Stories By 'OBIE SHRESTHA'
In preparing to watch Jon M Chu’s new Crazy Rich Asians—presently enjoying enormous hype as the first big Hollywood production to come out in a long, long time that features an all-Asian cast, and is directed by an Asian-American to boot—I decided to go straight to the source material, namely, the bestselling book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, on which the screenplay is based.
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It’s 20,000 years ago, in what is present-day Europe. A group of men are setting off on their annual hunt for the Great Beast, namely a herd of bison, whose meat and hides will sustain the tribe for the remainder of the year. Although he’s been at this for a while now, this is a special outing for the chief, Tau (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson), because it’s the first time his young son Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) will be hunting by his side.
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Coming from a writer-director whose previous credits had been limited to middling action/romcom fare—including the ineffective Shah Rukh Khan-as-superhero flick Ra.One from 2011—the new drama Mulk is a pleasant surprise, bearing little similarity to Anubhav Sinha’s earlier efforts. Mulk is a moving, timely examination of the dogged persistence of prejudice against Muslims in India.
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Even before we get to the opening credits in the new Mission Impossible: Fallout, we’ve already been briefed on two global terrorist groups with such wonderfully ominous names as “the Apostles” and “the Syndicate”; witnessed a loopy interrogation scene featuring Wolf Blitzer; and our secret superagent hero Ethan Hunt (played by that chugger from the fountain of middle-age known as Tom Cruise) has already chosen to accept his latest mission, involving the retrieval of a substantial quantity of plutonium lest the abovementioned baddies decide to use it to, you know, nuke the world or whatever.
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Annie Graham (Toni Collette) has just lost her mother, but isn’t sure if her response to the passing has been entirely appropriate: Is she sad enough? You see, Ellen had been a very difficult and secretive person while alive, as Annie reveals to her fellow mourners at the funeral (many of whom she admits, with a touch of suspicion, to never having seen before), with “private rituals, private friends, private anxieties,” and mother and daughter had clearly not been close for a long time, if ever at all.
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The new Ant-Man and the Wasp is in much the same humble, low-key mould as its predecessor—this is a superhero who’s not worrying about the fate of the universe for once, and who’s happy to just crack a few jokes, fight off a few baddies
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