Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) – BALINALE Review

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) – BALINALE Review // YAY!: It’s exceptionally beautiful and amazingly well-acted / it’s self-aware of its quirkiness but deals with it great / It’s a positive fan-service homage to the modern day artsy-hipster viewers / NAY!: Sometimes it focuses to “Me” more than to Earl and the Dying Girl // 3.5 out of 4

“I have no idea how to tell this story,” Greg (Thomas Mann) opens the story in such fashion; to some points, he’s being honest. In fact, this 2015 Sundance darling (winner of Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award) is not as sad as its titular introduction; instead of being tear-jerking, alas, it’s full of clever laugh and spazzing moodbooster. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a celebration of life, death, and friendship—but more than that, it’s a celebration of being youth and quirky.

Greg is an awkward and self-loathing senior student whose school-years were spent to play politics beyond school’s cliques in order to look “invisible.” From her mother, he learns that his friend, whom he never have spoken to since childhood, Rachel (Olivia Cooke) is dying of leukemia. Her mother forces him to, once again, befriend Rachel through his desperate time which Greg reluctantly does.  Continue reading “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) – BALINALE Review”


Ricki and the Flash (2015) – BALINALE Review

There are some cases where the movie is too little to contain the star factor of its star. Ricki and the Flash is one of them. With Oscar-winning director, Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) and Oscar-winning writer, Cody Diablo (Juno), as helmers, it is no more than a regular drama with chic and witty dialogues, but mostly, with a serious cliche problem which has gone to “small” to contain 19-times Oscar nominee, Meryl Streep.

The premise is cool, though. Meryl Streep is a rock-chic, Ricki Rendazzo, who chose her rock-and-roll career over her family in the past. Yet, fortune has brought her home when her former husband (Kevin Kline) suddenly reappears. Reason is, her daughter, Julie (Mamie Gummer—Streep’s real-life daughter) is suicidal as a result of her marriage failure. The thing is, home has never been the same for Ricki as she returns and encounters confrontations.  Continue reading “Ricki and the Flash (2015) – BALINALE Review”

Güeros (2015) – BALINALE Review

During the middle act of Güeros—Alonso Ruizpalacios’ whimsical directorial debut, a character talks to another, complaining about Mexican filmmakers make a so-called art film, shoot it in black and white with the infusion of poverty, corruptions, riots, and gangsters in background, then go to overseas festival, attempts to convince French critics about its substance, yet, instead of self-funding it, those filmmakers uses money collected from taxes. While the other character gives an amen to it.

Güeros is self-aware of itself as that movie who tries to be pretentious and artsy as described by its own characters, only in D.I.Y. indie side. That spirit is what the movies tries to depict and emanate—the pretentious rebel of youth in a solid satire of teen angst in a political collapsed country.

Loosely based on the 1999 UNAM student riots in Mexico City, Güeros is a coming of age rebellious act and art. It follows the tail of Federico “Sombra” (Tenoch Huerta), a philosophically depressed student whose life is left to nothingness after the university collapsed. With his buddy, Santos (Leonardo Ortizgris), Sombra spends the day slacking over, doing nothing, and occasionally tricks their disable neighbor to get free electricity.

Life changes when Sombra’s little brother, Tomás is sent by his fed-up mother to live with him.  Continue reading “Güeros (2015) – BALINALE Review”

Black Mass (2015) – Review

We get the FBI to fight our wars, and we get to do whatever we want to do!” — Whitey Bulger

Gangster movies return to its lair with Scott Cooper’s based-on-true-event bonanza, Black Mass. Revolving around the life of James “Whitey” Bulger, dubbed as the #2 most wanted fugitive in America after Osama bin Laden, this biopic is a manifestation of evil at its purest; but, most importantly, it’s a bloody comeback stage for your favorite, Johnny Depp.

First thing first, forget the queer pirate image or other costumed image of Depp from mind, because one thing that I’m gonna underline from the beginning is: Depp as Whitey Bulger will spit on them all. Not quirky at all, not even mythical; his character is as human as he might ever be—though, do not think of ordinary human with compassion and conscience. Continue reading “Black Mass (2015) – Review”

Thursday Movie Picks #39: All in the Family Edition: Adopted/Foster Families

All my personal favorite movies about adopted/foster families: from a story about adopting ‘wrong’ child; Korean fantasy of being a family; Ellen Page seeks parents for her baby; or a group facility of troubled kids.

Here comes the last Thursday of the month, where we got All in the Family Edition in Thursday Movie Picks hosted by Wandering through the Shelves. This week’s theme is Adopted/Foster Families—which makes me excited ’cause I could immediately think of 3 movies to pick aside from Tarzan, who is adapted by gorillas.

So, here’s my pick!  Continue reading “Thursday Movie Picks #39: All in the Family Edition: Adopted/Foster Families”

Everest (2015) – Review

Everest is the top of the world, people said, and this star-studded docudrama attempts to unravel the other side of the highest mountain on Earth with a based-on-a-true-event tragedy of men against nature.

People desired to lay one’s feet on Everest—8848 masl, the same height as Boeing 747 altitude, and, history has recorded it: 1996 is a tragedy for Everest. Thin air makes it hard to breathe, low temperature numbs the limbs, and steep tracks awaits.

Rob Hall (Jason Clarke)—5-times conquering Everest—guided a group of clients to the top of the world. Along his group is Scott Fischer’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) and other expeditions lining up in South Col with total 33 people. Preparation took more than a month, but nature had a different agenda—a true storm’s coming while they’re on top. The question is: how would they manage to survive?  Continue reading “Everest (2015) – Review”