Review: It’s year 2049—30 years following the events in the original Blade Runner (1982). A new story embarks as a next-gen ‘Replicant’, now working as a ‘Blade Runner’, retires an older ‘Replicant’ model and unravels a decade-long mystery in the process.
Blade Runner 2049 comes as a genre-bending late follow-up, which appears as a slow-burning detective story to reveal answers to both philosophical and ‘physical’ mystery presented in the premise. Denis Villeneuve’s cyberpunk sequel deliberately yet subtly mirrors Ridley Scott’s original in terms of plot and general elements, but confidently delves into a new territory at the same time. All of those are wrapped exquisitely in one of the most stunning 164 minutes in the history of life.
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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: Gerbang Neraka a.k.a. Firegate (literally ‘Hell Gate’) combines an urban legend about Gunung Padang in West Java with sci-fi bravura and horror apparition into making a rare genre-bending Indonesian film. The film focuses on an excavation process of the allegedly oldest pyramid structure in the world (said to be older than Giza in Egypt and Mayan in Mexico), which lies underneath a mountain. Like in other ‘pyramid films’, the excavation was plagued from beginning to end, with body counts start to rise from day to day.
There came the film’s trinity: a young archeologist who believes in no supernatural power, Arni (Julie Estelle), a struggling heresy-laden tabloid reporter, Tomo (Reza Rahadian), and a celebrity ‘demon hunter’ Guntur Samudera (Dwi Sasono). Intertwined by their own ambition in regards to Gunung Padang pyramid, those three protagonists began to intersect each other’s life and unravel a hideous secret about the mega-structure. Continue reading Gerbang Neraka (2017): Genre-defying mess
Review: After nearly two decades, Luc Besson finally materializes Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a space adventure adapted from his childhood favorite comic ‘Valérian and Laureline’—which he’s been craving to make ever since The Fifth Element (1997).
With visual endeavors the size of Cameron’s Avatar and vibrant universe to rival Star Wars (if not Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending) also with largest budget in French cinema history, it is exactly the size of Besson’s ambition on full creative control mode. The result is an elegant (borderline to over-the-top) space odyssey if not a style-over-substance one by any measure. What Valerian doesn’t have is a compelling script to cover the whole duration.
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Review: In establishing his own ‘Sony’ world, the all-new Spidey (Tom Holland) has to swing across Marvel Cinematic Universe, find a more established mentor in Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) and make an experimental entrance in Sokovian Accords feud—which made it into Spider-Man: Homecoming as Peter Parker’s vlog. Head-started with the Civil War (2016) stunt, director Jon Watts (Cop Car, Clown) along with five other writers deconstruct the web-slinging hero’s origin story, infuse it with coming-of-age gusto and redefine the old formula to make this third cinematic incarnation of Spider-Man a frivolously clumsy one.
As you’ve seen in his Captain America’s hijack, Holland’s Spidey is no more than a high school chap—barely 15 and a member of school’s decathlon team. Homecoming highlights his return to school after that ‘Stark internship’ in Berlin, where his mundane geeking/being bullied/being unpopular life has waited. Tenure with Tony Stark has given him high hopes of big action and great vigilante stunts; but a month has passed and he’s only becoming ‘the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, as an extracurricular activity. Continue reading Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Review
Review: Michael Bay’s criticproof franchise returns with another Bayhem galore—a non-stop clink-clicketty-clank-bang-boom juggernaut slugfest—in what’s dubbed as Bay’s final Transformers film, The Last Knight. The final result though—after decade with five installments so far—offers no new insight to the storyline but bunch of same day, different spectacles.
Starting off as an expanded myth of Camelot, where ancient transformers assisted King Arthur and his knights of round fighting Saxons, The Last Knight immediately leaps sixteen centuries ahead. While Optimus Prime has left the earth in search of his home-planet, Cybertron, other transformers keep coming to earth and are declared as threat; therefore, a counter-transformer task force called T.R.F is deployed to exterminate them. That’s when Cade Yeager from Age of Extinction encounters a versatile kid, Izabella (Isabella Moner) and ‘get chosen’ to partake in an ancient myth. Continue reading Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – Review