All posts filed under: Reviews

Comics Review: Ms. Marvel

Kamala Khan IS Ms. Marvel

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Book Review: Everything I Never Told You

Celeste Ng’s first novel, Everything I Never Told You, opens with the death of Lydia Lee. Her surviving family, who collectively idolized sixteen-year-old Lydia, struggle to make sense of her death in a collection of flashbacks and subsequent narratives. The story draws a sharp line in the sand – before death, and after. The divide works well as a temporal device, keeping the reader oriented, but it works thematically as well, examining the faulty structures of the Lee family as it comes crashing down around them. Despite the dark subject matter, Ng’s prose is light, engaging, encouraging the reader to read on – Ng is the type of author to bring along to the beach and effortlessly lose yourself in for a few hours. The novel is a page-turner, but not in the traditional sense. This is no whodunit mystery. Rather, Lydia’s death is contextualized in the history of the family’s complex relationships. Before marriage, James Lee was a young, Chinese American professor desperate to fit in, his wife-to-be a Caucasian woman eager to stand out as a woman in the male-dominated medical profession. Like so …

TV Review: The Mindy Project (season 3 finale)

At the end of season 3 of The Mindy Project, Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) and Danny Costellano (Chris Messina) are expecting their first child (who saw THAT coming in season 1?). In the season 3 finale episode, when Danny fails to make it to a going away party for Mindy’s parents, Mindy reveals that she has not, in fact, informed her parents of Danny’s existence. The finale feels like a gleeful middle finger to Kaling’s critics. The episode includes a hilarious reunion of all the white men Mindy has seriously dated (“the Manhattan meat train”), and while the episode is centered around Lahiri’s family (and even includes scenes of Lahiri in a stunning sari), it never actually depicts her Indian American parents onscreen. I don’t want to give away the ending, as it’s one of the best I’ve seen in a sitcom finale, but it certainly takes The Mindy Project farther than it’s ever been before. The criticism directed towards the show (largely based on the fact that Lahiri apparently dates only white men) has bothered me for a while, for many reasons. Mostly, however, …

CAAMFEST Film Review: Cicada

This review originally appeared on AsAmNews  In Japan, the raucous sound of the cicada is synonymous with summer, when leaves take on the dusty green of full maturity and insects molt into adults, leaving empty shells behind. Cicada, directed by Dean Yamada and written by Yu Shibuya, captures that feeling of summer, when we shed another layer of our former selves and take on a more mature form. Our transition is led by Jumpei Taneda (Yugo Saso), who discovers that he is infertile during a pre-marital medical checkup and must figure out a way to tell the woman he wants to marry. Paralleled with Jumpei’s struggles are those of his sister Nanaka (Hiroko Wada), who desperately wants to protect her son Ryota (Houten Saito) from the bully in school. However, only Jumpei has the uncanny ability to find what Ryota really wants: cicada shells.  Cicada uses the discarded insect exoskeleton to propose a metamorphosis for the adult who has forgotten he was also once a child. From the beginning, children are central to the film – …

TV Review: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

If House of Cards is boring you this season (is that just me?), don’t give up on binge watching Netflix just yet. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, follows the transition of Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), who moves to New York City after her rescue from the bunker in Indiana where she has been held captive for fifteen years in a cult by a deranged apocalyptic minister. Arriving in New York City with no job, no money, and no friends, Kimmy decides to stay and finds herself a sketchy pad with roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) and a shaky job working for trophy wife Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski). Oh but don’t worry – this is a comedy.

Book Review: On Such a Full Sea

Most apocalyptic authors do not posses the creativity or desire to end their novel outside the standard normal tropes: a protagonist who submits to his (and it rather often seems to be “his”) malevolent overlords either through acquiescence or death, or else a plot that simply doesn’t bother with catharsis at all. So I was never a big fan of this genre, and that’s largely Aldous Huxley’s fault. (Random fact: Huxley wrote the original screenplay for Disney’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Disney rejected it on the grounds that it was too literary. I feel Walt on that one.) The Host is a great exception. Yep, that’s the one written by Stephanie Meyer, who when she’s not writing about sparkly teenage vampires actually has quite a graphic imagination. If you’re looking for somewhat-lighter adult apocalyptic lit, go read it. If you’re looking for something a bit darker, I’d start with Chang-Rae Lee.

Film Review: Amira & Sam

I love romantic comedies. Like sitcoms, I believe the romcom has that special, low-budget power to stretch Hollywood’s narrow beliefs of who might be portrayed on screen. Unlike sitcoms, however, romantic comedies usually do not. Amira & Sam, directed by Sean Mullin, is a film in the tradition of the romantic comedy. As in any good romcom, the movie chronicles the intersection of the lives of two people in love:

Comics Review: My Japanese Husband (STILL) Thinks I’m Crazy

My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy and the forthcoming followup, My Japanese Husband (STILL) Thinks I’m Crazy are a series of comic books by Grace Buchele Mineta, an American blogger and freelance writer living with her Japanese husband in Tokyo. Mineta explores the humor and small insights to be found in her day-to-day life through her endearing, largely single-panel comics, complemented by explanations of expat life in Japan.

TV Review: Fresh Off The Boat

ABC’s newest sitcom Fresh Off The Boat kicked off yesterday with a double header. The show is based on the memoir of the real-life Eddie Huang, who growing up in the 1990s was obsessed with hip hop and struggling to fit in. The pilot follows Eddie’s Taiwanese American family as they move from the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area to the (far less diverse) city of Orlando, Florida.

Guest TV Review: Empire

Kym King, guest reviewer I was excited, just like anyone else, when FOX decided to launch a new show with a diverse cast; set in the world of hip hop, drugs, and the African American community, Empire premiered with amazing ratings. After the premiere of the first episode I was, for lack of a better word, a bit underwhelmed. With a cast like Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, and Gabourey Sidibe, I was expecting…well I don’t know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t this stereotypical hot mess I came across.