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.
Coming to America is a surprising cultural touchstone. Eddie Murphy, possibly the greatest showman of that era, leads an all-Black ensemble of casts for a feel-good titular journey. He's portraying Prince Akeem Joffer from Zamunda, a wealthy African monarch country whose on-screen luster precedes Wakanda in recent history. The film's bold guts to choose how a Black community is portrayed and represented is a landmark of its own, even when its broad slapstick and shades of misogyny often draw egregious legacy.
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?
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).
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).
Herwin Novianto presents a slice-of-life family drama revolving around the life of a dysfunctional family and their struggle in Yang Tak Tergantikan (trans. the irreplaceable one). Occupying the center stage of the narrative is Lulu Tobing in another subtle performance portraying a divorcee living independently with her three young-adult children. She's the beating heart of the story, co-written Gunawan Raharja (Aisyah: Biarkan Kami Bersaudara), that feels grounded and intimate without having to dip into sheer complications.
Heartbreak is arguably the second most universal thing after love. To say that everyone who knows how to love knows how broken heart feels like might be an innocent understatement; but, after all, it's universally a feeling that people try to avoid. For the late Didi Kempot (1966 - 2020), however, heartbreak is a source of inspiration in writing his folk songs. Dubbed as 'The Godfather of Broken Heart', the Indonesian singer had written hundreds of sentimental songs to ironically dance to. The singer was a folk sensation back in the 90s who found the career resurged in the recent years. Sobat Ambyar (a.k.a. The Heartbreak Club), directed by Charles Gozali (Finding Srimulat) and Bagus Bramanti (writer of sleeper-hit, Yowis Ben), is a light rom-com inspired by the finest and the bluest ...
Kornél Mundruczó's Pieces of a Woman begins with a sense of urgency, a hasty afternoon full of mixed feelings between excitement and fear. Sean (Shia LaBeouf), an engineer, hastily leaves the bridge construction he's been eagerly working on and rushes home. Martha (Vanessa Kirby) can barely hide her emotions as she leaves her office's baby shower celebration. She's pregnant with a girl and she's due on that fateful evening. The smell of unease exudes in the air and, even, last-minute tension arises and cools down almost rapidly as the labor's arriving. Nobody has been prepped for whatever comes after and, apparently, nobody saw that coming even when it arrives with excruciating details.
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Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis star as a couple in Clea DuVall's Happiest Season.
Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) are planning to visit Harper's parent for Christmas, where the former secretly plans to propose the latter on the special day. "I'm good with parents," Abby confidently soars when Harper invites her over; unbeknownst to her, Harper never comes out to her parents about her sexuality, let alone her serious relationship with Abby. On the way to the parents' house, Harper finally gets the guts to confess to her lover and asks her to play along as someone she's not—an orphaned roommate who has nowhere to go during the holiday season.
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Super child heroes are the epicenter of We Can Be Heroes (2020)
In an interview with NPR back in 2003, writer/director/editor/anything-he-can-do-he-will-do filmmaker Robert Rodriguez mentioned that he prefers working at nights and spends day-time hours with his kids (mostly named after cool things he would have in his movies). No wonder that every once in a while, amidst his grindhouse-inspired and comic book style filmography, he will create some family-friendly kid movies that bring along his trademark elements—comic book style heroes, cutting-edge gadgets, Latin relatives, and quirky plots most importantly. On the Christmas Day, the director revisits his 2005 creation, The Adventure of Sharkboy and Lava Girl, and expands it into a more wholesome, lite superhero action, We Can Be Her...
Into a world where any Charles Dickens' adaptation is considered an old-school artefact, Armando Iannucci (The Death of Stalin) brings a fresh and distinctive rendition of the author's semi-autobiographical work, David Copperfield as originally titled 'The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery (Which He Never Meant to Publish on Any Account).' The director, co-writing the screenplay with Simon Blackwell, retains the author's sense of adventure and exotic characters in the presentation. Additionally, Iannucci's version is gifted with merry-making ensemble of casts and playful narrative that makes his take —shortened into The Personal History of David Copperfield— a jolly British Victorian experience.
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.
Jessica Hausner (Lourdes, Amour Fou) delivers a high-concept sci-fi horror that could have been a decent prequel/spin-off of M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. With premise that sounds closely grounded to the reality—about commodification of plants to produce new breeds that defy the ordinary, Little Joe offers a grounded approach to the storytelling as well. There's no spectacle nor explicit horror on the go, but the tension is real, built only by raising suspicions.
Stephen Hillenburg's The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) was supposed to be the series finale for its third season (and possibly for the whole show for good). The commercial and critical success of it, however, has rekindled interests towards the franchise before finally sparking tons of additional contents (commonly described as land-sliding seasons in terms of quality). Nobody from the 2004 production might have predicted that the story continues and sparks many seasons plus two movies, including Paul Tibbitt's The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) and, the latest, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.
A unfairly fate-rigged sibling rivalry has forced twin sisters, Juliet (Sydney Sweeney from The Handmaid's Tale and Sharp Object) and Vivian (Madison Iseman from the new Jumanji franchise and Annabelle Comes Home), into an unhealthy sisterhood. Living almost exclusively under her sister's shadow for her entire life, the former is driven into the brink of sanity. In a desperate time, desperate measure, she discovers an unlikely help—a force larger and darker than her ambition.