Baby Driver (2017): Fun and Fast with Elgort’s Best Performance

Directed by: Edgar Wright | Produced by: Nira Park, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner | Written by: Edgar Wright | Starring: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal | Music by: Steven Price | Cinematography: Bill Pope | Edited by: Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos | Production Company: Working Title Films, Big Talk Production, MRC | Distributed by: Tristar Pictures | Official Website

8.5/10

“Your name is Baby? B-A-B-Y, baby?” Said a charming and cute waitress that seems to exist only on a movie named Debora (Lily James, this movie doesn’t bother to give her or any other character a surname). Debora then states her jealous opinion on how Baby got his name on almost every song while she only got two songs with her name on, T-Rex’s “Deborah” and Beck’s “Debra”. Baby, on the other side, has so many songs mentioning his name, include one that finally became this movie’s title, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Baby Driver”.

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young and almost silent driver for Atlanta’s crime boss Doc (Kevin Spacey). His work is to drive Doc’s henchmen doing their crime. On the opening scene, Baby assists Buddy (Jon Hamm), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) and Griff (Jon Bernthal) robbing a bank. Although they’re successfully getting away with the robbery, all of them question Baby’s preference of keeping his headphones on. Doc explains that due to an accident when he’s younger, Baby is having Tinnitus and needs music to get rid of the humming inside his ears.

Baby is an example of reluctant criminals: he broke Doc’s car, and now has to pay his debt with doing whatever Doc asks him to do. Doc is never using the same team twice, so Baby assists different henchmen: from Buddy and Darling, the suicidal Bats (Jamir Foxx) and the scarface Eddie with No Nose (Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, now you’re believing the soundtrack is gonna be rocking all the way). While he finally falls in love with Debora, Doc asks him to assists Buddy, Darling and Bats robbing the post office. Situation is getting worse when Baby gets his conscience back, and now he needs to run from his used-to-be teammates. Not only that, he needs to save Debora too.

Imagine this. Baby Driver is a mix between Fast and Furious‘s cars show-off and Pulp Fiction‘s kind of thriller, with La La Land‘s young romance, and Guardians of The Galaxy‘s soundtrack, all in the right balance. Sounds good? It is. From the opening scene, this movie gives us car thrills, if I may say car ballet, showing Baby’s competence of driving fast on a red Subaru. The action doesn’t stop throughout the movie, and put your imaginary headphones, because along with the car ballet came a good list of soundtrack, from Jon Spencer Blues Explosions’ “Bellbottoms” until Queen’s “Brighton Rock”.

Ansel Elgort himself is bringing the tag “Baby” to full reality. With his baby face and close to silent performance, Elgort manifests the fact that a criminal doesn’t always have to look intimidating, can look like an ordinary teenage boy and can have his conscience too, oh and also can fall in love. With his few dialogues, mostly talked with Lily James’ Debora, this is probably Elgort’s best performance so far. Kevin Spacey as Doc, however, is the masterpiece of this movie. Doc maybe the crime lord of Atlanta with his hands covering all over the state, reaching from the Police Department until gun dealers, but Doc is not a merciless crime lord after all. He looks at Baby as friend, and somehow feels like a father figure to his young wheelman.

So this movie is a kind of movie that you will enjoy watching, although you must have anticipated the action movie’s usual gory scenes.

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The Dark Tower (2017): Our Tall, Dark, Handsome Gunslinger Deserves Better than This

Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel | Produced by: Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, Erica Huggins | Screenplay by: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel | Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbie Lee, Jackie Earle Haley | Music by: Ton Holkenborg | Cinematography: Rasmus Vidabæk | Edited by: Alan Edward Bell, Dan Zimmerman | Production Company: MRC, Imagine Entertainment, Weed Road | Distributed by: Columbia Pictures | Official Website

6.3/10

Since I haven’t read this original Stephen King’s magnum opus, that he spent 35 years writing the whole seven books, I come to the cinema with full focus on the movie. In my opinion, since this is a Stephen King’s adaptation, the movie will be at least entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Moreover, they casted Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, so my expectation goes higher. Turns out, after I left the cinema, I feel stressed up about how they built the entire movie and wasting both of Elba and McConaughey’s casts.

The plot is also frustrating, so keep up with me. The Dark Tower tells us about a gifted boy named Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor), who has dreamed about a man in black (later known as Walter, plays by Matthew McConaughey). The Man in Black is actually a sorcerer who wants to bring hell to the worlds. In order to break the hell out, he needs to overthrow The Dark Tower (symbol of the universe main keeper) using the mind power of young children. On the other hand, Jake finds out how to operate the gate to another world, and later encounters The Gunslinger (the Westernized The Roundtable Knights who guard the tower) Ronald Deschain (plays by Idris Elba). The Gunslinger then knows that Jake is the boy with the strongest “shine” (mind power to overthrow The Dark Tower), and tries to save him from The Man in Black.

You know the feel when you have planned something big, like your wedding, in details for years but when it comes closer, you run out of money. Since your mom agrees to finance the wedding, you must ruin your whole imagination of perfect wedding and go with your mom’s plan. This movie is exactly like that. The effort of bringing King’s magnum opus to the big screen has been lingering since 2007, with J.J Abrams or Ron Howard are planned to direct. However, on 2015, Sony has decided to fast-track the development and the movie ends up with Arcel in director’s chair. instead of giving The Gunslinger most of the runtime, the movie is focusing on the eye of the boy.

The result is exactly like your ruined wedding. The plot is stressful and confusing. We know that The Gunslinger is our hero and The Man in Black is our villain, but instead of giving them the spotlight, the movie chooses to focus their view in the eye of the boy. The Gunslinger got really promising scenes, the most memorable must be when he shoots soldier that kidnapped Jake without looking and just trusting his instinct, but the scenes are coming in a hurry so we can’t barely enjoy his profound gunshots. The Man in Black is not better. Though he is terrifying with his ability to kill people with just one finger click away, the cinematography makes him look dull.

Elba is an A-list actor in waiting. He got his popularity grown so fast, from being Marvel’s Heimdall to Star Trek’s villain to Mandela and Luther, and the rumor of his landing as James Bond makes him look promising for the role of The Gunslinger. Though King’s fanatics criticized him of a black actor as their Westernized-Clint-Eastwood-styled Gunslinger, he did a great job and still will make you laugh with his dry humor. McConaughey, on the other side, looks more like a scary gangster than a powerful sorcerer. His terrifying magic becomes dull, and it makes his ability looks like a failed combination out of The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings. Tom Taylor, as Jake, however, seems like going through puberty that his voice is changing over one octave from one scene to another.

Overall, this movie is like going in a hurry. There will be something left behind, although you feel like you have fulfilled all the basic requirements.

Turah (2017): Like a Mirror to Our Real World

Directed by: Wicaksono Wisnu Legowo | Produced by: Ifa Isfansyah | Written by: Wicaksono Wisnu Legowo | Starring: Ubaidillah, Slamet Ambari, Yono Daryono, Rudi Iteng, Firman Hadi, Narti Diono | Distributed by: Fourcolours Film

8.7/10

Saya termasuk orang yang malas menonton film Indonesia. Selain karena genrenya monoton, hanya berputar di horor, drama cinta dan komedi seolah hanya tiga genre tersebutlah yang pantas masuk bioskop komersil, ceritanya kebanyakan mudah ditebak dan klise, “jual mimpi” dan jauh dari kenyataan hidup di Indonesia. Alasan terakhir inilah yang membuat saya kemudian jatuh cinta pada film-film Indonesia yang berkelas festival, karena meskipun tak ada nama beken yang menghiasinya, ceritanya jauh lebih akrab dengan kenyataan yang saya temui sehari-hari.

Ketika film Turah masuk bioskop komersial, meskipun hanya beberapa gelintir, saya tak pikir panjang untuk memutuskan menontonnya. Film ini sederhana, ditutur dalam dialog berbahasa Tegal yang menegaskan kalau film ini bersetting di sudut kota di pantai utara Jawa Tengah tersebut. Film ini berputar pada kehidupan warga Kampung Tirang, salah duanya adalah Turah (Ubaidillah) dan istrinya Kanti (Narti Diono). Seperti seluruh isi Kampung Tirang, Turah hanyalah buruh kasar yang bekerja pada tuan tanah bernama Darso (Yono Daryono). Bertahun-tahun bekerja pada Darso, pamor warga Kampung Tirang kalah dengan Pakel (Rudi Iteng), anak muda lulusan universitas yang langsung mendapat kepercayaan Darso. Hal ini menimbulkan kecemburuan di hati warga, terutama Jadag (Slamet Ambari), yang terus berusaha menyuarakan keberatannya di tengah himpitan kemiskinan yang mengurung mereka dari penghidupan yang lebih baik.

Seperti halnya film festival, alur cerita Turah sengaja dibuat sederhana, terlihat minim konflik dan mengandalkan kemampuan akting para aktor. Meskipun tak ada nama besar menghiasi film ini, akting Ubaidillah dan Slamet Ambari patut dipuji. Sebagai aktor teater, Ubaidillah dan Slamet sukses menghidupkan karakter Turah dan Jadag yang kontras tanpa kehilangan determinasi mereka masing-masing. Beberapa adegan yang menggambarkan dialog mereka terlihat apik, dimana dua karakter berbincang dengan kepribadian berbeda: Turah yang kalem dan Jadag yang emosional, tetapi tetap konsisten memainkan lakonnya tanpa saling mendominasi satu sama lain.

Meski saya bilang sebelumnya kalau film ini minim konflik, konflik utama pada film ini diwakili oleh kapitalisme ala pemilik modal yang diwakili Darso, para manajemen milenial yang merasa unggul yang diwakili Pakel, dan pekerja unskilled yang diwakili Turah dan Jadag. Ini konflik yang akrab di kehidupan masyarakat Indonesia, dimana kepentingan pemilik modal diakomodir oleh manajemen yang berusaha memaksimalkan bonus mereka dan memaksa buruh bekerja keras untuk mereka. Protes buruh seringkali dianggap berlebihan, mencederai produktivitas, tak tahu diuntung dan lain sebagainya. Kondisi ini membuat buruh-buruh semakin miskin, dan gini ratio Indonesia masih lebar haha. Yang gak paham gini ratio bisa baca disini.

Singkatnya, ini film yang sungguh mungkin terjadi di sekitar kita. Meskipun gak terlalu mengaduk emosi dan melibatkan penonton seperti Ziarah (2017), film ini cukup bisa mewakili dahaga kita akan film Indonesia berkualitas. Selamat menikmati film dan jangan bawa anak

The Battleship Island (2017): Unrealistic War Movie Anchored by Strong Characters

Directed by: Ryoo Seung-wan | Produced by: Cho Sung-min | Screenplay by: Ryoo Seung-wan | Starring: Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub, Song Joong-ki, Lee Jung-hyun, Kim Su-an | Cinematography: Lee Mo-gae | Edited by: Kim Jae-bum, Kim Sang-bum | Production Company: Filmmaker R&K | Distributed by: CJ Entertainment | Official Website (in Korean)

8.7/10

There are two ways of getting people home from the war according to the latest cinema release: Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (2017) or Ryoo Seung-wan’s The Battleship Island. If Nolan prefers to tell the way of coming home from war in a heroic and touching way, the latter chooses a gory, sometimes unwatchable, way to tell how much people want to get out of war. The Battleship Island is probably a typical Asian war movie that shows us the brutality of war, since we Asians are mostly (yes mostly. I’m not talking to you, Japanese) the victim of the war decisions we never take part of. However, it is the characters that win our heart.

The Battleship Island main story is set at nearly the end of World War II and anchored by sophisticated performances of both Hwang Jung-min (Veteran (2015) and The Wailing (2016)) and Kim Su-an (Train to Busan (2016)), who play a musician single father Lee Gang-ok and his daughter Sohee. Go to Nagasaki to search for a better life, they are sent to Hashima Island to be coal miners, along with several men including street thug Choi Chil-sung (So Ji-sub) and several womem including the brave Oh Mal-nyeon (Lee Jung-hyun). The men are sent to forced labor to coal mine, while the women are sent to comfort house as sex slaves.

In the chaos of forced labor and their sufferings, who could imagine there is one Korean key person Yoon Hak-chul (Lee Kyoung-young) trapped along the coal miners. A Korean Liberation officer named Park Moo-young (Song Joong-ki) is then sent to Hashima to free Yoon. Soon, Park reveals the true face of Yoon and his escape plan shifts into a liberation journey of 400 Koreans who trapped in Hashima Island.

Instead of the historical accuracy of this story, unlike Dunkirk, this story is likely happened since Japan did invade most of Asia in the name of their fascism and in order to win the war over The Allies. At the end credit, we know UNESCO has made Hashima Island as World Heritage Site in 2015 and though Japan refused to reveal the true history of Hashima, a special screening of this movie is held by UNESCO to raise the awareness of what was happened back there. The opinion stated that this movie is raising anti-Japanese sentiment, but in my opinion, this movie tells us perfectly that war can change any heavenly angel into a monster.

Instead of the debatable historical accuracy and so many gory scenes that actually can be found in any thriller Asian movie, this movie entire emotion is anchored by Hwang’s Gang-ok and Kim’s Sohee. As a single father who will do anything to keep her daughter alive, Gang-ok turns from a Japanese speaking musician who will do anything in his favor to a man who moved all Koreans to leave the island. Their chemistry as father and daughter is delightful and it became the ease that fulfill our thirst of emotional touch in a movie like this. The other actors then feel like they were only there to complete the plot, including Song Joong-ki who again plays a soldier after his hit performance at TV Series Descendants of the Sun and So Ji-sub and Lee Jung-hyun’s romance.

As I said before that this movie is a typical Asian war movie that consists of gory scenes and profanity, you should think twice to bring young children watching this. Even if they were crazy about Song Joong-ki.

Atomic Blonde (2017): Mesmerizing in Actions, Sloppy in Plot

Directed by: David Leitch | Produced by: Charlize Theron, Beth Kono, AJ Dix, Kelly McCormick, Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin | Screenplay by: Kurt Johnstad | Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman | Music by: Tyler Bates | Cinematography: Jonathan Sela | Edited by: Elisabet Ronaldsdottir | Production Company: Denver and Delilah Productions, Closed on Mondays Entertainment, 87Eleven | Distributed by: Focus Features | Official Website

6.7/10

Have you ever imagined if James Bond wearing red stilettos or leather full-pressed bodysuit? Or did you miss Uma Thurman’s The Bride in Kill Bill (2003)? Then this movie is the right movie to watch. Directed by John Wick (2014)’s director David Leitch, that this movie made him left the project of John Wick 2 (2017), Atomic Blonde offers the same approach with John Wick. A die-hard hero (or in this case Heroine), dressed in stylish formal attire, attractive yet murderous, the resemblance is uncanny. In addition, the fact that Theron is on the same training center and doing the same training program as Reeves, made this movie tastes like a female John Wick.

Theron plays an icy cold MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, with hair to match her cold persona and ability to combat. Her first appearance, naked on a tub full of ice with bruises all over her body, tells us she is clearly a bad-ass woman. She is called on an interview with MI6 Eric Gray (Toby Jones) and CIA Emmett Kurzfeld). She is interrogated for the event that happens on the week of the fall of Berlin Wall, after a MI6 agent James Gascoigne (Sam Hargrave) is killed in Berlin. Gascoigne later has known to hand The List, a secret list of active field agent in Soviet Union. His killer, Yuri Bakhtin, is now waiting for the highest bidder who wants The List.

The story then tells us what really happens. One day after Gascoigne is killed, Lorraine is sent to Berlin in search for The List. When she is ambushed by KGB at her first arrival in Berlin, she is helped by David Percival (James McAvoy), MI6 main contact in Berlin. In search of The List, Lorraine encounters Delphine LaSalle (Sofia Boutella), a French agent with whom she develops a romantic relationship. Soon after, Bakhtin is found dead and The List is missing. From Percival, she knows that a Stasi officer codenamed Spyglass is memorizing the entire list and therefore he must be protected. With the hardest way, Lorraine learns that in this situation, she really cannot trust anyone but herself.

Talking about Atomic Blonde, we cannot help but compare it to other male spy counterparts like Bond. In terms of action, and the casts of course, this movie looks promising. Theron looks amazing with her toughness in her fighting scenes, her stylish fashion and her cold personality. The tub full of ice and her favorite iced vodka try to convince us that she is now one of the toughest actress in Hollywood to date. She might play as the main villain in The Fate of The Furious (2017) earlier this year, but it is Atomic Blonde that we have waited all along. McAvoy’s performance as the main villain here is not brilliant but twisted enough that we suddenly remember he has played as a person with Multiple Personality Disorder in Split (2017) earlier this year.

Unfortunately, the screenplay is sloppy and the pace of the story is ridiculous. For almost two hours playtime, I cannot fully capture what Atomic Blonde is all about, and can only enjoy the movie by Theron’s fighting scenes. There are about two, three or four plot twists that actually unpredictable, and could be another nice attribute of this movie, but even those twists didn’t deliver successfully.

The movie is rated R since it is full of nudity, gore scenes, violence, alcohol and smoking, and profanities. Please be wise with leaving your child at home while watching this movie.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017): When Hitman Talks Too Much

Directed by: Patrick Hughes | Produced by: David Ellison, Mark Gill, Dana Goldberg, Matthew O’Toole, John Thompson, Les Weldon | Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek, Elodie Yung | Music by: Atli Orvarsson | Cinematography: Jules O’Loughlin | Production Company: Millennium Pictures, Cristal Pictures | Distributed by: Lionsgate Films | Official Website

6.5/10

When I know that this movie is directed by Expendables 3 (2014)’s director and starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman, I thought that the action and the fun in watching this movie will be balanced. This thought is not completely wrong, though it’s not right either.

As the title implies, this movie introduces us to an executive protection service led by Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds). Bryce is a complete protector agent, aware of the risk, calculates every possible situation, sexy and capable, but failed in his mission to protect Japanese VIP Kurosawa. Then the world is fallen apart for Bryce. He lost his career, his reputation as Triple A protector, his girlfriend, his everything.

Two years later, Bryce is asked by his former girlfriend Amelia Roussell (Elodie Yung), to protect an imprisoned hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson). Kincaid is scheduled to testify against Belarus’ dictator Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) on International Court of Justice in Den Haag, in exchange to free his wife Sonia Kincaid (the extraordinary stand-alone parodic Salma Hayek). Bryce and Kincaid then tried to survive the journey from Manchester to Den Haag against Dukhovich’s hired assassins.

So instead of his reputation to direct Stallone, Willis, etc., etc., in The Expendables 3 (2014), the star-studded cast here are not utilized optimally. As a neat person who calculates his next step and well-dressed, Reynolds looks like he’s trying his best to free himself from Deadpool character, but at the end he just looks confused and just pissed off at literally everything. Jackson, on the other hand, has given more character in Kincaid other than being Nick Fury, although he said his signature “motherf*cker” a little bit too much. Their actions are just so-so, not intense enough but quite funny. Their action scenes seem to be more scenery as they did it in Amsterdam, but don’t talk about their chemistry with each other. Their chemistry is none, and they even didn’t get the chance to build it. In addition, they were talking too much about love, how Kincaid finally became Bryce’s love advisor, but that scenes don’t give so much impact on their action scenes.

Credit must be given to Gary Oldman and Salma Hayek. Oldman, as a dictator, creates a bad feeling within his Russian conversation and he makes us believed that he is a bad guy with shooting a young child on the beginning of the movie. Hayek, on the other hand, gives us more interesting and more entertaining scenes than any other character in this movie. Her prison yoga, her treatment to her cellmate, her cantina brawl scenes, all has the charisma she wants to tell us about the character.

Annabelle: Creation (2017): When Annabelle Meets Lights Out

Directed by: David F. Sandberg | Produced by: Peter Safran, James Wan | Written by: Gary Dauberman | Starring: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto | Music by: Benjamin Wallfisch | Cinematography: Maxime Alexander | Edited by: Michel Aller | Production Company: New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster Production, The Safran Company | Distributed by Warner Bros Pictures

7.6/10

This is my first, and hopefully not the last, time I reviewed a horror movie. Usually when being “invited” to watch horror, I end up covering my face the whole movie, or just falling asleep. Since I watch Annabelle: Creation twice, I cannot pull myself out of getting it all and giving my late review.

Annabelle: Creation is a prequel of the previous movie Annabelle (2014). Annabelle (2014) itself is the prequel of The Conjuring (2013) and The Conjuring 2 (2016). So basically Annabelle: Creation is a prequel to a prequel. Based on the same creepy and haunted doll Annabelle, this movie tells us about the first time the doll is created, and how it becomes haunted, and how it connected to Annabelle (2014) and finally to The Conjuring (2013).

It all begins with The Mullins family: Samuel (Anthony LaPaglia), Esther (The Lord of the Rings’ veteran Miranda Otto) and their 7 years-old daughter Annabelle or Bee (Samara Lee). Sam Mullins is a dollmaker and his limited edition doll is named after his daughter, Annabelle. The unfortunate fate comes to the Mullins when they lost the young Annabelle on an accident after their Sunday prayer on church. Sad and devastated, the Mullins try to reconnect with the late Annabelle and give permits to her spirit to enter the doll. Later, they find out that the spirit enters the doll wasn’t their daughter’s, but a far more evil spirit.

12 years after Annabelle’s death, the Mullins give permits to girl orphanage to use their house as a safe house, with the exception of Annabelle’s room and their own bedroom. One of the girls, the crippled Janice (Talitha Bateman), is summoned to Annabelle’s room and somehow open the holy seal to Annabelle doll, which is haunted. The horrors then come real, when the evil spirit kills the Mullins, and the girls are now trying to save their own life.

When knowing that Lights Out (2016)’s director David F. Sandberg is going to direct this movie, I know that Annabelle: Creation is going to set on darker tone than its predecessor. The scenes are worked out eventually, gives us the horrible feeling of what awaits us in the darkness. Annabelle: Creation is also differ from any other movie in The Conjuring universe in term of surprises. If The Conjuring slowly built the intensity and and wait patiently to show us the demon, Annabelle: Creation is quite predictable while gives us the surprises without any warning. The glimpse of Valak is shown on one scene, reflects on how this movie fits into The Conjuring film series.

The casts are somehow fit. While some of them are children, they seem to be used to horror movie. Samara Lee looks both terrifyingly cute as ghost of Annabelle “Bee” Mullins. Extraordinary performances came from Talitha Bateman as Janice and Lulu Wilson as Linda who plays their parts perfectly, especially Bateman who has turned from a crippled into a horrifying possessed girl. Compared to them, the adult casts are just so-so.

The Emoji Movie: “Meh” is All You Got

Directed by: Tony Leondis | Produced by: Michelle Raemo Kouyate | Screenplay: Tony Leondis, Eric Siegel, Mike White | Story by: Tony Leondis, Eric Siegel | Starring: TJ Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph, Steven Wright, Jennifer Coolidge, Christina Aguilera, Patrick Stewart | Music by: Patrick Doyle | Edited by: William J. Carapella | Production Company: Sony Pictures Animation | Distributed by: Columbia Pictures | Official Website

4.6/10

When I see the trailer of The Emoji Movie for the first time, I only reminisce to 2015 Pixar’s awards winning animation, Inside Out. I almost got the same hype to watch animations since they usually have some messages to teach to their younger audiences, in the most colorful and simplest way. However, the emoji in this movie runs out their intepretation of the emotion they should represent, and lost in total nonsensical confusion.

The Emoji movie centers on two different but parallels universe. The first one, is the real one where Alex (Jake T. Austin), a shy by who wants to tell his feelings to his girl crush Addie (Tati Gabrielle), lives. The other universe sets inside Alex’s phone, where our should-be-Meh emoji called Gene (TJ Miller) lives on the city of Textopolis. Gene, who should be only showing Meh face, turns out to be able to show many kind of expressions. 

This ability gives him trouble when he shows the wrong expression on his first day working on Alex’s text application. Gene is called to Smiler (Maya Rudolph), the leader of text center who concludes he is a malfuntion and therefore Gene should be deleted. Smiler then releases the bots to chase Gene, who is now escaping Textopolis alongside Hi-5 (James Corden) to find Jailbreak (Anna Faris), to “fix” his malfunction.

The idea of emoji talking and dancing and do whatever we can do is actually brilliant, if it’s told in a proper screenplay. The Emoji Movie, however, shows more confusion than gives us the excitement of watching the emojis go on an adventure on its psychedelic world. It tries to gives us some humors, when James Corden is trying his best to bring out his charisma on his talkshows and transfer it into a sloppy hand emoji, but at the end we cannot see what to laugh at. It tries to gives some adrenaline pumps with surfing on Spotify streams or cracking the Firewalls, but it doesn’t gives us anything but the knowledge of those applications we might need on our smartphone. It tries to gives us fun with Christina Aguilera’s dancing on Just Dance application but well, mami Xtina better returns to the studio to work on her next album, I suggest.

The whole idea of The Emoji Movie turns out to be floppy and halfhearted mess. I seldomly see an animation as boring and find another excitement watching any of it, but this movie is intolerable. On one scene they tries to compare the use of Emoji with Egyptian Hieroglyphs, where I think would be foolish if one millenium ahead our descendants finds out that we using emoji as the improvement of Hieroglyphs. The best part of this movie however lies when they sit the Poop emoji (voiced by Sir Patrick Stewart), on a chair that reminds us of his role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek. The rest of this soulless and boring animation is better left in the darkness.

Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets (2017): Give me More Rihanna’s Burlesque Dance!

Directed by: Luc Besson | Produced by: Luc Besson, Virginie Besson-Silla | Screenplay by: Luc Besson | Starring: Dane deHaan, Cara Delevigne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke | Music by: Alexander Desplat | Cinematography by: Thierry Arbogast |  Edited by: Julian Rey | Production Company: Europa Corp., Fundamental Film, BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance, Universum Film, Gulf Film, River Road Entertainment, Belga Films | Distributed by: STX Entertainment, Europa Corp. | Official Site

5.6/10

When this movie enters Indonesian cinema on early August 2017, a bit late compares to other countries, I officially doubt this movie would be exceptional thanks to their soulless trailer. The only scene that captures my eyes is that scene with Rihanna in it. After I watched this, I’m 100% convinced that Rihanna’s scene is the best part of this 140 mins long movies.

Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets is based on French comic Valerian and Laureline by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres. The movie surrounds itself of the space adventures of Special Agents Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his assistant slash love interest Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne). They were assigned to take a mysterious pearl from the black market, along with a cute mix between hedgehog and armadillo creature called The Converter. Once they arrive on Alpha, the titular City of Thousand Planets, they were attacked by mysterious squad that kidnap Commander Arun Fillit (Clive Owen). On their journey to save the commander, Valerian and Laureline learn the mystery that happened 30 years ago, on the genocidal attack of the Planet of Mul.

So that were the synopsis I wrote after reading Wikipedia, thanks to the movie confusing plot. This movie is a real mess. If you ever saw Besson’s other movies like The Fifth Element (1997) and Lucy (2014), please forget it first and expect nothing from Valerian. It seems like Besson opened The Avatar (2009)’s Pandora Box and put it all in this movie. They invested so much money in CGI and forget to develop a proper plot Valerian deserved. I can picture the movie like playing Subway Surfer or Temple Run on what supposed to be City of Thousand Planets: you jump there and here, roll and avoid any obstacles. The different is: you cannot remember what you run after, or why you chase it. The movie is full of such useless side plots like Valerian saves Laureline and Laurelin saves Valerian, until I forget what is the movie’s main story. 

Cameo comes after another cameo is giving another color to this movie, and fulfill the element of surprise with Ethan Hawke plays a brothel businessman, Herbie Hancock as the minister, and finally Rihanna as the shapeshifter performer Bubble. Seriously, Rihanna’s Burlesque Dance is the only scene you should watch in thi movie, while you can sleep over other scenes. With her sexiness, from Egyptian Queen until seductive Catwoman, Rihanna gives us the joy we hardly found in thi psychedelic movie.

The other elements are no helping too. Dane DeHaan looks like he keeps on mimicking Harrison Ford while sounding like Keanu Reeves. And it completely failed. While Besson’s movie used to need a bigger charisma like Bruce Willis, DeHaan is failed to deliver the charisma he needs to maintain the movie’s whole emotion. Cara Delevingne is not better either, though she fills the character interestingly nice compares to DeHaan. It seems like she forgot that acting is more than just showing us her smirk and raising up one of her iconic eyebrows. Their should-be-emotional scenes didn’t work out right too, and just ended up felt cheesy.

This movie is PG-13, so please be a smart parent with advising your children on watching. 

When I Stop Blaming Others, the World become a Nicer Place

Saat menulis tulisan ini, saya baru saja tiba di kamar setelah penerbangan saya dibatalkan dan dijadwalkan ulang untuk berangkat besok pagi. Saya gak sendirian. Ada beberapa penerbangan lain yang juga dibatalkan keberangkatannya dan sampai saat ini, ratusan penumpang masih memenuhi counter customer service untuk menunggu kepastian dari pihak maskapai.

Kalau kalian bertanya apakah saya marah, saya jelas marah. Saya rugi waktu, seharusnya berangkat jam 18.20 kemudian ditunda hingga 20.20 dan akhirnya dibatalkan. Saya rugi uang, karena sudah telanjur memesan hotel di tempat tujuan dan bayar untuk malam ini. Namun, kali ini saya memilih untuk gak mengamuk di counter customer service seperti penumpang lainnya. Bagi kalian yang mengenal saya, ini suatu keanehan karena dengan tabiat nyinyir dan mulut sampah saya, seharusnya saya sudah “menghabisi” customer service maskapai dengan kata-kata pedas.

Ada beberapa alasan mengapa akhirnya saya memutuskan untuk gak mengamuk di bandara. Alasan pertama, saya memahami sepenuhnya bahwa kekacauan ini bukanlah sepenuhnya kesalahan maskapai. Landasan bandara rusak sehingga bandara harus ditutup selama tiga jam dan berdampak beberapa penerbangan komersil dibatalkan (selengkapnya baca disini). Saya tahu bahwa pihak maskapai juga dirugikan dengan kejadian ini karena harus membayar kompensasi kepada para penumpang sesuai UU Nomor 1 Tahun 2009 tentang Penerbangan dan Permenhub Nomor 89 Tahun 2015 tentang Penanganan Keterlambatan Penerbangan pada Badan Usaha Angkutan Niaga Berjadwal di Indonesia (selengkapnya cari aturannya atau baca disini), atas kekacauan yang tidak diakibatkan oleh kesalahan mereka sendiri. Pihak maskapai saya kebetulan profesional dan taat hukum, jadi mereka menjadwalkan ulang penerbangannya dan memberi kompensasi penginapan kepada para penumpang yang memang butuh penginapan. Saya? Lha wong rumah saya cuma berjarak delapan kilometer dari bandara. Mosok mau ikut minta penginapan?

Alasan kedua, karena saya melihat banyak penumpang lain yang kondisinya jauh lebih dirugikan dengan keterlambatan dan penundaan penerbangan ini. Ada nenek A yang meskipun sudah berjalan memakai tongkat, tetap bepergian sendiri dengan luar biasa gagah hanya untuk bertemu anak-anaknya. Ada bapak B yang single parent dan baru saja selesai perjalanan dinas ke Jakarta, bela-belain pulang duluan dari rekan rombongannya karena anak bungsunya sakit. Ada mas D yang besok harus ikut seminar yang dimulai jam 9 pagi, yang mana tiket seminarnya lebih mahal ketimbang harga tiket pesawatnya. Yang paling miris, adalah kisah mbak C. Mbak C akan menghadapi salah satu momen paling penting dalam kehidupan akademisnya: sidang skripsi, yang jadwalnya besok pagi jam 08.00. Sayangnya, penerbangan mbak C dijadwal ulang besok jam 09.40 pagi. Mbak C tentu panik dan marah, dan kami semua harus berusaha menenangkan mbak C sambil menjadi saksi untuk membantu meyakinkan dosen pembimbingnya agar sidang tersebut juga bisa dijadwal ulang. Sidang mbak C akhirnya dijadwal ulang di hari Senin, dan drama itupun diakhiri dengan wirid bersama agar mbak C lulus sidang.

Dengan banyaknya drama yang jauh lebih dramatis tersebut, mosok iya saya yang cuma mau jalan-jalan ini harus mengeluh dan mengamuk di counter customer service? Saya terima apa adanya saja, toh gak ada yang bisa disalahkan atas kejadian ini. Baik pihak maskapai maupun para penumpang gak punya andil dalam kekacauan tersebut. Kalaupun ada yang harusnya disalahkan, ya mungkin pihak pengelola bandara. Namun pihak pengelola bandara pun sudah berusaha sekuat tenaga untuk membetulkan landasan yang rusak, walaupun pada akhirnya domino effect-nya tetap tak terhindarkan.

Dalam perjalanan pulang, saya berpikir alangkah baiknya kalau kita coba berpikir jernih dan mempertimbangkan segala sesuatu dari berbagai aspek. Saya yakin bahwa ada banyak cara memandang suatu masalah, sehingga ketimbang hanya melulu menunjuk dan menyalahkan orang lain atas kejadian yang kita alami, mencoba mengerti posisi orang lain akan membuat kita jadi lebih bijaksana menyikapi masalah. Jika pun harus mengambil keputusan, keputusannya pun saya yakin akan jauh lebih efektif dan akomodatif.

Jadi, kejadian kali ini bikin saya menyadari bahwa jika kita berhenti menyalahkan orang lain dan melihat sekeliling dengan lebih baik, kita mungkin akan sadar bahwa dunia adalah tempat yang jauh lebih baik dari prasangka kita. Ada banyak hal yang bisa disyukuri di dunia ini. Tambahan lagi, kita juga akan jadi jauh lebih bijaksana menghadapi masalah. Tantangan buat kita bukanlah semata-mata bagaimana kita menemukan solusi dari masalah, tetapi lebih kepada bagaimana solusi yang kita pilih membuat dunia ini jadi lebih baik.

Satu hikmah lain yang bisa saya ambil adalah: saya gak akan terbang dari Halim lagi dan tolong kembalikan Halim jadi sekedar pangkalan militer! Haha.