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 Dilan 1991 (2019)

Bypassing all the character introductory phases, the romance rift in Dilan 1991 is sadly underwhelming even when the chemistry between Iqbaal and Vanesha starts to make sense.

In a decade or two, Dilan, as a character, might still be remembered as an illustrious Indonesian teenage boy icon—rising into some cult status along with Lupus and Si Boy. By that time, it might not be surprising if new incarnations of Dilan will rise into prominence; while, Iqbaal Ramadhan’s exhilarating performance (which beats all the odds) will become a solid benchmark. In like manner, Dilan-Milea romance might also transcend the time, like Galih & Ratna or others (I was about to write: Rangga & Cinta from Ada Apa dengan Cinta?, but then I imagined the backlash). However, that’s not the case for the movies—both Dilan 1990 and Dilan 1991.

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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)”

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”