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Review: “Wonder Woman”

Wonder Woman

Title: Wonder Woman
Year: 2017
Director: Patty Jenkins 
Writers: Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder
Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

And here it is, ladies and gentlemen: Wonder Woman the movie! One of the most anticipated superheroes film from DC universe this year with beautiful Gal Gadot playing the main role of Diana, princess of Amazon, who will be later known better as Wonder Woman. I recall to like the Wonder Women series when I was much younger with Diana played by Lynda Carter.

WW series

Diana (Gal Gadot) was born and raised in Themyscira, hidden island of Amazon warrior women. Understanding that their role as Amazon people was to protect humankind, Diana wanted to train herself to be a warrior, however her mom, Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), had been very protective and restricted her from any warrior training. Diana then decided to train in secret with her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright). When the two are discovered by Hippolyta, Antiope convinced her sister to allow Diana’s training to continue.

One day, a plane crashed off on the coastal area of Themyscira. The hidden island was soon invaded by German soldiers who were chasing pilot of the crashed plane, Captain Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). The Amazon warriors attacked the German soldiers to protect their island, however, Antiope died to protect Diana. Outraged, Hippolyta arrested and interrogated Steve who later confessed that he was an allied spy of US and British who wanted to do something to stop the ongoing war (it was set at World War I). His job was to collect information of German power and strategy, however he ended up stealing a notebook with valuable information from the Spanish chief chemist Isabel Maru. Dr. Maru was working under instruction of General Ludendorff to create a deadliest form of gas to attack German’s opponents.

Being naïve as she was, with her belief that Ares, god of war, was responsible for the war, Diana decided to go with Steve back to London to find and destroy Ares. She took the sword which was shown by her mother as the ultimate weapon to kill Ares. When both of them arrived in London, they met Sir Patrick Morgan (David Thewlis), who was trying to negotiate a peace agreement with Germany. Later they found out that Germans planned to release the deadly gas at the warfront. Though forbidden by his commanders, Steve decided to go and stop preventing the gas from being released with the help of Diana, and his colleagues: Sameer, Charlie and Chief. Did they manage to do it?

In general, I like this movie. I think it has enough balance of action, drama, romance and comedy inside it. I found some scenes were properly funny, for example when Diana ate ice cream for the first time and said, “It is wonderful. You should be proud.” Or the scene when he saw Steve for the first time and said, “You’re a man..”, and Steve replied, “Yeah… I mean… do I not look like one?”. Lol. I laughed myself loud at that simple phrase.

I also like Gal Gadot and Chris Pine’s performance as Diana and Steve. They did a good job in embracing their characters and their chemistry felt quite real for me. If I should give one critic was only on their relationship development because I think it was a bit too fast. Of course, it is a superheroes movie, so perhaps action should anyway take the biggest portion of the movie. Nevertheless, I think a little bit more intimacy between these two main characters would not hurt. It would increase the intensity of their relationship development and make their love to each other felt more real for me.

Other than that, I love the graphics of the movie a lot. Themyscira was beautifully pictured, reminded me on beautiful coastal area of Greece or Italy. The action scenes were smoothly executed, though of course, you will find a bit exaggeration here and there. It is, anyway, a superheroes movie.

Kudos need to be given to Petty Jenkins as the movie director. I think she has cleverly established this movie as a complete package, which offers you different kind of emotion in one go. I actually just realized that she also directed “The Killing”, a TV series with dark atmosphere which I fond of. I hope this will be a major breakthrough for her to even create more interesting movies in the future.

Overall, I think I can understand why this movie became one of the highest grossing movie only weeks after released. It is entertaining and gives you different flavors which I believe you will appreciate. This movie makes me curious to see Justice League which will come later in the end of the year. Well done.

Rating: 4 from 5 stars

Wonder Woman team

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Review: “Sully”


Title: Sully
Year: 2016
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writers: Todd Komarnicki (screenplay), Chesley Sullenberger (based on the book “Highest Duty”)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhardt

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger never dreamt about being a hero. Sully has always been pationate about his job as a pilot and giving only his best performance in every flight he had. 40 years of experience has made him as an expert on aviation, and yet, it still did not prepare him for incident which he later experienced.

On January 15, 2009, Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffery Skiles flew US Airways Flight 1549 from LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Barely three minutes into the flight, the Airbus A320 hit a flock of Canada geese, which disabled both engines. Without engine power, Sully needed to land immediately, however no airports within a safe distance for him to do so. He decided to perform emergency landing in Hudson River even though it was the last option a pilot would choose. Miraculously, Sully was able to land the aircraft safely in the Hudson, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crews aboard. The press and public shortly addressed him as a hero, though he did not feel the same.

Shortly afterward, as regular practice, NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) started an investigation for the incident. The board claimed that result from some tests on the remaining aircraft indicated that the left engine was still running after the birds strike. Theoretically, this would have given Sully enough power to fly back to nearest airports; LaGuardia or Teterboro. In addition, NTSB also claimed that from several flight simulations conducted based on all available data of the incident concluded that the plane could have landed safely in either airport even with both engines disabled. 

Feedback from NTSB naturally disturbed Sully, and made him somehow questioned himself: did he do the right thing back then? Having repeated the incident in his head over and over again, Sully believed that he did his best considering insufficient time or altitude during that 208 seconds of incident. Determined to prove that he had done the right thing and avoid having his career ended, he questioned NTSB to clarify if everything had been accurately investigated. What happened next?

I think Clint Eastwood did a quite good job with the storyline and particularly, selection of the cast. However, indeed there was time when I felt that the pressure done by NTSB agents were a bit too much for accident investigation. The impression I got that they tried to prove Sully did a mistake or human error during the incident, while I believed they should have thought neutrally along the process. This aligned with some article saying that there were parts of “Sully” which were exaggerated and not reflect what actually or should have happened in reality (read here). 

Despite the controversy, I think everyone will agree that the main variable which makes this movie wonderful is, of course, Tom Hanks. Hanks portrayed Sully’s character beautifully (as we would expect). Not only he made me experienced the shock from 1549 incident, he also brought me through this roller coaster of mind where he was having doubt about himself but eventually believed in himself that he had done his best. Aaron Eckhardt also did a good job as Skiles, equivalently disturbed with the incident, but still showing his full support to Sully as his partner.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching Sully. I have always loved Hanks’ performance, and surely he did not let me and everyone else down with his amazing performance as Sully. 

Rate: 4.5 from 5 stars

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Movie Review: “A Separation” (2011)

A Separation

Title: A Separation (Nader and Simin)
Year: 2011
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Asghar Farhadi
Stars: Payman Maadi, Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat

This movie was opened with a debate scene between Nader (Payman Maadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) in an Iranian court regarding divorce request submitted by Simin. Simin was willing to go abroad to have better life opportunities for their daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), while Nader, despite the fact that visa and all documents were ready, didn’t want to go because he felt obligated to take care of his father who suffered from Alzhaimer. Simin, who believed the only way for them to solve the issue was only through divorce, moved and stayed at her mom’s home. Forced by situation, Nader then hired Razieh (Sareh Bayat) to take care of their home and also his father while he and Termeh were away for working and studying at school.

Incident with Nader’s father in the first day made her felt uncomfortable to continue working at Nader’s house. However since she needed the money for her family, she decided to take again the job. Few days later, another incident took place and made Nader filled by rage. Triggered by anger, Nader then fired Razieh and pushed her out his house which caused her fell into stairs. Unfortunately that incident continued a bigger problem: Razieh had miscarriage and accused Nader to be the responsible party. Razieh’s husband, Hodjat (Shahab Hosseini), an unemployed and depressed guy with lot of debts, could not accept that fact and confronted Nader and his family. In the middle of chaotic situation, questions were popped out: Who was lying? Who was telling the truth? Did Nader really cause Razieh’s miscarriage? What was the solution of that situation?

I picked this movie coincidentally due to my curiosity after reading its short review when I was hunting for DVD yesterday. Family issue has always been an interesting topic to be addressed in movies. This movie showed us a real-life situation of a family that could be happened to anyone and anywhere. The twist occurred due to fact that it happened in Iran, a place where religions and cultures played a big role in everyone’s daily life. You would be suprised how some things could be interpreted differently by considering religions and cultures.

For example, Razieh was hesitated in changing clothes of Nader’s dad when he soiled himself. In modern culture nowadays, that won’t be a big deal especially if you speak in the name of humanity. But for Razieh, a religious lady who was someone’s wife and not a muhrim with Nader’s dad, that activity could be considered as a sin. As a moslem, I could relate totally to this scene and that actually makes sense. Similar other conflicts occurred due to the same issue were beautifully expressed in this movie.

Payman Maadi played Nader charmingly in this movie. As a husband, he tried to keep his pride as a leader of the family instead of his wife. As a dad, he wanted to protect his daughter, but in the same time showed her that he could handle the situation without her being involved in it. As a child, he loved his dad and tried his best to take care of him despite the fact that his dad was not in his best condition. For me personally, Payman was the heart of this movie.

In the end, I can say it was my best first Iranian movie I ever watched. The story was simple yet captivating, and well executed. Each character fitted his or her role well and together building the story solidly. This movie gave us good interpretation about family issues and how sometimes pride or responsibility affects our perception in taking any decision.

I would rate 5 from 5 stars. Highly recommended to watch 🙂

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Movie Review : “Life of Pi” (2012)

 Life_of_Pi_2012_Poster

Title : Life of Pi
Director : Ang Lee
Writers: David Magee (screenplay), Yann Martel (novel)
Stars : Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain

Everyone has his/her own story of life, either it is ordinary or extra ordinary for him/her or for other people. For Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma/Irrfan Khan), becoming the only survivor of shipwreck in the middle of Pacific Ocean taught him about life, faith and most important thing, God. Not only he had to spend days on a lifeboat in the middle of nowhere, he also had to “cooperate” with another companion which happened to be a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. His fear of being eaten by Richard Parker unexpectedly forced him to fight and survive day by day until he finally reached a land one day and saved. Simply said, an animal that supposed to be his enemy in actual saved his life, and in addition made he realized that God is always there even when he was at his lowest faith.

That was pretty much the main idea of this movie which was performed beautifully on silver screen. Of course, Pi’s other version of the story in the end made you wondering which one the right story was. But as Pi said, no matter what version you chose to believe, there was one fact that remained : Pi had lost his family and been suffered a lot for days in ocean. I guess it then depends on people to take the more convenient story for them to digest and accept it as the way it is.

I found myself fell in love with this movie. I haven’t read the book, but now I am dying to find and read the book. How the story being told from one scene to another made me really curious on how it was described on Matel’s novel.

Ang Lee surely did a great job on this movie, particularly for the computer graphic and also beautiful sceneries all over the place. It might be even better if you watched the 3D version since we could taste Pi’s experience in ocean ( I only watched the regular version though :P). So many views took my breath away, and several times I wish I had been on the boat with Pi to take some pictures with my camera, e.g. the sunrise and sunset scenes which were really beautiful.

Suraj Sharma and Irrfan Khan did their job well as Pi, though I was more convinced with Irrfan as adult Pi. The transition from child Pi until adult Pi was nicely performed, I could actually believe that Pi had always been a unique character, and being a survivor was just a way to reconfirm his different way in seeing life and God. Another character which somehow made me felt compassion was Richard Parker. Sure, he was a Bengal tiger and a wild animal, but I could feel his presence deeply and in the same time also feel sorry for him to be also a shipwreck survivor. Richard Parker felt almost like a humanly wild animal for me, which might not be too surprising if we refer back to Pi’s other story.

Overall, it was a good movie to watch, not only for the interesting story, but also for beautiful images and graphics along the way. In the end, I can only think about how people could do anything to survive for their live, and how people would believe what they want to believe to give them strength in continuing their life. It was just a matter of choice, and either way, as long as you feel comfortable and happy with it, nothing is wrong with it.

Score : 4 of 5 stars. Go watch it! 🙂