Author Archives: Adrian Radjab

“Being The Ricardos” Review

Director and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin encapsulate a strand of flashbacks and flash-forwards as Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) navigate a busy week of “I Love Lucy”s production in “Being The Ricardos”. Photo: Glen Wilson/Amazon Sorkin starts with Ball and Arnaz entering the Monday table read of script with staff writers to…

“Swan Song” — “I Clone, Therefore I am.”

Although it doesn’t represent the actual description of external reality, there is often constant conjunction of science fiction and philosophical notions. Much like literature, science fiction films position viewers in futuristic distant lands and extraordinarily imaginative events that raise a number of questions about our relationship to the universe. What does it mean to be…

Rehana Maryam Noor Faces Dilemma With No Way Out

“Rehana Maryam Noor” is a tough act to watch. The Bangladesh’s own MeToo narrative centers on one perpetrator and fixates closely on a singular survivor and witness. While other similar narratives have tackled the subject with a blast of female empowerment (2019’s “Bombshell”) and sometimes ruthless malevolence and revenge (2018’s “Revenge” and 2019’s “Promising Young…

Reflecting on Sexual Awakening, Male Gaze and Voyeurism on “The Hand of God”

The long opening shot of “The Hand of God” is set in a stunning locale – the impressive natural landscape of the Napoli coast – an epic viewing that instantly re-inspires post-quarantine wanderlust for the outdoors. But as the vivid colors of the tranquil sea and town landscape begin to fade, the camera shifts from…

“Annete”—Baby Puppet Rises to Fame (Spoilers ahead)

KRIS DEWITTE/AMAZON STUDIOS French director Leos Carax was awarded the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for “Annette”, his first English-language debut and film since “Holy Motors” (2012). “Annette” is an ambitious, doomed-romance musical starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. Although Hollywood may have come up with a number of musical pieces with…

“The French Dispatch” Wes Anderson at His Most Anderson-Esque

Photograph: BFA/Alamy “The French Dispatch” may be the most Wes Anderson that Wes Anderson has ever Wes Andersoned—and all for the right reasons. As he always does, Wes Anderson creates a world that is at once familiar and foreign in “The French Dispatch”. Set in the imaginary French town Ennui-sur-Blasé, “The French Dispatch” visualizes wonderfully…

“The Humans” breathes life into family-holiday-gone-wrong narrative

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“The Humans” breathes life into family-holiday-gone-wrong narrative Directed by Stephen Karam who adapts his own 2016’s stage show, “The Humans” blurs the line between drama and horror in its slow-burn storytelling. It doesn’t lob you over the head with a cinematic grenade of good old jump scares. Instead, it has the luxury of starting with…

Tick, Tick… Boom: A Musical Celebration Amid Life Crisis

  Andrew Garfield does a convincing job of personating Jonathan Larson in “Tick, Tick… Boom”, a musical biopic tracing the time he was on the cusp of turning 30. Steven Levenson’s screenplay focuses heavily on the way Jonathan Larson struggles to maintain balance and find meaning in his chaotic New York apartment as the outlet…

Sandra Bullock Tackles Post-Prison Life in “The Unforgivable”

The first time we see Ruth Slater (Sandra Bullock), she is just freed after 20-year imprisonment for murdering a local sheriff. She is a wreck of a human. Sleepless nights have taken a toll on her face; dark circles under her puffy eyes, stress wrinkles, and unkempt hair. Her face always looks cold (she barely…

Duality in “Passing”

There is a dual nature to “Passing”, particularly concerning the color scheme of black and white that visually probes at stark contrasts between darkness and innocence, mystery and honesty, complexity and simplicity. Duality in cinema is often used to signify that two entities have opposing personalities, beliefs and desires. In modern cinema, one entity may…

The Power of the Dog Review

“The Power of the Dog”, to whatever degree sublimated, rests in the arena of patriarchal masculinities. It is a Western genre at its very core; harsh wilderness, horse riding, dusty boots, and ugly revenge. The stereotypical portrayal of masculine ideals among Hollywood cowboys is abundantly embellished. While it still redeems the nostalgia of rugged masculine…

“Drive My Car” A Relieving Portrait of Grief and Guilt

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s third work “Drive My Car” is an adaptation from Haruki Murakami’s 2014 short story collection “Men Without Women”. Named best screenplay at 2021 Cannes and recently best film at The New York Film Critics Circle, “Drive My Car” is Japan’s entry for the 94th Academy Award’s best international feature. “Drive My Car” takes…

Annual Reminder: “Running on Empty” is A Thanksgiving Movie

Sidney Lumet’s Running on Empty (1988) Sidney Lumet’s Running on Empty (1988) is weepy, heartwarming, and sentimental. It centers around a family of four, where life sucks and it gets worse from there, giving viewers a much-needed Thanksgiving vibe. Running on Empty has become the staple of my teenhood viewing. It persistently sits at the back of my mind as the ultimate…

“Yuni”: Indonesia’s patriarchal tale on the road to the Oscars

Yuni embeds itself in Indonesian culture, closely observing the rich tradition of child marriage while perpetuating the eminently patriarchal entrenchment that has buried women’s voices. What Yuni divulges comes across persuasive. But how it unfolds its story is never exaggerated and embellished. The drama feels rich and real, and the progressive plot incorporates hardly any gimmick,…

Kenneth Branagh Revisits Childhood Home in “Belfast”

In his 30+ years of directorial ventures, Kenneth Branagh has taken audiences from the lavish Shakespeare’s oeuvre “Henry V” (1989), which earned him an Academy Award nomination, to the big blockbuster hit “Thor” (2011). While he may have garnered himself a spot among A-list directors, for me Branagh has a greater share of charisma and…

“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” through second chances and redemption

At first blush, the main draw of The Eyes of Tammy Faye would seem to be the real-life intimate romance between two aspiring televangelists. They fall in love immediately at the first encounter. They want to sleep together. But they are bound by their moral stand that each believes that to engage in premarital sex…

Full Trailer Of HBO Max’s “And Just Like That” Is Finally Here!

  “Sex and the City” follow-up, titled “And Just Like That …”, is headed to HBO Max as the full trailer drops on November 30.   After a special teaser released early in November, The US streaming service gives a closer real look at the series. It is set to be a 10-episode reboot of…

“King Richard” and How It May Put Your Fathering Skills to Shame

“King Richard” takes us to the beginnings of tennis excellence – Venus and Serena Williams – while shining on a fatherhood story from which the siblings’ bright futures are rooted. Will Smith takes some hard knocks on fatherhood in “King Richard”. His lead character Richard Williams addresses the heavy toll it takes to carry off…