Avatar – review

After my friends raving about the amazing-ness of this James Cameron’s ambitious 15 years-project, i went to watch this movie last weekend.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is an ex-marine on a wheelchair, but it didn’t stop him to join the project Avatar on Pandora. Using hybrid body, human sync their mind into these big-blue inhabitant Pandora’s creatures called Na’vi, so that they could blend into the natives. There are two interests involved in Pandora: first, Dr. Grace (Sigourney Weaver) the scientist who eager to learn Na’vi culture and Parker Selfridge, the mining corporate asscociate who greedily wants to scrape Pandora’s rare resources. Jake, originally with Dr.Grace expedition team, has another mission from the military to infiltrate the Na’vi in order to move them out of the Tree they were lived in. According to the research, the rare resource concentrated on the heart of the tribe’s domicile.

Now this is where the story swift into a big pile of cliches. Jake fell in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), the daughter of the Na’vi tribal. And the more he spent his time learning the Na’vi culture, the more he fits in. So when the corporate started to use military force on the natives, Jake facing a dilemma, whether he’d betrayed the Na’vi people or his own kind.

Overall, i give 5/10 for the story.  As i were always saying, the more they splurge on CGI, the less they spent on storytelling. Of course the plot is the human greediness. Of course the male lead would be ‘the chosen one”. Of course there would be love interest between the male lead & the tribe princess. And apparently James Cameron has a thing for reciprocate catch-phrase..hint Titanic: ‘You jump, I jump’;  Avatar: ‘I  see you, I see you’ :p

And 8/10 for the FX. Ok, before you sci-fi worshipper butchered me for not giving  a hoo-ha gratitude , this is purely my subjective opinion. I’m not that into 3D animation –a simple comparison, i’d prefer Burton’s make-up technique on Planet of The Apes.  So yeah, the fluoroscence jungle of Pandora is stunning, and technically the whole details are impeccable,..but what can i say? it’s just not my cup of tea :p. Because for me, the story is -however- the one that is most  essential. Watching Avatar is like a mix between the Matrix, Pocahontas, Lord of The Rings (the elvish language :p), Braveheart.

Let’s say Star Trek still attracts me more on the sci-fi departement ;). But if you’re looking for a mesmerizing full ride thrilling-fantasy, then Avatar is  here to entertain you :).

Jake Sully: Everything is backwards now, like out there is the true world and in here is the dream

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Paranormal Activity – review

Saat pertama keluar, film ini langsung memuncaki tangga box office di U.S sana. It makes me kinda curious, what makes this movie so different and not just another Blair Witch Project-wannabe? I happened had a chance watching this movie as a surprise movie at INAFFF last saturday. The result?
Mark my words, you might not find a ghost of a long haired woman, or bloody zombies, but this movie will make your heart jumped!!
Menggunakan teknik real live cam, plot film ini sebenarnya sederhana; mengisahkan pasangan Katie dan Micah yg baru saja tinggal bersama dan menempati rumah baru. Micah memutuskan untuk membeli kamera untuk menangkap fenomena-fenomena aneh yg kerap terjadi akhir-akhir ini di rumah mereka. Katie, di lain pihak, memang memiliki insting yg kuat -jika tidak dikatakan indera keenam- sejak kecil. Sempat memanggil seorang paranormal, mereka memutuskan untuk melakukan penyelidikan sendiri lebih lanjut.

Beberapa malam pertama memasang kamera di kamar tidur, mereka memang tidak menemukan hal yg siginifikan selain suara-suara langkah kaki, garukan di dinding dan semacamnya. Namun ketika Micah -yg nampaknya terlalu bersemangat dengan ‘proyek kecil’nya ini- gegabah menggunakan papan Ouija, keadaan semakin memburuk. And there it started, the sleepless nights…
Apalagi setelah diketahui bahwa masalahnya bukan pada rumahnya, namun pada Katie. Bagaimana Micah & Katie menghadapi teror tanpa akhir ini?

Kekuatan pada film ini adalah the ‘simple gesture’ of the horror…The lightly swinging door, the lamp that suddenly turned on/off for no reason, the loud banging on the wall, the sleepwalking, the footsteps on the stairs…& those are not the best part yet :p

Mungkin tidak terdengar begitu menakutkan, namun justru karena dekat dengan keseharian, let’s see if you’re able to sleep and NOT to think about those any suspicious sounds u’ve heard in the middle of the night x)
Gaya penceritaan dengan hanya memperlihatkan night vision dari kamera di malam hari (saat setting di kamar tidur) dan tanpa musik sama sekali menambah suasana mencekam.

Konon endingnya sendiri memiliki 3 versi, versi asli (yg ada pada dvd bajakan yg sudah banyak beredar), versi festival dan terakhir versi bioskop. Versi bioskop ini ternyata atas saran Steven Spielberg. And the man’s hunch is right, his ending-which i saw, is very very much frighteningly-disturbing.

So go watch the movie, and then you decide,..
what happen when we sleep?
*evil grin*

The Wrestler – review

Pertama-tama, salut untuk Mickey Rourke untuk transformasi fisiknya menjadi pegulat profesional. Walaupun pada perannya sebagai Marv di Sin City perawakannya memang sudah ‘gahar’ tapi disini -dan dipadukan dengan aktingnya- betul betul luar biasa. Tidak heran para juri Oscar menominasikannya sebagai Best Actor in A Leading Role pada perhelatan akbar perfilman tersebut awal tahun ini.

Jangan membayangkan film ini adalah film penuh dengan aksi baku hantam di atas ring. This is purely, drama. Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson (Mickey Rourke) had his fame back in the 1980’s. Pertarungannya dengan Ayatollah di Madison Square Garden menjadi salah satu pertandingan yg paling legendaris. Disini film ini dengan cerdas menguak sisi manusiawi dari seorang pegulat pro. Berlawanan dengan imej pegulat yg sangar, Randy digambarkan sebagai pria yg menyenangkan dan ramah, dihormati oleh rekan rekan gulatnya, disukai anak-anak. Ironisnya, di luar ring, hidupnya berantakan. Hidup di trailer, kerja serabutan di sebuah retail, dan sendirian. Putri tunggalnya yg hidup terpisah – Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) membencinya, sehingga satu-satunya teman bicaranya adalah stripper di klub lokal, Cassidy (Marissa Tomei). Kenyataan hidup menampar Randy sekali lagi, saat ia kolaps pasca salah satu pertandingannya. Oleh dokter ia divonis tidak bisa bergulat lagi, karena akan membahayakan kondisi jantungnya. Padahal sebelumnya sedang direncanakan re-match dengan Ayatollah untuk memperingati 20 tahun pertarungan akbar tersebut.

Namun jika gulat adalah satu-satunya hal yg menjadi keahlian Randy, bagaimana ia mesti menjalani hidup di masa tuanya ini? Apakah kali ini ia harus benar benar pensiun?

Pembentukan karakter Randy oleh Mickey Rourke betul betul layak mendapat acungan jempol. Menyentuh bagaimana ia ingin berbaikan dengan putrinya, tapi di satu sisi ia memang tidak mengenal putrinya tersebut. Atau tingkah laku yg sebenarnya wajar namun kadang mengundang senyum, seperti saat ia mengenakan kacamata rabun dekat, alat bantu dengar, bagaimana ia menghadapi pelanggan di counter deli dan juga saat ia berkunjung ke salon tanning x).
Satu hal yg pasti, ending film ini defines capital D in the word Dignity =)

Film ini juga dihiasi lagu-lagu yg didominasi rock 80an seperti Guns’N’Roses, Scorpions, Firehouse, Ratt dll. Dan pada credit title ditutup oleh satu alunan indah yg khusus ditulis oleh Bruce Springsteen: ‘The Wrestler’.

The Wrestler is raw, moving & memorable. Please do check it out! =D

Memorable quotes:


(Randy & Cassidy at the bar)
Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: Goddamn they don’t make em’ like they used to.
Cassidy: Fuckin’ 80’s man, best shit ever !
Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: Bet’chr ass man, Guns N’ Roses! Rules.
Cassidy: Crue!
Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: Yeah!
Cassidy: Def Lep!
Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: Then that Cobain pussy had to come around & ruin it all.
Cassidy: Like theres something wrong with just wanting to have a good time?
Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: I’ll tell you somethin’, I hate the fuckin’ 90’s.
Cassidy: Fuckin’ 90’s sucked.
Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: Fuckin’ 90’s sucked.

(Randy’s speech at the match)
Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: I just want to say to you all tonight I’m very grateful to be here. A lot of people told me that I’d never wrestle again and that’s all I do. You know, if you live hard and play hard and you burn the candle at both ends, you pay the price for it. You know in this life you can loose everything you love, everything that loves you. Now I don’t hear as good as I used to and I forget stuff and I aint as pretty as I used to be but god damn it I’m still standing here and I’m The Ram. As times goes by, as times goes by, they say “he’s washed up”, “he’s finished” , “he’s a loser”, “he’s all through”. You know what? The only one that’s going to tell me when I’m through doing my thing is you people here.

(Randy’s conversation with Stephanie)
Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson: I just want to tell you, I’m the one who was supposed to take care of everything. I’m the one who was supposed to make everything okay for everybody. It just didn’t work out like that. And I left. I left you. You never did anything wrong. I used to try to forget about you. I used to try to pretend that you didn’t exist, but I can’t. You’re my girl. You’re my little girl. And now, I’m an old broken down piece of meat… and I’m alone. And I deserve to be all alone. I just don’t want you to hate me.

I Love You, Man – review

Since now is the Judd Appatow era, it’s relieving they started making a genuine adult-comedy instead of slapstick trash. Take my word, this movie is uproaringly funny!!
The happily enganged & successful realtor Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) has always been a girlfriend-man. Wedding is on its way and at one point he realize he didn’t have any close male friend to be his best man. The whole thing about ‘guy friends’ with all their dirty jokes, poker nights, etc doesn’t suit Peter well. Yes, he’s this one awkward man and apparently-lonely.
Worried about this void, he consulted his gay-brother Robbie -which going for the straight ones, because he thinks it’s a challenging LOL- on how to establish a male-bonding.

Peter Klaven: So what do i do? How do i make friends?
Robbie Klaven: If you see a cool looking guy, strike up a conversation and ask him on a man date.
Peter Klaven: Ok.
Robbie Klaven: You know what i mean?
Peter Klaven: No.
Robbie Klaven: Casual lunch or after work drinks. You’re not taking these boys to see The Devil Wears Prada.
Peter Klaven: Ohhhh god i love that movie. No I wont.

On a verge of despair after serial ‘man-dating’ that went all wrong, Peter met Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) the upstraight-cunning bloke. Impressed by his honesty, it doesn’t take too long before Peter ‘attracted’ to Sydney (no matter how WRONG it may sounds, please do remind this is male-bonding we’re talking bout, yea? good x))
As the ‘bromance’ works smoothly between them, Zooey the fiancee who supported this ‘best-man-hunt’ earlier, felt secluded especially when she felt her relationship with Peter is in the state of strain- caused by the BFF euphoria. What will Peter do?

The ensemble cast has creating a hysterical-laugh-out-loud environment. Yet the best lines come from the strangely ingenuous father, Zooey’s friends: the bizzared-rowdily couple (played hilariously by Jaime Pressly & Jon Favreau..the guy who directs Ironman xD), the men Peter’s been ‘dating’ with, etc. Also Peter’s gawky attempt of nicknaming each other xD
Don’t missed the so-called-cameo from Lou Ferrigno -the Incredible Hulk- as himself, whom property Peter tries to sell..

‘I Love You, Man’ is a bromance-comedy well-delivered!! ^.^
I loved it, man!!!

Sydney Fife: You get home safe, Pistol.
Peter Klaven: You got it, Joben.
Sydney Fife: I’m sorry, what?
Peter Klaven: Er… nothing.
Sydney Fife: No, what did you say?
Peter Klaven: Nah, I don’t know… You nicknamed me Pistol, and I just called you… “Joben”… It means nothing… I don’t… I’m drunk… I’m gonna call a cab.

Sydney Fife: Society tells us we’re civilized but the truth is we are animals. Sometimes we just have to let it out. Try it.
Peter Klaven: Blaaah!
Sydney Fife: Good. Now gently remove your tampon and try again.

(while jamming at Sydney’s place, playing bass)
Peter Klaven: Slapping the bass! Slappa da bass! Slappa da bass mon! Slappa de bass mon!

Watchmen – review

WARNING: This is not recommended for popcorn moviegoers who prefer your hero swinging in tights bashing up some bad guys – plain good vs. evil with extravagant spc FX and happy ending.
Alan Moore is god and Zack Snyder is the prophet, i’m tellin ya..x) if you’re not into Moore’s work such as ‘V For Vendetta’ or ‘From Hell’, then this is definitely NOT for you.
Berlatar belakang Amerika tahun 1985 dimana situasi politik sedang tidak menentu karena ancaman perang nuklir US-soviet, kisah Watchmen dibuka dengan adegan pembunuhan brutal The Comedian aka Eddie Blake, veteran superhero. Rorschach, rekan sesama superhero menginvestigasi kasus tersebut untuk menemukan kecurigaan akan adanya konspirasi pembunuhan para superheroes. Mulailah ia memperingati rekan-rekannya: Nite Owl II aka Daniel, ahli fisika Dr. Manhattan aka Jon bersama kekasihnya Silk Spectre II aka Laurie, dan jutawan muda Ozymandias aka Adrian.

Dr. Manhattan sendiri adalah satu-satunya yg memiliki kekuatan super, hingga disebut ‘the indestructible’ dan menjadi ujung tombak US dalam menghadapi ancaman perang nuklir. Sedangkan Adrian sudah lama membuka kedoknya sebagai superhero dan sebagai manusia paling cerdas di dunia, kini ia telah memiliki kerajaan bisnis multibiliuner, juga sedang mengerjakan suatu proyek pemerintah bersama Dr. Manhattan. Daniel dan Laurie pun pensiun dan memilih menjalani hidup normal.
Namun tragedi yg menimpa The Comedian dan fakta bahwa Rorshach telah dijebak untuk dituduh sebagai pembunuh, memaksa mereka untuk bekerja sama menguak misteri yg menyelubungi konspirasi ini. Apa motif di balik semua ini? Apakah ada hubungannya dengan keterlibatan mereka dalam perang dingin? Bagaimana mereka mencegah ‘Doomsday Clock’ yg kian mendekat?

Gaya penceritaan Nolan dengan The Dark Knightnya, telah membuka jalan untuk sudut pandang baru adaptasi komik ke layar lebar. Walaupun Watchmen memang berangkat dari graphic novel, bukan komik pada umumnya, sehingga aroma noir dan satir sebagaimana graphic novel yg sebelumnya telah terlebih dulu difilmkan – Sin City, memang lebih pekat.
Watchmen lebih menyoroti superheroes dari sisi humanis secara utuh, bukan sekadar sisi protagonis ataupun antagonis semata namun kompleksitas grey area. Semisal The Comedian digambarkan sebagai sebagai seorang bajingan, emosional dan sinis pada sifat asli manusia namun justru dibunuh karena ia menentang rencana extinction umat manusia. Rorschach mungkin detektif yg merciless namun ia memegang teguh prinsipnya hingga detik akhir ajalnya. Jika ditelusuri latar belakangnya kehidupannya yg tragis, sungguh unik ia berakhir sebagai ‘the good guy’. Dr. Manhattan mungkin memiliki kekuatan tak terbatas, namun hal itu pun tidak mampu menyelamatkan hubungannya dengan Laurie yg meninggalkannya, karena Laurie merasa Jon sudah tidak lagi memiliki emosi sewajarnya manusia normal. Sedangkan Adrian memiliki ambisi pribadi untuk menaklukkan dunia yg dikungkung isu-isu seperti keterbatasan bahan bakar, ketakutan akan perang,dll. Demi keberlangsungan manusia atau demi ego intelegensianya semata, hanya Tuhan yg tahu.

Watchmen menyajikan karakter-karakter riil dengan cerita yg dibalut filosofi politik, serta dialog-dialog yang sangat kental dengan unsur ironi dan sarkasme. Dua tokoh yg sangat menonjol disini adalah Rorschach sebagai narator, yg diperankan dengan sangat apik oleh Jackie Earle Haley; serta The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan, sebelumnya bermain bersama Uma Thurman dalam ‘The Accidental Husband’..yup. Even i’m surprised it was him! xD ) yg walaupun di’matikan’ sejak awal namun melalui flashback, karakternya meninggalkan kesan yg sangat kuat. Alan Moore pun nampaknya senang sekali mengangkat tema anarkis dalam setiap ceritanya (V For Vendetta – aksi terorisme V yg merupakan simbol pemberontakan, From Hell – aksi pembunuhan Jack The Ripper terhadap pelacur-pelacur yg dinilai ‘mengotori’ dunia), begitu pula dengan Watchmen. (Which part? figure it out yourself, wouldn’t want any spoiler, did ya? ;p)

well, end of story, for those of you despise Watchmen for not being typically ‘superheroes movie’, you can crawl back to your lollipopheroes & SUCK IT!!!
because Watchmen fukkin’ rules!! :p

memorable quotes (among SO MANY, these quotes from IMDB are all i have :p):

The Comedian:  God damn I love working on American soil, Dan. Ain’t had this much fun since Woodward and Bernstein. Congress is pushing through some new bill that’s gonna outlaw masks. Our days are numbered. Till then it’s like you always say, we’re society’s only protection.
Nite Owl II: From what?
The Comedian: You kidding me? From themselves.

Rorschach: You see, Doctor, God didn’t kill that little girl. Fate didn’t butcher her and destiny didn’t feed her to those dogs. If God saw what any of us did that night he didn’t seem to mind. From then on I knew… God doesn’t make the world this way. We do.

The Comedian: Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.

Janet Black: Doctor Manhattan as you know the Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face analogizing humankind’s proximity to extinction, midnight representing the threat of nuclear war. As of now it stands at four minutes to midnight. Would you agree that we are that close to annihilation?
Dr. Manhattan: My father was a watch maker. He abandoned it when Einstein discovered time is relative. I would only agree that a symbolic clock is as nourishing to the intellect as photograph of oxygen to a drowning man.

Rorschach: None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with me.

Dr. Manhattan: In my opinion, the existence of life is a highly overrated phenomenon.

You Can't Stop A Story Being Told