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
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
Review: A teenage girl, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) committed suicide. Instead of leaving suicide notes, she left seven double-sided cassette tapes – in which she stated a reason and tagged a person ‘responsible’ for her demise in each side of the tape but one; hence, 13 Reasons Why. Ever since the first episode, the show is narrated by a dead girl pointing out who share the responsibility of killing her, as listened by a clumsy school boy, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), who is eager to find out his school’s dirty little secrets.
This series is adapted from Jay Asher’s best-selling young-adult fiction which defies the convention of YA tropes. As much as it is accessible and binge-worthy, this somber, grim teen-angst ridden series is surprisingly taut and thought-provoking, despite revolving around coming-of-age tropes. So, here’s 13 points compiled to review 13 Reasons Why. Continue reading A Season with: 13 Reasons Why (2017)
Review: Dear Nathan is a clear-cut boy-meet-a-girl story. A bon-chic-bon-genre girl, Salma (Amanda Rawles) unexpectedly meets a violent, rich yet troubled greaser, Nathan (Jefri Nichol), after both come late for school with opposite reasons. Salma’s simple act of compassion, to which Nathan returns with a completely different act of valor, leads these two youngsters into the offspring of coming-of-age romance fraught with cute moments and teen angst at once.
People are aware that coming-of-age romance is prone to uninviting clichés and hormone-induced exaggeration. With all those traits, there’s this thought that this genre is designed solely to its target audiences – adolescences, mostly adolescent girls; and, audiences outside that circle (adolescent boys and grown-ups) will find it tedious and delusional. On the surface, Dear Nathan – adapted from a sensation-laden Wattpad phenomenon – is exactly ‘that kind of coming-of-age romance.’ It’s cliché-ridden, saccharine-laced and unfocused; but it’s grounded to reality and, more importantly, accurate. Continue reading Dear Nathan (2017): A grey-and-white meet-cute
Review Sing Street: Tak berlebihan jika menyebut John Carney sebagai sutradara musikal paling prominent saat ini. Ia telah meresap ke dalam musik pop dan memaknainya dengan motion picture, seperti terbukti lewat banjir pujian pada Once (2006)—yang membawa pulang Oscar lewat single-nya ‘Falling Slowly’—serta Begin Again (2013)—yang meraih nominasi Oscar untuk ‘Lost Star.’
Karya terbarunya, Sing Street sendiri terasa seperti karya Carney paling personal—sebuah surat cintanya pada Dublin circa 80an, yang menderita ekonominya namun menggelora semangatnya. Ballad 80-an dan kisah cinta pertama bertautan dalam kisah yang nampak sederhana, tapi kaya akan subtext dan referensi. Continue reading Sing Street (2016): Antara Dublin, ballad 80-an, cinta pertama dan John Carney
Review Everybody Wants Some!!: Lewat Everybody Wants Some!!, Richard Linklater kembali berhura-hura setelah sebelumnya berkontemplasi dengan menyelesaikan Before Trilogy serta magnum opus-nya, Boyhood. Dalam film yang disebut-sebut sebagai ‘spiritual sequel’ Dazed and Confused ini, Linklater mengunjungi kembali tema yang pernah membesarkan namanya.
Kalau Dazed and Confused, yang bersetting 70-an (tapi dibuat di era 90-an), menampilkan keliaran 24 jam terakhir siswa-siswa high school sebelum summer break; Everybody Wants Some!! justru sebaliknya. Bersetting musim gugur 80-an (tapi dibuat di era millennium), film ini menggambarkan keliaran 3 hari terakhir sebelum perkuliahan reguler dimulai. Continue reading Everybody Wants Some!! (2016): Antropologi kehidupan jocks era 80-an