Review: For a film titled The Guys, Raditya Dika’s quick follow-up to his star-studded, box office making Hangout, it ‘almost’ lives up to the title; had some more dominating sub-plot not overtaken the spotlight. Dika, as writing-and-starring director, displays more maturity in his ‘usual romantic comedy’ trope, but who knows that this film isn’t about that at all.
In The Guys, Raditya Dika stars as Alfi, an employee in an agency, who shares a flat with his co-workers, Rene (Marthino Lio), Aryo (Indra Jegel), and a Thai expat, Sukun (Phongsiree Bunluewong). Alfi is a straight Dika’s typical character – a loser in love; that before his chivalrous act enchant Amira (Pevita Pearce). Things go south when Amira’s widowed father (Tarzan) also starts developing feeling towads Alfi’s widowed mother (Widyawati). With aids from his BFF – Best Flatmate Forever – Alfi sets up a plan to mess with the older generation’s relationship to secure his own. Continue reading The Guys (2017): When ‘The Guys’ become the other guy
Review: In a futuristic Blade Runner-esque city – cramped with neon-blaring buildings and hologramscapes – multi-national/multi-racial humans and humanoid androids mingle and blend in together. A cybernetic counter-terrorist operative, The Major (Scarlett Johansson) – naked in prosthetic and occasionally stealth-camouflaged – along with her Section 9 comrades, hunt down a silhouetted cyber villain, Kuze (Michael Pitt with Carmen middle name). During her mission, truth about her identity begins to unravel and distract her from her operation.
There’s no real ghost or seashells in Ghost in the Shell. The title refers to Johansson’s Major – a consciousness or ‘ghost’ (like in Holy Ghost) from a woman she used to be which is implanted to a cybernetic ‘shell.’ Physically, she’s more of a machine than human; but, her ‘ghost’ is what makes her ‘human.’ In a world where the line between human and machine is independently blurred, people start losing their identity. And, that alone should’ve been a big theme to probe in; and yet, this film consciously takes that for granted. Continue reading Ghost in the Shell (2017) – Review
Review: Oscar winner, Matthew McConaughey gone method portrays an inspired-by-true-figure prospector, Kenny Wells, in Stephen Gaghan’s Gold. Born with silver spoon, inherited father’s wealth, and ended up as a loser, that’s how Kenny’s life ventures. McConaughey looks hideous and vexing at the same time as ambitious Kenny – bald, black-lunged and pot-bellied; he almost looks like Christian Bale in American Hustle. However hideous he looks, but this man is the epicenter of this greed-ridden adventure – The Wolf of the Wall Street from the jungle.
Inspired by a real event about world’s biggest gold hunt scandal in Indonesia, which cost investors millions of dollars, Gold is never a sympathetic story. You wouldn’t be surprised if this Kenny man brings apocalypse to stock market. He’s innocently ambitious and greedy at the same time. He often claims that what he sees isn’t money, but gold; but, in fact, the prospects of money plus some daddy issues got him blinded. I almost admire his persistence; but getting admiration isn’t really his best aptitude. While the million dollar (or 24 carat) fraud is a big serious deal to tell; Gold practically is McConaughey’s one-man show. Continue reading Gold (2017) – Review
Review: There was once a stunt-and-steroid-heavy actioner – a Point Break-esque spectacle – called xXx in 2002. Vin Diesel, straight outta Pitch Black and The Fast and the Furious, was the center of it as Xander Cage, an adrenaline junkie and extreme sport enthusiast-turned-agent for NSA. But, the franchise seemed to be short-lived, following the disastrous second installment that crossed out Diesel’s name from the cast, substituting him with Ice Cube.
Xander Cage was pronounced dead in the 2005 sequel, but Vin Diesel has an agenda. Stepping in the producer seat, Diesel orchestrates his character’s own comeback like nothing happened in xXx: Return of Xander Cage. He turns a dormant franchise into a so-called Vin Diesel film – which draws lots of influence from his tenure in Fast and Furious series. Meaning to say: it’s going to be muscular, over-the-top, and eye-pleasing; but do not expect a story. Continue reading xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) – Review
Review: Crafted from a game of the same title with movie-material gameplay and interesting pseudo-sci-fi premise; then helmed by Justin Kurzel, the man who successfully adapted the cursed play, Macbeth, along with the stars, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; Technically, Assassin’s Creed would have made ‘the first’ beautifully compelling video-game adaptation. Yet, it simply doesn’t.
Apparently, the culprit is the script, written by Michael Lesslie (Macbeth) and retouched by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage (Exodus, Allegiant), which cannot accommodate the sense of excitement the game offers, and instead overplots it. Instead of moving the story forward, this Assassin’s Creed is slowing it steps down with uneffective faux complexities. Continue reading Assassin’s Creed (2016) – Review
Review: Robert Zemeckis’ new espionage romance drama, Allied, somehow soars before it even flies. Overshadowed in the heat of 2016’s most controversial celebrity divorce news between Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Allied gets all the attention with accusation that leading actress, Marion Cotillard, is Pitt’s mistress. Given the resemblances of Mr. & Mrs. Smith issue in background, coverage to Pitt-Cotillard involvement and talks about Allied is up on the sky… but not until it finally flies.
When it flies, it ejects a seemingly younger and more Quebecois Brad Pitt as Max Vatan parachuted to midst of desert. He soon joins in a lethal behind-enemy-line mission with a French femme-fatale agent, Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) in the barren land of exotic French-occupied Casablanca, Morocco. Posing as a husband and wife, the feat spends too much and too intense time in this assasination mission that something more profound embarks from within them. Continue reading Allied (2016) – Review