BuzzFeed’s Susan Cheng on the State of AAPI Pop Culture

It’s been nearly a year since we were hit with the double whammy of Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johannson. Now with Iron Fist and Ghost in the Shell just around the corner, we’re joined by BuzzFeed News’ entertainment reporter Susan Cheng to let us know where Asian Americans currently stand in the greater pop cultural landscape.

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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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The Great Wall Review: Is It Worth The Watch?

Originally posted at Black Girl Nerds

All that is lacking in substance is made up for with gorgeous imagery in a Zhang Yimou’s new and pointless film, The Great Wall. Whomever his set people are, give them all the awards because they bring their A-game when it comes to costume and set design. But I digress.

I’m not sure what I expected, but I certainly wasn’t expecting the Silk Road version of Edge of Tomorrow featuring giant Komodo Dragons. Shouldn’t a larger budget allow more time to work on perfecting the CGI? How many Adobe-editing programs did they use to get these monsters to look as fake and silly as they do? Zhang Yimou should stick to martial arts dramas because he is out of his element with The Great Wall.

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The Great Wall, Matt Damon, and the Thing About Chinese Money

The trailer for The Great Wall, starring Matt Damon and directed by Zhang Yimou, dropped yesterday and my first reaction to seeing it:

What. The. Frack?

Why is a white dude in a film about the construction of the Great Wall? And there’s dragons? One of them is voiced by Willem Dafoe? HUH??

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Elysium and the 1%

The reason Elysium is so realistic is because it captures so well the economic disparities of the rich and poor; that the separation between the “haves” and “have-nots” might as well be a chasm as distal between the Earth and space, between the “first” and “third” “worlds.”

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N.O.C. One-Shot: Lexi Alexander on Why Effie Brown is a Superhero

UPDATE: The full conversation with Lexi is now available here.

HBO’s hit documentary series Project Greenlight has been a trending topic on twitter since its season debut featured Matt Damon “whitesplaining” diversity to producer Effie Brown. In an outtake from our forthcoming Hard NOC Life interview with Lexi Alexander, the Punisher: War Zone director explains how Brown’s experience on the show is indicative of how women of color are treated in the film industry and why Effie’s critics are just exposing their white privilege.

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Overplaying the Whitewashing Card with The Martian

Back in June, our NOC mastermind Keith Chow wrote a probing article about how a Korean American character was being whitewashed in the film adaptation of the Andy Weir novel The Martian.

Now that the film has been released for over a week — with considerable box office success, trade publications like Deadline and Variety, among others have released articles about how the Asian American media watchdog group, MANAA, has followed Keith’s lead and declared the film to be guilty of whitewashing:

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Dude, The Future is Here

Full Disclosure: I have known Jeffrey Morris for over twenty years. In that time, our friendship has gone from tight to contentious to non-existent. We diverge on many social and political issues — we’re like objects that cannot occupy the same space at the same time, without disastrous consequences. But this will not stop me from extolling his absolute genius.

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Asians Get #EmmaStoned (Again) in The Martian

Last week, we spent a lot of time on the blog discussing the erasure of people of color — particularly Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders — in movies like the upcoming Doctor Strange or the recently released Aloha. I was even asked to talk about whitewashed casting on outlets like HuffPost Live and The Rundown on msnbc. And frankly, getting outraged over Hollywood being racist is kind of exhausting. Fortunately, I was able to take solace knowing The Rock crushed Aloha at the box office and that James Wan would be directing Jason Momoa in Aquaman. There’s nothing like a good genre flick to cleanse the palate after a week of justified moral outrage. Take the new sci-fi thriller The Martian — which just had a pretty cool trailer drop yesterday. Surely, there won’t be anything controversial here? Oh wait, this is Hollywood. Crap.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: Best Fight Scenes Ever

As our friend Angry Asian Man broke the nerdtastic news this week that some fine fighters from The Raid would be joining the cast of Star Wars, it seemed as good a time as any to convene a roundtable of some of us martial arts film enthusiasts here at the NOC to talk about our favorite martial arts fight scenes.

Before we shared our favorite scenes with one another, we guessed there would be significant overlap, especially concerning the great Bruce Lee. Sure enough, each of us had picked at least one Bruce Lee scene on our individual lists. To avoid repetition, we decided not to double up, so as you can see some folks wrote about legendary Bruce scenes and the rest of us wrote about alternates — but please trust, we keep Bruce at the front of our fighting hearts.

Who’s not on the list, though? Uma Thurman. Just… no.

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