Manchester by the Sea (2016) – Review

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Review: In Manchester by the Sea, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan crafts a subtle chef-d’oeuvre of tragedy, involving grief and only grief. And by mentioning ‘tragedy’, what I mean is the ancient form of drama – based on human suffering that appeals audiences’ pleasure; therefore, that doesn’t mean it is a tear-jerking melodrama, although it indeed is […]

Lion (2016) – Review

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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 […]

Moonlight (2016) – Review

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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 […]

Hidden Figures (2017) – Review

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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, […]

Hell or High Water (2016) – Review

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Review:  When their mother died, two brothers – a divorcee Toby (Chris Pine) and an ex-con Tanner (Ben Foster) – get involved in a series of bank-robbing quests, specifically against Texas Midlands Bank – the bank which threats to foreclosure the family’s ranch. Toby, the younger one, is a more motivated mastermind; meanwhile, Tanner, the […]

Fences (2016) – Review

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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 […]

La La Land (2016) – Review

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Review: Damien Chazelle – the director of critically acclaimed Whiplash – crafts a sharp-witted, jazz-spirited romance in La La Land. It’s a love, no, passion letter to the beauty of music, of cinema, of L.A., and of dream. La La Land, undoubtedly, is a bunch of happiness, blissful tunes and whoop-de-do wrapped in an ethereal rhapsody. It’s an exhilarating, feel-good musical that will take […]

Arrival (2016) – Review

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Review: In Arrival, 12 extraterrestrial saucers mysteriously appear and float above 12 different places around the Earth. Clueless of what they may encounter, humanity quickly falls into fears and turmoil. A linguistic professor, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is summoned into an alien site nearby to decipher the alien’s alleged language, to prevent mass hysteria that might lead […]

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) – Review

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Review: There’s a sense of accomplishment embarks after watching Mel Gibson’s comeback, Hacksaw Ridge; a contention knowing that ‘faith’ eventually found a path to a Hollywood spectacle in its most honest manifestation. As much as it is a celebration of technical achievement, this off-beat war film is also a real-world answer to Gibson’s first two […]