Kenneth Branagh crafts a Poirot-laden blockbuster for Orient Express redux to secure his future gigs.
Review: Kenneth Branagh knows that modern viewers don’t fancy over-exposition in crime-mystery story as in Agatha Christie’s original whodunit classic, Murder on the Orient Express. Therefore, the actor/director adjusts the premise and crafts a more energetic, carefree version of the story which focuses more on the main protagonist, Hercule Poirot, more than anything else in the story.
Details are altered; but, the basic things are intact. The titular Orient Express still leaves from Istanbul to London during a cold winter; and, Poirot boards in the train along with dozen strangers. As the title might suggest, there’s a murder on board. The detective must solve the case by interrogating other passengers of the train before the train stops on the nearby station. Staged within limited area with limited access, Branagh presents a non-stop series of investigation that goes back and forth at full-speed. At that speed, we might get the illusion that the train (and the case) is going somewhere enticing; while it hasn’t actually moved a bit. Continue reading “Murder on the Orient Express (2017) – Review”
‘Til death do us part’ is not a thing in Pixar’s Mexican odyssey about life, death and family that bounds them altogether.
Review: Seven years in making with thorough research in Mexico along with solid team led by Lee Unkrich to celebrate appropriate representation (including writer, Adrian Molina, who got eventually promoted into co-director), Pixar’s nineteenth feature, Coco, results in a highly respectful tribute to Mexican culture and tradition, specifically, ‘Dia de los Muertos’ a.k.a. The Day of the Dead.
In preparation of the carnivalesque, marigold-laden Mexican festivity of the dead, 12-year-old Miguel Rivera (voiced by Anthony Gonzales) is entangled in a fateful adventure between life, death and family that bounds them altogether. The boy only wants to follow his passion—to simply play guitar and sing like his hero, a famous Mexican singer and actor, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt)—much to his shoemaker family’s dismay due to a past predicament. When a talent show is held at the town’s plaza, Miguel ignores his family’s cries of refusal and joins up anyway. For that, he steals the monumental guitar from de la Cruz chapel, which makes him cursed and strands up in the Land of the Dead. Continue reading “Coco (2017) – Review”
Andy Serkis’ directorial debut is a flawed but breathtaking love story saved by its powerful leads.
Review: Breathe, directorial debut from Andy Serkis—the man who should’ve gotten lifetime achievement for dedication to performance capture, is surprisingly a grounded, imperfect but breathtaking love story inspired by Robin Cavendish, a responaut who survived from paralyzing polio, and his loving wife, Diana.
Andrew Garfield, as per his recent standard, is astonishing as Robin, an energetic British tea-broker who ventures in Africa. His social fluidness helps him winning over Diana Blacker’s (Claire Foy, The Crown) heart, despite her reputation as a professional heartbreaker. Love blooms quickly and, before long, Robin marries Diana before his tenure in Kenya began. Yet, life gives as quickly as it takes. During Diana’s pregnancy with Jonathan Cavendish (who apparently becomes the film’s executive producer), Robin falls sick as he inhales polio virus and was paralyzed from the neck down. With three months to live—according to doctor’s initial diagnosis—and weak will to live, only Diana’s love nurtures him back to life Continue reading “Breathe (2017) – Review”
The story of four Marrowbone siblings conceals a sentimental twist under piles of familiarity.
Review: Writer of The Orphanage and The Impossible, Sergio G. Sánchez crafts an overly solid yet convoluted story—about four Marrowbone siblings—which conceals deeply sentimental twist under piles of familiar elements.
In his directorial debut, Marrowbone, Sánchez again utilizes supernatural elements within emotional family drama frame as in his previous works. Set in seaside America of the 1960s, this period drama revolves around the lives of four siblings who recently move to the States from England, to the childhood house of their mother, Rose Fairbairn—nee Marrowbone (Nicola Harrison). Starting over their lives in a foreign land, the siblings—Jack (Captain Fantastic’s George Mackay), Billy (Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton), Jane (Mia Goth), and Sam (Matthew Stagg)—bear their mother’s maiden name to disguise from something that has been haunting them all along. Continue reading “Marrowbone (2017) – Review”
In a cruel world, a widow refuses to surrender & decides to fight back against patriarchal tyranny in a four-act-structure story.
Review: In a cruel world without favor for women, Marlina (Marsha Timothy) refuses to surrender and be a victim; she, instead, embraces her inner strength and decides to fight back against patriarchal tyranny.
Exquisite, powerful and poignant, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (Marlina si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak), is a tale of empowerment wrapped as a Far-East ‘Western’ revenge thriller with strong femme fatale to root for. It’s a quintessential work for Indonesian female director, Mouly Surya, whose previous works (fiksi. and What They Don’t Talk about When They Talk about Love) revolves around determined female characters, too. Continue reading “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts / Marlina si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak (2017) – Review”
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”