Sunday, September 25

Tag: Music

Review: Sylvie’s Love (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Sylvie’s Love (2020)

Back to New York of the 1960s era full of groove and the jazzy feelings exuding in the air, Sylvie's Love recreates the bygone era with precision—not only in look, but also in style. Presented like a Technicolor version of a black-and-white Hollywood melodrama with all the flairs and zeitgeist, this romance however takes a completely different route. It's vibrant for a reason: to defy the common portrayal of the era's main theme—a whitewashed pursuit of dream and love—with a story about Black lovers looking out for their own dream and love in a world that hasn't always been simple for them. (more…)
Review: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)

Viola Davis leads the band as Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020). It's one of the most dogged days in Chicago, 1927. The trailblazing Mother of the Blues, Ma Rainey (portrayed brilliantly and almost menacingly by Viola Davis), is scheduled for an afternoon recording session of her ultimate hit, "Black Bottom." It's sizzling outside, but the heat on the street is nothing compared to the heat that is promised to be inside the studio. Ma is unsurprisingly and understandably too hot to handle even by his long-time white manager and producer; and, that's a recipe for a heated trouble. To add to the recipe, there's the hot-headed Levee Green (Chadwick Boseman in a posthumous excellence) staging a breakthrough coup d'état to boost up his own musical career. Based on August Wilson's ...
Review: Sound of Metal (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Sound of Metal (2020)

Let's take our time to appreciate and celebrate Riz Ahmed's prodigious talent. In the same year, the British actor and rapper has transported us into two stories, equally poignant and affecting, of sympathetic self-acceptance from perspectives of two completely different musicians who has lost their identities as their bodies weakens. In Mogul Mowgli, he's an Americanized British-Pakistani rapper whose body betrays himself with an autoimmune disease in an allegory of identity crisis. In Darius Marder's Sound of Metal, Ahmed is a heavy-metal drummer who begins to lose his hearings and immediately plunges into existential hysteria. While built upon similar premise, Ahmed brilliantly exudes one-of-a-kind charm in each performance and splendid range; the latter, however, observes the actor in...
Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020)

Will Ferrell returns with another oddball character called Lars Erickssong, an underdog musician from Iceland disillusioned by ABBA's triumph in winning Eurovision Song Contest back in 1974. He's aspired to represent his country in the contest and win it; much to the chagrin of Erick Erickssong (Pierce Brosnan), his father (and allegedly the father of every other kid in town). Working closely with his childhood friend, the talented elf-believing Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), Lars form an electro-pop band, The Fire Saga, and record their own bizarre songs to compete in the titular contest. (more…)
Review Yesterday (2019)
Movie Review

Review Yesterday (2019)

Richard Curtis is back with another love story set in a bizarre world—a premise he adeptly develops in About Time, a rom-com set where the male heirs of Bill Nighy's family is able to time travel. Yesterday, helmed by Danny Boyle, sets in a peculiar world where The Beatles never exists. Given Boyle's reputation in crafting dreamlike stories, Yesterday should at least be trippy, but it's not. It's after all a sweet romance movie, nothing more. (more…)
Review Guava Island (2019)
Movie Review

Review Guava Island (2019)

In Guava Island, Donald Glover fully embraces his musical moniker, Childish Gambino, to do Beyonce's Lemonade-ing on his own style. Directed by Glover's frequent collaborator, Hiro Murai, who has been working on his music videos (including the recent phenomenon, This Is America) and his self-conceived series Atlanta, this 55-minute feature is another invention in Glover's never-ending artistry. Premiering at Coachella (followed by a limited Amazon Prime distribution), this short feature might be a career celebration or, else, a hint on what Glover would do in the future about his music, acting, and writing career. (more…)
Review The Dirt (2019)
Movie Review

Review The Dirt (2019)

For every soulless Bohemian Rhapsody, we are granted an even soul-corrupted The Dirt, a biopic of an iconic band – who claims to “drink, snort and fuck everything in sight” - Mötley fuckin’ Crüe. Undergoing years of inferno from Paramount and MTV Films to Focus Feature before ending up in development hell, the biopic – eventually picked up by Netlix – ends up doing what every other biopic couldn’t bear to do: debauching the subject but proudly and deliberately. It’s campy, sleazy, nasty, dumb, offensive, but, nonetheless, fun. (more…)
Review Yowis Ben 2 (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Yowis Ben 2 (2019)

In 2018, Yowis Ben prevailed against the odd condemning its segmented nature—using regional language (Javanese) with a more obscure dialect (Malangnese) and came in as a profitable sleeper-hit (almost hitting a million viewers during its theatrical run). While the use of particular dialects is not a new thing in Indonesian cinema, especially in arthouse community; the fact that it was a mogul-produced blockbuster creates a new powerful surge in the industry (note that a year earlier, the very industry was caught unprepared by another sleeper-hit, Uang Panai, a Makassar-bound production). Given the financial success and warm response from general viewers, it is not surprising that an immediate sequel is produced in no time, hence Yowis Ben 2, an unnecessary yet still tremendously hilarious...
Baby Driver (2017) – Review
Movie Review, Review Bahasa Indonesia

Baby Driver (2017) – Review

Review: Ever since the delightfully staged getaway scene in the opening, when Baby (tall, pale Ansel Elgort) hit the gas and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s Bellbottoms burst in stereo, Baby Driver has given the impression that it isn’t an ordinary ‘action film with some cool soundtracks.’ The scene that follows further evidences the same notion as Baby, in a slick tracking shot with Harlem Shuffle played, walks around the blocks buying coffees for his passengers. Both scenes shows off that highly curated music tracks and stylish action bravura can go hand in hand. Even further, the music dissolves into the core—the cinematography, the choreography, the staging and the editing—unexceptionally. And, only in Edgar Wright’s over-stylized writing-directing feature, his nifty film-making clas...
Sing (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Sing (2016) – Review

Review: Second animated feature from Illumination Entertainment (the studio who brought you Minions and, recently, The Secret Life of Pets) in 2016 brings tons of happiness and a whole playlist ranging from the 80s to recent hits in SING, an absurd blend of X-Factor and lots like Zootopia. While the plot is muddled and the comedy is outdated, most elements in SING really works. Just work. The plot is pretty basic, juxtaposing a generic restoring the good ol' day quest and formulaic zero-to-hero storyline. There's an enterpreneur, a koala named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) with minimum koala-fication to actually run a theater. His business collapses and he's tangled in debt; to save his business (and his theater), he proposes an X-Factor-esque singing competition with total $1000 prize...
Moana (2016) – Review
Movie Review

Moana (2016) – Review

Review: Sailing over idyllic seas with tropical islands as background, our self-proclaimed non-princess Disney Princess is going out of her comfort zone fulfilling her lifetime obsession and, most importantly, saving her world from famine. She is Moana---daughter of a Polynesian chieftain---who voyages to the wilderness to find a demigod Maui and restore what-so-called diamond of Te Fiti back for a quest of a lifetime. In short, Moana manifests Disney’s commitment into stripping off their Disney princesses’ stereotype. The ‘princess’ character is versatile; she even embodies the ‘sense of empowerment’, shooing away the sexism commentary about prince-charming-centered characters from the golden era. Moana is not an interpersonal love story; it’s more than that; and it’s what makes it unrave...
Sing Street (2016): Antara Dublin, ballad 80-an, cinta pertama dan John Carney
Movie Review, Review Bahasa Indonesia

Sing Street (2016): Antara Dublin, ballad 80-an, cinta pertama dan John Carney

Review Sing Street: Tak berlebihan jika menyebut John Carney sebagai sutradara musikal paling prominent saat ini. Ia telah meresap ke dalam musik pop dan memaknainya dengan motion picture, seperti terbukti lewat banjir pujian pada Once (2006)---yang membawa pulang Oscar lewat single-nya 'Falling Slowly'---serta Begin Again (2013)---yang meraih nominasi Oscar untuk 'Lost Star.' Karya terbarunya, Sing Street sendiri terasa seperti karya Carney paling personal---sebuah surat cintanya pada Dublin circa 80an, yang menderita ekonominya namun menggelora semangatnya. Ballad 80-an dan kisah cinta pertama bertautan dalam kisah yang nampak sederhana, tapi kaya akan subtext dan referensi. (more…)
Green Room (2016): Arti Punk’s not Dead yang harafiah
Movie Review, Review Bahasa Indonesia

Green Room (2016): Arti Punk’s not Dead yang harafiah

Lewat film thriller low-budgetnya yang ultra-violent, Blue Ruin (2014), penulis sekaligus sutradara Jeremy Saulnier sukses memproyeksikan diri sebagai bapaknya thriller dengan protagonis yang payah. Kalau Blue Ruin adalah kisah balas dendam dengan balutan black comedy yang sangat kental; Green Room adalah definisi a la Saulnier untuk slogan 'Punk's not Dead' secara literal. Green Room berepisentrum pada Ain't Right, band punk hardcore yang dimotori Pat (almarhum Anton Yelchin). Band kecil benyali besar ini tampil di sebuah klub terpencil, pusat skena neo nazi skinhead. Nyalinya cukup besar untuk mengcover "Nazi Punks Fuck Off"-nya Dead Kennedy sebelum mengajak penonton ber-moshing; namun, tak cukup besar untuk menghadapi insiden ya...
Straight Outta Compton (2015) – Short Review
Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton (2015) – Short Review

Review: Exactly mirroring violent, candid, and depressing lyrics of gangsta rap behemoth, N.W.A a.k.a Niggaz Wit Attitudes, Straight Outta Compton is an unapologetic biopic of 5 Compton buddies rising from crime-laden suburb into million-dollar worth popularity. F. Gary Gray's directorial attempt is explicitly brutal and confident. However, the script seems loose in containing 'what it meant to deliver' in one vault---resulting in unequal storytelling. The first half is the most upbeat and power-house journey to controversial stardom with pumped-up energy---where the violent and straightforward lays. Meanwhile, the second half is a little letdown with unbalance portion of narrating the group's downfall for several factors---Ice Cube's departure, Jerry Heller's fraud, and Eazy-E's tragic d...
Ricki and the Flash (2015) – BALINALE Review
Movie Review

Ricki and the Flash (2015) – BALINALE Review

There are some cases where the movie is too little to contain the star factor of its star. Ricki and the Flash is one of them. With Oscar-winning director, Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) and Oscar-winning writer, Cody Diablo (Juno), as helmers, it is no more than a regular drama with chic and witty dialogues, but mostly, with a serious cliche problem which has gone to "small" to contain 19-times Oscar nominee, Meryl Streep. The premise is cool, though. Meryl Streep is a rock-chic, Ricki Rendazzo, who chose her rock-and-roll career over her family in the past. Yet, fortune has brought her home when her former husband (Kevin Kline) suddenly reappears. Reason is, her daughter, Julie (Mamie Gummer---Streep's real-life daughter) is suicidal as a result of her marriage failure. The thing...

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