Kamis, 20 Agustus 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Asian Language Movies set in East Asia (Non-Horror)

Hello, folks! Welcome back to Thursday Movie Picks where we recommend you the lamest films. Thursday Movie Picks is a weekly film recommendation from a certain theme. It's hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Today's theme is.........................Asian Language Movies set in East Asia.

WHAT?! I THOUGHT ASIA IS JUST...ASIA. I thought Asia is this one big country where everybody looks the same. Oh, nevermind my blabber. So, I've researched a bit for this theme. Turns out, East Asia is a place where people looks so Asian. 

Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow, 2004) --> Hong Kong

This film ruined my relationship with my bed when I was in primary school. I ignored my bed so I could continue to watch Stephen Chow's action in television. Even before the film finished, I had decided that Kung Fu Hustle is my favorite film.  

I know that Kung Fu Hustle is cheesy and exaggerating CGI, but this film still makes me laughing out loud, for Kung Fu's sake. I love how it's a bit more bleak than the usual comedy films. I love all the characters, from the lady whose lipstick got smeared to the psychopath kung fu master.

All the good things aside, I don't like how Kung Fu Hustle tells you that you can't be a hero unless you're the one or have some sort of power.

Letters from Iwo Jima (Clint Eastwood, 2006) --> Japan

I'm not sure with this week's criteria, but I'm sure it's Asian language, not Asian director or something.  

I don't know which one is more depressing. Seeing a pair of siblings dying slowly or seeing innocent men were forced to be in war they didn't want. I know Japan is one of the bad guys in World War II, but it still clenches my heart to know that there are thousands of people suffered in Japan, too. But it doesn't erase Japan's sin as a country in the past, for me at least. 

The most depressing scene is where the soldiers listen to children's singing through the radio. Some of them crying. Perhaps they know they won't make it, or they're reminded by their own children.

Kudos for Clint Eastwood because he didn't make the Japanese people as gibberish enemy and talking in actual Japanese. He didn't do this film like Scorsese did to Hugo. It's also a shame that Letters from Iwo Jima is an underrated film.

Memories of Murder (Bong Joon Ho, 2003) --> South Korea

If you love True Detective, you should give Bong Joon Ho's 2003 brilliant masterpiece a look. I think the two detectives from MoM are a mix from Rust and Martin Hart. The main detective has Rust's quirkiness and Marty's easygoing and unquestioning nature. While the detective from town doesn't like to break the rule, but he doesn't talk much (it's debatable), critical, and detail-oriented like Rust.   

Fyi, this film is based on true story. 

Honorable mentions: 
Battle Royale (I don't see it as a horror)
Happy Together
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
The Chaser

Kamis, 13 Agustus 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Movies with Devastating Crushing Endings that Makes You Want to Weep

Hello everyone! Welcome to Thursday Movie Picks! Thursday Movie Picks is a weekly series of three recommended films of a certain theme. This meme is hosted by Wandering Through The Shelves. If you want to join this series, please check that link!

Prepare your tissues, bucket, and heart, because this week's theme is devastating crushing endings that makes you want to weep. Now, I almost mismatched MAKES YOU WANT TO WEEP with depressing films. So I watched a couple of films with devastating endings. Yes, they have devastating and crushing endings. But instead of making me weep, they just depress me. So I rack my brain and here are the three films that make me weep.

Atonement (Joe Wright, 2007)

I get it, these people who involved in Atonement's film were trying to make me feel my own feels. If that's your mission, congratulations, you accomplished it!

I guess what makes Atonement's ending is so crushing because it shows the ugly Murphy's Law and how a second chance for a tiny mistake can be unavailable. We have this certain illusion that things will work fine and we will arrive in a "happily ever after" but...shit happens.

Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek, 2010)

I'm not great with deep analysis and reading between the lines. In my humble opinion, it shows that realizing how much you've wasted your life is more torturing than being dead.

The Imitation Game (Morten Tyldum, 2014)

Whoever knew that a man's service to the world could be overlooked by his sexuality? It really pained me how some people's action can be forgotten by trivial things.

The worse part? There's a fat chance what The Imitation Game's ending shows us is just a very small piece of Alan Turing's real suffering.

Wow, I just realized all of my picks are British films.

Honorable mentions:
Life is Beautiful (Roberto Benigni, 1997)
Letters from Iwo Jima (Clint Eastwood, 2006)
5 Centimeters per Second (Makoto Shinkai, 2007)
The Boy with Striped Pyjamas (Mark Herman, 2008)
Blue Valentine (Derek Cianfrance, 2010)
A Werewolf Boy (Jo Sung Hee, 2012)
Ain't Them Bodies Saint (David Lowery, 2013)

Kamis, 23 Juli 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Sequels

Howdy, readers! Skipping TMP twice really sucks. Man, I wait for the sci-fi special (even if my films are not...hidden gems or something) and I missed that! Arrgghhh. I wasn't even in Hawaii or Paris with one of my boyfriends in the last two weeks.

Anyway, this week's theme is...*drum roll* sequel! I'm excited, but also annoyed, because I haven't watched Kill Bill 2, Kick-Ass 2, and The Godfather 2. So, I hope my three films are good enough for this week.

Toy Story 2 (John Lasseter, 1999)

This is the only Toy Story film that makes me crazy. The first one is "meh" for me, the third just "good", but the second grabs my heart. I admit that Toy Story 2 is the first film I watch (from the series), so perhaps there's an influence from that area. 

I can relate so much from Woody's insecurity and fear. I see Woody as someone who is traditional and family-oriented. He's like one of those family members who's excited and involved in family gathering. He can be annoying, but he's a loyal guy. After all, Woody's world revolved on Andy and the other toys. I understand how the vision of losing them affects Woody so much. I also understand his decision to agree to go to a museum toy.

After all, it would be better to keep Andy on Woody's memory as a friend, not as someone who would throw him away. 

Oldboy (Park Chan Wook, 2003)

I never remember Oldboy as my favorite nor a happy film, but it's definitely an awesome film. Some of its scenes are also my favorite ones, too!

Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, 2013)

I prefer Before Sunrise to Midnight. But I prefer Midnight to Sunset. Sunrise just full of passion, romance, and youth. Perhaps, that's why I enjoy Sunrise the most of Before trilogy. About Sunset, I think the film is...the most plain from the trilogy. The longing and bittersweetness never hit me. 

I think Midnight is filled with fire and dynamic. But there's a sense of experience and maturity. It keeps the fire from going to overbearing.

Anyway, for those who pressure people to get married, just watch this and Blue Valentine.

Kamis, 02 Juli 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Adaptations of Classic Literature (No Poem and Play)

Hello, folks! I hope you have your book and film ready because it's Thursday Movie Picks. Thursday Movie Picks is a weekly meme that's hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Basically, it's a recommendation of three films from a certain theme. Don't worry, every week has a different theme. And as you can see, today's theme is...Adaptation of Classic Literature! Unfortunately, it doesn't include poem and play. Damn it, I really want to include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind if poem is allowed.

Now, I watch so many films that are adapted from a book, but it's kinda hard to pick exclusively from classic. It's even harder to create a list without Jane Austen's adaptation!

Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1995)
Based on: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Darn it, Austen! Why can it not end with Colonel and Elinore getting married?! Even the casting is already fit!

I watched Sense and Sensibility when I was about 12 years old. I disliked it. I didn't understand the film and it bored me. Three years later, I watched it again. And...I like it very much. I have to say it's not because intellectual reason or whatever. I don't even know whether S&S can be considered as "feminist" film or not. But I definitely love the actors, the social commentary, the cinematography, and the landscape. It's not as fancy as Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice, which stars Keira Knightley, but Lee's Sense and Sensibility is far from "bad".

The eye candy of this film is the young Kate Winslet. I love the way she expresses Marianne's passion and feeling. The rain scene after Willoughby is done beautifully by her. Winsley doesn't need to cry to let the audiences know how crushed and haunted Marianne is. That doesn't mean Emma Thompson is bad. She's good. She can keep character subtle, but not flat. I also love Alan Rickman as Brandon more than any Snape from Harry Potter series.

But I gotta say that my favorite characters are Mr. Palmer (Hugh Laurie) and Mrs. Palmer (Imelda Staunton). I just love Laurie's reaction everytime his wife opens her mouth, haha.

P.S: So........Prof. Trelawney is Snape's sister-in-law while Umbridge is their acquaintance? Yikes!

Hunchback of Notre Dame (Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise, 1996)
Based on: Huncback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

I haven't watched many "minor" Disney's films. However, I dare to say that Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Disney's underrated films. It's a bit messy, but it's definitely darker than most of Disney's films. Heck, I think Frodo is a darkest villain of Disney's films, and underrated too. Okay, I said underrated and dark too much in one paragraph.

Easy A (Will Gluck, 2010)
Based on: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

There was a time when a prude disliked Easy A for too much sex. Don't worry, she's not a prude anymore. She also realizes that her first impression on Easy A was incorrect. Indeed, it's a smart and funny satire about society in high school. It shows how much we'll do for "social security" and the blur between rumors and facts. 

I haven't read The Scarlet Letter and I think I won't read it if I have loads of free time. I'm not...interested. I read from some reviews that Easy A isn't exactly an adaptation because the only thing that connects this film with the novel is the "A" symbol. 

P.S:I want to pick "Pride and Prejudice" for this week, but someone already did before me.

Rabu, 24 Juni 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Sibling Movies (Biologically Related)

I hope you're in the mood for watching movies 'cause it's Thursday Movie Picks! Thursday Movie Picks is hosted by the wonderful Wandering Through the Shelves and if you want more information or start writing for TMP, you can click here. 

As you can see, this week's theme is biologically related sibling! I'm kinda nervous because I thought it should be from different sexes. Turns out, it's okay from the same sex. I'm neither excited nor unhappy about this week's theme. Maybe because I'm an only child, my feeling toward sibling films is indifferent. 

Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988)

Siblings: Seita (older brother) and Setsuko (younger sister)

1988 must be a great year for Japanese animation. Akira, My Neighbor Totoro, and Grave of the Fireflies in a year. All of them are animations but none of them tell us about talking animals or princesses who need to be save.

Grave of the Fireflies is the first film that makes me crying in less than 20 minutes. I don't understand why, because I know that GOTF can be too dramatic. After questioning myself again, I think it's because Seita and Setsuko are crushed slowly. They're not given a bullet straight to head, but in places that painful, yet not deadly. 

The thing that makes me depressed is the fact that they are so young. They are not in the age to understand war and suffering. Playing dolls and eating sweets are what they should do. 

The Others (Alejandro Amenabar, 2001)

Siblings: Anne (older sister) and Nicholas (younger brother)

Frankly, I think The Others is one of the most boring film I've watched. FILM, not just HORROR FILM. Even I, who usually worship films with twist, dislike this film. But, I think the characters are quite interesting and worth to be psychoanalyzed.

Anne (Alakina Mann) is a rebel and critical girl while Nicholas (James Bentley) is a wimp who accepts anything their mother (Nicole Kidman) said. I think the contrast between them is interesting because it's "gender-switch" or "gender-reversal" or whatever. Usually, it's the annoying older brother who tries to challenge tradition while the younger sister who either doesn't have guts or worship the tradition.

I love Anne's character. It makes the dynamic between her mother and herself interesting. Anne is also the key to the mystery, even though her mother ignores her and think that she's delusional. There's a chance that Anne is a symbol of modern and critical feminist, while her mother is an old-fashioned woman who is ironically, holds back her own "kind".

Shame (Steve McQueen, 2011)

Siblings: Brandon (older brother) and Sissy (younger sister)

Once upon a time, a girl fell in love with Michael Assbender, sorry, Fassbender. Then she watched Shame. She died in happiness after a few minutes.

Here's a fact, I only like Shame because Fassy. I know that Shame has great cinematography and story, but it's a boring film according my standard. I'm rarely a fan of a film with slow-build or a slow pace, especially with little exciting dialogue. Fortunately, Shame has the magnificent Mr. Michael Fassbender who is flowing with sexual appeal everywhere he goes. But, don't be tricked by my shallow comment. Fassy is not only flowing with sexual appeal, but also raw emotion and talent. Sigh, I can't believe George Clooney won over him in Golden Globes.

Luckily, Carey Mulligan is a very talented actress too. She doesn't let Fassy overshadow her in their scenes. The fight scene in sofa is the best scene in this film. It's even better than the marathon scene in my opinion.

Senin, 22 Juni 2015

Jurassic World

Berhubung nyokap ngedenin gue tahun 1998, gue gak nonton Jurassic Park, which was released in 1993, di bioskop. Gue beberapa kali nonton Jurassic Park di TV waktu kecil, and I never felt fascinated or awed by the film. Gue justru bisa merasakan dan menghargai keajaiban film Jurassic Park beberapa bulan yang lalu, setelah gue rewatch di HBO. Gue belum pernah nonton The Lost World dan Jurassic Park III karena belum menemukan mood. 

22 tahun setelah John Hammond membuka (dan menutup) Jurassic Park, seorang pengusaha bernama Masrani (Irffan Khan) membuka Jurassic World. Ia dibantu oleh Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), seorang operations manager. Mereka berencana untuk mempamerkan sebuah trik gen yang sangat hebat secepatnya. Untuk itu, mereka meminta pendapat dan bantuan Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) a sexist white asshole yang bersahabat dengan velociraptor. Disaat yang sama, kakak Claire menitipkan dua putranya, Zach (Nick Robinson) dan Gray (Ty Simpkins) untuk bersenang-senang bersama tante tersayang mereka. Masalah dimulai ketika trik gen yang sangat hebat itu berhasil lolos dari kandangnya.


In the next movie, just let the dinosaurs kill all the people

I give the cute four raptors more fuck than the Hermione Granger-wannabe and the sexist white asshole. I'm not kidding, it's really sad to see those cute raptors die.

Gue udah melengos waktu lihat Claire yang too perfect sekaligus needs to get laid badly. God, do we really need another Hermione Granger? Serius, workaholic, control-freak, dll. But hey, at least Hermione doesn't describe house-elves as "assets". Claire is a very stereotypical character. Awalnya sih dia emang cold, sangat logis dan organized, but in the end, she still needs a guy to save her and "melt her heart". I know this is annoying, but even Hermione doesn't need any guy to save her or melt her. 

Beberapa orang gak suka dengan sisi feminin Claire karena berbagai alasan. Gue tadinya gak suka sih, simply karena gue bukan penggemar orang yang centil dan perfeksionis (kecuali artis). Tapi gue melihat itu sebagai suatu statement bahwa women do not have to be a tomboy or "guy-like" to be considered strong. She can wear dress and heels but still a strong woman. In the end, 'pernyataan' itu jadi useless karena Claire menemukan kekuatannya setelah berinteraksi dengan Owen dan melupakan sedikit penampilannya. On the other hand, pekerjaan Claire tidak mengharuskan ia untuk terekspos dengan kehidupan outdoor. So, bisa dimengerti sih how incompetence she is ketika menghadapi dinosaurus. But still...that doesn't make me love her. Sorry, but I love female characters like Ellen Ripley, Black Widow, heck, even Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

What I like from Claire is that she keeps her heels after dozens of complain about her attire and attitude. Nope, I still think she's too pretty and stiff. But you go girl for keeping your shoes!

Am I the only who one who do not fall for Chris Pratt? He's hot, tapi gue lebih milih Loki, Magneto, Sherlock, Iron Man, dan Jack Dawson daripada dia. Anyway, apakah otot, keseksian, 'karisma', asshole-y sense of humor, dan Ace Ventura-skill benar-benar diperlukan untuk membuat sebuah hero untuk film blockbuster? Dr. Grant doesn't have those things, and he still kicks asses. But the thing I like the most from Dr. Grant? He's not fond with children, but he ends up taking care of them. Penampilan Chris Pratt sendiri did nothing for me. Not bad but not memorable either. The same goes with Howard's performance.

Selain itu, Dr. Grant dan Dr. Sattler tidak membutuhkan a ridiculous amount of UST (unresolved sexual tension) dan adegan ciuman untuk menunjukkan chemistry mereka. Gue gak membenci UST antara Claire dan Owen, just saying that Grant and Sattler do not need those things. And you know what? Gue bukan penggemar Sam Neill dan Laura Dern, tapi Jurassic World telah menuliskan nama gue di daftar fans Neill dan Dern. 

Yes, it's women's job to give birth and take care of children while the men don't have any natural obligation.

Satu hal yang bikin gue sangat benci dengan Claire adalah bagian akhirnya. Sebelumnya, Claire dipaksa untuk menghabiskan waktu dengan dua keponakannya. Lalu ada adegan dimana Claire menelpon kakaknya dan kakaknya sangat yakin bahwa Claire suatu saat akan menikah dan punya anak. Guess what? In the end, Claire gets a boyfriend and she interacts more with her nephews! There you go Claire, your long lost motherly instinct! 

Nah, kan udah dibilang nih kalau Claire terlalu sibuk ngurusin keponakannya. Terus, siapa dong yang ngurusin Zach sama Gray pas mereka nyampe di Jurassic World. Claire menyuruh salah satu asistennya, Zara, untuk mengurus kebutuhan Zach dan Gray. Zara doesn't really care for them. Come on, they are only her boss' nephews. Guess what Zara's punishment for not taking care of Zach and Gray? She has the most gruesome death in this film. Even the death of the selfish fat guy in Jurassic Park isn't as bad as Zara's. Get what I meant?    

A woman's decision to not have children or lack of skill in dealing with children doesn't make her "evil" or "abnormal".

Little Homages

Jika diperhatikan baik-baik, banyak homages kecil maupun besar yang berteteran di Jurassic World. Gue udah kasih warning buat spoiler kan? So far, homages yang gue ingat: John Williams' original theme song, the jeep, eggs in lab, dilophosaurus, B.D Wong, human's greed for power and money, T-Rex, raptors vs bigger dinosaur, and a scene that dedicates for Dr. Grant and Dr. Malcolm. Gue senang sih ada satu aktor dari JP yang balik untuk main di JW, but I prefer seeing Samuel L. Jackson in this film with one arm and one eye, lol.

Other Things

Using mosasaurus for promotion is a stupid move; it ruins the surprise.

Ada satu percakapan yang menurut gue menekankan bahwa it's not "science's fault" but human's fault. Menurut gue, beberapa film sci-fi sering memberikan kesan bahwa inovasi pada sains dan teknologi itu buruk bagi kemanusiaan. Mungkin bukan itu maksud pembuatnya, tapi gue menangkapnya seperti itu. Mereka kurang memberikan penekanan bahwa berinovasi tidak salah, tapi apa yang dilakukan pada inovasi itu.

I'm not fond with the characters, but I'm crazy with the CGI! Goddamn, rasanya tuh kayak liburan ke Universal Studio di USA, but it's certainly better than that. Doh, gue jadi ngarep Jurassic World beneran ada. Wahana yang ditayangkan di film ini juga menarik. Gue merasa kayak bocah lagi jalan-jalan ke Taman Safari yang sangat, sangat, sangat, modern.


I can't understand how come the plot is bad because it's written by four people. But this film satisfies my inner starve for a mind-blowing amusement park. 6/10

Kamis, 18 Juni 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Animated Movies

Annyeonghaseyo yeorobun, that's Korean for "Hello everybody." Who's excited for new Thursday Movie Picks?!! *cricket sound* *gosh I'm lame and cliche* In case you never heard of TMP, Thursday Movie Picks is a weekly film recommendation that's hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. Just check out the blog if you want to join TMP or search for film recommendation.

Anyway, this week theme is.....ANIMATED MOVIES! I'm super excited because this week's theme is easy...okay, not that easy. I rarely watch non-mainstream animation and European animation. Heck, I haven't watched Mary and Max (it's from Australia btw). So I'm really sorry if my films are pretty mainstream.

Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988)

I'm still trying to understand the fact that Sir Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick didn't involve directly in this film. I haven't watched Blade Runner (please don't kill me) but some critics said that there are some traces of Blade Runner in Akira. So I guess it's like Blade Runner teams up with A Clockwork Orange.

Even if the animation isn't as smooth and polished as Disney, Akira has mindblowing moments too. A little warning for the plot though, 'cause it will fuck your mind. 

Howl's Moving Castle (Hayao Miyazaki, 2004)

I always smash my head to the wall whenever I'm reminded that I didn't get to watch "The Wind Rises" in cinema.

What I like about this film is how blatantly plain Sophie is (the main character) and how she never hides her 'role' as next-door girl, but she also has power, passion, and confidence beyond those things. If Beauty and the Beast is about loving other people, then Howl's Moving Castle is about loving who you are. 

By the way, I used to have a HUGE crush on Howl. Especially when Christian Bale voices him. Dang, he's really good when he's not in Batman's voice. But I'm still upset that Howl's characterization isn't as crafted as Sophie. 

Coraline (Henry Sellick, 2009)

So far, Coraline is the scariest horror animation film I've ever watched. I don't understand why, but Monster House never succeed in scaring me like Coraline. But I have to say that "scaring" is an overstatement. Giving me chills, I guess?

The animation is charming, the color is dazzling, and the plot is...fun. I know it's a softened version of haunted house stories, but the animation and the screenplay make the softened "haunted house" quite fresh.

Bonus: Robin Hood (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1973)

I always have a thing for animal and dystopia film. And Disney's Robin Hood is a mix of those! Well, if you can consider Robin Hood's universe as dystopia or semi-dystopia.