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Summer movies 2019: More women, more representation, still lots of explosions

Monsters rise in the disaster movie “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” Photo: Warner Bros.

Dinosaurs and superheroes roamed onscreen last summer, as they do most summers. But films about con women and wealthy Singaporeans were the biggest movie stories of summer 2018.

The box office success of “Ocean’s 8,” a female offshoot of a man’s-man franchise, and “Crazy Rich Asians,” a glossy romance with a mostly Asian cast, augured a new era of inclusion — one that carries on in 2019’s summer movie lineup. But signs of greater representation for women and people of color are more widespread this year.

These signs come in the forms of a member of the Men in Black team who is not a man (Tessa Thompson, from “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Avengers: Endgame”) and in a remake of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” with female leads. The signs also are evident in two films with primarily Latinx casts: “El Chicano,” a masked-avenger action thriller, and “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” the live-action adaptation of the beloved kids’ cartoon.

Movements like #OscarSoWhite and #MeToo now have been around long enough for movies, with their famously long lead times, to catch up. That this correspondence is happening in summer is especially heartening, because real progress does not occur through Oscar-season message movies like “Green Book.” Real progress happens when greater representation becomes just another part of the summer popcorn season, infusing into A-, B- and C-grade genre films, and thus the true fabric of Hollywood entertainment.

Progress is not always classy. Sometimes it’s Octavia Spencer playing unhinged in a B-movie thriller (“Ma,” out in May) instead of Katherine Heigl doing it. But for those seeking a Sundance imprimatur, there’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” which comes with indie credentials similar

Article source: https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/movies-tv/summer-movies-2019-more-women-more-representation-still-lots-of-explosions

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