January Movies

11:28:00 PM

Hellooo...

Anyone waiting for my monthly movies review? No? Oh well hahaha. I've been postponing this post as usual (somehow reviews use the most brain cells for me...) but here it is, still in early February category right... January's always been quite off-movies wise-for me *sigh*. I didn't even realize that we watched SO MANY movies last month!

Mainly because most of them are so mediocre i don't even remember watching them *LOL*. Since i have so many movies to share, better start right off!

Quite obviously Baby Boy's movie, but i was honestly quite excited to watch it because i liked the trailer and thought Paddington's way too cute. Well, i quite liked the movie as a whole. It's cute, quite funny and entertaining. It's a solid, warm-hearted family movie-perfect to bring your little ones to. Nothing spectacularly amazing for me though, somehow the funniest bits were already shown in the trailer...

A young Peruvian bear just lost his family and went to London in search for a new home. He met the Brown family who offered him a temporary home (until he found his new home, that is). Being unaccustomed to city life, he created quite a trouble and caught the eye of an evil taxidermist, keen on making him the newest addition to her collection.

I would definitely recommend this movie if you have a young child, but even if you don't-it's still quite worth watching. I am not terribly excited or whatever, but it is quite good *why do i feel like i sound super unconvincing hahaha-it got a high 7.6 rate in IMDb, i don't manage to convince you :p*. I especially love how crazy and evil Nicole Kidman can be, and she seems to like being a villain for kids movies!
 
2. The Eyes Diary
I LOVE Asian horrors! Nowadays Hollywood seems to do more and more horror movies that suit my fancy (The Conjuring is definitely my fave Hollywood horror movie of all time), but nobody does it as well as the Asian! I don't always get Japanese or Korean horror movies that have very confusing storyline and annoying cliff-hanger endings (i HATE cliff-hangers -___-), but i love love love South East Asia horror movies. Maybe because i understand and relate to the cultures better? Or their ghosts are very familiar and similar to our own urban legends/horror stories? One of our neighboring countries that has the best horror movies for me is definitely Thailand.

Our local cinemas in Surabaya *we sadly only have XXIs zzzz* don't show a lot of Asian movies, and almost no Thai movies so whenever we're in Jakarta, i make a point of checking the movies that are playing in Blitz Megaplex, most of the time they would at least have one or two Asian horrors that would never play in my city. This time round they were showing The Eyes Diary (i think it has no relation to the Chinese The Eye movies despite the resemblance in titles) and a Japanese horror, of course i picked the Thai one. I had no expectation whatsoever, sometime you score but sometimes Thai horror movies can also be so ridiculously bad hahaha. It's always a gamble-but i'm glad to find out that this movie's not bad at all!

Nott recently lost his girlfriend due to an accident, he's very miserable and is willing to do anything to be able to see and talk to Pla (the girlfriend) again-as a spirit/ghost. It's obviously not an easy thing to do, especially because he is not supernaturally sensitive. Even when all of his friends managed to see ghosts one way or another, he never does. He even voluntarily join an emergency crew whose job is to clean up and pick up on dead bodies and their belongings-secretly stealing dead people's stuffs so that they would come to him and look for their stuffs.

There are two types of horror movies that Thai does best, one that is super serious and scary like Shutter, and the other type is the comedic horror. Unlike most of Indonesian super silly and almost-porn comedic horrors, Thais often manage to create a really funny horror movies. The Eye Diary is not the best Thai horror i have ever seen, but it struck the balance between scary and funny quite well. One thing about Asian movies, most of them are still unable to avoid huge plotholes and super silly (as in stupid) scenes, and this one is no exception. But i liked it a lot! It's funny, it's quite scary and i had a great time and didn't get bored watching it. If you like Asian horrors, especially the funny ones-i would recommend you to check it out!

3. Outcast
I saw the trailer and for some unknown reasons i thought it'd be good :p. I should really be cautious when i see Nicholas Cage really, been burnt way too many times by his movies lately-i should know to avoid them like a plague from now on zzzz. But seriously, i moderately like Hayden Christiensen and i love Liu Yifei-she's one of the prettiest Asian star at the moment in my opinion (the prettiest if still Fan Bing Bing ^^) and i like seeing her in movies. I was quite excited to see her branching out into Hollywood movies, but... well.... She should've picked her movie better *LOL*
Liu Yifei is has the perfect face and demeanor to play a sweet and demure Chinese Princess!
A mysterious (Caucasian) warrior somehow made his way to China during the  complicated and full of drama Emperor time and stumbled into a little prince and his elder sister who are running away from their evil brother (the crowned Prince who just killed his Emperor father because the Emperor wanted to pick his little brother as his heir instead), he ended up helping them escaping.

Well. The storyline is already so weak, but it could be a saveable movie if only : 1. They have Chinese dialogs (at least between the Chinese actors, i understand that they'd need to speak English to the Western casts), 2. Hayden acts less drunk and 3. They get rid of Nicholas Cage *LOL*.

I don't even know where to begin... I actually think Hayden and Yifei had a pretty good chemistry together, they were quite convincing as two people falling for each other (but i am conflicted to see such a demure Princess being so promiscuous *LOL*. Not that i'd know how Princesses of old are like, but it's just such a different portrayal than those traditional Chinese Princesses that i know. At least i don't think they would be so aggresive-due to their upbringing) but that's probably the only good thing about this movie. 

It's just so weird to see Chinese people in an old  Chinese kingdom setting, wearing tradional costumes talking in perfectly American accented English (and later there's even a young girl with British accent. WTF). It's just weird (just as weird as seeing Egyptians speaks perfect English to each other in Moses) and make the dialogs very disconnected with the movie.

Hayden's usually a pretty good actor, isn't he? But in the first half of the movie, he plays a drunk-but that's the problem. He ACTS drunk, and we can tell *LOL*. He's just not very convincing either. And Nicholas Cage, my GOD, it was probably the worst performance by him yet. He was crazy with a very very weird accent, and he kept on forgetting to keep one of his eyes *that's supposed to be blinded and shut close* close -_____-. He just made the whole movie go from bad to horrible.

In short, it was not the worst movie of the year-but probably one of the candidates *LOL*. My advise is definitely to skip it. It's not worth your time! Not even on DVD.. (i hope this stupid movie does not halt Liu Yifei's Hollywood career -___- i'd love to see her in more Hollywood movies-just not as stupid as this one, PLEASE!)

4. Taken 3
I do not remember the first Taken movie (i don't think we even watched it... Or did we?) but i liked the second one-hunny did too so we're mildly excited when the third installment hits the theater. 

Liam Neeson reprise his role as Bryan Mills, the ex-government operative. He was framed of murdering his ex-wife and went on a run in search of the real murderer. He has to evade CIA, FBI and the police all the while.

Well... I liked the previous movie better! LOL. It's an action movie, so... Storyline is not that important really, at least if the action sequence's cool enough to keep you entertained. I find this third movie lacked the suspense and breath-taking actions that the second movie has. It has more story and heart in it, but it still pales in comparison to its predecessor. If you are a fan of Taken movies, then i guess you should still go to see this, but personally i prefer the second movie better.

It's not bad, but it's not that good.

5. Assalamualaikum Beijing

So you probably already know by now that i like to support local products, including movies. However, i have not been watching Indonesian movies for a while because i didn't see any that caught my fancy lately. One day out of the blue, my cousin L bugged me to watch either Assalamualaikum Beijing or Merry Riana. Since i definitely have no interest to see the second option, i went to google Assalamualaikum Beijing and find the synopsis pretty interesting-so we went to watch it (movie date with cousin L hahaha).

Asmara is an Indonesian Moslem woman about to get married to her boyfriend-but one day prior to the wedding, he admits his affair with another woman who's now bearing his child. Heartbroken and in need of a fresh beginning, Asmara moved to Beijing, China. Her best friend and her husband helped Asmara scored a reporting/writing job in Beijing. Her job requires her to visit different destinations in Beijing and one day she met Zongwen, a handsome Chinese guy who's fluent in Indonesian because of his job as a tour guide.

I didn't have any expectation going in, and i admit making the crime of discussing and nitpicking everything on the screen with L *LOL* (we made a point of sititing faraway from other audiences though), but i ended up enjoying it a LOT more than i thought i would be. Revalina S. Temat's a seasoned actress so you can count on her to deliver, i especially love Laudya Cynthia Bella's portrayal of her hubbly, animated and talkactive BFF, she brings humor and light heartedness to the movie-i'd say she needs to get more comedic roles coz she's good at it, but who really surprised me was Morgan Oey. I admit that i judged him for his SMASH (Indonesian boyband that pretty much copies K-Pop band-not very successfully as well *LOL*. Don't get me wrong, somehow they have quite a huge fan base, but i... I don't even like K-Pop, so K-Pop imitation is just... yekh) past, but he actually held his own and was able to match Revalina's acting in this movie.

Indonesian does make drama movies best, although sometimes romance movies makes me wince and cringe, but not this one. The story flows effortlessly (because it was based on a novel, and that's always best coz Indonesia really does have wonderful literature writers!), the acting were excellent, the cinematographic quite wonderful and the whole thing very engaging. I find myself immersed in the story and had no regrets watching it. I also praise the writer to avoid a sensitive subject for Indonesian, in this case religion change-i like how they make the person who's making the transition did not have a religion in the first place, which if he did might insult some people (we're sensitive people, Indonesian *LOL*).

My only complain would be the way they stereotyped China so much, particularly to music they played in the movie >.<. Don't get me wrong, i am not sensitive because i am Chinese-but it's just a bit annoying because that's really not the kind of music all Chinese people would be happy to be associated to. Read on and you'd see that i am equally as offended when people stereotyped Indonesian with cliches that are not even accurate!

6. Woman in Black 2 : Angel of Death
I know it's not everybody's cup of tea (received a pretty low rate in IMDb), but i actually liked the first Woman in Black. It was creepy, haunting and disturbing, all in the right way. So i had a pretty high hope for the sequel, i was pretty excited about watching it. Sadly it's nowhere near as good as the first movie (maybe i should be alarmed when i see no Daniel Radcliff on the cast hahaha).

40 years after the first movie was set, during World War II a group of children escaped London and seek refuge at the Eel Marsh house under the care of two women. Their arrival awakened The Woman in Black and terror was soon upon them.

Yeah well, it started out okay-it was quite creepy in a quiet, haunting way. But after the same quietness continues in the next half an hour, i realized that the movie will never pick up. It's flat, monotonous and quite frankly-boring. Even the ghost did not scare me one bit hehe. That's weird because it's the same ghost from the first movie, but even she has lost her charm *LOL*.

In short, it's boring and totally failed if it was supposed to creep the hell out of me : NEXT!


7. Blackhat
I never heard about this movie before it was playing, and Sabsab already told me that the movie's... not that good, but i was sold once i saw Wang Lee Hom's in it (one of the most handsome face, ever *LOL*) :p. I was also doubly curious when i heard that part of the movie's shot in Jakarta, Indonesia-so we went to watch it despite the worrying warning signs *LOLOLOL*.

A nuclear plant was attacked in China by a hacker who caused the coolant pump to overheat and explode, a military officer named Chen Dawei (the dreamy Wang Lee Hom) was appointed to find the terrorist, he enlisted his sister Lien and they went to LA to team up with the USA to crack the case. It was then revealed that the worm used on the attack was written by himself and his friend Nicholas Hathaway (who's doing jail time for computer crime) during college. He requested for Nick to be released to help him find the hackers who they suspected would strike again soon.

Actually i find the first half of the movie to be quite okay, a bit slow but still bearable. Had a bit of a hard time keeping up with all those technical and computer language so it was a bit boring-but still okay. It pains me to say this, but when they reached Jakarta-any semblance of coherence went out the door. It became shaky, confusing and extremely unbelievable (not in a good way, God no!)-it was supposed to be the climax-but it turned to be extremely ridiculous and weird that it became a total anti climax instead.

I don't understand why, but the cinematography were so different when the setting was in LA and even Hong Kong to those that was shot in Jakarta. At least in the first half, it still felt like a decent Hollywood-class movie, but it became badly indie-like (almost embarrassingly sinetron like) *no disrespect to indie movies, there are a LOT of good ones, but in this case i meant that it seems to be lacked of fund*. It's just so bad! Even the bank looked sooo fake, it was stupid. As an Indonesian i also cannot help but laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of a huge Hindu celebration in Jakarta (they should really shoot in Bali if they want this), or how some Ondel-ondel just came out of nowhere in the background. It's like they're trying so hard to cram all Indonesian elements into a few scenes, none of which is even remotely believable. And the terrorist's boss? He's so stupid, it's sad. *LOL.

It's sadly, a BAD movie in general, i think it'd be best to just skip it. I liked the actors though, even though people say Chris Hemsworth is all wrong for the part, i don't mind his acting, and i like his chemistry with Tang Wei. That's rare because even with Natalie Portman i didn't feel like he was in love with her at all in Thor. And Wang Lee Hom is GOOD. I didn't know that he can act so well! Now that i think about it, all fell apart after his character died. Wait, did i just give you a spoiler? Well, didn't i tell you not to watch it? 

The only saving grace of this movie :
Is this face. LOL.

8. Seventh Son

Oh well. In case you don't already think i am a boy-crazy teenager trapped in a body of a 31 year old married woman, now you will coz i really really wanted to watch this movie solely for this.
Ben Barnes as Tom Ward in Seventh Son
Oh, and the trailer looked good  :p. It's a fantasy adventure movie, right up our alleys...

Thomas Ward is a normal farm boy who gets a vision from time to time, but he always knew that he's meant to do something more. One day John Gregory (Jeff Bridges is hilarious...), who is a local spook who protects his country from anything unusual (as in witches, boggarts, ghouls, etc) lost his current apprentice and went to look for another-who has to be a seventh son of the seventh son-Thomas Ward is it. They had very little time to train because Mother Malkin', the most dangerous witch of all, has freed herself from the prison Gregory trapped her in many many years ago.

It's a fun film! It really is. Entertaining, with good humor, great costumes, better looking casts and awesome villain. Julianne Moore should play fantastical villains more often, she was SMOKING! But having said that, it's... just that. A popcorn movie. It was very entertaining and i loved it, but it didn't leave any deep impression and i'd forget all about it within a few days. But it is good, so if you like light hearted (well, there are some deaths too but nothing too gruesome, at least for me), funny and entertaining fantasy adventure, you should totally watch it!

The only thing i was quite taken aback with was how brief Kit Harrington's role was *LOL*, it was so short it was shocking! His name shouldn't even be in the credit #LOLOLOL. But no matter, it was Ben Barnes i watched this movie for anyway, and he didn't disappoint. I know i rave about different guys every month (and i seem to almost always spot a cutie in any movie hahaha), but Ben Barnes really is one of my absolute favorite, since his Prince of Caspian days-with scrawny body and ridiculous hair! I think i will always love him ^^!
Especially now that he's so manly and all. He's my only choice to play Christian Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey). DROOL!

9. The Imitation Game
I don't know why but whenever hunny asks to watch this type of movies-i am always the one who ended up enjoying it a lot more than he does!

It is based on the real life story of Alan Turing, the legendary cryptanalyst. It flashes back and forth from his current self, then to him when he was a young boy in school and then to his time during WWII-when he was recruited by English government on a top-secret mission to crack the enigma code with the other mathematicians to help their country win the war against Germany.

I loved it!!! It's such a SMART, BRILLIANT and interesting movie! The life of Alan Turing is so fascinating, and i didn't even know that being gay was once considered a crime. WTH. Other than the very engaging storyline, Benedict Cumberbatch's acting is... To the roof! He totally embodied this genius, who's so literal and obsessive that he's having difficulties in day to day social life. Think Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, but in a serious way. Seriously, those kinds of roles should only be done by Benedict Cumberbatch (the serious ones) and Jim Parsons (the crazy ones).

It's definitely not for everyone though, it's highly non-popcorn movie, i noticed the guy sitting near me kept on yawning and shifting and complaining about how he's falling asleep. It's a movie for smart people who wants to use their brain but not so heavy that it cease to entertain (like some Oscar winning movies hehe). And you must. Focus. Like Benedict as Alan Turing said "Are you paying attention?" 


10. Vice

I love sci-fi with A.I theme (or something similar to that. Basically i love the idea of very humanoid robots, cloning, artifically controlled environment, or using avatars in real life!) so when i read the synopsis of this movie, i was interested.

Julian Michaels (Bruce Willis) is the CEO and designer of VICE : a controlled environment built like a city within a city where you can do whatever you want and live out your wildest (and cruelest) fantasies with the artificial inhabitants who look, speak, think and feel like real human. You can rape them, you can torture them, you can even kill them-they'll bleed, they'll cry and they'll die-but they'll be reset and restored exactly how they were every single day. An artifical suddenly became self-aware and escaped, she then being hunted by both Julian's goons and a cop who hates VICE and trying all his might to shut it down.

Weeellll... I LOVE the idea. It's just fascinating if you can actually create artificial that are super humanoid, and even more fascinating if there is such a place like Vice! I honestly am sick on the head enough to be one of those who'd visit it, but i have no desire to kill anything-not even a robot, don't worry. But that's where the greatness end *LOL*. The awesome idea never got developed enough to be an awesome movie. If it was up to me, i'd explore more about VICE and the people who visits them-and reduce the chasing part to a minimum. Get to know the characters better, because we never got the chance to. We never even knew enough to start caring for the.

Granted, i didn't hate the movie at all. Nope, i even find the 4.0 rate in IMBDb harsh, i'd give it... 6.5? Even 7. It was quite entertaining-although i do agree the action scenes were not gripping or exciting, and it was really annoying to see people (supposedly trained, merciless mercenaries) shooting like mad but hitting nothing while the bad-boy wannabe cop always manages to shoot point blank, no matter where his position is (and leave with barely a scratch when more than 5 people shoot at him at once) *LOL*. It's just plain ridiculous. 

If like me, you love A.I movies, i don't think it would hurt to give it a watch. Maybe on DVD? 

ANDDDD, we've finally come to the end of the super long post! Phew, watched 10 movies in one month! My favorite would be The Eyes Diary and The Imitation Game-for very different reasons, i also enjoyed Seventh Son and Assalamualaikum Beijing a lot. My least fave's Outcast, and Blackhat's the close runner up hehe.

What about you? Did you watch any of these movies i've listed? Or are you planning to after reading this?

Talk to you soon!

#Pink

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4 comments

  1. udah lama gak nonton horor.. jadi pengen nyari film2 horor asia...

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  2. Setidaknya seventh son jauh lebih mending daripada blackhat. Bener2 anti climax. >:( dan habis baca ini ternyata bulan lalu aku ngga nonton banyak. Bahka belum nonton the imitation game (gara2 mama minta diajak nonton dan belum nemu jadwal yang pas).

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    Replies
    1. Iya jauh lah kalo Seventh Son di bandingin ama Blackhat Sabbb

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