It's fall which means a glut of movies are about to flood theaters for audiences' two hours and the Academy's Oscar consideration. What do the last few months of 2011 bring to us in terms of mainstream movies with Asian American interests? Unfortunately, not a whole lot. Out of the slim pickings available, Hyphen has gathered a brief list to help you make your ticket-buying decisions.
Surrogate Valentine (September 15)
Surrogate Valentine is the delightful story of San Francisco-based musician Goh Nakamura, who plays himself in a comedy about, well, himself. The cast features Asian American actors such as Lynn Chen, Di Quon and Joy Osmanski, while director Dave Boyle has carved out a nice niche career out of transcultural films (White on Rice, Big Dreams Little Tokyo).
Bunraku (September 30)
Bunraku can be viewed as a companion piece to The Descendants (see below), in that the movie demonstrates familiar casting of Asians and Asian Americans in mainstream Hollywood: as samurais, martial artists, or assassins in lowbrow action drivel. Even then, these characters still play second fiddle to the more established (but has-been) white stars (Demi Moore, Josh Hartnett) in this revenge-based martial arts/Western hybrid.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (November 4)
What more needs to be said? The pride of Asian Americans in Hollywood once again set out to wreak havoc on good ol' America. And they don't disappoint, as supposedly the two buds start off their new adventure by burning down Harold's father-in-law's Christmas tree. Support this movie by bringing everyone you know to the theaters so more like it can be made.
Immortals (November 11)
What can one expect from director Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall)? Lots and lots of extraordinary visuals. Immortals, an action epic based on Greek mythology looks to be his most mainstream effort yet. While the story doesn't touch on any Asian or Asian American subjects, the movie does feature the lovely Frieda Pinto in a leading role as Theseus' love interest.
The Descendants (November 18)
The buzz around this new George Clooney vehicle is already building to a boiling point, with reviewers heralding it as a sure Oscar contender, a great Clooney performance (whatever that means), and the best movie yet from director Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways). However, that doesn't change the fact that this is a Hawaii-based movie that barely features any Asian American faces in yet another example of how Asian American actors still have no place in serious Hollywood dramas.
Did we miss any gems that'll be gracing the multiplex this fall? Let us now in the comments section.