Review: In an era where injecting traveling utopia and road trip has been a popular formula in Indonesian film industry, Naya Anindita’s Berangkat! pushes that trope into a whole different level. Her latest road trip feature thrusts the R-rated boundary into borderline absurdity. Weirdly, the sheer bedlam is quite enjoyable. Thanks to the magic mushroom.
While the magic mushroom wouldn’t appear on screen until an hour passing by, the effect has always been there from the beginning, from the introduction of the film’s main protagonists—Jano (Tara Budiman), Joana (Ayushita) and Dika (Ringgo Agus Rahman). Those three close chaps immediately engage in a road trip to Ijen before heading to Bali before encountering a Herbalove-addicted hippie, Gimbal (Tanta Ginting). Fueled by thick friendship, blind love, academic ambition, weird science (as in John Hughes’ Weird Science), and mechanophiliac fetish, the motley crues hit the road. Continue reading Berangkat! (2017): Thanks to the magic mushroom
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.
CONTINUE READING IN ‘ENGLISH’
Review: What The Doll 2 excels in is the fact that it could, at some points, drive a guilt-ridden drama into a full-frontal horror with chance of bloodfest. It had the ingredients right and, at some specific points, had the moment in crafting an atmospheric psycho-horror that plays out with grief and lonesome before drowning into an endless ambition to scare the hell out of people.
This sequel reconstructs the predecessor’s formula—a possessed doll, a small family, and a havoc—into a less original, yet more stable built. It retains only one connection to The Doll (2016) in terms of mother-child bond, which is exploited as the foundation of this new breed. That ‘broken’ bond is what brings horror into the table and, literally, what brings the otherworldly force into the doll. Continue reading The Doll 2 (2017): Clumsy horror with a chance of bloodfest
Review: In Mars Met Venus (divided into two interrelated parts: Part Cewe, the girl’s version, and Part Cowo, the boy’s version), gender differences are heightened in a relationship between completely-opposed couple. Part Cewe encompasses the girl’s point of view in the saccharine-laced rapport, adorning it with gender judgment, principle and trifles.
Pamela Bowie is Mila—the Venus, the girlfriend in the story. She’s a girl of charm and popularity, who dates an unpopular guy, Kelvin (Ge Pamungkas). Mila is open, passionate, talkative, and more controlling in the relationship; meanwhile, Kelvin is more submissive and restricted. After five year in a relationship, the boy invites the girl to make a vlog about their love journey, with a hidden intention to propose her. Yet, conflicts start to embark during the vlog production. Never-been-seen-before details begin to unravel, jeopardizing love they’ve built for the last five years. Continue reading Mars Met Venus: Part Cewe (2017): Are women from real Venus?
Review: Started up as a road film, where two titular celebrated hipsters’ coffee shop, Filosofi Kopi, roams around cities and islands of Indonesia, yet Filosofi Kopi 2 (subtitled Ben & Jody) only officially starts when life happens to strike the collective dream. Wandering around as a vagabond coffee shop isn’t a choice anymore; therefore, Ben (Chicco Jerikho) and Jody (Rio Dewanto) decide to return to Jakarta in a homecoming to start over, to start fresh; in a homecoming that leads to other homecomings.
In starting over, Ben and Jody encounter Tarra (Luna Maya), an entrepreneur who is eager to invest for Filosofi Kopi’s rebirth. During the same period, a young, austere barista named Brie (Nadine Alexandra) is recruited by Jody to assist behind the bar. The reawakening, orchestrated by those four central figures along with their old comrades, turns out bringing more challenges not only to the idealism of the coffee shop, but also to Ben and Jody’s almost immortal bromance. Continue reading Filosofi Kopi 2 (2017): A homecoming
Svetlana Dea’s directorial debut, Mantan (trans. ex-lover) is quite an oddball. It’s a dialogue-heavy romcom, which grounds between a social satire and a pure reconciliation game, but never really ends up being any of them. Sometimes it can be very convincing; but some other times, you’ll wish there would be some footnotes to help you understand anything. By the time you finally get an insight, the film abruptly ends its 75-minute run.
In Mantan, a young bachelor, Adi (Gandhi Fernando), is about to become a married man. Yet, before he becomes one, he needs to have a sense of self-fulfillment. He goes on a quest to fly up 5 different cities to encounter his exes, clear the air between them and find out if one of them might be his godknowswhy soul mate. Continue reading Mantan (2017): A Reconciliation Game