Review: In case you haven’t heard, Tom Cruise’ latest American Made, is a crazy real-life story of Han Solo the Smuggler. Well, it’s actually a story of a real figure, Barry Seal (portrayed by Cruise), a pilot prodigy who left his delightful life as an airline pilot to pursue ‘careers’ to make, live, and make living out of CIA, Nicaraguan right-wing guerillas, Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel, to the White House. It’s so dirty, so obscene, and so ludicrous that it almost busts out the line between reality and fiction.
Barry Seal’s life, despite everything, feels like it’s been written solely for Cruise. Seal is an adrenaline junkie (which matches up with Cruise’ personality as he insists on doing his own stunt) who gets entangled in an obscure world full of corruption, double-crossings and crimes. In living such a life, he’s quite a narcissist and a fancy talker (in one scene he’s talking DEA, State Police, FBI and other law enforcers out promising them a Caddy for a person, while he knows they won’t accept). And, the best part is that he’s doing his operation airborne—flying small planes, reuniting Cruise with his aviation tenure in Top Gun.
Continue reading American Made (2017) – Review
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure,” said Eric Liddell to his pious sister.
Of God and men, of faith and patriotism, for serving God and breaking stereotypes, Hugh Hudson’s Chariots of Fire wraps them all in a biopic about British athletic team’s triumphant victory in the 1924 Olympics. It’s a rare picture which concatenates the urgency of nationalism, ambition, and the evangelism on running tracks, making it one of the strongest Best Picture winners. Continue reading Blindspot: Chariots of Fire (1981)
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)