Tuesday, October 19

Tag: Crime

Review: Cherry (2021)
Movie Review

Review: Cherry (2021)

Anthony and Joe Russo pick up where they left in the aftermath of blockbuster classic (in the making), Avengers: Endgame with a provoking adaptation of Nico Walker's semi-autobiographical novel, Cherry. Written in a US prison, the 2018 novel follows a 'cherry' (slang for a fresh soldier in the battle) with his frail love story, his visceral tour in Iraq Wars along with the PTSD, his descend into illegal drugs, and his eventual notoriety as a bank robber. The cherry is Tom Holland in another attempt to shed the school-boy style out of his repertoire. (more…)
Review: I Care a Lot (2021)
Movie Review

Review: I Care a Lot (2021)

J Blakeson (The 5th Wave, The Disappearance of Alice Creed) must have written the script of his Netflix-bound thriller with Rosamund Pike, specifically her portrayal of Gone Girl's Amy Dunne, in mind. The protagonist (or maybe anti-protagonist) in I Care a Lot is a cunningly cool, manipulative woman whose words can twist the truth —blurring the lines between fact and fiction almost effortlessly. Here are the keywords: she is a human-prison. If anyone should portray such a character, Pike will always be the frontrunner; and she's the one with the role. (more…)
Review: Space Sweepers (2021)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: Space Sweepers (2021)

South Korea's film industry hits another new height with their first space opera, Space Sweepers, directed by blockbuster specialist, Jo Sung-hee (Phantom Detective). Assembling a band of cheeky space misfits, Guardians of the Galaxy style, this sci-fi bonanza puts together unprecedented ensemble of casts in a dystopian space adventure. The star-studded casts to thrive among the stars ranging from Song Joong-ki (the director's collaborator in A Werewolf Boy and star of popular drama, Descendants of the Sun), Kim Tae-ri (The Handmaiden), Jin Seon-kyu (Extreme Job), and Yoo Hae-jin (A Taxi Driver) with a special performance from Richard Armitage (The Hobbit Trilogy). (more…)
Review: The White Tiger (2021)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: The White Tiger (2021)

An honest social commentary doesn’t always have to feel punishing all the time—take Ramin Bahrani's The White Tiger for example. Like his work, 99 Homes, unraveling the harsh reality of the 2008 housing crisis in the US, his Netflix bound film points out everything that is wrong in India—crooked law system, corruption, religious discrimination, misogyny, forced marriage, and, as the center-piece, modern slavery—in a story about a slave cunningly exploits all the flaws to build an empire. However depraved and morally corrupted the system is, under Bahrani, the story is always about the human within the system—hustling and struggling to rebel against the chaotic order. (more…)
Review: Just 6.5 (2019)
Focus: Asia, Movie Review

Review: Just 6.5 (2019)

Peyman Moaadi (A Separation, The Night Of) stars alongside Navid Muhammadzadeh (Life and a Day) in this Iranian crime story about drug trades and the harrowing law that follows in Just 6.5 by Saeed Roustayi. Starting out with a fast-paced, neatly choreographed alley chase and concluding with a bone-chilling, man-cry ordeal, Roustayi's clear-cut action thriller with open-ended morality doesn't want to give peace in the audiences' mind—with bitter, almost sympathetic feeling lingers after almost every important conclusion in this story. With slick set pieces that draw comparisons to Hollywood's finest ones blended in with close observations of Iranian law system, making a referential gesture to political crime movie like Steven Soderbergh's Traffic, this is the kind of crime movie that won'...
Review: Kajillionaire (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Kajillionaire (2020)

Welcome to Miranda July's idiosyncratic come-back with another quirky bandwagon, Kajillionaire, exactly nine years after the filmmaker's last foray into oddball cinema with The Future. Her new movie works on multiple layers and, at some points, functions like a wicked fairy tale that doesn't exhaust the dose of everything beyond ordinary—from soap-soaked house to a nine-year-late 17th birthday party. Framed as a con-artist drama, the plot might have inhabited the world that looks real, but normal characters are scare and that's what to expect from this movie. (more…)
A Season with: Serigala Terakhir (2020)
TV Series

A Season with: Serigala Terakhir (2020)

Over 10 years after the release of Upi Avianto's gangster blockbuster, Serigala Terakhir (a.k.a. The Last Wolf), a sequel in the form of a 6-episode miniseries arrives. Helmed by Tommy Dewo (assistant director in A Copy of My Mind and Gundala), the story takes place a few years after the original movie. Alex (Abimana Aryasatya), previously a minor character, takes over the main stage from the opposite end. Some narrative elements remain, but, the rest suggests that it's a completely different story seamed only by his existence. (more…)
A Season with: Bad Genius: The Series / ฉลาดเกมส์โกง (2020)
TV Series

A Season with: Bad Genius: The Series / ฉลาดเกมส์โกง (2020)

Nattawut Poonpiriya's Bad Genius is a success story when it donned heist elements in exam-cheating drama, making it an effective, nerve-racking thriller. Not only did it orchestrated the rise of newcomer, Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying (Happy Old Year), it also sparks waves of remake (Erik Feig and Patrick Wachsberger have been keen to produce a Hollywood remake with Eva Anderson's writings; meanwhile, Neeraj Pandey's currently supervising a Bollywood rendition). This also includes an expansion by the production house, GDH, to what eventually becomes Bad Genius: The Series a.k.a. ฉลาดเกมส์โกง—with total of 12 50-minute episodes. (more…)
Review: The Lie (2020)
Movie Review

Review: The Lie (2020)

Remade from the 2015 German thriller, We Monster, Veena Sud's The Lie premiered in the 2018 TIFF before Blumhouse took it under 'Welcome to the Blumhouse' anthology for Amazon. The story, as the title suggests, is built upon the titular lie; but, as you might have known, a lie does not stop on the first count. There has to be another lie and another to follow and cover up. In no time, the lies had spinned out of control; and, that's basically what the movie is all about. (more…)
Review: Enola Holmes (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Enola Holmes (2020)

Now we are back again to Baker Street with Holmes and another mystery to solve. Sherlock (Henry Cavill) is home; and, so is his brother, Mycroft (Sam Claflin). And yet, this is not his story, not his brother's, not any man's in their universe; this is the story of Holmes' youngest sibling, Enola (Millie Bobby Brown). When Mama Holmes, Eudoria (Helena Bonham Carter) went MIA, the young Holmes sets forth her own sleuthing duty in a quest to find her mother and, most importantly, discover herself. (more…)
Review: The Devil All the Time (2020)
Movie Review

Review: The Devil All the Time (2020)

The devil is cunning and, most harrowingly, resilient. Its whisper can transcend time and space; bend and slip through even the slightest crack in human's soul. It is deceitful and seducing, even in the place illuminated by the lights of heavenly or worldly love. The devil implicitly takes the centerpiece in Donald Ray Pollock's Southern gothic novel, The Devil All the Time—consuming people's soul with godly obsessions and numbing them with an endless cycle of violence. That's where Antonio Campos' (director of Christine and producer of Martha Marcy May Marlene) screen adaptation takes its brutal root—unraveling the devil within even among the people of God. (more…)
Review: Bad Education (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Bad Education (2019)

Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney dive head first with their highly committed performance in portraying nasty perpetrators of the single largest embezzlement scandal in American history. Jackman portrays Frank Tassone, beloved superintendent of Roslyn High School. His character is a pretty man, charismatic and charming in any possible public endeavor. The boards hailed him as a role model, a successful orchestrator of the school's glimmering achievement. Meanwhile, Janney portrays Pam Gluckin, the assistant superintendent, who looks a tad too glamorous for someone working in academic field. Bad Education is the story of their downfall. (more…)
Review: The Gentlemen (2020)
Movie Review

Review: The Gentlemen (2020)

It has finally come to the era where Guy Ritchie is popularly known more as the director of big-budgeted blockbusters. His name is almost immediately associated with the lots like Disney's live-action Aladdin or Sherlock Holmes saga, or else to second-tier gigs like the adaptation of The Man from UNCLE or the fizzle King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The era of Ritchie's reputation as the director of foul-mouthed, gangster-and-gun crime movies like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, or Snatch has long gone; even, Rocknrolla (2008) has already been labeled as a welcome-back flick. His recent tenure, The Gentlemen, starring Matthew McConaughey and Charlie Hunnam, channels the energy which the director manifested in his early careers. With some jabs and jolts of popcorn entertainment, howe...
Review: Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Lately, Warner Bros-DC has continued to indulge in the sweet taste of triumph after their Extended Universe fiasco (culminating in the disoriented Justice League). Their new recipe to focus on a more standalone, vibrant feature (learning the best from Wonder Woman) has proven to be fruitful. Aquaman proves his worth, Shazam is highly entertaining, and the somber Joker is a serious inferno—a real award contender. Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is about to prove that the recipe, after all, works. Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) returns from Suicide Squad with a completely different arc. She will, then, narrate the whole story with her audacious voice-over and occasional breaking-the-fourth-wall look straight to the audiences sassily. Harley's narration is...
Review: Uncut Gems (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Uncut Gems (2020)

There's this kind of electric energy in Safdie Brothers' Uncut Gems that makes us anxious for the whole duration. Everybody yells instead of talking; everybody moves frenetically, violently, and urgently. There's Adam Sandler wearing a striking attire seemingly inspired by Lando Calrissian, complete with a full-frontal display of jewelry. There's NBA star, Kevin Garnett, as himself and there are actual Celtics' match footages. There's The Weeknd portraying his younger, rising-to-stardom self. And yet, the centerpiece of it all is a piece of a rare gemstone—the titular MacGuffin. The gem is a mysterious African black opal smuggled from a troubled mine in Ethiopia before arriving at Howard Ratner's gem & jewelry store. Sandler at one of his pinnacle-performances (after Punch-Drunk Lo...

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