Annabelle: Creation (2017) – Review

Review: Cast Lulu Wilson in a prequel to critically lambasted horror film and you might get a decent horror. That statement might sound silly, but if you look closely, there’s something virtuous to deduce that a ‘bad horror’ isn’t the end. Annabelle: Creation, an origin story to John Leonetti’s Conjuring spin-off, Annabelle (2014), along with Ouija: Origin of Evil—also casting Wilson, has proven that horror franchise might still have a second chance if done properly.

Creation goes further before the titular demonic doll came into The Warrens’ possession, even further before the haunting of The Forms. The title itself has pre-explained what this horror is about: the genesis on how a ‘seemingly lovable’ child-friendly (which I myself doubt) doll turns into an evil carrier. Question is: would knowing how things will turn out make this film scary-less or, say, obsolete?

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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

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

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) – Review

Review: After nearly two decades, Luc Besson finally materializes Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a space adventure adapted from his childhood favorite comic ‘Valérian and Laureline’—which he’s been craving to make ever since The Fifth Element (1997).

With visual endeavors the size of Cameron’s Avatar and vibrant universe to rival Star Wars (if not Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending) also with largest budget in French cinema history, it is exactly the size of Besson’s ambition on full creative control mode. The result is an elegant (borderline to over-the-top) space odyssey if not a style-over-substance one by any measure. What Valerian doesn’t have is a compelling script to cover the whole duration.

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