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?
Here comes another romantic comedy —fluent enough at incorporating time-loop without getting tangled in the familiarity. It's fluent enough not to beat the dead horse and give away any exposition about the temporal anomaly's nature. It's fluent enough to give the time-loop a purpose in the narrative greater than a mere gimmick. It's fluent enough to make the titular Map of Tiny Perfect Thing a worthwhile journey.
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).
It's hard to tell whether Mike Cahill's Bliss is a sci-fi drama or simply a wicked rom-com at least until half-way through the film. The film basically gives away the same promise his previous sci-fi dramas, Another Earth and I Origins, tries to deliver rather profoundly and philosophically albeit seeming comical at some intersections. This time, however, the premise ends up being more interesting than the actual film is—even when Salma Hayek's recently rare leading performance sparks some lights.
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 ...
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.
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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Happiest Season embraces the notion that there's nothing more compelli...
We've seen it before and we'll see it again: a problematic guy is doomed to repeat the same day over and over again in a seemingly endless time-loop. Now, imagine putting together the phrase ‘time loop’, ‘rom-com’, and ‘original’ in the same sentence as ‘one of this year’s best.' Then, add 'not trying to be the next Groundhog Days' and 'relevant to the current situation' into the equation; and you'll get Palm Springs, a directorial debut by Max Barbakow, written by Andy Siara. Coincidentally, the premise somehow mirrors the condition of almost everyone around the world—trapped in a devastating loop and a cycle of tedium during the quarantine period.
German director, Christian Petzold, trades the eloquently crafted period drama that has become his trademark in the last few tenures (including Phoenix and Transit) for a present era tragedy with mythical touch in his new film, Undine. While the title—referring to the protagonist's name—sounds obvious, it has never been clearly assuring to whether Petzold's new drama is a story about a mythological water fairy or a heartbreaking love story inspired by the water spirit. Whichever stance it implies, any prerequisite knowledge about undines might lead audiences to different exits as the story goes. One thing for sure, the narrative doesn't operate in the magical, fairy tale ways; but, it rather follows a more haunting path, observing the worst case scenario in the happily-ever-after aftermat...
Pietro Marcello's adaptation of Jack London's 1909 novel, Martin Eden, exudes retro-beauty of Southern Italy's labor circles, even when the original setting is in the Southern coastal of America. An essential criticism towards early 20th century socialism from a socialist, the story of Martin Eden is almost proverbially biographical and contextual from an American point of view. Marcello, transferring the setting to Naples, wraps the theme with historical aesthetics and the country's long history of socialism—that came thicker than the American counterpart.
The story of Don Pedro I of Portugal and his dead queen, Inês del Castro, is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated Portuguese love story. It's an epic tragedy whose grandiose has transcended the medium of storytelling, having the most recent rendition in António Ferreira's three-fold adaptation, The Dead Queen. Instead of narrating the titular story directly, Ferreira wraps it with an umbrella story of a man, in the modern time, admitted to a psychiatric hospital for travelling by car with the corpse of his lover, and branches it off into three stories that reflect the legendary stories.
Alexandra Daddario (Percy Jackson, Baywatch) portrays Margaret, an American expat living in Japan. During the days, she coaches stewardess-in-training English pronunciation; when the night falls, she wanders around the dismal, neon-bathed Tokyo to get drunk with fellow expats or (more often than) occasionally get laid with strangers in some random love hotels—BDSM mode. She's the lost girl and Lost Girls & Love Hotels attempts to follow her self-discovery path in a strenuous, almost tedious nightly contemplation.
To step onto the path that Alfred Hitchcock had once walked into—in a hard fought creative battle against David Selznick—is indeed a dire move for British director, Ben Wheatley. Hitchcock's Rebecca is an exemplary, classic thriller to portray an invisible threat at its finest. Wheatley, adept in making horror out of people (as in Sightseers, A Field in England, and High Rise), keeps assuring that his Rebecca isn't going to follow Hitchcock's path, but to rather faithfully follow Daphne du Maurier's novel. He's got the point to avoid direct comparison to the classic; but, even so, his rendition of this psychological thriller ends up being bland, at best.
"Happiness is a personal responsibility," Kale (Ardhito Pramono) shares his life advice to Awan (Rachel Amanda) at the edge of their relationship that never happened in Nanti Kita Cerita tentang Hari Ini (NKCTHI). His one-sided withdrawal from commitment is mainly responsible to catalyst the melodramatic third act of the story. However, Kale's reluctance, as implied, is not without a root; and, thanks to director Angga Dwimas Sasongko and writer, M. Irfan Ramly (Love for Sale duology), he isn't going to just get away with it. Therefore, Story of Kale: When Someone's in Love, a spin-off and a prequel, seeks to walk down a memory lane and find the sought-after redemption.
Dubbed as the first time-loop blockbuster in Indonesia, Sabar Ini Ujian arrives as the first original Indonesian feature in Disney+ Hotstar. Helmed by Anggy Umbara (Warkop DKI Reborn, Suzzana: Bernapas dalam Kubur) based on a screenplay co-written by Erwin Arnada, Gianluigi Ch, and himself, the movie marries off the playful time-loop trope with a sweet rom-com. The protagonist—ironically named—Sabar (Vino G. Bastian, Wiro Sableng: Pendekar Kapak Maut Naga Geni 212 ) wakes up on the wedding day of her former fiance he barely moves on from, only to find himself reliving the same day over and over again. As the premise and the title suggest ('Sabar Ini Ujian' in Indonesian means more or less like 'please be patient, this is only a test'), the temporal plot device works like a self-test and s...
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