Review: Split might not be M. Night Shyalaman’s best treat; but it definitely marks the return of this slick storyteller to his powerhouse realm. In fact, Split is different from Shyalaman’s earlier works due to the absence of an actual, grandiose twist ending; but who needs a twist if the whole film has twisted narrative?
It kicks off like any abduction film, where a nerdy man named Dennis (James McAvoy, a powerhouse version of himself), who has OCD, kidnaps three teenage girls and locks them up in a windowless room. Dennis is living with Patricia, a very neat lady, and Hedwig, a 9-year old lisp boy who loves Kanye West. Yet, sometimes, a fashion-designer wanna-be, Barry, takes over; and, some other time, a history-enthusiast, Orwell, might be there too; also, a diabetic, Jade, might as well be there.
Yet, who knows that Dennis or Patricia or Hedwig or Barry or Orwell or Jade or any other alters is living in the same body? Yes, they’re living inside Kevin, a troubled man with acute dissociative identity disorder, who has 23 personalities living inside him, waiting to take over the spotlight.
Continue reading Split (2017) – Review
Review: After hitchhiking and helping to save the day in The LEGO Movie (2014), Will Arnett’s self-obsessed Batman finally gets promoted to his own spotlight as the lead role. In his solo, brick-world spin-off, The LEGO Batman Movie, Batman is the feeling-less, insensitive, heavy metal and beat box loving, lone vigilante of more-vibrant-and-frenetic-than-Tim-Burton’s Gotham. However, he’s not some taciturn, shy Dark Knight; Batman has embraced Bruce Wayne’s narcissism personality disorder and turned into a superstar of the crime-lair city.
Things go south when Jim Gordon retires and his daughter, a Harvard for Police alumnus, Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson) steps in. She insists that the city doesn’t need Batman for the Caped Crusader, although succeeds in quelling city’s most notorious villains, cannot really wipe them off completely. At the same moment, Batman’s rejected arch-nemesis – the Joker (Zach Galifianakis, in a more sensitive role than Jared Leto’s swagger version) surrenders himself and his band of criminals. Fearing that it’s Joker’s mere villainous agenda, Batman aided by his cute adopted son Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) determines to stop Joker at whatever cost. Continue reading The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) – Review
Review: You might not be familiar with Vinny Pazienza’s miraculous story dubbed as the ‘greatest comeback in sports history,’ but, after 5 minutes, Bleed for This will give you clear head-ups. The story comfortably fashions itself as a cliché-ridden based-on-true-events boxer’s story, which feels as text-bookish as it could be. However, clichés are no match for the true sportsmanship spirit it carries on and the hard punches it launches.
Miles Teller portrays Vinny Paz – a loudmouth Rhode Island native, who is eager to take all punch; but, really, he is a no-contender. In a title shot against Roger Mayweather, he suffered an embarrassing defeat, which triggers his managers, The Duvas Brothers, to urge him to give up boxing. Yet, Vinny, a tenacious macho man, refuses to surrender; instead, he teams up with Mike Tyson’s former alcoholic coach, Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart). The feat instantly becomes an unlikely union – the band of losers aiming for the most plausible shot for future. Continue reading Bleed for This (2017) – Review
Review: In Patriots’ Day 2013, two bombs blasted off during Boston marathon, killed 3 civilians, including an 8-y.o. child and injured hundred others. Only three and a half year passes, a big-budgeted retelling of it has already made into screen, not as a kind of exploitation, but as a moving, respectful story. Patriots Day is an ode to a city survives from tragedy.
With Patriots Day, Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon) has proven himself as an avid filmmaker, a specialist to craft an authentic reenactment with hearts within. There’s sympathy depicted in its dramatic docu-like pictures coupled with authentic footage and spotlights to certain people who directly involved in the tragedy. Continue reading Patriots Day (2017) – Review
Review: Crafting their names into Indonesian, even international, cutting-edge film industry with blood and sickfuck, Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel (a.k.a. the Mo Brothers) are synonymous to sick, merciless gorefest. Their fresh-blooded feature Headshot is no different. While it’s not as grotesque as their previous filmography (Rumah Dara/Macabre, Killers), this feel-good action-thriller delivers a rabid, over-stylized violence their way.
Headshot revolves around a mysterious man (Iko Uwais), found ashored half-dead and nurtured back to life by a young med-school intern named Ailin (Chelsea Islan). The man finally awakes from his coma with no memory of who he was and how he’s got there due to trauma he had from bullet to the head. Ailin, currently reading Melville’s Moby Dick, names the man ‘Ishmael’ and they two immediately connects to each other.
News about the man’s survival quickly reaches a ruthless crimelord dubbed as ‘the father from hell,’ Mr. Lee (Singaporean, Sunny Pang). Wrapped with mist about Ishmael’s past, Mr. Lee sends his finest man to hunt for the amnesiac man for a reason which Headshot is about to unravel. In the end, Mr. Lee’s hunt for Ishmael and Ishmael’s quest to seek for his identity collide in the midst of non-stop showdown. Continue reading Headshot (2016) – Review
Review: Sweet Bean observes a sweet, subtle chemistry between a desperate man with an elderly woman through the making of sweet bean paste for Japanese-classic pancake, dorayaki. Here, sweet bean paste becomes a symbolic connection of present and paste in a frame of troubled people, living in alienation and barely having life. Continue reading Sweet Bean (2015) – JAFF Jogja 2016 Review