Slay The Dragon – Review
Movie Review

Slay The Dragon – Review

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Audiences outside the United States may ask whether or not we can enjoy Slay the Dragon, which even compared to some other political-themed documentaries, has a much more foreign subject. Knock Down the House (2019), for example, which, although filled with election trivia, tends to prioritize women’s empowerment. Meanwhile, the film by Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance, although carrying a universal theme related to democracy, specifically explores the practice of gerrymandering.

Since the opening of the film, Gary Lionelli’s music has immediately invaded the audience’s ears with an orchestra like from a suspense film, which seems to emphasize the high urgency of the issue. But then again, can audiences outside America understand the urgency? Because, let alone the definition of gerrymandering, not necessarily have an understanding of the electoral system and its political atmosphere. Even the film itself shows that there are still many local people who don’t understand this. Top Movie Site

This is where the quality of the film’s storytelling is tested. Like a teacher who is not only smart for himself, but is good at sharing his knowledge with others, Slay the Dragon is able to explain gerrymandering in a concise and clear manner, thanks to the resource person who is good at composing sentences plus effective visualization. It is not just about “what”, the reason for the practice is cheating which injures democracy is well conveyed.

You can see the full explanation directly from the film, but in short, gerrymandering is the practice of dividing electoral boundaries with the aim of seeking profit for certain political parties, which occurs every 10 years, when each state in the United States carries out redistricting. Through gerrymandering, the parties in power can ensure that in the next election, victory is still theirs.

The term “gerrymandering” was used after in 1812, the governor of Massachusetts, established a new map shaped like a salamander. After Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 election, the practice went crazy, after the Republicans who were cornered, started the REDMAP project. The division of electoral districts is increasingly absurd. Some are shaped like a dragon (the origin of the film’s title), until one of the strangest, Goofy kicks Donald Duck. Apparently that was only the beginning.

Apart from gerrymandering, the Republic has implemented other methods to minimize the chances of Democrats, including issuing regulations requiring voters to have Voter Id. The result was Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. As many as 45,000 people in Wisconsin were not allowed to vote, giving Trump victory in the state, where he has 22,000 votes. Best Movie

There are still many other facts provided by Slay the Dragon, making it an informative documentary, which will amaze ordinary audiences, especially those from outside the United States. We know that politics, including elections, is full of dirty intrigue, but bringing the audience to know how far and how systematically these intrigues are the hallmarks of Slay the Dragon. Although it must be admitted, it is likely that not all of them will be accommodated considering that so much data is present in a short time, plus cultural barriers (read: political culture) that limit the processing of information.

Besides being informative, Slay the Dragon also wants to be an inspirational documentary by describing the struggles of Katie Fahey, an activist from Michigan who is passionate about running a grassroots campaign to end gerrymandering, together with the Voters Not Politicians (VNP) organization she founded. The hope is that VNP’s journey from a small ripple that is doubtful will be able to collect 350,000 signatures on the petition into a national scale action that shakes the corrupt system, can move the hearts of the audience through the message “People’s voice will win”.

But there is one important point that the film forgets. It was stated that VNP had succeeded in reversing observers’ predictions, where the majority doubted their capacity. The question is: How? When many people don’t even know the meaning of gerrymandering, how has that success been achieved? Slay the Dragon forces the audience to accept the “miracle” as an inspirational achievement, at a time when it is not a miracle. There are many details that require understanding. But as a knowledge enhancer, this film is definitely worth watching. Movie Review

La LLorona – Review
Movie Review

La LLorona – Review

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Although both based on the folklore La Llorona, this Guatemalan film has nothing to do with The Curse of La Llorona (2019) which is part of the series The Conjuring. In the hands of director Jayro Bustamante, who also co-wrote the script with Lisandro Sanchez, the subtext on “women’s retaliation for men’s crimes” was strengthened, then implemented to the plight of the Guatemalan people who lived under the tyranny of a heinous dictator.

The opening moment immediately left an impression, even before the first image appeared, when a woman whispered a prayer. The owner of the voice is named Carmen (Margarita Kenéfic), who sits in a circle with a group of women. What are they praying for? Apparently, Carmen’s husband, Enrique (Julio Diaz), who his subordinates call “General”, is awaiting trial, to determine whether it is true that he committed genocide against the Maya. Top Movie Site

The General and his troops were accused of murdering and raping the Maya, as justification for the eradication of communism. Watch Enrique’s face. His white hair, thick mustache. Then look for the picture of Efraín Ríos Montt. Similar? Of course, because Bustamante and Sanchez really wanted to make La Llorona a reflection of reality as well as revenge for the nation’s wounds. More specifically, a woman’s wound.

The court found Enrique guilty, but the decision was overturned due to lack of evidence. As a result, dozens (or hundreds?) Of residents demonstrated in front of Enrique’s house, leaving the occupants of the house, including the General’s daughter and grandson, Natalia (Sabrina De La Hoz) and Sara (Ayla-Elea Hurtado), locked up for days. Occasionally the audience is invited to take a peek at the conditions outside the gate, but we hear more of the demonstrators’ non-stop screams, while the activities in the house are going on, as the rulers shut their ears to the people’s cries. Best Movie

Maybe in the eyes of many people, La Llorona is not horror, and Bustamante does not apply the mainstream pattern. No jump scares, no occult interruptions, at least not overtly and not in the first hour. La Llorona tends to put fear first. The fear of a dictator who was in power likes to spread fear. Even before the trial, Enrique is overpowered by fear. At midnight, he admits that he heard the cries of women, so he believes there are spies in the house. Whether the cry is indeed supernatural terror or just in Enrique’s head doesn’t matter. The point is, how after being stripped of power, the dictator is nothing more than a weak and pitiful old man.

Even though he doesn’t spit out terror openly, Bustamante ensures that the tense nuance is maintained. When assisted by the thick creepy images directed by Nicolás Wong, he creates an atmosphere full of anxiety and fear, as a representation of Enrique’s family’s heart. Then comes Alma (María Mercedes Coroy), a young girl who comes to replace the servants who in congregation decide to leave. Of course it is not difficult to guess Alma’s true identity, because along with his presence, terror becomes even more real. Following that is the process of uncovering the details of the truth through the carefulness of the script to spread clues, from Alma’s frequent “training” of Sara’s ability to hold her breath in water, to a series of nightmares that her character experiences every night. Do not miss the hint of the dark secret of the Enrique family.

Once on the third act, the payoff intensity offered was not too strong nor was the quantity too short, but it did not diminish the power of La Llorona’s storytelling, especially about empowerment. The film again emphasizes that in acts of harassment, sin does not only belong to the perpetrator, but also to those who choose to ignore it. Movie Review

Scoob – Review
Movie Review

Scoob – Review

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Did you know that Scoob! is the first big screen animation to adapt the Scooby-Doo? Previously there were 33 animated films that have been made, including the crossover between Scooby and Batman (Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and WWE (Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery and Scooby-Doo! And WWE: Curse of the Speed ​​Demon), but all of them are in direct-to-video status.

Naturally, the story begins with the first meeting of Shaggy (Will Forte) and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker, the only voice actor for the original Scooby-Doo animated series, Where Are You! Who returns), when the two of them were still kids. The answer to the question “Which came first? Scooby-Doo or Scooby Snacks? ” was also given. Animated series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! has also touched on the issue, even though the answers given are different. Best Movie

After one emotional moment — which should have gotten a payoff if the conclusions weren’t simplified — a minute after the next that will make fans feel nostalgic through the appearance of various features of the series. Sound effects, signature humor that involves disguising acts to outwit the “ghosts”, the words “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids” that criminals utter after being arrested, to the best of them, are them. re-intro with its iconic theme song.

Scoob‘s early half! managed to restore childhood memories, as well as sparking enthusiasm waiting for what kind of mystery Mystery Inc. will investigate. this time. It is said, Fred (Zac Efron), Daphne (Amanda Seyfried), and Velma (Gina Rodriguez), felt that it was time for Mystery Inc. growing, by investigating bigger cases for more money. Simon Cowell (played by Simon himself) is ready to become an investor, with one condition: Shaggy and Scooby not involved. Through his trademark scathing comments, Simon felt that both of them were useless for the team. Top Movie Site

Heartbroken, Shaggy and Scooby, who were exasperating while playing bowling, were attacked by a group of small robots belonging to Dick Dastardly (Jason Isaacs), who for some reason tried to kidnap Scooby. Luckily, they are rescued by the superhero idol Shaggy as a child, Blue Falcon (Mark Wahlberg), along with his robot dog, Dynomutt (Ken Jeong), and Dee Dee Skyes (Kiersey Clemons) as the pilot of his pride, Falcon Fury.

Fans must be aware that these characters, even though they belong to Hanna-Barbera properties, are not from the Scooby-Doo series. The reason is predictable. Scoob! it was intended as an opening to the Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe. In fact, the Avengers-style crossover is an interesting prospect, given the uniqueness of each character. Unfortunately, similar to other cinematic universes, the effort to build a future destroys the present.

Scoob! swerved into a large-scale superhero film. Apart from the cinematic universe, bringing an animated series with a duration of 20-30 minutes containing light mystery investigations interspersed with chases and naming “ghosts”, to a 94-minute long film medium does need modification. But that does not mean being a superhero film full of bombastic action, with only a bit of the process of solving a mystery, which even seems to be summarized forcefully through a convoluted line of verbal exposition.

Even later, fantasy elements are included, bringing Scooby and friends to fight real monsters instead of humans in the guise of ghosts. Doesn’t that go against the essence of the series? Even more ironic, considering the birth of Scooby Doo, Where Are You! based on Hanna-Barbera’s intention to create non-violent cartoons to satisfy a group of parents, who were protesting against the superhero-themed spectacle wave in the mid-1960s.

Betray the foundation? Maybe, but minimal, Scoob! not tilled carelessly. The visuals feast on the eyes through sharp high contrast visuals, which also wrap up a climax that appears exciting thanks to director Tony Cervone’s dynamic direction. If only his efforts to “build the future” had been more careful. Movie Review

Ordinary Love – Review
Movie Review

Ordinary Love – Review

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Tom (Liam Neeson) and Joan (Lesley Manville) have been married for many years. Their daily life? Debate (in a playful way) around nontrivial matters. For example about a juice maker that they don’t have. It is even more romantic than other expressions of love which at first glance are more passionate, such as love poetry. The two of them are already in a phase where love does not need to be expressed every day, as a result of long-term togetherness. But that doesn’t mean that love is gone. On the contrary.

Tom always had a stock of humor to answer what Joan said, as if he was never serious. “Can you just act normal once?” Asked Joan. But we know, Tom’s “abnormality” is the reason his wife felt at home for so long, even after a tragedy that tested their strength. Until the next test comes. Joan was diagnosed with breast cancer. How big will the challenges be in the future? What if the worst case scenario approaches? Worries took over their minds. Top Movie Site

It is true that the story centers on the cancer that the protagonist suffers from, but viewers who expect the usual tearjerker are likely to be disappointed to find the film too “cold”. Of course, in recent years the intensity of conflict has increased, but overall, this is not a porn disease that relies on hyperbole emotions. Written by Owen McCafferty who has had experience in producing theater scripts, it is not surprising that Ordinary Love became a “chatty” film. Maybe this is the result if there is a Before Midnight character who gets cancer.

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Tom and Joan spoke softly, even whispering occasionally. The camera never takes too far from the two of them, only moves when needed, even then at a slow tempo, as if the director duo Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn want to put the audience in the intimate space of the two protagonists. Meanwhile, the music by David Holmes (Ocean’s Eleven, Hunger, Logan Lucky) brings out familiar notes through melancholy piano accompaniment, occasionally added with dreamy synth nuances.

As already mentioned, Tom and Joan tend to talk about trivial matters with a lot of jokes. Even after the chemo process started, Tom’s chirps still made Joan (and the audience) laugh. Everything seems ….. ordinary. At first glance there is nothing extraordinary, but that does not mean it is not special. Because love, even in its most ordinary form, is already extraordinary.

Even though its approach is to stay away from the clichédness of porn disease, Ordinary Love seems to be stuck with templates. In the middle of treatment, Joan meets Peter (David Wilmot), her daughter’s former teacher, who is suffering from terminal cancer. Meanwhile, Tom (only in one sequence), shared his feelings with Peter’s partner, Steve (Amit Shah). The meeting of two individuals with the same fate which ends up strengthening each other is a familiar element in a disease-themed film. Ordinary Love does not make a difference, even as if it only includes it for the sake of fulfilling obligations, without having a significant impact, either in the form of emotions or understanding more about dealing with cancer.

Neeson performed well, reminding that even though he was later better known as a champion of action, he had first made his name as an actor full of sensitivity. This time, his deep voice was not used to intimidate criminals, but to calm his wife’s heart through expressions of affection. Meanwhile, from Manville, we can feel that a pile of things is raging in Joan’s heart, even though it is not visible from the outside. And when — like the opening scene —Ordinary Love closes the story at Christmas to create a full circle, we know that it’s not only the setting of the time that is “immutable,” their love is too. Movie Review

Double World – Review
Movie Review

Double World – Review

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I haven’t had a chance to check the promotional materials and the reviews, I think, Double World – as an adaptation of the MMORPG game of the same name – is a war movie set in the past of the ordinary Chinese empire. Until the opening sequence of the action displays gore, monsters, also set designs that look a bit more modern. Interesting! The attraction that unfortunately slowly fades as execution fails to fulfill its potential.

The story takes the setting of a fictional country named South Zhao, which has long been arguing with North Yu. After an assassination attempt on the South King Zhao by North Yu spies, Grand Tutor Guan (Hu Ming) plans to hold a martial arts tournament to gather the greatest fighters from around the country. The purpose? Preparing South Zhao to face war. But Guan secretly has other intentions. Top Movie Site

Each clan in South Zhao was ordered to send three representatives. Our protagonist, Dong Yilong (Henry Lau), who is notorious for causing trouble and being called “rogue” by the citizens, surprisingly expressed his desire to participate. Yilong hopes to find out his origin (the mother died after giving birth, the father is unknown). Even though Yilong often provokes noise, he is a good kid. More precisely naive. Later in the tournament, he refused to kill opponents, even willing to help The Beast King, a wild giant snake whose head continued to drain blood due to a war helmet that was forced to be forced by South Zhao’s soldiers, to make it look even more terrifying in the middle of the battlefield.

Joining Yilong is Chu Hun (Peter Ho), a deserter who holds a desire for revenge on Guan, also a girl named Jingang (Lin Chenhan), who has high self-defense skills despite being a teenager. Double World promises a deadly tournament that is followed by dozens of heroes. The tournament itself, which is divided into three rounds, only starts after 40 minutes. In the first round, each team member is tied to each other, then speeding along on the chain, while avoiding large stones. Fall means death, because below, iron spikes await.

The set piece is interesting, but it is not the equivalent redemption for waiting for 40 minutes because it rolls too short, also wrapped in mediocre choreography. Similar complaints are appropriate for the next rounds. While so plunging into battle, the heroes who seemed to have diverse abilities were only present to die. The pause between the actions was quite long, bridged by a half-cooked story from the manuscript written by Fendou Liu and Ning Wen. The revenge subplot is lacking in emotion due to the narrow characterization, while the construction of its world mythology, which includes elements of fantasy, the concept of “double world”, as well as secrets related to Dong Yilong’s identity, are they limited to mere patches? Saved for a sequel maybe?

There was also another revenge subplot, this time involving slaves from North Yu (Luxia Jiang) who were eager to kill Chu Hun. What is the essence of this story? A tool to make Chu Hun aware so that he doesn’t live filled with grudges? Not really, because finally the deserter continued to complete the mission. The slave (I forgot his name) had disappeared, before suddenly appearing at the climax, before then killed. Try to answer my question: Can you find the endless female characters who die or have a tragic fate in this film? .Best Movie

At least the acting department is quite helpful. Henry is more mature as an actor through his solid appearance as a naive young man who is forced to stare at the cruelty of the world. Lin Chenhan was no less slick. Thanks to that, Double World feels more playful. While other casts just carry out their work, as well as the director, Teddy Chan.

Teddy was so dependent on CGI, the majority of which functioned to revive the element of fantasy, which although (slightly) added color through monsters such as giant scorpions, giant snakes, etc., appeared to be less than optimal due to inconsistencies in CGI quality. When momentarily switching from computer effects, the standard action of the hit is also far from impressive. Some gore which increased the level of brutality of the battle were in fact unable to help, because once again, Teddy was just doing work. It’s hard to believe that this film is handled by filmmakers behind Bodyguards and Assassins (2009) and Kung Fu Jungle (2014). Movie Review

Shirley – Review
Movie Review

Shirley – Review

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Coming from director Josephine Decker who gave birth to a unique narrative drama through Madeline’s Madeline (2018), Shirley is a biographical film that avoids the clarity of biographical films. Because although the character is a real-world figure, and filled with several facts, this film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Susan Scarf Merrell, which although based on the life story of novelist Shirley Jackson, her speech is herded into the realm of fiction.

The film opens through an introduction to a new married couple, Fred (Logan Lerman) and Rose (Odessa Young), who want to stay temporarily in the home of Shirley Jackson (Elisabeth Moss) and her husband, Stanley Edgar Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg). Fred is trying to reach his dream of becoming a lecturer under Stanley’s guidance. At first everything seemed fine, when Fred and Rose received a warm welcome. Until they met Shirley. Top Movie Site

Shirley is not a friendly figure. He spends more time in the room in a drunken condition, does not yet have ideas for the latest work, and when someone asks, “What’s your latest book?”, He answers, “A little novella called NONE OF YOUR GODDAMN BUSINESS”. Afterwards, we know that Stanley, behind his intellectual status and smile, is a cheating man who always tries to establish his power over his wife.

When Shirley said she wanted to write a novel instead of novella, Stanley responded, “You’re not ready”. Even every Shirley’s work must pass its review. Stanley’s figure represents the superiority of “intellectual husband” over multiple wives that occurred in the 1950s (even today) as the setting of the film. Superiority is instilled through mind manipulation, in which men, through their controls try to assert that women are no smarter, so they must pass their agreement if they want to do anything.

Rose finally became a victim of injustice. Stanley asked him to stop going to college to do homework, which Shirley could not do. Despite objections, as a form of support for Fred’s ambitions, he finally complied. From there Rose began to interact a lot with Shirley at home, especially after the novelist created a character based on her.

In addition to the figure of Rose as the character foundation, Shirley’s latest novel (titled Hangsaman, published in 1951) was also inspired by the case of the disappearance of a student named Paula. Shirley is antisocial, so she needs help Rose is gathering data about the Paula case, whether from the files on campus, or the testimony of residents. The activity brought Rose to hear Shirley’s erkait gossip. Some call it crazy. Some believe he wrote a story about cannibals. The problem is, all the information is always spiced “Said”. The script by Sarah Gubbins tucked in irony, how the public away from Shirley based on rumors believed to be reality, while the novelist, who was considered very bad, actually bothered to look for facts “only” to give birth to fiction. Best Movie

Decker and Gubbins worked on Shirley like respect, packing it in the style of the novelist. Despite being a quasi-biographical drama, Shirley is thick with horror thanks to Tamar-kali eerie music (Mudbound, The Assistant), as well as atmospheric visuals including some nightmarish sequences, which occasionally include blood and a little jump scare. The nuance that not only reflects the specificity of Shirley’s work, but also her psychic. Moss revives Shirley’s anxious figure, as if it might explode at any time. On the other hand, Young carries Rose to oscillate at the boundary of innocence and awareness of reality.

Directing Decker also shines when dealing with romanticism, which naturally moves to sensuality. One of the most memorable scenes was when Rose approached Shirley who was sitting in a swinging chair. The camera focuses on the lower part of their bodies which slowly approaches. Decker builds intense sensuality without exploiting cheap sexuality, proving that female gazes tend to be more elegant in covering this kind of situation.

Having the character of a novel writer, it became natural when Shirley did not escape discussing the creation of the work. Exposure to creativity in the process of writing that is tiring of the brain and heart, so the peak of dynamics. So when the story stopped for a moment to explore the issue, plus an impromptu time jump of about a year, Shirley had lost the grip and the distinguishing element of most drama. Until we reach the final round. Beginning with Rose’s awareness of the secret Shirley knew (and the viewers were suspicious), we were led to a tense scene set in a cliff. Then a conclusion that would spark discussion and confusion followed.

(SPOILER STARTS) There are a number of points that the film might want to convey through its ambiguity conclusions: 1) How the writer projects his imagination into reality; 2) The process of a writer thinking about ending options, which requires him to choose between an ideal picture of hope or dark reality; 3) The individual process metaphor “kills” its old self before transforming into a new person. But what seems to me more ambiguous is the closing scene. After spending the entire duration presenting empowering stories, why is Shirley happy to hear the confession of her husband who calls her a genius? Is it an inconsistency? Or is it precisely the bitter exposure of reality? That finally, no matter how independent women want, the world still forces them to accept injustice. Unlike the twist on Rose, the ambiguity of this point actually reduces the firmness of the message. (SPOILER ENDS).Movie Review

The Whistlers – Review
Movie Review

The Whistlers – Review

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Through The Whistlers, who earlier this year represented Romania at the Academy Awards, director-scriptwriter Corneliu Porumboiu clashed traditionally with modern, classical and contemporary, in a black thriller-comedy, who also acted as a love letter to elements from the era then, including the film media itself.

So it’s not mere trinkets when the climax of the shooting takes place in an abandoned movie set, references appear to classic titles such as The Searchers (1956) and Pyscho (1960), or when Catrinel Marlon plays a femme fatale character named Gilda like a character the legendary played by Rita Hayworth in the film Noir Gilda (1946). Top Movie Site

But the most substantial “past product” in this film is Silbo Gomero, a whistling language originally used by the Guanche, a native of the Canary Islands, Spain. It is said, Romanian police named Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) came to La Gomera (one of the islands in Canaria) to learn the language, to free Zsolt (Sabin Tambrea), a businessman who was arrested in Bucharest for money laundering.

Whistling is used so that the communication process cannot be detected by the police. Now is the time when every movement can be monitored using a camera and all conversations can be tapped. Rather than preparing a technology that has the power to defeat the police as it often appears in a row of Hollywood blockbusters, The Whistlers chose a more “oldskul” method. A unique perspective from Porumboiu’s manuscript, which is often presented tickling through deadpan comedy packaging (the best example when Cristi practiced). Best Movie

Arriving at La Gomera, Cristi was welcomed by Gilda. “Forget what happened in Bucharest. That was just for the surveillance cameras “, said the woman. What does it mean? Why should a police officer even bother to learn to whistle to release a criminal? Be prepared to ask questions, because The Whistlers are spoken through non-linear channels, which first present the impact of an event, then explain their background through flashback. There are practices of bribery, double-crossing, fraud, etc., which are quite complex. Add non-linear flow force, so that everything becomes more difficult to digest. But it is not impossible, because all pieces of answers are shown, both in the form of verbal speech and visual language that is more subtle. It’s just that the distribution is random, and the audience is required to compile them independently.

Is complicated speaking style necessary? Actually not, considering even without that, the main points of the story, namely about corruption among the authorities, can still be presented. It must be admitted that this is an embodiment of “style over substance”, but for the audience who are fond of compiling puzzles, despite the initial adjustment process, The Whistlers give satisfaction in each success in solving puzzles and understanding the points of the story.

Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu moved from the long take and slow tempo that defines the realism of the New Wave Romanian, replaced by a playful approach that is more powerful, also more funny thanks to the black comedy in a deadpan style. Porumboiu closed the film with a beautiful sequence set in the night with the twinkling lights of Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Is it really a happy ending, or is it a dream that gives his character a reason to move on? Anywhere is not a problem, even if it is not real. Because the essence of cinema itself is not much different, namely the media perpetuate dreams and imagination. Movie Review

Murder Death Koreatown – Review
Movie Review

Murder Death Koreatown – Review

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Murder Death Koreatown is found footage without credit. There is no other director, writer, cast, or crew name. That said, the film was arranged based on a collection of videos recorded by a man. The man disappeared. And at the end of the duration, whoever “discovered” the footage, edited it into this film, and refused to be revealed. OK. I understand the filmmaker wants to strengthen the impression of realism. But we are in 2020. It has been 21 years since The Blair Witch Project rocked through a similar gimmick. This phenomenal horror has two sequels, none of which adopt a similar approach, because the people behind it realize that the tactic won’t work a second time.

Murder Death Koreatown tried too hard to look real. His efforts failed, especially when the film has actors with prone acting abilities that are far from realistic. When he cries, I want to give him a punch in the face rather than a pat on the shoulder as an expression of compassion. I want him to fail in his investigation. Best Movie Site

What investigation? So, our protagonist (call it “Maman”), who lives with his girlfriend (call it “Sri”), is aware of a murder case near their apartment. The case involved a Korean couple, in which the wife killed her husband. Maman feels the awkwardness in the case. With his cellphone camera, plus poor interviewing skills (plus socializing), he investigates, goes around the complex in search of evidence and witnesses.

Maman insisted, even though Sri had tried to convince that there were no oddities. The murder was horrifying, shocking, but what Maman considered odd, could be explained properly. I agree. Maman failed to convince me to participate in the investigation, because from the beginning there was nothing interesting. And Maman the late detective’s trip is very boring (at least in the first half). He just goes around, interviewing people who don’t give meaningful information. Repetitive.

Even in what order, some random slipped records, starting from the tantrums of a racist woman in a minimarket, a few seconds when Sri was running around in a room wearing underwear, and others. Is that an attempt to strengthen the realistic impression? Or limited effort to buy time? Movie Review

During the duration of only about 80 minutes, Murder Death Koreatown really likes to slip non-essential events. For example, when Maman asked the help of Sri’s co-workers to translate Korean writings that he found on the walls and used chairs, which he believed were messages, aimed specifically at him as a clue to solve the case. Maman bothered to bring the translator to the location, even though he already had stock records in the apartment. That film did only for the sake of showing if the writings disappeared mysteriously.

Is the disappearance of the writing and other irregularities really true, or is it only in Maman’s head? The question that is more often raised when the plot touches the supernatural realm, when Maman is sure if the soul of the murder victim tries to communicate with him. Through his introduction, Maman claimed he had just lost his job, and even the business of applying for a new job has not produced results. Maman feels like a failure. For him, the success of the investigation will restore significance in its existence. But the opposite happened. The further Maman traces, the more he sinks into an unhealthy obsession that disturbs his soul. If only Murder Death Koreatown explored the psychic dynamics more properly. If only Maman was played by a more capable actor.

If only, instead of spinning around in investigative reps when it was broad daylight, the films would often dwell on night terror. Because that’s where the advantages. Even a shot that captures empty space causes discomfort, as if something could hit us anytime from behind the darkness. Low resolution video also contributes to building the atmosphere.

The peak achievement of the director (whoever he is), is a moment around the last 20 minutes. Still armed with minimal lighting plus footage “cheap”, came the horror that forced me to keep the distance from the screen until the film was over because I felt “threatened”. The horror that is achieved without the help of noisy music that usually accompanies jump scare. It means saved potential. There is a first-class terror, which is unfortunately buried too deep. Or maybe the reason Murder Death Koreatown was made was only to facilitate the creation of the scene? I have no idea. Maybe Maman is willing to investigate this one mystery. Top Movie

The Old Guard – Review
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The Old Guard – Review

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Initially staying is going to be an indulgent moment, the summer of 2020 actually brings sustained bitterness to connoisseurs of blockbuster action films, because the global pandemic that has not yet shed its light causes summer giant films to continue to set back its release schedule. In fact, Tenet, which didn’t budge in July, has twice postponed its cinema debut two weeks from the previous date every two weeks. Fortunately, the vacancy was somewhat relieved by the presence of The Old Guard. Top Movie Site

The Old Guard is the result of an adaptation of the graphic novel by Greg Rucka, whose previous work, Whiteout was also filmed. The Old Guard focuses on a group of mercenaries who carry out high-risk missions. Impressive cliche? Hold your comments first before reading the short premise of this film. Beginning with an ambush scene by a group of heavy-armed tactical forces against a team of four mercenaries, the situation turned into a massacre, when the four mercenaries rose from the dead and counterattacked.

It was revealed later, that the four people: consisting of Andy (Charlize Theron), Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari), and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) were special individuals. They are immortal and although each individual comes from a different period, has spent hundreds of years in the world, completing various missions while hiding their existence.

For their latest mission, they are contracted by James Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a former CIA agent. However, they are then betrayed. Copley turns out to have a hidden agenda, namely to capture these immortal individuals and hand them over to the CEO of the pharmaceutical company Merrick (Harry Melling) with the aim of researching and searching for the secrets of their immortality to breakthrough the medical world.

Indeed, for the term science fiction action film, what is presented by The Old Guard is not something new, but succeeded in combining the usual dish witnessed and familiar concepts which are then used to produce an entertaining spectacle. Not only that, although action is its main attraction, the theme it puts forward is also quite complex with coverage alluding to aspects of eternity and the ethical code of the medical world. And, typical of other streaming film formulas, The Old Guard is not afraid to display explicit levels of gore and violence. And, as a basic foundation for possible franchising, what is presented here is already quite solid and promising.Best Movie

Although still counted as green in the realm of directing action films, filmmaker Prince-Bythewood who has more hours of flying in the realm of drama films is able to present a balanced presentation between well-choreographed and easily digested action without too disturbing the narrative aspects of the film. For the ranks of his players, as the main spearhead, Charlize Theron again showed his class as one of the top versatile actresses and also quality action in Hollywood in the last decade. Meanwhile, young star KiKi Layne who, like the filmmaker, is a new face in the action film genre, is able to be a good companion for Theron.

In short, The Old Guard will certainly provide a satisfying presentation for action movie enthusiasts and audiences who love unusual film stories. Especially with the ending scene that opens up the possibility of the presence of the sequel, surely many will look forward to the next round of the story of these eternal warriors. Movie Review

Greyhound – Review
Movie Review

Greyhound – Review

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Set in 1942 in the middle of the Battle of the Atlantic, Hanks plays Commander Ernest Krause, who has just received his first assignment in World War II. Its mission is to lead the USS Keeling ship with the code name Greyhound, which along with other ships from Britain and Canada, is tasked with escorting a convoy of 37 Allied ships carrying various supplies. His opponent is a line of German-owned submarines, U-boats. Top Movie Site

Three days before reaching their destination in Liverpool, U-boats began launching attacks. Directing Aaron Schneider (Get Low) managed to build tension and the scent of danger since the first time the Greyhound radar detected an enemy. Blake Neely’s bombastic music (King Kong, The Da Vinci Code, Love, Simon) combined with an alarm roar creates a sense of urgency. The chaos arises neatly arranged by Schneider’s dynamic game, which understands when to instruct its actors to shout or whisper, and when a banter must be presented sooner or later.

In short, the Greyhound managed to destroy the German submarine. All the crew cheered. One of them congratulates Krause for successfully killing the lives of 50 opposing troops. Krause was not impressed, then answered curtly, “50 human lives”. From here lies the focus of the Hanks manuscript began to appear. The audience was invited to understand how heavy the burden on the shoulders of a warship leader. Especially the dilemma about life and death. Should he prioritize missions or save lives as best he can? Best Movie

Throughout the three-day battle without stopping, Krause did not rest, did not eat, his legs bled from standing still on his shoes. There’s not even a moment of relaxation, because after one victory, his men are waiting for the next instruction. And when he made a mistake, Krause was haunted by guilt.

Schneider’s shot selection, assisted with perfect timing editing, helps imply the protagonist’s heart’s content without the need for verbal speech. The camera will highlight the Commander’s face, then move to the expression of his subordinates, who seemed to judge Krause. Whether true or not, but that’s how he felt. And Hanks’s appearance manifests this inner struggle in a tangible way, giving a humanistic impression when the effort to add a personal touch through a glimpse of information about Krause’s romantic life ends only as a trinkets in passing, which is actually unnecessary.

Greyhound is rolling pretty short. Only 91 minutes. There is no room for drama outside of war, and the film itself does not want to pretend to be more than that. Skillful editing plus a qualified pacing game from the director in packing a bombastic battle in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, compressing the dynamics of the Greyhound which was designed as a short presentation without further ado. Although it requires more attention so as not to get lost in the middle of foreign terms that come and go so fast. Movie Review

Yeh Ballet (Netflix) – Review
Movie Review

Yeh Ballet (Netflix) – Review

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Yeh Ballet raised the true story of the struggle of two underprivileged teenagers from Mumbai, Aamiruddin Shah and Manish Chauhan, to realize their ideals in the dance world. An inspiring dish that does not close your eyes to privilege, but also does not deny the essence of hard work, let alone forbid the poor to dream.

Asif (Achintya Bose) and Nishu (Manish Chauhan play the fictional version of him) are our two protagonists. Asif a b-boy, Nishu stole the attention of viewers through his contemporary dance at dance competitions on television. Asif often does dirty work, Nishu secretly uses the money his father earned as a taxi driver to dance. Asif is a Muslim who likes Hindu girls, Nishu is a poor teenager who is close to rich girls. There is no convenience for underprivileged like them. Top Movie Site

The two roads intersect after both enter the dance school. An American ballet legend, Saul Aaron (Julian Sands) was brought in to teach there. Aaron was not a friendly man, even as a Jew, racism made his life journey never easy. Aaron saw Asif’s natural talent, then made him a student. Not wanting to lose, Nishu also trained hard to steal the coach’s attention. But as an underprivileged, is hard work enough? Can they reach their goals?

The answers to the two questions above are “yes” and “no”. Yes, they are able to reach their goals, but no, hard work is not enough. Because once again, Yes Ballet is a drama that invites us to be aware of the reality of privilege without trying to kill ideals. The pattern used by Sooni Taraporevala’s script is, inviting us to absorb the struggles of the two main characters first, lulling us slowly to open the dream gate, until finally the gate closes right in front of our eyes when a thick wall called privilege blocks.


The talents and hard work of Asif and Nishu seemed meaningless when struck by a bureaucracy, which was clearly “sharp down”, creating a vicious circle that always closed the door to poverty alleviation. The bourgeoisie looks down on it, reluctant to reach out to the poor. But in the grassroots itself, many are deadly dreaming of each other’s dreams. Either because of envy, or religious reasons.

Clashes between religions still often give rise to divisions in India, especially among the lower middle class. Asif is often scolded by his uncle, who is seen from the way he is dressed as a Muslim (pretentious) obedient, due to the pleasure of participating in the Diwali celebration. Something Asif tried to fight through the statement “Our blood is all the same. There are no infidels. We are all brothers”. The problem is, the uncle often provides financial assistance to Asif’s family. Best Movie

Yeh Ballet effectively built dynamics through the exposure of the protagonist’s harsh life, which even touched upon tragic events, although unfortunately, the intention to present as many problems as possible was not accompanied by a smooth transition due to the lack of bridges connecting one problem to another. The progress of the Asif-Nishu-Aaron relationship also seemed rushed. At one point Asif and Nishu argued while the coach was still not friendly, but not even five minutes later, the three of them had laughed while attending the Diwali celebration together. Another problem related to the flow is the presence of one of the dance school students, who is always a helper figure without definite motivation. Rather than a mature character, the figure is limited to a tool that comes every time the script needs to solve problems related to privilege.

Aaron’s personal story is also served half done. Dozens of unread emails from his brother were limited to trinkets that didn’t help us explore Aaron’s personal side deeper. Luckily, the film still has a sense of thanks to the appearance of two amateur actors, who are both compelling both from the ability of emotional processing, as well as the body as two talented ballet students. The decision to use Manish Chauhan to play the fictional version of himself proved to strengthen one of the most essential points in films such as Yeh Ballet: Realism. Movie Review

Becoming (Netflix) – Review
Movie Review

Becoming (Netflix) – Review

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Is Becoming a campaign? Of course. Too naive to dismiss it. But campaign or not, it doesn’t matter. Film is a space for the makers to express their point of view. Most important is the extent to which a film is able to make the audience voluntarily forget that they are watching a veiled ad, even though they realize it. Becoming managed to do that, even though what was presented was still limited to touching the surface.

The subject, as well as the audience’s acceptance of it, determine the strength of a documentary. Ordinary handling will not reduce the allure of an extraordinary story. Conversely, extraordinary handling can be useless if faced with an ordinary story. Michelle Obama is clearly not an ordinary person. The first black mother country, an important figure of women’s empowerment, a fashion icon, and others. Similar responses of a teenage girl who seemed infatuated in one of the moments of the film, watching Michelle walk alone was awe-inspiring. Top Movie Site

Especially when he began to narrate in his memoir book tour series, Becoming, which brought him to stop in 34 cities, share experiences on stage, in the midst of young people, and among the church community. As Michelle said, thousands (even more) of people gathered, not to watch the action of the twerk, but to read. Michelle herself is a great storyteller. The story of life in the White House, which for ordinary people like us sounds “out of this world”, is delivered casually, lightly, tickling, even relatable. Michelle provided adequate materials for processing by Nadia Hallgren as the director, who in her packaging did not make a new breakthrough, and indeed did not need to.

What Michelle tells is very diverse, from light stories such as her relationship with bodyguards and clothing choices, to the heavy topics around racism, sexism (During the campaign many people called Michelle “bad-tempered woman” to drop her. Will a similar title be addressed to men? ), abstentions during the election that led to the election of Donald Trump, to the dynamics of husband and wife. How to become the wife of a figure like Barrack Obama without having to sink in the shadow of her husband? Michelle calls Barrack a tsunami. If it is not ready, it will be swept away and end up as a complement. Movie Review

Becoming
Becoming

Barrack Obama appeared a few minutes in this film, when he gave a “surprise” by appearing on one of Michelle’s book tours. The right choice, because it removes Barrack completely, will be a forced decision in order to keep the spotlight on Michelle, even indirectly justifying the inferiority of women in front of men.

Michelle said that after the end of her time as a first lady, she felt more free to look, act, and speak without having to get a filter from here and there. Unfortunately, Becoming doesn’t show that. Yes, Michelle did not hesitate to admit that she still harbored resentment at the statement of her teacher in high school, who said that she was not “Princeton material”. But it was only a joke. In the essential realm, this film is still a documentary full of filters, where the topic of conversation only touches the surface, and the majority of fragments that appear at a glance, then disappear before they could swept the audience.

The weakness of the narrative was evident when the film introduced us to Elizabeth Cervantes, a Mexican high school student in her final year. For a moment, he took over the focus when showing his last day in high school, while Elizabeth briefly expressed about the difficulties of being a minority teenager. But after that, he disappeared. A similar condition had occurred several times, as if Becoming forcibly pressed material that should have been able to last longer, perhaps even giving birth to several miniseries episodes.

One of the most important and relevant topics at this time is the issue of police violence against blacks. I hope to hear the response more deeply, openly, and at the same time personal, but only formalities are present. The story of a number of police officers who had threatened Obama and his family would be more “enlightening” if accompanied by discussions related to what has been attempted during Obama’s White House occupation.

But again, behind the lack of exploration, Michelle Obama is still an inspiring figure. If you are looking for a short, light spectacle, which is also quite inspiring when it touches exposure to women who are able to reach the top by defeating stigma and discrimination, Becoming is a suitable option. Best Movie

The Way Back – Review
Movie Review

The Way Back – Review

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Apart from the Batman costume, Ben Affleck returned to play a dark man who was injured as a result of past tragedies. But when The Caped Crusader was one of the actor’s most disappointing works (although he was convincing as Bruce Wayne with a physical appearance like the live version of the legendary Batman action series: The Animated Series), The Way Back was one of his best performances. Maybe Afflect does not need a mask to perform optimally, as the characters in this film, who need to open themselves to move from the “black hole”.

Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a construction worker who drowns himself every day in alcohol. After work he stopped by the bar, in the bath he brought a can of beer, while at work he secretly equipped himself with liquor. His wife, Angela (Janina Gavankar), left him and has now rearranged his life by getting a steady job and meeting a new man. Unlike Jack, Angela does not look at the world through a dark perspective. Top Movie Site

What makes Jack have that point of view? Slowly The Way Back will reveal it. The reason for Jack’s destruction, as well as other things such as the process of redemption to the element of sports drama that the film has, is actually a cliche. But Brad Ingelsby’s manuscript, which was later translated by directing Gavin O’Connor (Warrior, The Accountant), tried to distance himself from the cliché approach by suppressing dramatization, which allowed the audience to conclude independently, shocking and painful facts surrounding his character.

Jack is a drunkard, but I can empathize with his ignorance, with how frustrating when you are falling, people just routinely throw criticism, asking, “Why did you ruin your life? Why don’t you get up? “, Without understanding the pain. Moreover, his wife left him. Of course Angela is not mistaken. He was injured. He deserves to improve his life. But undeniably, it made Jack’s condition worse.

This is where Ben Affleck’s acting contributed. Playing subtly, Affleck is not imitating pain through outward appearances. As if the pain really eats away from the inside, creates a fragility that doesn’t make the audience hate it. We want him to rise, including when Jack was offered to train Bishop Hayes Catholic High School basketball team, a place where Jack was once known as one of the best players among students.

As I have already mentioned, The Way Back also permeates the clicheness of sports drama. Like Jack, Bishop Hayes’s condition was in ruins. Down on achievements, the quantity of the team is limited, while the players do not have adequate discipline. The direction is predictable. Both parties will awaken each other. The problem is, there is no intimacy between Jack and his foster children. Their interaction outside the match and discussion of tactics is so limited, to be able to make the audience feel bound, then support their actions on the field. Best Movie

Gavin O’Connor is indeed capable of processing drama elegantly, but it is not a matter of sport. The sequence of training, not to add insight about basketball, not even entertaining and igniting adrenaline. Likewise, the match, which is mostly only filled with short pieces of insignificant moments, such as a series of highlights where the footage is not selected. O’Connor failed to make the audience melt into the tension of the action chasing each other scores.

The Way Back could continue along the formulaic route, stopping at a point that most films would use as the pinnacle of its character’s glory. Instead, Brad Ingelsby carried his story on, making the film look like it had a fourth act. The decision was made as a form of rejection of simplification of the psychological dynamics of the grieving individual. If you choose the conclusion according to the formula, The Way Back will only make the protagonist chase yesterday, depending on “the good old glorious day”. But “the good old glorious day” is only used as a foothold to enter the true glory. Jack peered at the sweet side of the past to face the bitterness of the past, returned to a better old figure, then tried to move forward. Movie Review

Trolls World Tour – Review
Movie Review

Trolls World Tour – Review

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Trolls World Tour brings joy so the audience can be taken away for a moment from the dark world. Film that gives hope, that the industry still has the option to survive, or even evolve with the changing times. There is no better mascot than Trolls World Tour, with its colorful floods, glitter showers, and imaginative visuals. The story takes us to follow the situation after the first film, as well as peering into the history of the trolls in the past. Once upon a time, apparently there were six types of Trolls who liked different music genres. Together with them there are six strings that represent each type of music, and when put together will produce extraordinary power. The problem is, differences in tastes create divisions, so the six trolls choose to live separately, with each carrying a string.

Now comes Barb (Rachel Bloom), the Queen of the Hard Rock Trolls clan, who wants to master all the strings, in order to unite all the Trolls under the sole auspices of rock music. As the Queen of Pop Trolls, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) refuses to remain silent. Helped by several friends, including Branch (Justin Timberlake) who secretly put their feelings for him, Poppy visits the Trolls one by one, to warn them about Barb’s evil intentions. Top Movie Site

Of course Poppy’s trip was just an excuse made by the scriptwriting team, so that the film could show as many types of music and trolls as possible. After meeting with Country Trolls led by Delta Dawn (Kelly Clarkson), the substance of the road trip began to be questioned. But there is no question. Just enjoy the music of various genres, accompanied by rows of character designs and unique world concepts, in the visual richness of director Walt Dohrn, who increasingly shows his charm every piece of music is played.

The Hard Rock Trolls area is messy and dominated by black, Classical Trolls seem heavenly, Pop Trolls are colorful, and so on. It is interesting to see how the Trolls World Tour artistic team conjures up stereotypical elements into imaginative scenes, which in addition to satisfying the eyes, are also useful in strengthening comedy, which often delivers laughter through musical-themed humor. Not an intellectual joke full of references, but ridiculousness, for example when Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) the glitter troll made an auto-tune voice, who “gave birth” to Tiny Diamond (Kenan Thompson), a hip-hop troll who, though still a baby, was stylish and had a stylish. deep voice. Best Movie

“That’s not music” is Barb’s response to the digital techno style and the absence of lyrics in the classical style. While Poppy said, “They must not know that music is supposed to make you happy. That’s awful. “, After hearing the wistful chanting of the Country Trolls. Tickling insinuations about the exclusivity espoused by music fans, especially snobs (whatever the genre), are the most interesting ingredients in the film’s story. More interesting and sharp than the cliché message about “music comes from our hearts” that fills its climax.

Although it does not have an original song as catchy as Can’t Stop the Feeling, and the intention to unite all music at its peak moment does not take place smoothly because it is still too inclined towards pop rather than emphasizing the strength of each genre, the line of songs of this film appears like a varied playlist of nan fun (as long as you are not a snob), which gives space for certain music fans, including smooth jazz, hip-hop, as well as K-Pop, which (like me), are satisfied by the brief appearance of the girl group Red Velvet through the Russian Roulette song (besides Zimzalabim which is used to accompany the trailer). Movie Review

The flow is indeed not dense, and reached the middle, the colors of the colors had felt repetitive. My brain is not stimulated or received an intake that is considered “nutritious”, but once the film is over, a smile appears, and this heart feels lighter, because cheerfulness and colors have not completely disappeared from the world.

TIGERTAIL – Review
Movie Review

TIGERTAIL – Review

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Tigertail, which marked Alan Yang’s directing debut after being known as the author of series such as Parks and Recreation to Master of None, divides his story in two time settings. In the past, cinematographer Nigel Bluck packed his picture with grainy texture to add the impression of “old film”. While the modern setting seems clear, even though the protagonist’s heart and mind are content, I’m sure it’s not as clear.

Pin-Jui (Tzi Ma) is the name of our protagonist. An old man who lives alone in America, after divorcing with his wife, Zhenzhen (Fiona Fu), while the relationship with his daughter, Angela (Christine Ko), is less harmonious. Pin-Jui is more silent in front of Angela. After he spoke, a curt statement of tone came out of his mouth, including when he opposed his daughter’s marriage to a man, who, according to Pin-Jui, was financially incapable. Top Movie Site

When Zhenzhen expressed his intention to divorce, Pin-Jui argued, that he should have been happy that many good clothes and cars had been bought during their marriage. But Tigertail isn’t (just) talking about “money isn’t everything.” Through a flashback, Alan Yang (also writing the script) brought the audience to visit the life of young Pin-Jui (Hong Chi-Lee) while still living in poverty in Taiwan with his mother, Minghua (Yang Kuei-mei).

Poverty breeds ideals, then ambition to get a better life. Pin-Jui wants to move to America. A land full of dreams, prosperity, and freedom. At least he thought. This ambition formed a misunderstanding of the way of life based on the drive to improve the lot and advice, especially from the grandmother who took care of Pin-Jui when she was a child.

This holiness produces selfishness. Pin-Jui unconsciously determines what the people around him want. Pin-Jui was upset when the mother refused to be taken to America. “Isn’t that what you want ?!”, he said. But it is not. That is Pin-Jui’s wish. Just like the nice clothes and car for Zhenzhen earlier. After decades, Pin-Jui finally achieved his ideals, which ironically, instead kept him away from loved ones, including his first and true love, Yuan (Yo-Hsing Fang). Best Movie

I don’t know when Pin-Jui and Angela’s estrangement began, but one of the seeds must have been when Little Angela made a mistake in a piano recital. Seeing her little daughter crying, Pin-Jui just acted hard. “Don’t cry!” He snapped, imitating his grandmother’s words to him decades ago.

Alienation, solitude, reality that betrays dreams. These elements were raised by Alan Yang as a description of the fate of immigrants in the United States. In fact, life in the land of dreams is not easy. Of course there will be an obligatory montage of Pin-Jui’s daily reps as shopkeepers, which will make us associate Tigertail with other films on the theme of “the rigors of life”. Indeed there is nothing new in this film.

Regarding the relationship between Pin-Jui and Angela, Tigertail also discussed the effort to open up. But the film itself is not very good at opening up. In the first half, the non-linear narration jumped up and down, at one point, the Pin-Jui narration suddenly appeared as the first person who was telling the princess, who afterwards was not heard again, resulting in ambiguity, whether Tigertail’s plot was a process of storytelling Pin-Jui to Angela or not.

Because of his selfishness, Pin-Jui is not too likeable, but slowly grows sympathy, so I began to imagine how painful and lonely the possibility of spending the last years living in solitude, while being overcome by remorse due to mistakes in making decisions. The word “if” must always be haunting. I also hope that Pin-Jui and Angela make peace. Of course it is not easy, although for the sake of heartwarming nuances, the conclusion is impressive. But it is not entirely wrong, because self-disclosure does open the door to peace. Movie Review

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown – Review
Movie Review

Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown – Review

Documentary films always have their own fans. Watch it as if the viewer is invited to watch the incident itself, which is not distant from reality. Well this time Netflix will broadcast Murder to Mercy‘s latest documentary: The Cyntoia Brown Story, about a woman who was found guilty above the law.

The film from the United States was directed by Daniel H Birman, which also involved cinematographer Joel Winter. In this documentary, Birman describes the incident by extracting crime and how the judicial apparatus is tasked with finding a way of justice. Top Movie Site

Murder to Mercy : The Cyntoia Brown
Murder to Mercy : The Cyntoia Brown

Birman, the director, along with the film seemed to highlight the complexity of humans in a cold courtroom, where wrongdoing and punishment were sued for a sense of justice. The story in this documentary is a 16-year-old young woman named Cyntoia Brown who had to undergo trial, where she was accused of being guilty. His underage age makes him considered by his problematic case. Best Movie

Cyntoia must serve a prison sentence after committing murder of sexual predators, where Cyntoia is a sex worker herself. From his case the prosecutor also questioned the error and the concept of justice delegated only by seeing the incident itself, rigid and procedural. From the Cyntoia case, it is sought that justice can change as dynamic humans do. Cyntoia must serve a life sentence in which her mistakes were questioned.

The film itself seems to be a documentary, offering evidence that Cyntoia is one of the victims of a generation damaged by adult sexual crime. The Murder to Mercy documentary: The Cyntoia Brown Story is 96 minutes long. Well, how about the full picture? Don’t miss it! Movie Review

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Bad Education – Review
Movie Review

Bad Education – Review

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Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman), as supervisor of the Roslyn School District was able to bring Roslyn High School to the fourth place nationally, which increased property prices on Long Island, because parents flocked to send their sons and daughters there for the sake of opening the way to be accepted in the university ranks Ivy League. Frank was also an expert at motivating students, memorizing the names and classes they took, and also remembered that one of the students was the younger brother of an alumni. Frank always wears a classy suit, his hair is neat, his face is beautiful thanks to various treatments including plastic surgery.

Everything looks perfect for Frank and his environment. But it reminds us of several things: a) Nothing is perfect; b) Excessive ambition for perfection often results in disaster; c) There are always two sides to the coin. Top Movie Site

As a supervisor, Frank gets help from his assistant, Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney in another superior appearance), who is in charge of finance. It didn’t take long until Pam’s soul was revealed to be abusing that authority. He has a lot of luxury properties, and often goes on expensive vacations with family, even though he only gets what Frank calls “glorified teacher’s salary”.

Yes, Pam uses school fees for personal gain, then manipulates financial reports, which explain why the roof of the building always leaks even though the proposed maintenance costs are very high. Until a stupid mistake from his son, which Pam asked to renovate the house, provoked directors’ suspicion. They report to Frank.

Frank the impeccable supervisor. Frank, who looks good. Frank, who cared so much about his students, whether they were still in school or graduating. The face of the board of directors believes it. Hearing Pam’s actions, Frank was surprised. But really he did not know?

From here, the manuscript (adaptation of Robert Kolker’s The Bad Superintendent article), written by Mike Makowsky as Frank’s former student in the real world and living witness to the scandal, cleverly plays with his narrative choices. Because it is based on real events, it’s not spoiler if I mention Frank isn’t as holy as he seems. And I’m sure many viewers have already kissed the signal based on some subtle clues that the film is planting. Making Frank innocent at the beginning of the story was the right decision. When the truth is finally revealed, it does not function as a twist that will surprise the audience, but builds a dramatic nuance in the turning point of the story. Best Movie

That’s when the superintendent’s warm smile began to evolve into a pretty sinister grin. The charisma of the smile becomes intimidation, when Jackman, in one of the best performances of his career, presents rich acting in which both sides of Frank’s opposite can be presented as strong.

Bad Education
Bad Education

But how could Frank, with all his ingenuity, be able to reveal his crime? Do you remember in the first paragraph I mentioned about a student Frank recognized as the younger brother of his former student? His name is Rachel Bhargava (Geraldine Viswanathan). He is a member of a journalistic extracurricular club, who is assigned to write articles about building air bridges in schools. Rachel interviewed Frank, asking the supervisor to give a short comment. As usual, Frank tried to motivate his students. She encouraged Rachel to dig deeper into her story. Ironically, the urge dug Frank’s own grave.

Bad Education is indeed filled with irony and a sense of tragedy, which is also represented by Michael Abels (Get Out, Us) scoring, which occasionally implies a haunting impending doom, while at other times it sounds like the dramatic collapse of a cheating scheme. When Rachel submitted the first draft that highlighted the overcharging of the air bridge project, her writing was rejected by the club chairman, who then replaced the article framing to the enthusiasm of students welcoming the project. Often the image is more important than the truth. This is the result of the commercialization of education, both for the sake of thickening one’s personal pocket or prestige, which ends up destroying the essence of education itself.

Cory Finley as the director was able to bring Bad Education to move in a comfortable pace enjoyed, with the accuracy of the degree of dramatization. The success of handling true story-based films with a cereal approach might be an achievement for filmmakers who take their names through black comedies such as Thoroughbreds (2017), proving the extent of Finley’s reach in the work. Movie Review

But like me, maybe you will feel there is a lack of seasoning in this film. Bad Education takes a middle ground, intending to balance the elements of investigation (especially the message about how a small investigation in the form of a student newspaper is able to uncover a big scandal that is horrendous to the country), with a focus on Frank’s personal side. Unfortunately, none has reached their full potential. The intensity of the investigation failed to peak, it also seemed ambiguous whether we were invited to sympathize with Frank, to curse, or both. Bad Education has never been completely clear. Pure treat dramatic, or dark comedy (although there are efforts to target the second form).

The Half Of It (Netflix) – Review
Movie Review

The Half Of It (Netflix) – Review

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One quote in The Half of It which reads “Doesn’t everyone think they’re different? But pretty much we’re all different in the same way “can be applied to such films. Is The Half of It a love story? Yes and no Is the packaging new? Some yes, some no.

The second film director and screenwriter Alice Wu after making history through Saving Face (2004) —a first Hollywood film with a Chinese-American central figure for more than a decade — is still a romance. It still involves a number of adolescents who (secretly) like each other, though not entirely, because the conclusions themselves try to reach something broader. There is freshness related to the way he handles love triangles, although now, romantic comedies that tend to be gentle rather than explosive in expressing taste, are simple rather than festive, displaying everyday people rather than beautiful, glamorous figures, are starting to create a new generality. Top Movie Site

Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) is a typical protagonist of today’s romantic comedy. His appearance was not feminine, alienated from the social environment, an exemplary student, though fortunately, Wu’s writing and Lewis’s appearance made him not so glamorous. Does not feel the aura of misery, although he still has a pessimistic perspective also skeptical. Ellie did not believe in God (which gave birth to some humor that sneaked at religiosity including the extraordinarily amusing chaos in the church towards the end of the story), nor did she view love logically.

Ellie used her intelligence to do business. He received the services of writing philosophical papers for his classmates. When Paul (Daniel Diemer) asks him to write something else, namely a love letter for Aster (Alexxis Lemire), a beautiful girl trapped in a relationship with a stupid alpha popular male, Ellie asks, how can Paul love someone he never interacted with directly.

Love doesn’t have to be logical. We can love someone we don’t really know. Even after meeting Aster, you will understand why Paul could fall in love. She was beautiful, her smile seemed to spread kindness, and most importantly, she was broad-minded. It is easy to sympathize with Aster, who has a stupid boyfriend, also a fake love letter that evokes false hopes, that there is a smart and kind man who can steal his heart. Best Movie

But Ellie wasn’t completely wrong either. Love is also a matter of knowing each other. Without it, there would be no connection, like what happened to Paul and Aster on a messy first date, where sucking up a milkshake was more often done than exchanging ideas.

The Half of It is not a treat teen angst. And because it has a queer protagonist, it doesn’t mean the film has to be full of messages as a protest-oriented spectacle. Alice Wu treats LGBT elements “only” as one part of the journey of teenagers looking for identity.

The Half of It wants to appear as realistic as possible, despite Ellie’s soaring popularity after a simple performance on stage, clearly not a form of realism. Also saving the problem is directing Alice Wu. Lack of explosions, tenders, which is a good intention to bring more intimacy, although often, the director is too busy playing visual symbolism, while trying hard to suppress the expression of taste so that the film does not have a mainstream face. But one point that shows the success of Alice Wu’s sensitivity lies in the ending, when for a few seconds, along with her character, we are invited to absorb peace in the moment. Like the moment seizes us, absorbs us into its existence. Movie Review

Becky – Review
Movie Review

Becky – Review

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A family that lives in a house located near the forest, then visited by an intruder who attacks the peace of the family. How many times has the story been repeated, repeated again, and repeated again. Whether the reason for the intruder is just to rob, to kill, or to find a mysterious key like in Becky, it is a story that is difficult to recycle. Top Movie Site

Therefore, the entire film must stand by the performance of every actor and actress in it. Becky, the main character, is a child who is 13 years old and played by Lulu Wilson. As for the criminal group, it is led by a Neo-Nazi Dominick who is surprisingly played by an actor who often plays comedy, Kevin James.

The film opens with a parallel life between the two. Becky was being mobbed by her schoolmates and being bullied, while in a prison Dominick, an inmate, was watching a group of people who were crowding around two people who were still busy fighting. Then Becky is picked up by his father, Jeff (Joel McHale), while Dominick is picked up by a prison bus and both are on the streets. Best Movie

Becky and his father stopped at a petrol station, and the bus carrying Dominick and other prisoners stopped because the passengers rebelled. And finally they met in a few more moments, when Becky had returned and Dominick had managed to hijack the vehicle to get to Becky’s residence. So far nothing has really caught my attention. Becky was initially seen as a typical annoying teenager, he ignored his father and stole sweets. But apparently the frustrating behavior was reasonable. His mother had died some time ago, and he was angry with his father because of that.

Every time I see teenagers who rebel, there is always a fine line between annoying and indeed I understand. Becky is thankfully not annoying because I understand why he behaves so. Especially after arriving at his old home, Jeff had just told him that he invited his girlfriend and fiancé, Kayla (Amanda Brugel) and her son Ty (Isaiah Rockcliffe), which made Becky sad and upset.

Becky’s life was falling even more chaotic when a group of foreigners infiltrated their homes. This group of criminals, who call themselves “Brotherhood”, consists of Dominick who becomes the leader; Cole (Ryan McDonald); Hammond (James McDougall); and Apex (Robert Maillet), a burly and giant-sized man who apparently has a conscience more than his criminal friends. Movie Review

Kevin James as a criminal did surprise me, because every time I saw him I always remembered him as a big security guard at Paul Blart: Mall Cop. But here he is, with bald hair; a large Nazi emblem tattooed behind the head and a thick beard, looking much different from the appearance I normally see.

Seeing Kevin James as a sadistic villain is the main attraction of this film, but the one who holds the course of the storyline is Becky, a blond haired girl who hasn’t even reached 15 years old. When the bad guys were infiltrating the house, Becky was in a small cabin near the house. So he has a unique position.

Becky is a very sadistic and brutal film, something I didn’t expect. There is a level of sadism that I tolerate because I anticipate it, like let’s call it John Wick: Chapter 3 or Kill Bill. But if I do not anticipate it, then usually I will feel shocked and that is what happened to Becky. And the brutality is always related to Becky’s character.

The Hate U Give – Review
Movie Review

The Hate U Give – Review

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The film is based on a novel by Angie Thomas with the same title and tells the story of the struggle of a girl who lives in two different environments. Starr (yes, with two “R”) is quite a different person compared to his other friends. Starr, played beautifully by Amandla Stenberg, was born and raised in a slums and dangerous area, but his parents send him to a prestigious school. Schools that certainly students will go to college after graduation, instead of being damaged because of fights, drugs and pregnancy out of wedlock. This makes Starr must guard desperately some values ​​that have been instilled by his father since childhood. The balance is obligatory, until one day Starr met with his childhood friend, Khalil (Algee Smith). Top Movie Site

In a media screening event held by 20th Century Fox at Djakarta Theater, Jakarta, the audience was given two footage from the film ‘The Hate U Give‘. The first snippet is when Starr and his brother are given advice by their father about how they will have to behave, then time is progressing until Starr has become a high school kid. At this very moment Starr introduces us to the environment where the people live. A black environment that seems quite unpretentious even though there is a big threat from a drug lord whose character is played by Anthony Mackie.


The second trailer is when Starr meets with Khalil. Those who hadn’t seen each other in a long time, and had a great chat at a black party. Unfortunately, their meeting was so chaotic due to the shooting that everyone in the party burst out. However, Starr and Khalil casually left the place using Khalil’s car. Best Movie

In a short shot in the car, they continued their conversation while discussing rapper Tupac’s old songs, until in the corner of the street Khalil parked his car to talk about more intimate matters to Starr. Unlucky, when the conversation was over, the police car came and asked Khalil to show proof of driver’s license and vehicle registration. But Khalil’s gesture which was considered to have taken a weapon by the police, caused him to be shot dead by the policeman. In the official trailer that was also played later, at first glance it appears that the impact of the shooting finally had a long tail. Mass riots between white police and black residents were inevitable and confronted with each other. The film was directed by George Tillman Jr. (Faster, The Longest Ride) and starring Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Issa Rae, KJ Apa, Sabrina Carpenter, Common, and Anthony Mackie. Movie Review