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“Enola Holmes” — one of the newest entries to Netflix’s catalog, based on the young adult series by Nancy Springer — is a fun, adventurous and action-packed film that brilliantly reinvents the Sherlock Holmes franchise. Directed by Harry Bradbeer and written by Jack Thorne, “Enola Holmes” centers on the life of the youngest Holmes sibling, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown), and her journey to reunite with her missing mother while forging her own sense of freedom. While the film contains some elements of the classic Holmes mysteries, it adds a new twist with its focus on social activism and female intellect. From start to finish, the film successfully creates a world that places a strong-willed heroine center-stage, offering a timeless lesson on female empowerment.
In late 2018, the production crew of “Mulan,” the latest soulless Disney live-action remake, began filming in the Xinjiang province of northwest China, home to the Uighur people. At that same time in Xinjiang, the Chinese Communist Party continued to sharply expand internment camps for ethnic Uighurs, camps that had already incarcerated up to one million members of the predominantly-Muslim minority group.
When I first watched “Indian Matchmaking,” I didn’t frown upon the premise of the show. Instead, I laughed at hilarious scenes between Indian American families redolent of my family. Released on July 16, this Netflix original is produced by the Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Smriti Mundhra, who communicates a middle way between arranged marriages and modern dating. “Indian Matchmaking” has polarized viewers, with some seeing it as perpetuating colorism, sexism and the caste system, while others perceive it as a lighthearted take on contemporary Indian culture that destigmatizes arranged marriages. I am in the second camp and let me tell you why.
“The King of Staten Island” is not a good movie. There. I’d like to get that out of the way. Unlike the 136 minutes stolen from me watching this snooze fest, it will only take me a second to get to the point of this review: “The King of Staten Island” is incredibly boring, self-indulgent and not worth your time or money.
Director and producer Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” released two weeks ago on Netflix, is an impactful Vietnam War story about the Black experience, following the journey of four middle-aged, Black veterans in the present day. In the film, the group returns to Vietnam to recover the body of their fallen captain and the buried treasure they left behind during the war.
On May 1, Netflix released Alice Wu’s “The Half of It,” a film that follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) as she navigates love and personal identity as an Asian American teenager. “The Half of It” transforms the common teen romance narrative into a funny, relatable and heartwarming work of art by pushing the boundaries of representation in mainstream romantic comedies.
On April 10, Netflix released Alan Yang’s “Tigertail,” a film inspired by the experiences of Yang’s father that follows the life of Pin-Jui (Tzi Ma), a Taiwanese-American immigrant. Despite a few flaws, “Tigertail” shares a touching, authentic and relatable story about the Asian-American immigrant experience.
As a wave of states introduced abortion restrictions last year, abortion rights have increasingly come under fire. Now, in the age of COVID-19 — with abortions deemed non-essential in some states — the right to choose is especially pertinent. With this in mind, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” a movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and can now be purchased on Amazon Prime, is even more timely than it would’ve been just two months ago.
It’s been so long since the explosive conclusion of “Breaking Bad” in 2013 that “Better Call Saul” — the 2015 prequel spinoff created by “Breaking Bad” masterminds Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould — feels like its own show. And I’ll admit, I was wary of its ability to stand out from its predecessor, most of all because Saul Goodman, the smooth-talking, comb-over-sporting strip mall lawyer played with electricity and heart by Bob Odenkirk, was largely a one-note side piece in the original show. A skeevy lawyer who helps criminals hide their money and avoid jail time — end of story. It didn’t seem substantive enough for its own show, and it seemed like “Better Call Saul” would be doomed to the spin-off junk pile in the wasteland of failed TV shows. But I had faith in Gilligan and Gould, so I approached “Better Call Saul” with tepid hope. Now, five years and almost five complete seasons later — the fifth season is currently underway — part of me loves “Saul” even more than “Breaking Bad.”
At the behest of a friend, I recently watched the sequel to “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” on Netflix. Titled “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” I found that even though I didn’t think the movie was particularly good, I still managed to find a kernel of satisfaction in watching it.
After taking center-stage in the 2016 film “Suicide Squad” as the charming ex-psychiatrist-turned-supervillain, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) returns fiercer than ever as she introduces a new version of herself — one separate from the diminutive label of “the Joker’s girlfriend.”
“One Child Nation,” directed by award-winning documentarian Nanfu Wang, is one of the first documentaries to delve into China’s one-child policy. While it does so in an innovative way, the film lacks objectivity and coherence in telling the story.
Thanks to surprise wins for Best Director and Best Motion Picture — Drama at the Golden Globes, Sam Mendes’ bold cinematic experience “1917” has been a buzzy film, garnering a spike in attention it hopes to carry into the Oscars in February. Set during World War I and focusing on two British soldiers in the trenches of France, “1917” is shot and edited to look like one take. This is much like Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s masterful 2015 Oscar winner for Best Motion Picture of the Year, “Birdman.” Unlike “Birdman,” though, “1917,” lacks a scintillating script or multifaceted characters, but it makes up for some of that loss with the sheer grandeur of its cinematic vision.
I always look forward to winter break for many reasons, an unexpected one of which is Oscar-bait. Oscar-bait season is the first three weeks in December, when movie production studios are racing to put out their “best” films of the year before the Oscar qualification deadline on the last day of the year. Typically, films that receive Oscar nominations are released between August and December.
The first time I was exposed to Korean films was a glorious experience. I don’t remember how old I was, but it was probably in high school when a buddy and I watched “Oldboy” for the first time. I was blown away. I had forgotten just how wide the spectrum of emotions a movie can make you feel was, and it felt like I was falling in love with movies all over again.
I haven’t seen nearly as many films throughout 2019 as I might have liked, but what I have seen has left me largely uninspired — nothing awful, but also nothing to get me all that excited. The sole exception so far has been Lulu Wang’s phenomenal “The Farewell.” So color me both astonished and elated that “Doctor Sleep” has become only the second film this year that I really, truly love.
Wealth can create vicious cycles. The more money a person earns, the more scared they become of losing it, and, as such, they resort to extreme measures to protect their money. The scandal of the Panama Papers — the leaked documents exposing the offshore businesses of many wealthy individuals, of which some were shell companies used for the illegal purposes of fraud and tax evasion — details such extreme measures, making for an unbelievable chronicle that is the premise for “The Laundromat.”
“Joker” is not the most boring film I’ve seen all year. Nor is it the most poorly made. Nevertheless, “Joker” is probably the worst film I’ve seen in 2019, or at least the one I despised the most.
Welcome to 1969 Hollywood. Retro buildings, vintage cars and neon signs line Hollywood Boulevard. Men dress in bell bottoms, patterned shirts and turtlenecks with blazers. Women wear miniskirts and vinyl, knee-high boots. Flower children don bohemian outfits of the counterculture movement. The Quentin Tarantino-directed movie “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood” pictures these vintage scenes through rose-colored glasses.
“Doesn’t money make you horny?” Ramona (portrayed by Jennifer Lopez) whispers this to newcomer Destiny (portrayed by Constance Wu), as she leaves center stage, bathed in dollar bills. In the film “Hustlers,” Ramona immediately establishes the primary foundation of the film: the intertwined web of money and sex.