Thursday, November 25

Tag: History

A Season with: Romulus – Season 1 (2020)
TV Series

A Season with: Romulus – Season 1 (2020)

What if Game of Thrones is made in Italy to tell the Roman mythology about the founding of Rome? The result is Romulus, a 10-episode epic series centering on the origins of Rome. Instead of taking on a full mythological approach in portraying the renowned tale, showrunner Matteo Rovere and the writing department devised a more subtle and realistic rendition of the tale, making it more political even when the whole narrative leans toward action-adventure genre. (more…)
Review: Charlatan (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Charlatan (2020)

Most people in the modern era might not have heard the name of Jan Mikolášek, a renowned herbal and faith healer from the former Czechoslovakia; but, people who lives in the western world in early 20th century would have known him for his reputation to have healed over five millions people including high-profile public figures, such as King George VI of England and Czechoslovak presidents, including Antonín Zápotocký, whose demise put trials on the healer's career. Veteran Polish-Czech director, Agnieszka Holland (resorting to American TV series venture in the recent years, most notably in House of Cards and The First), decides to rekindle the long-forgotten story in a biopic called Charlatan—focusing on Mikolášek's rise to fame and struggles during the totalitarian era. (more…...
Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Movie Review

Review: The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

The year is 1968. A massive anti-Vietnam War protest at Democratic National Convention in Chicago has broken into an unprecedented turmoil. In the aftermath, Justice Department charges a group of protest leaders, soon to be called as The Chicago Seven, with conspiracy, inciting the riots, and other deranged charges. Nearly two decades later, it's the time for Aaron Sorkin to bring charges against this legal clownery in his directorial effort, The Trial of the Chicago 7. (more…)
Review: Habibie & Ainun 3 (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Habibie & Ainun 3 (2019)

Habibie & Ainun franchise has quite a storytelling development. While the first movie revolves around the glorified love story between the titular couple—former Indonesia's president and the First Lady, the follow-ups are aiming to be somewhat prequels with an overlapping timeline. The second movie, deliberately titled Rudy Habibie, follows the story of Habibie (portrayed excellently by Reza Rahadian) during his academic years in Germany before he reunites with Ainun (previously portrayed by Bunga Citra Lestari). Meanwhile, the third movie follows a subversive story of young Ainun (now portrayed by Maudy Ayunda) before finally reuniting with the love of her life. While mostly treading on familiar grounds which has either been mentioned or shown in the previous movies, Habibie &...
Review: Dark Waters (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Dark Waters (2019)

It's surprising that the New Queer Cinema pioneer, Todd Haynes' (Velvet Goldmine, Carol) new movie, Dark Waters, is a clinical legal thriller—a frigid whistleblowing drama in the fashion of Oscar-winner, Spotlight. Starring in it is Mark Ruffalo, portraying a real-life lawyer, Robert Billot, who became the nightmare for DuPont de Nemours, Inc., a chemical company mogul. Based on Nathaniel Rich's article published for The New York Times Magazine, the drama might remind us a bit of Erin Brokovich; but, there's something more about this movie that makes it more important and, most importantly, relevant. It's a 126-minute docudrama compressing a long and winding legal process, which has been going on for almost two decades. It all started with Billot's favor to return the call from Wilbur ...
Review: Midway (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Midway (2019)

In Midway, director Roland Emmerich quenches his aviation fetish with a World War II blockbuster. While places and people might not be at their most accurate position in this retelling of the battle that practically changes the course of the war, the movie is confident enough to flaunt the jingoism with some cheesy dialogues (which you might not believe coming from the mouth of an actual person). Imagine this as a more action-packed Pearl Harbor with the absurdity of Independence Day—set to open on Veterans Day period. We know what to expect. Instead of focusing entirely on the Midway tenure, this pseudo war epic opts to focus on several pivotal real-life characters at once. Most of the time, the story will revolve around the cocky, devil-may-care pilot, Richard "Dick" Best (British...
BALINALE Review: The King (2019)
Movie Review

BALINALE Review: The King (2019)

Director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) distills Shakespeare's historical epic, Henriad, into a 140-minute, star-studded movie. Michôd co-writes the scripts with Joel Edgerton (also stars and produces) concocting elements from at least three plays, namely Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V as a tragicomic retelling of King Henry V's life. The result is The King, a simplified, character-driven story of leadership built upon a sense of reluctance and ineptness. The King follows the rise of Hal (Timothée Chalamet)—the wayward prince and heir to King Henry IV (Ben Mendelsohn), the tyrannical king of England—to the throne. Enraged by his father's deed, the estranged teenage prince has forsaken the royal court to live in a tavern and befriend John Falstaff (Edgerton). ...
Review: Perburuan (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Perburuan (2019)

The story of Perburuan spawns during the moment of captivity. Pramoedya Ananta Toer silently and secretly wrote the manuscript in his dark, damp cell during post-independence aggression by Dutch. The narrative, however, sets during the late period of Japanese occupation, following the life of fugitive hiding in the plain sight as a beggar. Along with Bumi Manusia, Perburuan marks the screen adaptations of Toer's novels by Falcon Pictures released in 2019. It's, after all, a story of betrayal, separation, lonesome and uncertainty. Told in more chronological order (with some occasional flashbacks) than the source material, Perburuan follows a former shodanco of PETA, Japanese-founded Indonesian army, on his run after a failed coup. As Hardo (Adipati Dolken, Posesif, Teman Tapi Menikah) b...
Review: Bumi Manusia (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Bumi Manusia (2019)

Bumi Manusia a.k.a. This Earth of Mankind by Pramoedya Ananta Toer with other titles dubbed as Buru Quartet has long been sanctified as one of the most important Indonesia's literature. Conceived during the political exile in Buru Island (hence the quartet's title), the chronicle of a native aristocratic man and a concubine against the oppressive government of Dutch colonialism is vocal and thought-provoking. Even long after independence, the narrative is deemed too powerful that the New Order regime banned the books from nationwide circulation; a handful copy of the books had survived and found international circulations, making it the most popular Indonesian literature not released in its home country. It juxtaposes the story about being oppressed in its homeland. Only when the New R...
Detroit (2017) – Review
Movie Review, Review Bahasa Indonesia

Detroit (2017) – Review

Review: As timely and important than ever, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit makes an unsettling yet poignant film about racism-induced Afro-American uprising in Detroit circa 1967. While Bigelow presents downtown Detroit riot in Hurt Locker fashion where smoke soaring high and dusty ruins are practically adorning every corner of the city, it’s not the carnage which is highlighted; but, the root of it all: white’s oppression. Combining real footage with sharp recreations of the event, Detroit immediately plunges into the warzone, displaying the horror and volatile circumstances. Without warning and proper exposition, pivotal characters—including racist cops, undervalued security guard, white girls among black, black ‘Nam veteran & black musicians—are introduced and lured into the climactic sta...
Dunkirk (2017) – Review
Movie Review

Dunkirk (2017) – Review

Review: In Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan reenacts a pivotal WWII moment dubbed as ‘Operation Dynamo’ a.k.a. ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’ as an epochal non-victorious, non-Americanized spectacle in only 106 minutes—making it his shortest but also most precise and concise tenure among his recent work. It might be a fact-based war film the auteur unlikely to make; yet, Dunkirk is still a Nolan epic through and through—with inventive storytelling, heartfelt tension and Nolan’s math. It’s 1940 where approximately 400,000 allied soldiers of British Empire and France were cornered in a French beach town, Dunkirk; in a literal “between the Devil and the deep blue sea” circumstance. What separates those defenseless soldiers and home are only Nazis following from the land behind, Nazis bombing from the air...
Blindspot: Schindler's List (1993)
Blindspot Series, Movie Review

Blindspot: Schindler's List (1993)

"Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don't," said Oskar Schindler. Based on a real story about Oskar Schindler – a German businessman who saved thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied German during the World War II, Schindler’s List stormed the Oscars in 1994 with 12 nominations and won 7 of it, incl. Best Picture, Best Director for Steven Spielberg and Best Adapted Screenplay for Steven Zaillian. A story as epic as it is, narrated in 3-hour long black and white motion, is definitely a story of a lifetime; and I am pleased to finally watch it after nearly 24 years after it first screened.  (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...
Hidden Figures (2017) – Review
Movie Review

Hidden Figures (2017) – Review

Review: There were three African-American women working at NASA in circa 1960s and helping the institution sending man into space, winning the space competitions against the Soviets. Not everyone knows about that fact (me neither, in fact), until Hidden Figures comes and opens people’s eyes in the era where this substantial revelation is relevant. However, it’s never been a preachy, egghead’s story; instead, Theodore Melfi’s adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s non-fiction is a high-energized feel-good film about equality and empowerment. Those three titular figures are Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). Those women are all brilliant in their own field even beyond; but their only problem is more complex than their minds...
Patriots Day (2017) – Review
Movie Review

Patriots Day (2017) – Review

Review: In Patriots’ Day 2013, two bombs blasted off during Boston marathon, killed 3 civilians, including an 8-y.o. child and injured hundred others. Only three and a half year passes, a big-budgeted retelling of it has already made into screen, not as a kind of exploitation, but as a moving, respectful story. Patriots Day is an ode to a city survives from tragedy. With Patriots Day, Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) has proven himself as an avid filmmaker, a specialist to craft an authentic reenactment with hearts within. There’s sympathy depicted in its dramatic docu-like pictures coupled with authentic footage and spotlights to certain people who directly involved in the tragedy. (more…)

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