Mars Met Venus: Part Cowo (2017): A chicken noodle parable at best

Review: In Mars Met Venus: Part Cowo, a boy and a girl in a relationship is analogized as water and oil that naturally cannot mix. However, both can somehow blend into perfection if mixed with noodle, spices, broth, vegetables, and minced chicken meat and made into chicken noodle soup. Good news is that blend is delicious. That kind of parable—that kind of absurd, wacky jive—is what distances Part Cowo from Part Cewe.

Nataya Bagya’s script still over-heightens stereotypes about gender roles in relationship. Yet, Part Cowo is presented in a more devil-may-care and more independent fashion, provoking an unpredictable sentimental moments. While Part Cewe feels a little restricted in portraying its gleeful, saccharine-heavy endeavor, Part Cowo breaks the romance boundary and, as the chicken noodle soup, calls out more elements in adorning Kelvin and Mila’s (Ge Pamungkas and Pamela Bowie) relationship. Continue reading Mars Met Venus: Part Cowo (2017): A chicken noodle parable at best

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Berangkat! (2017): Thanks to the magic mushroom

Review: In an era where injecting traveling utopia and road trip has been a popular formula in Indonesian film industry, Naya Anindita’s Berangkat! pushes that trope into a whole different level. Her latest road trip feature thrusts the R-rated boundary into borderline absurdity. Weirdly, the sheer bedlam is quite enjoyable. Thanks to the magic mushroom.

While the magic mushroom wouldn’t appear on screen until an hour passing by, the effect has always been there from the beginning, from the introduction of the film’s main protagonists—Jano (Tara Budiman), Joana (Ayushita) and Dika (Ringgo Agus Rahman). Those three close chaps immediately engage in a road trip to Ijen before heading to Bali before encountering a Herbalove-addicted hippie, Gimbal (Tanta Ginting). Fueled by thick friendship, blind love, academic ambition, weird science (as in John Hughes’ Weird Science), and mechanophiliac fetish, the motley crues hit the road. Continue reading Berangkat! (2017): Thanks to the magic mushroom

Blindspot: Chariots of Fire (1981)

“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure,” said Eric Liddell to his pious sister.

Of God and men, of faith and patriotism, for serving God and breaking stereotypes, Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire wraps them all in a biopic about British athletic team’s triumphant victory in the 1924 Olympics. It’s a rare picture which concatenates the urgency of nationalism, ambition, and the evangelism on running tracks, making it one of the strongest Best Picture winners. Continue reading Blindspot: Chariots of Fire (1981)

Dunkirk (2017) – Review

Review: In Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan reenacts a pivotal WWII moment dubbed as ‘Operation Dynamo’ a.k.a. ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’ as an epochal non-victorious, non-Americanized spectacle in only 106 minutes—making it his shortest but also most precise and concise tenure among his recent work. It might be a fact-based war film the auteur unlikely to make; yet, Dunkirk is still a Nolan epic through and through—with inventive storytelling, heartfelt tension and Nolan’s math.

It’s 1940 where approximately 400,000 allied soldiers of British Empire and France were cornered in a French beach town, Dunkirk; in a literal “between the Devil and the deep blue sea” circumstance. What separates those defenseless soldiers and home are only Nazis following from the land behind, Nazis bombing from the air above, Nazis torpedoing over the sea and the freezing 100 kilometers of sea. Rescue ships cannot reach the shore; only private boats, yachts and civilian tugboats can reach the ground. On the brink of a colossal loss, miracle only happens when home comes to those men who cannot go home. Continue reading Dunkirk (2017) – Review

The Doll 2 (2017): Clumsy horror with a chance of bloodfest

Review: What The Doll 2 excels in is the fact that it could, at some points, drive a guilt-ridden drama into a full-frontal horror with chance of bloodfest. It had the ingredients right and, at some specific points, had the moment in crafting an atmospheric psycho-horror that plays out with grief and lonesome before drowning into an endless ambition to scare the hell out of people.

This sequel reconstructs the predecessor’s formula—a possessed doll, a small family, and a havoc—into a less original, yet more stable built. It retains only one connection to The Doll (2016) in terms of mother-child bond, which is exploited as the foundation of this new breed. That ‘broken’ bond is what brings horror into the table and, literally, what brings the otherworldly force into the doll. Continue reading The Doll 2 (2017): Clumsy horror with a chance of bloodfest

Mars Met Venus: Part Cewe (2017): Are women from real Venus?

Review: In Mars Met Venus (divided into two interrelated parts: Part Cewe, the girl’s version, and Part Cowo, the boy’s version), gender differences are heightened in a relationship between completely-opposed couple. Part Cewe encompasses the girl’s point of view in the saccharine-laced rapport, adorning it with gender judgment, principle and trifles.

Pamela Bowie is Mila—the Venus, the girlfriend in the story. She’s a girl of charm and popularity, who dates an unpopular guy, Kelvin (Ge Pamungkas). Mila is open, passionate, talkative, and more controlling in the relationship; meanwhile, Kelvin is more submissive and restricted. After five year in a relationship, the boy invites the girl to make a vlog about their love journey, with a hidden intention to propose her. Yet, conflicts start to embark during the vlog production. Never-been-seen-before details begin to unravel, jeopardizing love they’ve built for the last five years. Continue reading Mars Met Venus: Part Cewe (2017): Are women from real Venus?

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Movie reviews, ratings, and discussions by Paskalis Damar