Review: Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron bulk the summer blockbuster up—with feast of abs, boobs, and sea-water—in all-new Baywatch. As another effort to revamp classic telly shows into big-screen (after 21 Jump Street and CHIPs, long after The A-Team), this diary of lifeguards ups its stakes with an infamous R rating. The rating seems imaginable—for a more explicit sexual contents and insensitive banters—at some points; but, it ends up being far-fetched and irrelevant eventually.
Johnson takes up the mantle long left by David Hasselhoff as Mitch Buchannon. He’s a former military who now serves as leader of Emerald Bay’s Baywatch—under fine amalgam of Johnson’s typical character and Hasselhoff’s persona. Meanwhile, Efron is Matt Brody, a former U.S. swimmer and Olympic medalist, sentenced to serve for community service as a lifeguard in Mitch’s domain after committing public embarrassment. Those two names are beacons for Baywatch aside from the team’s ‘babewatch’—Stephanie Holden (Ilfenesh Hadera), Summer Quinn (Alexandra Daddario), and C.J. Parker (Kelly Rohrbach, taking up the mantle from Pamela Anderson) —as well as the comic relief, Ronnie (Jon Bass). Continue reading Baywatch (2017) – Review
Review: Adapted from Achi MT’s novel of the same title, Benni Setiawan’s Insya Allah Sah! materializes as a religious rom-com, which almost immediately reminds me to Deddy Mizwar’s Kiamat Sudah Dekat (2003). Blending chaotic marriage preparation drama with some religious niches (too difficult to be taken seriously), the final picture comes like hit-and-miss at worst and preachy at best.
In Insya Allah Sah!, a woman named Silvi (Titi Kamal) was trapped in an elevator with a whimsical, hideous-yet-pious band manager, Raka (Pandji Pragiwaksono) on the day she’s supposed to be proposed by her longtime boyfriend, Dion (Richard Kyle). Under the fear of dying of suffocation, both make a pledge to God for their lives. Silvi swears to be more religious and act more compassionate deeds; while Raka to assist people around him. Continue reading Insya Allah Sah! (2017): Insha Allah preachy
Review: Rizal Mantovani & Jose Purnomo’s sleeper hit Jelangkung (2001) was an integral part of Indonesian film resurrection. This harrowing story—about ancient ritual of summoning spirit using wooden avatar called ‘jelangkung’—was highly phenomenal that it spawned two sequels and cleared the path for other Indonesian ghouls to silver screen.
Sixteen years later, the winning team, Mantovani & Purnomo, is reunited with their winning formula into making a reboot titled Jailangkung. While their 2001 hit is a lo-fi production, this one is completely the opposite. With new target audiences, Jailangkung repackages itself with younger and fresher look; but, was it worth the scare? Continue reading Jailangkung (2017): Embodiment of style-over-substance horror
Review: Johannes Roberts (The Other Side of the Door) uses his penchant to horror to create sharky open-water terror with a premise similar to Jaume Collett-Serra’s last summer cheap thrills The Shallows—involving deeper shallow-beach, more beautiful girls, and more sharks. Set in an exotic Mexican shore, 47 Meters Down sends Mandy Moore and Claire Holt straight to the hungry sharks in, as the title might suggest, 47 meters below the sea surface.
In 47 Meters Down, Kate (Holt), who has just found out that her sister, Lisa (Moore), ditched by her long-time boyfriend before their Mexican getaway, is at full earnestness to orchestrate an unforgettable vacation for her broken sister. Invited by two locals to cage-diving in shark-infested water, the more YOLO-induced Kate successfully persuades the more reluctant Lisa. What seems to be a larger-than-life excitement suddenly becomes a life-threatening moment for the girls when the crane falls, sending them into the bed of the ocean, with only limited oxygen to survive. Continue reading 47 Meters Down (2017) – Review
First, Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy has nothing to do with Stephen Sommers’ 1999 Brendan Fraser-fueled blockbuster of the same title; let alone Karl Freund’s 1932 Boris Karloff-incited classic. Second, it has nothing to do with Mission Impossible, despite Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, and David Koepp’s involvement. Third, it, however, is a completely different film to mark a confident opening for Universal’s audacious Dark Universe, which sets to assemble the studio’s classic monster films into a whole new rebooted universe.
The Mummy does not take place in Egypt at all. It only begins in the ancient Egypt where Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) was mummified alive, before shifts away to both Iraq and England. In England, mysterious catacombs of deceased Templar knights from the Crusade was found underground, inviting Dr. Henry Jekyll’s (Russell Crowe) grave attention. Meanwhile, soldiers Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and his comrade, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), along with an archaeologist, Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) found a mystically guarded ancient tomb of Ahmanet. Continue reading The Mummy (2017) – Review
Review: For the fifth installment (a.k.a. another comeback), Pirates of the Caribbean franchise decided to use a more narrative-friendly Salazar’s Revenge title over the more occult (and, still, US title) Dead Men Tell No Tales purposively. After all, giving away an obscure name in the title might help convincing audiences that this is a new series, not just a hasty recycle of the original trilogy… or a too-early Force Awakens in the ocean.
In case you forget, ‘original’ Pirates series progressed upon an electric narrative involving an unholy trinity – Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). In surviving a trilogy, the last two names were retired from the narrative in the disjointed fourth installment, which marked Sparrow’s solo-career. And, yet, Salazar’s Revenge, learning from the last lambasted tenure, decides to create a small reunion, assemble a rejuvenated trinity, add some family issue there, and starts a new been-there-done-that voyage. Now you know why I called it a nautical Force Awakens rip-off, don’t you? Continue reading Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017) – Review