Crazy Rich Asians (PG-13)

Starring Constance Wu and Henry Golding, Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy based upon Kevin Kwan’s globally best selling trilogy of novels (2014, 2016 and 2017, from what I could figure out) about a young Asian-American woman who is swept away to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family during a family wedding. Their relationship is tested when truth bombs start to fall all around them.

Not since The Joy Luck Club have we seen an English-speaking Asian cast in a movie on an American screen in a feature film. That was 25 years ago. Doesn’t improve the quality of the movie one bit, but you better believe Asian people and those who identify with them and/or appreciate their various cultures are excited, and this film will be supported and make buckets of money. A sequel is probably already in the works as I type, I’m sure.

I enjoyed seeing the landscape and culture of Singapore. That street food made me want to book a flight right then and there! The music is enjoyable and fun. Some of it is even familiar. Witnessing the warmth and traditions of this imperfect family who love one another very much was lovely.

Along with its “unique” Asian perspective, Crazy Rich Asians delves into all of these contrasts between East and West, traditional ways vs. non-traditional ways, traditional culture vs. “Westernized” culture, the older generation vs. the newer generation, that helped to make the story interesting to watch. The problem is, that despite these interesting themes, the content of the movie includes too many cookie cutter moments where the two main stars could have been swapped out for Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts or Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, or whoever (take your pick from a litany of American rom-com stars) in any romantic comedy you’ve ever seen before. In all fairness, I’ve never read the books, so I don’t know if how it played out on film follows the story as written or deviates, but I would be interested to find out.)

…But such is the trouble with rom-coms and why Hollywood slowed down with the making of them every few weeks or months, or at whatever ridiculous clip they were being produced. It is a difficult, if not an almost impossible task, to make romantic comedy feel “fresh” because the story usually follows the – boy meets girl or girl meets boy, boy loses girl or girl loses boy, boy wins girl back or girl wins boy back – formula, over and over again. That’s the standard template. Change the locations/landscape, seasons, ethnicities, family dynamics, cultures – and there is always the same story beneath it all.

In the case of Crazy Rich Asians, while you get more of the same, the story is a bit more dramatic because of what is at stake and what is revealed; and the reaction is a bit more appropriate because there is more going on here than just losing a boy. Still, you know the drill and although you’ve been here before, somehow you don’t mind going along for the same ride again.

The acting is quite good, particularly from the elders in the family. The aunts, the grandmother, the potential mother-in-law to be, all play their respective roles well. These are very strong actresses whose work I want to look into further. (I do love a good foreign language film from time to time.) It felt good to see Lisa Lu still doing her thing. If you’re unfamiliar and want to know who she is, look her up after seeing the movie. (AFTER, I said!) I was captivated whenever Awkwafina and/or Nico Santos were on screen. Together, they sort of steal the show and provide the majority of the comic relief.

The writing is pretty good, but one large question about a big moment was left unresolved, and I still want to know who did it! I know it isn’t supposed to matter, but I’m petty like that. Name a name!

Crazy Rich Asians earned 7.5 bloops out of 10. It is a good movie worth seeing. If you’re more of a fan of the romantic comecy genre than I (Not that I’m not a fan – they are just all quite predictable and I have to be in the mood, like on a snowy Sunday afternoon, alone in my pajamas with some Thin Mints and a pint of Haagen Dazs Caramel Cone, to be specific. Yuuummmm. – Apologies. I’ve actually been eating Keto for the past few weeks and I got waaay distracted for a second there!), you will certainly enjoy it more. If you’re Asian and/or appreciate Asian culture, or have ever traveled East or to Singapore specifically, you may like it even more. I get it. I know that just seeing people who look like you or with whom you identify on the big screen feels good. The resurgence of Asian-cast movies has been a long time coming and if Kevin Kwan has anything to say about it, it will not take another 25 years before it happens again! Kudos Mr. Kwan! Kudos!

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

At this point, I’m just waiting on The Predator

Other Reviews

The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

Advertisements

Christopher Robin (G)

How do you make a movie about Winnie the Pooh (1926) for the adults who grew up on the beloved Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne characters? Feature an overworked, joyless, rigid, boring, adult Christopher Robin! Directed by Marc Foster and starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Robin tells the story of what happens after Christopher Robin goes off to boarding school, leaving his childhood friends, Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and the others, behind.

Now, I’m not completely certain whether making a movie for older fans (that’s a rather large audience since the book was written in 1929) who grew up with Pooh was what the writers were going for, but that’s how I’m spinning it in my head, because it works. Greg Booker and Marc Steven Johnson did some very thoughtful writing. Christopher Robin has this adult sophistication to its humor and wit which mirrors Milne’s in his Winnie the Pooh stories. It starts off a bit slow as the groundwork is laid (this is the part that the younger children might not appreciate. I thought it was interesting and moved Christopher Robin into adulthood rather quickly), but once Christopher Robin gets on its way, it is a joy. Not only do we get to go into Pooh’s enchanted world, he and his friends get to come into ours. And it is brilliant. If you recall in the original books only Christopher Robin could see his friends animated.

For me, Pooh was my first introduction to that sort of dry, high-brow, British humor which is what set it apart from other children’s stories. It wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny, but rather, funny in this meaningful, introspective, “real life,” sort of way. There were no tasteless jokes, pranks, explosions, or great disasters, but there was always adventure, humor and community mixed with civility. These writers understand this and pay homage to Milne’s style very well, delivering a fine piece of work.

Marc Foster’s direction is good. The mixture of live action, animation, special and video effects is seamless, so kudos to the editing department as well.

I felt that sense of nostalgia one rarely experiences while watching a film. It felt as though I was going back in time with Christopher Robin, returning to my own childhood, familiar places and friends. I felt the delight in recapturing the enthusiasm of youth. Remember that overall carefree, joyful feeling you used to have before adulating started kicking your butt? If you’ve forgotten, see this movie and it may all come back to you.

The thing I love most about Winnie the Pooh is that no one was ever excluded and the friends were true; always allowing one another to be themselves without judgment. Whoever they were, no matter how annoying or challenging, or hyperactive. Even a constantly down-in –the-dumps, buzz kill like Eeyore was accepted without ever being told to “cheer up” “stop whining” or “stop moping.” He wasn’t asked to change in any way. In the way that Winnie the Pooh taught/teaches us about kindness, love and acceptance with a focus on family and community, so does Christopher Robin.

Christopher Robin earned 8.5 out of 10 bloops. It is a great movie, not to be missed, which I enjoyed thoroughly. I would have scored it higher, and although I wouldn’t mind giving a second watch in the near future, I can easily see this film is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t give me that, “You must be out of your mind if you don’t love this movie,” type of feeling. This movie may be rated PG but it is not for small children. You may bring them if you like, but they will not be entertained for the animation-free portion of the film. If your child has read the books you may stand a better chance. If they’ve not read the books maybe you’ll be inspired to read them to them or with them.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

I’ll let you know soon.

Other Reviews

Mary Queen of Scots
Widows
The Favourite
Green Book
Halloween
Nobody’s Fool
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
The Hate U Give
First Man
Assassination Nation
The Oath
A Star is Born
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
A Simple Favor
The Predator
BlackkKlansman
Support the Girls
Peppermint

Crazy Rich Asians
The Happytime Murders
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster

The Happytime Murders

Starring Melissa McCarthy and Elizabeth Banks, the action/comedy/crime flick, The Happytime Murders tells the story of a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet who takes on solving a “whodunit” case wherein the puppet cast of a popular 1980s children’s TV show are being murdered one by one. The case reunites this former detective and his former human partner from the force (McCarthy).

Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson’s (creator of the Muppets), directed this film whose puppets venture so far from the image of “the Muppets” it is shocking. But in its attempt to shock, someone failed to add more humor. Even though not billed as a straight comedy, once the absurdity wears off there are very few genuine laughs to be had.

The acting (by the humans) wasn’t bad, but neither was it good. Nobody expects Shakespearean efforts here, but just to indulge oneself in silliness is not enough to carry a film most times, and it certainly isn’t enough here. The Happytime Murders feels like a high school film project with wasted puppet masters. I love Melissa McCarthy on Mike & Molly and when she hosts SNL, but I find her movies underwhelming and The Happytime Murders did absolutely nothing to change that opinion. (I personally wouldn’t pay to see her in a movie. Thankfully, this one was a freebie. I’m not saying I will never see another movie with her in it again, but she (even with all her comedic talent) is pushing me dangerously close to that point; and I thought I had enough with Ghostbusters…) She has one more chance before this relationship will be permanently severed. Somebody better call her and let her know. Okay? This comedy thing may be working to the tunes of millions of dollars for her, but I’m dissatisfied. (LOL!) Seriously, maybe it’s time for her to try something dramatic or a horror movie or something. THAT I would pay to see, because I believe she has it in her.

The puppetry was the absolute, hands-down best part of this film. With the exception of those who are frightened by them or the few folks who may find them annoying, who doesn’t love puppets/Muppets? I always find the craftsmanship that goes into creating a puppet, animating it and then filming that animation impressive. The Happytime Murder puppets are very funny, although puppets have that advantage, don’t they? They can be funny without trying very hard, or without the dialogue being very well written or witty, just because they are puppets. The set design was also very well done, of course, because things had to be scaled to cater to the size of puppets.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie isn’t all bad. It definitely makes a statement about societal discrimination, fame-whoring/the selling of one’s soul to remain relevant, and the tragedies that befall washed up celebrities, and there is even a good twist at the end; but the potential for comedy was wasted on over-done, juvenile, toilet humor. (And mind you, this is coming from a woman who gave Sausage Party 8 out of 10 bloops! I still stand by that review, by the way, although I’ve never given Sausage Party a second view and I believe once was enough. At any rate, I say all of this to say, when reading reviews, consider the source.) If you look at The Happytime Murders more from the angle of being a sort of a buddy-cop movie, like 48 Hours or The Nice Guys, you may like it better than going in looking for a comedy. Even then, the story is cliché.

Some of the action is pretty entertaining, but there is a much more amusing fight scene featuring puppets in season 5, episode 14 of Angel, titled Smile Time, where Angel is transformed into a puppet and attacks Spike. That’s what I wanted – to see truly evil puppets – not sex starved, junkie, foul-mouthed, dirty, pathetic puppets/Muppets. (I can’t even believe I am writing this. How silly do I feel? Very. But not as silly as this movie. Enough with this already. Let’s wrap it up, shall we?)

The Happytime Murders earned 5 out of 10 bloops. Unfortunately, it didn’t do it for me. I tried. Don’t let the hour and 32 minutes running time fool you. That is still an hour and 32 minutes of your life you won’t be able to retrieve. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Of course, depending on your sense of humor, you may like it better than I did. The best part of The Happytime Murders takes place when it is over, during the credits, which almost made it worth-while. Almost.

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m seeing/reviewing next…

Other Reviews

Crazy Rich Asians
BlackkKlansman
RBG
Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Sorry to Bother You
Superfly
Hereditary
Book Club
Avengers: Infinity War
You Were Never Really Here
Rampage
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Florida Project
Black Panther
Molly’s Game
The Post
Phantom Thread
Den of Thieves
All the Money in the World
Coco
The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
Marshall
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Mother!
It
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Dunkirk
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Raw
Kong: Skull Island
Logan
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Fences
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Loving
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
Elle
Jackie
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster