Back to the days when Tom Cruise hasn’t been that top-billed “film star”, he was once an actor when portraying Charlie Babbitt, a selfish chap who, upon learning about his estranged father’s death, finds out that he has a long-lost brother. Thing is, his way older brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) is an autistic savant, who inherits most of their father’s wealth. There’s pure quality in young Cruise to encounter Hoffman, the powerhouse who went and brought home Best Actor prize in Oscars completing the film’s triumph (with Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture victory).
Rain Man follows one of the most narrative about character development with myriads of jolts and sensitivity. A story about a man reconciles and, later, reconnects with his only family member is never an innovation; but, what if the whole story isn’t about the changing man, but the unchanged man instead? That’s where Rain Man makes differences. As much as it tells stories about Charlie’s effort ‘to reconnect’, it was never a story about him; it’s the story of Raymond. Continue reading Blindspot: Rain Man (1988)
Review: In first two seasons of Fargo—a powerhouse of anthology based on The Coen Brothers’ 1996 film of the same title, Noah Hawley has proven his worth as a hell of most consistently stylist showrunner. Extracting the comedy-of-errors formula from the film and creating hollow modern folklore set in the film’s universe, Hawley also crafts unsympathetically likable characters and throwing them into an awkwardly cunning situation. The result: a pitch black comedy and mayhem at the same time.
As for the third season, Fargo returns with an unpretentious rhythm—smaller in scale, calmer in sense, lesser havoc compared to the first two seasons (the first renders the film quite closely, while the second feels more heavy-metal)—which ends up in a more traumatic result. It’s no longer a rough mix of petty-crime-gone-wrong and wrong-people-in-wrong-place situation, although the shades of it still become this season’s foundation. A stroke of enigmatic evil also presents, this time, in a more contagious fashion. Continue reading A Season with: Fargo (2017) – Season 3
Review: At one point, we might see Wonder Woman as the real biggest gamble ever in recent superhero film spree. There are myriads of dire reasons that made this DC entry’s stake even bigger than Marvel’s first Guardians of the Galaxy and Dr. Strange combined.
First, DCEU has previously been ill-started with several ill-fated attempts. Second, there are doubts about Gal Gadot’s capability to lead as main character. In addition, Patty Jenkins’ reputation as the first female director to helm a superhero film with female protagonist did not seem to give security, albeit she used to direct Charlize Theron to her Oscar win. But, that’s before Wonder Woman saves the day and brings DCEU back to game. Continue reading Wonder Woman (2017) – Review
“My name is Dances with Wolves. I have nothing to say to you. You are not worth talking to,” said John Dunbar.
By today’s standard, Kevin Costner’s Dances with Wolves would’ve been received differently, possibly with praise over the film’s respect to representation – the use of native people and native language to depict native American, Sioux and Pawnee. At the same time, it might also receive terrible backlash over its ‘white savior’-esque narrative by today’s critical audiences. However, it stormed of Academy Award in 1991 – nominated for 12 and win 7, including Best Picture. Continue reading Blindspot: Dances with Wolves (1990)
Review: BW Purba Negara’s debut feature Ziarah could’ve been made into a faux-documentary about love and reconciliation, tailing fictitious Mbah Sri (Ponco Sutiyem), a 95-year-old widow in stint to find her late husband’s tomb. However, it after all is presented as a pure fiction, juxtaposing two stories at once, while retaining the cinéma vérité style and keeping it as grounded as possible.
The word ‘ziarah’ itself means pilgrimage; and this Ziarah is a story about that pilgrimage to a grave unbeknownst to the pilgrim. The final result is pretentious but delightful and homey. Continue reading Ziarah (2017): Between discourse and pilgrimage
Review: For starter, Riverdale “borrows” super-likable characters from your childhood Archie comics – from red-haired jock-musician wannabe, Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), the good girl Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), smoky hot rich Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), quirky Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) to the thorn girl, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), throws them into a bleak, neon-bathed YA world, and give them a completely new storyline. While appearing campy and soapy for the whole season, the series has proven to be another guilty pleasure entry from the CW, which surprisingly works.
Set in a fictional town named Riverdale – hence the title – this series practically kicks off with the mysterious murder of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines), a brother to Cheryl and a lover to Betty’s sister. From there, Riverdale quickly escalates into a provincial-townie, coming-of-age murder whodunit, which is often overshadowed by toned-down Game of Thrones/The Sopranos-esque faux complexities. Stories have never been an aspect this series excels in, but they’re important to make those likable characters shine like cents. Continue reading A Season with: Riverdale (2017) – Season 1