Womyn Warriors of The Great Wall

The Great Wall was, as the movie posters implied, about how we should all say #ThankYouMattDamon. Yes, he comes up with the brilliant plans that the Chinese hadn’t figured out in the last 2,000 years (even though there was a clue in ancient texts) and all that white savior stuff — fittingly, the movie was written by the same guy who wrote The Last Samurai. Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up). But I’m not gonna talk about it because you can find it all over the internet.

You can read about the plot here — or read Valerie’s review here — so you know what I’m going to be talking about, but it’s basically Starship Troopers in ancient China. But there was a theme that made me not want to slit my wrists and go screaming out of the movie theater (which was the case when I saw Kubo and the Two Strings, but that’s for another day). What was it? It was the portrayal of womyn.

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Star Trek Beyond: Be Still My Trekkie Heart

Thanks to CAPE (The Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) and AMP (Asian American Media Professionals), I got to attend a small screening of Star Trek Beyond at Paramount studios.

I won’t get into the story itself, but I must say to all my Trekkies: my solid ice cold anti-Trek reboot heart is starting to melt. I understand how this film had a 94% Rotten Tomatoes rating, making it a ripe tomato.

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#MyStarTrek: The Immigrant Generation

Originally posted at YOMYOMF

A little context before you jump into reading this: I’m a child of immigrants (access: child of immigrant experience) who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago: the not very diverse kind of suburb (access: white suburbia experience).

I’ve been a Trekkie since I was about seven years old when Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) first aired. Up until then, my father and I use to watch some old Star Trek episodes or the films… Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was a favorite of mine. It was great to see George Takei up there, but I really loved seeing Uhura be the strong independent female especially by the time the films came out.

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Ex-Machina Abuses Women to Show that Abuse is Sick

I saw Ex-Machina a few months ago at a special pre-screening here in Los Angeles. Now that it’s out on video, I’m going to jump right in and address some points critics have made against how women — specifically women of color — are treated in the film. I disagree with many of these views and this is why.

Also, SPOILERS — and expletives — ahead. Consider yourself warned.

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Miyazaki Memory Lane: Horusu, Prince of the Sun

Every person has that storybook or movie (or cartoon) that they would watch over and over again until it would be worn out. For me, that’s 1968’s Horusu, Prince of the Sun a.k.a. Taiyō no Ōji: Horusu no Daibōken1. What’s this have to do with Miyazaki, you ask? While Horusu was Isao Takahata’s feature debut, Miyazaki was the key animator, storyboarder, and scene designer.

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The Five Major Fails of Spike Lee’s Oldboy

It’s been a little over a day since I saw both versions of Oldboy — one by Spike Lee and one by Park Chan-wook — back to back. The more I reflect on the Spike Lee version, the worse and worse it gets in my head. So I’ll just barf out the major wrongs about this sad re-make and be done with it.

This write-up will be chock full of spoilers which will save you a lot of time and money. I’m also assuming that my readers have seen the original, Korean version of Oldboy. And if you’re keeping track at home, both versions (American and Korean) are based on the Japanese manga of the same name by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi.

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Akira After 25 Years: Then and Now

I distinctly remember watching Akira when I was about 10 years old. First off, Akira was NOT appropriate for a 10-year old kid, but I was hanging out with slightly older kids who wanted to watch it.

Even at that age, I already loved sci-fi, so I remembered liking the movie. Here are my 10-year old impressions of the movie that have stuck with me for the last 25 years:

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Kaze Tachinu (aka The Wind Rises): Miyazaki’s Supposed Last Hurrah

The Los Angeles movie screening scene has been in quite a frenzy as movies are trying to qualify for the Oscar rat-race. This meant that Kaze Tachinu (風立ちぬ) was going to be on the big screen. Just as a disclaimer, I’m Japanese/English bilingual, so I did ignore all the English subtitles and can’t say much about the English content.

Kaze Tachinu, known as The Wind Rises in the States, is an ode to the generation who grew up with Miyazaki since the 1970s. It’s not filled with magic and intrigue, but brings forth Miyazaki’s never ending love for airplanes (you see cameo appearances of past planes including Gina’s private plane from Porco Rosso), the experience of flying, and the human spirit.

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Unidentified: Coming Soon to a Roadtrip Near You…

Last week, the movie Unidentified was screened to a select audience of family and friends in Los Angeles. This movie was a two-years-in-the-making-shoe-string-budget-labor-of-love that began with producer/star Eddie Mui‘s bizarre dreams, then expanded into a full fledged movie when Eddie brought producer/star Parry Shen and writer/director Jason Richard Miller on board.

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Junko’s Nerd Emblems: Manga and Sci-Fi

If manga is considered nerdy/geeky, well then the entire country of Japan is one big geek-producing machine, and I’m a child of that machine. Before my love of Star Trek: The Next Generation, my parents and grandparents provided me with an endless budget to consume manga because it helped with my Japanese language skills.

Every summer as a child, I’d inevitably come back from Japan with at least 30 to 50 manga books being shipped over to add to my growing collection. A collection that started with the racy Makoto-chan but really flourished with Urusei Yatsura in addition to the “standard” collection of Dragon Ball.

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