Review: Undeniably, Silence is Martin Scorsese’s most personal and ambitious work to date. Adapting Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel of the same title about the voyage of two Jesuit priests in the 17th century Japan, in a misty era called ‘Kakure Kirishitan’ or ‘hidden Christian.’ It is a story about faith and questions that surround men of faith in a desperate time. Inarguably, it is poignant, visceral and though-provoking at the same time – just like faith itself.
Silence follows Father Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Garupe (Adam Driver), who voluntarily voyage from Portugal to Japan in order to locate the whereabouts of their missing mentor, Father Ferreira (Liam Neeson). Arriving in Japan, the priests immediately get plunged into the miserable life of Japanese Christians, who live and pray in silence and secrecy, for fear of being prosecuted and tortured by Shogunate Inquisitor, Inoue (Issei Ogata). Under such circumstances, the priests barely carry their initial mission out as they’re engulfed in rehabilitating the people’s deteriorating faith and survive the catastrophe themselves. Continue reading Silence (2016) – Review
Review: In Manchester by the Sea, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan crafts a subtle chef-d’oeuvre of tragedy, involving grief and only grief. And by mentioning ‘tragedy’, what I mean is the ancient form of drama – based on human suffering that appeals audiences’ pleasure; therefore, that doesn’t mean it is a tear-jerking melodrama, although it indeed is a bitter story. And, if Lonergan is the god of this story, this god must have laughed over the tragedy-by-tragedy that strikes its main protagonist and the surroundings.
Grief is what force-starts everything in Manchester by the Sea. There we meet our man, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck with devotion), a handyman in Boston and a divorcee. The conspiring nature calls Lee back to his home town, a Massachusetts coast town, Manchester-by-the-Sea, following the death of his brother (Kyle Chandler). Lee is called to tend his brother’s son, Patrick (Lucas Hedges), to mend his grief. Little did we know that the same town is where all Lee’s guilt and grief started; and, now, he must console his nephew from the pain Lee himself could not overcome. Continue reading Manchester by the Sea (2016) – Review
Review: When their mother died, two brothers – a divorcee Toby (Chris Pine) and an ex-con Tanner (Ben Foster) – get involved in a series of bank-robbing quests, specifically against Texas Midlands Bank – the bank which threats to foreclosure the family’s ranch. Toby, the younger one, is a more motivated mastermind; meanwhile, Tanner, the self-claimed Comanche, is a man with violent tendency. What the brothers bring in Hell or High Water is poetic justice.
To minimize risks, the brothers only rob small banks and small bills to get laundered; although Tanner’s explosive behavior always gets his brother frustrated. However, bank robberies have never been a small-time crime not to attract attention. Two Texas Rangers are assigned for the case – Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham) and Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), an almost retired powerhouse. If anyone should be in the brothers’ way, the dodgy ol’ man is the perfect show-stopper. Continue reading Hell or High Water (2016) – Review
Review: Damien Chazelle – the director of critically acclaimed Whiplash – crafts a sharp-witted, jazz-spirited romance in La La Land. It’s a love, no, passion letter to the beauty of music, of cinema, of L.A., and of dream.
La La Land, undoubtedly, is a bunch of happiness, blissful tunes and whoop-de-do wrapped in an ethereal rhapsody. It’s an exhilarating, feel-good musical that will take you to the stars and make you reluctant to touch the ground again, even if you’re not familiar with classic musical. Continue reading La La Land (2016) – Review
Review: In Arrival, 12 extraterrestrial saucers mysteriously appear and float above 12 different places around the Earth. Clueless of what they may encounter, humanity quickly falls into fears and turmoil. A linguistic professor, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is summoned into an alien site nearby to decipher the alien’s alleged language, to prevent mass hysteria that might lead to a war of the world.
David Villeneuve, director of acclaimed grim thrillers (from Incendies to Sicario), picks up where other ‘first-contact’ predecessors (i.e., The Day the Earth Stood Still or Independence Day) have established and neutralizes it, making it more ambiguous in terms of the hazard. Arrival is presented as a new non-patronizing and non-preachy cerebral sci-fi detailing an mind-bending approach to allegedly alien invasion. Continue reading Arrival (2016) – Review
Review: The “Makoto Shinkai is the new Hayao Miyazaki” buzz embarks again when his latest feature, Kimi no na wa, or as known as Your Name storms Japanese box office recently. Shinkai (5 Centimeters per Second, Children who Chase Lost Voices, The Garden of Words) is always known for his penchant in crafting picturesque, hyperrealistic 2D animation with heart-wrenching story and viable imagination, which transcends in his natural approach.
Shinkai’s works often radiate idyll from the inside, simultaneously emanate visceral, candid narrative. Kimi no na wa / Your Name is no different; only you might bet that it comes from Shinkai’s wildest dream, rather than from his sober contemplation. It might initially look like a usual gender-swapping drama, but as it goes, it unravels more: from time-travel to disaster-drama and quest for love. Continue reading Your Name / 君の名は。/ Kimi no na wa (2016) – Review