hustlers review

Hustlers lives comfortably in the grey. Lorene Scafarai‘s movie shows the good deeds and the bad and the right and the wrong, never telling the audience exactly how to feel about it all. The crimes speak for themselves, but Scafaria keeps the characters and the world messy with more empathy than moralizing. The drama, which is based on a wildly entertaining story by journalist Jessica Pressler, has more to it than strippers drugging and stealing big money from their marks. Starring Constance Wu and Jennifer LopezHustlers is about friendship, culture, and people dealt a bad hand in life, hungry for the American dream.

Similar to Scafaria’s previous movies, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and The Meddler, the characters are alive and vibrant in Hustlers. The ups and downs of their complicated friendships are as suspenseful as their life of crime. They’re doing a bad thing, without question, but there’s also a lot of good in these characters.

Recently, Scafaria talked to us about the relationships in the movie, a potentially iconic shot of Lopez, and how we’re all hustling.

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hustlers review

It’s a story, literally, ripped from the headlines: a group of strippers run a scam that cheats their Wall Street clients out of thousands of dollars. On paper, it’s the perfect fodder for a feature film adaptation — full of drama, drugs, and a messy but tight-knit group of ruthless women who are simply evening out the playing field. We get some of that in Hustlers, directed by Lorene Scafaria and based on a New York Magazine article from 2015.

With an all-star cast led by a fierce Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers is a glossy crowdpleaser that shatters the male gaze. But in avoiding titillation, Hustlers ends up taking some of the teeth out of a sharp, sensuous, and satisfying true-life scam story described in its original New York Magazine piece as a “modern-day Robin Hood” fable.

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Hustlers Trailer

Remember all those asshole types from The Wolf of Wall Street who conned people out of their money so they could take extravagant vacations and snort cocaine off the backsides of strippers? Those kind of people still exist today, and they’re about to get their comeuppance.

Hustlers is a new crime comedy that gives women all the power as Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu use the primitive desires of Wall Street douchebags hitting up strip clubs to fill their pockets with cash. After all, if these guys are going to be drunk and stupid enough to throw their credit cards around and treat women like objects, then they can pay for it. Literally. Watch the new Hustlers trailer below. Read More »

hustlers trailer

Constance Wu, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo, and Cardi B all star in Hustlers, a stylish new drama-comedy about a group of strippers who team up to rip off some Wall Street douchebags. In all seriousness, that premise sounds like it could make for the feel-good movie of the year. Watch the Hustlers trailer below.

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Summer Movie Awards

Film festival season is officially underway, and while movies that emerge from fests like Venice, Toronto, and Telluride often become Oscar contenders, the Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society isn’t ready to look that far ahead just yet. Instead, they’ve looked back at the films of the past few months and issued their Summer Movie Awards, with Mission: Impossible – Fallout and performers like John Cho (Searching), Toni Collette (Hereditary), and Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians) winning big.

Take a look at the full list of winners below.
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crazy rich asians spoiler review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Crazy Rich Asians.)

“China is a sleeping giant. Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move the world.” That is the rather grandiose Napoleon Bonaparte proverb that Crazy Rich Asians opens with, setting the stage for a wild, escapist fantasy of a film that is both keenly aware and uncaring of the burden it carries. Crazy Rich Asians knows it presents a landmark moment for Asian-Americans in film, and right off the bat, it declares its intentions. It’s a weighty promise for Jon M. Chu’s romantic-comedy to live up to — but does it live up to it? Yes, and no.

On a barebones level, Crazy Rich Asians doesn’t quite shake the world. It’s a romantic-comedy that follows a standard meet-the-parents set-up, with an outrageously wealthy twist. But add in the all-Asian cast and Asian-American heroine, and you’ve got something revolutionary.

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crazy rich asians stereotypes

Crazy. Rich. Asians. Every adjective in the title of Crazy Rich Asians sounds loaded at best, distasteful at worst. When trailers for Jon Chu’s movie started hitting the web, cries of racism inevitably began to surface. Why did it have to be Asians? Doesn’t that generalize an entire population of people? And does this mean that they’re crazy? Or crazy rich? What about poor Asians?

Asian-led projects are so rare in Hollywood that it becomes unavoidable that every movie, TV show, or media property will undergo intense scrutiny for how well it represents a minority group that makes up 5.6% of the U.S. population. Sure, every now and then a blockbuster will feature an Asian character (cue grumbles that it’s to appease the growing Chinese movie market), but they rarely appear as more than a supporting character or gasp, a token.

So immediately, Crazy Rich Asians is in a lot of hot water. While its protagonist is an Asian-American NYU professor, it mostly centers on the privileged Singaporean elite whose wealth and jet-setting lifestyle couldn’t feasibly represent every single Asian and Asian-American. And it doesn’t help that its tawdry title immediately calls to mind the abundance of stereotypes associated with Asians. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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Crazy Rich Asians Scene Breakdown

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, director Jon M. Chu breaks down a scene from the box office topping Crazy Rich Asians. Plus, watch a discussion with the filmmaker and cast members Constance Wu and Henry Golding following a screening at the Academy, and find out the answers to the web’s most searched questions about Ken Jeong. Read More »

crazy rich asians asian-american

When American-born Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) meets her boyfriend Nick’s mother Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh) for the first time at their lush Singaporean mansion in Crazy Rich Asians, she enthusiastically lists off her accomplishments: lauded economics professor at NYU, talented, brilliant, probably played piano since elementary school. It’s a check list that any Asian-American parent would beam at, but to which Eleanor only coolly responds, “Pursuing one’s passion…how American.”

This fleeting confrontation toward the beginning of the film perfectly illustrates the divide between Asians and Asian-Americans that both communities still try to navigate today. And surprisingly, Crazy Rich Asians’ conflict between filial piety and passion gets to the heart of the muddled, ill-defined Asian-American identity.

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Jon M. Chu interview

Crazy Rich Asians is helping to bring a so-so summer moviegoing season to an end with a bang. Director Jon M. Chu has not only made a romantic comedy that’s the sort of charming, character-driven studio spectacle we want but rarely see this time of year, but also a movie that’s touching a lot of audiences. For Chu, who previously directed two of the finest Step Up films and G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the incredible response to his adaptation of  Kevin Kwan‘s bestselling novel has been emotional and surprising.

Chu has made a romantic comedy oozing with charm, genuine romance, and visual splendor. With star-driven romantic comedies seemingly dying out, the electric chemistry between Candace Wu and Henry Golding is a breath of fresh air and makes for some exceptional escapism. It’s a complete and utter joy. Recently, Chu spoke with us about the romance at the center of the story, the response to the film so far, his collaborations with Kevin Kwan and the cast, and some of the movie’s standout scenes.

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