Ocean’s 8 (2018): And it Runs through Ocean’s Blood

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Directed by: Gary Ross | Produced by: Steven Soderbergh, Susan Ekins | Screenplay by: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch | Story by: Gary Ross | Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham-Carter | Music by: Daniel Pemberton | Cinematography: Eigil Bryld | Edited by: Juliette Wefling | Production Companies: Warner Bros Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, Smoke House Pictures, Larger than Life Productions | Distributed by: Warner Bros Pictures | Official Website

8.2/10

In the middle of bloated summer blockbuster crammed with comic book superheroes, from Avengers: Infinity War (2018) to Deadpool 2 (2018), this all-female casts spin-off of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Trilogy is a real deal. This movie brings us the nostalgic feeling of watching the original Ocean’s Trilogy heists, with witty plot and sassy all-female casts. Slickly paced, radiating sexy glamour just like their predecessor trilogy, Ocean’s 8 moves with the swag style and high-class heist like a supermodel prancing down the runway.

We move on from George Clooney’s Danny Ocean to his sister, Deborah “Debbie” Ocean (Sandra Bullock, looking ultimately fierce), who has just been released from the prison. Like the high-style con art was running through their blood, Debbie is now plotting a heist at the Met Gala, the annual fashion extravaganza at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The first thirty minutes is spent on introducing the whole team: Debbie’s best friend and former partner Lou (Cate Blanchett); designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham-Carter); a jewelry maker Amita (Mindy Kaling); hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna); pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina) and ex-fence Tammy (Sarah Paulson). One last member that makes the eighth is their own target, actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway).

The seven women want to steal a 150 millions dollar-worth jewelry from Cartier. The jewelry is planned to complete Kluger’s dress, design by the bankrupt designer Weil. The rest is all about the heist. There is a plot twist there – where Debbie is also planned to take down her former boyfriend Claude Becker (played by our Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit, Richard Armitage) who sent her to prison. The goal is literally stealing the jewelry off Kluger’s neck – never mind all the security cameras, the jewelry bodyguards (even the jewelry got Ex-Mossad bodyguards), and the magnetic clasp that makes it impossible to remove while Kluger’s head is attached to her body.

Within the same spirit as the other Ocean’s Trilogy but, although the style is similar and the female cast contains so much talent, the screenplay is bland and empty. As a concept, making an all-female version of an Ocean’s Trilogy is appealing, and the casts are amazing. They just didn’t get the kicking screenwriting they should have. The movie also spends too much running time on the planning and too little time on its execution. The execution seems too be underwhelming, and left the audience with little less excitement compared to the watching of their plan.

The casts, on the other side, seem to have fun on screen. Bullock’s Debbie especially has great chemistry with Blanchett’s Lou, who appears to be in perfect rock and roll persona here. Blanchett’s Lou is not only a cooler character, but also the reasonable one compare to Bullock’s Debbie who is almost always wildly ambitious. However, the real MVP here is Hathaway’s Daphne Kluger, who’s one of the gala’s most anticipated participant and whose neck will carry that expensive piece of Cartier’s classic jewelry. While Awkwafina is a fresh air and Bonham-Carter is once again bringing out her delightfully odd self, Hathaway’s character is nothing short of inspired, controlled lunacy, and becomes a real blast. She’s the movie’s element of surprise, and you will gladly watch her character’s craziness, from selfish celebrity to sexy fragility to insecure ordinary girl.

So this whole Ocean’s 8 movie is about women taking care of each other. Each member of the team have financial difficulties of their won, and Ocean, this time represents by Debbie, is offering a solution.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018): The New Dinosaur brings More Fun, Less Thrill

Directed by: J.A Bayona | Produced by: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Belén Atienza | Written by: Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly | Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Isabella Sermon, Jeff Goldblum | Music by: Michael Giacchino | Cinematography: Oscar Faura | Edited by: Bernat Vilaplana | Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Legendary Pictures | Distributed by: Universal Pictures | Official Website

7.7/10

When director Colin Trevorrow created a remake to Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur galore with Jurassic World in 2015, it was a blockbuster hit with the theme of a desperate theme park tries to boost their selling ticket by creating a genetically modified dinosaur that sadly, ruins mostly of the park. The sequel tries a larger-than-big ambition to the hybrid dinosaur with slightly different approach. The new director, J.A Bayona, entered a bit of dark horror in the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, with quite a lot of bad guys and a more rational choice of shoes for Bryce Dallas Howard.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s first scene brings back Jurassic Park nostalgic when a technician is stalked by a carnivore dinosaur in the rain. Then the story goes on with a debate on whether Isla Nublar’s dinosaurs should be saved from the island’s volcano, which is about to erupt. On a US Senate hearing, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, one of the link to the original Spielberg’s movie) believes that the dinosaurs should be left to die. Former park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas-Howard) is now building the Dinosaur Protection Group to save them, along with former park technician Franklin (Justice Smith), and veterinarian Zia (Daniella Pineda). With the Senate rejection to rescue the dinosaurs, Claire’s mission seems to be over until she is contacted by Benjamin Lockwood (John Cromwell), John Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough, the last piece of link to Spielberg)’s partner in creating the cloning technology for all the dinosaurs.

At Lockwood’s estate in northern California, Claire meets Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) who is now running Lockwood’s foundation, and Maisie (Isabella Sermon), Lockwood’s granddaughter whom he adopted after her parents died in a car accident. Lockwood wants to proceed with a secret rescue mission to send the dinosaurs to a new island sanctuary where they will live without human interference. In order to do that, they have to save eleven species that believed to be the new starter for the new life. Mills are concerned of finding Blue, the last living velociraptor, and asked Claire to contact Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Blue’s former researcher and trainer. It was not long before they all know the true intention of Mills, and now they must save themselves from the new hybrid dinosaur created by Mills and Dr. Wu (B.D Wong), the Indoraptor. This seems to be a downgrade since the last Jurassic World introduced us to their larger-than-life hybrid creation called Indominus Rex.

There’s actually a story about a noble dinosaur-rescue mission that goes horribly awry with the essence of bad guys, but Director J.A Bayona’s work here is the only exception. He brings Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to his scale, a horror. Rather than increasing the scale and spectacle, he trades the green epic landscapes of Isla Nublar for a claustrophobic setting of Lockwood’s estate that ultimately makes the whole thing feel like an average haunted house flick. It’s all absurd, even for a movie about man-made dinosaurs, and it becomes even more ridiculous when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom strips away the majestic built-in sense of awe and wonder from the dinosaurs and turns the focus on the human characters, who are not engaging at all. However, this movie increases the engagement of audience’s emotions in the dinosaurs as actual animals. In the first half of the film, where a dinosaur faces certain apocalypse, we can feel more emotional than anything that happens to the human characters. The last scene of Owen and Blue also feels more intense than any other scene in this movie.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s characters are so bland and poorly written that the actors have little to do but look scared and run for their life, making it nearly impossible to care about what actually happens to them. The villains, Mills and his colleagues, become such cartoon images that it’s impossible to take the movie seriously. This is the kind of movie where we know Mills is bad because he yells at a kid, and dinosaurs are auctioned off to an international group of James Bond villains-wannabe. For you who aren’t already invested in Owen and Claire won’t find anything fresh here, unless Claire’s new and better choice of shoes.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of all is the way the film ends, by clearly hinting the setup for the third Jurassic World installment in 2021. In this world full of remakes and sequels, audiences seem to open up about the idea of deconstructing what they already had in mind about a franchise, in order to look upon a fresher idea. However, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom failed to do such dedication to the original sources, and ended up in losing the whole magic. There is action, and there are explosions, and there are dinosaurs running around that will thrill some audiences, but there is no kicking feels. It turns a once delicious franchise into something generic, flat, and quite forgettable.

The Gift (2018): Upaya Hanung Kembali ke Idealismenya

Directed by: Hanung Bramantyo | Written by: Ifan Ismail | Starring: Ayushita Nugraha, Reza Rahadian, Dion Wiyoko, Christine Hakim | Produced by: Rodney L. Vincent, Anirudhya Mitra | Production Company: Seven Sunday Films | Official Website

4.2/10

Hanung Bramantyo adalah salah satu sutradara Indonesia yang paling produktif. Dua kali menyabet Piala Citra sebagai Sutradara Terbaik di Brownies (2005) dan Get Married (2007), hampir setiap tahun Hanung menelurkan karya baru. Sayangnya, setelah Catatan Akhir Sekolah (2005), Jomblo (2006), karya-karya terbaru Hanung justru seolah menunjukkan penurunan kualitas. Entah karena logika cerita (seperti pada Ayat-Ayat Cinta (2008)), atau terlalu banyak melodrama (seperti pada Soekarno (2013) dan Kartini (2016)), yang jelas beberapa karya terbaru Hanung justru membuat saya merasa kalau nama besar sang sutradara bukanlah lagi jaminan mutu suatu film. Saya merasa mungkin Hanung ingin membuat film-filmnya menjadi lebih ramah penonton sehingga menjangkau lapisan masyarakat yang lebih luas lagi, atau mungkin semuanya hanya tuntutan rumah produksi belaka.

Masalah ini kemudian jadi berkelanjutan ketika Hanung berusaha kembali ke idealisme lamanya sebagai sutradara. Film The Gift ini merupakan salah satu upayanya, yang sayangnya, jadi terkesan merendahkan intelegensia penonton gara-gara terlalu banyak adegan yang “berusaha” menjelaskan segala sesuatu dalam keseluruhan plot cerita dan keping-keping sinematografi yang sebetulnya sudah indah. Terlalu banyaknya upaya Hanung menjelaskan segalanya justru menghancurkan keindahan filmnya dan berujung pada akhir cerita klise yang membuat saya segera ingin meninggalkan tempat duduk saya.

The Gift bercerita tentang seorang novelis muda, Tiana (Ayushita Nugraha), yang berupaya mencari inspirasi bagi penulisan novel terbarunya. Pencarian inspirasi inilah yang membawa Tiana ke Jogjakarta. Di Jogja, Tiana menyewa sebuah kamar di rumah besar yang ditempati seorang seniman tuna netra, Harun (Reza Rahadian). Singkat cerita, Tiana dan Harun mulai berbagi segalanya, dari rumah, masa lalu, hingga hati. Adegan demi adegan kemudian digiring dari ruang tamu rumah Harun hingga pemandangan panoramik di Kaliurang dan Parangtritis, yang sayangnya, ditambahkan terlalu banyak dialog yang berusaha menjelaskan masa lalu dan “kekelaman” hidup Harun dan Tiana. Saya semua berpikir bahwa Hanung akan cukup mengandalkan pengambilan gambar-gambar untuk menjelaskan apa yang terjadi, tapi ternyata, ia juga menambahkan dialog-dialog yang menurut saya cukup menjadi hinaan bagi intelegensia saya sebagai penonton. Bayangkan, setelah menunjukkan bahwa Harun bahkan tak bisa mengetahui letak asbak rokoknya dan pandangan matanya yang kosong, masih perlu ada tambahan dialog dari Tiana yang bilang, “Kamu ini kenapa sih? Kamu buta ya?”

Film semakin dibingungkan dengan banyaknya subplot-subplot yang berusaha menjelaskan kedalaman kegelapan yang menelan Tiana, seperti kehadiran teman-teman imajinatifnya, masa lalunya yang sering bersembunyi di dalam lemari, hingga puncak kebingungan ditambah dengan kehadiran Ari (Dion Wiyoko), dokter muda teman masa kecil Tiana. Seolah tak cukup membuat bingung, cerita masih berusaha dibawa kabur dari logika dengan mengirim Ari (yang sukses mempersunting Tiana) sebagai dokter mata di Italia. Memangnya negara sebesar Italia masih kekurangan dokter mata sehingga harus merekrut dokter dari negeri seberang lautan macam Indonesia? Plot makin tak masuk akal setelah Harun kemudian memutuskan terbang ke Italia menyusul orangtuanya (yang jadi duta besar di Italia) dan berobat pada Ari untuk kesembuhan matanya. Oh, come on, dari negara seluas Italia, sekian banyak rumah sakit dan dokter, apakah harus bertemu dengan dokter muda macam Ari? Memangnya tidak ada dokter lain yang lebih kompeten? Sudah jauh-jauh ke Italia lho, dengan mengorbankan ego dan harga diri karena ujung-ujungnya harus “menyusul”orang tua.

Dengan segala hal yang memutar balik film menjadi tidak masuk akal, saya berharap ending yang akan membuat saya minimal keluar bioskop dengan bahagia. Harapan saya pun disia-siakan Hanung. Ending filmnya klise sekali, tertebak, dan malah cenderung menggelikan. Disinilah saya merasa kecewa luar biasa dan ingin segera meninggalkan bioskop. Karena seindah apapun pengambilan angle kamera dan panorama Jogja (yang bikin saya ingin segera kembali ke sana), sekeren apapun Ayushita dan Reza Rahadian serta seluar biasa apapun Christine Hakim (yang ketika muncul pun auranya sudah tak tertandingi siapapun yang berada di scene yang sama dengan Beliau), jika tidak bisa membangun plot cerita yang komplet dan meyakinkan, maka segalanya pun jadi bubar.

Show Dogs (2018): Basically ‘Miss Congeniality’ for Dogs

Directed by: Raja Gosnell | Produced by: Deepak Nayar, Philip von Alvensleben | Written by: Max Botkin, Marc Hyman | Starring: Will Arnett, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nastasha Lyonne, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel Iglesias, Stanley Tucci, Shaquille O’Neal | Music by: Heitor Pereira | Cinematography: David Mackle | Edited by: David Freeman, Sabrina Plisco | Production Companies: Riverstone Pictures, Alive Entertainment | Distributed by: Global Road Entertainment | Official Website

5.5/10

If you ever imagined what could it be if there is a remake of Sandra Bullock’s Miss Congeniality (2000) with a little change, well, your wish has been granted. This time, Raja Gosnell, who worked previously on several Smurfs movies, has replaced Miss Bullock’s character with a male Rottweiler, voiced by Ludacris, and her partner Eric Matthews (played by Benjamin Bratt at that time), was now played by Will Arnett. The rest is basically the same.

Meet our heroes, a Rottweiler named Max (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), a macho and cool police dog who is ordered to investigate the smuggling attempt of baby panda Ling Li. The police and FBI later know that the suspect is trying to sell Ling Li to an evil exotic animal collector at an exclusive dog show in Las Vegas. In order to save Ling Li, Max is then ordered to go undercover as a primped show dog in prestigious Canini Invitational Dog Show in Las Vegas alongside FBI Agent Frank Mosley (Will Arnett).

On Vegas, they were assisted by FBI asset who works as a well-known dog trainer Mattie (Natasha Lyonne). Again, like Miss Bullock did on Miss Congeniality, Max isn’t exactly ready to dazzle the judges with his persona. He must first undergo the obligatory makeover and endure grueling training alongside Frank as his reluctant handler. As the competition goes, Max befriends some other dogs, including a flamboyant former champion, French-accented Papillion named Philippe (voiced by a seriously overqualified Stanley Tucci) who works as his mentor; the talkative pug Sprinkles (Gabriel Iglesias); a mean Yorkie named Dante (Alan Cumming); Karma (Shaquille O’Neal), a giant, good-natured Komondor whose obsessed with Zen wisdom; and Mattie’s dog, a fluffy Australian shepherd named Daisy (Jordin Sparks). If you are wondering how talking-dogs and human dialogues all work technically, Frank, Mattie and other human characters only hears barking while Max and the other dogs talking. It’s some kind of Stewie on Family Guy, except the dialogue is not getting any clever.

Certainly, Show Dogs isn’t aiming for intelligent writing concept for children as we usually expect from any of Disney or Pixar or even DreamWorks animation. This live action movie actually has a high premise of a talking-dog police investigation into dog beauty pageant, but it suffered more than that. The plot is promising, but executed poorly, even if this live action mixed with talking-animation is much more of Gosnell’s signature work. The story is simple, and it includes a little twist at the ending, but it doesn’t work the way it should be railed. The script, written by Max Botkin and Marc Hyman, doesn’t give any enhancement to the overall story. The script were bland, tired, especially for the dogs’ lines, and it was never funny. So if you were wondering why the actors play like they were emotionless, blame the script.

After all this frantic nonsense, Show Dogs still have a heart of children movie.  It wants to convey a message, to have a heart, to do what is right. It also left us with several questions: Will Max will manage to save Ling Li and win the show? Will he and Frank finally forge a friendship? Will you make it through the entire movie without checking your phone out of boredom? Haha. Watch this with your children and probably, your boredom will relieve too.

 

 

Solo: a Star Wars Story (2018): We Miss You, Mr. Ford

Directed by: Ron Howard | Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur, Simon Emmanuel | Written by: Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan | Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Paul Bettany, Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton, Joonas Suotamo, Phoebe Waller-Bridge | Music by: John Powell, John Williams | Cinematography: Bradford Young | Edited by: Pietro Scalia | Production Company: Lucasfilm Ltd. | Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures, Motion Pictures | Official Website

7.5/10

From the first release of Star Wars franchise with Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), the witty smuggler Han Solo has been portrayed by one man we know, Harrison Ford. The release of Solo movie on Star Wars anthology series, however, is good but quite unnecessary. Moreover, their effort on refreshing the character Han, replacing Mr. Ford with the younger Mr. Ehrenreich has some issues to be solved.

Solo: a Star Wars Movie is telling about the story of much younger Han (Alden Ehrenreich) on the planet of Cornellia, with his former love interest (long before Leia, of course) Qi’ra (played by The Khaleesi herself, Emilia Clarke). Han tries to escape his planet with Qi’ra by smuggling a stolen sample of coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel. He manages to escape, but Qi’ra fails. He promises himself to return to Cornellia to bring Qi’ra out of that planet. Later, young Han has been expelled from Imperial Flight Academy for insubordination and joins infantry instead. He meets Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), a criminal who disguises as Imperial soldiers, and asks to join him and his team. Beckett refuses at first, but later he accepts Han and also his new friend, young Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).

Beckett is trying to steal a shipment of coaxium for Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), high ranking officer of Crimson Dawn. On Crimson Dawn also, Han once again reunites with Qi’ra, who is now working for Crimson Dawn. On their next mission, Qi’ra is helping both Han and Beckett to join forces with accomplished smuggler Lando Carlissian (Donald Glover) and his first feminist droid officer, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). They now try to steal raw coaxium while also discover the true face of Crimson Dawn.

This Solo: a Star Wars Movie sets before the event of A New Hope, and includes some stories from Star Wars: The Clone Wars. This is the movie where you can finally know the absurd reason why Han is given the surname Solo and also the story behind Han and Chewbacca friendship. Oh, not to mention this is the first time you can find out about the intelligence mapping system of Millennium Falcon. So yes, those are the reasons why this movie is important for the whole franchise.

Other reasons why you have to consider watching this movie are the casts. Set aside Mr. Ehrenreich, which I don’t see any reason why he is chosen to play Han other than his resemblance to young Mr. Ford, the other casts are playing their parts successfully. Emilia Clarke again plays a determined woman, her stereotype role since playing Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones. Woody Harrelson and Paul Bettany share a fair trade of being villains. The most interesting parts are played by Joonas Suotamo, Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Joonah Suotamo is successfully replaced Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, a character they shared since Episode VII. Phoebe Waller-Bridge gives a soul, a feminist activist soul to the droid L3, and becomes the funniest character on this movie. However, Donald Glover is the star here. Mr. Glover seems to take the seat of Lando Carlissian right from the original actor Billy Dee Williams, and we cannot tell the difference between that two actors.

On the other side, the main character Han seems to lost his charm due to the lack of passion within Mr. Ehrenreich’s portrayal. As if portrayed by Mr. Ford in the previous versions, Han is the only character in the original three characters that has an antihero side and also a dangerous edge, but Mr. Ehrenreich is not quite convincing to play the cocky young pilot and smuggler who has previously gone a hard life. Despite his resemblance to the young Mr. Ford, Mr. Ehrenreich is too likeable to watch and sometimes we hope that they would cast someone that would bring back the young Han at the first time we saw him back at A New Hope, at least the same thing we saw Ewan McGregor playing young Obi Wan in the prequel trilogy.

This is the movie you can watch with your whole family, and an exciting one. If you didn’t watch the previous Star Wars installment, do much of the reading, or at least watch A New Hope first.

Deadpool 2 (2018): Weak in Plot, Entertaining in every Jokes

Directed by: David Leitch | Produced by: Simon Kinberg, Ryan Reynolds, Lauren Shuler Donner | Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Ryan Reynolds | Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, TJ Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Jack Kesy | Music by: Tyler Bates | Cinematography: Jonathan Sela | Edited by: Dirk Westerveld, Craig Alpert, Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir | Production Companies: Marvel Entertainment, Kinberg Genre, Maximum Effort, The Donners Company | Distributed by: 20th Century Fox | Official Website

8.3/10

So the merc with a mouth is back on screen, on another R-rated movie which he called “so glad you leave your children home”, where he acted as one of a mutant and an X-men trainee. The first movie was released back in 2016, one of my favorite, and became the second highest grossing R-Rated movie after The Passion of the Christ (2004). This reference, however, is included in one of the line told by Deadpool himself.

In this sequel, Reynolds reprises his role as Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, a disfigured mercenary killer who survived an experiment that made him become unkillable. Besides Reynolds, almost all the supporting roles from the first movie are reprising their role, including Morena Baccarin as Wade’s love of his life Vanessa, Leslie Uggams as Wade’s roommate Blind Al and Karan Soni as the taxi driver Dopinder. This time, the supposedly villain is played by Josh Brolin as Nathan Cable, his second Marvel role after Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War (2018). His role as Thanos, is also addressed by Deadpool on another line.

Along with other pop-culture references, from Marvel heroes, to Wolverine’s death in Logan (2017) to DC’s dark ambience, Deadpool 2 begins with a scene where he blew himself to pieces. Not long after, his reason behind his suicidal attempts are disclosed and it quite breaks my heart. He is saved by Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapičić) who brought him to the X-mansion where the other X-men make their cameos, hinting that probably X-men might join Marvel Cinematic Universe soon. Along with Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), he tries to save young Russell (Julian Dennison) who has mutant ability that makes him able to call himself Firefist. Later, Deadpool finds out that Nathan Cable (Josh Brolin), a time-traveling mutant soldier with “Winter Soldier’s arm”, is trying to kill Russell. Deadpool is then trapped between trying to save Russell and letting Cable do the killing for a better good.

If you have watched the first Deadpool movie as a origin movie on how Wade Wilson becomes Deadpool, this sequel is trying to give this antihero a conscience of defining right from wrong, so control your expectation. It’s not all about how to beat the bad guy because sometimes, the bad guy also has his own reason on why he must do the villainy things. If you think Cable is the bad guy, you’re probably right, but he got his own reason why he wants to kill Russell. If you go to the end of the movie and think that Russell is the bad guy, think again since he has been abused since he’s just a little kid. So it seems that the writers (Reynolds included), are trying to make us see another side of superhero movie, where nobody is clearly a villain and nobody is definitely a hero too. This is the face of real world, but again, not everyone is willing to accept this kind of story in a superhero movie.

The story is also heavily focused on the jokes and the pop culture references, and all the soundtracks, from Do You Wanna Build a Snowman from Frozen (2013) to Papa Can You Hear Me from Yentl (1983), to James Bond-styled opening scene along with Celine Dion’s main theme of this movie, Ashes. If you got all the references together, you may enjoy this movie a lot. However, if you are not getting all the references, you may not get too many excitement since the plot is quite messy and emotionless. Deadpool’s suicidal attempts are then being lack of emotion and just looking like a depression with lack of reasonings.

This movie is Reynolds’ effort to explain that even Deadpool hates him and tries to redeem his decision of earlier movies, especially when Deadpool shot Reynolds who hands the Green Lantern (2011) script and said “You’re welcome, Canada” after doing so. There are so many cameos other than the whole X-men, including Terry Crews as Bedlam, Lewis Tan as Shatterstar, Bill Skarsgard as Zeitgeist and also Brad Pitt as, ehm, you better watch it by yourself. There are also several after-credit scenes, so don’t leave your seat too early.

Avengers: Infinity War (2018): It’s All Too Much (no spoiler)

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Produced by: Kevin Feige | Screenplay by: Christopher Marcus, Stephen McFeely | Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Tom Hiddleston, Karen Gillan, Letitia Wright | Music by: Alan Silvestri | Cinematography: Trent Opaloch | Edited by: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt | Production Company: Marvel Studios | Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios, Motion Pictures | Official Website

7.5/10

Marvel is definitely not slowing down. After shaking cinemas with Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Black Panther (2018), they are finally giving us the seemingly real deal of Marvel Cinematic Universe: facing Thanos while assembling all the avengers in one movie. The result is not quite satisfying. In fact, in this era of superheroes, too many super humans with super abilities in one movie is confusing.

The movie sets right after the events in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Thanos (brought to life by motion captured Josh Brolin), is a Titan who wants to collect all the Infinity Stones, and this movie is about collecting all those space jewelries. The six jewelries spread all over the universe and let me remind you that two of them are on earth: beneath the necklace of earthly wizard Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and on the forehead of Vision (Paul Bettany). One of them, are on Asgardian spaceship, hoarded by Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor (Chris Hemsworth)’s brother.

The movie then dragged about how Thanos tries to collect all Infinity Stones, in order to create “balance” in the universe. And by balance is that he wants to eliminate half of the people so that there will no over population in the universe. Sounds good? Wait until you see the way he eliminates half of any planet’s population. If he has all the Infinity Stones, he can perform all those things only with a click on his fingers.

Avengers: Infinity War is like attending an office party where you recognize almost every face in the room but forget how they are usually called. Like, “Oh, who is that guy with red face?” or “Eh, is that guy still alive? How can he get there, by the way?” and so on. It’s like assembling all the characters from all the previous movies, while trying to beat one of the strongest creature on the universe. There’s no way in making a realistic character development for every characters, and I suggest you just sit there, recall your memories of all Marvel’s previous movies while eating your popcorn. Speaking of popcorn, you really need a big one. This movie runs for 149 minutes of your life, so you just don’t want to get out of the cinema hungry of thirsty because you will miss the actions.

Thanos himself is making his debut on The Avengers (2012), as one of the biggest threats on this whole Marvel universe. Like Josh Brolin himself, the movie is dominated by heavy CGIs, some of them are helping the development of the story, some of them are left there just to wow you. The characters are set like the complete marketing strategy, where you can get all your favorite superheroes in one movie while never knowing who will die next, just like watching Game of Thrones, unless it’s less gory.

So do you have to watch the movie? Definitely. It’s a fun movie, after all. The jokes really work, some of the avengers blend well together in a scene, and it’s really fun to be watched. And please guide your children while watching, there’s some scenes that quite not proper for children.

Rampage (2018): We Want to Love The Rock. He Made it So Hard

Rampage 2018 Dwayne Johnson Film - 1280x800

Directed by: Brad Peyton | Produced by: Brad Peyton, Beau Flynn, John Rickard, Hiram Gracia | Screenplay by: Ryan Engle, Carlton Cuse, Ryan J. Condal, Adam Stzykiel | Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Naomie Harris, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Joe Manganiello, Jake Lacy | Music by: Andrew Lockington | Cinematography: Jaron Presant | Edited by: Jim May, Bob Ducsay | Production Company: New Line Cinema, Flynn Picture Company, Rickard Pictures, Seven Bucks Productions | Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures | Official Website

6.5/10

Released not so long after VR world re-imagined Ready Player One (2018) and new version of Tomb Raider (2018), Rampage is also based on the video game series with the same name by Midway Games. On the original source, player can choose to be one of three kind of mega-giant monsters: George the Albino Silver-back Gorilla, Ralph the Alpha Wolf and Lizzie the American Crocodile, who have gone through involuntarily DNA mutations, thanks to evil experiment by Enerdyne Corp. This adaptation, unfortunately, sells Dwayne Johnson more than the three giant monsters like the way it used to be.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson here is Davis Okoye, primatologist and also an ex-military who works on San Diego Sanctuary. Saved George from illegal hunter, he made friends with him and taught him talking using sign language. Until now, everything goes cute, thanks to George’s gritty sense of humor. One day, the experimental serum of Enerdyne’s Project Rampage fell off the space lab they used to modify animal’s DNA. The serum contaminate George, as well as an alpha wolf on Wisconsin and an American Crocodile on Everglades National Park, change their DNA over night. With the help of Enerdyne’s discredited genetic engineer named Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), Okoye must save George, stop Ralph and Lizzie from destroying Chicago.

Instead of the fun of the original source, Rampage has lost both the thrill and the fun. The story is messy, and the reliance on heavy CGI of giant monsters battle is even messier. The story changes the point of view, from the three giant monsters to the humans represented by Dwayne Johnson and Naomie Harris, and. The action with Johnson is so-so, while we also cannot have mesmerizing giant monster fighting like that one on the original video games.

The casts are making no better relieve. It feels like Dwayne Johnson and Naomie Harris are acting like the confused and awkward Mowgli on The Jungle Book (2016) where he must act with the mostly motion pictured actors. The cast of Dwayne Johnson is most likely to blame. Johnson might be one of the most casted actor nowadays, thanks to his ability to play comedy like on Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) or on more serious action like on Fast and Furious franchise. However, his over-casting is boring overtime since his role is stereotyping himself. Johnson gets a brainy counterpart here on Naomie Harris’ Kate Caldwell, but somehow, it also cannot save the overall sunk of this movie. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is playing cowboy Agent Harvey Russell, that seems like a nicer version of his Negan on Walking Dead series. We can find the villains, represented by Trophy Wife‘s actress Malin Akerman and Jake Lacy, as corporate pathetic, try so hard to look intimidating but end up failed, and weak. As the executives of a corporation that making DNA mutation becomes real, they really need a smarter and more intelligent villains than this two.

So, if you still ask to watch of not to watch Rampage, I suggest you to love the giant monster first. If you don’t have a love for giant monsters, then you’d be tortured over watching this movie with its brainless plot and confusing CGI. There’s some gory scenes on this movie, so please beware of taking your children watching this with you.

Ready Player One (2018): A World of VR with 1980s References Galore

Directed by: Steven Spielberg | Produced by: Steven Spielberg, Donald deLine, Dan Farah, Kristie Macosko Krieger | Screenplay by: Zak Penn, Ernest Cline | Starring: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg | Music by: Alan Silvestri | Cinematography: Janusz Kamiński | Edited by: Michael Kahn, Sarah Broshar | Production Companies: Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Amblin Partners, De Line Pictures, Farah Films and Management | Distributed by: Warner Bros Pictures | Official Website

8.9/10

Note this: you will leave the theater after watching Ready Player One with two expressions: you love it since you got all the references it used, or you hate it because the story is not getting any click to you. You will love it with the same excitement like the first time you watch the first dinosaur in Jurassic Park (1994), or you will just leave blank with the confusing plot and the clues you don’t get.

Ready Player One is a movie based on the sci-fi dystopian novel by Ernest Cline, who also works as the co-screenwriter with Zak Penn. The movie sets on Columbus, Ohio, in 2045, where the future Willy Wonka named James Halliday (Mark Rylance) created a virtual reality world called OASIS, collaborated with his friend Ogden Murrow (Simon Pegg). On OASIS, people can be whatever they want to be, live as an avatar version of themselves, and collect coin that can be transferred to the real world. On OASIS too, your limit is only your imagination. You can climb Mount Everest with Batman if you want (maybe it will get him less grumpy), or play in the planet-sized casino. It simply tells us that whoever rules OASIS will have a very big fortune in the real life. This is why Halliday creates a quest of Easter Egg in OASIS. In order to collect the egg, the gunters (egg hunters) need to collect three keys that’s hidden in the game. The fortune of OASIS also lures a greedy CEO of Innovative Online Industries (IOI), Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn), who is willing to do anything to find the Easter Egg.

Our protagonist is 18 years-old Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), who goes as the platinum blonde boy Parzival in his OASIS avatar. Parzival gets his reference from the round table knight Percival, and races in DeLorean racing car. Parzival has friends: the big guy robot Aech (pronounced “H”, played by Lena Waithe) who has prepared her Iron Giant, samurai Daito (Win Morisaki) who can transform into a Gundam robot and his ninja brother Sho (Philip Zhao). Treat the three friends like a pinch of salt in your cookings: they probably not visible enough but without them, the whole movie would be tasteless. Wade later falls for Art3mis, a female gunter who lives as the rebellion leader Samantha Cook (Olivia Cooke) in real life. They need to find all the three keys before IOI does. The keys is hidden beyond Halliday’s milestone of life, and only his biggest fan could crack the mystery of his legacy.

Watching Ready Player One is like watching a cover version of your nostalgic 1980s pop culture references. Figures from the big Iron Giant to zombies to the small but murderous Chucky from Child’s Play (1988), monsters from Jurassic Park’s T-Rex to Mechagodzilla to King Kong, music from A-ha to BeeGees. Don’t forget all the Atari’s video games to all the movie references including the set of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980), all will send you to nostalgic feelings of your childhood. I’m not a generation X who will certainly get all the references used in this movie, but as a moviegoer I confirm that all the references add so much fun in watching Ready Player One. Watching this movie would feel like you’re rewatching all those old movies from a car window, where you can still get the view, but so little time to consider it all. Spielberg seems to know that not all his audiences will get all the references, so there’s no need to stop the quick pace of the story just to explain it.

The quick pace is also the movie’s main weakness. Despite all the fun it offers through all their pop culture references, the quick pace doesn’t give the story and the casts enough time to develop. The story is so simple, with many holes that actually can be developed more to add some depth. The architecture of OASIS is also can be explained more, not just movingthe camera so fast yhat it makes the audiences feel dizzy.

The characters are even worse. Olivia Cooke does her best to portray Art3mis, but her character doesn’t even get the opportunity to develop. Tye Sheridan even just be there to play, he doesn’t even get the chance to express his loss (or maybe some revenge motive) over his last family that has been killed by IOI. You can argue that this movie is developed like a video game so there’s no need to give the characters some depth. However, this lack of emotion left the movie to be half-hollowed, as it’s just mesmerizing in visual but awkward in character interactions.

This movie is meant to be enjoyed, not to be questioned. You should sit there, laugh at the references, thrilled with the actions and eat your popcorn. The 139 minutes play would make you want to grab some popcorn.

Sherlock Gnomes (2018): The Sequel has (again) Lost the Magic

Directed by: John Stevenson | Produced by: David Furnish, Steve Hamilton Show | Screenplay by: Ben Zazove, Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley | Starring: James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Johnny Depp, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Mary J. Blige | Music by: Chris Bacon | Edited by: Prakash Patel, Mark Solomon | Production Company: Paramount Animation, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Rocket Pictures | Distributed by: Paramount Pictures | Official Website

6.7/10

Do you remember the first Gnomeo and Juliet that was released on 2011? I don’t really. For an animation, Gnomeo and Juliet is not very much captivating me. All I can pretty much remember is that animation was a children version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, now in the form of garden gnomes, still told about the feud between the so-called Capulets and Montagues, the couple were singing Elton John’s, and they had a happy ending. Oh, and the Shakespeare gnome is voiced by Patrick Stewart (how could I forget Patrick Stewart?).

Seven years later, the sequel is released. Still takes on British classics, now the garden gnomes take inspiration from Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloving detective, Sherlock Holmes and his companion dr. John Watson. It seems that once upon a time they still think about what British classic literature that can be adapted, as well as rhyme with “gnomes”, and then Sherlock Gnomes (nee. Holmes, LOL) comes to mind. They also think of who should voice this cocky, deductive yet eccentric detective, and no one could be better than Johnny Depp. As his long-term companion dr. John Watson is voiced by Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Our loving couple from the prequel, Gnomeo and Juliet (still voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt, respectively), are now married and inherited the garden from their parents, Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine) and Lady Bluebury (Maggie Smith). One day, all the garden gnomes in London are missing from their gardens. Called himself “protector of all garden gnomes”, Sherlock Gnomes and Watson team up with Gnomeo and Juliet to save all gnomes from Sherlock’s long-term arch-nemesis, Professor James Moriarty (Jamie Demetriou), who is now taking form of a rhubarb pie.

So then it is a classic battle of wits between Sherlock (and Watson, of course) and Moriarty, with an addition of Sherlock’s love interest Irene Adler (Mary J. Blige), who’s now a ball-jointed fashionista doll. There are some clear references to Conan Doyle’s cases like a terrier which Sherlock recalls as “The Hound of Baskerville” and when Sherlock and Moriarty fight to death as in “The Adventure of Final Problem“. The name of “Conan Doyle” also appears in one scene. There were also some clever black-and-white scenes that show us what goes on during Sherlock’s brilliant deduction. However, Sherlock Gnomes doesn’t incorporate all the thrill and fun from Conan Doyle’s fictional famous detective. The movie also lost the fun and strong message that should be emphasized on a children movie. There were some funny moments, but it’s not enough to save the whole movie from sinking.

In addition, Sherlock Gnomes isn’t Sherlock Holmes at all. We all know that Holmes respects Watson as his (maybe only) friend, but this gnome version of him treats Watson like his servant. He’s also arrogant and irritating to be watched, and Depp seems like he lost his magical touch of how to portray an eccentric character. James McAvoy and Emily Blunt reprise their role as Gnomeo and Juliet, respectively, but they also lost the sparling chemistry as a couple. Don’t forget to mention Jamie Demetriou’s rhubarb Moriarty. He seems to be more pathetic than any other villain in children movie.

The movie is a definite boredom, but it maybe because you watch this with the eye of an adult. Maybe you should watch this with the eye of children. However, don’t forget to sit with your children when you watch this movie. Some scenes might not suitable for children.