Obie Shrestha

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Big, fat Asian wedding

In preparing to watch Jon M Chu’s new Crazy Rich Asians—presently enjoying enormous hype as the first big Hollywood production to come out in a long, long time that features an all-Asian cast, and is directed by an Asian-American to boot—I decided to go straight to the source material, namely, the bestselling book of the same name by Kevin Kwan, on which the screenplay is based.

Lone wolves

It’s 20,000 years ago, in what is present-day Europe. A group of men are setting off on their annual hunt for the Great Beast, namely a herd of bison, whose meat and hides will sustain the tribe for the remainder of the year. Although he’s been at this for a while now, this is a special outing for the chief, Tau (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson), because it’s the first time his young son Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) will be hunting by his side.

An illusion of harmony

Coming from a writer-director whose previous credits had been limited to middling action/romcom fare—including the ineffective Shah Rukh Khan-as-superhero flick Ra.One from 2011—the new drama Mulk is a pleasant surprise, bearing little similarity to Anubhav Sinha’s earlier efforts. Mulk is a moving, timely examination of the dogged persistence of prejudice against Muslims in India.

Mission implausible

Even before we get to the opening credits in the new Mission Impossible: Fallout, we’ve already been briefed on two global terrorist groups with such wonderfully ominous names as “the Apostles” and “the Syndicate”; witnessed a loopy interrogation scene featuring Wolf Blitzer; and our secret superagent hero Ethan Hunt (played by that chugger from the fountain of middle-age known as Tom Cruise) has already chosen to accept his latest mission, involving the retrieval of a substantial quantity of plutonium lest the abovementioned baddies decide to use it to, you know, nuke the world or whatever.

Rot in the family tree

Annie Graham (Toni Collette) has just lost her mother, but isn’t sure if her response to the passing has been entirely appropriate: Is she sad enough? You see, Ellen had been a very difficult and secretive person while alive, as Annie reveals to her fellow mourners at the funeral (many of whom she admits, with a touch of suspicion, to never having seen before), with “private rituals, private friends, private anxieties,” and mother and daughter had clearly not been close for a long time, if ever at all.

A bug’s life

The new Ant-Man and the Wasp is in much the same humble, low-key mould as its predecessor—this is a superhero who’s not worrying about the fate of the universe for once, and who’s happy to just crack a few jokes, fight off a few baddies

According to Sanju

Based on the decidedly unconventional life and times of one of Bollywood’s most controversy-ridden stars in the form of Sanjay Dutt, and starring one of the most exciting, chameleonic young actors working in Indian cinema today in the form of Ranbir Kapoor, it looked to be a very promising combination indeed.

No-boys club

When we first meet her, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister to the deceased Danny Ocean—that old suave charmer of a crook played by George Clooney whom you’ll no doubt remember from previous films in the Ocean’s series—is just wrapping up a five-year stint in the slammer for art fraud.

Underdog days

It’s 20 years from the present day, and an epidemic of “snout fever” has hit almost all local dogs in the Japanese city of Megasaki, a disease now threatening to spill out onto the human population.

Pre-wedding blues

Walking out of Shashanka Ghosh’s new Veere Di Wedding, you might have the feeling of having just sat through one over-long, over-stretched commercial. I’m not even talking about the product placements that pop up with such ridiculous regularity throughout the film—some so blatant as to make you laugh out loud (watch out for those bhujiya plugs!).

Fifty shades of meta

In reconnecting with the Merc with a Mouth, aka Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) two years after we’d first been introduced to the character, we find him more or less settled into the crime-fighting life—chopping off the heads (and assorted limbs) of evildoing mob bosses and ring-leaders by day, romancing fiancée Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) by night. In fact, things are going so great that he and Vanessa have decided to go ahead and start a family together.

Spy vs reality

With an intriguing premise about a Kashmiri girl who marries into an influential military family in Pakistan with the objective of gathering vital intelligence on happenings in that country for the benefit of the Indian government, and starring two of Hindi cinema’s most talented young actors in the form of Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal, the new Raazi appears plenty promising at first glance.

For love of the game

I’ll confess, going into the new Damaruko Dandibiyo, directorial debut of one Chhetan Gurung, I knew very little about dandibiyo except that it had long been the country’s national sport—a fact drummed into our brains by those ubiquitous GK books at school—until being replaced by volleyball a year ago. By the end of the film, however, I’m happy to report that I not only came away with a fair bit of understanding about what the game entails, but actually found it quite interesting—which, for someone as hopeless at anything outdoorsy as yours truly, is a feat and a half.

At world’s end

Some time into the new Avengers: Infinity War, we switch to a location in deep space, where Marvel Cinematic Universe’s resident surgeon-turned-wizard, Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is being held hostage by one of the villain’s minions, at risk of being acupunctured to death by a cloud of sharp daggery objects. Only thing is, I’d completely forgotten about that particular subplot until just then.

As he lay dying

It’s March 1953, and Radio Moscow is in the process of airing a live Mozart recital by pianist Maria Yudina (Olga Kurylenko) and an accompanying orchestra. Towards the end of the concert, however, the station in-charge (Paddy Considine) gets a phone call: It’s from the one and only Joseph Stalin and he wants a recording of the performance sent to him, pronto, with a dreaded “or else” implicit in the request.

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