Review: Gerbang Neraka a.k.a. Firegate (literally ‘Hell Gate’) combines an urban legend about Gunung Padang in West Java with sci-fi bravura and horror apparition into making a rare genre-bending Indonesian film. The film focuses on an excavation process of the allegedly oldest pyramid structure in the world (said to be older than Giza in Egypt and Mayan in Mexico), which lies underneath a mountain. Like in other ‘pyramid films’, the excavation was plagued from beginning to end, with body counts start to rise from day to day.
There came the film’s trinity: a young archeologist who believes in no supernatural power, Arni (Julie Estelle), a struggling heresy-laden tabloid reporter, Tomo (Reza Rahadian), and a celebrity ‘demon hunter’ Guntur Samudera (Dwi Sasono). Intertwined by their own ambition in regards to Gunung Padang pyramid, those three protagonists began to intersect each other’s life and unravel a hideous secret about the mega-structure. Continue reading Gerbang Neraka (2017): Genre-defying mess
Review: The LEGO Ninjago Movie unfolds how the exhilarating idea of presenting a pop-culture-laden animation based on brick toys could falter quickly. It’s only been three years since Chris Miller and Phil Lord first spawned The LEGO Movie in 2014; but, this third film in LEGO franchise shows that the formula starts getting worn off.
It still offers electric bantz, refreshing gags and zillion references to pop culture—making it an enjoyable joyride. However, Ninjago’s lack of innovative formula starts showing the symptoms when it is often caught playing and recycling ideas used in LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman Movie to use in a different terrain. You’re not wrong when you think you have a déjà vu while watching this.
Continue reading The LEGO Ninjago Movie (2017) – Review
Review: Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 2 picks up where Part 1 a.k.a. Indonesia blockbuster record-breaker left. After some short disastrous tenure with CHiPS, Dono (Abimana Aryasatya), Kasino (Vino G. Bastian) and Indro (Tora Sudiro) were gravely indebted; and the only way to pay the debt, they needed to find a hidden treasure. Along with Sophie (Hannah Al Rashid), they flight to Malaysia, the place where the treasure is allegedly hidden, only to accidentally swap their bag with a Malaysian researcher’s bag. There’s where Part 1 ended.
Part 2 revolves around the trio’s ludicrous treasure-hunt in a foreign country. With the assistance from Nadia (Nur Fazura), the researcher they stumbled into, Dono, Kasino and Indro wander into a haunted island where they encounter ‘the real story’ of Warkop DKI Reborn and get drowned in an adventure as bizarre and as absurd as in Part 1. Continue reading Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss! Part 2 (2017) – Review
Review: A: Aku, Benci & Cinta—an adaptation of Wulanfadi’s best-selling novel of the same title, attempts to match up high school romance with circumstantial comedy and many layers of conflict at one. To carry the plan, Rizki Balki’s film features Indonesia’s most prominent teenage actors ranging from Jefri Nichol, Amanda Rawles to Indah Permatasari.
In the core of A, Anggia (Permatasari), a boyish girl and school’s second most popular guy, is in deep feud with Alvaro (Nichol), school’s most notorious popular guy, who keeps annoying her with any possible mean. The more Anggia resents Alvaro, the more they become close to each other by one chance or two. As predictable as it might be, there’s actually some spark of affection between them, but it takes some time before that feeling blooms. Continue reading A: Aku, Benci & Cinta (2017): Far from straight A
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