Category Archives: Review in English

Jailangkung (2017): Embodiment of style-over-substance horror

Review: Rizal Mantovani & Jose Purnomo’s sleeper hit Jelangkung (2001) was an integral part of Indonesian film resurrection. This harrowing story—about ancient ritual of summoning spirit using wooden avatar called ‘jelangkung’—was highly phenomenal that it spawned two sequels and cleared the path for other Indonesian ghouls to silver screen.

Sixteen years later, the winning team, Mantovani & Purnomo, is reunited with their winning formula into making a reboot titled Jailangkung. While their 2001 hit is a lo-fi production, this one is completely the opposite. With new target audiences, Jailangkung repackages itself with younger and fresher look; but, was it worth the scare? Continue reading Jailangkung (2017): Embodiment of style-over-substance horror

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Blindspot: Rain Man (1988)

Back to the days when Tom Cruise hasn’t been that top-billed “film star”, he was once an actor when portraying Charlie Babbitt, a selfish chap who, upon learning about his estranged father’s death, finds out that he has a long-lost brother. Thing is, his way older brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) is an autistic savant, who inherits most of their father’s wealth. There’s pure quality in young Cruise to encounter Hoffman, the powerhouse who went and brought home Best Actor prize in Oscars completing the film’s triumph (with Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture victory).

Rain Man follows one of the most narrative about character development with myriads of jolts and sensitivity. A story about a man reconciles and, later, reconnects with his only family member is never an innovation; but, what if the whole story isn’t about the changing man, but the unchanged man instead? That’s where Rain Man makes differences. As much as it tells stories about Charlie’s effort ‘to reconnect’, it was never a story about him; it’s the story of Raymond. Continue reading Blindspot: Rain Man (1988)

A Season with: Fargo (2017) – Season 3

Review: In first two seasons of Fargo­—a powerhouse of anthology based on The Coen Brothers’ 1996 film of the same title, Noah Hawley has proven his worth as a hell of most consistently stylist showrunner. Extracting the comedy-of-errors formula from the film and creating hollow modern folklore set in the film’s universe, Hawley also crafts unsympathetically likable characters and throwing them into an awkwardly cunning situation. The result: a pitch black comedy and mayhem at the same time.

As for the third season, Fargo returns with an unpretentious rhythm—smaller in scale, calmer in sense, lesser havoc compared to the first two seasons (the first renders the film quite closely, while the second feels more heavy-metal)—which ends up in a more traumatic result. It’s no longer a rough mix of petty-crime-gone-wrong and wrong-people-in-wrong-place situation, although the shades of it still become this season’s foundation. A stroke of enigmatic evil also presents, this time, in a more contagious fashion. Continue reading A Season with: Fargo (2017) – Season 3

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – Review

Review: Michael Bay’s criticproof franchise returns with another Bayhem galore—a non-stop clink-clicketty-clank-bang-boom juggernaut slugfest—in what’s dubbed as Bay’s final Transformers film, The Last Knight. The final result though—after decade with five installments so far—offers no new insight to the storyline but bunch of same day, different spectacles.

Starting off as an expanded myth of Camelot, where ancient transformers assisted King Arthur and his knights of round fighting Saxons, The Last Knight immediately leaps sixteen centuries ahead. While Optimus Prime has left the earth in search of his home-planet, Cybertron, other transformers keep coming to earth and are declared as threat; therefore, a counter-transformer task force called T.R.F is deployed to exterminate them. That’s when Cade Yeager from Age of Extinction encounters a versatile kid, Izabella (Isabella Moner) and ‘get chosen’ to partake in an ancient myth. Continue reading Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – Review

A Season with: American Gods (2017) – Season 1

Review: In adapting Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Logan), take Gaiman’s vision—for a divine story about immigrants and gods in a land of no god—into a whole new level of occultism. While retaining the novel’s tongue-in-cheek philosophical relevance, the show combines it with current real-world issue—about religion and humanity—and revises the author’s neglects towards minor storylines with a more engaging, intertwined ‘war of gods’ epic.

Same as the novel, American Gods centers on Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), a purposeless ex-convict whose wife (Emily Browning) is killed on a car accident a few moment before his release. Upon his despair, Shadow encounters a man-god who calls himself, Wednesday (Ian McShane) and gets recruited as a henchman in war between the Old Gods (Wednesday and comrades) and the New Gods of media, technology et al. Once hired, series of enigmatic events and bands of obscure characters appears, rendering Shadow (and audience’s, too) baffled and puzzled. Yet, as Wednesday said, there’s only one rule among others: Shadow is not paid for asking questions. Continue reading A Season with: American Gods (2017) – Season 1

47 Meters Down (2017) – Review

Review: Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door) uses his penchant to horror to create sharky open-water terror with a premise similar to Jaume Collett-Serra’s last summer cheap thrills The Shallows—involving deeper shallow-beach, more beautiful girls, and more sharks. Set in an exotic Mexican shore, 47 Meters Down sends Mandy Moore and Claire Holt straight to the hungry sharks in, as the title might suggest, 47 meters below the sea surface.

In 47 Meters Down, Kate (Holt), who has just found out that her sister, Lisa (Moore), ditched by her long-time boyfriend before their Mexican getaway, is at full earnestness to orchestrate an unforgettable vacation for her broken sister. Invited by two locals to cage-diving in shark-infested water, the more YOLO-induced Kate successfully persuades the more reluctant Lisa. What seems to be a larger-than-life excitement suddenly becomes a life-threatening moment for the girls when the crane falls, sending them into the bed of the ocean, with only limited oxygen to survive. Continue reading 47 Meters Down (2017) – Review