Review To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

The saccharine-heavy rom-com effectively uses its overly familiar ‘fake-first-date’ tropes to make a sweet & uplifting teenage love without over-abusing its sugary potential.

Review To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: “Make Teenage Romcom Great Again” should’ve been a tagline Susan Johnson’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (referred as To All the Boys on later paragraphs) carrying because it indeed does it. Based on a novel of the same title by Jenny Han, this Netflix production is a clichéd, sugary romcom with manipulated yet effective plot that will make audiences smile ear to ear.

To All the Boys revolves around the life of a 16 y.o. Korean-American girl, Lara Jean (Lana Condor, Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse) who loves to read romance novels and fantasize her older sister boyfriend who happens to be their next-door neighbor, Josh (Israel Broussard, The Bling Ring). When her older sister, Margot, leaves to pursue education in Scotland, Lara Jean is living a mundane life with her father and her little sister, Kitty, but not for long. An embarrassing incident happens, letters—that Lara Jean has written to the boys he used to love/have crush on but she never actually sent—unknowingly get sent to the addressees, which includes Josh and a childhood crush,  Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo—the guy from Camila Cabello’s Havana), a jock and boyfriend of her high-school (sort of) rival. Continue reading “Review To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)”

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My Generation (2017) – Review: Young blood runs hot

Review: For as long as history repeats itself, an endless generation clash would always be an intriguing topic to ponder on. No matter how much technology or lifestyle or virtue have changed, the fundamental difference which always leads to rift between older generation and younger one has never ceased to exist. Basically, that discourse is emanated through Upi’s My Generation, despite its retro-millennial presentation.

My Generation deliberately and solely takes the younger generation’s stance in this all-out generation wars. As young blood runs hot, we are taken to observe how the film’s millennial protagonists—Zeke (Bryan Langelo), Konji (Arya Vasco), Orly (Alexandra Kosasie) and Suki (Luthesa)—become the anti-hero, the victim and the antagonized party at once. The older generation, represented by teachers and parents, is depicted as the villain and the judge. The youngsters start the film defeated… but, that doesn’t mean they’re finished. “No one can stop us!” they exclaim. Continue reading “My Generation (2017) – Review: Young blood runs hot”

Posesif (2017) – Review: A juggernaut of teenage romance

Review: This is Lala’s first love; yet, Yudhis wants it to be their forever. That’s how Posesif abridges its powerful content. It’s a high-school meet-cute that blossoms, escalates, grows as quickly as it spirals out of control. It’s a portrayal of how love is addressed as a tool to possess and how immaturity is outdoing the typical puppy love tropes and ending up in a chain of abusive relationship.

Even in his most mainstream tenure, Edwin (Blind Pigs Who Wants to Fly, Postcards from Zoo) can still channel his arthouse virtuoso and turn a sub-genre considered as ‘cheesy’ to a poignant, insightful observation of toxic teenage relationship. Under his direction upon Gina S. Noer’s script, coming-of-age relationship is depicted as an acrimonious force, which haunts both parties, in the name of love. Continue reading “Posesif (2017) – Review: A juggernaut of teenage romance”

Moss (2017) – BALINALE Review

Review: It’s difficult to grasp what Daniel Peddle’s Southern coming-of-age drama, Moss, tries to emanate. Shot in the midst of lush Pleasure Island, North Carolina with casts of local people (who mostly have no acting resume), this film remains quiet, restraint, compelling but unfocused in narrating a fateful day for the titular protagonist.

The story only revolves on a single day, which happens to be Moss’ (Mitchell Slaggert) 18th birthday. Moss’ mother died giving birth to him, triggering a rift between the young guy and his father (Billy Ray Suggs). Moss’ birthday only reminds his father to the grief he’s been denying all the time. Moss deals with the boy’s newly responsibility as a young adult to deliver meds to his grandmother; but, he’s drifted between the temptation of immaturity, the search for maternal figure and his responsibility. Continue reading “Moss (2017) – BALINALE Review”

A Season with: Riverdale (2017) – Season 1

Review: For starter, Riverdale “borrows” super-likable characters from your childhood Archie comics – from red-haired jock-musician wannabe, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), the good girl Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), smoky hot rich Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), quirky Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) to the thorn girl, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), throws them into a bleak, neon-bathed YA world, and give them a completely new storyline. While appearing campy and soapy for the whole season, the series has proven to be another guilty pleasure entry from the CW, which surprisingly works.

Set in a fictional town named Riverdale – hence the title – this series practically kicks off with the mysterious murder of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines), a brother to Cheryl and a lover to Betty’s sister. From there, Riverdale quickly escalates into a provincial-townie, coming-of-age murder whodunit, which is often overshadowed by toned-down Game of Thrones/The Sopranos-esque faux complexities. Stories have never been an aspect this series excels in, but they’re important to make those likable characters shine like cents. Continue reading “A Season with: Riverdale (2017) – Season 1”

A Silent Voice / 聲の形 / Koe no Katachi (2017) – Review

Review: In its 130-min duration, Koe no Katachi a.k.a. A Silent Voice tackles a complex coming-of-age drama of consequences, self-alienation and reconciliation. Sometimes it staggers, sometimes it falls into melodrama; but, in the end, it passes a meandering way with subtlety and grounded intricacy.

Naoko Yamada’s first feature is adapted from a manga series by Yoshitoki Oima. The story orbits on a bittersweet connection between Shoya Ishida (voiced by Miyu Irino) and Shoko Nishimiya (Saori Hayami). As a kid, Shoya, not knowing the consequences of his deeds, bullies and abuses hearing-impaired Shoko. When consequences finally catch him up, all he has done to Shoko return to haunt him – excommunication, persecution, and all. Since then, he decides to prefer solitary, avoid contacts with people, and alienate himself from society. Continue reading “A Silent Voice / 聲の形 / Koe no Katachi (2017) – Review”