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)”
‘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)”
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”
Review: Stephen King’s famously ‘unadaptable’ genre-mixing novel series get adapted by A Royal Affair’s director, Nikolaj Arcel, into a series of non-understandable events. Missing out the horror elements, missing out the Western elements, and opting for PG-friendly action, The Dark Tower might as well be titled ‘How to Adapt The Dark Tower and Miss Everything.’
There’s nothing special with the story. It apparently borrows elements from King’s novels, starting from the titular tower, the characters, and the conflicts. There’s the Dark Tower, which is said to be center of a multiverse; it is also said that only the mind of a child can destroy it. A dark sorcerer called Man In Black (Matthew McConaughey) seeks to destroy the tower to bring reign of terror. In doing so, he’s abducting children from all universes and exploiting their mind to blast the tower down. On the path of light, there’s a Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead (Idris Elba), a loner from a devastated world, who seeks for revenge. Standing between them is a child from Earth, Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), who is haunted by nightmare of the tower.
Continue reading “The Dark Tower (2017) – Review”
Review: After nearly two decades, Luc Besson finally materializes Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a space adventure adapted from his childhood favorite comic ‘Valérian and Laureline’—which he’s been craving to make ever since The Fifth Element (1997).
With visual endeavors the size of Cameron’s Avatar and vibrant universe to rival Star Wars (if not Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending) also with largest budget in French cinema history, it is exactly the size of Besson’s ambition on full creative control mode. The result is an elegant (borderline to over-the-top) space odyssey if not a style-over-substance one by any measure. What Valerian doesn’t have is a compelling script to cover the whole duration.
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Review: In adapting Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) and Michael Green (Logan), take Gaiman’s vision—for a divine story about immigrants and gods in a land of no god—into a whole new level of occultism. While retaining the novel’s tongue-in-cheek philosophical relevance, the show combines it with current real-world issue—about religion and humanity—and revises the author’s neglects towards minor storylines with a more engaging, intertwined ‘war of gods’ epic.
Same as the novel, American Gods centers on Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), a purposeless ex-convict whose wife (Emily Browning) is killed on a car accident a few moment before his release. Upon his despair, Shadow encounters a man-god who calls himself, Wednesday (Ian McShane) and gets recruited as a henchman in war between the Old Gods (Wednesday and comrades) and the New Gods of media, technology et al. Once hired, series of enigmatic events and bands of obscure characters appears, rendering Shadow (and audience’s, too) baffled and puzzled. Yet, as Wednesday said, there’s only one rule among others: Shadow is not paid for asking questions. Continue reading “A Season with: American Gods (2017) – Season 1”