Review: When Julia (Matilda Lutz) finds out that her boyfriend (Alex Roe) gets involved in the cycle of “killing videotape” of Samara Morgan from The Ring (2002), she willingly sacrifices herself by watching a copy of the videotape. While waiting for seven-day trial to end, she begins receiving strange metaphysical messages from the behind-the-video entity, which apparently has a hidden agenda for her.
The most obvious problem of Rings is: it attempts to reenact what the first Western Ring excels in. It questionably copies the repetitive cycle and add some superfluous backstory. Viewers of The Ring and sequel have already been too familiar – in other words, fed up – about it; and new viewers will find it worn-off in only 15 minutes in. Yet, what’s most problematic of it all is: it’s not scary at all. Continue reading Rings (2017) – Review
Review: There were three African-American women working at NASA in circa 1960s and helping the institution sending man into space, winning the space competitions against the Soviets. Not everyone knows about that fact (me neither, in fact), until Hidden Figures comes and opens people’s eyes in the era where this substantial revelation is relevant. However, it’s never been a preachy, egghead’s story; instead, Theodore Melfi’s adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s non-fiction is a high-energized feel-good film about equality and empowerment.
Those three titular figures are Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe). Those women are all brilliant in their own field even beyond; but their only problem is more complex than their minds; because they are women and people of colors. Continue reading Hidden Figures (2017) – Review
Review: Split might not be M. Night Shyalaman’s best treat; but it definitely marks the return of this slick storyteller to his powerhouse realm. In fact, Split is different from Shyalaman’s earlier works due to the absence of an actual, grandiose twist ending; but who needs a twist if the whole film has twisted narrative?
It kicks off like any abduction film, where a nerdy man named Dennis (James McAvoy, a powerhouse version of himself), who has OCD, kidnaps three teenage girls and locks them up in a windowless room. Dennis is living with Patricia, a very neat lady, and Hedwig, a 9-year old lisp boy who loves Kanye West. Yet, sometimes, a fashion-designer wanna-be, Barry, takes over; and, some other time, a history-enthusiast, Orwell, might be there too; also, a diabetic, Jade, might as well be there.
Yet, who knows that Dennis or Patricia or Hedwig or Barry or Orwell or Jade or any other alters is living in the same body? Yes, they’re living inside Kevin, a troubled man with acute dissociative identity disorder, who has 23 personalities living inside him, waiting to take over the spotlight.
Continue reading Split (2017) – Review
Review: After hitchhiking and helping to save the day in The LEGO Movie (2014), Will Arnett’s self-obsessed Batman finally gets promoted to his own spotlight as the lead role. In his solo, brick-world spin-off, The LEGO Batman Movie, Batman is the feeling-less, insensitive, heavy metal and beat box loving, lone vigilante of more-vibrant-and-frenetic-than-Tim-Burton’s Gotham. However, he’s not some taciturn, shy Dark Knight; Batman has embraced Bruce Wayne’s narcissism personality disorder and turned into a superstar of the crime-lair city.
Things go south when Jim Gordon retires and his daughter, a Harvard for Police alumnus, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) steps in. She insists that the city doesn’t need Batman for the Caped Crusader, although succeeds in quelling city’s most notorious villains, cannot really wipe them off completely. At the same moment, Batman’s rejected arch-nemesis – the Joker (Zach Galifianakis, in a more sensitive role than Jared Leto’s swagger version) surrenders himself and his band of criminals. Fearing that it’s Joker’s mere villainous agenda, Batman aided by his cute adopted son Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) determines to stop Joker at whatever cost. Continue reading The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) – Review
This review is based on the version released in Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival 2016 last December.
Review: Salawaku, a traditional wooden shield from Moluccas, Indonesia, is a small armament. Despite the size, it’s an effective companion to the swiftness of traditional machete for its rigid and stiff apparatus is highly protective.
In Pritagita Arianegara’s directorial debut, Salawaku (newcomer, Elko Kastanya) is only an ordinary child living an extraordinary life. His parents have long passed away, leaving him and his older sister Binaiya (Raihaanun) as orphans. Life has unfairly forced him to be a hard, rigid figure during his childhood – making his character juxtaposed perfectly with the shield.
When Binaiya flees from the island, sails the quiet sea alone to the exile for a reason we have yet to know; Salawaku, as protective as he’s ever been, determines to go after his sister by himself, dividing the wilderness of Ceram Island, Moluccas. Amidst the quest, the boy encounters a Jakarta-based escapee, Saras (Karina Salim), stranded on a remote island alone after a wasted night. Continue reading Salawaku (2017) – Review: A journey to the East
Review: You might remember John Wick (2014) for the over-the-top gun-fu bravura and feasts of headshots; or, better, for a revenge actioner triggered by a mob son stole a hitman’s ’69 Mustang and killed his dog. Yet, you must agree that, with John Wick, you’ve witnessed taciturn Keanu Reeves makes an instant, original iconic role that bitch-slaps a band of remake/reboot/adaptation goons.
John Wick: Chapter 2 immediately follows up the frenzy in the first film with a high-octane car-nage sequence which pumps up the adrenaline; and, since then, those ballads of bone-crunching and brain-scattering actions never stop. Shortly, an Italian mobster, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), to which John is indebted, pulls the hitman out of retirement with a mission to assassinate Santino’s own Camorra sister, Gianna. Forget the ridiculously exhilarating premise from the first film because what John faces in this second film is the real deal. Continue reading John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) – Review