ALL-ASIAN FILM  POKES FUN AT THE ASIAN ULTRA-RICH IN "CRAZY RICH ASIANS"
Beauty and the billionaire: Nick (Henry Golding) and Rachel (Constance Wu).

Liberal white people eager to promote any race except their own will still have to do some complicated thought-wrangling to keep every comment positive in director Jon M. Chu's lavish “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Set among the ultra-proud old-money families of Singapore, the film based on Kevin Kwan's 2013 best seller is being marketed as nothing more than another silly rom-com.

Alas in our present-day pressure cooker society of contentious skin color versus different skin color, privilege versus prejudice, immigrant vs illegal immigrant, nobody comes out unscathed.

This particular romance is between a self-made Chinese American woman Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) raised by a determined mom with no husband, and a Chinese man from the very top of the most gilded Singapore one-percenters, Oxford-educated Nick Young (Henry Golding).

Rachel as a second-generation Chinese-American studied hard her entire life to become a successful professor of economics at New York University. That is where she met Nick, sort of a rebel himself, who wants to become known as more than the traditional scion of his family's centuries of accumulated wealth. Who could be satisfied with that?

Well, it is the main concern of Nick's mom, Eleanor Young (Michelle Yeoh). Ever the dominating dowager, the responsibilities of genuine wealth weigh heavily on her shoulders. It is her inherited task to be sure that Nick marries an equally well-bred female, someone capable of meeting all the arcane demands known only to the extremely well-to-do.

Rachel, of course, doesn't come close to meeting those demands. She may be a stateside role model for today's totally independent American female, but in Singapore she is just another foreign gold-digger opportunist, a nuisance to be brushed away from the city's upper crust.

So that's the set-up. As the movie begins Nick and Rachel are dating and living happily in Manhattan. Low-key Nick has never let on his family back in Singapore is actually rolling in dough.

Along the way we also learn Nick plans on asking Rachel to marry him in Singapore, so they can receive in person his mother's approval. Plenty of additional relatives and family friends pop up as this story unrolls, each more quirky than the last, always with some breath-takingly super-modern architectural backdrop to fill the screen.

Keeping all these characters straight can be a problem, too. It is better to just enjoy their antics and not wonder which one is the crazy uncle and which one the nutty in-law, or whatever.

We know for sure the real showdown will be the shootout between sternly traditional Eleanor and wholesomely happy Rachel.

Whether intentional or not, “Crazy Rich Asians” does make the final point that America is a unique place in the world, a place where what happens in the future will always be more important than what has happened in the past.












"THE MEG" GOES FOR REALLY BIG SHARK BITES AND SWIMMER SUSHI

"The Meg" is short for "The Megalodon," a whale-sized shark from the prehistoric era of dinosaurs.

If it seems like your dreams are getting worse and worse, it is probably because Hollywood's freaks of nature keep getting bigger and bigger.

Unlike aliens from outer space, who have no normal size, and our world's own mythological monsters who never discovered gun powder, nature's evil-tempered creations are reality-based and go straight to the most treacherous corners of our own Id.

And they all want to eat us alive!

Well, maybe not King Kong, but he was still the most fearsome vegetarian to fill the big screen.

Definitely dedicated to a diet of unwary swimmers and other wiggling creatures on the oceans' surface was the megalodon, said to be an archaeologically certified horror of the high seas.

During the time of dinosaurs, megalodons were sharks growing larger than whales, the largest animal of early Earth's waters. At least 75 feet long and perpetually hungry, they probably became extinct because they couldn't find enough to eat. Listed in the order of things, today's great white shark is the megalodon's baby cousin.

All those eons of suppressed caveperson terror shoot quickly to the surface in “The MEG,” hyper-injected with $150 million in Asian undersea animation so convincing an IMAX version will be released soon.

Please don't misunderstand. “The MEG,” directed by Jon Turteltaub with torque-jawed Jason Statham as Jonas the leading oceanographic explorer, is no contender to displace 1975's iconic “Jaws.” But “MEG” is definitely a fun flick that could have dominated America's drive-in movie screens.

Bigger than “Sharknado,” for sure, and equally fun. As long as you don't expect too much, you won't be disappointed.

The two-hour adventure comes in three parts. Part one explains how the megalodon has stayed alive but hidden for millions of years, and how it was accidentally released into the Pacific Ocean, becoming instantly fond of the human sushi off China's most popular swimming beach.

Part two is the initial attempt to find and kill this extreme super-shark. At first the effort seems successful, but then...

For part three the underwater special effects really get serious. Jonas becomes obsessed with ending Meg's rule of the ocean's wonders and – just when you are beginning to think Captain Ahab 2.0 -- the final blow is struck to save all humankind and its scuba divers.