Views, news, and reviews of films, from the latest releases to classic oldies.

Simu Liu is ‘changing the world’ as Marvel's first Asian superhero
This hotel room in West Hollywood, dimly lit with the curtains drawn, shows no signs of film-star excess. No half-full bottles of flat champagne, no overflowing ashtrays. No powder-flecked mirrors on the countertops. No cracks in the plasma television.  Just some fresh clothes folded neatly over a chair and, on the table in front of us, a Nintendo Switch and a big bag of sour candies. And anyway, its occupant isn’t exactly a film star. At least not yet. Thirty-year-old Simu Liu clears off a spot on the couch and apologizes for the mess.  This room – what a TripAdvisor review might deem “perfectly adequate” – has been his home for the past few months. The only clues Liu has spent that time in
Simu Liu is ‘changing the world’ as Marvel's first Asian superhero
Michelle Yeoh hopes Crazy Rich Asians isn’t a one-hit wonder
Things are changing fast in Hollywood for Asian actors, and it’s about time, says Michelle Yeoh. The Malaysian-born actress, who made her name as a Hong Kong action heroine in the mid-1980s, stepped back into the international spotlight with her performance in Crazy Rich Asians, the hit romantic movie she credits for Asian performers’ increased opportunities in American film and television. “It’s been a long time coming, so let’s not make it a one-hit wonder,” Yeoh says in New York ahead of the release of her latest film, Last Christmas, a light romance inspired by the Wham! hit of the same name. “There have been changes in Hollywood, and you can definitely see more Asian faces on the screen
Michelle Yeoh hopes Crazy Rich Asians isn’t a one-hit wonder
Blade Runner and beyond: Hong Kong is the city of cyberpunk
Nearly 40 years ago, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner hit the silver screen and changed cinema forever. The 1982 film imagined November 2019 as a dark, gritty, dystopian world dominated by inequality and technology, as it introduced a new generation of fans to cyberpunk culture. Bridging the science fiction and neo-noir genres, its cultural impact continued to resonate in films ranging from The Dark Knight series to Ghost in the Shell. And while the Blade Runner story was supposed to be located in Los Angeles, the cult film drew massive influence from 1970s and 80s Hong Kong, referencing its distinctive streets and urban panoramas in nearly every scene. We take a look at Hong Kong's enduring leg
Blade Runner and beyond: Hong Kong is the city of cyberpunk
Billionaire owner of ‘American Factory’ defends his anti-union stance
The Chinese billionaire featured in the Netflix documentary American Factory has defended his country’s labor practices by criticizing unions, saying they hurt efficiency.  In China, American Factory prompted a wave of soul-searching about the human costs of the country’s economic success and the rise of super-rich entrepreneurs such as Cao Dewang, who owns factories at home and abroad.   The film, backed by Barack and Michelle Obama, documents what happens at two factories owned by Cao – one in Dayton, Ohio and the other in Fujian, southeastern China. Cao is a main character of the documentary, in which he comes across as a pragmatic Chinese businessman bringing jobs to America’s Rust Belt.
Billionaire owner of ‘American Factory’ defends his anti-union stance
‘American Factory’: What Chinese see when they watch China go to Ohio
For American audiences, the Netflix documentary American Factory reveals the life of US workers on Chinese-owned production lines.  But for Chinese audiences, the film serves as a reminder of the human costs behind China’s rise as a manufacturing superpower.  The film, backed by Barack and Michelle Obama’s new production company, documents how Chinese auto-glass company Fuyao built a factory near Dayton, Ohio, where thousands of workers were laid off when General Motors closed its plant in the Rust Belt a decade ago.  Fuyao brought not only new jobs to Ohio, but also the high expectations and harsh management that are customary in factories across China. It most notably spent more than $1 m
‘American Factory’: What Chinese see when they watch China go to Ohio
Some Chinese think Shang-Chi isn’t hot enough (for them anyway)
When Marvel cast Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, the studio’s first Asian superhero, the Chinese internet reacted with a collective gasp.  The casting of the muscular Chinese-Canadian heartthrob, known for his role in the sitcom Kim’s Convenience, may be celebrated in the West, but for some Chinese, he just doesn’t look the part. “He looks like how Westerners think us Asians all look,” said one commentator on China’s Twitter-like Weibo. The message is the second-most liked response to a report about Marvel’s casting decision on July 20. “Single eyelid, small eyes, square face, check, check, and check,” said another popular post.  Many say they prefer someone along the lines of Eddie Peng, a Canadian
Some Chinese think Shang-Chi isn’t hot enough (for them anyway)
Marvel’s Shang-Chi casting ignites racism debate in China
Marvel’s casting of Tony Leung, a beloved Hong Kong star, in the upcoming Shang-Chi film has stirred up an intense online debate in China about racism.  Veteran actor Leung, 57, will play the Mandarin, the villain of the film. Idolized in China, many Chinese fans have questioned Leung’s decision to take this role. The casting was announced by Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, at Comic-Con in San Diego. Some Chinese internet users believe the Mandarin is a similar character to the evil Dr Fu Manchu, a fictional character widely considered racist. Fu was first created by British author Sax Rohmer in 1912. In the Marvel comics, Shang-Chi is the son of Fu Manchu, who was not announced a
Marvel’s Shang-Chi casting ignites racism debate in China
The truth about Keanu Reeves and his Asian roots
There’s a photo that’s been skidding around the internet. It shows Keanu Reeves, whose career has been reignited by the success of the John Wick franchise and his brilliantly self-deprecating turn in the Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe, sitting on a couch with a smiling, bespectacled older East Asian woman in a flowered print top.  In truth, the picture itself isn’t particularly notable.  It’s actually the image’s whimsically spelled caption that has made the meme go viral: “Keanu Reeve’s grandma is Chinese Haiwaiian.” That Reeves has Asian Pacific Islander heritage isn’t exactly new information.  From his earliest initiation into Hollywood, Reeves has always been referred to as the “son
The truth about Keanu Reeves and his Asian roots
Disney got Mulan’s house wrong, say Chinese fans
Chinese fans are questioning the authenticity of Disney’s depiction of the iconic heroine Mulan, after viewing a new trailer for the highly anticipated live-action film. In the trailer, the titular character is seen riding her horse across emerald-green rice paddies and arriving at home – a distinctive donut-shaped structure with mud walls, tiled roofs and a bustling courtyard shared with neighbors. This scene has Chinese fans scratching their heads. The real Mulan, if she lived at all, could not have lived in such a house. “This is American-style ancient China,” said one internet user on the Twitter-like Weibo.  The unique, instantly identifiable home seen in the trailer is called a tulou,
Disney got Mulan’s house wrong, say Chinese fans
Spirited Away is released in China at last, and it gives moviegoers the feels
Rather than wait for the weekend, Shanghai data analyst Wang ­Guyue decided to take a day off from work to go to the movies. The 35-year-old chose a time when her son would be at school because she wanted to enjoy the movie quietly by herself. As she settled in to watch the film she first saw 18 years ago on a pirated DVD, Wang noticed all the other people in the cinema were adults like her.  They were all there to see Spirited Away, a Japanese animated film produced in 2001 but only ­officially released in mainland China last month. Until now, the Oscar-winning movie has only been available illegally, but the film and others from Studio ­Ghibli, the production house ­co-founded by filmmaker
Spirited Away is released in China at last, and it gives moviegoers the feels