Review Searching (2018)

John Cho’s absorbing performance helps Searching crafting an emotional rendition of Gone Girl with internet era look.

Review Searching (2018): While the presentation using only electronic device screens is a gimmick we’ve seen in Blumhouse horror, Unfriended (2015), Searching is always a Gone Girl as viewed through screen with sense of limitation the size of Rear Window (instead the window is an artificial window—be it browser window or chat window).

It opens with a montage of Kim family’s history as seen via a Windows XP PC from the moment that Margot (Michelle La) was born to a happy Korean-American couple, David (John Cho) and Pam (Sara Sohn). There goes a happy growing-up together montage that kind of reminding me to Up (2009). Yet, it wasn’t long until the tragedy comes. After a series of unanswered phone and FaceTime calls, Margot never shows up. She’s gone, technically missing (soon to be presumed dead?). Through projected screens of iPhones, PC and MacBooks, David browses through social media, search engine and every resource he can find on the web to find his missing child. Continue reading “Review Searching (2018)”

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Review To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

The saccharine-heavy rom-com effectively uses its overly familiar ‘fake-first-date’ tropes to make a sweet & uplifting teenage love without over-abusing its sugary potential.

Review To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: “Make Teenage Romcom Great Again” should’ve been a tagline Susan Johnson’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (referred as To All the Boys on later paragraphs) carrying because it indeed does it. Based on a novel of the same title by Jenny Han, this Netflix production is a clichéd, sugary romcom with manipulated yet effective plot that will make audiences smile ear to ear.

To All the Boys revolves around the life of a 16 y.o. Korean-American girl, Lara Jean (Lana Condor, Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse) who loves to read romance novels and fantasize her older sister boyfriend who happens to be their next-door neighbor, Josh (Israel Broussard, The Bling Ring). When her older sister, Margot, leaves to pursue education in Scotland, Lara Jean is living a mundane life with her father and her little sister, Kitty, but not for long. An embarrassing incident happens, letters—that Lara Jean has written to the boys he used to love/have crush on but she never actually sent—unknowingly get sent to the addressees, which includes Josh and a childhood crush,  Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo—the guy from Camila Cabello’s Havana), a jock and boyfriend of her high-school (sort of) rival. Continue reading “Review To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)”

Review Sebelum Iblis Menjemput / May the Devil Take You (2018)

Sebelum Iblis Menjemput is the prodigal cousin of Evil Dead.

Timo Tjahjanto’s (half of The Mo Brothers) May the Devil Take You (originally titled ‘Sebelum Iblis Menjemput‘) is the prodigal cousin of Evil Dead who lives too far abroad that it gets tangled deeper in the hardcore nastiness of occultism. The nightmare it introduces might feel close and yet so far; but then, this bone-chilling and blood-gushing diabolical phantasmagoria is a guaranteed tough watch. It’s definitely not for the fainted heart; but, most definitely, it’s not for the pious heart.

Pedantic resemblances to its influence is inevitable, however, May the Devil Take You is bold enough to differ in all its nightmarish way. While it’s a cabin-in-the-wood story—only the cabin is changed into an abandoned resting villa (well, it’s a holiday cabin for Indonesians after all) with a ridiculously hard locked door to basement and a strange entity’s first-person POV as well, it’s not a groovy ordeal; it’s a pure horror that embraces every notion in Stephen King’s infamous quote, “nightmares exist out of logic.” Continue reading “Review Sebelum Iblis Menjemput / May the Devil Take You (2018)”

Review Brother of the Year (2018)

Presenting a sharp (but not unusual) blend of exaggerated sibling-rivalry dramedy and sweet romcom, Brother of the Year crafts a heartwarming comedy with unexpected (but effectively presented) turn.

Review Brother of the Year: In Vitthaya Thongyuyong’s GDH-produced blockbuster, what started out as a family dramedy about sibling rivalry quickly escalates into a full-fledged sentimental drama in an unexpected (but effectively presented) turn.

GDH darling, Sunny Suwanmethanont, stars as Chut—a less-motivated slacker, whose perfectly filthy bachelorhood life breaks after his multitalented sister, Jane (Urassaya Sperbund) returns home from her university time in Japan. As a blockbuster filled with sharp comedy materials upfront, it’s surprising that Brother of the Year takes a bold (but not strange) move to bit-by-bit leave its non-serious material (which powered most of its first half) and focus on a serious material, which might, at least, get lumps in your throat. Continue reading “Review Brother of the Year (2018)”

Wonder (2017) – Review

A wonderful story of how every person can be the wonder.

Review: Wonder, based on R.J. Palacio’s 2012 bestseller, observes the bright side of every event revolves around the first ‘normal’ school year of a boy with facial deformities. There’s bullying, but there’s support; there are sentimental moments, but there are uplifting ones. On the surface, this might look like an overdramatic Hollywood tearjerker, but, give it some time and Wonder will define the word ‘heartfelt’ straight to your nerve.

Jacob Tremblay (Room) portrays Auggie, the 10-year-old Star Wars aficionado, who finally enters public school after years of home-schooling due to his physical condition. Julia Roberts—the mother, Isabella, and Owen Wilson—the father, Nate, knowing their kid’s circumstance, show reluctance in finally letting the child stepping away from the comfort zone. What the parents fear of comes to fruition when Auggie’s facing bullying from his school-mate. The situation is troublesome; and, we’re led to observe it from other p.o.v.s around Auggie, from his outshone sibling, Via (Izabela Vidovic) to his first friend, Jack (Noah Jupe). It’s a dire situation to follow, but Wonder shows us that there’s always been silver linings to everything.

Continue reading “Wonder (2017) – Review”

Coco (2017) – Review

‘Til death do us part’ is not a thing in Pixar’s Mexican odyssey about life, death and family that bounds them altogether.

Review: Seven years in making with thorough research in Mexico along with solid team led by Lee Unkrich to celebrate appropriate representation (including writer, Adrian Molina, who got eventually promoted into co-director), Pixar’s nineteenth feature, Coco, results in a highly respectful tribute to Mexican culture and tradition, specifically, ‘Dia de los Muertos’ a.k.a. The Day of the Dead.

In preparation of the carnivalesque, marigold-laden Mexican festivity of the dead, 12-year-old Miguel Rivera (voiced by Anthony Gonzales) is entangled in a fateful adventure between life, death and family that bounds them altogether. The boy only wants to follow his passion—to simply play guitar and sing like his hero, a famous Mexican singer and actor, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt)—much to his shoemaker family’s dismay due to a past predicament. When a talent show is held at the town’s plaza, Miguel ignores his family’s cries of refusal and joins up anyway. For that, he steals the monumental guitar from de la Cruz chapel, which makes him cursed and strands up in the Land of the Dead. Continue reading “Coco (2017) – Review”