Review: In my bare thought, Stip & Pensil – eraser and pencil – might be A Copy of My Mind v2.0 written but not directed by Joko Anwar. Helmed by Ardy Octaviand, this film is projecting the writer’s exasperation towards suburban sh*ts in metropolitan – from blooming population, social gap, education awareness et al – in a lighter mode, making it more urban than Mr. Anwar’s political-heavy feature. It’s no surprise if this story feels timely and relevant to today’s situation through and through.
In presenting its serious theme, Stip & Pensil points out that the core of those suburban problems is: illiteracy – literally and figuratively. Illiteracy leads to low education and poverty, which force children to work instead of studying. People are unaware of these unfortunate chains, resulting in tremendous social gap. At the opposite edge, educated wealthy people are judged to have been prone to exclusiveness, promoting larger gaps. Mr. Anwar’s script proposes a thought, a different perception as a tool to mend the gap. Continue reading Stip & Pensil (2017): Slumdogs & Millionaires
Review: While Raden Ajeng Kartini, hailed as the symbol of women emancipation and empowerment in Indonesia, has always been a timeless subject; Hanung Bramantyo’s Kartini surprisingly comes at the most relevant moment – when feminism movement is on the wild run; when rift between the conservative and the progressive is on the edge; when discrimination and patriarchal superiority suddenly awaken from their dormant state – clinching its factual relevance to modern day audiences as more than just a ‘glorified depiction’ of a real-life figure.
Kartini revolves around specific period of the titular character’s life: during her ‘pingitan’ or glorified seclusion. Kartini (Dian Sastrowardoyo), an aristocrat by birth, is bound to be a ‘raden ayu’ – glorified wife/concubine of aristocrats – when she has grown enough. To become one, she must enter ‘pingitan’ ever since her coming of age; she must get secluded from outside world to prepare her to be a perfect woman. Continue reading Kartini (2017): A timely, exquisite story about women
Review: For a film titled The Guys, Raditya Dika’s quick follow-up to his star-studded, box office making Hangout, it ‘almost’ lives up to the title; had some more dominating sub-plot not overtaken the spotlight. Dika, as writing-and-starring director, displays more maturity in his ‘usual romantic comedy’ trope, but who knows that this film isn’t about that at all.
In The Guys, Raditya Dika stars as Alfi, an employee in an agency, who shares a flat with his co-workers, Rene (Marthino Lio), Aryo (Indra Jegel), and a Thai expat, Sukun (Phongsiree Bunluewong). Alfi is a straight Dika’s typical character – a loser in love; that before his chivalrous act enchant Amira (Pevita Pearce). Things go south when Amira’s widowed father (Tarzan) also starts developing feeling towads Alfi’s widowed mother (Widyawati). With aids from his BFF – Best Flatmate Forever – Alfi sets up a plan to mess with the older generation’s relationship to secure his own. Continue reading The Guys (2017): When ‘The Guys’ become the other guy
Review: Danur, a book by singer, Risa Sarasvati (former Homogenic), about her psychic experience, is actually a sympathetic friendship tale about a girl and her ghost friends. I’ve listened to her album since 2010 and watched Sarasvati’s live performance where she told ghost stories about her songs; therefore, I knew how sympathetic the story is, despite being cliché-laden and light. It is never a horror story, yet, a story about companionship through and through, with some ghosts inside.
However, Awi Suryadi’s Danur, despite adapting Sarasvati’s book, takes a completely different route in presenting the story. Under Awi’s direction, Danur becomes a straight Insidious-esque horror story with major elements from the book stay intact. In fact, it’s a PG-friendly horror, which estranges it from the essence of Risa’s story. Continue reading Danur (2017): Different route from Sarasvati’s Danur
Review: Dear Nathan is a clear-cut boy-meet-a-girl story. A bon-chic-bon-genre girl, Salma (Amanda Rawles) unexpectedly meets a violent, rich yet troubled greaser, Nathan (Jefri Nichol), after both come late for school with opposite reasons. Salma’s simple act of compassion, to which Nathan returns with a completely different act of valor, leads these two youngsters into the offspring of coming-of-age romance fraught with cute moments and teen angst at once.
People are aware that coming-of-age romance is prone to uninviting clichés and hormone-induced exaggeration. With all those traits, there’s this thought that this genre is designed solely to its target audiences – adolescences, mostly adolescent girls; and, audiences outside that circle (adolescent boys and grown-ups) will find it tedious and delusional. On the surface, Dear Nathan – adapted from a sensation-laden Wattpad phenomenon – is exactly ‘that kind of coming-of-age romance.’ It’s cliché-ridden, saccharine-laced and unfocused; but it’s grounded to reality and, more importantly, accurate. Continue reading Dear Nathan (2017): A grey-and-white meet-cute
Review: Based on best-selling memoir ‘The Naked Traveler’ (13 series, so far), Trinity, The Nekad Traveler is basically an almost plot-less re-enactment of how and why Trinity (the author) wrote her traveling journal. It is merely a hundred minute of TraVlog, which surprisingly has enough drama to blur the main point of the book and enough travel quotes to pin in Pinterest.
Trinity, energetically portrayed by Maudy Ayunda, unravels her motivation of writing journals about traveling in her blog (and finally her books). Educated to be an independent girl since she was little, grown-up Trinity ends up being ‘the one with most stories during family gathering’ for her traveling hobby. Nowadays, she’s paid to travel and write, but then, she’s only an employee of a company led by Mrs. Boss (Ayu Dewi, practically steals the whole show) and she needs to get as many leaves as possible to travel. She has many dreams to travel to many places, therefore, she writes a bucket list. So, here’s an ‘inspiring’ story of how to escape life and travel more to tick off your bucket list. Continue reading Trinity, The Nekad Traveler (2017): An unsympathetic, uninspiring and preachy travlog