Friday, September 24

Tag: 2016

A Season with: Younger (2015 – 2019)
TV Series

A Season with: Younger (2015 – 2019)

Coming from the vision of Sex and the City creator, creator, Younger almost breathes the same air as the cult series in celebrating the agelessness and complexity of adult life. Constructed as a single-camera sitcom, the series—which has ventured for six seasons (all are available at Mola TV) going to seven—peels off the meaning of growing up and restructures as a question. What if people can deceive adultness? By acting like a younger version of herself, the protagonist tries to deconstruct adulthood and exploits it for her own sake. (more…)
A Season with: Humans (2015 – 2018) – Season 1, 2 & 3
TV Series

A Season with: Humans (2015 – 2018) – Season 1, 2 & 3

Humans, created by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley—based on a Swedish series, Real Humans—explores a futuristic world where humans employ androids to do menial works. The story focuses on poignant themes like discrimination, social inequality, and abuse with allusions to real-world stereotypes. In delivering the message, it poses a though-provoking question to ponder upon for the whole 3 seasons (now streaming on Mola TV). What makes us human? (more…)
Silence (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Silence (2016) – Review

Undeniably, Silence is Martin Scorsese’s most personal and ambitious work to date. Adapting Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel of the same title about the voyage of two Jesuit priests in 17th century Japan, in a misty era called ‘Kakure Kirishitan’ or ‘hidden Christian.’ It is a story about faith and questions that surround men of faith in a desperate time. Inarguably, it is poignant, visceral and thought-provoking at the same time – just like faith itself. Silence follows Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garupe (Adam Driver), who voluntarily voyage from Portugal to Japan in order to locate the whereabouts of their missing mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Arriving in Japan, the priests immediately get plunged into the miserable life of Japanese Christians, who live and pray i...
Manchester by the Sea (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea (2016) – Review

Review: In Manchester by the Sea, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan crafts a subtle chef-d’oeuvre of tragedy, involving grief and only grief. And by mentioning ‘tragedy’, what I mean is the ancient form of drama – based on human suffering that appeals audiences’ pleasure; therefore, that doesn’t mean it is a tear-jerking melodrama, although it indeed is a bitter story. And, if Lonergan is the god of this story, this god must have laughed over the tragedy-by-tragedy that strikes its main protagonist and the surroundings. Grief is what force-starts everything in Manchester by the Sea. There we meet our man, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck with devotion), a handyman in Boston and a divorcee. The conspiring nature calls Lee back to his home town, a Massachusetts coast town, Manchester-by-the-Sea, f...
Lion (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Lion (2016) – Review

Review: Inarguably, the true event that inspires Garth Davis’ Lion is a blessing-in-disguise story. A five-year old Indian boy, Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost while going away from home with his older brother. He’s stranded in Calcutta – 1,600KM away from home; survived hardships in street life, before being adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham), who lives in Tasmania. Separated from his birth family and his compassionate brother, Saroo, now a Brierley (portrayed by Dev Patel), grows into a full-fledged Australian – who even forgets to speak Hindi. When hearing about Google Earth, Saroo becomes obsessed with it to trace down his memory lane in attempt to locate his home in India. Will he find his birth house after all? At this point, knowing how this story ends is...
Moonlight (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Moonlight (2016) – Review

At a glance, Moonlight resembles the spirit of Richard Linklater’s magnum opus, Boyhood, in a way that it follows the twisted voyage of a boy to become man, embracing what matters in him. Yet, Moonlight puts twists into this self-discovery drama – challenging black male masculinity with fragility to mirror Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain in a different scale. Writer-director Barry Jenkins adapts Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unperformed play titled ‘In Moonlight Black Boy Looks Blue’ into a three-phase story of a black gay boy’s self-maturation in which each chapter resembles the identity he embraces. As a boy, he’s Little (portrayed by Alex Hibbert), a little bully target taken under the wing of a crack-dealer, Juan (Mahershala Ali); as a teen, he’s Chiron (Ashton Sanders), a taciturn boy who find...
Hell or High Water (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Hell or High Water (2016) – Review

Review:  When their mother died, two brothers – a divorcee Toby (Chris Pine) and an ex-con Tanner (Ben Foster) – get involved in a series of bank-robbing quests, specifically against Texas Midlands Bank – the bank which threats to foreclosure the family’s ranch. Toby, the younger one, is a more motivated mastermind; meanwhile, Tanner, the self-claimed Comanche, is a man with violent tendency. What the brothers bring in Hell or High Water is poetic justice. To minimize risks, the brothers only rob small banks and small bills to get laundered; although Tanner’s explosive behavior always gets his brother frustrated. However, bank robberies have never been a small-time crime not to attract attention. Two Texas Rangers are assigned for the case – Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) and Marcus Hamil...
Fences (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Fences (2016) – Review

Review: Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) walks home from work with his comrade, Bono (Stephen Henderson), talking about work and life as black men in the 1950s' Pittsburgh, before reaching Troy's home, in which Rose (Viola Davis), Troy's wife, has waited. From the blocking, the set arrangement, and the characters' gesture, we already know that Fences is adapted from a play; it is staged like a play, but it ventures further into masterclass, cinematic performance. Troy, a hardened man, was once a talented baseball player, who never made to professional careers due to an issue which he addressed as racial segregation. He's got into an unfortunate event when he's young, but he's overcome it. Since then, Troy becomes bitter and skeptical; he's been building fences---literally and figuratively. ...
La La Land (2016) – Review
Movie Review

La La Land (2016) – Review

Review: Damien Chazelle - the director of critically acclaimed Whiplash - crafts a sharp-witted, jazz-spirited romance in La La Land. It's a love, no, passion letter to the beauty of music, of cinema, of L.A., and of dream. La La Land, undoubtedly, is a bunch of happiness, blissful tunes and whoop-de-do wrapped in an ethereal rhapsody. It's an exhilarating, feel-good musical that will take you to the stars and make you reluctant to touch the ground again, even if you're not familiar with classic musical. This absorbing idyll centers in the intertangled life of Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling), a pianist---jazz purist who aspires to keep 'the jazz' in tact and  to establish a jazz club---and Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress and a barista. The two accidentally meet in...
Arrival (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Arrival (2016) – Review

Review: In Arrival, 12 extraterrestrial saucers mysteriously appear and float above 12 different places around the Earth. Clueless of what they may encounter, humanity quickly falls into fears and turmoil. A linguistic professor, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is summoned into an alien site nearby to decipher the alien's alleged language, to prevent mass hysteria that might lead to a war of the world. David Villeneuve, director of acclaimed grim thrillers (from Incendies to Sicario), picks up where other 'first-contact' predecessors (i.e., The Day the Earth Stood Still or Independence Day) have established and neutralizes it, making it more ambiguous in terms of the hazard. Arrival is presented as a new non-patronizing and non-preachy cerebral sci-fi detailing an mind-bending approach to all...
Cek Toko Sebelah (2016): A treasure no store could sell
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Cek Toko Sebelah (2016): A treasure no store could sell

Review: In his directorial debut, Ngenest, Ernest Prakasa crafts a vocal identity conflict as a man of a Chinese descent living in a country with histories of discrimination towards his people. As much as it is poignant, it hilariously leads the audiences to laugh with, instead of laugh at, the subject matter. The result is witty, ironic self-esteem which works at multi-levels: comedy, romance, and satire. In his sophomore project, Cek Toko Sebelah (literally meaning 'Checking on the store next door'), Ernest takes a completely opposite approach in crafting a comedy that represents his identity. While Ngenest expands the identity issue outwards society, with specific frames to cope up with the quest for acceptance and acknowledgment; Cek Toko Sebelah draws the same issues profoundly in...
Hangout (2016): Hanging out with Death
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Hangout (2016): Hanging out with Death

Review: In Raditya Dika’s Hangout, a mysterious host invites 9 Indonesian foremost celebrities to a lush resort in a remote island for three days with no definite reason. Thinking it is as a secret casting invitation, those 9 brats are coming around. Among those 9 stars, versatile Indonesian director/poker-faced actor/writer/stand-up comedian/YouTube personality, Raditya Dika lurks around after being financially indebted. Along with Dika, Soleh Solihun, a stand-up comedian turned disastrous reality show presenter, also came while holding grudge to Dika for making him losing a role for box office hit called Korea Forever. Aside from the frenemy, other celebs i.e, veteran Mathias Muchus, flamboyant Surya Saputra, adventurousTiti Kamal, filthy Dinda Kanya Dewi, Gading Marten, YouTube vlogger ...
The Girl on the Train (2016) – Review
Movie Review

The Girl on the Train (2016) – Review

Review: Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train is reasonably dubbed as Gone Girl of 2015 when it became a bestselling phenomena awhile ago for sharing some mutual qualities with Gillian Flynn's. Both are being written by former-journalist female authors, describing specific girls on the title, involving missing girls, devising unreliable narrators, and being bestselling thrillers. When Gone Girl results in a compelling adaptation by David Fincher, the odds are high for Paula Hawkins' to be adapted into silver screen. Yet, this time, The Girl on the Train adaptation simply is not the Gone Girl of 2016 if you might expect. (more…)
Passengers (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Passengers (2016) – Review

Review: "Kita adalah sepasang kekasih yang pertama bercinta di luar angkasa. Seperti takkan pernah pulang, kau membias di udara dan terhempaskan cahaya..." That piece of beautiful metaphor-ridden lyrics from Indonesian indie hero, Melancholic Bitch, heaves as my mind  attempts to internalize the whole sense in Morten Tyldum's Passengers. Roughly, those lyrics tells a story of the first couple of lovers, who make love in space despite the tragic life they're living in. Sounds familiar It's Passengers' plot in brief. Passengers is a journey, an unexpected journey set in Avalon, a starship transporting 5000 cryo-sleeping passengers to Homestead II, a new human colony, 120 years away from Earth. Unfortunately, a malfunctioned pod accidentally wakes a passenger, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), 90 ye...
Assassin's Creed (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Assassin's Creed (2016) – Review

Review: Crafted from a game of the same title with movie-material gameplay and interesting pseudo-sci-fi premise; then helmed by Justin Kurzel, the man who successfully adapted the cursed play, Macbeth, along with the stars, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; Technically, Assassin’s Creed would have made ‘the first’ beautifully compelling video-game adaptation. Yet, it simply doesn’t. Apparently, the culprit is the script, written by Michael Lesslie (Macbeth) and retouched by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (Exodus, Allegiant), which cannot accommodate the sense of excitement the game offers, and instead overplots it. Instead of moving the story forward, this Assassin’s Creed is slowing it steps down with uneffective faux complexities. (more…)

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