Siti (2015) – Review

Review: Siti might flaunt an award-bait starter pack—black-and-white cinematography; pretentious 4:3 aspect ratio; beautifully choreographed long, tracking shots—on the surface, but all of those are no further than a meaningful cover to an intense character study which lies within.

Before the soaring waves of Parangtritis—one of the most famous beaches in Yogyakarta, Indonesia—Siti clamors a rambunctious protest. Not like a highfalutin satire to political issues or modern day slavery, it’s a more traditional and ingrained issue—so ingrained that it is considered a living norm. What Siti attempts to unravel is a tragedy as a result of that issue, wrapped in a modest but essential nod towards role of woman in a patriarch culture.

It’s a story of a woman, the titular character (Sekar Sari)—who breaks the ordinary, working a double job for her family. Continue reading Siti (2015) – Review

Room (2015) – Review

Review: Impossible not to love Room for what it delivers: a profoundly heart-wrenching mother-and-son drama and a showcase of heart-throbbing performances by Oscar nominee, Brie Larson, and Jacob Tremblay.

Room, at its core, is a partial survival story; with the other part—which dominates most—is a borderless motherly love story. The story revolves around the life of Joy (Brie Larson), who has been living in a confined ‘room’ for seven years after being abducted when she’s 17. For the last five years, she’s been raising her son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), while being held captive within four walls of the ‘room.’

For Joy—or let’s call her ‘Ma’—the whole room is a harrowing prison, where sense of constriction and claustrophobic is separating her from the real world. However, it’s not the same thing for Jack; for him, the ‘room’ is whole world. Continue reading Room (2015) – Review

Macbeth (2015) – Review

Review: Macbeth, or better call it The Scottish play, isn’t only Shakespeare’s most straight-forward troupe, but also the direst and most superstitious—with plenty of harrowing imagery and the real-life curse.

Australian director, Justin Kurzel, is seemingly persistent to be faithful to the source when adapting Macbeth in his 110-minute long adaptation of Shakespeare’s short tragedy. Act-per-act and specific scenes are staged loyally to give cinematic visual treatment to the play. Even, poetic, enigmatic, but resourceful dialogues are directly transliterated—to resonate the originality of the play—in juxtaposition with idyllic visuals which talks like poetry.

Macbeth is a story of the degradation and corruption of a good man’s heart in the hand of ambition. Continue reading Macbeth (2015) – Review

The Diary of A Teenage Girl (2015) – Review

Short Review: “I had sex today,” Minnie Goetze opens The Diary of a Teenage Girl in a rollicking, proud gesture. That uncensored, honest confession leads to a quirky coming-of-age humor, this adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner’s self-inspired graphic novel might be: A very heart-pounding sexual odyssey, which doesn’t judge.

Not necessarily a juvenile version of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac or The Graduate with unapologetic reversion, yet, The Diary of a Teenage Girl revolves around a 15-y.o. precocious Minnie. She is as confused as she’s ever been when she’s willingly losing her virginity to Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård), who happens to be the beloved boyfriend of her mother (Kristen Wiig). Continue reading The Diary of A Teenage Girl (2015) – Review

The Hateful Eight (2015) – Review

Review: Here comes Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film – a quintessence of his spaghetti western tendency and, mostly, a collection of all his cinematic wonders which serves as a kind of ‘greatest hits compilation’ in The Hateful Eight. By far, this second Western to QT’s universe is the most fun, enjoyable and digestible. Also, this one is possibly the film QT enjoyed most during the ‘troublesome’ making.

Entirely shot with 70 MM Ultra Panavision – which I wasn’t fortunate enough to enjoy (lucky those who watched it as it should have been projected; or at least got the correct aspect ratio on cinema), The Hateful Eight is set during a post-Civil War blizzard at Minnie’s Haberdashery, where the titular hateful eight people – plus one least hateful one (who doesn’t get counted) and one surprise hit one (who doesn’t get counted as well) got trapped. Staged like a Broadway play which is divided into 6 chapters, dominated with witty dialogues in a sense like a courtroom drama… without the boredom, it’s a slow-burning fun, which leads to an ultra-violent conclusion. Continue reading The Hateful Eight (2015) – Review

The 5th Wave (2016) – Review

In a wave of dystopian young adult novel adaptations – in which 3-4 teenage spirits of similar theme released every year – J Blakeson’s adaptation of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave might just be “another entry” to the genre tropes. It has another girl to change the world in Chloe Grace Moretz; it has an effective background to the dystopian world; but most importantly, it has every cliché that you have ever seen in a YA adaptation.

Moretz is Cassie Sullivan, an ordinary high school girl in Ohio; she’s a going-home-on-time kind of girl and her family is a lively one. Yet, it’s all short-lived when a mysterious alien spacecraft suddenly appears on the sky.

What makes the alien different is: it’s not a once-for-all apocalypse bringer. They instead deliver the apocalypse in multiple modes, hence the titular “wave.” Firstly, electromagnetic waves are released to shut down the world’s power. Secondly, mega-scale earthquake delivers catastrophe; following is tidal waves all around the world sweeping the land as the third wave. The fourth wave is a pandemic avian flu wiping out the rest of humanity. Before the titular wave, big things happen to Cassie and what follows is: banalities. Continue reading The 5th Wave (2016) – Review

Movie reviews, ratings, and discussions by Paskalis Damar

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