By Original-Cin Staff
After her breakout turns in Oceans Eight and Crazy Rich Asians, rapper/actress Nora Lum, a.k.a. Awkwafina, gets a starring role in The Farewell, filmmaker Lulu Wang’s autobiographically inspired tale of a Chinese family’s peculiar family reunion. Karen Gordon says the film (Rating: B+) is a “gentle little gem” rooted in the eccentricities of family life and Akwafina “holds the centre with a gentle grace.”
Disney continues raiding its vaults for ideas, with this CGI “live action” remake of The Lion King, the 1994 children’s animated classic that wore out so many VHS and DVD players in the nineties. The new version of The Lion King (Rating: C) reprises the story of the orphan lion, Simba, and how he reclaims his throne from his evil uncle Scar with a voice cast including James Earl Jones, Donald Glover, Beyoncé, John Oliver, Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen. But in spite of the name cast and photo-realistic style, says our reviewer, Karen Gordon, LK-CGI lacks the vital, goofy fun of the original, and those realistic-looking lion fights are disturbing. Still, fans might want to check out Bonnie Laufer’s interview with cast member Billy Eichner, who plays the new Timon.
On the subject of violence, The Art of Self-Defense (Rating: C+) is a dark indie comedy starring Jesse Eisenberg as a mild-mannered accountant who, after a vicious beating, decides to take karate lessons with an enigmatic sensei (Alessandro Nivola). Liam Lacey calls the film a “quirk-and-smirk” exercise that puts up a scrappy fight for its first half before settling into an unconvincing paranoid thriller.
If you’re confused why there’s a global housing crisis while developers around the world keep throwing up underpopulated condos, make it a point to see the documentary Push (Rating: B+) which follows the Canadian UN lawyer and housing activist Leilani Farha as she travels the world, making the case for shelter as a basic human right, not just another commodity.
No podcast this week but we’ll be back Thursday to talk about that damned Cats trailer and other matters. Have a great weekend.