Review Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)

Detective Pikachu’s bold attempt to craft an independent story out of an overly established franchise only results in a parade of cute pokémons with small flickering jolts and less exultation.

Warner Bros’ attempt to revamp the Pokémon franchise with an independently standalone live-action is simply a go-big-or-go-home move. While the story is based on a game of the same title, Detective Pikachu basically ditches most minor elements that usually made it into Pokémon movies—including the famous Poké Ball—into some distant properties. For fans of the franchise who subsequently follows the game, this might look like an attempt not to be a verbatim adaptation; but, for casual fans, the whole idea of relegating the ‘pocket monsters’ into non-pocket-sized sidekicks might be a new invention. So, is it a blessing or otherwise?

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Review The Wandering Earth / 流浪地球 (2019)

The premise and production value of The Wandering Earth is otherworldly stunning; while the well-intended movie isn’t without flaw.

Dubbed as the first ever ‘proper’ Chinese interstellar blockbuster, Frant Gwo’s The Wandering Earth flaunts more than just an ambitious spectacle; but, the entire industry’s pride in orchestrating a cinematic milestone. Adapted from Cixin Liu’s award-winning novella, this kind of “cancelling the apocalypse” (borrowing the term from Idris Elba’s character in Pacific Rim) can only be a massive production or nothing at all. And, this adaptation opted to go the former way and, since then, it becomes a mega-hit. Before long, Netflix picked it up and The Wandering Earth really wanders to flaunt its extravagant ambitions.

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Review Hotel Mumbai (2019)

Intense and unnerving for the whole duration, this based-on-true-event survival thriller is an anti-terrorism message that often becomes too over-sensationalist.

On 26 November 2008, Mumbai were under siege by foreign terrorists. Brutally coordinated terrorist strikes targeted several key locations in India’s financial capital, including the magnificent Taj Mahal Hotel Palace, in which most portions of the movie take places. In portraying the horror, Hotel Mumbai, Anthony Maras’ directorial debut, presents an anti-terrorism docu-drama which often goes too far in its stance.

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Review Pet Sematary (2019)

The new Pet Sematary turns the dead into a whole new creepy entity compared to the 1989 adaptation.

There’s one famous Stephen King’s quote that works to dive in to most of his works. “Nightmares exist outside of logic,” he said before clinching his statement with an exclamation that adding explanation is no fun. That quote also works to delve into the new Pet Sematary, an adaptation of a novel which King himself always claimed to be one of the toughest even for him. Duo directors, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, seem to hold the creed too well: gone beyond the logic and giving little to no explanation for it.

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Review The Hole in the Ground (2019)

The Hole in the Ground almost works in a similar manner as The Babadook—about parental challenge; only this one delves to deep into the lore.

I was trembling when I first realized Lee Cronin’s directorial effort, The Hole in the Ground, reminded me to The Babadook. It’s definitely two different specimens, but they both share a similar topic and approach: the haunting of dysfunctional parental challenge depicted as a low-key rural horror. On whatever sense, it’s as creepy.

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Review The Dirt (2019)


For every soulless Bohemian Rhapsody, we are granted an even soul-corrupted The Dirt, a biopic of an iconic band – who claims to “drink, snort and fuck everything in sight” – Mötley fuckin’ Crüe. Undergoing years of inferno from Paramount and MTV Films to Focus Feature before ending up in development hell, the biopic – eventually picked up by Netlix – ends up doing what every other biopic couldn’t bear to do: debauching the subject but proudly and deliberately. It’s campy, sleazy, nasty, dumb, offensive, but, nonetheless, fun.

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Review Triple Threat (2019)

Instead of ending up being a crowd-pleaser, Triple Threat only comes as a crowd-teaser.

Triple Threat deliberately engineers a fictional Southeast Asian country called Maha Jaya—which basically is Thailand but with extremely large China influence comprising of tycoons and cartels, backed by Indonesian mercenaries—only to allow the three leads: Tony Jaa, Iko Uwais and Tiger Chen speaking roles in their native language. Strange as it may sound, but at some points, the made-up setting becomes a reasonable venue to showcase a showdown between glorified Muay Thai, Pencak Silat and Kung Fu against current B-movie actioner stars consisting of Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White and Michael Bisping.

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