The Big Sick (2017) – Review

Review: Love is a many-splendored thing again in The Big Sick, a highly relatable rom-com about multi-cultural relationship inspired by real-life story of its writers—Pakistani-American comedian, Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), and his wife, Emily V. Gordon.

This Judd Apatow-produced delight package grounds closely to reality and is utterly apprehensible in presenting a witty, sweet story. Some of the aspects are more digestible (also debatable) for people of Eastern culture than those of Western; but it’s never alienating. After all, this is a warm and honest cross-culture romance that attempts to bridge the differences. In short, it’s the kind of old loving-you-loving-your-family love story, which works in the heart of ‘modernity.’

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It (2017) – Review

Review: New rendition of Stephen King’s 1986 novel, It, scrutinizes half of the 1000-something-page story into an effective two-hour thrilling ride with occasional scarefest. Despite the novel’s unfilmability (due to the richness of its content), this latest adaptation by Argentinian Andy Muschietti (Mama) could live up the expectation as a decent King’s adaptation and as a proper horror.

While It actually feels more like a coming-of-age adventure tale—with nods to classic ventures like The Goonies and other King’s adaptation, Stand by Me—the horror earns its gruesome portion; thanks to its legendary villain, Pennywise the Dancing Clown (oh, hi, coulrophobes!) who is said to always haunt the small town of Derry every 27 years. With intentionally shifted settings (adjusting 30 years from the novel’s 50s setting into 80s. Do the math and you’ll know why), sympathetic kid characters, rural summer vibes and a necessarily evil clown, you definitely won’t wish to float down there.

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Midnight Runners (2017) – Review

Review: In Midnight Runners, writer-director Johan Kim recycles classic buddy cop tropes into a same-old-brand-new comedy-thriller, which benefits from chemistry of the leads, Park Seo-joon and Kang Ha-neul. It’s indeed a heroic story of two South Korean cop trainees, but, it’s also simply funny, entertaining, action-packed and sweet at the same time.

Gi-joon (Seo-joon) and Hee-yeol (Ha-neul) become unlikely best friends during their horrendous training, despite their completely different background and characters. One day, they witness an assault and kidnapping during their disastrous romance-seeking tenure in Gangnam. Despite the odds against them, they have to implement what they have learned in police academy in a real-life situation with real human life as the risk.

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Death Note (2017) – Review

Review: So, why bother remaking a story that feels Japan through and through in a same old brand new American setting? Or, why bother retelling a story that might venture well in nowadays internet-advanced world in a world which feels no different to early internet day? Why bother remaking Death Note in an all-American high school drama?

Those questions keep linger in my head while I watched Adam Wingard’s Death Note, an Americanized version of Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Oba and Takeshi Obata. In presenting this story, Wingard (The Guest, You’re Next) keeps trying to impress audiences with his eye for stylish visual violence.  Without ever losing his touch, there’s practically nothing wrong with the directorial effort; but, judging from the director’s adamant persistence in making the film and the end-results, there lies a much bigger question: is this all Adam Wingard’s vision to Death Note?

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It Comes at Night (2017) – Review

Review: Who would have thought that It Comes at Night comes not as a template post-apocalyptic story although it looks like one? Trey Edward Shults’ film might look like some survival films like 28 Days Later or, even, 10 Cloverfield Lane, as it suggests the existence of a safe haven in form of a cabin in the woods with strict rules and security. But, it isn’t.

It Comes at Night will mostly lock the central characters—a family consists of a father (Joel Edgerton), a mother (Carmen Ejogo) and a son (Kelvin Harrison Jr.)—in the cabin, before it lures audiences with heaps of questions. There’s no single explanation concerning the apocalypse. There’s no volatile momentum to explain how hazardous the new world is to the plot. There’s not even a slight of sight of what ‘it’ in the title might refer to or why ‘it’ is coming at night.

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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 class and exquisite music repertoire find a way to breakthrough.

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