Crazy Rich Asians

Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world. 
                                                                  Napoleon Bonaparte
Chick Flick Alert! (This is NOT a pejorative.) This movie is a treat to the eye and a chance to feel a bit of superiority because WE are not so shallow. (Mean Girls are not limited to American high schools.) It also shows us what mind-boggling wealth looks like.

Director Jon M. Chu ("Now You See Me 2"), working with a script adapted from a book of the same name by Kevin Kwan ("Rich People Problems") brings a lively, sweet story about a Professor of Economics who meets a handsome Asian man. Time passes and he wants to take her home to Singapore so she can meet his family. (He hasn't warned her that he is rich.)

Here is what I saw:
  • Astonishing architecture, Singapore has amazing bridges, unique buildings, and memorable landmarks, plus our characters enjoy scenic sojourns on nearby islands.
  • A Bachelorette party to end all Bachelorette parties. They even go shopping!
  • A Bachelor party held on a container ship (they needed the room).
  • Well-known faces (Michelle Yeoh - watch her buy a hotel when they fail to provide her with the room she reserved; Awkwafina is one of our heroine's loyal Asian friends - she's rich, too; Ken Jeong - just as rude and off-putting as ever).
  • New faces (Henry Golding - be still my heart!; Constance Wu - I haven't seen her TV show; Gamma Chan - what an elegant heartbreaker!).
  • Eternal problems - one way or another, every bride has a mother-in-law, some things never change.
  • Impossibly rich people aren't the same as you and me, but rejected would-be brides are the same the world over.
  • The most elaborately unlikely wedding ever staged.
  • Parents tell their children, "Eat your dinner. There are starving children in America!"
This PG-13 film has no gunshots, a bad word smeared on a window, hardly any vehicular mayhem (watch Akwafina drive - Oh! And she says a bad word), and sex is only implied. We see the power of social media and read a lot of text messages. Our hero's mother holds Bible studies in her posh home, flowers bloom right on cue, and mahjong is her game of choice. What a life!

I enjoyed it and scarcely needed my closed caption device.
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Take a look:
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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This film was adapted from the wonderful novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows which in turn, was inspired by events during WWII: the Channel Islands, despite their proximity to England, were occupied by German troops and the residents endured great hardships.

The society came into existence when a little group of terrified citizens was caught outdoors after curfew by German troops. This goofy seat-of-the-pants idea took hold and they actually began meeting to read and discuss books, first out of necessity, then because they found it had value. This sense of connection became vital for each of them.

With a screenplay by a trio of excellent writers, Director Mike Newell ("Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Prince of Persia") has assembled an outstanding cast and brings us an exciting, fascinating look at a situation that most of us knew nothing about.

Part of Newell's sterling cast:
  • Lily James ("Mamma Mia" and "Cinderella") Successful author Juliet Ashton has learned of the society through a fluke (a member writes to her for a copy of a book) which triggers her interest in such a curiously named book club.
  • Matthew Goode ("The Crown") Sidney Stark is her agent, who reluctantly reschedules her book signing tour so she can satisfy her curiosity.
  • Michiel Huisman ("Game of Thrones") Dawsey Adams is the pig farmer who writes to her.
  • Tom Courtenay ("Grandpa's Great Escape") Eben Ramsey is the first gracious face our heroine encounters after she lands on Guernsey Island.
  • Glen Powell ("Hidden Figures") Mark Reynolds is her American fiancĂ©.
  • Penelope Wilton ("Downton Abbey") took my breath away with her portrayal of the still-grieving Amelia Maugery.
Important Note: I can only find a TV-14 rating and can't see a United States release date. I saw this on Netflix, courtesy of a wonderful friend.

No gunshots, no sex, no vehicular mayhem and no profanity. Just excellent acting and an engrossing story. The WWII period is beautifully captured through the music, fashions and vehicles, while the post-war period feels authentic: e.g., the boarding house still needs Juliet's ration stamps in order to provide milk for her tea.

Be sure to watch the closing credits because during them you will be treated to snippets of excerpts from well-known books. It's great fun (and satisfying) to identify each book.
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Please take a look:
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The Spy Who Dumped Me

...by TEXT message? How rude! What a way to dump a lover!

Written and directed by Susanna Fogel ("Chasing Life"), this slam-bang actioner has it all: Spies, counterspies, frantic pursuits, people who pretend to be someone they aren't, and the most absurd carjacking ever committed to film. Every spy movie needs photogenic locations, so here we have Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Amsterdam, Budapest, Paris and Lithuania.

Part of Fogel's very able cast:
  • Justin Theroux ("The Leftovers") This film opens with Drew in Lithuania. It's obvious he is being stalked. Luckily he has an unlimited supply of ammo for his handgun (I know, I know. It's a SPY movie!).
  • Mila Kunis ("Family Guy") Audrey got his text and is NOT happy about being dumped; she even met his parents! Her Best Forever Friend is willing to kill Drew for her.
  • Kate McKinnon ("Rough Night") Yep. Morgan would totally kill Drew for Audrey. Even though Morgan is described as "a bit much," she knows she's perfectly normal.
  • Hasan Minhaj ("The Daily Show") Duffer always manages to slip in a reminder that he attended Harvard. His fellow CIA agents are sick and tired of hearing it.
  • Sam Heughan ("Outlander") Sebastian is hot on the trail of a double agent ...we think...
  • Gillian Anderson ("Viceroy's House") To our budding feminist Morgan, "Wendy is the BeyoncĂ© of Intelligence! A woman in a man's world!" Wendy is not impressed.
This one has a well-deserved R rating for violence and a rash of "F" bombs, but it is a romp from beginning to end. Little things, like Audrey using her turn signal when she's being chased by gun-wielding assassins and a little discussion of whether or not it's "Ukraine," or "The Ukraine." That's something I too, have wondered. This one is a treat to the eye; the camera LOVES Kunis's face and it doesn't hurt to have a couple of hunky guys hanging around, either.

This one is Entertainment, NOT Art.
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Here's a sample (with blowie uppie stuff):
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