Review: In terms of visualizing a grandeur story about ambition, passion and destiny, James Gray’s The Lost City of Z might make handful of resemblance with Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and a smaller scale of it. While the latter is a chronicle of a man’s ambition over oil field for greater goods of one’s self, the former is a spiritual adventure of a man’s ambition dividing the South American jungle to unravel humanity’s biggest secret, an older civilization hidden in the green desert.
Adapted from David Grann’s book, the quest to find Z retold the story of a British man, Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who was tasked to map Brazil-Bolivian boundary deep in the Amazon rainforest in order to prevent wars between the two countries. Fawcett teamed up with Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson), an avid explorer of the jungle. During the tenure, Fawcett was consumed by the idea of a lost city he proposed as ‘Z’ after confirming a native’s story upon his findings of pottery. The more he believes and studies the lost city, the more he’s obsessed and the more his ambition to prove its existence emerges, engulfing his own existence. Continue reading The Lost City of Z (2017) – Review
Review: Ryan Murphy, an anthology specialist (yes, we’re talking about American Horror Story and American Crime Story), further expands his repertoire to another real life shenanigan, peeling legendary feud – a clash of titan – in his new series, Feud. Digging up classic feud between two classic Hollywood stars, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford during the production of psycho-biddy What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Murphy has reserved two award seats for his stars, Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange.
Sarandon and Lange respectively portray Davis and Crawford remarkably, in the sense that the feud pervades to the present-time stars. The heat of the conflicts has ingrained so profoundly that we might see Sarandon as a manifestation of Bette Davis and Lange as Joan Crawford. Continue reading A Season with: Feud: Bette and Joan (2017)
Review: While Raden Ajeng Kartini, hailed as the symbol of women emancipation and empowerment in Indonesia, has always been a timeless subject; Hanung Bramantyo’s Kartini surprisingly comes at the most relevant moment – when feminism movement is on the wild run; when rift between the conservative and the progressive is on the edge; when discrimination and patriarchal superiority suddenly awaken from their dormant state – clinching its factual relevance to modern day audiences as more than just a ‘glorified depiction’ of a real-life figure.
Kartini revolves around specific period of the titular character’s life: during her ‘pingitan’ or glorified seclusion. Kartini (Dian Sastrowardoyo), an aristocrat by birth, is bound to be a ‘raden ayu’ – glorified wife/concubine of aristocrats – when she has grown enough. To become one, she must enter ‘pingitan’ ever since her coming of age; she must get secluded from outside world to prepare her to be a perfect woman. Continue reading Kartini (2017): A timely, exquisite story about women
“Power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t,” said Oskar Schindler.
Based on a real story about Oskar Schindler – a German businessman who saved thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied German during the World War II, Schindler’s List stormed the Oscars in 1994 with 12 nominations and won 7 of it, incl. Best Picture, Best Director for Steven Spielberg and Best Adapted Screenplay for Steven Zaillian. A story as epic as it is, narrated in 3-hour long black and white motion, is definitely a story of a lifetime; and I am pleased to finally watch it after nearly 24 years after it first screened. Continue reading Blindspot: Schindler’s List (1993)
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: You might not be familiar with Vinny Pazienza’s miraculous story dubbed as the ‘greatest comeback in sports history,’ but, after 5 minutes, Bleed for This will give you clear head-ups. The story comfortably fashions itself as a cliché-ridden based-on-true-events boxer’s story, which feels as text-bookish as it could be. However, clichés are no match for the true sportsmanship spirit it carries on and the hard punches it launches.
Miles Teller portrays Vinny Paz – a loudmouth Rhode Island native, who is eager to take all punch; but, really, he is a no-contender. In a title shot against Roger Mayweather, he suffered an embarrassing defeat, which triggers his managers, The Duvas Brothers, to urge him to give up boxing. Yet, Vinny, a tenacious macho man, refuses to surrender; instead, he teams up with Mike Tyson’s former alcoholic coach, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart). The feat instantly becomes an unlikely union – the band of losers aiming for the most plausible shot for future. Continue reading Bleed for This (2017) – Review