Imagine the intimidating presence of JK Simmons (Whiplash) lurking on the screen almost in every moment. Now imagine there are two Simmons crowding the screen with menacing personas, both showcasing the actor’s unprecedented grittiness. That’s what Counterpart (created by The Jungle Book live-action’s writer, Justin Marks) is all about—a master-class from the actor in a uniformly brilliant dual performance.
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.
Unlike previous years, 2017 was actually saving us a great year of cinematic history. While the award seasons seem cool without overly strong contenders, the year actually gave us a diverse, colorful series of cinematic wonders. We saw the rise of new forces, new auteurs and recognition to minority-group filmmakers, including the whole new face of women's cinema and the answers to the #SoWhite campaign. We also saw how scandals and the massive expose that followed turned Hollywood upside down. Yet, for whatever happened in the industry, cinematic world did not cease to amuse us with the wonders, hence this list of 2017 best films. (more…)
Review: There’s a lot of joy in the superfluous sequel/spin-off of Robin Williams’ 1995 boardgame comedy, Jumanji. The legendary boardgame is no longer; it’s morphed into a 1980s’ videogame console. The predecessor’s heart, the talk about responsibility, is also stripped off---substituted with non-stop merriment and teen-angst. The result is a feel-good blockbuster packed with tons of fun and joyride carrying the best of the holiday vibes.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starts off by absurdly channeling The Breakfast Club before sucking out the four protagonists into the heart of the artificial jungle in a whole new action RPG. We have the nerd (Alex Wolff), the jock (Ser’Darius Blain), the recluse (Morgan Turner) and Molly Ringwald of Instagram era (Madison Iseman) playing the game. Insid...
Review: Wonder, based on R.J. Palacio’s 2012 bestseller, observes the bright side of every event revolves around the first ‘normal’ school year of a boy with facial deformities. There’s bullying, but there’s support; there are sentimental moments, but there are uplifting ones. On the surface, this might look like an overdramatic Hollywood tearjerker, but, give it some time and Wonder will define the word ‘heartfelt’ straight to your nerve.
Jacob Tremblay (Room) portrays Auggie, the 10-year-old Star Wars aficionado, who finally enters public school after years of home-schooling due to his physical condition. Julia Roberts---the mother, Isabella, and Owen Wilson---the father, Nate, knowing their kid’s circumstance, show reluctance in finally letting the child stepping away from the comfort z...
Review: Salman Aristo’s directorial effort, Satu Hari Nanti, is a complicated story about four Indonesian folks tangled in a love rectangle on a foreign land. Dubbed on-screen as “the ABCD of Love” (a coined term which somehow foreshadows the whole conflict) with wide references ranging from Hamlet to Woody Allen, and from Anthony Bourdain to Franz Kafka, the film is well-intentioned; but, when it comes to presentation, only one thing comes up to mind: muddled.
Set under the elegant sky of Switzerland, Satu Hari Nanti is like a box of interaction between the film’s four main characters only. Alya (Adinia Wirasti), a chocolatier student, is in the midst of desperate romance with Bima (Deva Mahenra), a musician bumping from one café to another. While Chorina (Ayushita), a hotelier, is trying...
Review: Kenneth Branagh knows that modern viewers don’t fancy over-exposition in crime-mystery story as in Agatha Christie’s original whodunit classic, Murder on the Orient Express. Therefore, the actor/director adjusts the premise and crafts a more energetic, carefree version of the story which focuses more on the main protagonist, Hercule Poirot, more than anything else in the story.
Review: Seven years in making with thorough research in Mexico along with solid team led by Lee Unkrich to celebrate appropriate representation (including writer, Adrian Molina, who got eventually promoted into co-director), Pixar's nineteenth feature, Coco, results in a highly respectful tribute to Mexican culture and tradition, specifically, 'Dia de los Muertos' a.k.a. The Day of the Dead.
Review: Breathe, directorial debut from Andy Serkis—the man who should’ve gotten lifetime achievement for dedication to performance capture, is surprisingly a grounded, imperfect but breathtaking love story inspired by Robin Cavendish, a responaut who survived from paralyzing polio, and his loving wife, Diana.
Andrew Garfield, as per his recent standard, is astonishing as Robin, an energetic British tea-broker who ventures in Africa. His social fluidness helps him winning over Diana Blacker’s (Claire Foy, The Crown) heart, despite her reputation as a professional heartbreaker. Love blooms quickly and, before long, Robin marries Diana before his tenure in Kenya began. Yet, life gives as quickly as it takes. During Diana’s pregnancy with Jonathan Cavendish (who apparently becomes the film’s...
Review: Writer of The Orphanage and The Impossible, Sergio G. Sánchez crafts an overly solid yet convoluted story—about four Marrowbone siblings—which conceals deeply sentimental twist under piles of familiar elements.
Review: Paddington—the marmalade-loving Peruvian bear who has now become a permanent resident in Windsor Gardens, London along with The Browns—returns for another adventure in this bear-y merry sequel.
While having been entirely integrated into human’s life and become a local hero, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is still the bear he used to be—the little bear saved and adopted by the late Uncle Pastuzo (voiced by Michael Gambon) and Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton). For Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington is keen to give her a unique pop-up book about London, the city of her dream. The lil’ bear will do anything to finally buy the book from Mr. Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) antique shop; even when what he’s done gets him entangled into a malicious conspiracy orchestrated by a villainous forme...
Review: In a cruel world without favor for women, Marlina (Marsha Timothy) refuses to surrender and be a victim; she, instead, embraces her inner strength and decides to fight back against patriarchal tyranny.
Exquisite, powerful and poignant, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Marlina si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak), is a tale of empowerment wrapped as a Far-East ‘Western’ revenge thriller with strong femme fatale to root for. It’s a quintessential work for Indonesian female director, Mouly Surya, whose previous works (fiksi. and What They Don’t Talk about When They Talk about Love) revolves around determined female characters, too. (more…)
Review: Let’s break down Justice League into good news and bad news first. The good news is Justice League shows that DC has actually learned how to concoct a story out of their metahumans (yes, for them, the word ‘superhero’ is overrated) extensively since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and how to sweeten up their preferably dark universe with proper humors, too, ever since Suicide Squad. While the bad news: the good news only slightly helps the film from being a total mess.
Following rave reviews showering Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and news of reshoots along with post-production galore to Avengers’ helmer, Joss Whedon, expectation flown high on how Justice League would finally do the justice to DC. At some points, it might live up the expectation; thanks to balance between Zack Sn...
Review: For as long as history repeats itself, an endless generation clash would always be an intriguing topic to ponder on. No matter how much technology or lifestyle or virtue have changed, the fundamental difference which always leads to rift between older generation and younger one has never ceased to exist. Basically, that discourse is emanated through Upi’s My Generation, despite its retro-millennial presentation.
My Generation deliberately and solely takes the younger generation’s stance in this all-out generation wars. As young blood runs hot, we are taken to observe how the film’s millennial protagonists—Zeke (Bryan Langelo), Konji (Arya Vasco), Orly (Alexandra Kosasie) and Suki (Luthesa)—become the anti-hero, the victim and the antagonized party at once. The older generation, rep...
Review: It’s sad to finally learn that Niels Arden Oplev's (The original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) Flatliners is neither a sequel nor a blood-related spin-off of Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners (1990) as previously rumored. It turns out to be mundane and redundant remake, which brings back Kiefer Sutherland (not for reprising the same role he played back then but) for a merely prominent cameo.
Flatliners basically is an ‘on-point’ remake which offers nothing new. It goes by the same preposterous premise around near-death experience and exploration to after-life. Revolving around similar groups of med school students with their ‘pseudo-science’ experiment of less-than-5-minutes dying, the remake might look enticing for those who haven’t seen the 1990 flat blockbuster, at least until the fil...