Friday, August 12

Tag: Remake

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: The Grudge (2020)
Movie Review

Review: The Grudge (2020)

Rebooting a failing remake is maybe the most logical or, otherwise, the most cringe-worthy gig a Hollywood studio would do. While the argument to right the wrong is plausible, the tendency to repeat the same mistake is as imaginable. Sadly, Nicolas Pesce's remake of The Grudge (2004)—Takashi Shimizu's own remake of his own J-Horror classic, Ju-On—tends to take the messed-up path. While Shimizu's 2004 remake attempted to position itself as close as possible to the source material (the remake went even further to place it in the same geographical map), it's still a messy thread with more questions than actual terrors. One of the most bugging creative decisions is related to the mechanism of the curse, which becomes the franchise's epicenter. Shimizu engineers the curse to work as a super...
Review: Black Christmas (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Black Christmas (2019)

Black Christmas offers a progressive premise incorporating feminism and home-invasion slasher. It's a well-intended remake of Bob Clark's slasher classic of the same title. The idea is not highly revolutionary, but, from the corner of the eye, it is commendable in an idea-pitching award. Unfortunately, that's not the case. The remake falls where it should not be. The feminism-invasion slasher takes place in sorority houses where a survivor, Riley (Imogen Poots, Green Room) and other sorority women are terrorized by black-hooded killers with some medieval weapons. The killers are no other than some frat boys—endorsed by a supernatural force that doubles down their patriarchal pride which has made them somehow invincible. Only after the women began to speak up, the male supremacist force...
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: 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 Child’s Play (2019)
Movie Review

Review Child’s Play (2019)

Acknowledge it that the classic Child's Play story about a doll possessed by an evil spirit brought in life by voodoo spell is a thirty-year-old horror story—older than most millennials. After spawning six sequels and popularizing Chucky as one of the most iconic horror villains, the franchise finally follows the step of other horror classics into the remake/reboot zone. Surprisingly enough, Norway director, Lars Klevberg (Polaroid) takes a sharp treatment for the reboot—leaving the Haitian voodoo elements back in the 80s and goes full futuristic instead. Call it a fuckup Black Mirror or Twilight Zone episode when the AI of a child’s doll gone berserk. Given the new concept, Child’s Play unarguably becomes a new entity blending tech-horror with the 80s slasher tropes. The only things r...
Review The Lion King (2019)
Movie Review

Review The Lion King (2019)

Jon Favreau’s photo-realistic remake of Disney Renaissance’s magnum opus, The Lion King, is best described as being nonurgent. As a matter of fact, it’s unquestionably prone to exoticism and aesthetic in terms of visual or musical, even more than Favreau’s vibrant rendition of The Jungle Book in 2016. Notwithstanding the artistic breakthrough, the redux, which might not be fair to be called as a live-action adaptation (since everything is computer-generated), lacks of originality and sense of purpose. Back in 1994, The Lion King has proven the worth as the magnum opus of Disney Renaissance, becoming the highest grossing traditionally animated films of all time. Boasting Shakespearean drama in the midst of African wildlife, the tale of Simba paved its way to become an instant classic. 2...
Review The Hustle (2019)
Movie Review

Review The Hustle (2019)

In this gender-swapped remake of Frank Oz's buddy-con comedy, Dirty Little Scoundrels (which was also a remake of the older version, Bedtime Stories), two women are competing yet also teaming up to deceit older men into actually grant them what they desire. With Anne Hathaway (partnered up with Rebel Wilson, the movie has the potential to, at least, remind us why this remake, especially the gender-swap element, is necessary. And yet, the whole scheme is simply insensitive and problematic, even when the movie manages to have its fun moments. (more…)
Review Sunyi (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review Sunyi (2019)

Awi Suryadi has become a legit name in Indonesian horror cinema. His three recent horrors (Danur, Danur 2: Maddah, Asih; dubbed as Danur universe) were all blockbuster hits with mixed to negative reviews condemning his over-abuse of cinematic style (including the never-ending Duch tilts) that borrows from famous horror auteurs, jump-scares with blatant sound effects, and, mostly, weak scripts. His recent venture, Sunyi, is a loose adaptation of the 1998 South Korean horror blockbuster, Whispering Corridors—a horror which isn’t necessarily needing an adaptation. (more…)
Review Pet Sematary (2019)
Movie Review

Review Pet Sematary (2019)

There's one famous Stephen King's quote that works to dive in to most of his works. "Nightmares exist outside of logic," he said before clinching his statement with an exclamation that adding explanation is no fun. That quote also works to delve into the new Pet Sematary, an adaptation of a novel which King himself always claimed to be one of the toughest even for him. Duo directors, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, seem to hold the creed too well: gone beyond the logic and giving little to no explanation for it. (more…)
Review Cold Pursuit (2019)
Movie Review

Review Cold Pursuit (2019)

Set in the cold, white ski city of Kehoe (fictionally located in Colorado), Cold Pursuit sees an angry, old Liam Neeson in another quest for revenge. It’s barely surprising if skeptical viewers might mistake it for another cousin of Taken (along with Non-Stop, Run All Night, and The Commuter) given the premise. Yet, give it a go and you’ll find out that Hans Petter Moland’s remake of his own Norwegian thriller is more like Fargo (Noah Hawley’s rendition over Coen Brothers’): stark, slick and ambiguous. (more…)
Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Review
Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Review

Review: Kenneth Branagh knows that modern viewers don’t fancy over-exposition in crime-mystery story as in Agatha Christie’s original whodunit classic, Murder on the Orient Express. Therefore, the actor/director adjusts the premise and crafts a more energetic, carefree version of the story which focuses more on the main protagonist, Hercule Poirot, more than anything else in the story. (more…)
Flatliners (2017) – Review
Movie Review

Flatliners (2017) – Review

Review: It’s sad to finally learn that Niels Arden Oplev's (The original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) Flatliners is neither a sequel nor a blood-related spin-off of Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners (1990) as previously rumored. It turns out to be mundane and redundant remake, which brings back Kiefer Sutherland (not for reprising the same role he played back then but) for a merely prominent cameo. Flatliners basically is an ‘on-point’ remake which offers nothing new. It goes by the same preposterous premise around near-death experience and exploration to after-life. Revolving around similar groups of med school students with their ‘pseudo-science’ experiment of less-than-5-minutes dying, the remake might look enticing for those who haven’t seen the 1990 flat blockbuster, at least until the fil...
Sweet 20 (2017): Ode to the youth not wasted on the young
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Sweet 20 (2017): Ode to the youth not wasted on the young

Review: In the toughest time of her life, a fussy 70-year-old hag gets a second chance to compensate her lost youth and cheat aging when she is mysteriously transformed into her 20-year-old self. That’s the premise of Hwang Dong-hyuk’s mega-hit Miss Granny (2014), which has inspired series of overseas remakes, including the Indonesian version, Sweet 20, helmed by Ody C. Harahap (Me vs. Mami, Kapan Kawin?). Transliterated from its South Korean roots by Upi (My Stupid Boss, Belenggu), Sweet 20 adeptly administers a profound adaptation into Indonesian culture and social value. Upi’s adapted script isn’t only changing the film’s geographical setting; it instead induces local view of family in Indonesia’s urban society. Even, the film’s Eid al-Fitr release adds up to the foundation of the story...
Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Review
Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Review

Review: I once wrote an abridged history of Beauty and the Beast roots on my review of Christophe Gans’ La Belle et La Bête. How this beautiful French lore has evolved, added more insight and backstories, and represented social issues from time to time alone has already made an intriguing tale. While adaptations and re-imaginings have altered it from the root, there’s one thing that never fades: the magic. I can’t still see ‘the whys’ of Disney’s decision to remake their Renaissance animation with a live-action feature; yet, I can put aside that concerns. They’ve done it well with Cinderella (2014) by having courage and being kind and staying true to its root; and The Jungle Book (2016) by fulfilling the bare necessities. And for Beauty and the Beast, I can say that this live-action re-tel...

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