Review: Dear Nathan is a clear-cut boy-meet-a-girl story. A bon-chic-bon-genre girl, Salma (Amanda Rawles) unexpectedly meets a violent, rich yet troubled greaser, Nathan (Jefri Nichol), after both come late for school with opposite reasons. Salma’s simple act of compassion, to which Nathan returns with a completely different act of valor, leads these two youngsters into the offspring of coming-of-age romance fraught with cute moments and teen angst at once.
People are aware that coming-of-age romance is prone to uninviting clichés and hormone-induced exaggeration. With all those traits, there’s this thought that this genre is designed solely to its target audiences – adolescences, mostly adolescent girls; and, audiences outside that circle (adolescent boys and grown-ups) will find it tedious and delusional. On the surface, Dear Nathan – adapted from a sensation-laden Wattpad phenomenon – is exactly ‘that kind of coming-of-age romance.’ It’s cliché-ridden, saccharine-laced and unfocused; but it’s grounded to reality and, more importantly, accurate. Continue reading Dear Nathan (2017): A grey-and-white meet-cute
Review: “Kita adalah sepasang kekasih yang pertama bercinta di luar angkasa. Seperti takkan pernah pulang, kau membias di udara dan terhempaskan cahaya…”
That piece of beautiful metaphor-ridden lyrics from Indonesian indie hero, Melancholic Bitch, heaves as my mind attempts to internalize the whole sense in Morten Tyldum’s Passengers. Roughly, those lyrics tells a story of the first couple of lovers, who make love in space despite the tragic life they’re living in. Sounds familiar It’s Passengers’ plot in brief.
Passengers is a journey, an unexpected journey set in Avalon, a starship transporting 5000 cryo-sleeping passengers to Homestead II, a new human colony, 120 years away from Earth. Unfortunately, a malfunctioned pod accidentally wakes a passenger, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), 90 years before the arrival. The closest help is 30 years away behind him; the fastest assistance he can have needs 55 years to reach him. Out of isolation, Jim befriends a bartender android, Arthur (Michael Sheen), and does whatever he can do with the facilities, e.g., playing basketball, watching films, playing augmented reality game, or space-walking. Bottom line: he is isolated from “living” human. Continue reading Passengers (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
Review: Love is magic… in the world where going to New York from Jakarta is as easy as jumping blocks. It’s the world where Terjebak Nostalgia, a film inspired by Raisa’s song, takes place. This Nicholas Sparks-esque love triangle drama is saccharine-laced, and it’s stick to the title at its entirety.
Terjebak Nostalgia revolves around the life of a rising singer, Raisa (Raisa Andriana), in one of the most bizzare time in her life. She’s in love with her long-time lover, Sora (Maruli Tampubolon), a musician who shares mutual dream with Raisa. In achieving that dream, Sora leaves to New York with a sacred promise to return. Across the ocean, Sora keeps sending perfume-sprayed letters to Raisa, who waits impatiently in Jakarta.
The unexpected happens. Sora never returns to Jakarta; never holds on to his word; never makes the dream coming true. Continue reading Terjebak Nostalgia (2016) – Review
Review: Robert Zemeckis’ new espionage romance drama, Allied, somehow soars before it even flies. Overshadowed in the heat of 2016’s most controversial celebrity divorce news between Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Allied gets all the attention with accusation that leading actress, Marion Cotillard, is Pitt’s mistress. Given the resemblances of Mr. & Mrs. Smith issue in background, coverage to Pitt-Cotillard involvement and talks about Allied is up on the sky… but not until it finally flies.
When it flies, it ejects a seemingly younger and more Quebecois Brad Pitt as Max Vatan parachuted to midst of desert. He soon joins in a lethal behind-enemy-line mission with a French femme-fatale agent, Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) in the barren land of exotic French-occupied Casablanca, Morocco. Posing as a husband and wife, the feat spends too much and too intense time in this assasination mission that something more profound embarks from within them. Continue reading Allied (2016) – Review
Review: Since the acclaimed Annie Hall, writer/director/playwright/stand-up comedian, Woody Allen hasn’t stopped crafting films annually. His latest tenure, Café Society—his 47th film or 39th after his Best Director winning—is a star-studded, light romance set in the 1930s Hollywood, which bears his trademark comic elements and dialogue-heavy narrative.
Café Society bears Allen’s formulaic love story which emanates more than affection but also satire—in this case, to Hollywood as an industry and to the nature of romance itself. While the clever goofiness in Allen’s script is unarguably impressive and his attention to details in direction is astounding, it’s inevitable that, as the story goes, this Allen-esque formula fatigue embarks. Continue reading Café Society (2016) – Review