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Crazy Rich Asians Reintroduces a Revolutionary Leading Lady

It’s been a long way back for Michelle Yeoh. The Malaysian Chinese action star who gained renown for her stunt work on a string of popular Hong Kong action films in the 1980s entered a new pantheon when she played the main love interest in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 1997. It was a movie where people glided through the landscapes of China and spun proverbs. It was as if David Lean directed The Matrix, but instead of a frumpy, aged man and heavy CGI, it was the work of an unknown director named Ang Lee and the female leads that carried the film. But it was Michelle Yeoh’s performance, filled with manic restlessness and fierce action work, that redefined what an Asian actress could accomplish on the silver screen.

Courtesy of A24

The Best, Worst and Most Surprising Movies of the Summer

1) What was the best movie you saw this summer? Lev Akabas: My second viewing of Avengers: Infinity War. Seriously, that movie is still the topic of a good chunk of my film-related conversations nearly three months after its release, and there’s rarely a dull moment in it, even on the rewatch. If I had to pick a favorite from the summer, though, it would be Bo Burnham’s wholesome Eighth Grade, which manages to depict how Generation Z adolescents hide behind their social media personalities without portraying its subjects judgmentally. Ashley Davila: While marketing for many action movies uses the term “epic” to describe every stunt and globe trotting adventure, few movies are deserving of the descriptor.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Mission: Impossible — Fallout Wrapup

I’ve often made what I now consider the mistake of lumping the Mission: Impossible movies in with franchises like Fast & Furious and Transformers — what I might call “guilty pleasures,” though the last couple Transformers haven’t even been pleasures — but that’s not a fair evaluation. I don’t feel guilty at all about loving Mission: Impossible — Fallout. It’s more John Wick than Skyscraper, which is to say it combines its breathtaking action sequences with, let’s say, consistently acceptable and somewhat believable storylines. Yes, MI6 has some issues, but an outstanding cast, iconic score and solid directing from Christopher McQuarrie turn what would have been a just a good stunt movie into a truly gripping action thriller. Fallout is absolutely worth seeing, if only to try and catch a glimpse of Tom Cruise’s humanity in that shot where he broke his ankle.

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TEST SPIN | ASTROWORLD

“The biggest knock against Travis [Scott] early in his career (and today) was his tendency to be an expert cipher, but rarely innovator. Besides his help behind the boards on 2013’s landmark Yeezus, Scott seldom introduced music that didn’t sound indebted to his own influences,” writes Charles Holmes in a recent Rolling Stone article preceding the release of ASTROWORLD. Reading this, as a Scott fan, initially irked me. However, as I kept reading, I realized Holmes was entirely correct in his analysis of Scott’s career. Scott undoubtedly has the best live performance currently in music.

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Ant-Man and the Wasp Aims Small but Hits Big

In superhero movies, saving the world has become the equivalent of drinking cough syrup: excruciating, repetitive, ultimately necessary and, dare I say, boring? On one hand, there is no better way to raise stakes or unify disparate groups of people; when the fate of the world is at risk, even major ideological differences can be pushed aside for the sake of ensuring survival. But if this trope is repeated too many times, that sense of urgency can quickly give way to leisure. When the stakes are repeatedly raised, the risks feel disingenuine and deceitful, because the on-screen peace and/or carnage we know will ultimately be reversed in the future. Peyton Reed was surely aware this fatigue as he directed the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s third film of 2018, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Bites Off More Than It Can Chew

To appropriate Ian Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum) famous line from 1993’s Jurassic Park, Universal Studios’ executives were so preoccupied with whether or not they could make a sequel series to Steven Spielberg’s hit dino film that they never stopped to think about whether they should have. Yet in Hollywood, when there are more explanations for why a film bombs at the box office than why it exists in the first place, even a sacred fossil like the Jurassic Park franchise is not allowed a graceful passing. In 2015, the nostalgic yet predictable Jurassic World was released, and roaring into screens three years later is Fallen Kingdom. Thanks to director J.A. Bayona’s chilling oversight (if there was ever to be a horror movie with dinos to be made, this would be the one) and a fresh setting to ground the monstrous conflict (the saga has finally moved on from malfunctioning theme parks and their clueless supervisors), this sequel is a marked improvement over its predecessor. However, like its featured hybrid dinosaur the Indoraptor, Fallen Kingdom’s 128 minute runtime is unevenly split amongst the goals it sets out to achieve, and its attempts at complexity and multi-layering come off as convoluted.

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GUEST ROOM | The Most Beautiful Thoughts are Always Besides the Darkest

Where should we, as listeners, mainstream media consumers and socially minded citizens, stand on Kanye West? It is a question that, in today’s world, flickers in our minds about as often as “what’s for dinner tonight?.”

With every concert hall rant, tweet and piece of Kardashian-related gossip, that spotlight has only grown brighter. Often, his career as an artist is only examined superficially, as if it is second to his worldwide image as an erratic pop star. This summer, following his support for Trump on twitter and preposterous statement that 400 years of slavery “sounds like a choice,” Kanye released his G.O.O.D. Music series consisting of five albums.

So where do these five albums fall on the stage of Kardashian gossip, tweets and rant? Is it fair to evaluate Kanye’s music without the context of his personality and erratic behavior?

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TEST SPIN | Drake – Scorpion

Scorpion, Drake’s 5th studio album and 9th overall project, comes at a crucial time in his career. With three studio albums that core fans live and die by, his 4th album, Views, made an attempt to capture his ever-ballooning fanbase — balancing pop hits, club bangers, crooning ballads and a handful of regular raps. The project was widely viewed as his worst album by critics while simultaneously becoming his highest selling album accumulating 4.14 million sales in 2016 and cementing him as the biggest artist in the world. The music world waited in suspense for Scorpion, pondering what he would do: would it be an album for the core fans? Would it be a pop album?

Sun Staff Takeaways from Gov Ball 2018

RANDALL’S ISLAND PARK, NY — Five minutes before Pusha T appeared on stage at the eighth annual Governors Ball on Randall’s Island, a teenager no older than 17 turned to me and remarked matter-of-factly, “This guy wasn’t relevant until a week ago.”

As someone who grew up first on the sounds of Clipse and the Neptunes and later on Kanye West’s GOOD Music collective, the idea that the Daytona rapper was ever “irrelevant” just didn’t make sense to me. Under-recognized or underrated? Perhaps, but Push has been one of the most important rappers in the industry for the past two decades, even if his bars about drug dealing never stormed the charts. And yet, just one week into relevancy, Pusha T’s mere presence was enough to inspire thousands of concertgoers to break out into several spontaneous “Fuck Drake” chants before and throughout the set. In just one week, he had gone from being your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper to slayer of the decade’s most dominant man in music, the “Hotline Bling” king Aubrey Drake Graham.

Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios

It’s Incredible Too

The Incredibles came out on November 5, 2004 — I was six. Since that date I have started and finished elementary, middle and high school and gone away to college. Last Thursday, though, I, in a theater full of adults, was six again with just one big, red letter “i.” I was Ego finally tasting Ratatouille’s titular dish. Every layer of maturity I thought would float me above the draw of a 14-year-old animated movie’s sequel was shattered the instant that iconic “da da DA da daaaah” filled the theater. I was nostalgically excited when Star Wars came back, but that excitement’s become the cause of fatigue.