Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writer: Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham
Based on: Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin‘s character
Cast: Simu Liu, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Wah Yuen, Florian Munteanu, Andy Le, Benedict Wong, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larson
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 6.9.2021

Plot:
Shaun (Simu Liu) tried to built a life for himself, away from his father Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) and Wenwu’s private army, the Ten Rings – including actual ten rings that give Wenwu awesome powers. And for the last decade, Shaun has been pretty successful in his endeavor. Not even his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) suspects that there is more to him than a party-loving valet. Until a group of fighters led by Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) attack Shaun and he has to finally confront his past, his family, and his future. Not without Katy, though.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a thoroughly enjoyable film with a good mix of fighting, emotions and humor. I had a very good time with it.

The film poster showing Shaun (Simu Liu), his father Wenwu (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung) looming large behind him, wearing the ten rings. The two can be seen fighting as smaller figures in the front. Other important characters are arranged around them.
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Raya and the Last Dragon (2021)

Raya and the Last Dragon
Director: Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada
Writer: Qui Nguyen, Adele Lim
Cast: Kelly Marie Tran, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Izaac Wang, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Lucille Soong, Alan Tudyk, Dichen Lachman, Sung Kang
Seen on: 2.6.2021

Plot:
There used to be one country called Kumandra. But after a terrible plague, the Druun, that turned everybody it touched to stone, and that could only be stopped with the dragons – who all turned to stone themselves – the country split into five realms: Fang, Tail, Talon, Heart and Spine. The last of the dragon powers in form of a stone is in Heart, guarded by King Benja (Daniel Dae Kim) and his daughter Raya (Kelly Marie Tran). Benja would like to bring the five realms together again, but his plans don’t come to fruition. Instead, the magic stone is broken and the Druun return. There is only one hope for Raya now: finding Sisu (Awkwafina), the last dragon who supposedly was just lost and not turned to stone.

Raya and the Last Dragon is a beautifully animated, emotionally touching film. It is pretty much what you hope for when you go to watch a Disney princess film – an absolutely satisfying experience.

The film poster showing Raya standing in the middle, with Sisu above her. The rest of the image is separated in five parts, four representing one of the film countries and the fifth showing Raya and Namaari charging each other.
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Dude (2018)

Dude
Director: Olivia Milch
Writer: Olivia Milch, Kendall McKinnon
Cast: Lucy Hale, Kathryn Prescott, Alexandra Shipp, Awkwafina, Alex Wolff, Brooke Smith, Jerry MacKinnon, Ronen Rubinstein, Satya Bhabha, Austin Butler, Jack McBrayer
Seen on: 2.4.2020

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Chloe (Kathryn Prescott), Lily (Lucy Hale), Amelia (Alexandra Shipp) and Rebecca (Awkwafina) are best friends and have been all throughout high school. They spend most of their time just hanging out and smoking weed, but with the end of high school approaching, they also have to face the fact that things will change. Lily does everything she can to first organize the perfect prom and secondly, that all changes after that go according to her plans. But life has a way of going differently than you think and that’s not really easy.

Dude is a coming-of-age stoner comedy which is already in itself an unusual combination, made more unusual still by the fact that it’s about young women. It is entertaining and well made, but I didn’t completely love it.

The film poster showing Chloe (Kathryn Prescott), Lily (Lucy Hale),  Amelia (Alexandra Shipp) and Rebecca (Awkwafina) hugging each other.
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The Farewell (2019)

The Farewell
Director: Lulu Wang
Writer: Lulu Wang
Cast: Awkwafina, Shuzhen Zhao, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Yongbo Jiang, Han Chen, Aoi Mizuhara, Xiang Li, Hongli Liu,
Seen on: 9.1.2020

Plot:
Billi (Awkwafina) ambles a little aimlessly through her life in New York, waiting and hoping for an acceptance from an art university. When her Chinese grandmother Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao), with whom Billi is very close, is discovered to have only little time left to live, her parents (Tzi Ma, Diana Lin) fly to China. Billi follows, unable to stay behind, although she does have a hard time with the family decision to not tell Nai Nai of her diagnosis. To explain why the entire family is gathered, a wedding for Billi’s cousin (Han Chen) is arranged instead.

The Farewell is a beautiful film. Touching and emotional, it manages to be funny and tender at the same time – and also very insightful about life, death and family.

The film poster showing the entire family grouped around Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao).
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Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

Jumanji: The Next Level
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Jake Kasdan, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg
Sequel to: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Awkwafina, Nick Jonas, Alex Wolff, Ser’Darius Blain, Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, Danny DeVito, Danny Glover, Rhys Darby, Colin Hanks, Rory McCann
Seen on: 13.12.2019

Plot:
It’s been a year since Spencer (Alex Wolff), Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Bethany (Madison Iseman) returned from Jumanji. They finished high school and each set out on their own life. But now the holidays are coming up and they can’t wait to meet again. Only Spencer isn’t actually happy with his life and when his grandfather Eddie (Danny DeVito) tells him that now is the best time of his life, Spencer decides that he’d rather be Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson) again. When his friends, his grandfather and his grandfather’s friend Milo (Danny Glover) all come looking for him, they all end up in the game – and things are different than before. Very different.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, so I was a little worried that Jumanji: The Next Level would turn out to be the film I feared JWttJ would be. But I’m happy to report that it was a whole lot of fun again.

The film poster showing Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Oberon (Jack Black), Mouse (Kevin Hart) and Ruby (Karen Gillan) standing with a black  horse at their backs
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Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Crazy Rich Asians
Director: Jon M. Chu
Writer: Peter Chiarelli, Adele Lim
Based on: Kevin Kwan‘s novel
Cast: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Harry Shum Jr., Ken Jeong, Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Jimmy O. Yang, Ronny Chieng, Remy Hii, Nico Santos
Seen on: 19.8.2018

Plot:
Rachel (Constance Wu) has been dating Nick (Henry Golding) for a while now and they are really happy. While Rachel is from New York, where they’re both living, Nick is from Singapore – and he has been invited to his best friend’s wedding there. It’s the perfect opportunity to introduce Rachel to his family. Only Nick failed to mention to Rachel that his family is so rich, he is basically considered Asia’s most eligible bachelor. This just adds to Rachel’s generel nervousness about meeting his family and leaving a good impression. Given that she is an outsider among the rich elite, her worries are absolutely justified.

Crazy Rich Asians is the perfect summer RomCom. It has a great cast, charming characters and a sense of humor that make it the perfect light summer fare.

The film poster showing Henry Golding and Constance Wu.
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Ocean’s Eight (2018)

Ocean’s Eight
Director: Gary Ross
Writer: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch
Spin-off from: Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Sarah Paulson, Dakota Fanning, Elliott Gould, Richard Armitage, James Corden
Seen on: 2.7.2018

Plot:
Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) was just released from prison and has already plans for a new, daring heist at the Met Gala. She just needs to convince her friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) to go along with it and then they can assemble a team to pull it off. And Debby already knows the women they need to do it.

Ocean’s Eight may not be the film of the century, but it never set out to be. What it is, is a perfectly entertaining heist film with a great cast that is a wonderful addition to the Ocean films that have come before it. I hope there will be a sequel or five.

Film poster showing the eight main women in front of a red background.
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