Saturday, April 17

Tag: Coming of Age

Review: Moxie (2021)
Movie Review

Review: Moxie (2021)

Amy Poehler's directorial effort, Moxie, brings back teenagers to the breakthrough movement of the bygone era fused with current issues. It's suddenly a DIY fanzine era again, with teen angst and niche poured all over, to send a sharp message. With themes revolving around bullying along with patriarchal and rape culture in US schools, you can almost observe the director's footprints here and there — without more aggressive whimpers than barks. (more…)
Review: Persahabatan Bagai Kepompong (2021)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Persahabatan Bagai Kepompong (2021)

Inarguably, Kepompong might be one of the most memorable Indonesian pop-culture paraphernalia from 2008. The daytime teen series went on releasing 290-ish episodes between 2008 and 2009 while resurging former child actor Derby Romero's career. At the same time, the series saw the rise of newcomer Mikha Tambayong and the gush of the one-hit cult-classic song by Sind3ntosca. More than a decade later, a feature film reworks elements from the original series into a timeless high-school drama called Persahabatan Bagai Kepompong. One of the original writers, Alim Sudio, returns on the writing desk; meanwhile, Sentot Sahid (usually known as a film editor) sits on the director's chair. However, it's not a mere adaptation; it's more of a spiritua...
Review: Geez & Ann (2021)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Geez & Ann (2021)

Netflix-bound young adult romance, Geez & Ann, adds to the ever-expanding hit-or-miss Wattpad waves in Indonesian blockbuster scenes. Based on a story by Rintik Sedu, Rizki Balki (with another Wattpad adaptation, A: Aku, Benci & Cinta, in his repertoire) takes the directorial duty working on the script adapted by Adi Nugroho and Cassandra Massardi along with Muthia Khairunissa, Amit Jethani, and Bonky. Junior Roberts stars as Gazza Cahyadi a.k.a. Geez; meanwhile, Hanggini portrays Keana Amanda a.k.a. Ann. Now, where's its place among other Wattpad adaptations? (more…)
Review: The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)
Movie Review

Review: The Map of Tiny Perfect Things (2021)

Here comes another romantic comedy —fluent enough at incorporating time-loop without getting tangled in the familiarity. It's fluent enough not to beat the dead horse and give away any exposition about the temporal anomaly's nature. It's fluent enough to give the time-loop a purpose in the narrative greater than a mere gimmick. It's fluent enough to make the titular Map of Tiny Perfect Thing a worthwhile journey. (more…)
Review: To All the Boys: Always and Forever (2021)
Movie Review

Review: To All the Boys: Always and Forever (2021)

Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky's high school romance has eventually come into the closing stage with To All the Boys: Always and Forever. Michael Fimognari, helmer of the second installment, returns in the directorial duty with Katie Lovejoy taking over the writing department. The power couple, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo return with the whole ensemble for a final stroke in this saccharine-heavy teen romance that starts exhilaratingly with To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018) and immediately shows sign of fatigue by the release of To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020). (more…)
Review: Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

Eliza Hittman's Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a tough watch—not because of distressed theme or challenging nature, but because of the familiarity of its theme and how close it is to the ground. The title refers to options usually employed in Likert-scale questionnaires to measure attitude with nuance. In this case, those word collections refer to the questionnaire asked in a crisis pregnancy clinic sympathetically unraveling the protagonist's sexual activities preceding the story's bleak topic: unwanted teenage pregnancy. (more…)
Review: Cleaners (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: Cleaners (2019)

Glenn Barit makes a visually ambitious anthology about the life of high schoolers in a provincial Filipino town in Cleaners. Revolving around a group of classmates in a Catholic high school, the narrative branches out into 4 chapters—each centers around different teen angsts—with a prologue and an epilogue that converge the stories together. The nostalgic atmosphere thickens as the narrative begins observing relatable high school moments—from extracurricular ambition, innocent romance, to identity crisis—acted by non-actor performers adding unforeseeable authenticity to the already grounded stories. (more…)
Review: My Extraordinary Summer with Tess (2019)
Movie Review

Review: My Extraordinary Summer with Tess (2019)

It's a summer holiday in a sea-surrounded Dutch island. A 10-year-old boy, Sam (Sonny van Utteren), overthinking the possibility that she might someday the last surviving member of his family, is preparing for the worst. During Sam's trial for loneliness, he encounters the manic pixie 11-yearl-old girl, Tess (Josephine Arendsen), who somehow prepares for the best. Gradually, things start to move on to quite an unpredictable direction for both prepubescent children and that titular, extraordinary summer is about to unravel. (more…)
Review: Kado / A Gift (2018)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Kado / A Gift (2018)

With only 15 minutes, Aditya Ahmad's Kado delivers a poignant study of gender fluidity through the story of an androgynous girl. Observed through the lens of society with conservative views about gender and sexuality, this irony is keen to challenge the very same society about "how it really feels" to counter the traditional "how it seems." It's heartfelt without having to relegate its beautiful story to melodrama; but, most importantly, it's thought-provoking, probing a continuous discourse. The idea (as mentioned by Ahmad in an interview with SINdie) roots to the native Buginese views of gender. Traditionally, there are five genders: male, female, calabai (physically male but is identified as female), calacai (the opposite of calabai), and bissu (gender-ambiguous). The question is wh...
Review: To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020)
Movie Review

Review: To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020)

A rom-com sequel is a thing of rarity. Happily ever after, which supposedly comes after rom-com ends, does not always need expositions. However, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, the 2018 surprise hit adapted from Jenny Han's novel is a part of a trilogy. The story of a Korean-American girl, Lara Jean (Lana Condor) dealing with the mess after her well-kept letters got sent into the boys she used to love is only the beginning of it all. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You extends, if not stretches, the story a little longer; but, it eventually feels like a mere victory lap. By the end of the first movie, Lara Jean finally sorts out the mess and, in a twist of turn, finally gets herself a boyfriend, Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo). This is all new to her—having an actual boyfriend, be...
Review Dua Garis Biru (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Dua Garis Biru (2019)

Instead of condemning premarital sex and/or the lack of sex education among teenagers, Gina S. Noer's directorial debut, Dua Garis Biru (trans. two blue stripes, referring to the positive mark in home pregnancy test pack) is keen to make the audiences aware of the lack of inter-generational discourses about sex education, that leads to teenage pregnancy and, later, marriage, and the consequence that follows. The movie never judges, manipulates and scolds anybody to convey the message. Even when the drama might be a little overwhelming at times, it ends up being a reflective case study that matters. (more…)
Review Five Feet Apart (2019)
Movie Review

Review Five Feet Apart (2019)

We have seen this kind of terminal romance over and over again. From the lots of award-darling, Love Story (1970), to the surprisingly good John Green's adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars; or from the lots of sappy Nicholas Sparks' A Walk to Remember to the melodramatic Jojo Moyes' Me Before You, Hollywood seems to always find more disease to jerk audiences' tears with the glorified disease porn movies. Five Feet Apart adds up to that latter list of tearjerker—well-intended and well-acted; but too fixated to the young-adult tropes that it washes down the fore-mentioned two qualities. (more…)
Review Fall in Love at First Kiss (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review Fall in Love at First Kiss (2019)

Frankie Chen’s Fall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情) adds another entry to the list of Kaoru Tada’s manga, Itazura Na Kiss screen adaptations (which has spawned various television series in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan). Chen’s version takes a closer approach to the first Taiwanese incarnation, It Started with a Kiss (惡作劇之吻), especially by using the established character names and settings. While the plot might sound eerie and unhealthy in deeper observation, the movie’s sugarcoating—with bubble-gum visuals and comical characters—can, at times, divert the attention to a distant lesson. (more…)
Review Dilan 1991 (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Dilan 1991 (2019)

In a decade or two, Dilan, as a character, might still be remembered as an illustrious Indonesian teenage boy icon—rising into some cult status along with Lupus and Si Boy. By that time, it might not be surprising if new incarnations of Dilan will rise into prominence; while, Iqbaal Ramadhan’s exhilarating performance (which beats all the odds) will become a solid benchmark. In like manner, Dilan-Milea romance might also transcend the time, like Galih & Ratna or others (I was about to write: Rangga & Cinta from Ada Apa dengan Cinta?, but then I imagined the backlash). However, that’s not the case for the movies—both Dilan 1990 and Dilan 1991. (more…)
Review To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)
Movie Review

Review To All the Boys I've Loved Before (2018)

Review To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: “Make Teenage Romcom Great Again” should’ve been a tagline Susan Johnson’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (referred as To All the Boys on later paragraphs) carrying because it indeed does it. Based on a novel of the same title by Jenny Han, this Netflix production is a clichéd, sugary romcom with manipulated yet effective plot that will make audiences smile ear to ear. (more…)

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