Review: Taiwanese documentary filmmaker, Mu-Ming Tsai (Hanzi, Design & Thinking, Maker), spawns his first feature film, Paradoxical—a romance drama which goes hand in hand with a modest time travel chronicle. The result is an essay of love & time presented in a low-key, dialogue-driven cinema.
The film chronicles the blossoming relationship between an aspiring terrarium artist, Shi Jing (Helena Hsu, credited as Nai Han Hsu), with a cute geek, You Kong (Kenny Yen), whose job is related to a new time-travel technology called Time-lag. You Kong gets involved in a secret mission using Time-lag with a prodigy, Yuan Hai (Yuchen Ho); while Shi Jing begins to experience existential crisis as an artist. As their relationship grows, a thread of unrelated incidents around their lives starts to unravel a complicated connection between their past and their future. Continue reading “Paradoxical / 時光 (2017) – BALINALE Review”
Review: Love is a many-splendored thing again in The Big Sick, a highly relatable rom-com about multi-cultural relationship inspired by real-life story of its writers—Pakistani-American comedian, Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), and his wife, Emily V. Gordon.
This Judd Apatow-produced delight package grounds closely to reality and is utterly apprehensible in presenting a witty, sweet story. Some of the aspects are more digestible (also debatable) for people of Eastern culture than those of Western; but it’s never alienating. After all, this is a warm and honest cross-culture romance that attempts to bridge the differences. In short, it’s the kind of old loving-you-loving-your-family love story, which works in the heart of ‘modernity.’
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Review: A: Aku, Benci & Cinta—an adaptation of Wulanfadi’s best-selling novel of the same title, attempts to match up high school romance with circumstantial comedy and many layers of conflict at one. To carry the plan, Rizki Balki’s film features Indonesia’s most prominent teenage actors ranging from Jefri Nichol, Amanda Rawles to Indah Permatasari.
In the core of A, Anggia (Permatasari), a boyish girl and school’s second most popular guy, is in deep feud with Alvaro (Nichol), school’s most notorious popular guy, who keeps annoying her with any possible mean. The more Anggia resents Alvaro, the more they become close to each other by one chance or two. As predictable as it might be, there’s actually some spark of affection between them, but it takes some time before that feeling blooms. Continue reading “A: Aku, Benci & Cinta (2017): Far from straight A”
Review: In Mars Met Venus: Part Cowo, a boy and a girl in a relationship is analogized as water and oil that naturally cannot mix. However, both can somehow blend into perfection if mixed with noodle, spices, broth, vegetables, and minced chicken meat and made into chicken noodle soup. Good news is that blend is delicious. That kind of parable—that kind of absurd, wacky jive—is what distances Part Cowo from Part Cewe.
Nataya Bagya’s script still over-heightens stereotypes about gender roles in relationship. Yet, Part Cowo is presented in a more devil-may-care and more independent fashion, provoking an unpredictable sentimental moments. While Part Cewe feels a little restricted in portraying its gleeful, saccharine-heavy endeavor, Part Cowo breaks the romance boundary and, as the chicken noodle soup, calls out more elements in adorning Kelvin and Mila’s (Ge Pamungkas and Pamela Bowie) relationship. Continue reading “Mars Met Venus: Part Cowo (2017): A chicken noodle parable at best”
Review: In Mars Met Venus (divided into two interrelated parts: Part Cewe, the girl’s version, and Part Cowo, the boy’s version), gender differences are heightened in a relationship between completely-opposed couple. Part Cewe encompasses the girl’s point of view in the saccharine-laced rapport, adorning it with gender judgment, principle and trifles.
Pamela Bowie is Mila—the Venus, the girlfriend in the story. She’s a girl of charm and popularity, who dates an unpopular guy, Kelvin (Ge Pamungkas). Mila is open, passionate, talkative, and more controlling in the relationship; meanwhile, Kelvin is more submissive and restricted. After five year in a relationship, the boy invites the girl to make a vlog about their love journey, with a hidden intention to propose her. Yet, conflicts start to embark during the vlog production. Never-been-seen-before details begin to unravel, jeopardizing love they’ve built for the last five years. Continue reading “Mars Met Venus: Part Cewe (2017): Are women from real Venus?”
Review: Adapted from Achi MT’s novel of the same title, Benni Setiawan’s Insya Allah Sah! materializes as a religious rom-com, which almost immediately reminds me to Deddy Mizwar’s Kiamat Sudah Dekat (2003). Blending chaotic marriage preparation drama with some religious niches (too difficult to be taken seriously), the final picture comes like hit-and-miss at worst and preachy at best.
In Insya Allah Sah!, a woman named Silvi (Titi Kamal) was trapped in an elevator with a whimsical, hideous-yet-pious band manager, Raka (Pandji Pragiwaksono) on the day she’s supposed to be proposed by her longtime boyfriend, Dion (Richard Kyle). Under the fear of dying of suffocation, both make a pledge to God for their lives. Silvi swears to be more religious and act more compassionate deeds; while Raka to assist people around him. Continue reading “Insya Allah Sah! (2017): Insha Allah preachy”