Tag Archives: Gemma Chan

Eavesdropping at the Movies: 399 – The Creator

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We heartily disagree on The Creator, a sci-fi film directed and co-written by Gareth Edwards, who made his name with Monsters in 2010, which he made largely by himself for half a million dollars, and quickly graduated to tentpole cinema with Godzilla and Rogue One. José had a wonderful time, finding it marvellous to look at and emotionally effective, though leaving room to criticise cinema’s continued insistence that John David Washington is a star. Mike finds it dull, brim-full of clichés, and even a little ugly at times, although Edwards’ sense of how to convey scale, already shown off in his monster movies, remains intact here.

Also featured: ChatGPT and how AI will kill us all.

With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

Eavesdropping at the Movies – 92 – Crazy Rich Asians

An utterly charming, friendly rom-com set in and amongst the very wealthiest of the Singaporean elite, Crazy Rich Asians is also full of odd tensions and problematic complexities. In one sense a highly specifically Chinese story of a second-generation American immigrant’s return to Asia and the conflict she experiences in negotiating her way into a world that finds her somewhat unwelcome; on the other a genre comedy that would feel no different were the characters all white. It’s a friction that bubbles under everything, but the film is so light and likeable that it never spoils anything.

We find Michelle Yeoh’s performance as the intimidating mother-in-law a delight, her character completely avoiding the one-dimensional dragon mom stereotype. On the other hand, there are stereotypes in which the film does indulge, though we disagree on how critical we should be of that. Thinking back to Searching, Mike feels that that film’s joy of seeing ethnicity have no bearing at all on anything is not replicated here, as the film’s insistence on themes of separation from one’s background and identity come into conflict with its desire to be no different from any generic white rom-com. Jose doesn’t find this an issue, instead sinking into the diasporic aura of the film. We discuss the film’s occasional TV movie feel, its use of music, its depiction of class through accents, and the way the opening sets up a much darker, more subversive film than we get.

And above all, it’s really, really funny.

Recorded on 16th September 2018