June 29, 2023 in Blogs
The answer goes beyond any discouragement caused by the lack of comments or Twitter Likes on “Warrior Season One Highlights.” With the long-awaited third season airing now, I decided to share a longer explanation for failing to fulfill my announcement to cover episodes from every one. This article combines writings from the unfinished “Warrior Season Two Highlights” draft, with sentiments I experienced while watching the first 20 episodes all over again.
Special thanks to people who pushed “Like” and/or “Reblog” on the Tumblr repost of “Warrior Season One Highlights,” for assuring me that an audience could exist for my coverage of this show.
May 4, 2023 in Blogs
As with every episode of The Mandalorian Season 3, Chapter 24 doesn’t represent the series at its best. Among other objective criticisms I’ve read or heard, I agree that the script feels too rushed and choppy. However, the chapter still delivers almost everything I would want from a finale, and not much of what I didn’t want. The parts I want to discuss most badly occur during the second half, including apparent precautions for a potential delay of Season 4. (Even before the Writers’ Strike, I feared a repeat of Lucasfilm or Disney+ pushing back the release of the Season 3 premiere.) In order to judge the value of this “ending” for Din Djarin’s story, this article will “spoil” as much about this 15 day-old episode as I deem necessary.
April 5, 2023 in Blogs
Almost three years after Disney+ released The Mandalorian Season 2 finale, the wait for a new full season finally ended in March of this year. In between Seasons 2 and 3, I found something to like in each of the other Star Wars shows I watched. However, to me The Mandalorian barely remained the overall most appealing live-action TV serial about the galaxy far, far away.
Now that I’ve begun reviewing Pedro Pascal performances in media without AAPI co-stars or directors, I could review any of Din Djarin’s appearances. The Book of Boba Fett provided a disheartening choice for the last Star Wars TV series to receive its own articles from me, yet my difficulty finding any Obi-Wan Kenobi or Andor Season 1 episodes that stand well on their own prohibited me from writing whole articles about any of them. Regarding The Mandalorian Season 3, I ultimately decided to review my favorite chapters in which an Asian actor plays an important and ostensibly human role, as well as the season finale.
These reviews were originally posted on two separate pages, combined in August 2023 to save space. For context’s sake, I have retained the separate headlines and publication dates for each review.
March 19, 2023 in Blogs
In the last level of The Last of Us, Joel proves that Ellie’s survival matters more to him than does protecting the country from cordyceps infections. His decisions tend to polarize players, but not to the extent of ruining the game’s popularity. While revisiting the story through the TV show, I deliberately sought out justifications for Joel’s actions. In addition to those transferred over from the game, the series also clarified points previously left subtle or ambiguous, or created additional justifications. Ultimately, I can only forgive some of Joel’s decisions, but currently continue to love the first season as a whole. Read the rest of this entry →
March 12, 2023 in Blogs
These two Last of Us episodes adapt instances of the original game putting players in control of Ellie. The second also provides one of two directed by Iranian Ali Abbasi, although I haven’t seen any of his prior works. Just like the game levels, Joel rarely appears in these episodes. However, Ellie’s endeavors without him prove compelling in both mediums.
February 26, 2023 in Blogs
The Last of Us episode #6 subjects Joel’s paternal love of Ellie to a very important test. He fulfills his original reason for agreeing to escort her out of Boston’s QZ, requiring him to figure out how much she means more to him than a means to an end. The significance of their experiences in Wyoming, and a commercial suggesting that Joel won’t appear in #7, convinced me that #6 deserves its own article.
February 19, 2023 in Blogs
Joel and Ellie’s visit to Kansas City, Missouri provided some firsts for the Last of Us TV show. After the sacrifices of Tess, Bill, and Frank, their deaths result in the first time that Joel and Ellie travel to another state by themselves. (Contrary to my review of “Long Long Time” claiming that Bill and Frank lived in Nebraska, before I corrected it) Thanks to interactions both harmful and helpful with the townspeople, it also becomes the first locale where they stay for multiple episodes. Intentionally, they might form this series’ unhappiest story yet.
February 1, 2023 in Blogs
The second episode of The Last of Us continued some of the premiere‘s strengths into a chapter I enjoyed mainly for visceral reasons. The third deservedly became a critical favorite ahead of the season’s release, despite shifting focus away from Joel and Ellie. I’ve decided to cover both installments in one article.
January 20, 2023 in Blogs
Written and directed by Neil Druckmann, the 2013 video game The Last of Us enabled PlayStation 3 gamers to journey cynical, middle-aged smuggler Joel Miller and crafty adolescent Ellie Williams across an America ravaged by the victims of a zombifying fungus. The beloved best-seller has now become a critically-acclaimed HBO TV show, under the development of Craig Mazin and Druckmann. I began building up an interest in the show after the announcement that the role of Joel would go to Chilean-American Pedro Pascal, who had already won me over through The Mandalorian, Narcos, and other mediums. A few months after the announcement, I managed long before the series premiere to complete the video game’s PlayStation 4 remaster, including the Left Behind DLC. As someone who knows more about The Last of Us than a newcomer would, but less than someone who frequently and/or recently played the source material, I believe the series premiere could engross viewers from all of those camps.
The amount of feedback this article will receive by next Friday will determine whether or not I will review any more episodes on this site. Also, even though I know the game’s twists, I won’t reveal any ahead of HBO.
December 17, 2022 in Blogs
I often find a fascinating piece of media with at least one Asian or Hispanic/Latin American entertainer prominently involved, but don’t end up blogging about it. Sometimes, I feel too far from the target demographic to properly discuss it. Other times, my admiration doesn’t feel as deep as it does for the likes of Everything Everywhere All at Once. Yet other times, the subject seems too intricate for me to blog about, especially if I check it out beyond its time of relevance. Still, some of this media felt entertaining and/or noteworthy enough for at least lip service. For brevity’s sake, I’ll limit my recommendations to works released this year. Each section lists them by order of release date.
Read the rest of this entry →
August 9, 2022 in Blogs
In Daniel Kwan’s and Daniel Scheinert’s science-fiction dramedy movie Everything Everywhere All at Once, a visit from married Chinese-American laundromat co-owners Evelyn (Malaysian Chinese Michelle Yeoh, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Waymond Wang (Chinese/Vietnamese-American Ke Huy Quan, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) to the IRS takes an epic turn, when Evelyn finds herself suddenly chosen to prevent the multiverse from collapsing. Multi-dimensional fiction feels a dime a dozen, but the Daniels and their actors have used the concept to provide a stimulating reminder of the benefits behind breaking cycles and finding beauty and meaning in the unexpected. Viewers who can put up with the constant absurdity of Evelyn’s exploits can enjoy emotionally-engaging performances, excitingly varied fight scenes, and eclectic visuals. My look at this profitable critical darling took so long to write down – over a month has passed since the American DVD and Blu-ray release by now – partially because my most compelling thoughts contain extensive spoilers.
May 28, 2022 in Blogs
Jonathan Tropper’s TV show Warrior, which premiered on Cinemax in 2019, brings to life a failed pitch Bruce Lee made for a series dramatizing San Francisco’s Tong Wars. Executive-produced by Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, among others, the action-packed serial centers around the exploits of Ah Sahm (Japanese-British Andrew Koji), a Chinese immigrant who becomes a hatchet man for the Tong known as “Hop Wei”. Warrior seems to have earned a modest cult following, especially after HBO Max posted the first two seasons. After I finish each one, I’ll review my favorite episode from each Asian-American director. Among this season’s five directors, two possess Asian heritage, who in total directed three of the 10 episodes.
All synopses come from official press materials; all name-dropped Asian entertainers have Chinese descent unless otherwise noted.