If you’re looking for Western-produced movies with solely-Asian casts, your pickings are slim, which is why there’s been a lot of talk surrounding Crazy Rich Asians‘ status as the first of its kind in a quarter-century. But there also aren’t many Western-made movies where the cast is half-Asian. Or even where there’s more than one Asian character. I’m not sure whether that makes Crazy Rich Asians more impressive or if it simply signals the relative, representational failures of the Hollywood system.
Why not both, right?
Based on the bestselling book, Crazy Rich Asians sends Rachel (Constance Wu) into the lion’s den of meeting her boyfriend Nick’s (Henry Golding) family at a wedding in Singapore. Nick never told her that his family is insanely wealthy, Rachel has to win over Nick’s formidable mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh), and rom-com goodness ensues.
Our own Karen Han says it’s “chock-full of little details that may well fly over the heads of some viewers, but will vault the film into another stratosphere for others. The cultural specificity is more charming than the delirious displays of wealth by leaps and bounds, and ultimately what makes it impossible to say that Crazy Rich Asians is just a carbon copy of other meeting-the-in-laws comedies that have come before it.”
Let’s see what to double feature with this history-maker.
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If you haven’t bought stock in your favorite facial tissue brand, there’s still time because Christopher Robin doesn’t hit theaters until late Thursday night. Better yet, buy a bunch of tissue and resell it outside the theater for people who forgot theirs. You’ll guaranteed make more money than MoviePass.
Based on A.A. Milne’s immeasurably popular imaginary bear, the new film from director Marc Forster continues Disney’s new-ish passion for converting beloved properties into live-action while saving a middle-aged guy from forgetting his true spirit. Ewan MacGregor plays an adult version of Christopher Robin, who needs his old friends Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, and the whole Hundred Acre Wood gang to remind him about joy and art and creativity and silliness. All to jar him out of his huffy existence of responsibilities and offer him a bit of honey.
Here are six more offerings to double feature once you’ve stopped ugly crying.
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We never got a Jaws 5. Not really. There’s the Italian knockoff Cruel Jaws that wanted people to think it was part of the franchise, but it’s a million nautical miles from counting. So we stalled out at Jaws: The Revenge. Way to go, humanity.
It’s easy to forget how wild it is that, decades after the initial adventure, the other Steven Spielberg franchise about prehistoric beasts transforming family dramas into horror films has made it to a fifth entry. Welcome…to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
A little rundown: Spielberg made the first two, Captain America director Joe Johnston did the third, Colin Trevorrow rebooted the fourth film as the start of the modern trilogy, and now a man known equally for horror and big-scale disaster, J.A. Bayona, is up to bat.
Turns out that’s a good combination of genres to have. With a volcano about to blow on Isla Nublar, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) head toward danger to save the dinosaurs from a second extinction.
Will they succeed? Will life find a way? What movies will you watch with it?
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Summer means seeing movies with the whole family. Something breezy. Something light. Something like Hereditary, which should give your family plenty to talk about at the ice cream parlor afterward. If anyone can still speak that is.
Even in our exaggerated world, it’s incredibly rare for a movie to be dubbed “the scariest of the year” by so many different critics and fans, which is reason enough to get hyped for the Toni Collette-starring grief fest. Trust me. I googled “scariest movie of the year” for every year for the past 10 years, and the sentiment is hardly ever common enough to earn a consensus (shout out to The Witch). There were years that no one used the phrase at all, but not this year! Hereditary and A Quiet Place are dueling for the honor by making it difficult to eat roast pigeon or popcorn during your movie.
Here are 6 movies to watch after (after!) you see Hereditary and stop screaming. Or while you’re still screaming. Either way.
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I’ll assume everyone is planning to rewatch the prequels before seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story, so I only need to offer three double features this week.
Just kidding. Would that it were so simple.
Ron Howard’s foray into the universe of Corellia and Kashyyyk also takes place before A New Hope, but there’s little reason to subject yourself to podracing and amorous picnics just to get a feel for the time period. Watch all the Star Wars movies your head can handle, sure, but let’s see if we can expand the galaxy a bit with some space Westerns, classic adventures, and a look at what Howard was doing back in 1977 when Star Wars first lit a fire in fans’ eyes.
Here are 6 non-Star Wars movies to watch before or after you see young Han borrow young Lando’s capes.
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Melissa McCarthy goes back to school this weekend in Life of the Party, which fits squarely into the McCarthy comedy mold that has made her approximately a quadrillion dollars. A genre she’s made her own, becoming one of the few genuinely new movie stars in an era where the intellectual property is the star. A genre that’s best described as crassly heartfelt.
It may be formulaic, but it’s also weirdly subversive, if only because there aren’t many movies in the grand ol’ college party flick tradition that focus on women. At least not many where the leading ladies aren’t hiding in their sorority house from a masked slasher or fighting Seth Rogen.
Also, Revenge of the Nerds is super creepy, y’all. So here are 6 movies to pair with McCarthy’s new vehicle for telling jokes about her vagoogle.
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It’s here. Whether you hate Marvel enough to sabotage their movies’ IMDB scores or love them enough to get Stan Lee’s face tattooed on your back, the studio has done something impressively unique in cinema by executing 19 movies over ten years to lead us all to an unthinkable team-up of dozens of superheroes.
Avengers: Infinity War is a gargantuan achievement with a mind-scrambling amount of moving parts that had to fall into place over the past decade. It’s such an insane prospect that it’s easy to forget it’s technically the third in a series of Marvel team-ups. A threequel. A nineteenthquel. And still only a launchpad for three centuries of Marvel phases lorded over by an eventually-cybernetic Kevin Feige.
There’s no challenge in picking double features for it. There are 18 easy choices, but it would be a lot more fun to look outside the Marvel universe for inspiration…and then tie those movies to the superheroes that will probably die in Infinity War.
I haven’t seen it yet, but there are a bunch of characters who could (should) buy the farm. Not Hawkeye, though. He’s already got one. Every movie I’ve chosen corresponds with an Avenger who Thanos should destroy.
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(Welcome to Nostalgia Bomb, a series where we take a look back on beloved childhood favorites and discern whether or not they’re actually any good. In this edition: a look back at Swing Kids, the early ’90s drama about dancing in the face of Nazism starring a young Christian Bale).
For about three months in 1998, everyone got into swing music.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Royal Crown Revue. The big band sound was suddenly everywhere after creeping into the public eye through the early ’90s.
RCR featured prominently in The Mask in 1994 as the flashy backing band for Cameron Diaz’s character’s dance numbers. Then Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was in Swingers. Then Brian Setzer, 1980s savior of rockabilly, had a hit covering the Louis Prima song “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” in 1998 (it won a Grammy!) and the nation had a reached a fever pitch culminating in Old Navy cashing in on the trend.
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Isle of Dogs could have been set anywhere, but Wes Anderson chose Japan. A dystopian future version of Japan, that is, where the dog flu outbreak is so severe that all the doggos are banished to Trash Island.
His ninth feature, it’s also a thoroughly Wes Andersony Wes Anderson movie that borrows several design and musical trappings from Japanese culture, generating much controversy.
However, this film offers us a great opportunity to check out a cornucopia of Japanese movies that echo Anderson’s stop-motion style, canine subject matter and his favorite themes: family tension, daddy issues, and dry comedy.
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(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Ready Player One.)
Ready Player One feels like the beginning of the end of geeks dominating pop culture.
Even as Marvel plans its hundred-year reign and properties of all stripes from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s are born anew, Steven Spielberg’s latest is like seeing someone’s $5 bet and raising them a billion dollars. Ernest Cline’s novel was the geek equivalent of handing someone a tub of chocolate frosting after busting buttons at the all-you-can-eat buffet. “I heard you like geek culture. How about all of it at once?”
It wouldn’t surprise me if, after this, the entire film-going world needs an antacid.
The movie also spits in the face of this column’s central idea. Finding connections between movies? How about a movie made solely from connections to hundreds of movies, comic books, and video games?
An avalanche of references for Captain America not to get. A sea made of Easter egg yolks. A movie that’s a natural double feature. Hopefully, this list will offer some choice gems that both celebrate and question nostalgia.
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