Review: In first two seasons of Fargo—a powerhouse of anthology based on The Coen Brothers’ 1996 film of the same title, Noah Hawley has proven his worth as a hell of most consistently stylist showrunner. Extracting the comedy-of-errors formula from the film and creating hollow modern folklore set in the film’s universe, Hawley also crafts unsympathetically likable characters and throwing them into an awkwardly cunning situation. The result: a pitch black comedy and mayhem at the same time.
As for the third season, Fargo returns with an unpretentious rhythm—smaller in scale, calmer in sense, lesser havoc compared to the first two seasons (the first renders the film quite closely, while the second feels more heavy-metal)—which ends up in a more traumatic result. It’s no longer a rough mix of petty-crime-gone-wrong and wrong-people-in-wrong-place situation, although the shades of it still become this season’s foundation. A stroke of enigmatic evil also presents, this time, in a more contagious fashion. Continue reading A Season with: Fargo (2017) – Season 3
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: Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire knows no cease fire in narrating a full-frontal arms deal gone awry chaos. With ten characters introduced upfront, initially dispersed into two opposing factions, before grouping into smaller groups later on, you know that there’s no guarantee that this bullet bonanza will end well… or start well.
Taking time to lead us to the main event – the claustrophobic bullet ballet, but the time Free Fire takes is apparently made into a delightful appetizer. We’re quickly introduced to two Irishmen, Chris (Cillian Murphy) and Frank (Michael Smiley) who, with their henchmen (Enzo Cilenti and Sam Riley), are in full trust to a fixer, Justin (Brie Larson), who works with Ord (Armie Hammer), to buy guns from Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and his men (incl. Jack Reynor and Noah Taylor within). We know from the beginning that something is off in this deal; therefore, when things escalate quickly as past grudge re-embarks, ‘surprise’ is no longer an appropriate vocabulary. Continue reading Free Fire (2017) – Review
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