Sunday, December 30, 2012

Jack Reacher (2012)

Jack Reacher

See the poster and you can guess if “Jack Reacher” is an action film. Or, is it? As it was adapted from a mystery/thriller novel titled “One Shot” by Lee Child, “Jack Reacher” is not a pure action film. Maybe it’s not an action film at all, because it is more talky and brainy instead of being an adrenaline-booster. It’s more to be, if I could say, a half-hearted blend of detective-styled mystery and bad-ass single-character-ed action. Moreover, knowing that it was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie who wrote the incredible “The Usual Suspect” is kind of surprising for me and proving that this guy need a finger snap to be wide awake again.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

fiksi. (2008)

fiksi. (film)

“fiksi.” is a breakthrough. In the middle of stagnancy in Indonesia’s movie industry, which is currently filled mostly with similar genres like comedy, romance, or horror, “fiksi.” slapped me right on the face, saying that there are many outstanding films from my own country. Maybe it’s not something new in foreign cinemas, but here in Indonesia, “fiksi.” brought fresh air to our local viewers who really need something new in our cinema industry. Mouly Surya, the director, said that she was inspired to write and direct “fiksi.” by a classic children story, “Alice in Wonderland”, written by Lewis Caroll. The idea of “fiksi.”, yet, is an inversion of “Alice in Wonderland” (of course in a very different style). Still, it’s amusing, terrifying, and slowly killing.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Habibie & Ainun (2012)

Habibie & Ainun

This year-end is gonna filled with a lot of films, especially local films. There are at least five local films currently showing or queueing in our cinemas. After last week’s “5cm.”, “Habibie & Ainun” is absorbing a lot of viewers to come to the cinemas. Predictably becomes another local box-office, “Habibie & Ainun” played a more serious segment of this holiday time as it was adapted from an autobiography written by Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie. Yes, he was Indonesia’s ex-president (he’s our third president, working from mid 1998 to 1999) and he was also the man behind the project of our very first national airplane. But, “Habibie & Ainun” didn’t put it as the main topic. It talked more about the relationship of Habibie and his wife, Hasri Ainun Habibie, since they first met.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Adaptation. (2002)


Computer scientists call it recursion. It is a term used to describe something that can only be defined by smaller instances of the same thing. Charlie Kaufman, with his metaphorically boundless ideas, adapted this concept into a screenplay. "Adaptation." could be either narcissistic or brilliant, as Kaufman wrote about himself in his screenplay. Charlie Kaufman became the leading role of the movie he wrote. This story was certainly uncommon, yet it’s also undoubtedly genuine at the same time. Some even called it a breakthrough in building ideas for a screenplay. Now, the question is, could a genuine, non-mainstream story entertain?

Monday, December 17, 2012

5cm. (2012)


Sometimes there is this kind of problem for me, seeing an adapted-from-novel film, that I need to carefully judge if the satisfaction (or disappointment) I got after watching the film is an achievement (or failure) of the filmmaker who brought the written story to screen or a success (or luck) of the author of the novel who wrote such a wonderful (or trashy) story. The novel always precede the film, of course, and film producers tend to adapt only best-selling novels. How about “5cm.”? It's easy, because the screenwriter and the novel author is the same personDonny Dhirgantoro. The novel had now reached its 25th print, proving that many people like it. And adapting it to a film will surely be a specific excitement for its fans. But, this part is always tricky: if they were not careful enough, it will end up as a heart-break.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King (2003)

The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King

And finally, a wrap-up. The biggest epic trilogy of the decade has met its end. "The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King" finished it in a very dramatic yet powerful way. “The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King” firmed up the chain of stories from the first and the second film. All questions were answered, all confusions were paid off. It’s like fresh water after such a long thirst. Winning 11 Oscars from all the categories in which it was nominated for (including Best Picture) and a mega box office was of course a great achievement for the film itself, the trilogy, and—largely speaking—the genre it carried. Surprising.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers

As the second film of the trilogy, “The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers” was considered by some viewers as the weakest of the three films. I don’t know why, but I’m pretty sure it’s not because that it has longer duration. Yet, to be honest, I found that “The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers” was more enjoyable than its predecessor, “The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring”. The three-hour-and-a-half duration was (a little bit) less exhausting for me, as it opened by a dramatic part from its predecessor and closed with a grand epic breath-taking war.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring (2001)

The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring

I made a preparation for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” released on Dec 14th: I am currently re-watching all the three films of “The Lord of The Rings” trilogy. Well it’s been years since I watched the first film of the series, “The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring”, for the first time and I need to “refresh” my mind about all the things in Middle Earth. And with a three-hour duration, it’s quite exhausting to re-watch it, you know, because I’m not a big fan of it. It’s mesmerizing, yet, and I won’t say that the three-hour duration is not worth it. I have not read the novels—both the “The Lord of The Rings” books and “The Hobbit” books—so I won’t compare the film with the books.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

Martha Marcy May Marlene

“Martha Marcy May Marlene”. Is it a name of girl or what? Well, explaining the meaning of the title is indeed quite a spoiler. At first you may wonder if it is a slow-moving drama about, predictably, a girl. One of last year’s Sundance Film Festival winner, “Martha Marcy May Marlene” does moves slowly. Yet, it is more to be a psychological thriller melted in a drama. It’s, fortunately, not that kind of gory film with some disturbing scenes. It did “killed” me with its slowness, and an outstanding acting from Elizabeth Olsen as the main character became one of its powers. The specific topic it raised was also another upside. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

In Bruges (2008)

In Bruges

Where in the world is Bruges? Pronounced as “Broozh”, Bruges is a city in Belgium, well-known especially for its classical and medieval style buildings. So, is “In Bruges” some kind of adventure, travelling movie? Well, the answer maybe ‘yes’, with an addition that it has a mild touch of black comedy all around. Black comedy, or sometimes called as dark comedy, is a style of artwork (including film) that display humor in a form of cruelty, offense, violence, and any other inappropriateness. Then, “In Bruges” would be better categorized as crime-comedy film. It’s a feature-film directorial and screenwriting debut from Martin McDonagh, who brought this year’s “Seven Psychopaths”, and it brought him an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Brokeback Mountain

"A gay cowboy movie" is the term people usually use to describe "Brokeback Mountain" in brief. Yet, I agree with what Roger Ebert said in his review on this film, that it's an inappropriate simplification--or I'd rather said, an irresponsible mockery. Well, it's not that I set myself aside with this situation, but right after I watched "Brokeback Mountain", I know that this film spoke far more than that--although the film itself was less judgmental to conclude which is right and which is wrong. Bringing an Oscar statue for Ang Lee as Best Director, "Brokeback Mountain" quite became a controversy on the year it released, as many local or international parties banned this film to the cinemas for the topic it raised: homosexuality.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Life of Pi (2012)

Life of Pi

Right after I went out of the teather watching this film, I tweeted, "I have just watched one of the best films of this year". "Life of Pi" was spectacular because of not only the stunning 3D use in this film, but also—especially—the story. It's a miraculous achievement in cinematography and, I'm pretty sure, an outstanding work of sophisticated visual effects. David Magee, adapting from the similarly-titled best-selling novel written by Yann Martel, wrote the screenplay and Ang Lee, the award-winning director who brought "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", brought it to big screen in a very artistic way.