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Millennials Talk Cinema: Thumbs up for aging martial artists, robot apocalypse

‘THE PAPER TIGERS’

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Alexa Chipman

If you enjoy classic kung fu movies, you’ll get a kick out of this fondly satirical homage.

In “The Paper Tigers,” directed by Tran Quoc Bao, a trio of middle-aged former martial arts students discover that their teacher has died under mysterious circumstances, so they join together for one last heroic venture — in a minivan. Barely able to climb stairs, and certainly not up to any chase sequences lasting longer than five seconds, they are determined to confront the villainous fighter who defeated their sifu (teacher).

Clearly, someone who worked on this film has studied kung fu, because there were subtle nuances to it all over — like lion dance heads stuffed into storage areas and the uncomfortable ritual of gatherings where you have no idea what is going on and the sifu expects you to already know.

Although the martial arts choreography is exaggerated for comedic effect, it is based on actual techniques, like the opening row of Beng Bu. During one of the training flashbacks, the students are standing in Jin Ji Du Li on paint cans, which I remember doing a variation of during warm-ups. This whole movie was like a walk down memory lane (albeit a campy one).

Danny (Alain Uy), Hing (Ron Yuan) and Jim (Mykel Shannon Jenkins) set off to reclaim their glory days, in between getting calls from work, watching home movies and Danny picking up his son from school.

I found myself laughing along with their antics, the exception being the occasionally gratuitous vulgarity and language, which seemed to be dropped in simply to raise the movie’s rating.

This ridiculously fun action comedy is an entertaining start to the Summer movie season.

[Suggested Emojis: Thumbs Up, Laughing Emoji]

‘THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES’

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Anderson Templeton

"The Mitchell's vs. the Machines" is pure ridiculous happiness.

This is definitely a movie designed with older kids in mind, and there are simplistic story elements here and there. But its innovative creativity, relatable characters and many moments of laugh-out-loud humor make it a highly enjoyable experience.

"The Mitchells vs the Machines" (produced by the creators of "Into the Spiderverse" and "The Lego Movie") centers around Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobson of "Disenchantment") a soon-to-be college freshman who cannot wait to start film school — and finally meet people who understand her eccentrically cinematic passions. Her outdoor-obsessed dad Rick Mitchell (voiced by Danny McBride) clearly does not get her.

To avoid his daughter departing with a strain in their relationship, Rick is determined to fix things by canceling her solo plane trip to Los Angeles and driving across the country as a family.

At the same time, off in Silicon Valley, mistakes are made when a young tech giant hurts the feelings of his powerful Siri-like program called PAL, when he replaces her with high-tech robot servants and declares her obsolete. And yes, her name is a deliberate nod to HAL of “2001 A Space Odyssey.” As a result, PAL (brilliantly voiced by Olivia Coleman) uses her limitless knowledge to take control of the robots, as well as anything with a computer chip, and wage war on humanity as revenge.

I thought this film was going in the direction of having an anti-tech message, but it surprisingly doesn't. It only raises questions about how we use our tech, and the positive power of using it it for creativity.

This film is well-packed with surprising, hilariously humorous moments. When an appliance store comes alive in an attempt to capture the Mitchells (who somehow manage to remain the last un-captured humans) a washing machine leads the fray with a battle cry of "Delicates. Fluff & Fold. CARNAGE!"

And then, the toy store scene.

Yes my friends, there are Furbies in this movie, and they are very much alive and ready for blood. It is one of the most personally satisfying action sequences I've ever seen in a movie.

Overall, "The Mitchells vs The Machines" is a first-rate film about the power of family, creativity, and being your uniquely imperfect self in a world striving for perfection

I definitely recommend it.

[Suggested emojis: Thumbs Up, Robot with Heart-Eyes]

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