Welcome, September!

Welcome, September!

Hello, September! This is the first post in the last three weeks. August was incredibly busy because we have Eid Al-Fitr here in Indonesia, then I have this employment test I have to pass through and also some other post-grad stuffs (and my birthday!). In less than three months I’m gonna start working at office so... I don’t know, I hope I can still post regularly like before. Wish me luck!

So here it is, another quick review for the movies I watched lately because the longer I left them unwritten, the more they increase in amount :P

Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim

(Dir: Guillermo del Toro) I don’t usually watch robot-vs-monster movie like this because, well, it’s just not my cup of tea. And I knew that it was hype that dragged me into the cinema to watch “Pacific Rim”. But then I realized that what I got was, surprisingly, a pretty decent blockbuster movie with a touch of passion. Guillermo del Toro, with his careful hand, puts patience and love to the story. I questioned some subtle interpretations I had from the whole cross-regional catastrophe caused by Kaiju (and they might be a bit racist) but more than that “Pacific Rim” is like a boy’s dream comes true.

4 out of 5 stars

V/H/S/2 (2013)


(Dir: Simon Barrett, Jason Eisener, Gareth Evans, Gregg Hale, Eduardo S├ínchez, Timo Tjahjanto, Adam Wingard) I mentioned in this post that while I haven’t watched “V/H/S” before, the reason why I’m interested in watching “V/H/S/2” is because Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Evans took part in it. We have four horror fragments wrapped in a big storyline. Unfortunately, although Evans’ and Tjahjanto’s part—called “Safe Haven”—was given a significant amount of duration, I felt like the story was just too much. Another part (“Phase I Clinical Trials”) was nice—with its lots of shocks—but the rest (“Tape 49”, “A Ride in the Park”, “Slumber Party Alien Abduction”) were not as good.

3 out of 5 stars

The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring

(Dir: James Wan) “The Conjuring” was a real surprise. It’s like watching a classic horror. I have to admit that “The Conjuring” was not that scary (and the whole Twitter hype about someone passed out while watching the film was just too much) and, frankly, the story did not really that make sense (why did they introduce us with this Annabelle doll at the first place?), but I appreciate how James Wan put his effort in creating goosebumps with a very disturbing—and haunting—exorcism scene and a careful horror effect. I bet “Insidious: Chapter 2” is gonna less terrifying.

4 out of 5 stars

The Wolverine (2013)

The Wolverine

(Dir: James Mangold) I’m not really into the “X-Men” franchise, and it was an afternoon in Ramadhan day, so I was a bit sleepy while “The Wolverine” started to play. Lucky that, regardless of its after-credit scene, you don’t have to know details about who is Wolverine and all those X-Men stuffs. This is might be a very dramatic approach to tell a story of a superhero (or, could we call him so?), and to be honest I’m a little bit disturbed by it. However, James Mangold knows well how to introduce a zero-to-hero character in a less show-off-y way. I give my extra half-star rating for the train fighting scene.

3.5 out of 5 stars

No Country for Old Men (2007)

No Country for Old Men

(Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen) Oh how I love the Coens! I should have put them in the answer about “Best Auteur-Director” in the Liebster-Sunshine Award. We can see clearly how fine writing and fine directing meets together in “No Country for Old Men”. And beautiful shots, thanks to Mr. Roger Deakins for giving us a pleasurable way to explore the Wild West. Plus, great acting by Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem (before he became Raoul Silva, of course) makes it one of the least film I think deserves its Best Picture winning at Oscar. And Bardem deserves his Oscar, too.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Burn After Reading (2008)

Burn After Reading

(Dir: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen) “Burn After Reading” is a proof that a not-so-important story of people doing craps can be made into a good film with the help of a fine director. Joel Coen and Ethan Coen created a playground where all the stars can show their true skill of acting even in a less valuable piece of story. From the few films made by the duo directors that I have seen, this is might be the film I don’t really like. It feels like they made this film just for fun for these best actors in Hollywood to chat around, and—while it’s not really that bad—for me this is only a pure entertainment.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation

(Dir: Sofia Coppola) Regardless Sofia Coppola's Cannes entry, “The Bling Ring”, I rewatched this film—which I consider as her best work to date. “Lost in Translation” describes the meaning of loneliness in a very honest way. It is honestly written and honestly—and naturally—acted. What could be worse than feeling lonely in one of the most crowded country in the world? The film takes a trip to Japan just to show us the true meaning of soul mate and self introspection, while tangling around the loneliness hidden in the hype of this never-sleeping country.

4 out of 5 stars

A Dangerous Method (2011)

A Dangerous Method

(Dir: David Cronenberg) I have an interest in pop psychology, and “A Dangerous Method”, for its bravery to tell a (hidden) story of two biggest persons in the history of psychology—Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, has become a film I once anticipated. I didn’t really see significant directorial trademarks of David Cronenberg in this film—either because I don’t keep a good track of his works or because he simply didn’t show them—but “A Dangerous Method” retells a good story of the birth to psychoanalysis theory in a balanced, adequate amount. With total acting by the cast, not to mention.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Behind the Candelabra (2013)

Behind the Candelabra

(Dir: Steven Soderbergh) So, here is the real last work of Steven Soderbergh, I guess. Having rejected by US film distributors for being considered “too gay” and finally being released for TV by HBO, “Behind the Candelabra” is—honestly—so gay for not an obvious reason. While it was supported by two great actors with their superb acting, I don’t really see that “Behind the Candelabra” was also supported by sufficient amount of emotion as well. It has its magic, it has its beautiful art directions and camera works, but it lacks the affection to make us touched by the life of Liberace.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Juno (2007)


(Dir: Jason Reitman) Ellen Page proves that, despite her young age, she has the star acting quality. “Juno” is based on a story so simple it sometimes looks aimless and vulnerable. We have this high school girl pregnant by her boyfriend and she wants to find parents to adopt the baby and, while Diablo Cody tried to keeps the story as fun and comedic as it can—mostly by the outstandingly natural performance by Ellen Page—the rest of the film is going slowly—if not flatly. Lucky that it was ended in a very sweet way, showing that however big the problem is, they are still a couple of high-schooler.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Akbar Saputra

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  1. While it is overrated, The Conjuring proves that an original film with meticulous characterization, neat pacing, and relying on creepy atmosphere alone CAN become successful. Hope this can get rid of those torture porn and found footage horror franchises that gradually becoming more annoying

    The world of Pacific Rim, where the aspects of human lives, cultures, and geopolitical policies changed because of the kaijus' invasion is intriguing, even if it is only shown in a glimpse. Maybe "a glimpse" is the keyword here. The plot is simple and skeletal, while the rules, stakes, and backstories of its characters are delivered either from dialogues or flashbacks during "the drift". Oh and the visual is awesome, especially the Hong Kong sequence

    I agree with you about Juno. The second and third acts felt really slow, especially with the subplot with Jason Bateman's character. About Ellen Page, you really have to watch Hard Candy, her (probably) feature film debut

    1. The Conjuring deserves the hype. It is more than just a movie that scares; it is a horror achievement in modern days when horror filmmakers tend to reinvent the wheel.

      Juno is interesting when the main character is on the spotlight. Whenever Ellen Page is not on scene, the interest fades out.

  2. Oh i don't know that V/H/S 2 is an anthology and i don't know that Evans and Timo is involved in it.
    agree with what you're saying about Wolverine, it's a very dramatic approach indeed. While i actually welcome the change especially comparing it to the original trilogy.

    Glad you enjoyed Pacific Rim! I heard it was not well received in Japan, kinda ironic since this is Del Torro homage to the whole Mecha vs Kaiju movie genre...

    Hope see you a lot more this september! Don't be a stranger akbar! :)

    1. Pacific Rim was received mixed to negatively in East Asia, I read, because of those "subtle interpretations". LOL.

      Of course I will! Thank you :)

  3. Hmm, I thought that Annabelle story was a trick from James Wan, so that audience would think that The Conjuring is about Annabelle, while it's not.

    And I think it's creepier than Insidious :3

    1. Annabelle is a perfect opening. I really hope that Wan used it throughout the film, although honestly without it the story has been great enough.

      I'm not really into Insidious 2, LOL.