What to Watch? Reviews of New Shows and Films, August 2018

So many shows and movies, so little time to watch. To make deciding easier, we’ve collated reviews for the most talked about new films, shows and content. Choose wisely and spend your weekend right!

Crazy Rich Asians

“It’s no secret that there’s a lot riding on this movie, which seems to have anticipated the call for wider representation in Hollywood, but comes with the added pressure that one bomb is all it takes for skittish development executives to nix future projects featuring nearly all-Asian casts. Don’t worry: “Crazy Rich Asians” won’t bomb, and while it won’t beat “Black Panther” either, the film is every bit as exciting in the way it takes an ethnic group that is seldom given more than one or two supporting roles per movie and populates an entire blockbuster with memorable, multidimensional Asian characters.” – Peter Debruge, Variety

“Of course, because of Hollywood’s shoddy history with Asian actors, the movie’s mere existence is being heralded as a breakthrough. After stereotypes, best-friend roles and white actors playing lead Asian characters, seeing a major U.S. studio throw its resources behind a film with a virtually all-Asian cast brings with it an added dimension of trailblazing scrutiny.

That’s a lot of baggage, but like almost everything else in this meticulously appointed film, “Crazy Rich Asians” wears it well. And while those who know a bit about Chinese culture will recognize that the review embargo corresponds with an auspicious date, by crafting such a broadly appealing movie, the filmmakers have seemingly made their own luck.” – Brian Lowry, CNN

 

The Meg

“The Meg is a big, dumb shark movie that takes itself a little too seriously, and that’s the point. Jason Statham is perfect for the material, the shark attacks are entertainingly broad, and the supporting cast brings personality to the otherwise straightforward script. Maybe it could have been even bigger and dumber, in a good way, but then again, maybe a 90-foot shark is big enough.” – William Bibbiani, IGN

“If the shark-versus-Statham bout doesn’t tickle you, the shark-versus-Pekinese sidebar might. Not quite killer, but it’s rare to see a 21st-century blockbuster having this much fun – right through to its sign-off – with its premise.” – Mike McCahill, The Guardian

 

The Spy Who Dumped Me

“McKinnon is never not engaged, but this is more a film of scattered laughs than sustained set-pieces: a handful of jokes, like an exchange about the fetal position, are so weak it’s inexplicable they made the final cut.

Still, beneath the film’s pop feminism bubbles an anger that might potentially have more than one target – and which leaves you wondering what this genre will look like in another couple of years.” – Jake Wilson, The Sydney Morning Herald

“This is a movie about women, by women, for women (though that doesn’t preclude anyone else from enjoying it — everybody has a best friend, even if it is an inanimate object, and the film has some killer action sequences). It doesn’t punish its female characters for behavior that might be considered “girly” or stereotypical; rather, it embraces and celebrates them.” – Karen Han, Slashfilm

 

Insatiable

“The biggest problem with this show is not that it’s crazy or offensive. It certainly is obnoxious in its treatment of all kinds of people — on top of the insulting fat-suit stuff, it contains other tropes and types best avoided: an awkward and unsexy Asian-American boy, a magical sassy godmother who is fat and black and a lesbian who exists only to educate thin white girls on how to live their best lives, and so forth.

But it’s so much more than that. Story elements are introduced and then abandoned. Jokes fall flat, flatter, flattest. Patty swerves without reason or nuance from eye-narrowing, vengeance-swearing vixen to lip-quivering, damp-eyed waif. A character who loves someone in one scene will hate them in the next. Characters who have been kind will be cruel and vice versa, without any explanation or motive.” – Linda Holmes, NPR

 

“I just felt sad. Sad that I’d sat through 12 episodes of the new Netflix drama, waiting for some moment of triumph that would supposedly redeem all the problematic and fatphobic messages that had come before. Sad that what I was being given instead was a weak throwaway line and a lazy visual metaphor that undid none of that damage, and rather reinforced the same tired old jokes about fat people’s toxic relationship to food. Sad that it’s 2018 and fat people are still treated as less than human, as something monstrous, as the villains in our own stories.” – Jenna Guillaume, BuzzFeed

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