Happy Death Day (2017): When Scream Meets Groundhog Day, but Lamer

Directed by: Christopher B. Landon | Produced by: Jason Blum | Written by: Scott Lobdell | Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine | Music by: Bear McCreary | Cinematography: Toby Oliver | Edited by: Gregory Plotkin | Production Company: Blumhouse Production | Distributed by: Universal Pictures | Official Website

6.4/10

If you remember Groundhog Day (1993) where Bill Murray’s character trapped in time loop so he keeps on repeating that one day, or Edge of Tomorrow (2014) where Tom Cruise also keeps on dying and then wake up on the same day, then the premise of Happy Death Day is similar to those movies. One special thing is, that premise is then be joined by the premise of Scream (1996) where you have a mysterious killer wearing mask. Even if it sounds like a good idea, it turns out not.

Meet our victim Theresa “Tree” Gelbman, a sorority girl who repeating her birthday, the same event on that day, where she ends up being killed by a killer wearing Baby Mask and wake up on Carter (Israel Broussard)’s bed again. She tries to figure out what actually happens and what would end the loop. She tries to be a nice girl, change her bad behavior but it still ends up in another murder. When she finds out a serial killer is now hospitalized and that killer is owning the Baby Mask, she thinks she could end the loop by getting rid of him. However, it doesn’t, and she needs to think of another possibility.

While Groundhog Day is more contemplative and Scream remains one of the most memorable slasher movie ever, Happy Death Day falls into nothing. It makes us as confused as Tree about what was happened in this movie. If it wants to be a horror movie like Scream, it lacks of slashing and jumping moments. If it wants to be another movie that has Time Loop story, it contains too many plot holes. For example, on one scene we see Tree makes a list of suspect and eliminates it one by one. How can that list even possible to still exist while we know Tree is repeating another loop?

Happy Death Day also lacks on strong protagonist that should be existed in every slasher horror. If Scream has Sydney Prescott, Happy Death Day only gives us Tree Gelbman, whom hardly to say charming and sympathetic. Tree Gelbman is arrogant, messy, such typical of mean sorority girl. We can find almost no reason why we should sympathize this girl for being killed several times. For this one reason, we should thank Jessica Rothe for portraying Tree in such a way within those all terrible writings. It’s even barely believed that a producer of this year’s stellar Get Out (2017) create something like this.

The one and only thing Happy Death Day do right. The killer is nearly unpredictable. Not shocking though, but still unpredictable, and that where my 6.4 point goes for this movie.

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Geostorm (2017): Just Another “Gerard Butler Saves the World” Movie

Directed by: Dean Devlin | Produced by: David Ellison, Dean Devlin, Dana Goldberg | Written by: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot | Starring: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Daniel Wu, Andy Garcia| Cinematography: Robert Schaefer | Edited by: Ron Rosen, Chris Lebenzon, John Refoua | Production Companies: Warner Bros Pictures, Skydance Media, Electric Entertainment | Distributed by: Warner Bros Pictures | Official Website

6.7/10

I always have a heart for disaster movies. For me, a good disaster movie would contain proper drama, decent CGI and tough character. A good disaster movie would always move our heart, sear a new hope and take a lesson from whatever happened to the characters, after we witnessed their toughness through hard times. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any of those feelings in this movie, and that left me confused throughout the movie.

Geostorm is a movie about Jake Lawson (Gerard Butler), an International Climate Space Station senior researcher who had successfully led an international team of 17 nations, and built weather-controlling satellites called Dutch Boy. At the first glance, Dutch Boy seems to be a new hope for the world, knowing that it could control the impact of global warming. As US have to give away The Dutch Boy Program to U.N., some of Dutch Boy satellites start to make errors that cause catastrophic damages to some areas.

Lawson is then called by Senate and then they fired him as the leader of Dutch Boy space program and then replaced him by his own estranged brother Max (Jim Sturgess). The error of Dutch Boy continues worldwide and Max has no other option but to ask Jake for help. Jake then returns to the International Climate Space Station where they produce and control Dutch Boy satellites. He and Max have to solve the conspiracy behind errors of the satellites, before it causes Geostorm, a storm that would end the world.

Although we have seen so many different scenarios on how this world would end, an idea of different weather disasters all over the world happens in one time and finally end the world is actually a fresh one. However, I cannot understand how they end up casting Gerard Butler and Jim Sturgess as brothers who successfully postpone the apocalypse. I like them both, as handsome actors, but having them together as estranged brothers is like estrange your movie from being a good one. Butler is once again showing his heroic side and then this movie turns from a disaster movie into a movie where you watch Gerard Butler once again save the world, yeay. Jim Sturgess with his not-too-cute-anymore mini mullet, on the other side, acts awkward compared to Butler, even compared to Abbie Cornish who plays his love interest Sarah.

This movie also lacks of intention and gives confusion, whether it would be a disaster movie or a typical action movie. The story is weak since they depend so much on their CGI. The bond between Butler’s Jake and his daughter Hannah (plays by Annabelle: Creation (2017)’s Talitha Bateman) is almost nothing and so hard to believe. There are also no emotional bending between Jake and Max, though they are brothers who had not spoken to each other for years, but the sudden click between them at the end of this movie feels ridiculously forced. The lack of emotional touches also makes this movie feels soulless, feels more like an action movie with heavy CGI.

So if you are so into disaster movie fan and also an action movie lover like me, this movie might be a nice choice for you. However, if you were a more logical person who needs more background on movies, please stay away from this movie.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017): Confusing Story within Beautiful Dystopian

Directed by: Denis Villenueve | Produced by: Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud Yorkin, Cynthia Yorkin | Screenplay by: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green | Starring: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks | Music by: Hans Zimmer, Benjamin Wallfisch | Cinematography: Roger Deakins | Edited by: Joe Walker | Production Companies: Alcon Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, Scott Free Pictures, Torridon Films, 16:14 Entertainment, Thunderbird Entertainment | Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures | Official Website

8.2/10

When the world is in need of brainy movie nowadays, the release of Blade Runner 2049 is answering more than just that. Blade Runner 2049 is the 35-years-later sequel to the original Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) with the addition of modern taste and new face. Blade Runner 2049 is trying to answer the final case in their predecessor that might have made the former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) disappears.

The new LAPD Blade Runner, Officer KD-3.7 (Ryan Gosling), is a bio-engineered human (they called it Replicants) works to hunt down and retire the older rouge model. One day, he needs to retire worm farmer Sapper Morton (Dave Bautista) and found a mysterious box under a dead tree on Morton’s yard. The mysterious box contains bones with serial numbers, means the remains were from a female replicant. However, the fractures on hip bones indicates that the female replicant has ever been on a forced Cesarean section, which means that replicants can breed too like real humans. This fact, they said, should be a great new for the future.

LAPD boss, Joshi (Robin Wright), command K to find out the whereabouts of the child. K starts with investigate the identity of the mother, which led him into Wallace Corp., the new version of Tyrell Corp., led by Elon Musk-inspired Niander Wallace (Jared Leto) and his right hand Luv (Sylvia Hoeks). From K’s investigation, Wallace knows that if LAPD found the child, it will change the future of the world. They used K to lead them to the former Blade Runner Rick Deckard, no matter the memory is now messing with K’s mind.

The most adorable pieces of Blade Runner 2049 is the architecture of 2049 Los Angeles and San Diego. The cinematography is brilliantly captures the world where humans and bio-engineered humans or the replicants live side by side. The humanized touch of the replicant is also another beautiful side of this story. This movie clearly said that replicants and even artificial intelligence like K’s digital love interest Joi (Ana de Armas, at her best), can have feelings for each other.

However, the story is a bit confusing for me and the pace runs too slow in the two-third of the movie before its anticlimactic ending. Ryan Gosling is acting superb as almost emotionless K, though his performance is slightly ordinary compared to Ana de Armas or of course, Harrison Ford. Ana de Armas has been acted on several movies including Knock Knock (2015) against Keanu Reeves, but her role as Joi clearly will make up her way to the top. Harrison Ford, on the other side, is not losing any of his charm (or his joke, including when K asks whether his dog is real or artificial and he answers “I don’t know. Ask him.”) and everyone can see his vulnerability when it comes to his wife and his child.

In conclusion, Blade Runner 2049 is a beautiful movie with a nice story if you were patient enough to see every details of the story. However, this movie still leaves us with a big plot hole: is Rick Deckard a replicant or not?

The Foreigner (2017): Just Like Chan, This Movie is Tired

Directed by: Martin Campbell | Produced by: Jackie Chan, Wayne Marc Godfrey, D. Scott Lumpkin, Jamie Marshall, Arthur M. Sarkissian | Screenplay by: David Marconi | Starring: Jackie Chan, Pierce Brosnan | Cinematography: David Tattersall | Edited by: Angela M. Catanzaro | Production Companies: The Fyzz Facility, Sparkle Roll Media, Huayi Brothers Pictures, Wanda Pictures | Distributed by: StxFilms

7.4/10

I am a little bit tired with the recent image of Jackie Chan. This actor has been quite legendary with his talent and the way he makes any movie enjoyable to watch. However, his latter works on Kungfu Yoga (2015) and his voice role in The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017) has set him more like a comedian rather than an action actor, and that would be a disappointment to me. When I first saw the trailer of The Foreigner, I thought this would return Jackie’s image to a more seriously-considered actor, more to his talent rather than his comedy roles.

Based on Stephen Leather’s novel The Chinaman, on which I thought the change of the title would be a wise choice, this movie centers on the life of London restaurateur Quan Ngoc-Minh (Jackie Chan). Quan is a Chinese-born immigrant from Vietnam, who has been registered as special forces during Vietnam War. One day, a terrorist attack on London has killed Quan’s daughter Fan (Katie Leung), and ruined his whole perfect life immediately.

Quan tries his best as a good citizen to find out who are the bombers group that has killed his daughter. He comes almost every day to The British Counter Terrorism Unit to check if there is some progress with the case. He later also finds out that the terrorists are Irish. He learns that the Irish Deputy Minister Liam Hennessey (Pierce Brosnan) must know something about the attack, since he is an ex-member of Irish extremists. Quan then turns the hardest way to make Hennessey spills out the names of the group.

While there are so many action movies ground on vendetta motives, this movie differed itself by not divided the characters into sole protagonists and pure villains. Quan might be our protagonist, but you cannot decide which side Hennessey stands on. Hennessey is a portray of every politician nowadays in this whole world, who is willing to do anything to maintain his political position.

Quan’s journey to find out the group names should be the main focus of this movie. However, they seems like focusing on character’s interactions so the action feels like half-heartedly worked on. It would be good if it was on TV Series, but too many character’s interactions within 107 minutes running time is confusing. Also, we don’t see much character development on Quan from a restaurateur to a killing Rambo-esque machine. I mean, I know that he is an ex-member of Vietnam War Special Forces, but he is 60 and it would need more development on his character to make him ready for combat.

This is overall a movie you should watch to enjoy, not to ask too much. This movie is rated R in Indonesia so be a smart viewer with not bringing your children watching this.

Pengabdi Setan (2017): Hidupkan Kembali Esensi Film Horor Lokal

Directed by: Joko Anwar | Produced by: Subagio S., Gope Samtani | Written by: Joko Anwar | Starring: Tara Basro, Bront Palarae, Endy Arfian, Ayu Laksmi | Production Company: Rapi Films

8.7/10

Saya jarang mau state opini di depan, tetapi kali ini saya mau menegaskan bahwa film ini adalah film Indonesia komersil yang saya rekomendasikan untuk tonton tahun ini. Sekali lagi saya jarang mau nonton film Indonesia komersil karena seringkali hype-nya gak sesuai kenyataan, dan lebih memilih untuk nonton film berkelas festival karena lebih membumi. Hype film ini juga sempat bikin saya ragu menontonnya. Hype-nya sudah mulai beberapa bulan yang lalu di media sosial, terutama di akun media sosial sang sutradara, Joko Anwar. Pas trailer-nya dirilis pun, ketertarikan saya tentang film ini muncul. Tambahan lagi, teman saya mengirimkan film Pengabdi Setan (1980).

Film ini sebenarnya remake dari versi Pengabdi Setan (1980) tersebut, plus beberapa tambahan lain hasil kreasi Joko Anwar. Film ini bersetting tahun 1981 dan mengisahkan tentang sebuah keluarga: Nenek (Elly Luthan), Bapak (Bront Palarae), Ibu (namanya Mawarni, diperankan Ayu Laksmi) dan empat anak Rini (Tara Basro), Toni (Endy Arfian), Bondi (Nasar Annuz) dan Ian (M. Achdiyat). Ibu, yang semula berprofesi sebagai penyanyi, sudah lama sakit dan keluarga tersebut sudah kehabisan dana untuk pengobatan Ibu. Pokoknya intinya setelah menit, tokoh Ibu meninggal.

Horor dimulai sejak Ibu meninggal dan Bapak bekerja ke luar kota. Mulai dari penampakan sosok Ibu, suara lonceng di malam hari, pemutaran lagu yang dinyanyikan Ibu, sampai meninggalnya Nenek, yang diduga karena gangguan si Ibu. Gangguan-gangguan tersebut membuat Rini gerah dan meminta bantuan penulis artikel klenik yang juga teman Nenek, Budiman (Egy Fedly). Dari Budiman juga, Rini tahu kalau Ibu adalah anggota sekte kesuburan pemuja setan, dan sebagaimana orang yang bekerja sama dengan setan lainnya, ada syarat yang harus dipenuhi oleh keluarganya.

Horor di film ini dibangun dengan baik, hampir mengingatkan saya pada keapikan The Conjuring (2013). Film ini membangun atmosfer horor sejak awal, dan intensitas terus ditambah seiring bertambahnya durasi film. Atmosfer horornya juga tidak sekedar scare-jump, tetapi juga suasana yang didukung oleh kemampuan aktor-aktor terlibat, sehingga penonton dibiarkan tidak dapat menduga kapan setannya muncul. Saya cukup terlatih untuk tahu kapan waktu kemunculan si setan pada film horor, tetapi kali ini saya dipaksa siaga sepanjang waktu kalau-kalau si Ibu muncul.

Saya sudah lama tidak seantusias ini pada film horor. Nyatanya, Pengabdi Setan (2017) sukses mengembalikan horor Indonesia pada tempatnya, setelah lama didominasi horor-horor kacangan. Hal ini membuat saya lupa bahwa ada beberapa plot hole besar yang harus dibahas selanjutnya, atau mungkin jadi petunjuk bagi sekuelnya. Pengabdi Setan (2017) mengingatkan saya pada film horor legendaris yang dibintangi Suzanna, yang bikin penontonnya jadi ketakutan bahkan setelah keluar dari bioskop.

Wind River (2017): 2017’s Most Chilling Thriller

Directed by: Taylor Sheridan | Produced by: Matthew George, Basil Iwanyk, Peter Berg, Wayne L. Rogers | Written by: Taylor Sheridan | Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen | Music by: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis | Cinematography: Ben Richardson | Production Companies: Acacia Entertainment, Savvy Media Holdings, Thunder Road Pictures, Film 44 | Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

8.3/10

I saw this movie trailer about two months ago and my first thought was, “Oh here we go, another movie where Hawkeye have to keep an eye on Scarlet Witch again.” However, the trailer caught my eyes on their thriller genre and when the movie released, I decided to watch it.

Wind River sets on Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, where hunter and US Fish and Wildlife Service agent Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) lives with his son Casey (Teo Briones) and his Native American estranged wife Wilma (Julia Jones). On one winter day, Cory found the body of Natalie Hanson (Kelsey Chow), a young resident of the reservation. Believed Natalie was murdered, Cory and Tribal Police Chief Ben (Graham Greene) called for FBI investigation. Instead of sending senior agents as we will see on other police procedural TV Series, the FBI sends rookie agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen).

Banner arrives in Wind River without any proper preparation for a bad winter. She then asks for Cory’s help in the investigation, on which he agrees. They soon learn that Natalie is dating a worker in nearby oil drilling site, whose dead body later also been found. When they try to investigate the other workers of that oil drilling site, they finally figure out the painful truth behind Natalie’s death.

Wind River feels so familiar, especially if you have watched Sheridan’s two other writings: the Academy Award’s nominees Hell or High Water (2016) and Sicario (2015). The casting of Elizabeth Olsen looks exactly like Sheridan is trying to reminisce us of the tough and young heroine Kate Macer (played by Emily Blunt) in Sicario. However, if those two movies were set in Texas, Sheridan decided to set Wind River in the sub-zero winter of Wyoming, a more isolated place. This decision is probably due to his political premise that only stated at the end of this movie: that for every missing person reported, no one is a Native American.

This movie plot is built in an excellent way, on how they want us to get every single clue that would lead us to the expected big revelation at the end. The thrill is build on a proper way to make us feel involved in the movie. The casts of Renner and Olsen are quite right, although it feels more like a father-daughter chemistry rather than lovers to be.

My only disappointment are the ending. For all that beautiful police procedural scenes we already have watched in the beginning, we end up in a rough flashback on how Natalie and his boyfriend were murdered. I thought they would double the emotion at the revelation, but it turns out to be regrettable flashback. The only real emotion comes from Renner’s Cory when he told about her daughter’s death.

If you enjoy the police procedural thriller, you could enjoy this movie. However, due to the gory scenes, please be wise to not bring your young children here.

Gerbang Neraka (Firegate, 2017): Ambisius, Meski Kadang Tidak Masuk Akal

Directed by: Rizal Mantovani | Produced by: Robert Ronny | Written by: Robert Ronny | Starring: Reza Rahadian, Julie Estelle, Dwi Sasono, Ray Sahetapy, Lukman Sardi | Music by: Andi Rianto | Cinematography: Faozan Rizal | Production Company: Legacy Pictures | Distributed by: Legacy Pictures

5.7/10

Di saat Universal baru saja merilis franchise Dark Universe yang diawali oleh The Mummy (2017), dunia perfilman Indonesia sepertinya tidak mau kalah. Diadaptasi dari novel karya novelis konspirasi Indonesia Rizki Ridyasmara, Rizal Mantovani merilis film bertabur bintang bergenre bingung ini. Mengapa saya katakan bingung?

Sebelum membahas kebingungan genre film ini, saya mau berkisah dulu tentang plotnya. Film ini punya tiga tokoh utama sesuai yang nongol di posternya: Tomo (Reza Rahadian), wartawan yang harusnya bisa menang Pulitzer jadi wartawan politik terbaik tetapi memilih untuk kerja di tabloid mistis agar bisa menghidupi anak dan mantan istrinya; Arni (Julie Estelle), doktor Arkeologi yang ikut serta dalam tim ekskavasi Gunung Padang; dan Guntur (Dwi Sasono), spiritualis populer di televisi. Ketiganya punya ketertarikan masing-masing tentang Piramida Gunung Padang.

Setelah beberapa kejadian mistis termasuk cameo dari Ray Sahetapy sebagai Prof. Theo Wirawan, mentor Arni, ketiganya memutuskan untuk bekerja sama mengungkap rahasia piramida. Saat pintu piramida terbuka, mereka sadar ada beberapa hal yang mungkin lebih baik tertutup untuk selamanya.

Sounds familiar? Ide film ini jelas mengingatkan pada The Mummy, film pertama dari franchise Dark Universe yang sudah saya sebut di atas. Saya belum pernah baca bukunya, tetapi saya tertarik menontonnya karena premis film ini nampaknya cukup menjanjikan. Sayangnya, seperti yang tadi saya bilang, ketimbang berfokus pada genre petualangan mengungkap misteri, film ini justru terjebak dalam horor ala Indonesia yang berlebihan menakuti penonton. Kemunculan iblis yang jadi main villain disini juga tanpa penjelasan dan tanpa latar belakang kuat, sehingga semua serba terasa “ujug-ujug” ada. Paham “ujug-ujug” ini juga muncul saat ketiga tokoh utama mendadak menerobos piramida tanpa ada panduan penelitian mendalam sebelumnya, seolah-olah mereka langsung diberi ilham oleh Tuhan bagaimana caranya mengatasi kemunculan para iblis.

Cerita yang dangkal dan skenario yabg buruk juga jadi membuang-buang deretan bakat terbaik Indonesia yang turut berperan disini. Julie Estelle adalah salah satu aktris tertangguh di Indonesia saat ini, tetapi skenarionya membuat Julie nampak canggung berada di tengah-tengah film ini. Dwi Sasono berusaha keras mengeluarkan humor khasnya, tetapi jadi terasa tidak pas. Yang paling saya sesalkan di keseluruhan film ini adalah scene dimana Reza berhadapan dengan Lukman Sardi yang berperan sebagai perwujudan The Falling Angel. Reza dan Lukman adalah dua aktor paling versatile di ranah perfilman Indonesia saat ini. Seharusnya jika keduanya dipertemukan dalam satu scene, scene tersebut akan jadi yang paling menarik untuk ditonton. Namun sayangnya, skenario lagi-lagi membuat saya beberapa kali menguap sepanjang scene tersebut.

Jadi film ini adalah film yang cukup disayangkan karena ambisi Rizal dengan mengumpulkan bakat-bakat terbaik jadi terbuang percuma. Saya tidak akan mempermasalahkan CGI yang kasarnya minta ampun, tetapi lebih menyayangkan skenarionya yang buruk.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017): When A Sequel Lose Their Charm…. and The Fun

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn | Produced by: Matthew Vaughn, David Reid, Adam Bohling | Screenplay by: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn | Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum | Music by: Henry Jackman, Matthew Margeson | Cinematography: George Richmond | Edited by: Eddie Hamilton |Production Companies: Marv Films, Cloudy Production | Distributed by: 20th Century Fox | Official Website

7.1/10

I remember the good old days when I admire Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) a lot. I watched the movie three times at the cinema, have a BluRay copy of it and still one of the movie I prefer when my days went rough. The reason is simple. The first movie offers actions, that sometimes comes with gory scenes, with the right amount of fun. Remember the scene when Harry Hart (Colin Firth) kills everyone in a church out of hatred and in an attempt to survive his own life? The scene supposed to be the most bloody scene in the movie but they made it looks entertaining and not terrifyingly gory. I have no doubt why the first movie earned more than USD 400 million worldwide.

When they then decide to create a sequel of Kingsman franchise, I start to worry. The more they released updates about the sequel, the more I worry about whether they will make it, at least, as fun as the first movie, or they even try something new then end up ruin it. My worry gets bigger when they cast some American actor as Kingsman’s US Counterpart, Statesman. I try to calm myself down with the cast of Oscar winning actors like Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Halle Berry, cross my finger that those casts would only make this movie more awesome.

The sequel is still telling us story of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin (Taron Egerton), Kingsman recruit under codename Galahad. Eggsy is now being in a relationship with Swedish royal Princess Tilde (Hanna Alström), whom he met at the end of the first movie. One day, while Eggsy is having dinner with Tilde’s parents, other Kingsman agents are killed by The Golden Circle, left Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) as survivor. In order to investigate The Golden Circle, Merlin enacted The Doomsday Protocol, and sent themselves to Kentucky, where they will cooperate with their cousin secret agency, The Statesman.

The Statesman is pretty much alike Kingsman, unless since their predecessors are alcohol maker, their codenames are the same as the variants of alcoholic booze, such as Ginger Alè (Halle Berry), Tequila (Channing Tatum) and Whiskey (Pedro Pascal). They were led by Champagne, or Champ (Jeff Bridges). Based on their investigation, The Golden Circle is a drug cartel led by a sassy and ruthless woman that crazed about 1950s named Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore). Poppy then infects her drug with deadly virus in order to threaten the world leader and legalize the drug trading.

Here’s one thing you should remember: if a movie comes with an exaggerated premise or bombastic trailers, they probably a floppy and boring movie. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is not exception to that rules. The movie still comes with the same cinematography as the first movie. We still can enjoy the slow motion actions with their unbelievable gadgets and extraordinary weapons, or with Firth’s gentleness that reminds us of Bridget Jones‘ Darcy, or Eggsy’s trash mouth.

However, this movie fails to deliver the same entertaining scenes like its predecessor did. The actions, that looks like a psychedelic party with blood look like colorful confetti in the first movie, turn to look dull in this sequel. There are still no bloody scenes, but there is no confetti either, so you still can fell disgusted with that minced human flesh out of Poppy’s grinder. The plot is also a mess and unfocused. Valentine’s plan in the first movie is thoughtful, and Samuel L. Jackson does look more terrifying as a villain compared to Julianne Moore’s 1950s housewife look in this movie. The sidekick? Oh, how dare you compare the ruthless blade-legged Sofia Boutella to this movie Cyborg-arm Edward Holcroft!

As if the plot and the villains are not compelling enough, the extended star-studded protagonists aren’t better either. Halle Berry doesn’t look like she ever win an Oscar, neither did Jeff Bridges. Channing Tatum is underutilized. I don’t even get it why they cast them there. I bet their paychecks look more interesting than this movie’s scenario. Pedro Pascal does good as Whiskey, probably his other memorable moment besides Game of Thrones‘ Oberyn Martell, but his lasso thing is boring in this post-Wonder Woman era.

Since four Oscar winning actors (Firth, Bridges, Moore and Berry) cannot save this movie, what else in this world could? I found Mark Strong’s singing scene of John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road quite an ease after a boring plot, so I still hope if they would make any other sequel, they would have thought it carefully.

The Lego Ninjago Movie (2017): A Fun Sample of Confused Movie Segmentation

Directed by: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, Bob Logan | Produced by: Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Chris McKay, Maryanne Garger, Roy Lee | Screenplay by: Bob Logan, Paul Fisher, William Wheeler, Tom Wheeler, Jared Stern, John Whittington | Starring: Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Jackie Chan | Music by: Mark Mothersbaugh | Production Companies: Warner Animation Group, Lin Pictures, Vertigo Entertainment, Animal Logic | Official Website

6.7/10

So after the funny and entertaining The Lego Batman Movie (2017) earlier this year, Warner decided to bring another Lego franchise adaptation to the big screen. This time, they bring The Lego Ninjago. Lego Ninjago line has been long aired as TV Series since 2012, and this big screen movie has been highly anticipated by their fans. Unfortunately, this movie seems to shatter their high expectations to pieces.

The Lego Ninjago Movie opens up with a young boy who enters a pawn shop owned by an Asian man (Jackie Chan). The boy then shows his lego of Llyod Garmadon, and soon the setting changes into animation world built by brick and pieces of… ehem, Lego.

On that Asianesque animation city called Ninjago, Llyod Garmadon (voiced by Dave Franco) joins forces with his five teenage friends: Kai (Michael Peña), Jay (Kumail Nanjiani), Nya (Abby Jacobson), Zane (Zach Woods) and Cole (Fred Armisen) to beat Ninjago worst enemy plus Lloyd’s estranged father: Lord Garmadon (Justin Theroux). Lord Garmadon himself is a four-arms warlord that cannot remember his son’s birthday and even pronounce his name as Luh-Loyd.

These six teenagers are mentored by Garmadon’s little brother Master Wu (Jackie Chan again) to train spinjitsu and other ninja abilities. This Star Wars-inspired family drama goes weirder when Lloyd unintentionally summoned a REAL CAT (of whom they called Meowthra. Errrrr…) that destroys Ninjago. Now Llyod has to collaborate with his father to save Ninjago from Meowthra.

Compared to The Lego Batman Movie, this movie is as much as colorful talking brick character’s other movie, unless this one seems to lose their fun. Their best part is definitely Theroux’s brilliant ignorance and cynical humor as like, “I haven’t even been a part of your life, how could I ruin it? I wasn’t even there.” The other voice casts are forgettable, including Franco’s doubtful teenager and his five companions.

The rest of the movie is a mess. I’ll tell you why. First, the real human scenes at the beginning and the ending plays no significance in developing the plot. Even if it includes Jackie Chan. Second, the setting is very Asianesque but the ninja thing is nothing to do with the art of ninjutsu. So being a ninja, according to this movie, is all about fighting the bad guy in a giant robot that reminds you of Power Rangers, that also has been renewed earlier this year. Third, the worst for me, is I really got the idea of reuniting Garmadon family with having them fighting against one common enemy Meowthra. However, their execution of family drama wasn’t really touching for adult nerds like me and my boyfriend, and kids who watching this movie probably didn’t get it. This is such a mess in movie marketing, since you cannot decide which market you would enter, and end up with being a mess with everything.

So if you decides to watch this movie with your family, please be prepared that your young kids will be boring throughout the movie. For some part, this movie is boring to both kids and adults.

It (2017): King’s Magnum Opus got the Adaptation it Deserved

Directed by: Andy Muschietti | Produced by: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Barbara Muschietti | Screenplay by: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman | Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis | Music by: Benjamin Wollfisch | Cinematography: Chung Chung-hoon | Edited by: Jason Ballantine | Production Company: New Line Cinema, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, KatzSmith Production | Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures | Official Website

8.2/10

Based on Stephen King’s novel with the same name, It tells us about terror on a small town called Derry, in Maine. The terror includes the missing of several people, some are adults but mostly children.

The movie opens with a young boy name Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), while chases his paper boat on a thundering storm, meets a clown under the sewer and later has been dragged to the sewer in a bloody scene. His older brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), who is shy and has stuttering issue, swore to find out what really happens to Georgie. With the help of his friends (later they call themselves The Losers): the trashmouth Richie (Finn Wolfhard), the asthmatic hypochondriac Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), and the Jewish Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), Bill starts to investigate the sewers, which he believes will be the final clue if Georgie is really drifted away by the storm.

While investigating, they help Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), who has been bullied by Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) and his gang. They also be joined by Beverly (Sophia Lillis), the red-head so-called promiscuous girl and later they also help Mike (Chosen Jacobs), one of few African-American in Derry. One by one, they start to experience terrors, mostly take form of a creepy smirking clown who called himself Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skårsgard, one of the seven handsome sons of Stellan Skårsgard). The seven teenagers then realize they are now facing their own demon.

Watching 2017’s It reminds me of Stranger Things (2016, the second season will be released later this year). They are not only sharing Finn Wolfhard as one of the cast, but also the time frame. Although King’s actual plotlines is set on 1958, this movie changes the time frame to 1984 (how do I know? Oh there’s Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) showing on the cinema and the rising of New Kids on The Block). Meanwhile, Stranger Things is set on 1983.

The two most interesting parts of this movie are the performance of Bill Skårsgard as Pennywise and the chemistry between the children casts. I watched the 1990’s miniseries of It, starring Tim Curry as Pennywise, but Curry’s is then looked like a real clown compared to Skårdgard’s Pennywise. Although some of his moves are CGI-ed, Skårsgard captures the real horror of Pennywise. He successfully returns the terrifying clown the novel contains with his smirking smile and cranky yellow eyes. My only problem with his performance is that he shows off way too much than it should be. It seems that the director probably wants to tell us that he haunts the seven children, but for me it feels like the jumping moments are way too often and makes the ending not terrifying at all.

The chemistry of the seven children, on the other side, is heartwarming and becoming the soul that build up the entire movie. Comes from different family with their own problems (Bill is neglected after Georgie’s death, Eddie’s mom is being overprotective towards him, Mike saw his parents burned alive, and Beverly is being sexually abused), they found shelter in their friendship and hang tight to it. The most powerful scene is when Beverly joins them jumping off the cliff, where they all look cute, innocent and funny at the same time.

This movie is planned to be two chapters adaptation, and the chapter two is said to be on progress. If they were loyal to the novel, the second chapter will be set 27 years after this first chapter, so we just have to wait and see. This movie is rated R for bloody scenes, violence and profanities, so please do not let your non-adult children watch this movie.