Review Sebelum Iblis Menjemput / May the Devil Take You (2018)

Sebelum Iblis Menjemput is the prodigal cousin of Evil Dead.

Timo Tjahjanto’s (half of The Mo Brothers) May the Devil Take You (originally titled ‘Sebelum Iblis Menjemput‘) is the prodigal cousin of Evil Dead who lives too far abroad that it gets tangled deeper in the hardcore nastiness of occultism. The nightmare it introduces might feel close and yet so far; but then, this bone-chilling and blood-gushing diabolical phantasmagoria is a guaranteed tough watch. It’s definitely not for the fainted heart; but, most definitely, it’s not for the pious heart.

Pedantic resemblances to its influence is inevitable, however, May the Devil Take You is bold enough to differ in all its nightmarish way. While it’s a cabin-in-the-wood story—only the cabin is changed into an abandoned resting villa (well, it’s a holiday cabin for Indonesians after all) with a ridiculously hard locked door to basement and a strange entity’s first-person POV as well, it’s not a groovy ordeal; it’s a pure horror that embraces every notion in Stephen King’s infamous quote, “nightmares exist out of logic.” Continue reading “Review Sebelum Iblis Menjemput / May the Devil Take You (2018)”

Review The Meg (2018)

As if bringing Statham diving back to the depth isn’t enough, The Meg plunges him into a mediocre B-movie party.

Movie review The Meg (2018): The Meg should be okay if it sticks for two purposes only. To highlight Jason Statham—recently has made quite a name as an action hero—in his diving tenure reunion is the first. To see that same Statham fights a colossal, prehistoric shark in the open ocean, both sides’ home ground, should be the second. The rest should be history. Alas it’s not a history we expect it to be. A series of historical meme is what it eventually deserves.

Fashioned as a pseudo sci-fi blockbuster (if there’s another sky above the sky, there should be another ocean under the ocean), The Meg unravels the beast right from the start to f*ck Jonas’ (Statham) rescue mission. There’s a few years gap between the opening and the ‘real story’; however, the focus gets back to Statham almost immediately when a deep sea research team is trapped in the bed of the ocean-under-ocean. The rescue mission apparently unleashes the Megalodon to the open water. For that, Statham’s Jonas must fight it before everybody on a tourist-laden beach becomes easy prey. Continue reading “Review The Meg (2018)”

Review Kafir (2018)

Kafir is a well-crafted horror of local occultism culminating in visceral, over-the-top payback.

Review Kafir (2018): After the gruesome death of the father, a family is plagued by mysterious atrocities in amidst of overwhelming grieves and senses of isolation. Simple as it may sound, Kafir (subtitled ‘Bersekutu dengan Setan’, trans. ‘selling one’s soul to the devil’) is surprisingly delivering an above-average performance among Indonesian new-wave horrors.

In Kafir, the terror comes when the recently widowed Sri (Putri Ayudya, delivering one of the best horror performances in the recent years) begins to believe that an insidious force is preying on her family. Starting off with her husband (Teddy Syah), the malicious energy she allegedly guesses as a result of ‘santet’—a form of evil spell in local occultism—gets enraged in endangering her and her two children (Rangga Azof and Nadya Karina). From there, Kafir presents downright (while not consistently) terrors in whatever forms it can have (including in its tackiest form, to be honestly speaking). Continue reading “Review Kafir (2018)”

Review Brother of the Year (2018)

Presenting a sharp (but not unusual) blend of exaggerated sibling-rivalry dramedy and sweet romcom, Brother of the Year crafts a heartwarming comedy with unexpected (but effectively presented) turn.

Review Brother of the Year: In Vitthaya Thongyuyong’s GDH-produced blockbuster, what started out as a family dramedy about sibling rivalry quickly escalates into a full-fledged sentimental drama in an unexpected (but effectively presented) turn.

GDH darling, Sunny Suwanmethanont, stars as Chut—a less-motivated slacker, whose perfectly filthy bachelorhood life breaks after his multitalented sister, Jane (Urassaya Sperbund) returns home from her university time in Japan. As a blockbuster filled with sharp comedy materials upfront, it’s surprising that Brother of the Year takes a bold (but not strange) move to bit-by-bit leave its non-serious material (which powered most of its first half) and focus on a serious material, which might, at least, get lumps in your throat. Continue reading “Review Brother of the Year (2018)”

Review Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Movie Review Mission Impossible Fallout (2018). It’s a taut and highly energized action extravaganza whose energy is abundantly channeled even in the slower first half.

Movie Review Mission Impossible Fallout (2018): Previous five Mission: Impossible movies have all showcased different flairs of action spectacles under five different directors. All five movies have made quite a reputation to be that action franchise with consistently fresh and innovative death-defying stunts (ever so often done by the franchise’s face—Tom Cruise). Now, with Fallout, this franchise finally makes another reputation—to be one of the rarest franchises in which each installment is technically overdoing the predecessors.

Tom Cruise reprises his role both as Ethan Hunt and as the death-defying stunt performer (this time he did a highly-choreographed HALO jump and he even piloted a helicopter), that renowned IMF agent who has been accomplishing impossible missions since around 2 decades ago. As the title might suggest, Fallout is about dramatic chaos as a result of a dramatic event; but, look closely, you might also find a clue about the sheer hazard the protagonist might be facing should they fail this time—fallout of nuclear explosion. One thing for sure, Fallout is a globe-trotting action bravura which highlights Tom Cruise ‘dedicated’ stardom in all the decent way. Continue reading “Review Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)”

Movie Review Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

With catchy tunes, heartfelt fan-service treatment and juxtaposed narrative, the uplifting prequel not only completes (even, exceeds) the original Mamma Mia, but it also works delicately as a standalone story

Movie Review Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018): Several years have passed since the kitschy Mamma Mia! (2018), where Meryl Streep teams up with all-star casts of all generations (including Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard plus younger generation casts, such as Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper) creating a campy—and tacky—musical drama about family and dream. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) brings audiences back to the Greek island, Kalokairi, where the first film commenced, for an (sadly) incomplete reunion.

Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the sequel) pens and treats Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again as if it is the Godfather II with Streep as Brando and Seyfried as Pacino. To complete the Godfather manifestation, they even have Lily James as De Niro of Mamma Mia!. Even further, this second movie also serves as both prequel and sequel with stories that juxtapose into each other and into the original story. Wherefore, it makes a better movie in terms of presentation—‘correcting’ the flimsiness of the original. Continue reading “Movie Review Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)”