A new kind of anti-imperialist hero

“Ragnarok” in Norse mythology refers to an apocalyptic event also known as “the twilight of the gods.” During Ragnarok, several gods, including Thor and Odin, perish from a series of cataclysmic incidents. Within the context of ​Thor: Ragnarok​ (2017), Marvel Studios’ first film to be helmed by a person of color, director Taika Waititi reconfigured Ragnarok and Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) story to speak to the survival and cultural continuity of indigenous peoples around the world. Thor and much of the Asgardians escape to safety after the destruction of their planet, which would otherwise signal their own apocalypse as a culture…


A man in seventeenth century Korean clothing aims a flaming arrow in front of a wooden barricade.
A man in seventeenth century Korean clothing aims a flaming arrow in front of a wooden barricade.
Ju Ji-hoon in “Kingdom”

Netflix’s first Original Series from Korea is an insightful commentary on a viral outbreak, featuring zombies.

It’s safe to say that the world is an enormously stressful place right now. Many of us have been getting by in the isolation of our homes by watching movies and television. I, for one, have been working my way through the Scream sequels and catching up on horror movies I didn’t get to see in theaters. But to be honest, this has all felt a bit strange for me, to focus my attention on something else while we live in such an unprecedented time.

But this brings me to “Kingdom,” a show which uncannily narrates the times we live in.

Kingdom may be set in the early seventeenth century, but its subject has never been…


A group of women walk with various weapons in their hands: brass knuckles, baseball bats, a crossbow
A group of women walk with various weapons in their hands: brass knuckles, baseball bats, a crossbow
Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Margot Robbie, Ella Jay Basco, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell in Cathy Yan’s “Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey”

Take it from me, a Bruce Lee scholar and grandkid of Hong Kongers

Back in October, I wrote a piece about how excited I was for Birds of Prey after its trailer dropped. And while my excitement was mostly geared around getting to know Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn on her own, sans the male gaze that permeated 2016’s Suicide Squad, I’m writing now to sing the praises of Birds of Prey’s unique sense of characterization for its female cast. Birds of Prey gives me what I’ve always wanted to see in a Western superhero flick, and for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.


A young Chinese American woman rests her head against the shoulder of an elderly Chinese woman
A young Chinese American woman rests her head against the shoulder of an elderly Chinese woman
Zhao Shuzhen and Awkwafina in Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell”

This film mirrors my life with my grandmother

While I’m deeply upset that The Farewell was not nominated in any category at the Academy Awards, it doesn’t change the fact that it was one of my favorite films of 2019. Nomination or not, its impact has been enormous.

note: this article details dementia and its effects

I was initially hesitant to see Lulu Wang’s The Farewell because its premise so closely resembles my own life.

Like Awkwafina’s protagonist, Billi, I’m a millennial Chinese American from New York City. As a child, I excelled at classical music (in my case, violin), which makes practicing it now feel like a…


A woman with a freshly shaved head looks tearfully off into the distance
A woman with a freshly shaved head looks tearfully off into the distance
Anne Hathaway in “Les Misérables”

A closer look at a tearful tradition

I should start by saying that, on a surface level, I don’t come off as an emotional person. I’m an Aquarius, and am generally uncomfortable with grand emotional expressions in public places, though I will admit that I once cried alone on a tram in Prague while listening to Mitski’s “Your Best American Girl,” as one does. In short, I’m a lot like Spock.


The Mandalorian in a full suit of armor descends from a Jawa ship in a desert
The Mandalorian in a full suit of armor descends from a Jawa ship in a desert
Pedro Pascal in “The Mandalorian”

A different side of a galaxy far, far away

To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t expecting The Mandalorian to be as good as it is.

I’m not one of those Star Wars fans with a deep obsession for Boba Fett. Sure, his helmet is pretty cool, and as a Māori person, I really appreciate that the Fetts were made canonically Māori in Attack of the Clones with the casting of Temuera Morrison as Jango Fett and Daniel Logan as a young Boba. But beyond that? I’ve always found Lando and his cape to be much cooler.

However, Jon Favreau’s new series in Disney+ has turned me into a Mandalorian…


A man sits in an armchair with a satisfied expression
A man sits in an armchair with a satisfied expression
Chris Evans in Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out.” Alternatively, me, watching, as this movie gets the praise it deserves.

“The Last Jedi” director drops the mic with “Knives Out”

I’ve been a fan of Rian Johnson since I was in high school.

We watched Brick (2005) in the film theory class I took in eleventh grade as part of our exploration of the noir genre. When viewed alongside other films like Double Indemnity, Blade Runner, and Chinatown, Brick was like a breath of fresh air for me. The characters were teenagers, the setting was in a high school, and everyone talked with a detached strangeness that made it clear that Johnson wasn’t interested in “normal” realism.

I still remember seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt mutter, “I’ve got knives in my eyes,”…


A painted portrait of Mary Shelley looking directly at the viewer
A painted portrait of Mary Shelley looking directly at the viewer
Richard Rothwell’s portrait of Mary Shelley, 1840

How Mary Shelley’s Creature understood my multiracial hybridity

There is nothing in the world that I love more than stories, and there is no story that I love more than Frankenstein.

It’s a story that almost everyone in the Western world knows: a scientist creates life from death, and must live with the consequences of his creation’s sentience. Its appeal is built between our anxieties about death and our scientific curiosity, and it is hard to overstate its influence. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio adaptation is even drawing from it.


A family waits in a hospital.
A family waits in a hospital.
Byun Hee-bong, Song Kang-ho, Bae Doo-na, and Park Hae-il in Bong Joon-ho’s “The Host”

Knowledge of truth equals power in Bong’s films

Note: this article contains spoilers for Parasite

Without a doubt, Bong Joon-ho is one of the most essential cinematic voices of the twenty-first century. With his most recent release, Parasite, hitting theaters stateside after becoming the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes, many speculate that it could be the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. …


An abstract painting with various shapes
An abstract painting with various shapes
“Composition X” (1939) by Wassily Kandinsky

Silly stories of synesthesia, music, filmmaking, and my brain

The chorus of Shape of You by Ed Sheeran makes me cringe, because it feels like cold, soggy neoprene pressing against my arms. It’s really, really uncomfortable.

In tenth grade, I had to will myself to finish reading George Orwell’s 1984, because it tasted like bland porridge. That same year, it felt like it was impossible for me to escape hearing Fancy by Iggy Azalea everywhere outside my own home. To my chagrin, the song looked like mud being lobbed at a wall. No wonder I was so cranky all the time.

On the other hand, my favorite book, Frankenstein

Jules F. Chin Greene

Chinese-Māori and Irish-Scottish filmmaker writing about pop culture. LA. https://www.instagram.com/infinitevibes/

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