Saturday, January 23

Tag: Indonesia

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: Yowis Ben: The Series (2020) – Season 1
TV Series

A Season with: Yowis Ben: The Series (2020) – Season 1

Director Fajar Nugros and YouTube personality turned actor, Bayu Skak, return to expand their double sleeper hits, Yowis Ben and Yowis Ben II to small screens. Dubbed as Yowis Ben: The Series, this expansion takes place in the same universe as the movies; yet, it sets a few months before the first movie—making it effectively a prequel. While retaining most of the casts, the series offers leisurely laid-back backstories leading up to the main events in the original movie. (more…)
Review: Ratu Ilmu Hitam (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Ratu Ilmu Hitam (2019)

There is a certain kind of similarity between Kimo Stamboel's Ratu Ilmu Hitam a.k.a. The Queen of Black Magic and Joko Anwar's Satan's Slave. Written by Anwar based on cult horrors from the 1980s, none of them is a merely verbatim remake; instead, they are spiritual remakes that capture the fright and the wickedness of the original to create a completely different story. Call it a diabolical reborn, which defines both works best as phantasmal throwbacks. Stamboel (in a very productive year, also directing another horror blockbuster, DreadOut, earlier this year) exhumes the wicked sense of terror he once showed in his directorial collective, The Mo Brothers (Macabre, Killers, Headshot) with Timo Tjahjanto (May the Devil Take You, The Night Comes for Us). While the source material is ren...
Review: Love for Sale 2 (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Love for Sale 2 (2019)

Back in 2018, Andibachtiar Yusuf's Love for Sale offers an enticing lover-for-hire premise and introduces us to the ever-enigmatic yet iconic character, Arini (Della Dartyan). The first movie, written by Yusuf and M. Imran Ramly, lies confidently somewhere between absurdity and melancholy. The combination of a bitter storyline—about the game of love, loneliness, and what follows—and sexy chemistry between the leads resulted in an emotionally invested picture. Love for Sale 2 seeks not the re-emulation of the formula; instead, it seeks to expand the universe, making it whole. Dartyan returns as Arini, the chameleon lover, in a completely different setting. Love for Sale 2 is not a direct continuation of the first movie even when, chronologically, the event happens after Arini sent Marte...
Review: Lampor: Keranda Terbang (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Lampor: Keranda Terbang (2019)

A mysterious flying casket—whose arrival is accompanied by loud, discordant chants from invisible entities—terrorizes a village after dark. People call the flying-casket ghost Lampor, an endemic grim reaper who would kidnap and grotesquely murder people. With such a ghost, there are only two basic rules. First, stay away from any kind of light after dark; and, second, don't look. For as long as they don't see people and people don't see it back, everyone should be safe. Inspired by scary folklore that still haunts people of Central Java to this day, Lampor: Keranda Terbang offers nothing but cheap, hackneyed thrills. The plot follows Netta (Adinia Wirasti, Critical Eleven), Edwin (Dion Wiyoko, fresh from Susi Susanti: Love All) and their two children facing Lampor when they unwantedly ...
Review: Susi Susanti: Love All (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Susi Susanti: Love All (2019)

The term 'love all' refers to the zero scores from which all competitors begin a badminton game. In Sim F's directorial debut, Susi Susanti - Love All, the term is also redefined as a credo in which all badminton players must always love all—the whole game including the crowds and the opponents—to win the game. In Susi Susanti's case, everything goes back to the beginning—to the love of her country. After all, it's a complex biopic that transcends the episodic moments in the subject's triumphant career. Transcending the usual zero-to-hero narrative, Susi Susanti: Love All tells beyond the struggle of the legendary badminton player to finally become one of the world's bests. It works as a reflective social commentary about the life of Chinese-descent people in Indonesia—a country with a...
Review: Perempuan Tanah Jahanam / Impetigore (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Perempuan Tanah Jahanam / Impetigore (2019)

After remaking a cult classic (Satan's Slave) and kick-starting the Indonesian superhero universe (Gundala), Joko Anwar returns with an original story—a folk horror called Perempuan Tanah Jahanam (trans. Women of the Cursed Land). The story that once was called as Impetigore revisits wicked elements that grant the versatile filmmaker his stellar reputation: a mixed bag of traditional horror and slasher with a deceitful plot. Only this time, the writer-director crafts a straightforward slasher with the most generic devices to present a nonstop thrilling ride. Perempuan Tanah Jahanam follows two friends, Maya (Tara Basro) and Dini (Marissa Anita) as they seek fortune in a remote village, which they desperately believe to conceal treasures from the former's past. Yet, the movie begins sli...
Review: Bebas (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Bebas (2019)

In the midst of the 1990s, 5 girls and a boy become good friends in high school and make some kind of gang. Hanging out, dancing around, fighting another girl gang, these friends always take care of each other. But then, life happens and pulls them apart. A few decades later, one of the girls is dying in a hospital and her final wish is to meet her high school BFFs. That, basically, is the synopsis of Riri Riza's Bebas, a quite faithful adaptation of South Korea's 2011 hit, Sunny. Riza (Ada Apa dengan Cinta? 2, Petualangan Sherina), transliterating the source material, with Gina S. Noer (Dua Garis Biru) make significant changes to the narrative elements, but not the plot. Transferring the original Seoul of the 1980s setting—where everybody's dancing to Cindy Lauper's hits—to the dogged...
Review: Pretty Boys (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Pretty Boys (2019)

Pretty Boys is an open letter to Indonesia's entertainment industry delivered by the inside men, if not prodigies, of the said industry. The director, Teuku Adifitrian a.k.a. Tompi (who made quite a reputation as a jazz singer, surgeon, and presenter), is a long-time player in the industry. Imam Darto, who penned the script, has long been renowned as a radio announcer, before making a leap as a talk-show presenter. The leads—Vincent Rompies and Deddy Mahendra Desta—started off as bandmates before establishing themselves as one of Indonesia's most prominent comedy presenters infamous for their spontaneity and quips. While uplifting and buffoonish, Pretty Boys showcases a candid, unapologetic, and unobstructed portrait of the industry ludicrously. The story follows the struggle of two c...
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 Single Part 2 (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Single Part 2 (2019)

After some non-radical genre exploration, including Hang Out (2016) and Target (2018), writer/director/actor/stand-up comedian, Raditya Dika surprisingly takes a more conventional route, following up his 2015 hit, Single with a sequel titled Single Part 2. The move really is beyond expectation given Dika's recent penchant to experiment and, especially, given his new real-life status as a husband and a father. However, Single Part 2, albeit irrelevant, is basically a better work than the predecessor. (more…)
Review Ghost Writer (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Ghost Writer (2019)

First and most importantly, Ghost Writer saves up an enticing what-if premise: what if there's an actual ghost writing as a ghost writer for famous writer? Bene Dion Rajagukguk holds the premise dear in his directorial debut and blends the idea with exhilarating comedy sketches he's known for (as in the script of Warkop DKI Reborn series and Suzzanna: Breathing in the Grave). The result is a fresh, uplifting ghost story whose heart and laugh shoo away the scares. (more…)
Review Si Doel the Movie 2 (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Si Doel the Movie 2 (2019)

When Si Doel the Movie arrived in 2018, it hit the nostalgia button hard—knitting all the characters left (and the cast members who survive the 14-year gap) and revisiting the classic romance conflict to craft a new story, promised to be a closure to the legendary saga. Rano Karno knows exactly how to use the lingering power and present it as a fatal blow; but, turns out, Falcon Pictures knows better how the business goes. Si Doel the Movie 2 picks up where the first movie left out, hitting the nostalgia button even harder; but, we know pretty well, it's purely business. (more…)
Review Hit & Run (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Hit & Run (2019)

Observing from Ody C. Harahap's recent directorial gigs, it seems apparent that he keeps expanding his directorial portfolio with wider genre exploration. After the remaking South Korean fantasy dramedy, Miss Granny, into Sweet 20 and working with Joko Anwar for another fantasy dramedy, Orang Kaya Baru. Harahap even furthers his effort with an unusual comedy cop movie, Hit & Run—starring The Raid and The Night Comes for Us star, Joe Taslim, for a rematch against his Raid nemesis, Yayan Ruhian the Mad Dog. (more…)
Review 27 Steps of May (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review 27 Steps of May (2019)

Director Ravi Bharwani and writer, Rayya Makarim, bring about the face of sexual trauma in the stark yet riveting 27 Steps of May. Released on the same day as Indonesia's Women's March, the story trots out an unapologetic study of a tragedy against humanity, especially women, and its aftermath. The message it carries is as timely and timeless as the issue itself; it's powerful, important and urgent. (more…)

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