Review: Entering its 8th installment, Fast and Furious franchise doesn’t seem to run out of gas at all. I was thinking that the franchise will slow down a little in post-Paul Walker era; but, apparently, the word ‘slow’ doesn’t exist in this saga’s vocabulary. In Fast and Furious 8, dubbed as The Fate of the Furious (stylized as The F8 of the Furious), Dominic Toretto et al instantly deliver us the most excessively over-the-top CAR-nage in this franchise since the beginning.
Remember that final 15 minutes of Furious 7? That’s a beautiful finale that glued this franchise to family-fueled action bravura. It’s no longer some films about street race or carjack; it’s becomes a massive, worldwide slugfest. Since then, this franchise’s principle has become: more is never enough. Continue reading The Fate of the Furious (2017) – Review
Review: Welcome to Monterey, California! It’s a beautiful beachside city where first-grader public school orientation might lead to a murder on parents’ trivia night. Neither victim nor the murderer is revealed; but, when we trace a further back, there’s a series of big little lies masterminding the eventual murder. And, that’s how we start Big Little Lies.
Adapted from phenomenal novel by Australian author, Liane Moriarty, this HBO’s mini-series – written by David E. Kelley and directed in its entirety by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild) – unravels an unsettling parental drama in the light of blurry crime-mystery. Instead of ‘asking’ audiences to get invested to the murder mystery, Big Little Lies focuses more on its characters – their parental lives, their scandals, their darkest secrets and the meaning of cause and consequences – delivered with stellar performance by top-tier casts. Continue reading A Season with: Big Little Lies (2017)
Review: In a futuristic Blade Runner-esque city – cramped with neon-blaring buildings and hologramscapes – multi-national/multi-racial humans and humanoid androids mingle and blend in together. A cybernetic counter-terrorist operative, The Major (Scarlett Johansson) – naked in prosthetic and occasionally stealth-camouflaged – along with her Section 9 comrades, hunt down a silhouetted cyber villain, Kuze (Michael Pitt with Carmen middle name). During her mission, truth about her identity begins to unravel and distract her from her operation.
There’s no real ghost or seashells in Ghost in the Shell. The title refers to Johansson’s Major – a consciousness or ‘ghost’ (like in Holy Ghost) from a woman she used to be which is implanted to a cybernetic ‘shell.’ Physically, she’s more of a machine than human; but, her ‘ghost’ is what makes her ‘human.’ In a world where the line between human and machine is independently blurred, people start losing their identity. And, that alone should’ve been a big theme to probe in; and yet, this film consciously takes that for granted. Continue reading Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Review
Review: You might remember John Wick (2014) for the over-the-top gun-fu bravura and feasts of headshots; or, better, for a revenge actioner triggered by a mob son stole a hitman’s ’69 Mustang and killed his dog. Yet, you must agree that, with John Wick, you’ve witnessed taciturn Keanu Reeves makes an instant, original iconic role that bitch-slaps a band of remake/reboot/adaptation goons.
John Wick: Chapter 2 immediately follows up the frenzy in the first film with a high-octane car-nage sequence which pumps up the adrenaline; and, since then, those ballads of bone-crunching and brain-scattering actions never stop. Shortly, an Italian mobster, Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), to which John is indebted, pulls the hitman out of retirement with a mission to assassinate Santino’s own Camorra sister, Gianna. Forget the ridiculously exhilarating premise from the first film because what John faces in this second film is the real deal. Continue reading John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017) – Review
“C’mon, Babe, why don’t we paint the town… and all that Jazz!” Velma Kelly sings on the stage.
In the 75th Academy Awards, Rob Marshall’s Chicago triumphed over with six winnings, including Best Picture, overpowering strong contenders like The Pianist, Gangs of New York, and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Chicago becomes the second musical to win Best Picture after 1968’s Oliver!; and together with Moulin Rouge, it is responsible for the reemergence of musical film in modern days. Continue reading Blindspot: Chicago (2002)
Review: As a director, Ben Affleck has displayed an adroit proficiency in crafting artfully meaningful takes of crime and drama-thriller. His directorial debut, adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Gone Baby Gone, sets a high bar for his prowess in mood, characters, small-explosive thriller; the follow-ups, The Town and Oscar-winning, Argo, prove it. A decade after his debut, Affleck returns to Lehane, adapting a 2012 novel, Live by Night, a story of a police son turns a crime-lord during Prohibition era.
Affleck’s homage to retro gangster films is undeniably lavish; only, Live by Night, which was postponed for Batman v Superman‘s production, hasn’t been able to leave our descendants a new classic. It’s a completely a Ben Affleck’s film material, but there’s something about it (I could say it’s his ambition off-screen and on-screen, but there’s more to it), which makes it far less successful than his previous works. Continue reading Live by Night (2017) – Review