Dads of 2018: Ranked

A few weeks ago, this tweet by Alexandra Svokos (@asvokos) was posted on Twitter:

Basically, it awoke a burning need inside me. I love film dads. You hopefully love film dads as well. So, why not use my position as a writer on a well-respected film site to rank film dads and distract myself from the existential despair around me? For the sake of brevity (and so I’m not just regurgitating the beautiful tweet above), I chose to focus on 2018 film dads in a specific and simple list, ranked on a lot of different factors. I limited it down to one dad per movie, from movies I have seen and at least superficially enjoyed. There also may be spoilers for any film included on the list, so beware!

Well, girls, gays, and all other dad loving individuals – let’s get to it!

Continue reading “Dads of 2018: Ranked”

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a Celebration of Culture Within a Glamorous Fairytale

At a superficial, base-level understanding of Crazy Rich Asians, the film might come across as nothing new. It’s a modern take on Pride and Prejudice, a quirky romantic comedy about a man and a woman from two different worlds coming together – but where the magic resides is in its vast love and dedication to the celebration of contemporary Asian culture, and the tremendous amount of care from the cast and crew of this film to make it as much of a classic Hollywood spectacle as possible. There is so much glitz, glamour, Chinese covers of Coldplay and genuine pride radiating off of this flick that its fantastical charm is absolutely irresistible. In the age of whitewashing and orientalism in Hollywood (COUGH Doctor Strange COUGH Ghost in the Shell COUGH), finally getting a mainstream film to represent my culture behind and in front of the camera feels revolutionary in itself.

Based off of Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novels, Crazy Rich Asians follows Rachel Chu, a professor who unknowingly happens to be dating Nick Young – who comes from one of the richest families in all of Singapore. They go on a summer trip together to a family friend’s wedding, and antics ensue as word of mouth quickly spreads about their relationship through an impressive text and social media sequence. Torn between her American roots and trying her best to impress Nick’s cold and disapproving mother, Rachel learns the value of her own modern values and self-worth.

rs_1024x683-180801073550-1024.crazy-rich-asians.8118
Constance Wu as Rachel, and Henry Golding as Nick.

Continue reading “‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is a Celebration of Culture Within a Glamorous Fairytale”

‘Christopher Robin’ Adorably Explores Uninspired Ground

There’s a moment in Christopher Robin in which the older-but-definitely-not-wiser titular character and his best furry friend, Winnie the Pooh step into a dreary, muted, and unfamiliar version of the Hundred Acre Wood in search of their lost friends. Seeing Christopher Robin revisit a space he once inhabited, with his pure innocence and imagination- in a forgotten, disheveled state, was emotionally resonant. The once playful child, now cynical businessman, Robin suggests to Pooh to begin searching for his friends in the most efficient way possible by walking straight forward.

If you know Pooh, you’ll know this silly old bear is the opposite of efficient. While Robin’s approach takes him to point A and point B with little adventure, Pooh prefers to improvise, detour, and see where it takes him. Often, he finds success in unusual places. Marc Foster’s direction has great intentions, but its overall execution is sadly comparable to Robin’s method of exploration. This is where the film falls short. Christopher Robin is a sweet and sometimes interesting journey, but it squanders its ideas and chooses to be passable.

pooh 1
Ewan McGregor as Chirstopher Robin, and our favorite silly old bear, Pooh.

For the record, I am behind a lot of the creative conceptual choices here. I loved the idea of an older Robin having to go on a metaphorical reclamation of his own youth, the muted color palette, the stuffed animal translations of these characters, and for the first two-thirds of the film, I was invested in where it was going. The overall high points of the film begin (and end) with the Hundred Acre Wood, as adult Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) trudges down the foggy forest, getting lost in his own innocence to find Pooh’s friends. The more in touch Robin becomes with his younger self, the more awake the Wood becomes, it’s vibrant and resonant visual storytelling.

Continue reading “‘Christopher Robin’ Adorably Explores Uninspired Ground”

VIDEO: Summer Lovin’ – A Tribute to Summer Films & Scenes

Happy mid-Summer! To celebrate the season of melted popsicles and colored beach umbrellas, we created a video focusing on our favorite Summer-set films and scenes! Put on your flip-flops, lay your beach towel down and enjoy the montage set to ‘Down the Line’ by the Beach Fossils.

Follow us on @muchadocinema on twitter for more content like this!

Criterion Throwback Review: Sergei Parajanov’s ‘The Color of Pomegranates’

If you’re looking to broaden your taste and try out something unconventional during this fine Criterion month, I’ve got you covered. This entry of the Criterion canon may be a newer addition, but it’s an older, influential work and a unique piece to the library of legacy. The Color of Pomegranates (directed by Sergei Parajanov) is a 1969 film dedicated to the life of the famous poet Sayat Nova, but it’s not your traditional biographical picture. Instead of an informative narrative following a cohesive journey recounting the events of Nova’s life, Parajanov prefers to capture the essence of his experiences through powerful, loosely connected audiovisuals. Influenced by the works of Tarkovsky, Parajanov seeks to use a surrealistic style to preserve the legacy of Nova and serve as a snapshot of Armenian culture.

5e779bdbdc812480504791798cd39744
The first act of the film, the poet’s childhood.

Continue reading “Criterion Throwback Review: Sergei Parajanov’s ‘The Color of Pomegranates’”

‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ is Conventional, But Charismatic Enough to Excel Past Its Predecessor

If you’re a film fan, you probably have your mind made up on Marvel films at this point. You either like them enough or wish they would end, but they just keep coming! Personally, while I am not a fan of most of the early entries in the franchise, I’ve generally felt the latest offerings in Phase 3 have brought enough refreshing elements and a surprisingly mature amount of depth to popcorn entertainment. Ant-Man and the Wasp is the latest offering from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and sequel to the 2015 origin story. While it doesn’t pull the same punches or have as much thematic depth as Black Panther, it makes up for it with a charming cast that provides heart and tonal confidence to a film that takes it beyond what its predecessor reached.

It’s pretty well known that the first Ant-Man film was plagued with production issues- including the infamous firing of Edgar Wright due to creative differences. However, this is where Ant-Man and the Wasp gets to excel. Gone are the grievances over what could have been, and here are the best ways to build on what was established in the original flick. Reed displays a lot better directional skill here. The fight sequences are better staged, there are more uses of the shrinking and growing visual hooks, and in general, the tone is a lot more focused and energetic than the original (which looked like an NBC sitcom, at times) ever was. From the tiny car chases to the psychedelic VFX work of the Quantum Realm, there’s a lot more to savor this time around.

ant-man-and-the-wasp
Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the Wasp (Evangeline Lily) are just as fun as their size.

Continue reading “‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ is Conventional, But Charismatic Enough to Excel Past Its Predecessor”

VIDEO: Modern Love, a Tribute to Running in Film

We here at Much Ado About Cinema are very obsessed with Frances Ha. It’s literally in the banner and branding of our website – Greta Gerwig running down the streets of New York without a care in the world. Because we all have this universal love for it, I thought there would be no better choice than to tribute one of the most memorable scenes in the film with this month’s video edit.

So here you have it, a tribute to running scenes in film set to “Modern Love”! Freely roam in pure, free-spirited bliss, then follow us on @muchadocinema on twitter for more content like this coming soon!