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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Captain Marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel
Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Geneva Robertson-Dworet
Based on: Roy Thomas and Gene Colan‘s character
Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg, Stan Lee, Don Cheadle, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 11.3.2019
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Plot:
Vers (Brie Larson) is one of the warriors on the Kree planet Hala, led by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law). They are fighting against the Skrulls. Vers is a skilled fighter, but she struggles with keeping her emotions in check and she also lost her memories, some of which may or may not be haunting her in her dreams. After yet another skirmish with the Skrull, Vers crashlands on Earth where she draws the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D., in particular Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Together they try to find out about Vers’ past, but also to find a way to fight the Skrulls that keep coming.

I am very content with Captain Marvel. It may not be the best of the Marvel movies but it is very good and a Marvel film with a woman at the center (and a woman directing) was more than overdue anyway. More of this please.

The film poster showing Vers/Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) in her Captain Marvel outfit, energy flowing through her.
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Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

Mary Queen of Scots
Director: Josie Rourke
Writer: Beau Willimon
Based on: John Guy‘s book Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Simon Russell Beale, Guy Pearce, Adrian Lester, Gemma Chan, David Tennant, Martin Compston, Ismael Cruz Cordova, Brendan Coyle, Ian Hart, James McArdle
Seen on: 30.1.2019
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Plot:
Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) just returned to Scotland from France, making her even more of a threat to her cousin Queen Elizabeth I’s (Margot Robbie) reign. Protestant Elizabeth fears the younger, Catholic Mary, and hopes to strengthen her own hold on the crown by marrying Mary off to a Protestant Englishman. Politically, the right man for the job would be Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn), but Elizabeth is hesitant because she is in love with Dudley herself. And Mary’s heart is also set on somebody else.

Mary Queen of Scot was so… long. I just couldn’t get excited about a film that drags and drags, despite some really excellent points it makes and despite wonderful performances. But dammit, it was boring.

The film poster showing Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) and Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) both dressed in similar dresses in the exact same shade of gold.
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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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Exam (2009)

Exam is the first movie by Stuart Hazeldine, starring Adar Beck, Gemma Chan, Nathalie Cox, John Lloyd Fillingham, Chukwudi Iwuji, Luke Mably, Pollyanna McIntosh and Jimi Mistry.

Plot:
Eight candidates for a job come together to take one final exam before they are chosen (or not) for the new job. The rules for the exam are read: They have 80 minutes to answer a single question. But when they turn their sheets over, they’re empty. Unsure and with a rising sense of panic, they try to figure out what’s going on.

Exam tries not to fall into the usual pifalls of the “a group of strangers are locked into a room together with an unclear objective” genre and mostly, it succeeds, though it tries a little too hard. Unfortunately towards the end it gets a little derailed by a convoluted plot.

[SPOILERS]

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