Svetlana Dea’s directorial debut, Mantan (trans. ex-lover) is quite an oddball. It’s a dialogue-heavy romcom, which grounds between a social satire and a pure reconciliation game, but never really ends up being any of them. Sometimes it can be very convincing; but some other times, you’ll wish there would be some footnotes to help you understand anything. By the time you finally get an insight, the film abruptly ends its 75-minute run.
In Mantan, a young bachelor, Adi (Gandhi Fernando), is about to become a married man. Yet, before he becomes one, he needs to have a sense of self-fulfillment. He goes on a quest to fly up 5 different cities to encounter his exes, clear the air between them and find out if one of them might be his godknowswhy soul mate. Continue reading Mantan (2017): A Reconciliation Game
Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt returns elegantly in aftermath of the second season’s ultimate cliffhanger and sees our titular powerhouse, Kimberly ‘Kimmy’ Schmidt (Ellie Kemper), grown into a more empathetically, complex protagonist. While the cult captive PTSD theme is still revisited for once or twice, season three witnesses Kimmy arises above the ground, literally leaves the underground bunker, and gets integrated into a real world problem of empowerment and feminism.
At first, Kimmy’s got to do something to clinch the cliffhanger, where Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm) demands a divorce; then, she’s going to college for education and, eventually, career; later, she’s learning something about herself that makes her different from other people. At the same time, creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock insert insightful quests for other characters to deal with, which take roots from their deeds in the second season; and make them a more integral part of the storytelling. Continue reading A Season with: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2017) – Season 3
Review: Taking full resilient force from Justin Simien’s 2014 indie-hit, Dear White People, Netflix’s Dear White People reuses the same force to launch this 10-episode of witty comedy into this year’s most thought-provoking spectacle. This works as an extension of the infamous black-themed white-people party in the feature film, although it starts off with effective reimagining of it; but, it transcends mostly as the aftermath with counter-racism and cross-cultural conversation at its heart.
Set in a fictional Ivy League university, Winchester College, Dear White People follows a tribe of black students living in all-black dorm named Armstrong-Parker house. If the film version combines multiple characters’ arcs in a full-frontal riot, the series presents the story differently. Each pivotal character gets a full 30-minute episode arc in exercising the doomed party’s aftermath. Continue reading A Season with: Dear White People (2017) – Season 1
Review: Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire knows no cease fire in narrating a full-frontal arms deal gone awry chaos. With ten characters introduced upfront, initially dispersed into two opposing factions, before grouping into smaller groups later on, you know that there’s no guarantee that this bullet bonanza will end well… or start well.
Taking time to lead us to the main event – the claustrophobic bullet ballet, but the time Free Fire takes is apparently made into a delightful appetizer. We’re quickly introduced to two Irishmen, Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) who, with their henchmen (Enzo Cilenti and Sam Riley), are in full trust to a fixer, Justin (Brie Larson), who works with Ord (Armie Hammer), to buy guns from Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his men (incl. Jack Reynor and Noah Taylor within). We know from the beginning that something is off in this deal; therefore, when things escalate quickly as past grudge re-embarks, ‘surprise’ is no longer an appropriate vocabulary. Continue reading Free Fire (2017) – Review
Review: In my bare thought, Stip & Pensil – eraser and pencil – might be A Copy of My Mind v2.0 written but not directed by Joko Anwar. Helmed by Ardy Octaviand, this film is projecting the writer’s exasperation towards suburban sh*ts in metropolitan – from blooming population, social gap, education awareness et al – in a lighter mode, making it more urban than Mr. Anwar’s political-heavy feature. It’s no surprise if this story feels timely and relevant to today’s situation through and through.
In presenting its serious theme, Stip & Pensil points out that the core of those suburban problems is: illiteracy – literally and figuratively. Illiteracy leads to low education and poverty, which force children to work instead of studying. People are unaware of these unfortunate chains, resulting in tremendous social gap. At the opposite edge, educated wealthy people are judged to have been prone to exclusiveness, promoting larger gaps. Mr. Anwar’s script proposes a thought, a different perception as a tool to mend the gap. Continue reading Stip & Pensil (2017): Slumdogs & Millionaires
Review: For a film titled The Guys, Raditya Dika’s quick follow-up to his star-studded, box office making Hangout, it ‘almost’ lives up to the title; had some more dominating sub-plot not overtaken the spotlight. Dika, as writing-and-starring director, displays more maturity in his ‘usual romantic comedy’ trope, but who knows that this film isn’t about that at all.
In The Guys, Raditya Dika stars as Alfi, an employee in an agency, who shares a flat with his co-workers, Rene (Marthino Lio), Aryo (Indra Jegel), and a Thai expat, Sukun (Phongsiree Bunluewong). Alfi is a straight Dika’s typical character – a loser in love; that before his chivalrous act enchant Amira (Pevita Pearce). Things go south when Amira’s widowed father (Tarzan) also starts developing feeling towads Alfi’s widowed mother (Widyawati). With aids from his BFF – Best Flatmate Forever – Alfi sets up a plan to mess with the older generation’s relationship to secure his own. Continue reading The Guys (2017): When ‘The Guys’ become the other guy