system and ended up facing the legal repercussions (at least as much as the wealthy are subjected to). Now Netflix will tell the full story in Operation Varsity Blues, a documentary that uses real FBI wiretaps to fuel dramatic reenactments led by Matthew Modine (Stranger Things) as Rick Singer. Read More »
“Your favorite Disney Princess is Mulan, right?” is a question I’ve heard, and somewhat resented, many times over the years. Of course she would have to be my favorite; for decades Mulan was the only Asian face in Disney’s overwhelmingly white line-up of fairy-tale mascots, and Asian-Americans were starved for onscreen representation as it is (for the record, my favorite is Belle). I would admit to dressing up as the Chinese warrior for Halloween, and I will admit to being more than a little excited when I heard Disney was making a Southeast Asian-inspired Disney movie, featuring the company’s first-ever Southeast Asian Disney Princess. How long we’ve waited for this moment, to finally be shown in our brown-skinned glory, instead of faceless victims of the dozens of grimy jungle wars.
I start off this review by mentioning Raya and the Last Dragon‘s bid for diversity because that’s the big selling point for this fantasy epic. It’s the movie that features Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess, played by effervescent Vietnamese-American actress Kelly Marie Tran, whose creative team went above and beyond to accurately represent the region in the food, the architecture, the character design, down to every little tiny detail. The devil may be in the details, but is the Disney magic? Well, yes and no.
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Just last week, Netflix released a teaser revealing that Mark Millar‘s new superhero series Jupiter’s Legacy would be arriving on the streaming service this May. However, it didn’t come with a proper first look at the series starring Josh Duhamel as Sheldon Sampson, better known as The Utopian, who helped shape the world of today as a full-fledged superhero. We now have a better glimpse at the comic book adaptation with a new teaser. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Be prepared for a new brand of superhero — but one that is animated in a style that looks a lot like the old heroes of popular ’90s and early 2000s series like X-Men: The Animated Series. But instead of gearing to kids, Invincible, created by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, is aimed at adults. Watch the new Invincible clip below.
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Last year, Alex Winter returned alongside Keanu Reeves in the long-anticipated Bill and Ted Face the Music. But he also got musical in another way last year by directing Zappa, a documentary about famed musician Frank Zappa, who released a whopping 62 albums across his lifetime, dabbling in rock, pop, jazz, jazz fusion, orchestral arrangements and musique concrète.
With unprecedented access to the musician’s estate, Zappa is a chronicle of the musician’s life and career, from his humble beginnings sleeping inside the recording studio to selling out stadiums around the world. If you missed the movie when it was released last fall, you can catch it on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD starting tomorrow, March 2. In fact, we’re giving away a Blu-ray copy of Zappa signed by Alex Winter himself. Read More »