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31 Days of #AAPIFilmz (Pt. I)

Badass Femmes is a bi-weekly column that I write on Crome Yellow about all the Badass Females in pop culture that has shaped my life.

We’ve all been there, overcome and desperately in need of that bright light of inspiration. I, for one, tend to look towards the women around me to find motivation, but also keep coming back to one of the first characters that encouraged me to embrace who I was. Surprisingly enough, that character was Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. Even though I was an angsty 13-year-old, like Elle, I too was labeled a supreme ditz with a disgustingly peppy attitude, a “blonde” who was not actually blonde. Sure, I wasn’t sporting her sparkly pink wardrobe, but her determination to be seen beyond a socially embedded stereotype ignited a power within me to basically embrace the “fuck the rest and do me” mantra. At such a young age where the odds seemed against us both, she was the light in my dark, long tunnel, proving once and for all, that women could have it all – brains and beauty. If Elle Woods could do it, then so could I.

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Another month, another Marvel film in the works and this time, it's Doctor Strange! And speaking of strange, I honestly didn't even know who Doctor Strange was till someone mentioned that Tilda Swinton was playing an Asian character. Even with that distasteful choice in casting, the premise doesn't sound too interesting. The film follows a brilliant but arrogant surgeon who gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under his wings and trains him to defend the world against evil after his career is destroyed. The trailer makes it seem like the films going be Inception + Karate Kid, which I'm not too hyped to see. Check out my reaction and let me know what you think!

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This came out of nowhere but glad it did! The trailer for Gareth Edwards' Rogue One dropped last week and just quenched everyone's thirst for anything Star Wars related with a punch! Rogue One is the first anthology Star Wars film to come out and by the looks of it, I am liking what I an seeing. It's a lot darker and seems less "space opera"ish than we're used to seeing. So Rogue One follows resistance fighters (Felicity Jones & Diego Luna), who embark on a daring mission to steal the Empire's plan for the Death Star. That is one hell of a premise! This film also has a diverse and killer cast consisting of Forrest Whitaker, Donnie Yen (OMGOMGOMG!!!), Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, in addition to the fantastic Jones and Luna! December 16 needs to come now!

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In timely fashion, Nicolas Winding Refn dropped The Neon Demon trailer as soon as it was announced that the film was going to be premiering at Cannes Film Festival come May. Many may say that Refn hasn't been on his best game since after Drive but I think the contrary. It was actually Drive, that I did not like and his film thereafter, Only God Forgives where I started to become more intrigued by his new found style and themes. In The Neon Demon, the story follows Jesse played by Elle Fanning, an aspiring model who moves to Los Angeles, where her vitality and youth is the envy of a group of beauty-obsessed women who will use any means to obtain it. Oh man, this is so Hollywood. 



At this point, Refn's electric and candy-pop imagery paired with violently dark themes is singularly his style, that everyone by now should know what a Refn film will be like. All that glitter, beautiful women, and did I hear Keanu?! Yeah, I'm ecstactic and can't wait for it to premiere at Cannes despite that most of the old farts there gave him a big fat thumbs down when Only God Forgives premiered in 2013. And especially with his films, I truly cannot rely on other people's opinions because it's always a hit or miss for me so I shall see when it is released in June! Oh boy, it can't come soon enough! This year just got 100% more gory and nightmarish. Bring it on, Refn.

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Don't mistake Maya Vitkova's Bulgarian film, Viktoria for last year's one take heist thriller, Victoria! They may have the same film title, but they couldn't be more different from one another. After being 2014 Sundance hit film, Viktoria is finally getting released only in New York on April 29th, distributed by Big World Pictures

The official synopsis for Viktoria provided by Big World states that the film "follows three generation of women in the final years of the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the transition to democracy. The film focuses on reluctant mother Boryana and her daughter Viktoria, who is born without an umbilical cord. Unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the country's Baby of the Decade, and is showered with gifts and attention until the disintegration of the Eat Bloc. Despite throwing their worlds off balance, the resulting political changes also allow for the possibility of reconciliation."



As you can see just by the trailer, the gorgeous cinematography does all the talking. Even if we don't know what the film is about just by the trailer, every single shot provides provides the highest caliber of visual poetry that makes us want to know more! Vitkova wrote, directed, and produced the film, which was the first Bulgarian film to screen at Sundance. It's such an interesting premise that combines family struggles with political allegory. I sadly missed my chance to watch this film when it came to AFI FEST last year but I'm glad to hear at least New Yorkers get to feast their eyes on this glorious film! Hopefully it comes to LA soon!

EDIT (4/13/16): HOOOLLLLLYYYYY MOTHER. Queen Maya Vitkova herself shared and commented on this post saying that Viktoria will be coming to LA on June 10th! I'll definitely see you there Maya! <33



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Year: 2016
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Cinematographer: Bobby Shore
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, John Carroll Lynch, Michiel Huisman, Tammy Blanchard
Country of Origin: USA
Time: 100 min.


Crome Yellow and I went to Beyond Fest and one of our favorite films was Karyn Kusama's The Invitation! While attending a dinner party and his former home, Will (Marshall-Green) thinks his ex-wife Eden (Blanchard) and her new husband (Huisman) have other sinister intentions for him and the guests. I have been a huge fan of Kusama's earlier works like Girlfight and Jennifer's Body but The Invitation is by far her most masterful work yet! She crafts this suffocatingly tense thriller with such precision and  artistry, the results will make you completely rethink dinner parties for good! Drafthouse Films is releasing the film next April which cannot come soon enough! 



This post was originally posted 12/9/15
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I've been waiting all year for this year's "wackiest & wtffff" film and it seems like it has arrived. The directing duo Daniels aka Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's Swiss Army Man starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe is getting intense buzz and being dubbed as the "farting corpse film" (just watch the trailer). It premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival where it went on to claim the Best Directing award in the U.S. Dramatic category which is not too shabby for their first feature! Hank (Dano) is on the verge of committing suicide when he finds a corpse (Radcliffe) washed up to shore and together they go on a surreal adventure to get home. Sounds like it's going to be a wiiiiild ride.



There's no denying the spectacularly surreal trailer filled with exhilarating, quirky, and humorous moments that makes Swiss Army Man one of my most anticipated films of this year! The two Daniels are the mastermind behind award-winning music video, Turn Down for What by Lil Jon & DJ Snake which is so outrageously hilarious and bonkers, I don't expect anything less from these two. Whether it is Dano using Radcliffe's body as a rapid-fire machine gun or a racing speedboat, there lies a deeper message of the beauty of life that guts us right in our feels. Larkin Seiple's intensely rich and luscious cinematography boasts vibrancy and sincerity in every shot to bring this farting dead body story to life (literally)! A24 has our backs and is releasing Swiss Army Man to theaters on June 17th. I'll see you guys all there with my very own Bernie by my side!


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