Gravity: Film Review

Dr. Ryan Stone is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.

I first know Alfonso Cuaron the director back in 1997 when I saw his work “Great Expectations” (1998; Gwyneth Paltrow & Ethan Hawke.) It was beautifully done with all of the movie elements speak something, directly or metaphorically. The overall cinematographic theme of green, subdued but it gives nuances to the movie’s theme of love lost and found.

Frankly I was following his work since then, expected him to do similar works and not too happy about his next movie “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” a road trip movie about group of teenagers in their coming-of-age romp. Then I kind of not too eager to find out about “Children of Men,” let alone “Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban.”

Gravity” was quite in heavy pre-promotion, it caught my attention. Cuaron doing a sci-fi? But I still take it lightly, not so eager to catch it in cinema. What can actually 2 actors movie in space setting do that is so special? “Gravity” starred by only Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Clooney can bring in audience, but Bullock? Miss Congeniality is currently playing at my premium movie channel, that kind of turn me off.

But one article citing that it was a great movie about how the 3D concept ‘tells’ a story, intrigued me. After a hot-headed meeting, I head to cool it off catching “Gravity” in nearest IMAX theatre. If the special effects should tell stories in a movie and it was helmed by Alfonso Cuaron, then I gotta see it.

[Might contains spoilers.] Continue reading “Gravity: Film Review”

LALA “Between Us” – Album Review

Lala Berkilau

I first got to know Lala Karmela via YouTube when she was this generic girl with a guitar covering other artists love songs like Yana Yulio’s “Hasrat Cinta” and Asti’s “Satu Jam Saja.” I thought that she is a one-hit-wonder artist trying out her luck struming guitar, nice look and covering songs for soundtracks of movies that could be easily forgettable. But apparently she’s more than all that.

One day she introduced her single “Morning Star” which was an instant catch to my ears and easily likable. The single (or she insists that it was a teaser for her upcoming album) was published via Soundcloud, at exact right moment to coincide with my personal life happening (that I couldn’t get it out of my brain,) that I posted about the single (ahem, teaser) here. Apparently she has found her home in Sinjitos Records. Good for her.

Then in March she published her next single “Berkilau,” announcing that her album will be released in May, which has finally seen light of days now.

The album opens up with “Morning Star,” like said, is an instant likable electronic beat of piano loop over her crisp vocal. It is like a cool breeze in a summer day. Very refreshing. The album title “Between Us” is a decent acoustic guitar song, which has sets her free out of that one-hit-wonder stereotype. This single along can shine compared to today’s Indonesian music. “Berkilau” is a happy-go-lucky song with a surprise twist and turns during verses, refrains and bridges, then it explodes and glitters in the end part. Taking you through her world and personality. “I Don’t Know What To Wear” is a (gasp) standard number with great arrangement and production with her playful lyrics, with very girly topic. “Selamanya” is a slow jam typical Indonesian love song, but does not fall flat cheesy. “You Got Me Again” is a great closer to this album. A song with an attitude from a girls point-of-view, about love-and-hate relationship. Articulate vocals.

Being half-Philippine and half-Indonesian maybe plays a part of her great English lyrics, while her Indonesian lyrics doesn’t come cheesy neither. Still no information regarding the music director, musicians or writing companion (or whether any of the song was written by somebody else,) because I downloaded “Between Us” from iTunes Store Indonesia hence no liner notes, artworks and lyrics. Looking forward to see her live, and also buy the physical CD, it’s that worth it. Meanwhile by all means go buy “Between Us” here!

Lala Karmela, you got me again!

Good Intentions by Toad The Wet Sprockets

For me, The 90s were the golden years when it comes to good music. Musician still writing music with hearts, with true craftsmanship and was performed honestly. Unlike nowadays where music is instant, artificial and seems like produced by machines.

Toad The Wet Sprockets

Last night when I was driving home after I have an engine trouble, I played some of the best underrated band from the 90s: Toad The Wet Sprockets (TTWS.) They have been categorized as “College Rock,” a similar genre with The Gin Blossoms and R.E.M. (the latter two garnered more mainstream coverage.) Back then, there were no internet and we have to solely rely on the mainstream media for knowledge of good music, from radio play and (a new thingy back back then) music videos. Private TV channels were new. So I was lucky enough to know TTWS from Rati, my friend’s Wima‘s sister. I borrowed “Fear,” a 1991 great album from TTWS at the peak of their mainstream status.

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Argo: Film Review

I was watching last showing of “Lincoln” after a work session. With my head was still hot, I came 5 minutes late and sat under the AC vent. The movie was too serious, I might get ill from the wind and I decided to walk out of the XXI theater. Not because of my disrespect for Spielberg’s work, but I was just not in the mood and physical condition to see American history.

To rebound, at home I played another American history “Argo“, well, used to be classified history. It’s a story about a CIA operative Tony Mendez (performed by Ben Affleck) who during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1978. It was declassified by President Clinton in 1997, thus Ben Affleck with the help of other actor turned producer George Clooney produced this movie which won The Academy Award for several awards, including the prestigious Best Picture category. Continue reading “Argo: Film Review”

1/15 Coffee

Sebenarnya saya sudah mengetahui coffee shop ini dari Nana Soedarmadji dari minggu lalu. Kelihatannya dari luar seperti tempat yang menyenangkan, dan berniat untuk mencoba tempat ini untuk bekerja di luar kantor (remote working.) Namanya yang unik (One Fifteenth Coffee/Kopi Seperlimabelas) juga turut menambah keingintahuan saya. Baru berkesempatan hari Minggu ini saya mencoba.

1/15 Coffee: Exterior Continue reading “1/15 Coffee”

Demi Ucok: Ulasan Film

Demi Ucok adalah sebuah film yang mengambil gaya Meta Film; yaitu film tentang membuat film; dengan genre komedi satir. Bercerita tentang Gloria Sinaga (Geraldine Sianturi) seorang film maker yang berusaha keras menentang keinginan ibunya Mak Gondut (Mak Gondut) agar Glo segera menikah. Glo berpendapat bahwa kalau ia harus melepaskan passionnya sebagai film maker dan menikah, maka passionnya itu akan padam.Dengan premis utama ini, fim menceritakan tentang perjuangan Glo untuk membuat film. Ditemani oleh sidekicknya Niki, seorang pengusaha DVD bajakan lesbian cantik yang berkacamata dan A Cun, bintang film pertamanya Glo. naskah, sutradara dan Produser Sammaria Simanjuntak. Continue reading “Demi Ucok: Ulasan Film”

Habibie & Ainun: Ulasan Film

Film biopic Habibie & Ainun (H&A) banyak dikunjungi penonton Indonesia di penghujung tahun 2012 ini. Menurut akun Twitter @AinunDanHabibie tercatat sudah 700 ribu penonton setelah 5 hari penayangan. Dan banyak tweet yang menyatakan bahwa filmnya adalah film yang menguras air mata (tear-jerker) sehingga saya beserta seorang teman menontonnya hari ini.

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Life of Pi: Movie Review

I haven’t read the novel “Life of Pi” yet; it’s published in 2001 by Yann Martel; so I am sticking to the storytelling in the art form of movie. Spoiler follows so if you haven’t seen the movie you might find what follows would spoil your movie experience. Go see the 3D screening by all means, it helps tell the story.


Life of Pi” follows the adventure of an Indian boy during his cast away in the sea, when the whole family migrated from Pondicherry (India) to Winnipeg (Canada) and the Japanese cargo vessel was sink by the storm. The beginning of the movie was introduction to the character Pi (or Piscine Molitor Patel, who got his name from a public French swimming pool but found himself mocked by his school friends.) It was told by a grown up Pi telling his story to an author, told in flashbacks. He then consoled himself and introduced himself as Pi for short, derived from Pi, the 16th Greek alphabet which is also a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It might sounds irrelevant to the story, but it’s not. Continue reading “Life of Pi: Movie Review”

We’d Be Glowing In The Dark! “Coldplay Live 2012” Cinematic Experience

When Coldplay has set plan to screen a one-night-only presentation of their live DVD simply titled “Coldplay Live 2012” in theaters worldwide, I was stoked because that might be the closest chance I get to see Coldplay ‘Live.’ It was not the first time a band set up a worldwide screening, Pearl Jam has done it on September 20, 2011 with PJ20. We had the pleasure organizing it in Jakarta. While Pearl Jam was a documentary about the band, Coldplay is a live concert taken from several venues of its Mylo Xyloto World Tour 2012, alongside with inserts of band commentary of behind the scene and tour production story.

The movie opens straight up with intro instrumental song “Mylo Xyloto” continued with “Hurts Like Heaven” just like in the record. Chris Martin in his usual jerking gesture, Will Champion bashing drums, Johnny Buckland riffing on his guitar, and Guy Berrymen strumming the bass strings.Continued with an old number “In My Place.” Continue reading “We’d Be Glowing In The Dark! “Coldplay Live 2012” Cinematic Experience”