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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Those of us wondering where Ant-Man, the size-shifting superhero played by Paul Rudd, had disappeared to after last being seen fighting alongside Captain America in 2016’s Civil War—and why he’d been MIA in Infinity War earlier this year—Marvel’s new Ant-Man and the Wasp tries to give us some answers.
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