Review Captain Marvel (2019)

With fuzzy narrative and alienating plot-points, Captain Marvel can still deliver a blast along with profound empowering message.

Ever since Thanos wreaking havoc in Infinity War, the wave of expectation about the real ‘avenger’ to avenge The Avengers hasn’t even plummeted down. Audiences seem to take the thing seriously and, since that emotionally relieving post-credit scene of Marvel’s most emotionally draining movie yet, expectations are soaring high. Only if Captain Marvel—the studio’s first solo female movie—could level up to the altitude, will those expectations be quenched.

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Review Isn’t It Romantic (2019)

Even when Isn’t It Romantic? fell into the subject it tries to criticize, it’s still uplifting. Thanks to Rebel Wilson.

At the beginning of Isn’t It Romantic, young Natalie was smitten into Pretty Woman when her mother scolded her and indoctrinated her to despise romcoms of any kind. To her, life isn’t like romcom; to her, all the happy endings in romcoms are merely a start of an unhappy life. She grows up being a love cynic (portrayed by Rebel Wilson, all-in with the Australian accent) making a living in New York as an architect who constantly bashes romcom premises until some sh*t happens. She hit her head during a confrontation with a mugger and she wakes up in a romcom… a PG-13 romcom.

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Review Alita: Battle Angel (2019)

Robert Rodriguez’s latest visual bonanza, Alita: Battle Angel, is a sci-fi epic that immediately sparks immediate déjà vu to James Cameron’s Avatar. Such allegation isn’t without a root or apparent proof. The striking visuals—especially that attention-demanding anime eyes of the titular character and, later, the detailed mo-cap technology (that Cameron has revolutionized back in 2009 along with the CGI-laden world, the complex mythology in back-stories, the larger-than-life action sequences (including the inventive weapons and the fighting styles), and the nature of the protagonist (living someone else’s body) are in a way or another channeling its inner Avatar.

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Review Buffalo Boys (2018)

Buffalo Boys rides a furious, highly-decorated buffalo in an ambitious blockbuster, but the road is too bumpy for even the most furious buffalo.

Movie review Buffalo Boys (2018): Mike Wiluan’s directorial debut, Buffalo Boys, breathes the same air as Kim Jee-won’s The Good, The Bad, The Weird in the sense that both brings out Wild West virtues in Far-East settings. If the latter transposes cowboy bonanza into ol’ time Manchurian landscape, the former introduces Western tropes to fictionalized Dutch-occupied Indonesia setting. It’s a full-fledged, faux-historical Western fantasy where English-speaking Dutch colonialism recreates diabolical Southern-slavery as if it’s American Civil War period.

The plot revolves around a straightforward homecoming-slash-revenge mission carried by the titular boys—Jamar (Ario Bayu) and Suwo (Yoshi Sudarso). When their parent and their homeland perished during Dutch’s assaults, the boys were brought into exile to the real Wild West by their uncle, Arana (Tio Pakusadewo). Once the boys are physically and mentally ready, Arana brings them back to the land of the dead, to settle the score once and for all. At least, that’s the plan.

With stunning production value—including unique mix-and-match of architecture, costumes and comic characters making peculiar blend of Indonesian Western. For what it looks, Buffalo Boys is undoubtedly an ambitious Indonesian blockbuster (among the first in its ranks). The premise, the character designs (that also counts a troupe of over-the-top outlaws) and the local twist of American cowboy—hence the title—suggest that the film is directly translated from video games or comic books. Please note that, while being similarly branded as ‘Western’, Buffalo Boys is in different hemisphere as Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts). When the latter is a more grounded arthouse rendition of Western spirit, the former literally imports the Western blockbuster style and mixes it with local wisdom. As reflected in the protagonists’ background,  it isn’t a simply-inspired-by-Western-movie product, it is the Western product through and through. Continue reading “Review Buffalo Boys (2018)”

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

‘Welcome to the Jungle’ is a lighter and more carefree Jumanji, even compared to the predecessor and Zathura.

Review: There’s a lot of joy in the superfluous sequel/spin-off of Robin Williams’ 1995 boardgame comedy, Jumanji. The legendary boardgame is no longer; it’s morphed into a 1980s’ videogame console. The predecessor’s heart, the talk about responsibility, is also stripped off—substituted with non-stop merriment and teen-angst. The result is a feel-good blockbuster packed with tons of fun and joyride carrying the best of the holiday vibes.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle starts off by absurdly channeling The Breakfast Club before sucking out the four protagonists into the heart of the artificial jungle in a whole new action RPG. We have the nerd (Alex Wolff), the jock (Ser’Darius Blain), the recluse (Morgan Turner) and Molly Ringwald of Instagram era (Madison Iseman) playing the game. Inside the game, the teens also morphs into the avatar they’re choosing. The nerd turns into the all-muscle Dwayne Johnson with smoldering eyes; the jock shrinks into the cake-intolerant Kevin Hart, the sidekick; the recluse turns into the smoky hot Lara Croft-esque Karen Gillan; and the pretty girl turns into… Jack Black. And, they are all trapped inside the game which won’t let them go unless they finish it. Continue reading “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)”

Justice League (2017) – Review

DC has found its fun serum that does no justice

Review: Let’s break down Justice League into good news and bad news first. The good news is Justice League shows that DC has actually learned how to concoct a story out of their metahumans (yes, for them, the word ‘superhero’ is overrated) extensively since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and how to sweeten up their preferably dark universe with proper humors, too, ever since Suicide Squad. While the bad news: the good news only slightly helps the film from being a total mess.

Following rave reviews showering Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and news of reshoots along with post-production galore to Avengers’ helmer, Joss Whedon, expectation flown high on how Justice League would finally do the justice to DC. At some points, it might live up the expectation; thanks to balance between Zack Snyder’s grim visions and Whedon’s holly jolly. Snyder, who left during post-production, still gets the sole director billing for his extensive work; but, we know that it’s Whedon who invents and injects the fun-serum. The cahoots result in a fun, energetic, light and more accessible crowdpleaser using DC’s properties. Regardless, Justice League apparently not a back-to-back victory. Continue reading “Justice League (2017) – Review”