Review: Inarguably, the true event that inspires Garth Davis’ Lion is a blessing-in-disguise story. A five-year old Indian boy, Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost while going away from home with his older brother. He’s stranded in Calcutta – 1,600KM away from home; survived hardships in street life, before being adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham), who lives in Tasmania.
Separated from his birth family and his compassionate brother, Saroo, now a Brierley (portrayed by Dev Patel), grows into a full-fledged Australian – who even forgets to speak Hindi. When hearing about Google Earth, Saroo becomes obsessed with it to trace down his memory lane in attempt to locate his home in India. Will he find his birth house after all? At this point, knowing how this story ends is moderately forgiven, because Lion isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. Continue reading Lion (2016) – Review
At a glance, Moonlight resembles the spirit of Richard Linklater’s magnum opus, Boyhood, in a way that it follows the twisted voyage of a boy to become man, embracing what matters in him. Yet, Moonlight puts twists into this self-discovery drama – challenging black male masculinity with fragility to mirror Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain in a different scale.
Writer-director Barry Jenkins adapts Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unperformed play titled ‘In Moonlight Black Boy Looks Blue’ into a three-phase story of a black gay boy’s self-maturation in which each chapter resembles the identity he embraces. As a boy, he’s Little (portrayed by Alex Hibbert), a little bully target taken under the wing of a crack-dealer, Juan (Mahershala Ali); as a teen, he’s Chiron (Ashton Sanders), a taciturn boy who finds love in his own best friend; and as a grown-up, he’s Black (Trevante Rhodes), embracing the identity given by his long-lost love. Three phases might define him differently, but his inner identity stays intact; waiting for acceptance that keeps troubling him. Continue reading Moonlight (2016) – Review
Review: Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington) walks home from work with his comrade, Bono (Stephen Henderson), talking about work and life as black men in the 1950s’ Pittsburgh, before reaching Troy’s home, in which Rose (Viola Davis), Troy’s wife, has waited. From the blocking, the set arrangement, and the characters’ gesture, we already know that Fences is adapted from a play; it is staged like a play, but it ventures further into masterclass, cinematic performance.
Troy, a hardened man, was once a talented baseball player, who never made to professional careers due to an issue which he addressed as racial segregation. He’s got into an unfortunate event when he’s young, but he’s overcome it. Since then, Troy becomes bitter and skeptical; he’s been building fences—literally and figuratively. Continue reading Fences (2016) – Review
“C’mon, Babe, why don’t we paint the town… and all that Jazz!” Velma Kelly sings on the stage.
In the 75th Academy Awards, Rob Marshall’s Chicago triumphed over with six winnings, including Best Picture, overpowering strong contenders like The Pianist, Gangs of New York, and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Chicago becomes the second musical to win Best Picture after 1968’s Oliver!; and together with Moulin Rouge, it is responsible for the reemergence of musical film in modern days. Continue reading Blindspot: Chicago (2002)
Review: The sixth installment of Resident Evil franchise opens with a recaps of ‘the story so far’ narrated by the protagonist, Umbrella’s prodigal daughter, Alice (Milla Jovovich). Going further to several years prior to the first film, the prologue jumps to the event in the first film, and abruptly shifts to several minutes before this Final Chapter.
At one point it’s a courtesy to help audiences refresh and brush up some worn-off memories about the plot of the whole franchise. At the same time, it confirms that, except for the first installment, Resident Evil is rather prolonged, characterless, and forgettable. The Final Chapter has the potentials to wipe that gripe off, to make a lasting final impression; but, the same thing that weighed down its predecessors weighs it down, too. Continue reading Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017) – Review
Review: As a director, Ben Affleck has displayed an adroit proficiency in crafting artfully meaningful takes of crime and drama-thriller. His directorial debut, adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Gone Baby Gone, sets a high bar for his prowess in mood, characters, small-explosive thriller; the follow-ups, The Town and Oscar-winning, Argo, prove it. A decade after his debut, Affleck returns to Lehane, adapting a 2012 novel, Live by Night, a story of a police son turns a crime-lord during Prohibition era.
Affleck’s homage to retro gangster films is undeniably lavish; only, Live by Night, which was postponed for Batman v Superman‘s production, hasn’t been able to leave our descendants a new classic. It’s a completely a Ben Affleck’s film material, but there’s something about it (I could say it’s his ambition off-screen and on-screen, but there’s more to it), which makes it far less successful than his previous works. Continue reading Live by Night (2017) – Review