THE BAD GUYS – Review by Leslie Combemale

If you take Oceans Eleven and add the sensibilities and style of DreamWorks Animation, you’ll get the new animated feature The Bad Guys. It’s a fun conceit, especially when some of the best comedians and actors in the business are supplying voices for the lead characters. While the amusing concept and the embarrassment of thespian riches does add up to entertaining viewing and a worthy way to spend your movie money, the plot might strike some as one-dimensional, and it does feel like there should be more sparks flying given the impressive cast.

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THE BAD GUYS – Review by Martha K Baker

The plot is tricky and convoluted, and big chunks make no sense. “The Bad Guys” is based on the Scholastic series by Aaron Blabey from a screenplay by Etan Cohen, known for Men in Black 3. The script plays off caper movies, but it does not always play well. Directed by Pierre Perifel, known for Kung Fu Panda 2, it’s too long and loud, including the music, and holds little novelty, but it does offer lessons in distinguishing trust from distrust. But, for all its noise, it has its heart in the right place.

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SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS – Review by Susan Granger

This addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the origin story of Shang-Chi , the slacker son of an immortal crime lord who has seemingly rejected his father’s empire. Instead, along with his best friend Katy, he’s a parking valet at aSan Francisco hotel, using the Americanized name of Shaun. Then – one evening, on his way home – he’s accosted by thugs who attempt to steal a pendant from around his neck. Big mistake!

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SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Although the movie rightly stays focused on Shang-Chi’s journey, he gets plenty of much-needed help from the capable, caring and powerful women in his life. As expected, Awkwafina’s Katy is funny, but she’s more than just comic relief. She’s relatable, loyal and resourceful, with a penchant for joy-riding that comes in handy.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander women in the lead – Brandy McDonnel reports

Despite promising signs of improved representation, the movie business clearly has plenty of work to do on behalf of Asians, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. With the exception of blockbusters starring Dwayne Johnson, a new study found that Hollywood’s most popular movies have rarely featured Asians or Pacific Islanders in leading roles.

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RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON – Review by Leslie Combemale

Raya and the Last Dragon is definitely a fun, exciting animated feature, with most entertainment found in the vocal interpretations and endlessly gorgeous visuals, that bring the film to a compelling level, and raise the plot, which, though it offers exciting action, a fresh perspective, and Disney’s first Southeast Asian princess, ultimately fits the ‘Disney Magic’ formula‘ and business as usual.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Awkwafina and Karen Gillan Reunite for SHELLY – Brandy McDonnell reports

Jumanji: The Next Level co-stars Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) and Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy) are set to reunite for the action-comedy Shelly, described as a high concept film that combines high school nostalgia, comedy and action, with a tone that is a mix of Mean Girls and Barry.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: AMPAS ’20 Invitees are 45% Women – Brandy McDonnell reports

The 2020 class of invited Academy members is 45% women, and includes Zazie Beetz, Awkwafina and Olivia Wilde. among others. Additionally, 36% if the invitees are from underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 49% are international artists and industry executives from 68 countries.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Awkwafina Gambles on fact-based BACCARAT MACHINE – Brandy McDonnell reports

Awkwafina is set to star in SK Global’s upcoming The Baccarat Machine (working title), a feature inspired by the true story of the most successful female gambler in modern history, Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun, who teamed with living legend poker player Phil Ivey to beat the system.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 1, 2019: PARADISE HILLS

Alice Waddington’s lush, imaginative directorial debut builds such a convincing dystopian world that you’d be forgiven for assuming it must be based on some intricate, “Hunger Games”-like series of YA novels. But Brian DeLeeuw and Nacho Vigalondo’s tale of privileged young women at a very unusual “finishing school” called Paradise Hills is a true original.

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