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Joker (2019)
DC Rebirth
3 October 2019
When i first heard that this film is going to be about a character study, all i want from this film is to be believable enough, and IT IS! the character is powered by Joaquin's incredible performance. but what i get is more than just a believable character but also a good origin story. in this film Joker isn't shown as a mastermind yet, the film really is about a character change from a guy defeated by life into one of the most if not the most iconic DC villain ever.
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i've been waiting for years!
5 February 2019
I've been waiting for this film since forever! i remember that James Cameron was going to helm the directing part and even planned some sequels, but after years of development it goes to Robert Rodriguez, but James is still the producer and writer. and the result is: kind of disappointing, not too much, but it because my hope has died ever since they announced James isn't going to be the director.

starting from the writing, i refuse to believe that this is Cameron's final draft or maybe there are major changes (and maybe major cut down) by Rodriguez and the executive producers (they are not Cameron and Landau btw). i'm pretty sure that Cameron knows this material is not a 2 hour worthy, it has more stuffs than Avatar and Titanic to be properly explained. the plotting and character development felt extraordinary fast, the dialogue felt so cheesy at some point (not too much) but heaven knows both Titanic and Avatar didn't have the sharpest dialogue either but at least they never out of place, with Alita it was a bit confusing and unnecessary.

The visual is great but nowhere near Avatar, Titanic, or Terminator 2. I remember that people weren't so pleased with Alita's look when they released the first teaser, thinking that it's too weird, the eyes too big, but seeing the final product it's very satisfying. the visual effect is as great as any other WETA product. it might get a chance on best visual effect nominee on oscar next year.

my biggest dissapointment is the writing and directing, Rodriguez could make some time to let the character developed, to explain some thing with extra care, to pace the film more rhythmically, and the exec could just not worry so much on runtime. The film lacked soul which is odd because Alita is a cyborg with a big heart.
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one of Farhadi's magnum opus
3 February 2019
Farhadi is one of a very few director who's capable to make a premise about teen kidnaping story and then turned it into a beautifully layered drama. it's about family and it's dark secrets, it's about the setting and people who lives in it, but as broad as the film already is it's also about individuals, and every character in this film is meticulously written by Farhadi. it also proves Farhadi's universal language that his Iranian archetypal story worked with the spanish setting too. this film compared to The Past and The Salesman is closer to his magnum opus A Separation when it comes to perfection.
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Thanos, beware!
31 January 2019
LEAKED: the badass monk from A Touch of Zen will appear in Avengers: Endgame, he will kill Thanos and play with the corpse and then he will resurrect him and convert him to buddhism and made him resurrect half of the population, and he will turn the infinity stones into candies.
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American Crime Story: Creator/Destroyer (2018)
Season 2, Episode 8
Two different recipes
21 January 2019
From a narcissistic parent comes a narcissistic kid, from a narcissistic kid grown into a sociopath, thus: Andrew Cunanan, his life and people surrounded him is a recipe for tragedy. on the other hand we got Gianni Versace whose childhood was fed with concepts of virtue by his mother, thus: one of the most successful person in the world, all of them in an episode, simply brilliant.
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Suspiria (I) (2018)
19 January 2019
I hate to say this but i think this is a superior version of the predecessor, Argento's version is more about the setting and it's strange atmosphere and also an exclamation of his film style, but the overall film is just an average 70s cheesy horror film to me. This one is more creative,more interesting, more detailed, more patient, and well crafted, all because Luca didn't want to follow Argento's footsteps, he took the story and made it his own film, it's not an homage it's more of a reboot, a successful one.
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i usually don't like this form
25 December 2018
Under the Silver Lake is a very absurd and strange film about hollywood and people who lives in it. focusing on one guy and his search of the one he loves, this film is really about people and their search of the meaning of life, about chasing their dream, and also the nihilistic point of view of them as well. this film is very rich of nuance that it could just be called "hollywood", but it still have one theme. usually, i hate film like this because it often goes wrong and ended up being pretentious, but this film is just flowed naturally without being a smartypants.
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Roma (2018)
mixed feelings
19 December 2018
Hmmm... i got a mixed feelings about this one, i think it's a well-executed film but i just don't feel it. let me decipher it

interesting things: i love the how details in the film were presented, the way the father park his car, two character pretending to die, etc, also how some events like the riot and the aftermath entangling with the delivery scene were very good indeed, those elements made the film really feels like an authentic scrap of memory from Alfonso because it's a personal film for him. i love seeing the settings because it's kind of the same with where i live. and the cinematography is quite gorgeous.

not so interesting things: the story and the plot are average at it's best, simple is great but uninteresting is not great, by saying that doesn't mean that Alfonso Cuaron's and his childhood maid's life is uninteresting, i just feel that he could find a better formula or maybe dig a little more deeper into his past or his heart or his writing. the taste is kinda bland for me.

it could also be because of the expectation that i have for the film which is very high, but i don't know, i might rewatch it another time.
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A Forbidden Artist
19 December 2018
This film is really about art and how people receive it, the kind that Jack made is the forbidden one, the sublime artwork hidden away in the old cathedral for only god to see. in an interview, Trier said that Jack's character is close to him except that he doesn't kill people, meaning that the kind of art that Trier made is something that the art police (my surname for critics and their politicaly correct issue) would dismiss, despite that, the real film critic loved this film, and i admire it not for being artsy-fartsy (it's not, but a lot of people think that it is just because of the symbolism and such) but as a pure expression of self, no politics, no propaganda, just a depiction and a detail of a man whom destined to hell.
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forbidden piece
16 December 2018
The film depicted a cliche plot of life that happen everywhere in the world that nobody in hollywood would ever produce. it's a loser story, something that might not be "inspiring", "uplifting", and just plain depressing and plays at key minor at an instrument (even tho there's some note changes at the end). it's a taboo song that people often treat as a myth. it's like discovering Bicycle Thieves and Mouchette once again.
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Burning (2018)
It Burns!
3 December 2018
This film reminded me of Night Moves (the one from the 70s), Don't Look Now, and especially Picnic at Hanging Rock, where a lot of detail is there but never presented as an exclamation or as a breadcrumbs to lead you to a conclusion, Hae-mi could be killed or simply just disappeared, Ben towards the end has this tendency as a homosexual person (probably in love with Jong-su instead of hae-mi) or maybe he's just eccentric, everything is there and also not there yet those are the only tools to explain this puzzling situation.

Either way, we can't escape the inevitable fate that the character have to face in the end. it reminded you of a real-life case like that canadian girl that was found dead in a water tank in a hotel without any clue how she got there and who killed her. even though there are surveillance footage that confuse people even more. it's a tragedy, a mystery, it happened, and we are nothing but a witness.
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Mandy (I) (2018)
it's one of those!
1 December 2018
Mandy for better or worse belongs to the artsy fartsy-compilations of unique shots-possessed deep or double meaning and more than just a "horror film" category of horror film genre. there are Witch, Babadook, It Follows, Mother! (which i despise so much!), Get Out, and many other. they are usually driven by a political issue disguise as other things, in this film it's an attack towards religious beliefs, Mandy and Nic Cage are towards nature where everything is calmer and peaceful, and they are fighting against the religious people who got their grandious idea by drugs.

we kind of lose the meaning of film as an escapist medium and not as a propaganda, now more than ever. but, even though i'm pretty tired with everything critically acclaimed has to be political including horror films that i love since i was a little kid, i don't really mind, as long as the filmmaker realize that as much as rich the film is with some sprinkle of propaganda, it has to be entertaining as well, and gladly Mandy realizes that. there are a lot of cool and cheesy stuffs going on in this film as well as the high brow ones.
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Searching (III) (2018)
29 November 2018
A look at an extraordinary plot in a very ordinary american life through a computer screen (i'm referring to both the father's laptop's screen and my laptop screen) has never been so intriguing and satisfying. every plot detail felt like we're clicking to one of articles or youtube videos with a title "10 most puzzling crime in history" as we laid back, eat some snack, and gasp for every two minutes. additionally, i'm asian and not a very big fan of the "asian representation" in hollywood films (probably because i don't live in America) but between this and Crazy Rich Asians, this one takes the cake.
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welcome back from the dead
28 November 2018
With the fast paced shots (just like any welles's films) packed with dialogues that might be 90 percent improvised or added spontaneously, this elusive masterpiece described and parodied not only Orson himself but also the natural state of the film industry whether it's the 70's and even now. the movie buffs, critics, the directors, the midgets, and the young juices, played like a never ending dream sequence orchestrated by god himself, Welles.
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16 September 2018
Oh WOW! this film is slipping out off the radar, played by the great Toshiro Mifune, it's a tragedy of a great man named Muhomatsu, a Rickshaw Man. if you're looking for a great classic tear-jerker japanese drama then this is definitely a must to see!
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12 September 2018
There are critics and audiences who said that this film was one of a very few film in hollywood that represent asian and with all asian actors, and it hasn't been done in a long time (jimmy kimmel said that the last film to do this is The Joy Luck Club, nobody counts Life of Pi which was also set in asia and with asian actors tho), some people were disappointed because it only represent the 1% of asian who are crazy rich asian, well the film is set in singapore which is a high developed country, so of course the film would represent singapore in it's true light.

So you just can't get it right when the motif of watching this film or even to try to like the film were based on political issues. so i'm just going to review this film purely in a value of entertainment in a form of movie, which is only fair since i also review and rate any other film the same way.

it is a romcom, something that i rarely like, every character's streotype, the way the plot revealed, the twists and turns, the dialogue, are working as any other romcom that hollywood have produced before, the difference is the actors that are asians or asian descent, and the conflict that feels very asian. a lot of boring moments but also very funny moments as well, overall, it's a very enjoyable film if you like a light film to watch with your significant other, especially if you love each other, but not my cup of tea.

i've been to singapore several times (i live not too far from Singapore) and there are some setting in this film that i've always wanted to visit like the OCBC skyway and that pool in Marina Bay Sands, and i've never been to the street food place in Singapore (idk why!! as i sometimes am a food enthusiast), so if there are anything in this film that made me feel represented as an asian and also a filmmaker wannabe is that these rich filmmakers not only could afford to go to that expensive hotel and skyway but also have the permission to film there lol.
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Hereditary (2018)
7 August 2018
For those who said that this is as scary as The Exorcist, or an intelligent horror film, REALLY?!?!. the film will work way better if the filmmaker focused on one thing instead of adding other storyline. at one point i thought "finally, a horror film that paid a closer look on details on the characters" because the way that the characters dealt with grief, guilt feeling, etc was not only accurate but also flowed naturally, it doesn't feel cheap at all. but then the as the film closes to it's end, another storyline revealed, and that could be okay, but the writer/director clearly abandoned the theme that he has built since the beginning. what a waste of potential.

this film is on the same line with those "clever" "intelligent because of the slow pace" horror films. i really liked The Witch, i hated It Comes at Night, i kinda liked It Follows, and i haven't seen The Babadook. and Hereditary is definitely has the potential of being a better film as 2/3 of the beginning of the film is fantastic, but then quickly runs from it as the third part of the film revealed.
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Finally! Schrader!
6 August 2018
There are some film that comes to my mind when i watch this film: Winter Light, The Devil Probably, The Diary of a Country Priest, Sacrifice, and Nostalghia. Paul Schrader has said that this film have the same root and feel with the directors whose films i just mentioned. but then, i also find a connection to his previous film Taxi Driver, both Toller and Travis Bickle had a different perception towards the world they were living.

Toller was a troubled man to say the least, he was haunted by his past, present, and also his future. his son was killed and then his marriage crumbled, he has a cancer now, and he is worried about the future of the planet. he was also experiencing doubt about everything that he was preaching, and he wrote his doubt on a diary as a form of prayer hoping to find answer someday. it's hard not to hear the voice of god, the voice of certainty when you need it the most, to float on a space and time not knowing what to do, Toller was also highly depressed, he was either had a little common sense or too much sense to live in the world or the REAL world as Reverend Joel Jeffers called it. Toller has no place in the world where he could find peace, it's his curse, he sees no way out.

Paul Schrader's strength has always been in his character, it's always complex and merciless, but as much as he cared about the foreground, he is also cared about the background, the setting, First Reformed is the name of a "tourist" church owned by a company or an organization named Abundant Life, it's more like a company rather than a belief society, one of the referend was laughing at a funny stuff that Martin Luther was doing, etc. this setting helped to create a character so dark and secluded that it could only existed in Paul's universe.
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Revenge (II) (2017)
29 June 2018
For people who gave this film a positive review: i. really. have. nothing. to. say. to. you! it should be a trend right now to make any kind of film with a low quality story, characters, treatment, plot, etc. just make sure that you sprinkle some of those politicaly correct issues such as LGBT, feminism, body acceptance, etc and you got yourself: a critically acclaimed film! Brokeback Mountain, Call Me by Your Name, An Unmarried Woman, and The Shape of Water were not hailed as great film just because they imposed PC issues alone, it's because they realize that film is also a piece of art that has standard and formula. this film has the same level with those gore-shocking film that purpose is just to shock you.
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Thoroughbreds (2017)
meticulous and unique without being pretentious
20 June 2018
Two minors, thoroughbreds but different kind of stallion, one is weird (antisocial & intelligent but let's just say weird), one is reckless and emotional. together, they're an explosion of characters that we can't relate but somehow understood. The film played like one of those 90s noir films, it started with one formula but ended up run from it but never too far, and never really give two cents about moral message, that's why people who said that this film is a critic towards the privilege people really couldn't find any specific detail for that purpose, the filmmaker did made fun of the upper class but only for fun, because it's supposed to be a fun film about characters. and what a character Amanda is, it's rare to portray an antisocial person without making them as a serial killer. this film is surprisingly meticulous and unique without being pretentious.
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Annihilation (2018)
another cell
15 June 2018
This film is like a combination of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stalker, and Invasion of the Body Snatcher, but didn't made it better than any of the films mentioned. so what is the film about? it's about a lot of things, you can say that it's about a journey of five characters towards their self-destruction (it was mentioned that people who goes to the shimmer has a lot of problems and can see no way out). or you could also see it from other perspective, the endlessly splitting cells could be interpreted as a second chance, to live a life as another cell, or whatever. is it sophisticated as well as 2001: A Space Odyssey? yes it is. a lot of visuals and very few explanation. is the concept as interesting?, i don't think so, it feels like the story and the concept is somehow, uncooked. i can see the sophisticated dish but it's tasteless. when 2001: A Space Odyssey worked like a music, Stalker worked as a poetry, Invasion of the Body Snatcher worked as an idea, this film worked as another cell, an impostor, it looked the same but it has no life.
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Love, Simon (2018)
Fulfil the purpose
14 June 2018
Important, relatable, anti-stereotype and all, but also cheesy, corny, and too bubbly. but you really can't make a film in this form to avoid those things, so this film is really for audiences who would enjoy this life-assuring kind of film. with that being said, i still have teary eyed at some scenes because i can relate to it to some extent but also combined with some cringeness attack because of the dialogue and all. could it better? i think it could, but that would kill the purpose of the film, so i'm glad that the film was made this way, but it's still not my thing.
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a slight improvement from Jurassic World
12 June 2018
You may disagree but i don't hate this film. it has a more hip issue, more liberal (animal rights and protection), a more elaborate direction, but i have to say that i have never been a fan of the idea of friendly dinosaur, that's why i don't really like Jurassic World, it misses the Jurassic Park suspense and then they made the friendly dinosaurs, but in this film, the filmmaker explain the reason behind that and it made sense (i can't tell you what that is). the director treatment of the visuals are superb, he uses a lot of shadow to emphasize the fear and terror, a lot of silhouette as well, and a lot of low-key lighting, he is the master at those region, to create suspense and eerie feeling, the film feels more like a horror film to me. if only the filmmaker didn't end the film in such naivete and cliche, it will be a lot better film. so, the sequel improved in terms of visual, but could be better at exploring the issue and make it more weighty.
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Captain America: Civil War made a better Avengers honestly
28 April 2018
The film opened at 25th April and i have watched it 3 times already. not because it's a good film, but because it's one of the coolest film ever. i mean... we got twenty something superhero that we've followed since the first Iron Man from 2008, and we got to see Thanos that has appeared in the first Avengers. But my worries has come true. would it be enough to put twenty something superheroes including bring together some of them for the first time, telling a lot of jokes (some of them REALLY unfunny and appeared at a bad timing), intorducing the three dimesional character that Thanos possess, some great battle sequence, and then finding the stones, and actually a lot more. well, somehow they managed to push them into 2 and a half hours film, but it felt rushed. the relationship between Thanos and his daughter Gamora felt so plastic even though that is one of the tools for the audience to get to know Thanos better. and a lot more issues. but it;s still a cool and very risky film to make, dozens of stars, more than 3 complex plots filled with different characters that contrast to each others, i still have to give it a props. and the ending is worth waiting btw, really breathtaking.
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Lynne Ramsay and her style
9 April 2018
The other film from Lynne Ramsay that i have watched is We Need to Talk About Kevin, that film was a Lynne's style showcase, full of dizzy editing and playful camerawork, telling a story (in an unconventional way) about a mother who was highly depressed of her cluelessness about her son, who has hated her since he was born, whose life's goal was to make her suffered. and we are as a spectator was so clueless with the son's behaviour and motivation because we sees the world through the mother's eyes. the film has a very interesting topic to talk about, what and how is it to be a mother? what motivated you to be a mother? and what is the most insidious risk that you have to take to be a mother?. powered by great and powerful performances and Lynne's style of storytelling, it became a great film and i gave it 4 and a half.

with this film, she was emphasizing that she is always "style first, form later". the film is about a hired gun man who suffered from his ptsd and his struggle of rescuing an underage girl from the hand of a perverted governor. his ptsd was not slowing him down in the process of rescuing the girl (side note, the girl is a badass as well, probably was suffering from ptsd too), instead, it was the fuel for him to rescue the girl even more, because his motivation is "do better, do better!" which was seen as not only a motivation but also as a punishment for him, so if he failed his mission and can't do better, he will punish himself even more.

the most interesting point in this film is the main character, the story? not so much, the story of a traumatized gun man has been told several time before and probably has a more interesting details, the plot? kind of meh. the style? well, it's different, but still not helping if the engine itself is not strong enough to make the film as interesting as We Need to Talk About Kevin, and i appreciate the engine first, and then the body.
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