Review: As a director, Ben Affleck has displayed an adroit proficiency in crafting artfully meaningful takes of crime and drama-thriller. His directorial debut, adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Gone Baby Gone, sets a high bar for his prowess in mood, characters, small-explosive thriller; the follow-ups, The Town and Oscar-winning, Argo, prove it. A decade after his debut, Affleck returns to Lehane, adapting a 2012 novel, Live by Night, a story of a police son turns a crime-lord during Prohibition era.
Affleck’s homage to retro gangster films is undeniably lavish; only, Live by Night, which was postponed for Batman v Superman‘s production, hasn’t been able to leave our descendants a new classic. It’s a completely a Ben Affleck’s film material, but there’s something about it (I could say it’s his ambition off-screen and on-screen, but there’s more to it), which makes it far less successful than his previous works. Continue reading Live by Night (2017) – Review
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
Review: “Kita adalah sepasang kekasih yang pertama bercinta di luar angkasa. Seperti takkan pernah pulang, kau membias di udara dan terhempaskan cahaya…”
That piece of beautiful metaphor-ridden lyrics from Indonesian indie hero, Melancholic Bitch, heaves as my mind attempts to internalize the whole sense in Morten Tyldum’s Passengers. Roughly, those lyrics tells a story of the first couple of lovers, who make love in space despite the tragic life they’re living in. Sounds familiar It’s Passengers’ plot in brief.
Passengers is a journey, an unexpected journey set in Avalon, a starship transporting 5000 cryo-sleeping passengers to Homestead II, a new human colony, 120 years away from Earth. Unfortunately, a malfunctioned pod accidentally wakes a passenger, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), 90 years before the arrival. The closest help is 30 years away behind him; the fastest assistance he can have needs 55 years to reach him. Out of isolation, Jim befriends a bartender android, Arthur (Michael Sheen), and does whatever he can do with the facilities, e.g., playing basketball, watching films, playing augmented reality game, or space-walking. Bottom line: he is isolated from “living” human. Continue reading Passengers (2016) – Review
Review: “Beauty isn’t everything. It’s the only thing,” one character illustrates in the midst of Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon to justify the core theme of this neo-surreal piece. Believe me, that quote alone has multi-interpretation; and at some points, it’s an honest confession and excuse to sustain the whole film.
The Neon Demon is a beauty; and beauty isn’t everything. It’s the only thing… the only things the film attempts to convey with faux aesthetic and complexity. Or was it all deliberate? To ensure that the film is a metaphor in its entirety. Continue reading The Neon Demon (2016) – Review
Review: Second animated feature from Illumination Entertainment (the studio who brought you Minions and, recently, The Secret Life of Pets) in 2016 brings tons of happiness and a whole playlist ranging from the 80s to recent hits in SING, an absurd blend of X-Factor and lots like Zootopia. While the plot is muddled and the comedy is outdated, most elements in SING really works. Just work.
The plot is pretty basic, juxtaposing a generic restoring the good ol’ day quest and formulaic zero-to-hero storyline. There’s an enterpreneur, a koala named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) with minimum koala-fication to actually run a theater. His business collapses and he’s tangled in debt; to save his business (and his theater), he proposes an X-Factor-esque singing competition with total $1000 prize… initially. Continue reading Sing (2016) – Review
Review: Love is magic… in the world where going to New York from Jakarta is as easy as jumping blocks. It’s the world where Terjebak Nostalgia, a film inspired by Raisa’s song, takes place. This Nicholas Sparks-esque love triangle drama is saccharine-laced, and it’s stick to the title at its entirety.
Terjebak Nostalgia revolves around the life of a rising singer, Raisa (Raisa Andriana), in one of the most bizzare time in her life. She’s in love with her long-time lover, Sora (Maruli Tampubolon), a musician who shares mutual dream with Raisa. In achieving that dream, Sora leaves to New York with a sacred promise to return. Across the ocean, Sora keeps sending perfume-sprayed letters to Raisa, who waits impatiently in Jakarta.
The unexpected happens. Sora never returns to Jakarta; never holds on to his word; never makes the dream coming true. Continue reading Terjebak Nostalgia (2016) – Review