Review Fall in Love at First Kiss (2019)

Fall in Love at First Kiss could’ve delivered a more heartwarming romance which pays beautiful tribute to the source material, whichever it refers to.

Frankie Chen’s Fall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情) adds another entry to the list of Kaoru Tada’s manga, Itazura Na Kiss screen adaptations (which has spawned various television series in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Taiwan). Chen’s version takes a closer approach to the first Taiwanese incarnation, It Started with a Kiss (惡作劇之吻), especially by using the established character names and settings. While the plot might sound eerie and unhealthy in deeper observation, the movie’s sugarcoating—with bubble-gum visuals and comical characters—can, at times, divert the attention to a distant lesson.

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Review Extreme Job (2019)

Crawling slowly when finding the focus in the beginning, Extreme Job cooks up exhilarating Korean buddy-cop tropes with an absurd plot of fried chicken detective.

Upon the return of a Korean drug kingpin, a team of narcs led by Captain Ko (Ryu Seung-ryong) needs to devise a new M.O. in order to catch the big fish. After a series of failed, silly attempts, the team finally finds their secret plan—a full stakeout mission by going undercover in an obsolete fried chicken joint. In an unexpected twist of fate, the revamped fried chicken joint ends up being a national phenomenon. With a risk of compromising the whole mission, Ko and his happy-go-lucky team goes into a comedic adventure full of deadpan moments.

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Review Cold Pursuit (2019)

With surprisingly bleak comedy of errors and revenge-is-a-dish-better-served-cold tropes, Cold Pursuit (2019) paints the blizzard red in what could’ve been an episode of Fargo’s latest season.

Set in the cold, white ski city of Kehoe (fictionally located in Colorado), Cold Pursuit sees an angry, old Liam Neeson in another quest for revenge. It’s barely surprising if skeptical viewers might mistake it for another cousin of Taken (along with Non-Stop, Run All Night, and The Commuter) given the premise. Yet, give it a go and you’ll find out that Hans Petter Moland’s remake of his own Norwegian thriller is more like Fargo (Noah Hawley’s rendition over Coen Brothers’): stark, slick and ambiguous.

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Review Happy Death Day 2U (2019)

Christopher Landon’s teen-slasher Groundhog Day a.k.a. Happy Death Day exploits the familiar time-loop trope into an inspiring comedy with Jessica Rothe delivering a literally wide-ranging performance. Some people found it cleverly revamping the trope; while, some others hated it for even trying. When the loop is closed by the end of the first movie, the biggest question has always been: what can make a working follow-up to it?

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Review The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)

With crowded word-play, iconic comedic moments and stop-motion details as in the predecessor, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is a solid proof that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are the new kings of FUN.

“Everything’s not awesome…,” half-way through the second act of The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, some characters join forces in a choir to sing this bleak rendition of Oscar-nominated ‘Everything Is Awesome.’ At some points, the chant admits what might have gone wrong with the direct sequel of Christopher Miller & Phil Lord’s 2014 masterwork. However, the lyrics that follows—“…doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try… to make everything awesome…”—confidently shows how this sequel acknowledges its weakness and making a leap out of it, then moves on with its awesomeness that hasn’t rusted off.

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Review Wiro Sableng: Pendekar Kapak Maut Naga Geni 212 (2018)

Wiro Sableng smartly plays out on one of the source material’s finest advantage—exotic world building and exquisite characters—to craft a real blockbuster treat, despite all the flaws.

Review Wiro Sableng 212 Warrior: Wiro Sableng (trans. Crazy Wiro), a character created by Bastian Tito, is one of the most renowned & legendary martial art warriors in Indonesian comic scene—along with Panji Tengkorak (Skull Panji) and Si Buta dari Goa Hantu (Blind Warrior from Ghost Cave). From comic book, Wiro Sableng had been adapted into a several movies and, most notably, long-running television series that had gained cult-following and launched a one-hit wonder status to the star, Ken Ken. In 2018, a latest incarnation of the famous character is brought into existence by Angga D. Sasongko (Filosofi Kopi series, Bukaan 8), backed by Lifelike Pictures and Hollywood mogul, Twentieth Century Fox.

Wiro Sableng: Pendekar Kapak Maut Naga Geni 212 feels special in the development. Penned by Tumpal Tampubolon and Sheila Timothy with senior Indonesian author (and martial-art writer), Seno Gumira Ajidarma, the plot is straight-forward poetic justice action mixed with political turmoil in the background. Partially inspired by classic wuxia stories, the narrative also elaborates a Shakespearian dash and clash that look like Coriolanus and the lots. More enticingly, the fact that Vino G. Bastian, an interesting Indonesian actor who plays the titular role, is Bastian Tito’s son makes a real point as if all stars are aligned for this adaptation. Continue reading “Review Wiro Sableng: Pendekar Kapak Maut Naga Geni 212 (2018)”

Review Christopher Robin (2018)

Albeit stuttered, Christopher Robin serves its purpose to deliver message about quality time with family.

Review Christopher Robin: Disney’s new rendition of Christopher Robin reminds me of the twist that Mark Osborne has done to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince in 2015. At some points, the story development also has similarities to Mr. Holmes. However, if there’s an invention to make to retell the century-long centuries of the titular character along with his animal friends, Winnie-the-Pooh and friends, Marc Foster’s Christopher Robin serves its purpose.

When it begins, the movie brought us back to Hundred Acre Woods where Christopher bid a farewell to his childhood friends before enrolling in a board-school. Then, as grown-ups say, live begins—loss, war, marriage, childbirth, career—and time flies;. The innocent, adventurous Christopher is no more; what’s left is a working-laden, grown-up Christopher (Ewan McGregor), who doesn’t even have time for a family getaway in a weekend homecoming trip. In the moment of crisis, his childhood memories cross path with his mundane, grown-up life in another Christopher Robin-esque adventure. Continue reading “Review Christopher Robin (2018)”