Review: A college student, Tree (Jessica Rothe), woke up in a random guy’s (Israel Broussard) dorm room before she went on and did what all mean girls should do: screwing everyone she encountered. There’s no stopping for her sinister behavior until she finally got herself into trouble: being killed by a masked killer, only to find herself waking up to the same room she woke up earlier and relived her final day again, again and again.
In short, Happy Death Day does Groundhog Day with teen-slasher tropes. Director Christopher Landon and writer Scott Lobdell utilize time-loop formula to showcase their references of old-school slasher films in creating tension. But, more to it, they also utilize the same formula to formulate a fun whodunit thriller with the victim as the center. It looks campy and a little generic, but it never stops bringing funride for its whole duration.
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Review: The idea of reliving the same day in a loop a la Groundhog Day gets a South Korean treatment in Cho Sun-ho’s (writer of Killer Toon) directorial debut, A Day (a.k.a. Ha-roo). When I said ‘South Korean treatment’, it means that this film has some touch of melodrama and another shade of revenge thriller wrapped in a moving, time-loop story about life, death and grudge that glues them together.
In A Day, a glorified surgeon Jun-young (Kim Myung-min) keeps living the same day when he loses his daughter in a traffic accident. He’s en route to reconcile with the daughter when a taxi hit the poor girl and instantly killed her. Soon, as the doctor began to get engulfed by sense of helplessness and trauma, he found out that he’s not the only person to suffer the looping fate. Continue reading A Day (2017) – Review
Review: It’s year 2049—30 years following the events in the original Blade Runner (1982). A new story embarks as a next-gen ‘Replicant’, now working as a ‘Blade Runner’, retires an older ‘Replicant’ model and unravels a decade-long mystery in the process.
Blade Runner 2049 comes as a genre-bending late follow-up, which appears as a slow-burning detective story to reveal answers to both philosophical and ‘physical’ mystery presented in the premise. Denis Villeneuve’s cyberpunk sequel deliberately yet subtly mirrors Ridley Scott’s original in terms of plot and general elements, but confidently delves into a new territory at the same time. All of those are wrapped exquisitely in one of the most stunning 164 minutes in the history of life.
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Review: Gerbang Neraka a.k.a. Firegate (literally ‘Hell Gate’) combines an urban legend about Gunung Padang in West Java with sci-fi bravura and horror apparition into making a rare genre-bending Indonesian film. The film focuses on an excavation process of the allegedly oldest pyramid structure in the world (said to be older than Giza in Egypt and Mayan in Mexico), which lies underneath a mountain. Like in other ‘pyramid films’, the excavation was plagued from beginning to end, with body counts start to rise from day to day.
There came the film’s trinity: a young archeologist who believes in no supernatural power, Arni (Julie Estelle), a struggling heresy-laden tabloid reporter, Tomo (Reza Rahadian), and a celebrity ‘demon hunter’ Guntur Samudera (Dwi Sasono). Intertwined by their own ambition in regards to Gunung Padang pyramid, those three protagonists began to intersect each other’s life and unravel a hideous secret about the mega-structure. Continue reading Gerbang Neraka (2017): Genre-defying mess
Review: In Wind River, Taylor Sheridan again demonstrates a prowess he once showcased on writing tenure for Sicario and Hell or High Water. His painstaking flair for slick and immaculate script—with penchant to coherence and symmetrical storyline—is utterly exquisite. With Sheridan running for both writing and directing gigs, we finally get to see his full-creative-control mode; and, lucky you, it’s taut and clever as you might imagine.
The title refers to a snow-covered Native American reservation in Wyoming, which becomes the setting of this film. It’s the place where a hunter, Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), resides. As he tracks a wild mountain lion who preys on local cattles, the all-white-camouflaged hunter accidentally finds a local girl’s body… dead and stark. For the case, FBI sends rookie Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), who immediately team up with Lambert to investigate it.
Continue reading Wind River (2017) – Review
Review: Teresa Palmer showcases a vigorously bold performance in Cate Shortland’s kidnapping drama, Berlin Syndrome. Adapting Melanie Joosten’s novel of the same title, Shortland creates a placid drama-thriller by devising sense of claustrophobic and two-person dynamic with Palmer as the center.
Portraying an aspiring Brisbane-based photographer named Clare, Palmer’s eyes unravel her character’s passionate spirit to find an adventure as a solo traveler in Berlin. It’s during her tenure in Berlin’s street that she meets a charismatic yet restrained schoolteacher, Andi (Max Riemelt, Sense8). There are some electric touches and reluctance before they finally engage in consent, non-commitment one-night stand. In the morning after, Clare wakes up to find that she is locked in Andi’s apartment, suggesting that the man simply forgets to leave the key for her. When the next morning she finds herself locked again, she finally realizes that Andi isn’t going to let her free. She’s simply kidnapped.
Continue reading Berlin Syndrome (2017) – Review