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
Review: In 1996, political situation in Indonesia heated up. A turmoil involving Partai Rakyat Demokratik (PRD) – Democratic People Party – opposed authoritarian Soeharto’s regime. In aftermath of it, activists and supporters of the movement were hunted down to be silenced and wiped off from the history (possibly be killed in the process).
Wiji Thukul, a vocal anti-govt poet and an activist, was accused as the responsible one for mobilizing the masses prior to the turmoil. As a fugitive (of a war between people and govt), Wiji fled to Pontianak, Borneo – almost a thousand kilometers away from his family and hometown in Solo, Java – by himself. A weary poet is on the run by himself; in exile, he coalesces with solitude in Yosep Anggi Noen’s Solo, Solitude (a.k.a. Istirahatlah Kata-Kata). Continue reading Istirahatlah Kata-kata / Solo, Solitude (2017): A poetry of growing seeds
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 faith-laden adversaries, The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto.
Hacksaw Ridge isn’t a preach about faith whatsoever, yet, it is honest in admitting that faith is the epicenter of this biopic of a Seventh-day Adventist who received Medal of Honor in aftermath of World War II. Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield, in his quirkiest role by far) is the unsung hero; he’s enlisting in World War II like many other youths at that time, but not as a soldier, but rather a paramedic. Despite objection from his war-traumatized father (Hugo Weaving), Desmond keeps going on and ‘fights’ to finally receive the highest honor for his courage in saving 75 lives without ever touching a gun. Continue reading Hacksaw Ridge (2016) – Review
Review: What happen between Joseph Gordon Levitt, biopics, and some subjects which have previously won Oscars for Best Documentary? He did a Phillipe Petit’s impersonation for Robert Zemeckis in The Walk (2015) following an Oscar winning Man on Wire of the same subject. He did it again—an impersonation of Edward Snowden for the sleeping giant, Oliver Stone in aftermath of another Oscar campaign, Citizenfour.
Edward Snowden, the subject matter, is no stranger for modern, internet-literate people. An ex-CIA and NSA, who became a whistleblower and, finally, fugitive after he leaked important American surveillance state, which trespasses people’s privacy. A people’s hero and a national enemy, Ed Snowden is a poignant and important subject for biopic (well, google his name might give better insight of how poignant and important he is) now or in the future. Continue reading Snowden (2016) – Review
Review: Possibly you might never hear about it, but there’s a notorious Olympian known for his ill tenure in 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada. He’s the one whom the president of the committee, Frank King, addressed in a quintessential “some of you have even soared like an eagle” closing speech. He’s the one and the only Michael “Eddie” Edwards, the eagle.
Eddie the Eagle is a loose feel-good biopic of the famously unsuccessful Olympian; produced by Matthew Vaughn and directed by Dexter Fletcher. It revolves around the dream of a feet-defected kid Michael Edwards a.k.a. Eddie (portrayed with clumsy persona by Taron Egerton, Kingsman), who dreams to be an Olympic athlete since he’s little. Portrayed as having no natural talent of sports and being held down by his disability, Eddie never gives up; he literally tries every kind of sport. He almost makes it to the qualification of Great Britain’s downhill skier team, but he narrowly misses (or more correctly, is singled out from the team by the committee). Continue reading Eddie the Eagle (2016) – BALINALE Review