Review The Pool (2019)

The Pool is frustrating (at least for the audiences) and claustrophobic thriller which tries its luck, ironically, on bad luck and ignorance, which probes no sympathy.

A couple is foolishly trapped in an abandoned 6-meter-deep pool… without water, without ladder, without any visible way out. From the premise, Ping Lumpraploeng’s The Pool seems to offer a frustrating, claustrophobic thriller assembling the force of bad luck and the consequence of ignorance. It immediately reminds me to Open Water series (especially the second installment) where sheer stupidity and malaise jeopardize people’s life. While it sounds nonsensical and exaggerating, some of its suspense might work even better if the movie does not give away most of the thrills so easily.

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Review The Curse of Weeping Woman (2019)

Even though packed with creatively crafted jumpscares and dramas that make sense, La Llorona could never really reach its potential.

The Conjuring universe keeps expanding its horizon with many unlikely, hit-or-miss ways making it one of the most successful sharing cinematic universes. Their recent cash-in period horror, The Curse of the Weeping Woman (also titled as The Curse of La Llorona), is based on a Mexican folk horror that dated back to the 17th century. La Llorona a.k.a. the weeping woman was once a woman who drowned her two children upon learning that her hidalgo husband chasing another woman; since then, she returns as a ghost who haunts and drowns other children of some poor women. There’s no telling why, but after at least two centuries, the Mexican ghost eventually made it all the way from south of the border to Los Angeles, where the 1973 horror takes place.

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Review Sunyi (2019)

Sunyi showcases most of the director’s style and jump-scares without ever worrying about the story. It’s pretty basic—in terms of story and scares, after all.

Awi Suryadi has become a legit name in Indonesian horror cinema. His three recent horrors (Danur, Danur 2: Maddah, Asih; dubbed as Danur universe) were all blockbuster hits with mixed to negative reviews condemning his over-abuse of cinematic style (including the never-ending Duch tilts) that borrows from famous horror auteurs, jump-scares with blatant sound effects, and, mostly, weak scripts. His recent venture, Sunyi, is a loose adaptation of the 1998 South Korean horror blockbuster, Whispering Corridors—a horror which isn’t necessarily needing an adaptation.

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Review Hellboy (2019)

Neil Marshall’s Hellboy is truer to the nature and style of the source materials compared to the versions it reboots; however, that doesn’t make it a better movie.

There is a common defense for the new Hellboy: it is truer to the nature and style of the source material, Mike Mignola’s Dark Horse comics. That argument seems to undermine how imaginative and romantic Guillermo del Toro’s idyllic 2004 fantasy-adventure, which also spawns a sequel in 2008. Fact is, the reboot by Neil Marshall is a darker R-rated rendition with more profanities, more binge-drinking and more blood-gushing moments.

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Review Dumbo (2019)

While Dumbo is visually likable, it wasn’t charming, let alone magical.

Call it Disney’s New Wave. As the Mouse House has been pretty busy in the recent decade with their project of revamping their classics into cash live-action adaptations, they have created an unwieldy atmosphere of family blockbuster. In terms of reception, their rosters of live-action adaptations had been hit-or-miss, even when most of them were box office hits. In this kind of atmosphere, visionary director, Tim Burton—who had previously worked in a loose adaptation of Alice in the Wonderland—returns for another gig: Dumbo, a live-action adaptation of the 1941 animated classic about a baby elephant that can fly. While his latest work is delicate, it belongs to the lukewarm side of Disney’s live actions.

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Review My Stupid Boss 2 (2019)

While Reza Rahadian’s performance is such a crown jewel, My Stupid Boss 2 still feels like a compilation of comedy sketch that only partially work.

In 2016, My Stupid Boss was a national box office hit in Indonesia – scoring more than 3,000,000 admissions. Helmed by versatile Indonesian director, Upi Avianto, the oddball comedy adapted from best-selling memoir by Chaos@work received mixed reception upon release. Major praises went to Reza Rahadian who garnered several awards and accolades for his portrayal of the titular goofy boss called Mr. Bossman. Meanwhile, the movie was also hardly criticized for the incoherent plot and the tonal mess.

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Review Five Feet Apart (2019)

Five Feet Apart is like a deliberately sappy fanfiction of The Fault in Our Stars saved by Haley Lu Richardson’s star-making performance and Cole Sprouse’s ethereal charm.

We have seen this kind of terminal romance over and over again. From the lots of award-darling, Love Story (1970), to the surprisingly good John Green’s adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars; or from the lots of sappy Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk to Remember to the melodramatic Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, Hollywood seems to always find more disease to jerk audiences’ tears with the glorified disease porn movies. Five Feet Apart adds up to that latter list of tearjerker—well-intended and well-acted; but too fixated to the young-adult tropes that it washes down the fore-mentioned two qualities.

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