Detective Chinatown 3 – Review
Movie Review

Detective Chinatown 3 – Review

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“Such a grand opening!”, Exclaimed Tang Ren (Wang Baoqiang), referring to the airport fight, which opened Detective Chinatown 3 with a fun riot set in the background of J Soul Brothers’ Welcome to Tokyo. But hearing it now, almost two weeks after the film premiered in China, the sentence also reminds us of the success of this film in breaking the Avengers: Endgame record, for “The biggest opening weekends in a single territory”. The distance is no joke. About $ 67 million. Such a grand opening indeed. Top Movie Site

After Bangkok and New York in the first two films, it is now Tokyo’s turn to be visited by Qin Feng (Liu Haoran) and Tang Ren (the plan for the fourth film will be held in London). They come at the invitation of Hiroshi Noda (Satoshi Tsumabuki), Qin Feng’s rival and partner. Certainly not an invitation to travel, but solving a murder case. Watanabe (Tomokazu Miura) has been accused of murdering fellow mafia boss Su Chaiwit (Hirayama Motokazu), when the two meet to negotiate cooperation as well as a truce.

When the witnesses entered the scene because they heard screams, apart from the victim’s corpse, only Watanabe was holding the murder weapon. There is only one way out and in, which is strictly guarded. This means that if Watanabe is not the real culprit, then there has been a murder in a closed room. Our three detectives also crossed various areas in Tokyo in search of clues. Obviously not easy. Often interfering with the investigation are Tanaka Noki (Tadanobu Asano) the famous police officer, as well as Jack Jaa (Tony Jaa), Su Chaiwit’s subordinate and fellow top detective on the Crimaster app, like Qin Feng and Noda.

As always, don’t expect any clever investigations in the Detective Chinatown series. The script treats the investigations of detectives as a tool to keep his adventures moving. No hints were distributed so that the audience could participate in racking their brains. All appear randomly and suddenly, which even makes the first installment like a “real detective film”. Just sit back, go with the flow, just give in to wherever this large-scale riot-filled adventure might take us. Best Movie

If you can do that, Detective Chinatown 3 will be fun entertainment. Director Chen Sicheng, who moved his film with high energy, was quite successful in taking advantage of Tony Jaa’s presence, both as an action actor, as he was able to go through some solid scuffles, or as a comedy actor, which was his first experience. When will you see Tony Jaa cosplaying as Maruko from Chibi Maruko-chan?

Chen still maintains a combination of slapstick and absurd situation humor as a weapon to churn the audience’s stomach. The highlight of the fun is certainly the “morgue” sequence, which is an extension of the “hide and seek” sequence from the first film. While Wang Baoqiang appeared not as annoying as before (for some viewers, maybe even that temperament is the most entertaining element of the Detective Chinatown series). Still often make stupid jokes, but in normal levels.

For 136 minutes, Chen’s ambition was true to make this work as big as possible. The scale of production is not far from the Hollywood blockbuster, and the appearance of characters from the series (you can watch it on iQiyi) is the realization of Chen’s dream of building a world like the MCU. Unfortunately, it was because of that ambition that Chen felt the need to increase the quantity of melodrama elements which made the third act drag on, thus losing intensity. Not to mention the cringey moment when the song Heal the World accompanies the fireworks festival at the end of the duration. Chen needed to improve on his dramatic methods. At least the cameo of a big star in the ending as “the real big bad guy”, aroused my interest in waiting for the continuation of the filmmaker’s ambition. Movie Review

I Care a Lot – Review
Movie Review

I Care a Lot – Review

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I Care a Lot is actually a fun spectacle. Even though as a black satirical comedy that is thrown it is not as sharp as expected, as a thriller, the intensity is well preserved. Until the conclusions destroy the above achievements. The conclusion that makes J Blakeson’s latest work (The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The 5th Wave), as the director and writer of this script, feels unstable. It could be the result of demands to be politically right, or perhaps, Blakeson simply doesn’t know what to say.

Through this film, Rosamund Pike landed his third Golden Globe nomination. The first time was through Gone Girl (2014), which is undeniably her most iconic role. Even so, Amy Dunne was the reason Pike was chosen to play Marla Grayson here. Unlike Amy, Marla is not a psychopath. But clearly, in carrying out his criminal acts, Marla did not have the slightest doubt or remorse. Top Movie Site

What kind of criminal is Marla? Together with his lover, Fran (Eiza González), he commits a fraud, under the guise of being a guardian for the elderly, whom the court deems to be unable to live alone. Through a simple yet informative sequence, also packaged in a stylish manner by Blakeson, we learn about Marla’s modus operandi. First, the doctor recommends that a client (read: prey), even if necessary, falsifies a medical report to make the judge believe, if the elderly person needs the help of a guardian. Then, thanks to the help of the ALF (Assisted Living Facility, or similar to a nursing home in Indonesia), the elderly can be forced to stay there as long as possible, without access to communication with the outside world, while Marla is in charge of managing their assets. “Managing” here means, of course, “spending for personal gain.”

Doesn’t anyone have any suspicions? Of course there is, but Marla’s trick is very convincing. Just as convincing as Pike’s appearance, which makes his character (who at first glance looks harmless due to his thin stature) is sturdier than a boulder. He was always calm, thought tactically, never collapsed even when his life was in danger. Her outfits that often have bright colors (salute for the costume department!) Don’t mean she’s a cheerful woman. On the contrary, it makes Marla appear to be enjoying her crimes, as if everything is a game. Contrary to Pike, Eiza González as Fran is a passionate young girl. Their chemistry is one of the dynamics for the film.

Once upon a time, Marla’s latest victim is a retiree named Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest). He was wealthy, and most importantly, without a family. The action was carried out. The court ruled that Jennifer should receive treatment for dementia. Everything goes smoothly for our protagonist, until a twist comes, along with the entry of Peter Dinklage with his intimidating nature, who plays a mysterious mafia boss. Best Movie

On the one hand, the existence of Dinklage adds to the entertainment value of I Care a Lot, making it an intense thriller. But on the other hand, the story is starting to lose its grip. The narrative in the opening scene implies that this film will be a satire about social class in the United States. And so, until the narrative is covered by a scenario about the cat-and-mouse between “the bad” and “the worse”. The script is not as clever as the writer’s expectations. Sufficient as cheap thrills, but definitely not quite what it is called “smart”, especially when Blakeson is quite fond of using coincidences to keep the plot going.

But once again, I Care a Lot was able to appear entertaining. Then we come to the ending. Ending that was present suddenly. A strong candidate for the worst ending in 2021, one that will be hard to beat. Ending that made me wonder, “What the hell does Blakeson want ?!”. Blakeson makes his film like a multiple personality. It is as if he is too afraid, that in a politically right era like now, his film will receive blasphemy if it sided with criminals. Especially when the criminal worships money.

Yet there are opportunities to convey the complexities that challenge black-and-white perspectives in life. And Blakeson has justified the choice of the protagonist. Not just one, but two. First related to finance, second, regarding gender. But instead of processing it all, Blakeson actually betrayed what had been built throughout the duration, for the sake of an ending that destroyed everything. Movie Review

Stand by Me Doraemon 2 – Review
Movie Review

Stand by Me Doraemon 2 – Review

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Similar to the first film, Stand by Me Doraemon 2 still targets the old Doraemon audience which has now grown. Nostalgia and personal closeness to the story are the main targets. When the boys may be more entertained by the fantastic adventures of his two-dimensional film which is regularly released every year, through the Stand by Me series, the memory of adult audiences will be thrown into the past, while realizing how much closer Nobita’s story seems to be than it seems. Top Movie Site

The script is still being written by Takashi Yamazaki (who also returns to the director’s chair with Ryuichi Yagi), the outline of the film’s story is built from two comic chapters, namely Memories of Grandma and The Day of My Birth, each of which has been adapted into short films, released in 2000 and 2002.

Once upon a time, after the previous film succeeded in improving his fate (read: marrying Shizuka) in the future, Nobita invited Doraemon to return to the past to meet his grandmother, who died when he was in kindergarten. Nobita, who suspects that he is an adopted child, feels that his grandmother is the only person who really loves him. But adventures don’t just happen in the past. Simultaneously, the adult Nobita suddenly disappeared right on the day of the wedding, forcing Nobita from the present to fight to save his marriage, while fulfilling a promise to his grandmother.

Longing for childhood to a loved one who has passed away, doubting the love of their parents, and feeling their own insecurities, are all dynamics that are certainly understood by adult audiences. The strongest point of the film is none other than when he realizes that, so mature, the lazy crybaby Nobita who is able to pass all obstacles thanks to Doraemon’s magic tools, turns out to be having problems like the rest of us. Therein lies a wedge between “nostalgia” and “personal closeness”, which makes the story even more emotional: “Oh, apparently the character I have known since childhood has the same fate as me”. Best Movie

All elements of Stand by Me Doraemon 2 are made in the direction of the two things above. Including a series of sentences written so meaningfully without needing to sound poetic, which since the early minutes had forced me to wipe my tears. The way Yagi and Yamazaki build the moment is extraordinary. There is intimacy, so watching it, it feels like you are at home. The nuance cannot be separated from the visual motifs used by the two directors.

In the cartoon, what scenery is synonymous with “warmth” in Doraemon? Dusk. Yes, the evening sky is orange, which is often used to close episodes. Here, the evening is beautifully presented thanks to the high quality of 3D visuals, which is often used as a stage for touching events. Because dusk is the end of the day. As if to indicate, that after one tiring day, we can finally return home.

It’s a wrong place to expect Stand by Me Doraemon 2 to present sensible, intelligent time travel that appropriately considers the trivia of paradoxes. But how the question of mysterious events is created, which is then answered after time travel, is enough to provide pleasant entertainment. At least it is not only the emotion that this film offers, as an adventure looking at the past for the future, which is bound by a common thread called “affection”. Movie Review

Dear Comrades! = Review
Movie Review

Dear Comrades! = Review

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Dear Comrades! tells the true story of the massacre in Novocherkassk on June 2, 1962, which took place in the middle of a demonstration by the locomotive factory workers, as a result of rising food prices as well as orders to increase production quotas without increasing wages. This tragedy was covered up for 30 years, before finally being exposed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Andrei Konchalovsky, who directed and wrote the script (with Elena Kiseleva), recounts the event from the eyes of Lyuda (Julia Vysotskaya), a city council member and Stalin loyalist. Top Movie Site

“Could the USSR starve?”, He said to one of his friends, who was worried about the welfare of society after food prices soared. Lyuda strongly believed in Soviet superiority. As with the visual choice of the film, the protagonist’s conservatism is shown through his perspective towards the world, which tends to be black and white. “It all made sense then. Who is an enemy and who is one of ours”, said Lyuda when responding to the behavior of his daughter, Svetka (Yuliya Burova).

Contrary to Lyuda, Svetka who works in a locomotive factory believes in the importance of democracy and free speech. When Svetka took part in the strike and then democracy, Lyuda was confused. Aren’t opponents of state decisions an enemy? Didn’t the enemy come from outside? How could his daughter be an enemy, when Lyuda was a loyal servant of the country? All that he could not process. Best Movie

At the height of the demonstration, without Lyuda knowing, the central government ordered KGB soldiers and snipers, pouring hot lead on the demonstrators. About 80 people died, but Lyuda could not find the whereabouts of his daughter. Between the chaos and the conditions of the blockaded city, Lyuda tries to find Svetka, but instead he finds something else, namely the fact that the state and government that he has been steadfast in defending, are in fact so arbitrary.

One of the most astonishing (though not surprising) moments was when several KGB members discussed the identity of the demonstration provocateurs. Not going through a detailed investigation. They just looked at the photos the spies had taken, then crossed the faces they thought were provocateurs. On what basis is a person called a provocateur? Apparently only from trivial things, for example “His face looks hard”.

Dear Comrades! is the process of the main character realizing his mistake in seeing the world. In the hands of Julia Vysotskaya, Lyuda’s transformation was satisfying. Conclusively, Vysotskaya portrays the transformation of a woman who is stubborn, into a fragile figure when she realizes that what she believes begins to crumble. His cold face began to be filled with terror, like an innocent boy who had just learned the darkness of the real world.

Konchalovsky applies a black-and-white color combination plus an aspect ratio of 1.33: 1, not only for visual beauty (although this is the result), but also to amplify intensity. The audience seemed to be made to feel the tightness experienced by the victims of repression. The feeling of tightness caused by the lack of freedom, as if there were eyes watching, and if someone was caught speaking even a little wrong, life could be lost.

The government tried to erase the massacre from historical records, such as the blood at the demonstration site which was trying to remove. When the blood continued to make an impression, then on top of it, new asphalt was added. Dark, tragic, but Dear Comrades! refuses to end the story with total bitterness. On the contrary, we are even given hope, in the form of human awareness, that because the country’s conditions are so bad, they should try to be better. Movie Review

News of the World – Review
Movie Review

News of the World – Review

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News of the World defeats expectations, creates unpredictability, precisely by following a formula. Precisely the formula for western films, where the slow tempo wraps around the protagonist’s journey across the wilderness of the wild west, while occasionally getting involved in a gun battle. The existence of Paul Greengrass, which is synonymous with kinetic style, even when the film does not feature the adventures of a Jason Bourne, gives expectations that the director will modify the above formula. It turned out the opposite. This adaptation of the novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles proves the versatility of Greengrass. Top Movie Site

Set in 1870, the story centers on Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a Confederate Civil War (1861-1865) veteran. The war made Kidd lose everything, both property and family. Now he moves from city to city, in order to earn money as a newsreader. Every night, Kidd gathered residents in a bar, then read the news from the newspapers. Maybe this is the origin of the news anchor profession on television?

Like most western films, News of the World also tackles “the search for a house” and “a better life”. For Kidd, the journey began after he found a little girl abandoned in the middle of the forest. The girl is named Johanna (Helena Zengel). From a letter, Kidd learned that Johanna was kidnapped by Indians from the Kiowa tribe, who also massacred their entire family. As a result, the communication process became difficult, because Johanna could only speak Kiowa.

Kidd, who has no other choice, is forced to take Johanna along, to drive him home. The question is, “what is back home”? Johanna’s biological parents are dead. The Kiowa tribe where he grew up does not exist anymore. Johanna is a girl of German blood, born in America, grew up with Indians. What is his definition of “home”? Kidd tries to save the lost girl, but he (and the rest of the country) are not much different. All get lost in the midst of uncertainty, as the country is reorganizing itself. Best Movie

Through a journey of nearly two hours, through hot wild landscapes that often look beautiful thanks to the cinematography by Dariusz Wolski (known as Ridley Scott and Gore Verbinski’s regular), the script by Greengrass and Luke Davies (Life, Lion) brings his character to the understanding that ” home is a place where you belong “.

Kidd and Johanna belong together, as well as heal each other, in a heartfelt relationship thanks to Hanks and Zengel’s chemistry. The chemistry between a man who continues to advance on the surface of the earth, and a little girl who is one with the earth. Hanks as usual appeared warm, which made both the audience and Johanna feel safe and comfortable even though the wild west was full of distress. But the discussion on awards season seems to be filled with more about Zengel’s appearance. Making his Hollywood debut after lifting his name on System Crasher (2019), Zengel showed a wide range of acting. She can appear wild, then look empty and sad for a moment, then look innocent the next time.

If News of the World is Zengel’s media in his career, then for Greengrass, this film proves that he is not a single-trick filmmaker. Look at the gunfight, especially when Kidd and Johanna deal with three former Confederate troops. Instead of shaky cam, high tempo music, or frantic editing, Greengrass uses stillness in shooting, plus the mute of sound, to build intensity. The results are effective. Greengrass refrained from wearing his trademark, even while displaying a riot.

The only “modern twist” was the quantity of CGI use which was (slightly) more than the majority of western treats. That, too, is still with the appropriate dose. The rest, News of the World is a solid conventional western. In the future, every time we hear news of a new project from Paul Greengrass, we can expect shows with various variations. Movie Review

Malcolm & Marie – Review
Movie Review

Malcolm & Marie – Review

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Malcolm & Marie is the first Hollywood film to undergo all stages, from pre-production to post-production, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it, Sam Levinson (Assassination Nation) as director and scriptwriter, shows the ability to turn boundaries into space for exploration, even though in the end, weakness comes from things that are not related to the limitations caused by the pandemic.

Only two actors plus one location (a maximum of 12 people can be on set), instead of being monotonous, the film feels intimate. Wearing black and white also helps, when the lighting and make-up are not as good as usual (the two main characters are responsible for their own costumes and make-up). And in the hands of cinematographer Marcell Rév, visual beauty is brought out by the high contrast black and white style. Top Movie Site

Once upon a time, Malcolm (John David Washington) was blooming. His latest film premiere (he is a director and writer) was a huge success. Arriving at the mansion in Malibu that was rented out by the studio, he immediately poured a drink, turned on the music as loud as he could, then danced with enthusiasm while bursting with euphoria. But we know, the lover, Marie (Zendaya), doesn’t feel that way. He was standing outside smoking, putting on a cold face. Something was bothering him. Well, more like “a lot.”

Malcolm continued to joke, including about how after the premiere, he met several critics, who called him “The Next Spike Lee” and “The Next Barry Jenkins”. Malcolm was not satisfied. “Why not The Next William Wyler?” He asked, before discussing at length the tendency of critics to associate black filmmakers with racial issues. Malcolm was embarrassed, because he only wanted to make a drama that could be enjoyed by everyone, instead of a political spectacle. “But your next movie is Angela Davis’ biopic”, replied Marie.

The debate over the political content of film is one of Malcolm & Marie’s best and most honest points. Surely this was Levinson’s own embarrassment, which he channeled through his character. Regarding how many critics these days push themselves too much to appear “woke”, to the question of representation. One of the suggestions criticized the “male gaze” in the film Malcolm, which talks about the struggles of women who are drug addicts. For Malcolm, it was okay for a storyteller to see things through his perspective. It feels meta, because here, Levinson is a white person making a film about a black couple.

Apart from the above problems, the main conflict remains about two lovers, who are both personally troubled, so that once the fight breaks out, both of them repeatedly destroy each other, but still love each other. Sound serious? Of course. Moreover, Malcolm & Marie were filled with screams. But as a variation, from time to time, Levinson inserts a witty sentence, which also serves to keep Malcolm and Marie’s romanticism, amidst their destructive commotion. Best Movie

Unfortunately, the quality of Levinson’s writing is inconsistent. On the one hand, he is good at inserting information in order to enrich the character, plus a little surprise between the yells. The more information comes in, the more difficult it is to determine who to side with, because in truth, Malcolm & Marie is not about “who-is-wrong”, not about individuals, but about human pairs. The problem with the script lies in the neatness of the structure.

There are times when one fight with the next is not given an adequate transition. As if Levinson was just making a checklist of things that should be discussed. It is not uncommon for the film to get lost in the middle of endless overlapping sentences. It is true that when it comes to authenticity there is no regularity in quarrels. When controlled by emotions, a person tends to be impulsive, throwing things out without control. But isn’t that the art of script writing? Where chaos should be presented neatly, without losing the authentic impression.

As a result, Malcolm & Marie often felt tiring. Fortunately, Levinson is not a mediocre director. He has a sensitivity that is effective in building romance, intimacy, to elegant sensuality. Most importantly, the film has a heart. The climax was after all the complaints had been thrown, when Malcolm & Marie emphasized its substance. Simple point, but one of the main foundations of a relationship: Value your partner.

Of course the film would not have succeeded without Washington and Zendaya. They are like two poles opposite. Washington as Malcolm was more aggressive, looking so powerful with big expressions and gestures. But it was clear that every anger, arrogance, and enthusiasm came from weakness. On the other hand, Zendaya as Marie is like a fragile figure, but never falters. While still with her cold gaze, Marie seemed bigger than Malcolm, who continued to launch attacks. It is this contradiction that shows how strong the two of them feel. Similar to the tagline, they’re madly in Love. Movie Review

Master – Review
Movie Review

Master – Review

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Until this review was posted, Master is still the highest-speed film in the world throughout 2021, grossing around $ 34 million, giving it the status of being the first Indian film to top the world box office list. The audience flocked to the theater, especially at Tamil Nadu, which for a while had time to restore 100% of the studio’s capacity, before finally being reduced to 50% due to widespread controversy. Is this interest simply because of the longing for cinemas in the midst of a pandemic?

Master

These factors play a role, but even under normal conditions, I am sure that Master will have great success. The existence of Vijay, one of the biggest stars of Tamil cinema who is nicknamed “Thalapathy” aka “Commander” by his fans, is a major reason. Vijay plays J.D., an eccentric lecturer from Chennai. J.D., who was called “master”, was exalted by students for his unique teaching techniques and willingness to side with them. He also proved successful in controlling the attitudes of naughty children. But that style earned him the hatred of other teachers. Moreover, J.D. is alcoholic.

At the opposite pole is Bhavani (Vijay Sethupathi), the leader of a criminal group with a dark past. The modus operandi is, to delegate all the crimes he committed to the boys who live in juvenile prison, where Bhavani had been in prison. Jalan J.D. and Bhavani began to intersect, when the master was assigned three months of teaching at the prison.

Maybe many of you have heard of this film’s achievements, but are hesitant to try it due to its duration which reaches 179 minutes, aka nearly three hours. Not long origin, because the script written by director Lokesh Kanagaraj with Rathna Kumar and Pon Parthiban, spent about the first hour as an introduction to the two main characters. Since the opening sequence that expounds on Bhavani’s past, Master has been packed full. Full of conflict and action, even the dialogues overlapped. Top Movie Site

The “hero” status of both characters is emphasized. J.D. who threw a bottle of alcohol to block the closed carriage door, Bhavani the “one punch man” who was able to kill a human’s life in just one hit, were all introduced. This is something Western cinema, including Hollywood, has not dared to do. The storytelling method in which each side of the protagonist is completely peeled off instead of being a just passing background, makes his life journey appear like a legend. A mythology, ordinary tale fires.

A mythology is certainly rich in the character of “WAH”, which corresponds to the over-the-top approach typical of Indian regional cinema (non-Bollywood), including Tamil. Certainly most visible in terms of action. What kind of action? Master is a film where the protagonist is shown around the city beating up enemies using stainless buckets. I don’t think I need to cook further descriptions.

Lokesh Kanagaraj assembled a series of massive and powerful actions, including a climax that left no room for disappointment, when J.D. and Bhavani finally got into a fist fight. Vijay’s star aura does its job of bringing to life the easy badass main character, despite his flaws, while Vijay Sethupathi is an intimidating criminal, whose fist of authority alone can make everyone shudder. Best Movie

While over-the-top (ridiculous to some people), the threat the protagonist receives, as well as what he is at stake, lacks play. Tragic death is not a rare sight here. As usual, social criticism did not forget to be thrown. J.D. never blamed the boys, no matter how bad they were. The system is corrupt, the perpetrators of force and power are the target of shooting. Of course, the inspirational speeches that the kids magically wrong can still be found.

One plot point annoys me a bit. It is said that Bhavani put six of his men in juvenile prison. They are all over 18 years of age. None of them were suspicious (including J.D.), even though their looks were clearly much older than the other kids. One of them is named Das. He was played by Arjun Das, who caught the public’s attention with his bass-baritone voice. Face full of beard, wouldn’t anyone immediately suspect suspicion? But so be it. Swallow all the oddities, and enjoy Master’s high entertainment. The duration is a bit too long (some moments can be shortened), but far from tiring. Movie Review

The Little Things – Review
Movie Review

The Little Things – Review

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The Little Things is not a good film, despite the efforts to generate a police procedural themed thriller, which in the mid-90s once filled the big screen, and is now an alternative presentation on television through True Detective to Mindhunter. Plus at birth the comparison with Se7en (1995), which incidentally is one of the best titles of the subgenre. Whether this is one of David Fincher’s many copycats is debatable, given that the first draft was made by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, Saving Mr. Banks, The Founder) in 1993. Names such as Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, to Warren Beatty was briefly linked, before finally being filled by Hancock himself.

The Little Things

On the internet, I found many discussions regarding the ending of this film. It was enlivened by those who claimed to be “Se7en fans”, and almost all of them raised the question, “Who is the real killer?”. Whereas Se7en’s basic substance is not about “who”. Maybe the scarcity of products makes the audience forget the essence of this type of film. Unfortunately, The Little Things is not capable enough to be able to restore that memory, let alone revive the popularity of its subgenre. Top Movie Site

Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington), deputy sheriff from Kern County, is assigned to visit the Los Angeles police headquarters, to collect evidence of a murder case. Deacon used to be a detective there, before being transferred due to obsession with a case. Detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) welcomes him, who invites Deacon to the scene of a murder. It didn’t take Deacon long to realize that the perpetrator’s modus operandi bears a resemblance to the case he had failed to solve.

What made The Little Things appear inferior to Se7en? There is no need to discuss the subtext first, because the most pronounced one is about intensity. Once again, Se7en is not about “who”, and John Doe’s (Kevin Spacey) unique modus operandi makes the viewer not to prioritize the identity of the perpetrator but to “why”. Investigations run interesting thanks to their rich twists and turns, and the possibilities for answers are endless.

Here, Deacon and Baxter’s investigation is tedious, because even though the goal is not to guess the identity, Hancock’s script fails to attract the interest of the audience to find out more than that, in the middle of a series of procedures that who knows how many thousand times it appears in the film. The first body was found. It is believed that a few days after carrying out the action, the perpetrator returned, only to change the position of the victim. The next fact followed: all the victims were prostitutes. Why? It is suspected that the motive is the satisfaction of sexual desire. Point. No more mystery.

The new appeal increases once Albert Sparma (Jared Leto) appears. Deacon and Baxter believe it is the killer. Sparma’s figure seemed to shout “I’m the weird pervert killer!”. Again Leto appears eccentric. His eyes were blank, his way of walking was strange. An temper that will once again bring up the pros and cons, but for me, this time Leto’s oddity was effective. Sparma had to look creepy, and she did it (the Golden Globe and SAG Awards nominations catapulted her Oscar chances). Best Movie

Leto’s eccentricity blends perfectly with Denzel Washington, who has always led me to believe that he really feels what his character is feeling, in an appearance that defines the complexity of realism. In reality, when someone is angry, they don’t just scream. Likewise Denzel. He occasionally smiled, laughed, emphasized the irony of bitterness. Not many performers like him, who are able to conjure up “chatter” with a corpse (which on paper are like a silly dramatization), into painful contemplation, about tragedy as a teenager, who should have had the opportunity to enjoy golden times, even losing their lives too quickly.

Regarding acting, I think I have a different opinion from most viewers. Malek is the oddest. At the start of his appearance, Baxter was quite eccentric, like a cold-blooded figure who wouldn’t be surprising if he was finally revealed to be the real killer (calm down, this is not a spoiler). It was only when he entered the middle of the duration that he became more human. Not necessarily Malek’s fault. This could be Hancock’s intention to strengthen his message. It seems awkward due to the script that is weak in exploring the character’s psychic processes, so the changes are felt suddenly.

What message was Hancock trying to convey? Again, this is not much different from Se7en, which is a nihilist, where the world is so dark because of “God is a long past giving shit”. Like Morgan Freeman, Denzel made pessimistic sentences, regarding how police investigations are just a formality, instead of struggling to improve things. On the other hand, like Brad Pitt, Malek plays a figure who believes in his chances of deterring evil. The method used by the two films is also similar, when in the middle, the duet is turned into a trio. It was then that the prey took control of the hunter, dragging him into the endless abyss. Movie Review

Accompanied by the intense music by Thomas Newman, the third act is tense, full of anticipation and hope that the light will emerge. But apparently that hope is false. That’s why don’t expect clarity about the identity of the killer. In the world of nihilists, there is not one thing that is certain, apart from endless darkness.

Glassboy – Review
Movie Review

Glassboy – Review

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Samuele Rossi’s Glassboy film from Italy is memorable enough that I feel the need to review it. Once upon a time, in a remote village, across the mountains, far away in Italy, lived an 11-year-old boy nicknamed ‘Glassboy’ (a child who never leaves the house, can only look at the outside world from his mirror).

He is not like a child in general, he lives locked in a house that resembles a palace because he has a mysterious disease that makes him vulnerable to injuries, both internal and external injuries when in contact with the outside world. The child who is nicknamed Glassboy is named Pino (Andrea Arru).

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Pino never went out of the house, he couldn’t run and play with his peers. And he often peeked at four of his peers; Mavi (Rosa Barbolini), Ciccio (Stefano Trapuzzano), Mei Ming (Mia Pomelari), and Domenico (Gabriel Manozzi De Critofaro) from behind the glass windows of his room on the top floor of his house. This group of children called him Glassboy. Pino also didn’t go to public school, but was tutored by a private teacher at home.

One day, through the window of his room, Pino witnessed Mavi and his friends who were busy playing bicycles to be harmed by a gang of children who were bigger than them. Realizing this, Pino ran to the house to prevent Mavi and his friends from being in danger, even though Pino was putting himself at risk. Through this incident, Pino finally became friends with the Mavi gang.

However, their friendship did not last long. Pino’s grandmother didn’t like her grandson hanging out with the village children, and then he took Pino far out of town, to lock him back in a castle in the middle of the forest to get intensive care.
From this, of course, we can guess how the next plot will move. Pino’s new friends will go on an adventure to save Pino from his “evil” grandmother and helpers.
Best Movie

This kind of children’s adventure film Glassboy is often produced in Hollywood, but this is the first time I’ve seen a film of a similar genre from Italy, and the results are quite impressive! This film with a budget of 1.6 million Euros offers an exciting viewing of children’s adventure films, filled with jokes, joy, interesting plots, and especially conveyed through the point of view of children with all their innocence.

Unfortunately, we rarely or never even see films from Italy or Europe generally shown in commercial cinemas in this country, even though many European films have fulfilled all the prerequisites for a Hollywood-style entertainment film, and besides, we are used to watching foreign films with accompanied by subtitles, European films should be easily distributed in Indonesian cinemas.

However, maybe this can be an interesting topic in itself to be explored more deeply in a future article. Why apart from Hollywood, it is very difficult for us to find films from other countries showing in our favorite cinemas?
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Hopefully there is a homeland film distributor who can bring films from European soil as well as other countries besides America and Korea, so that they can be circulated here, so that interesting films like Glassboy can not only be enjoyed via film festivals.

The White Tiger – Review
Movie Review

The White Tiger – Review

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As a child, Balram (Adarsh ​​Gourav) was likened to a white tiger. Because as a poor boy from a slum in Laxmangarh, Balram, who is good at reading, also speaks English, is a “rare creature”. After a few years, what is the fate of Balram as an adult? Like most poor people from low caste, he became a loyal servant to carry out his master’s orders, then smiled happily every time he completed a task, like a dog wagging its tail while sticking out its tongue when its owner said, “good boy”. Top Movie Site

Adapting the novel of the same name by Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger, touches on privilege. How do the rich have the option to fail while the poor must succeed at all times. How no matter how smart, dreams will continue to hit the abyss of poverty. Interestingly, the film opens by showing Barlam who has been successful as a businessman. The question “What path did Barlam take to get out of the abyss of misery?”, Made his non-linear plot, able to effectively keep the audience’s attention. It is not easy to guess, an event will lead the story to where.

Balram’s first opportunity came, when he was accepted as the driver of Ashok (Rajkummar Rao), the youngest son of “The Stork” (Mahesh Manjrekar) the landlord in Laxmangarh. Unlike his father who acts arbitrarily, extorting the small people through taxes, and routinely paying politicians to run business, Ashok is an honest and generous man. That said, all thanks to the ideological influence he got while living in the United States. It was there that Ashok met his wife, Pinky (Priyanka Chopra Jonas).

Ashok and Pinky insist that Balram should not treat them as higher caste masters, even though the gap is actually so wide, both shown by appearance, mindset, and gestures. Rao in a suit looked charismatic. When he smokes in the passenger seat, his figure shows the figure of a rich man who can enjoy every second of his life. On the other hand, Gourav also convinced him as a servant who liked to smile and agreed to all the words of his employer. Either because he didn’t know anything, or in an attempt to “lick”. Best Movie

Initially The White Tiger seemed warm, but this is not a heartful story about the friendship of two different class individuals. The script made by director Ramin Bahrani (At Any Price, 99 Homes) immediately exposed reality. The reality is that the holders of power (and wealth) have a tendency to fake kindness. There are those who put on masks to attract the hearts of commoners, for example when we find that the grassroots idol politician who is nicknamed The Great Socialist (Swaroop Sampat), is in fact no less dirty at playing.

But there is also a bourgeoisie with double standards. Balram’s employer falls into this category, after an incident, which proves that in the end, the poor will become a victim of the rich. The second group is no less dangerous. Even though they seemed to be nice, they were so threatened, they didn’t hesitate to show their real faces.

Is it entirely the rich’s fault? On most occasions, yes, but The White Tiger is fair. The lower class people can also be a source of trouble, as was seen when Balram’s grandmother (Kamlesh Gill) not only forced her grandson to marry, she took almost all of her monthly salary. Egoism, greed, tendencies rule other people’s lives. In fact, this nature is present in every human being, no matter how thick the pouch is.

The ending of the film is somewhat problematic, takes place in a hurry, like a brief epilogue forced to summarize the conclusion of a long journey. But the weakness at the end of that duration did not cause the damage to The White Tiger, which, thanks to Ramin Bahrani’s dynamic storytelling, did not leave the slightest room for boredom. Movie Review

One Night In Miami – Review
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One Night In Miami – Review

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On February 25, 1964, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and Cassius Clay (before using the name Muhammad Ali), gathered in a hotel room to celebrate Clay’s success in winning the world title of heavyweight boxing. In fact, several other people joined in, but in the name of the dramatization, One Night in Miami, which is an adaptation of a stage script of the same title by Kemp Powers (Soul), only included the four of them. Four legends, four larger than life figures, which in Regina King’s directorial debut, were humanized while maintaining the mythology of each character. Top Movie Site

The meeting was true, but no one knows for sure what conversation took place. One Night in Miami imagines that on that night, Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) gathered his three friends, to convince them to be more actively involved in upholding black rights. This was the point where Malcolm began to doubt the leadership of the Nation of Islam, so he intended to leave and then set up a new organization. As a result, he also needs support from other big names.

Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) is definitely the perfect figure for that. Clay himself was firmly embraced by Islam, even before the match, he had time to pray with Malcolm, as a way to calm down. That’s also the reason Malcolm invited Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), who is known as one of the best NFL athletes of all time, and Sam “King of Soul” Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) whose works top the charts. Thinking they were going to attend a celebratory party, of course they were surprised to learn of Malcolm’s intentions, so debate after debate broke out.

One Night in Miami
One Night in Miami

One Night in Miami didn’t really find a footing until the four friends got involved in a chat on the rooftop. Malcolm, who at first looks like a nerdy man who worries that his three “wild” friends will damage his new camera, starts to become more aggressive. Especially for Cooke, who according to Malcolm, had the strongest platform to voice the struggle of blacks, but instead chose to play it safe to satisfy the tastes of white listeners. Prior to this moment, the film seemed to have difficulty determining the focus, because there was no path that regulated the direction of the conversation. Movie Review

After that, the intensity never slacked off. The four protagonists share perspectives on many things related to “trust”. Both spiritual belief, and belief in each other’s roles in the fight against racism, automatically nudge belief in the “purpose”, which is also the subject of Powers in the Soul. However, the context of the “purpose” in this film is more specific.

The Powers script humanizes its four characters, does not cult them, by making critical statements that the public may never dare to make clearly. Did Clay embrace Islam from the heart? Did Cooke “prostitute” himself to white skin? But the most daring decision was to flick Malcolm’s extreme views. The twitching is accompanied by an attempt to understand the reasons behind each perspective and choice. Malcolm is just a human being shrouded in fear, on the other hand, Cooke is not that ignorance. “If the goal is for us to be free, to be REALLY free, then the key is economic freedom”, said Brown, commenting on Malcolm’s “attack” on Cooke. None of the four is perfect, but neither is it wrong.

King’s directing is full of power that gives a burst of debate, as well as the sensitivity to wrap up more intimate moments. The four actors radiate the same energy. Goree has Clay’s arrogance, as well as his signature “dance” in the ring; Ben-Adir understands the complexities of a Malcolm X (if you think he is fit for Barack Obama, yes, Ben-Adir was the 44th president of the United States in the miniseries The Comey Rule); Odom Jr. bringing Sam Cooke’s charm to life onstage (no surprise, as he is a Broadway actor, including his portrayal of Aaron Burr in Hamilton stage and film versions); Hodge, with his charisma and deep voice, is perfect as an “anchor” figure, voice of reason, a great midnight counterweight. Best Movie

Monster Hunter – Review
Movie Review

Monster Hunter – Review

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I’ve never played Monster Hunter, let alone know the gameplay. Whatever the story may be, I believe it is richer than the film adaptation, which Paul W. S. Anderson directed and wrote. But in contrast to the Resident Evil series which imposes a complex storyline without adequate writing, Monster Hunter was originally intended to be a pure spectacle to sell battles against giant monsters. Unexpectedly the results were satisfying, reminiscent of the beginning of the director’s career, when he gave birth to a row of fun brainless titles.Top Movie Site

After being trapped by a thunderstorm, Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and his troops are stranded in New World, a world filled with wild monsters. One by one, they died, leaving only Artemis. Artemis’s efforts to survive get help from a monster hunter (Tony Jaa). The hunter has no name, and credit simply refers to him as “Hunter”.

Next, for approximately 103 minutes, Monster Hunter has practically zero stories. Really. I’m not exaggerating. The only thing that comes close to the definition of “story” is Ron Perlman’s brief explanation, that Artemis was not the first person to get lost in New World. But regarding the cause of the opening of the portal connecting the two worlds, the origin of the magic sword capable of producing fire given to Artemis, as well as other mythological details, are completely untouched. Best Movie

But again, the shallow plot is intentional, as one proof that Anderson understands what the majority of his target audience wants. They want to see monsters, monsters and monsters. That’s what Anderson gave: human battles against monsters in daylight, coupled with the use of a lot of wide shots, so that the form of the giant creatures was clearly visible, and of course, massive. Even though it only costs $ 60 million, the CGI quality is quite capable. As a result, the subterranean monster Diablos’ attack, to the climax of a fire-throwing dragon named Rathalos, are all manifestations of blockbuster kaiju glory.

Anderson this time did not just throw the action. The stewardship is not just “big”, it also creates intensity, each of the protagonists’ lives is threatened, even though we all know that he will survive. Apart from the kaiju film, Anderson also applies a survival action-horror formula, especially in the first act, when Artemis, with a body full of wounds, is still unable to fight back against the monsters that attack him. Jovovich is still a very reliable action star, looking convincing when slaughtering a monster hundreds of times his size. Unfortunately, her chemistry with Jaa failed, where some of the humor that was aimed at refreshing the atmosphere ended up awkward. It was not Jovovich or Jaa’s fault. The script is also responsible. Well, anything related to the script in this film never ends positively. Movie Review

Pieces of a woman – Review
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Pieces of a woman – Review

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Pieces of a Woman is opened by the home birth scene in a long take of 22 minutes which has been widely discussed, as a showcase for almost every department. First, of course, Benjamin Loeb’s cinematography, where the camera is able to follow all the details of the Mise-en-scène that was built by the director, Kornél Mundruczó, in order to give birth to the moment as real as possible. Realism that grips the attention of the audience is also the emotion of the audience. Even the special effects of making Vanessa Kirby look convincing as a woman in labor are commendable. Top Movie Site

This moment also introduces us to Kirby’s first-class performance, which will make the audience hold their breath, while feeling the pain and suffering of her character. Later the actress gave even more. But apart from Kirby’s labor and acting scenes, what else are people talking about this film? I don’t think so much, if not none. Apart from the fact that these two elements stand out, in the rest of its duration, Pieces of a Woman does not offer anything special.

It is not a spoiler to say that the delivery did not end with a joyful celebration. Almost all promotional materials have revealed that Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) lost their babies. The mistake is transferred to Eva (Molly Parker) as an impromptu substitute midwife. Martha’s mother, Elizabeth (Ellen Burstyn), insists on throwing Eva into prison. According to Elizabeth, one should be blamed and rewarded. Martha didn’t think the same.

Martha continued her life, returned to the office even though people gave her different looks. The script, written by Mundruczó’s wife, says Wéber, is based on the personal tragedy they experienced, exposing the protagonist’s wounds, which are exacerbated by a lot of pressure from those around him. Saying they want to help, they really only intend to fulfill their respective egos. The desire for Martha to improve was not based entirely on genuine concern, but because the way Martha handled their grief made them uncomfortable.

They forget (or don’t even care?) That it was Martha who lost the pieces of herself. It’s amazing how Kirby embodies her character’s grief. The grief that often makes Martha look empty, but that is not a form of weakness. He is fragile, but still trying to hold on firmly. She is fragile, but refuses to be crushed. In fact, you could say, even though Martha suffered the most, she was also the one who could organize herself the most. She’s a woman with dignity. Mundruczó knows very well how well the actress is performing. It is not uncommon for both background music and voice to be removed, in order to let Kirby’s acting “speak the loudest” in the painful silence. Best Movie

Contrary to Kirby’s realist approach, there is Shia LaBeouf, who, as usual, has an explosive tendency. Watching it was tiring. I have always thought of LaBeouf as a fellow teacher of Nicolas Cage. Both of them like to appear exaggerated. The difference is, Cage’s hyperbole style tends to be entertaining, while seeing LaBeouf torture himself is also torturous. The world where his characters live must be a world where the sun doesn’t shine.

This time it wasn’t entirely LaBeouf’s fault. The script tries too hard to present extreme situations. Not only Sean, almost all of the supporting figures around Martha are described as villains. Whatever they did, Martha always hurt and angered the audience. This method is effective in making us support Martha, but it is too manipulative, for a film that opens through scenes that are made with passion to present the strongest realism possible.

Surprisingly, at the same time Wéber seemed to be trying to humanize them, and even seemed to encourage the audience to sympathize. In the end I was never even sure what to feel, and how to behave with them. It could be that Pieces of a Woman wants to be fair. The problem is, if this is the case, the decision to manipulate the audience’s emotions as I mentioned above will backfire.

Apart from being emotionally confusing, it’s also a waste of time. For example, instead of focusing on Sean (who seems to want to justify his actions), why not invite the audience to spend more time with Martha to strengthen the intimacy of the story? Pieces of a Woman are actually made based on good intentions, but unfortunately, the pieces fail to fit together properly. Still, the film deserves to be watched, solely for Vanessa Kirby’s acting and the labor scene. Movie Review

Thappad – Review
Movie Review

Thappad – Review

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Thappad (meaning “slap”) is opened in a cheerful manner, showing several people (the majority of couples, whether married, dating, or perpetrators of infidelity) are happy, being romantic, or joking. Even in the first 25 minutes, after we visited the main partner, Amrita (Taapsee Pannu) and Vikram (Pavail Gulati), the joy is still there, like a light romantic comedy. Top Movie Site

Working at a company, Vikram is trying hard to achieve his dream of becoming a branch manager in London, while Amrita is a former dancer who gave up on pursuing her dream of becoming the world’s number one housewife. They are happy. Especially when Vikram’s ambition about London came true.

The party was held. Vikram’s family, friends, and colleagues were invited. You could say, everyone in their life was there. But the big celebration turned into a catastrophe. Vikram receives a call that the promotion is canceled. He could still go to London, but as a subordinate. An argument broke out between Vikram and one of his superiors, Amrita tried to intervene, but her husband slapped her. That’s when we realized, the film was deliberately made cheerful at the beginning, so that, like the character, the audience would be dumbfounded when the incident happened.

This slap is the beginning of exploration, the opening of social criticism which is also like a slap in the face of the audience. Amrita started to question everything. His marriage, his love. Vikram also wonders. Asked why that “trivial” incident made her smile disappear. Because for many men, women always have to smile.

Thappad
Thappad

The first sentence Vikram uttered to Amrita the following morning was not “sorry”, but justification, reasons, and concerns about how people viewed her. But what about Amrita? Imagine the feelings. How sick and ashamed to receive such treatment in a crowd of familiar people. Vikram says he wants to quit the job which he doesn’t appreciate, but is Amrita being appreciated?

Thappad is about many things, which the script by Anubhav Sinha (also the director) and Mrunmayee Lagoo put together in a fine 142 minutes of speech. The film invites us to think by showing various perspectives through various situations, where the protagonist’s conflict acts as a link. It didn’t take long for it to be revealed that the people in the opening sequence had some connection to the main character. Connections that occur imperceptibly, as a clever way to explore the issue. As I have already mentioned, at first they all look happy, but over time we can see the presence of sexism around every corner. Best Movie

Sexism (and patriarchy) is visible to the character, because it takes too long and often becomes a habit, or even a culture. Sunita (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan), a maid in our protagonist’s house, tells the story of her husband who often beat her at home while laughing, as if it’s a daily life for a husband and wife. On the way to the office, Vikram complained about people letting women drive cars, then when Amrita asked if she could learn to drive, Vikram said, “You better learn the past!”. And there are other cases.

The slap became a trigger, not only for Amrita, but also for the people around her regarding gender injustice. They start to react, think, even try to imagine what would happen if they were in a similar position. Thus, the audience can also get different perspectives.

Set in India where patriarchy is deeply rooted, this does not make this film exclusively for local people. Thappad is quite universal. Maybe you’ve heard some of the points of view of his character in everyday life. “Women have to learn tolerance in order to maintain a family. Women have to hold back their feelings. Sound familiar?

Remarkably, Thappad was fair in his criticism. We see some men “unite”, stating that Vikram’s actions are not a big deal, but on the other hand, there are also many women who are caught in the trap of a patriarchal mindset. Mrs. Amrita (Ratna Pathak Shah) considers that as a woman, leaving her daughter from home when she is feeling nervous due to her husband’s slapping, is not a good decision. Meanwhile, Netra (Maya Sarao), a lawyer who often fights for women’s rights, considers Amrita’s anger to be unreasonable. Why did that happen? Thappad has the answer. Parenting is clearly responsible.

Keeping so many subjects, can the film tell a solid story? Apparently capable. The issue was thoroughly explored, even though I had time to walk in place once it reached mid-duration. Some parts can be cut so there is no need to run for nearly two and a half hours, pacing can be more played, and all of that will not reduce its impact.

Every time the storytelling dynamics started to decline, the acting department came to help. The cast members did their respective portions well, but naturally, Taapsee Pannu stood out the most. The transition, from a radiant female figure to one who had lost all light, was reassuring. After the transition, although at first glance he didn’t change his expression much, his gaze and short words got sharper. We can feel whether he is sad, shocked, disgusted, angry, or all at once.

Apart from the success of exploring the issue, another achievement of the two writers is the matter of writing sentences that the characters pronounce. Anubhav Sinha and Mrunmayee Lagoo are adept at processing words, from those that make us aware, inform, provoke, or touch the heart, such as the last sentence that Vikram uttered to Amrita, which established Thappad’s status not as a spectacle full of anger or revenge, but a humanist story that based on love and care. We shouldn’t do anything wrong, but if we did, the best and first thing to do is apologize, before then try to be better, for yourself and your loved ones. Movie Review

Josee – Review
Movie Review

Josee – Review

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After the great success of playing the ungrateful Nam Do-san at Start-Up, Nam Joo-hyuk reunited with Han Ji-min, where the two had dueted in one of the most successful and best Korean dramas of all time, The Light in Your. Eyes. Is a remake of the Japanese film Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (2003) which was adapted from the book of the same name by Seiko Tanabe, Josée is a romance that talks about freedom, and of course love. Love that is sufficiently felt, does not need to be understood, nor does it need a reason. Top Movie Site

Lee Young-seok (Nam Joo-hyuk) is a student who never stays in one heart. From juniors to lecturers, all ended up in bed. One day he helped a woman (Han Ji-min) who fell from a wheelchair. The woman brought to his house. A slum house where he lives with his grandmother. The woman introduces herself by the name Josée, which Young-seok finds out later, after the character of Françoise Sagan’s novel Wonderful Clouds. Young-seok starts visiting regularly for free meals and slowly brings his feelings to Josée.

Under the direction of director Kim Jong-kwan, who co-wrote the script, Josée may surprise viewers who come to see Nam Do-san 2.0 or the melodrama melodrama that is touching blue. The film plays softly, with the melancholy reinforced by the snowy backdrop of some parts, as well as the music based on the tinkling piano and guitar by Narae. Plus, Josée always speaks quietly, tends to whisper.

Josee's
Josee’s

Josée’s orientation is a sense constructed through the mood of the situation. Through the silence, through the coldness of the snow outside the house, through the rays of the sun shining in through the windows, through the gazes, through the love floating in the air instead of being exploded. A style that doesn’t feel suitable for all audiences, but if you can accept it, you will be carried away, and subconsciously drowning in the love of the two main characters. Best Movie

Nam Joo-hyuk’s greatest strength is to make problematic characters likeable. He has shown this achievement at Start-Up, and is able to repeat it here. You would think of Young-seok’s tendency of changing partners as foolishness, but you won’t resent him. Meanwhile, Han Ji-min gave birth to a lonely figure who refused to feel lonely. A figure full of limitations who refuses to be confined. A mysterious figure that continues to invite the audience’s curiosity to understand him more.

Questions (and possibly complaints) are likely to be directed towards the conclusion of the film. After the five-year timeskip, the story provides a turning point for the two characters’ relationship for no definite reason. But if you pay attention, Josée is not a question of certainty. The protagonist lies about his name as well as his background. Because again, it’s about taste. About love. No one can explain the exact reasons why love comes and goes.

Josée’s real weakness is related to the film’s lack of directness in conveying messages about the various faces of “freedom”. That what is often seen as restraints may even be another form of freedom. That a pain that for many people destroys, for others it could give an injection to rise up to pursue freedom. Everything is explained through the ambiguity of allegories (fish, tigers, etc.) which never completely leave an impression. Movie Review

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Review
Movie Review

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Review

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This adaptation of August Wilson’s stage show of the same name is set in a recording studio in Chicago. The air was so hot, the location was far from comfortable, especially the room where the band members practiced, namely the ground that was almost without ventilation. We can feel the stuffiness due to the smell of dust that will make anyone short of breath for a moment. All this adds to the reasons for the characters getting involved in the argument. Lots of arguments, because Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is indeed a film about arguments. Top Movie Site

In 1927, Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), the legendary blues singer, was scheduled to do recordings, including for the flagship song Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which had two versions. The three band members choose Ma’s original version as usual, while the trumpet player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) insists on the version being played, something their manager, Irvin (Jeremy Shamos) supports. Levee was reluctant to be arranged. He knows he is talented, especially after Mel Sturdyvan (Jonny Coyne), as the owner of the studio, asked him to write songs and promised the opportunity to lead his own band.

The difference of opinion above is only one of the many problems that sparked a split between Levee and the other band members. Then Ma arrives with his girlfriend, Dussie (Taylour Paige), and his stuttering nephew, Sylvester (Dusan Brown). Later, the two of them provoked another conflict between the people in the narrow building.

With almost three decades of experience working on theater, director George C. Wolfe (Nights in Rodanthe) uses several theatrical methods to strengthen focus in certain moments, for example making the actor convey important lines while standing with his back to other players. The method that makes Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom retain its source color adaptation. But at the same time, Wolfe also uses close ups, to produce a dramatic effect that a stage show with all its limitations cannot achieve. Best Movie

Davis played Ma with authority and explosion. A force of nature figure that leaves no opportunity for the opponent’s argument. Attitudes that are not (only) triggered by arrogance or star syndrome, come from the understanding that without it, as a black woman, it will be difficult for her to be appreciated by the public. While Boseman moved and danced vigorously, like someone who just wanted to have fun. Until the character’s background (which we peeked at in the opening scene) is revealed, giving Boseman the opportunity to show the most touching performance of his career, through a monologue that will break the hearts of the audience as well as give him an Oscar. It was too soon to go.

The majority of arguments come from clashing ideals based on artistic passion. Ma wanted the old way, which to him was the “true blues.” Instead, Levee wanted to provide something that would make listeners happy. A song that can accompany their dance.

You could say, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a battle of the past and the future. But it goes beyond that when race matters take part. It’s old way is not an option, but the only way left for black people, while Levee’s new way means “no way”. All because of racism in the music industry. In this film you will find the issue of “white people stole black music”, which results in, no matter how hard black musicians try to make a breakthrough to open the door called “opportunity”, what awaits a dead end. Movie Review

SYLVIE’S LOVE – Review
Movie Review

SYLVIE’S LOVE – Review

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Sylvie’s Love is a throwback to Hollywood’s Golden Age era. Not only because of the technical aspects, in which director Eugene Ashe (also writing the script) used grainy visuals, he also shot the soundstage to produce an artificial setting but captivated the eye of classic romances. The spirit of this film is also “very Golden Age”. A romance set in the 1950s to 1960s, where love is overwhelming, as if it were everything. Among modern romances, a similar impression is shared by A Star is Born (2018), whose original film also dates from that era (1937). Top Movie Site

There is only one difference. Golden Age will not provide shows with the theme of black love. Even now, it is still difficult to find a black love story that is not filled with racial problems or other human traumas. As the title suggests, Sylvie’s Love is simply about the love of Sylvie Parker (Tessa Thompson), who while working at her father’s music shop, continues to hang on to her dream of becoming a television show producer. There he met Robert Halloway (Nnamdi Asomugha) who applied for a job at the shop.

Interest immediately arose between them. Karisma Robert, who was also a saxophonist in a jazz quartet, immediately captivated Sylvie. The problem was that Sylvie was engaged. Unlike Robert, who only regularly plays music at the club, Sylvie’s future husband, Lacy (Alano Miller), is a successful businessman from an upper-class family. The opening scene shows that Sylvie and Robert had separated since their first meeting. But will separation also be the end of their story? Best Movie

If you are familiar with a series of classic shows that always put the love of the protagonist on the big test, you will not be surprised to find that Sylvie and Robert had lived separately for five years. Robert was successful with his band, while Sylvie started a career in the television industry, while serving as wife and mother. At that point, Ashe’s script is able to make the audience understand the various problems and achievements in the careers of the two main characters, without having to drown the love story as the main focus.

And as already mentioned, Sylvie’s Love moves away from the demands of incorporating social conflict. As a window to reality, a little casual racism does need to be inserted, for example when the wife of Lacy’s business partner said to Sylvie, “I couldn’t tell that your husband is a n **** on the telephone. He has such a good diction ”. But beyond that, Sylvie’s Love fully shows two humans fighting for their love.

The music by Fabrice Lecomte reinforces a jazzy vibe, while occasionally shifting to magnificent orchestration whenever emotional intensity increases. The two actors are the same. Tessa Thompson moves like a jazz rhythm with flavors, while Nnamdi Asomugha, with her deep voice and facial expressions, defines the phrase “feeling blue”. The two of them have strong chemistry, which makes me not care about the cliche that the film still shows (example: a misunderstanding scene of a character who witnesses his girlfriend making out with other people from afar). Afterall, this is a throwback to romance from yesteryear. Clichéness is a must. Movie Review

Ghost Storm – Review
Movie Review

Ghost Storm – Review

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The film Ghost Storm itself tells the story of saving people on a small island from a strange electric storm. This dramatic and action-packed rescue came under the leadership of Ashley and Hal. Top Movie Site

Paul Ziller as director in this film also plays a role in writing the script. For 60 minutes, we will see the action of famous actors and actresses, such as Carlos Bernard, Chrystal Allen, Melissa Aron Douglas, Carl David Lewis, Cindy Busby, and others. Rotten Tomatoes itself gave a rating of 21 percent. In contrast to iMDb, which has a score of 3.6 out of 10.

The story begins with four teenagers who are full of curiosity and ignorance and come to the cemetery. At that time the weather was very dark with lightning striking. Even this teenager still had time to scare off his cowardly female friends.

The four teenagers did not understand the actions they were taking until they were determined to live on a small island. When they were playing, lightning struck the memorial where they lived. This incident is a sign that there have been mass suicides in the past that have killed thousands of people at the same time.

The coming of the evil spirit
These lightning and thunderbolts are also the means for spirits to come into the world. Finally, one of the teenagers turned into a pale, ash human due to possession. This teenager finally died and his corpse could dry up in a matter of hours. However, they were Sultan looking for help because the location was far from residents. Best Movie

This situation made these teenagers filled with guilt and regret because they played in the cemetery. They also continue to think about how to get help as soon as possible amid the increasingly bad weather.

These teenagers also visited the authorities to get help, but the death of a friend of one of these teenagers was just the beginning of the arrival of an evil spirit where there would be many similar cases that claimed victims.

The evil spirits began to join forces with stronger forces to cause a storm that could destroy the islanders. Can these teenagers stop the action of this evil spirit? Watch the film Ghost Storm. Movie Review

QUARANTINE TALES – Review
Movie Review

QUARANTINE TALES – Review

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Quarantine Tales has been one of Indonesia’s best omnibuses in recent years. In fact, of the five directors who handled the five 87-minute fill segments, only Ifa Isfansyah had experience working on feature films. Jason Iskandar, Sidharta Tata, and Aco Tenriyagelli are better known in the short film scene, while as we all know, Dian Sastrowardoyo has just made her debut. Top Movie Site

The reason Quarantine Tales stands out from its peers is that the comparison of the quality of each segment tends to be balanced, so that the dynamic is maintained consistently. Besides being directed, Nougat was also written by Dian Sastrowardoyo himself, opening Quarantine Tales through the story of three sisters, who grew up together, but as they got older, their relationship became more tenuous, and only communicated via video calls.

Ubay (Marissa Anita) stays away from her two younger siblings after marrying a man who controls her life, the youngest Deno (Faradina Mufti) is finishing college, while Ajeng (Adinia Wirasti), who still lives in their late parents’ house, is a figure trying to unite his family . It’s no surprise that I mention that the three actresses are the main movers of Nougat. Adinia who is more quiet, Faradina who is cheerful, and Marissa who quickly gets hot, made me willing to sit for hours listening to the chat of the three. In the realm of writing, rather than taking a pandemic background, Dian cleverly chose to create comparisons. Even without COVID, we are already distant.

Prankster as the second segment is the weakest. The story of a “Youtuber prank” named Didit Iseng (Roy Sungkono) who is doing a live broadcast with Aurel (Windy Apsari), the guest star, is actually not bad, it’s just filled with the cliche of the revenge horror / thriller genre. The script made by the director, Jason Iskandar, needs to provide a smarter plan of revenge for his character, which doesn’t make him appear “digging his own grave”. At least, the audience’s latent desire to punish the real world pranksters was able to be represented by Jason. Best Movie

The Cook Book segment, which was written by Ifa Isfansyah and Ahmad Aditya, followed later. Narrating the efforts of Chef Halim (Verdi Solaiman) to write a recipe book in the middle of a quarantine period, the Cook Book inserts one of the nation’s tragedies, in a narrative about longing for “ties”. In the midst of loneliness due to quarantine, that feeling strengthens, and we begin to miss our loved ones, including those who have left us. The Cook Book presents a bitterness that many viewers can understand.

Aco Tenriyagelli’s Happy Girls Don’t Cry is my favorite segment. Sri Arawinda Kirana plays Adin, a teenage girl whose family is plagued by continuous problems due to COVID. His younger brother (Muzakki Ramdhan) has just died, while his parents (played by Teuku Rifnu Wikana and Marissa Anita) are deeply in debt. Adin dreams of winning a giveaway from his favorite YouTuber to improve the family’s financial condition. But when that dream came true, a bigger problem approached.

Aco presents a sharp and intriguing satire about the exploitation of poverty on social media, at a time when people are hoping to get “shock money”. The insinuation was fair, because Aco flicked all parties, both rich and poor. You’ll say, “Ah, this segment is on A’s side”, then, “Oh, it turns out B”, before finally realizing, neither has Happy Girls Don’t Cry. There is no laughter that is not accompanied by pain in this segment.

To conclude is Sidharta Tata’s The Protocol, where a man (Abdurrahman Arif) is confused, when he finds out that his traveling companion, Icuk (Kukuh Prasetya), died in a car after showing symptoms of COVID. Next, we are shown ridiculous scenes when the protagonist is confused, how to take care of his friend’s body. The Protocol is so effective at provoking laughter in the first minutes, but when humor of a type is repeated over and over, its power slowly fades. It is not an extraordinary ending, at least this segment successfully ends a film about difficult times with happy laughter. Movie Review

Dying To Survive – Review
Movie Review

Dying To Survive – Review

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Dying to Survive (Wo bu shi yao shen) is a film from China with a drama and comedy genre. This film by director Muye Wen features talented actors and actresses such as Zheng Xu, Chuan-jun Wang, Zhuo Tan, and Yu Zhang. Dying to Survive was first released in China on June 19, 2018. Releases in countries such as South Korea to Canada and Japan were carried out as follows, namely from June 30, 2018 to October 16, 2020.

The story in this Chinese and English language film was made based on on the true story of the life journey of a patient with CML or chronic myelocytic leukemia named Yu Long. In his life, Yu Long illegally smuggled cancer drugs to poor patients in China. With a duration of 117 minutes, the film Dying to Survive successfully delivered one of these touching stories. Top Movie Site

Funds disbursed for making this film is estimated at 15 million US dollars. In its opening week in the United States, Dying to Survive only made around 3.2 thousand US dollars in profit. However, the screening of this film was managed to get massive revenue globally, with a profit of around 451 million US dollars.

The recognition of the quality of this film is evidenced by a number of awards. This film won 60 awards and 52 nominations. These awards include the Asian Film Awards (2019) with Yu Zhang as the winner of the Best Supporting Actor category, and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards (2018) in the Best Asian Film category. The movie review site IMDb, gives a rating of 7.9 out of 10 for Dying to Survive. Best Movie

Meanwhile, film critic site Rotten Tomatoes gave 86 percent (Tomatometer) and 95 percent viewership scores for Dying to Survive. Synopsis of the film Dying to Survive Set in 2002, the story in Dying to Survive centers on Cheng Yong (Zheng Xu), a drug dealer from China. His business selling ‘love’ medicine from India is not going well, while his father is lying weak in the hospital. He also faces divorce issues with his ex-wife Cao Ling (Beibi Gong).

Once upon a time, one day a CML patient named Lv Shouyi (Chuan-jun Wang) came to Cheng’s drugstore. Shouyi asks Cheng to illegally sell a CML medicine named Glinic. Shouyi offers Cheng a deal, if he can get Glinic from India and sell him cheap, there will be a profit for both of them. Glinic is the name of the drug for CML patients. In China itself, this medicine is sold at a very high price. The patients, who mostly come from poor families, find it difficult to buy. Movie Review