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

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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?

Baywatch (2017) – Review

Review: Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron bulk the summer blockbuster up—with feast of abs, boobs, and sea-water—in all-new Baywatch. As another effort to revamp classic telly shows into big-screen (after 21 Jump Street and CHIPs, long after The A-Team), this diary of lifeguards ups its stakes with an infamous R rating. The rating seems imaginable—for a more explicit sexual contents and insensitive banters—at some points; but, it ends up being far-fetched and irrelevant eventually.

Johnson takes up the mantle long left by David Hasselhoff as Mitch Buchannon. He’s a former military who now serves as leader of Emerald Bay’s Baywatch—under fine amalgam of Johnson’s typical character and Hasselhoff’s persona. Meanwhile, Efron is Matt Brody, a former U.S. swimmer and Olympic medalist, sentenced to serve for community service as a lifeguard in Mitch’s domain after committing public embarrassment. Those two names are beacons for Baywatch aside from the team’s ‘babewatch’—Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera), Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), and C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach, taking up the mantle from Pamela Anderson) —as well as the comic relief, Ronnie (Jon Bass). Continue reading Baywatch (2017) – Review

Filosofi Kopi 2 (2017): A homecoming

Review: Started up as a road film, where two titular celebrated hipsters’ coffee shop, Filosofi Kopi, roams around cities and islands of Indonesia, yet Filosofi Kopi 2 (subtitled Ben & Jody) only officially starts when life happens to strike the collective dream. Wandering around as a vagabond coffee shop isn’t a choice anymore; therefore, Ben (Chicco Jerikho) and Jody (Rio Dewanto) decide to return to Jakarta in a homecoming to start over, to start fresh; in a homecoming that leads to other homecomings.

In starting over, Ben and Jody encounter Tarra (Luna Maya), an entrepreneur who is eager to invest for Filosofi Kopi’s rebirth. During the same period, a young, austere barista named Brie (Nadine Alexandra) is recruited by Jody to assist behind the bar. The reawakening, orchestrated by those four central figures along with their old comrades, turns out bringing more challenges not only to the idealism of the coffee shop, but also to Ben and Jody’s almost immortal bromance.  Continue reading Filosofi Kopi 2 (2017): A homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Review

Review: In establishing his own ‘Sony’ world, the all-new Spidey (Tom Holland) has to swing across Marvel Cinematic Universe, find a more established mentor in Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and make an experimental entrance in Sokovian Accords feud—which made it into Spider-Man: Homecoming as Peter Parker’s vlog. Head-started with the Civil War (2016) stunt, director Jon Watts (Cop Car, Clown) along with five other writers deconstruct the web-slinging hero’s origin story, infuse it with coming-of-age gusto and redefine the old formula to make this third cinematic incarnation of Spider-Man a frivolously clumsy one.

As you’ve seen in his Captain America’s hijack, Holland’s Spidey is no more than a high school chap—barely 15 and a member of school’s decathlon team. Homecoming highlights his return to school after that ‘Stark internship’ in Berlin, where his mundane geeking/being bullied/being unpopular life has waited. Tenure with Tony Stark has given him high hopes of big action and great vigilante stunts; but a month has passed and he’s only becoming ‘the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, as an extracurricular activity. Continue reading Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Review

Okja (2017) – Review

Review: Whoever thought that Netflix and its streaming-giant comrades are not part of ‘future of the cinema’ should watch Bong Joon-ho’s (Memories of Murders, Snowpiercer) latest work, Okja—a feat endorsed by Netflix which sparked controversy in the 70th Cannes Film Festival. Joon-ho’s second international feature evidently demonstrates what would happen if an auteur is funded to make a blockbuster with full creative controls.

Working with oddball-specialist Jon Ronson (gonzo journalist who wrote the embryo of Frank and The Men Who Stare at Goat), Joon-ho crafts a prolific blockbuster to wage war against animal cruelty and capitalism of food industry in the weirdest way. Delivered in the auteur’s most original frameworkwith shades of deadpan humor and bitter satirein collaboration with Hollywood’s most versatile figures, Okja nests it all in a modest story about a superpig of the titular name. Continue reading Okja (2017) – Review