Review: Rizal Mantovani & Jose Purnomo’s sleeper hit Jelangkung (2001) was an integral part of Indonesian film resurrection. This harrowing story—about ancient ritual of summoning spirit using wooden avatar called ‘jelangkung’—was highly phenomenal that it spawned two sequels and cleared the path for other Indonesian ghouls to silver screen.
Sixteen years later, the winning team, Mantovani & Purnomo, is reunited with their winning formula into making a reboot titled Jailangkung. While their 2001 hit is a lo-fi production, this one is completely the opposite. With new target audiences, Jailangkung repackages itself with younger and fresher look; but, was it worth the scare? Continue reading Jailangkung (2017): Embodiment of style-over-substance horror
Back to the days when Tom Cruise hasn’t been that top-billed “film star”, he was once an actor when portraying Charlie Babbitt, a selfish chap who, upon learning about his estranged father’s death, finds out that he has a long-lost brother. Thing is, his way older brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) is an autistic savant, who inherits most of their father’s wealth. There’s pure quality in young Cruise to encounter Hoffman, the powerhouse who went and brought home Best Actor prize in Oscars completing the film’s triumph (with Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture victory).
Rain Man follows one of the most narrative about character development with myriads of jolts and sensitivity. A story about a man reconciles and, later, reconnects with his only family member is never an innovation; but, what if the whole story isn’t about the changing man, but the unchanged man instead? That’s where Rain Man makes differences. As much as it tells stories about Charlie’s effort ‘to reconnect’, it was never a story about him; it’s the story of Raymond. Continue reading Blindspot: Rain Man (1988)
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: In Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, the near-future world is depicted as a real horror show, especially for women. A theocratic totalitarian government of Gilead rises from the ashes of what once known as the United States—which has perished in aftermath of a civil war leading to environment contamination and financial crisis. In this dystopian world, stability is built upon sacrifices; but the sacrifice is too tremendous: women’s position in the society.
Gilead—a fascist regime, which lays its foundation upon Biblical inspiration, diabolically confiscates women’s right and subjugates them to the outer realm of society. Those women—who mostly become infertile due to the war—are considered low and no longer allowed to work, even read. Those who are lucky enough to still be fertile aren’t actually lucky. They are enslaved as Handmaids to be legally raped in a ceremony to conceive children for the bourgeois. Continue reading A Season with: The Handmaid’s Tale (2017) – Season 1
Svetlana Dea’s directorial debut, Mantan (trans. ex-lover) is quite an oddball. It’s a dialogue-heavy romcom, which grounds between a social satire and a pure reconciliation game, but never really ends up being any of them. Sometimes it can be very convincing; but some other times, you’ll wish there would be some footnotes to help you understand anything. By the time you finally get an insight, the film abruptly ends its 75-minute run.
In Mantan, a young bachelor, Adi (Gandhi Fernando), is about to become a married man. Yet, before he becomes one, he needs to have a sense of self-fulfillment. He goes on a quest to fly up 5 different cities to encounter his exes, clear the air between them and find out if one of them might be his godknowswhy soul mate. Continue reading Mantan (2017): A Reconciliation Game
“My name is Dances with Wolves. I have nothing to say to you. You are not worth talking to,” said John Dunbar.
By today’s standard, Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves would’ve been received differently, possibly with praise over the film’s respect to representation – the use of native people and native language to depict native American, Sioux and Pawnee. At the same time, it might also receive terrible backlash over its ‘white savior’-esque narrative by today’s critical audiences. However, it stormed of Academy Award in 1991 – nominated for 12 and win 7, including Best Picture. Continue reading Blindspot: Dances with Wolves (1990)