On DVD & Blu-Ray: November 20, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians is, for the most part, your standard run of the mill rom-com, but it bears the distinct responsibility of carrying a fair amount of cultural significance. Crazy Rich Asians is also about twenty minutes too long and a little less focused for it, but those last twenty minutes are so damn good and make so much of the groundwork that has come before them so meaningful it's hard to hold much against this endearing, predictable, yet wholly individual piece of work.

When I say the film is your "standard run of the mill rom-com" that is to say it follows a similar structure and borrows familiar tropes from the genre in which it squarely exists (yes, climactic airport scene and all), but the silver lining is what it does with those clich├ęs to underline a story that is being told to really emphasize the character dynamics and this core conflict of passion versus obligation and how these clash due to a firm belief in tradition over conceit and the cultural differences within a group of people too often lumped together. This was maybe the most interesting aspect of the film given my complete outsider perspective; seeing both how an outside country views the lifestyle of many Americans as well as the judgment and degrees of difference that exist within this culture that is completely different than my own. Full review here. B

Blindspotting is like a poem. It's often rhythmic. Working in both speech and song. In rhyme and verse. It skips the metaphor, but delivers its meaning through an eloquent, free-flowing structure akin to a stanza. Most importantly, it provokes strong emotions in its beauty, its torment, and its truth.

It's like an effortless verse that has flown out of Hamilton breakout Daveed Diggs and his longtime creative partner Rafael Casal as they explore the lifelong friendship of Collin and Miles who each have their own shit to deal with, but face new challenges due to the present context they're living in and the changing world around them.

Growing up in Oakland their city has become a state of mind, integral to the identity of both men. As the Oakland they were raised in becomes more gentrified though, the question becomes how they deal with such a large part of their identity disappearing before them. How do they justify who they are or become who they're supposed to be if they can't go back to where they're from? If home as they know it no longer exists? Layer in the rising tension dealing in race relations and not only is Blindspotting relevant, but it comes to utilize the art form in its most basic function: sending a message of empathy and hopefully opening a few minds in the process. Full review here. B

How does a film possess so much style and charm, but feel as if it accomplishes very little? This is kind of the crux of the issue with Jonathan and Josh Baker's feature directorial debut, KIN, as the aesthetic of it all is in line precisely with what it seems the brother directing duo were going for whereas the narrative weight is lost somewhere between the multiple genres it's melding together. In terms of the viewing experience this can be boiled down to caring about the characters more than we do the adventure they go on. Full review here. C

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