Category Archives: Review

Life of Pi * 8.5/10

After six months of hiatus from writing in this blog, Life of Pi makes me return. Yes, it is that DAMN GOOD! Life of Pi without a shadow of a doubt is my 2012’s best movie.

For those who haven’t read the book, most of the plot revolves around 3 main characters. One curious boy and a tiger on a boat, and the sea itself. A story about God. A story about what to believe. And a story about life. I won’t spoiler it anymore.

I don’t know who in the blue hell really responsible to this masterpiece. Whether its Yann Martell itself, the director Ang Lee, Michael Danna the composer, or even the teams whose responsible in special effect, they should be proud even though the box office wasn’t too good. Seriously, I never would have imagine that Life of Pi could be translated to the life action version. The story is too enchanting and words-oriented in capturing imagination. This story which isn’t blatantly cinematic didn’t exactly have a formula for a great film. But Ang Lee and his crew achieves the unachievable. If anyone thinks that the Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, or Lust/Caution is awesome, wait till you see Life of Pi. Right from the first minute, on that soothing beautiful Indian song that accompanies opening credits, until the end where the glaring ambiguity soaks up, Life of Pi is amazingly well made.  Thank you universe for not letting that dick Shyamalan directing this movie!

Usually, I can be a bitch in terms of adaptation screenplay. I hate it so goddamn much when I can’t find baby eating cannibals in movie version of Cormac McCarthy. I despise Hollywood’s take of Constantine. I nearly kill someone when Son Goku is a white caucasian asshole. But somehow, Ang Lee’s version of Life of Pi is still in a good VIBE even after losing some important scene and violence that’s in the book. The narration is good, unique enough and makes you feels that you’re reading a giant storybook without ever seeing a single letter. I still missed the whole good wholesome feeling from the book when Pi tell us that the story is gonna have a happy ending from the first chapter, though.

Life of Pi is the ultimate audio/visual treat of the year. This is the only movie that I’ve recommended to be saw in 3D besides Avatar. I think this is the first time I’ve ever watched a movie where a visualization could be a huge part in the storyline itself. It is the most beautiful movie I have seen visually. Better than anything, I’ve ever watched before. Avatar, Avengers, American Pie, any porn movies, you name it. Why? Because unlike those movies which had no connection to reality, does not have the depth and a pure fantasy, the visuals in Life of Pi are more artistic, stirring and shot like an organic memory. It feels very much alive, breathing, and believable! And the soundtrack? Pure gold.

To watch Life of Pi is to observe how few films really consider their characters, how few consider the spiritual journey of the adventure they are undertaking into the unknown and hence the unexpected! It is not perfect, of course. The acting is decent at best, the needs of using English language is very questionable, but they’re just a minor bump that you won’t realize exist if you’re not an asshole like me. But trust me, If this is not the movie that will make you believe in god, it will definitely will make you believe in Ang Lee.  I wish there’s a movie like this when I was hitting my childhood back 2 decades ago. That would be a very magical treat for me..

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Prometheus *7/10

 

So after all those hype. After all those theories and assumptions. After all those waits since, probably, 2002 right after James Cameron starting to work on the pre-production and decide to abandoned it because of AVP, does Prometheus worth it? Does Prometheus live up to the Hype?

Sadly, no.

Sigh.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Prometheus is a great movie. Prometheus is an awesome movie. But the impact will be lesser than Alien and Blade Runner. Because as much as I want to LOVE this movie, my feeling is never crossing the line of just liking it. Why? Because the main point of making an Alien prequel is to answer the question of who the fuck is space jockey or for casual viewer what in the blue hell is sitting in those derelict in the first Alien? And, sadly, Prometheus answer that question in a worst unimaginative, and sometimes one-liner, explanation and because of that, creating another bigger question ahead just for the sake of franchising out of Prometheus.

Story? This is the real reason why Prometheus becoming my most anticipated movie of all time. I don’t care if Ridley Scott is hiring kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, as long as he answer all the Alien fanboy question in my head. But gawd, there’s nothing more disapointing than the storyline and script  in Prometheus. The plot hole is like a land mine that you can’t avoid. Even a casual inexperienced moviegoers will find a lot of stupid things to point. Things like(SPOILER ALERT): Why the fuck does no one even think about what to do with Shaw’s offspring? Especially David. Because of Weyland? What about Vickers?  Did she never went back to her pod even just for taking a pee? OR OR, things like how in the blue hell that mohawk dude and biologic nerd can get lost in the first place. The freakin Janek can guide them with the all those sophisticated map, and to make things worse that mohawk dude is the one who preparing and mapping the entire site. OR OR, things like how that cardboard box Holloway going THE alcoholic way in a ship in the edge of the universe just because GOD is presumably already DEAD? that doesn’t make sense at all! OR OR, why the fuck Vickers and Shaw is running in a straight line! How stupid are they?  I can go on and on and never stop pointing all the silly and unimportant stuff in the Prometheus if i want to, but its not worth it because probably nobody will read it. In this term, Prometheus felt flat, soulless and rushed in some part, and i don’t even start on the plot hole on Alien mythology yet. Ridley Scott once says that he want to scare the shit out of us, and quite frankly there is no real sense of terror or suspense. We can blame editing, Landelof and Scott’s ambiguity in this area. There’s gotta be a director’s cut coming out a few years from now. Ridley Scott always do that.

But gawd, Prometheus is pretty. This is by far the most sophisticated, beautiful, and epic movie in terms of visualization. From those amazing landscape opening, the interior of pyramids(we can call it that) and Promethus,  to the exterior desert of LV 223, there’s nothing to complain. This is Ridley Scott in his best and probably no single director in this world can touch him in this area. The 3d works flawlessly too. Watching Prometheus in IMAX is worth the money.

Predictably, Fassbender is the acting powerhouse. The script really stay behind him in terms of acting creativity. That scene where he roaming around Prometheus alone is magnificent. His way of walking, or the way he talked is very unique and methodical. Way better than Winona Ryder, in the same league with Henrikssen and Holm, or arguably better. Noomi Rapace? Good. Elba and Theron? Better than I expected, good chemistry, but the script didn’t allow them to soaring away. Guy Pearce? Hideous make up, forgettable character. Others are unimportant cannon fodder. Weak, weak and weak.

The Creatures? I hate that giant squid facehugger. The creatures life cycle didn’t make sense and kinda ruins Xenomorph mythology. I hate the engineer. It ruins the mystical effect of Space Jockey. Its just a giant dude in the suit. Sigh. Although I love the last creature that they showed in the ending scene. The Xenomorph ancestor. Feral and beastly. HR Giger definitely didn’t have a hand in Prometheus creatures department.

Now, for the final words. I do like Prometheus. I will watch it again for the second, third, and countless times more. But not because this is a masterpiece. not because Prometheus is memorable. But because I’m a blind Alien fan. I will support everything with Xenomorph in it, no matter how awful the product. For the casual people who wants to start following Alien franchise or knowing only a little about the franchise here and there, Prometheus can be very hard to swallow because It’s vision and definition is unclear. So just enjoy all those pretty scene.

For the fact, I’m watching it with my girlfriend, and my other two friend. Except for me, the others doesn’t really understand what the heck is Prometheus is all about. My girlfriend is asking me what the hell is that giant dude? what the fuck is he doing in the opening scene? And my two other friend is leaving the IMAX with a huge grin in their forehead.

Now I understand why Ridley want Prometheus to be PG Rating so it could make more money…Sigh..

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Let the Right One In * 9.5/10

 

As you all may know, I’m a “huge” fan of Twilight series. So when another vampire movie arrive, no matter how hard I try, Twilight is the benchmark.

Let the Right One in is a romantic/thriller drama movie about vampire. It’s in the same genre as twilight series. But If Let the Right one in feels like a nice warm once in a decade A-Class poetry slash literature, Twilight feels and smells like chicken shit.

The story is simple and a bit of a cliche, but the execution and script is perfect. Oscar, a 12 year old who is incessantly bullied by his classmates met Eli, a strange vampire girl who moves in to the next door. And the journey began.

When I first heard about “Let the right one in”, I always thought it will be another failed attempt to translate a great vampire story to the screen. With movies like “Twilight” make a pussy out of Vampire myth, or how “I am Legend” ruins one of the greatest ending ever in a novel with that stupid stupid Hollywood style, Let the Right One in feels like cold breeze in your neck. It is different, powerful, memorable and beautiful.

Different because, Let the right one in has all the traditional and conventional vampire myth we’re accustomed to, and at the same time it present in an unconventional, low-key simplistic way which manages to capture me in my seat right from the start. The story felt like a water flowing from the river up to the sea. Very natural, cold and yet ambiguous(freaky gender revelation). As cliche as it is, Let the right one in still manages to blows me away with its predictable twisted brutal plot.

Powerful because of the two main leads acting. You can feel the depth and centuries of blood in Eli’s Eyes. You can feel swallow the pain and yet needing for revenge thought from Oscar smiles and heavy breathing. You can feel the misguidance and hungry for love from Eli. You can feel the error way but still rooting for them both. If all of that wasn’t a powerful acting then maybe Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison making a cardboard expression is for you.

Memorable because of the chemistry from Eli and Oscar. Its like fate. You just want both of them to be together in the end. Even after the movie ends, I still wondering what’s going to happen between those two. Will Oscar succumbs to the same fate as Eli’s “Father”? Will Eli ever loved someone again? Its been a long time since I felt like knowing and caring the hell out of a fiction character just from two hours journey with them.

Beautiful because of the movie take on cinematography and music. I don’t want to be sounded like a douchbag movie buff, but “Let the Right one In” deserve a hell of a praise in this two category. The shot is as cold as swedish suburban. Empty, deserted, and snowy. Its like the filmmaker transported us directly to the set and brings us the cold atmosphere. And the music, especially every time Eli and Oskar together, is downright sweet and romantic, even with all the blood flying all over the screen. I freakin love it.

What more can I say? Let the right one In is perfect. I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this movie. If all the vampire movie is like this, I can’t complain. This is a vampire movie where everybody should’ve seen instead of that “Twilight” shit. This is a Vampire movie which I classified as a masterpiece. This is my number one favorite vampire movie of all time by dethroning Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Goddamn Sweden. Ingmar Bergman, Lisbeth Salander and now this?

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Quick Review Part IV

 …AND GOD CREATES WOMAN(1956)

I wish I was born in the world war II era. Not because so I can get enlisted to the last great war of mankind. Its because so I can grow up and worshiping Brigette Bardot as sex symbol. John Lennon worship her. Bob Dylan wrote his first song as some kind of tribute for her. I meant, there’s no single current actresses today who had a raw naughty sexual magnetism with charismatic bubble like Bardot. Not even freakin close.

Well, even though the script is too generic, empty and somewhat downgrading woman, but I was enjoying the hell out of this movie. Even with that stupid and worst choreograph fighting scene ever, and the overall feeling that sensing this movie is like 90 minutes pimping of Bardot in a cheap entertainment, the movie is a classic indeed. Of course its not on par with the likes of real classic like, Citizen Kane, Seventh Seal, and so on, but still, …And God Create woman is a must-see movie for everyone(especially guys) who want to know what it is about Brigette Bardot and how hot is she? And join the club with the likes of me who hunts her naked playboy photoshoot in 1974 after watching this movie.

6.5/10

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MURMUR OF THE HEART Or  Le souffle au coeur(1971) 

 

 I don’t really know about what 15 year olds kid at France back in 1971 was like, but I find the depiction is a bit too unrealistic and mature. A 15 years old punk from wealthy family, love Dizzy Gillespie, talks about politics, in to The story of “O”, know how to play along with a pedophile priest, and really dig the way how to treat a woman? Its a bit much.  But still, I love this coming of age movie. The scene moving naturally and slowly developed. The real star of this movie is Lea Massari, the woman who play the main character’s mom, charming, beautiful, confusing and very amusing. Her incest sensual scene with her son its not awkward at all. An unforgettable movie. 8.5/10

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LAS ACACIAS(2011) 

For an Argentinian movie with only 80 minutes run(including all the credit scene), and tell us a very simplistic story about how a regular truck driver befriended a woman and her child which he required to take on a journey from Paraguay to Buenos Aires by his boss, Las Acacias is not boring at all. Las Acacias need you to be patient and let the subtlety overtaken you, because it really is very simple. Its like watching somebody painted their apartment wall with a blank white colors, and weirdly, i found myself liking it. This is the type of movie where nothing happens, and you still feel engrossed by it.

7.5/10

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DEEP END(1970)

 15-year-old Mike takes a job at the local swimming baths, where he becomes obsessed with an attractive young woman, Susan, who works there as an attendant. Although Susan has a fiancé, Mike does his best to sabotage the relationship, to the extent of stalking both her and her fiancé. Mike becomes increasingly desperate to have Susan for himself, with very tragic results and a freaking good ending for a movie. Its basically another great coming of age movie. Kinda like Malena, but more Indie. Feels like Murmur of the Heart, but more hip, slum, and colorful. And Good gawd Jane Asher is hot. I barely breath when she takes her clothes off for a classic full frontal nude scene, even though the camera is shot in a far away angle. The only complaint that i had is the character progression is too fast for a movie with 90 minutes run. A very underrated movie that needs a bigger audience.

8.5/10

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MARIA FULL OF GRACE(2004)

Some people think that movie is disturbing. I don’t really get it, what’s so disturbing. Some people think that the movie is beautiful. Are you kidding me? What’ so beautiful when you have to watched a movie where an innocent and beautiful woman being exploited by being a drug mule just to get money and reaching the so called heaven called AMERICA? Its fucking depressing. I love the movie overall, but I  hate that cliche ending. Not because that I hate America, but because it really make sense and Its sad when we realize that the only way for maria to get out from her trouble is by being a illegal immigrant in a country where she even doesn’t understand the speaking language. Catalina Sandino Moreno performance is a gem. Watching her acted is like watching some genuine documentary about drug mule. I live in the 3rd world country like Maria, but still the film made me feel very fortunate for what I have.

7.5/10

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 OCEAN HEAVEN(2010)

If ten years ago, some jackass told me that I will crying my ass off at Jet Li’s movie, I would’ve called that guy idiot and stupid. Off course, Jet Li isn’t a bad actor. In terms of acting capability he’s  in the same league as Jackie Chan, Statham, Arnie, Donnie Yen, or Dolph Lundgren. He’s not a robot, but not humane enough to be considered as a serious actor. Then Ocean Heaven came along. Its a story of a dying father making the impossible to give his son the possibility of independence before the cancer take his life. And good gawd, Jet Li convincingly played the character of that poor father very well in this tear jerking simply tale of determination and love. And good gawd I hate the ending when abruptly the filmmaker went Pixar.  Still I do cried in the middle of the movie, and considered this is a Jet Li’s movie, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Solid movie ruined by the ending. 7.5/10

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Okuribito (Departures) * 9.5/10

 

Okuribito tell us the story about Daigo,  a cellist for some orchestra in Tokyo. When he loses his dream and passion, he choose to go back to the country side where he was born, and trying to find another way of life and new final destination. In his hometown, attracted by the money, Daigo gets a job working as an encoffiner, or people who prepared corpse/dead body to be burned. In the land of the rising sun, that job is considered very taboo, and some people even think that it is kind filthy. And now, Daigo must come to grips with his uncomfortable change in life and mentality, while also learning about the beauty of death through the departures.

Okuribito  is a film that coming from Asia and filled with death, corpses and coffins, but doesn’t have any horror stamp above it. In fact, to say that Okuribito is just a simple movie would not be doing it enough Justice. Okuribito is a very powerful and near perfect piece of art disguised as a melodrama movie.

The main character, Daigo, is acted convincingly by Masahiro Motoki. I loved his performance, especially when he’s using his well co-ordinated hands in preparing corpses. His finger and eyes movement is very elegant-looking. Its like he takes you directly into Daigo’s emotion and complexity when he did all those things. Ryoko Hirosue is the only eye-candy of Okuribito. And eye candy she is. As Daigo’s wife, Mika, Hirosue is the only weak point of Okuribito. While she has a certain charms, her constant smile and laugh kind of a bit annoying to watched all the time. She always do that in almost every time camera pop up her face. Okuribito would be more perfect if she can added another layer of sadness and dramatic ingredients to her character. And just like every other great melodrama, Okuribito is filled with a lot of memorable side character, like the cold Daigo’s Boss, or even Daigo’s father who doesn’t even say a single word in this movie.

Music is another power point that makes Okuribito an amazing movie. Because Daigo character’s is a cellist, we can expect that a lot of tear jerking classical influence songs will be heard. And that’s true. Especially when Joe Hisaishi is responsible for it. This is the guy behind almost every single studio ghibli movie’s scored. This is the guy behind the score of  the only Jet Li’s movie that almost make me cry. This is my favorite movie composer aside Yasunori Mitsuda and Alan Silvestri. This is Joe Hisaishi! He can do no wrong.

Okuribito is near-perfect because of one or two cliche thing. Like Ryoko Hirosue acting , or that cheesy scene where Daigo playing the cello in the fields with mountains in the background which felt like a condom advertisement. But that tiny fault can only felt by pretentious dude like me who always looking for some error. Ignore that because Okuribito will swept away your emotions. It is the only movie that dealt with death themes that doesn’t includes desperation, dark, despair, frustation, agonies, or helpless against the grim reaper. Okuribito approach it with with a positive and encouraging look, also forgiveness and faith. It is not “Goodbye forever” message, but “I’ll see you again”. It feels liberating and peaceful. Just like life itself.

9.5/10

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11 Reasons Why THE AVENGERS Arguably is the Greatest Superhero Movie of All Time

Before reading the 10 reasons, I would like you guys to know that I never considered THE DARK KNIGHT(2008) as a superhero movie. Because when Christopher Nolan manage to bring the superhero world to the reality with his take on Batman, he doesn’t make a superhero/comic book movie. He made one of the best thriller/action movie of all time. Another one is, I’m not a marvel fanboy. But even though Batman is my favorite superhero of all time, Off course I do prefer Marvel than DC. But The Avengers wasn’t really my liking. Cap, Hulk, Thor, and Iron man felt too stiff for me. So here’s the 10 reason. OH, i forgot, SPOILER ALERT!

  • Fun. The Avengers is fun. It is a crowd-pleaser through and through right from the first minute. It is really a roller coaster ride that make you hold your breath, smiling, laughing, and being entertained. My inner geek heart jumping up and down in those two hours.
  • It manage to beat the unfairly pretty high expectations that I had going into the cinema.Seriously, ever since Samuel L.Jackson appear in the post credit scene at the first Iron Man back in 2008, the hype for the Avengers is began. And somehow, marvel manage to overcome the hype and even make the movie is better than the hype.
  • Hulk. This is the perfect way to capture Hulk. Mark Rufallo felt too comical for Bruce Banner. I prefer Edward Norton. But when Banner turning into his green, muscle bound, earth smashing alter ego, He’s the rock star of the Movie.
  • The Joke. What can I say? Its Josh Whedon. From “Puny god…”, to the “He’s Adopted….”. Amusing. This is Whedon at his best.
  • Josh Whedon himself. This guy did it. Now he can laugh at and give the middle finger to the studio who canceled his firefly. Among every people that involved in this awesome movie, his task is the heaviest. But somehow, he didn’t ruined it by being a director. He make it great by being a fans.
  • It felt like a comic book. I felt like reading the Civil War, or ultimate avengers, except that its in flesh and blood! Its like a dream come true when Thor vs Hulk goes one on one. 5 years ago, I wouldn’t never expect that this movie is really happening. I know I’m smiling very hard when that scene is finally arrived.
  • The interaction between the main heroes(Stark, Rogers, Banner, and Thor). Effective, brilliant, and truthful to the comic. It really felt very organic and flesh. Cap and Stark is really never getting along very well. Hulk and Thor small rivalry. The small talk between them. I just don’t want it to be end. This is the ace up the Avengers sleeve. Its not some just heavy CGI action movie. Cut out the action and I’d still want to see this movie.
  • Tom Hiddleston as Loki. This is the powerhouse acting of this Avengers. I love his facial expression. I dig his hair and costume. I love his cockiness. Nobody should play Loki beside Tom Hiddleston.
  • Robert Downey Jr. What can I say. Dude was born to play Tony Stark.
  • Action scene and special effect. That last 20 minutes is incredibly BAD ASS! Very very satisfying.
  • The Middle Credit Scene. ITS THANOS. This is the best credit scene ever in Marvel history. This could open the gate to other awesomeness that another Avengers will bring to us!

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Shame * 8.25/10

Shame obviously a very very adult theme movie. But, even though the movie is full of naked woman all over the place, Shame definitely is not a jerk off material, cause I can see how potentially audience viewers might be distracted by the nudity and graphic of this film. But I shit you not, shame wasn’t that kind of cheap movie. Why? because from the beautiful directing style of Steve McQueen, to the intensity that Fassbender brings, SHAME is the 2011 2nd best movie after Drive. Its a good anti-erotic NC-17 movie.

Shame tells you the story of  Brandon, played by Fassbender, a sex addict who never knows how intimacy and love feels. So much sex surrounding him it becomes sick and perverted though he seems to be the only one who knows it for sure. But still, all those shit doesn’t stop him from getting on with his day with sex sex and sex.  This inability to bond with fellow human creatures is causing him pain, but apparently not enough to push him to find a solution.

I don’t think that shame is an entertainment.  Shame probably is the only film that I do think as one of the best ever, even though, I probably don’t ever need or want to see it again. The whole movie tone is very brooding, stone cold, and relentless. Even the shot of the usual glamorous New York city is feels very dark and long in Shame. Shame is a beautifully shot film, but there is nothing pretty about it. It feels like, American Psycho. Replace all the killings with Sex. Like usual, Michael Fassbender is awesome. He feels very raw and sexually shameful gritty in here. You can really feel the loneliness and  angry that comes within him, and you know that the character doesn’t realize that. The director seems to be fascinated by Fassbender’s naked body because the director has him nude within the first minutes of Shame, including a totally unnecessary shot of the star standing in front of a toilet, relieving himself after an encounter with an escort in his apartment. But this kind of nudity works well in this kinda movie. As Brandon’s sister, Sissy, Mulligan understands that there’s fear, insecurity, pain, and a bit of persistence in the character. The naked introduction of her probably needless, but its evoking some idea in my mind, like, “don’t tell me that this guy will fuck his own sister?” and actually its the real thought that makes me going till the end of Shame. But, alas, it didn’t happen.

In the end, Shame is a wonderful masterpiece. but the truth is, please don’t make any sequel out of this. It was really fucked up enough to see it at the first time. It’s a sad realistic truth about sex and the addiction that comes along with it. And probably, a lot of guys in this world, already plague by it, whether or not they realized it.

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