Tag Archives: Indonesia

Trinity, The Nekad Traveler (2017): An unsympathetic, uninspiring and preachy travlog

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

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Salawaku (2017) – Review: A journey to the East

This review is based on the version released in Jogja-Netpac Asian Film Festival 2016 last December.

Review: Salawaku, a traditional wooden shield from Moluccas, Indonesia, is a small armament. Despite the size, it’s an effective companion to the swiftness of traditional machete for its rigid and stiff apparatus is highly protective.

In Pritagita Arianegara’s directorial debut, Salawaku (newcomer, Elko Kastanya) is only an ordinary child living an extraordinary life. His parents have long passed away, leaving him and his older sister Binaiya (Raihaanun) as orphans. Life has unfairly forced him to be a hard, rigid figure during his childhood – making his character juxtaposed perfectly with the shield.

When Binaiya flees from the island, sails the quiet sea alone to the exile for a reason we have yet to know; Salawaku, as protective as he’s ever been, determines to go after his sister by himself, dividing the wilderness of Ceram Island, Moluccas. Amidst the quest, the boy encounters a Jakarta-based escapee, Saras (Karina Salim), stranded on a remote island alone after a wasted night. Continue reading Salawaku (2017) – Review: A journey to the East

Istirahatlah Kata-kata / Solo, Solitude (2017): A poetry of growing seeds

Review: In 1996, political situation in Indonesia heated up. A turmoil involving Partai Rakyat Demokratik (PRD) – Democratic People Party – opposed authoritarian Soeharto’s regime. In aftermath of it, activists and supporters of the movement were hunted down to be silenced and wiped off from the history (possibly be killed in the process).

Wiji Thukul, a vocal anti-govt poet and an activist, was accused as the responsible one for mobilizing the masses prior to the turmoil. As a fugitive (of a war between people and govt), Wiji fled to Pontianak, Borneo – almost a thousand kilometers away from his family and hometown in Solo, Java – by himself. A weary poet is on the run by himself; in exile, he coalesces with solitude in Yosep Anggi Noen’s Solo, Solitude (a.k.a. Istirahatlah Kata-Kata). Continue reading Istirahatlah Kata-kata / Solo, Solitude (2017): A poetry of growing seeds

Cek Toko Sebelah (2016): A treasure no store could sell

Review: In his directorial debut, Ngenest, Ernest Prakasa crafts a vocal identity conflict as a man of a Chinese descent living in a country with history of discrimination towards his people. As much as it is poignant, it hilariously leads the audiences to laugh with, instead of laugh at, the subject matter. The result is a witty, ironic self-esteem which works at multi-levels: comedy, romance, and satire.

In his sophomore project, Cek Toko Sebelah (literally meaning ‘Checking on the store next door’), Ernest takes a completely opposite approach in crafting a comedy that represent his identity. While Ngenest expands the identity issue outwards society, with specific frames to cope up with quest for acceptance and acknowledgement; Cek Toko Sebelah draws same issues profoundly inside to the basic, to the core of tradition, to the family.

Interestingly, Chinese families in Indonesia have many stories to share, from their tradition to the food, to the common stereotype that each family owns at least a specific store, which is inherited from generation to generation. This stereotype is the epicenter of a poignant family drama Cek Toko Sebelah offers. Continue reading Cek Toko Sebelah (2016): A treasure no store could sell

Hangout (2016): Hanging out with Death

Review: In Raditya Dika’s Hangout, a mysterious host invites 9 Indonesian foremost celebrities to a lush resort in a remote island for three days with no definite reason. Thinking it is as a secret casting invitation, those 9 brats are coming around.

Among those 9 stars, versatile Indonesian director/poker-faced actor/writer/stand-up comedian/YouTube personality, Raditya Dika lurks around after being financially indebted. Along with Dika, Soleh Solihun, a stand-up comedian turned disastrous reality show presenter, also came while holding grudge to Dika for making him losing a role for box office hit called Korea Forever. Aside from the frenemy, other celebs i.e, veteran Mathias Muchus, flamboyant Surya Saputra, adventurousTiti Kamal, filthy Dinda Kanya Dewi, Gading Marten, YouTube vlogger Bayu Skak and teenage star Prilly Latuconsina, are coming for the invitation.

What started off as a tropical dream and a little inner circle reunion suddenly turns into massacre when body counts start to rise. A mysterious killer is targeting those Indonesian stars, one by one, for a reason nobody bloody knows. Continue reading Hangout (2016): Hanging out with Death

Headshot (2016) – Review

Review: Crafting their names into Indonesian, even international, cutting-edge film industry with blood and sickfuck, Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (a.k.a. the Mo Brothers) are synonymous to sick, merciless gorefest. Their fresh-blooded feature Headshot is no different. While it’s not as grotesque as their previous filmography (Rumah Dara/Macabre, Killers), this feel-good action-thriller delivers a rabid, over-stylized violence their way.

Headshot revolves around a mysterious man (Iko Uwais), found ashored half-dead and nurtured back to life by a young med-school intern named Ailin (Chelsea Islan). The man finally awakes from his coma with no memory of who he was and how he’s got there due to trauma he had from bullet to the head. Ailin, currently reading Melville’s Moby Dick, names the man ‘Ishmael’ and they two immediately connects to each other.

News about the man’s survival quickly reaches a ruthless crimelord dubbed as ‘the father from hell,’ Mr. Lee (Singaporean, Sunny Pang). Wrapped with mist about Ishmael’s past, Mr. Lee sends his finest man to hunt for the amnesiac man for a reason which Headshot is about to unravel. In the end, Mr. Lee’s hunt for Ishmael and Ishmael’s quest to seek for his identity collide in the midst of non-stop showdown. Continue reading Headshot (2016) – Review