Summer blockbuster season has begun! Series of blockbusters have been released to market as baits to a lukewarm result. In Indonesia, the annual Eid al-Fitr blockbuster season had passed, too, to lukewarm result as well. And… Netflix had been a powerhouse for the whole month with the most talked film in 2017 and one of the best binge-worthy series up for streaming.
So, here I present you a recap to help readers digest what have been going on Sinekdoks along June 2017!
Here’s list of new releases I watched on Indonesian theaters (and Netflix) along June 2017 (listed from the highest score to the lowest):
Okja (Bong Joon-ho) wages war against animal cruelty and capitalism of food industry in the weirdest way.
Sweet 20 (Ody C. Harahap) makes an uplifting Miss Granny adaptation with perfect casting, heartfelt chemistry and flood of emotions.
47 Meters Down (Johannes Roberts) delivers cheap thrills despite its frustrating narrative, characterizations, and twist.
The Mummy (Alex Kurtzman) loses its mythical charm, ironically, right when the titular monster takes form, igniting a beleaguered Dark Universe.
Mantan (Svetlana Dea) is a dialogue-heavy romcom, which grounds between a social satire and a pure reconciliation game, but never really ends up being any of them.
Jailangkung (Rizal Mantovani, Jose Purnomo) almost made a decent horror should it not be weighed down by weak narrative, dialogues & basically everything but the visuals.
Insya Allah, Sah! (Benni Setiawan) blends chaotic marriage preparation drama with some religious niches, the final picture comes like hit-and-miss at worst and preachy at best.
Transformers: The Last Knight (Michael Bay) offers no new insight to the storyline but bunch of same day, different spectacles.
Rain Man (1988) by Barry Levinson becomes my pick for June in Blindspot Series 2017 (by Ryan McNeill of The Matinee). Rain Man brought home Best Picture in Oscars 1989 along with 3 other awards. For modern viewers, it gives nothing particularly new, but a juggernaut of a performance by both leads.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999, Anthony Minghella)
Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel about a full-time charismatic bachelor and part-time sociopath, Tom Ripley, first found its incarnation in French-Italian production, Plein soleil a.k.a. Purple Noon, which was lauded as a top-notch thriller of its generation. This American-in-Italy story emanates a more Europe tropes under Clément; however, it lacks of the ironic conclusion, in which Highsmith’s novel excels. Meanwhile, Minghella—an Italian in America—crafts a version, which is more faithful to the source, and delivers a more scandalous, satisfying ending. However, both Plein soleil and The Talented Mr. Ripley find a common ground in the exquisite portrayal of Tom Ripley—Alain Delon in 1960 and Matt Damon in 1999.
3:10 to Yuma (2007, James Mangold)
The title refers to the 3:10 train to Yuma Prison which becomes the center of the original and the remake. James Mangold (The Wolverine, Logan) makes a stunning re-imagining of the Western classic faithfully but saves a more thought-provoking feud for the ending. In 3:10 to Yuma, Dan Evans (Christian Bale, 2007; Van Helfin, 1957) takes a dire task to escort outlaw, Ben Wade (Russell Crow, 2007; Glen Ford, 1957) to the titular train, to be executed. Daves’ version is a compelling one with taut study of symbolism at best; Mangold’s version, however, takes a more straightforward attempt by creating a more complex motivation-laden spectacle. The different ending, yet, signifies a complete different frame of story.
The Belko Experiment (2016, Greg McLean)
Written by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither), The Belko Experiment crafts a claustrophobic psychological thriller with an office party massacre, which might remind you to some other films with similar theme. At some points, it delivers the thrills convincingly, but its lack of originality and sense of predictability hinder it from reaching a higher potential, as in becoming Cabin in the Woods 2k17, possibly.
Song to Song (2017, Terrence Malick)
The auteur returns with another visual panache narrating a sophisticated love intersections between musicians and producers in forms of Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara and Michael Fassbender. Betrayals and egoism reluctantly fill each screen with Emmanuel Lubezki’s visual poetry. However, Malick’s modern inability to craft an engaging, understandable, and coherent story sends Song to Song to his own creative abyss. For your consideration, this film is more to Knight of Cups than Days of Heaven.
A SEASON WITH
Many of 2017 TV series wrapped the season in June, while I only followed a weekly Hulu series, a weekly STARZ-Amazon Prime series, an FX series and a Netflix bingewatch. Below are the reviews with links and descriptions.
The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 1) is beautifully crafted visually and exceptionally acted to serve as a real-life caution for the viewers.
American Gods (Season 1) presents more set-ups than actions, more direct fantasy manifestations than outright philosophy-heavy discourse.
Fargo (Season 3) displays a sense of maturity that transcends Fargo into a reflection of irony—not as predictable irony of human reflection.
GLOW (Season 1) is a splendid blend of many things—from campy female wrestling, satire to telly industry, feminism spirit and rage against racial stereotypes—that work fascinatingly.