Wonder (2017) – Review

A wonderful story of how every person can be the wonder.

Review: Wonder, based on R.J. Palacio’s 2012 bestseller, observes the bright side of every event revolves around the first ‘normal’ school year of a boy with facial deformities. There’s bullying, but there’s support; there are sentimental moments, but there are uplifting ones. On the surface, this might look like an overdramatic Hollywood tearjerker, but, give it some time and Wonder will define the word ‘heartfelt’ straight to your nerve.

Jacob Tremblay (Room) portrays Auggie, the 10-year-old Star Wars aficionado, who finally enters public school after years of home-schooling due to his physical condition. Julia Roberts—the mother, Isabella, and Owen Wilson—the father, Nate, knowing their kid’s circumstance, show reluctance in finally letting the child stepping away from the comfort zone. What the parents fear of comes to fruition when Auggie’s facing bullying from his school-mate. The situation is troublesome; and, we’re led to observe it from other p.o.v.s around Auggie, from his outshone sibling, Via (Izabela Vidovic) to his first friend, Jack (Noah Jupe). It’s a dire situation to follow, but Wonder shows us that there’s always been silver linings to everything.

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Coco (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”

Paddington 2 (2017) – Review

Paddington’s fully-integrated story to human family is a bear-y merry sequel.

Review: Paddington—the marmalade-loving Peruvian bear who has now become a permanent resident in Windsor Gardens, London along with The Browns—returns for another adventure in this bear-y merry sequel.

While having been entirely integrated into human’s life and become a local hero, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is still the bear he used to be—the little bear saved and adopted by the late Uncle Pastuzo (voiced by Michael Gambon) and Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton). For Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington is keen to give her a unique pop-up book about London, the city of her dream. The lil’ bear will do anything to finally buy the book from Mr. Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) antique shop; even when what he’s done gets him entangled into a malicious conspiracy orchestrated by a villainous former actor, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant). Continue reading “Paddington 2 (2017) – Review”

Sweet 20 (2017): Ode to the youth not wasted on the young

Review: In the toughest time of her life, a fussy 70-year-old hag gets a second chance to compensate her lost youth and cheat aging when she is mysteriously transformed into her 20-year-old self. That’s the premise of Hwang Dong-hyuk’s mega-hit Miss Granny (2014), which has inspired series of overseas remakes, including the Indonesian version, Sweet 20, helmed by Ody C. Harahap (Me vs. Mami, Kapan Kawin?).

Transliterated from its South Korean roots by Upi (My Stupid Boss, Belenggu), Sweet 20 adeptly administers a profound adaptation into Indonesian culture and social value. Upi’s adapted script isn’t only changing the film’s geographical setting; it instead induces local view of family in Indonesia’s urban society. Even, the film’s Eid al-Fitr release adds up to the foundation of the story—underlying its ode to the motherhood, lost dream, and family’s worth. Continue reading “Sweet 20 (2017): Ode to the youth not wasted on the young”

Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Review

Review: I once wrote an abridged history of Beauty and the Beast roots on my review of Christophe Gans’ La Belle et La Bête. How this beautiful French lore has evolved, added more insight and backstories, and represented social issues from time to time alone has already made an intriguing tale. While adaptations and re-imaginings have altered it from the root, there’s one thing that never fades: the magic.

I can’t still see ‘the whys’ of Disney’s decision to remake their Renaissance animation with a live-action feature; yet, I can put aside that concerns. They’ve done it well with Cinderella (2014) by having courage and being kind and staying true to its root; and The Jungle Book (2016) by fulfilling the bare necessities. And for Beauty and the Beast, I can say that this live-action re-telling is not a must, but it’s necessary. Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Review”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – Review

Review: Expanded from an encyclopaedia of the same title and penned to screenplay by the only J.K. Rowling, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is surprisingly a fun ride to American non-pretentious wizard world, which goes much more muggle-friendly than its British counterparts in Harry Potter series.

Set in the same universe in which Harry Potter saga takes places, Fantastic Beasts goes further behind in time as it sets in 1926, decades prior to the British counterpart. At the same time, it also goes across the ocean from London to New York in America, where the adventure of Englishman named Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) straightforwardly begins. While the spin-off might present some nods to the most famous wizarding world nowadays; it never feels nostalgic nor formulaic because what’s presented here is an original tale, which enriches the existing universe with more than just trivia. Continue reading “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – Review”