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The Best Films of 2016


Grade: A
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The Raid: Redemption (Serbuan Maut) (2012) is an Indonesian martial arts action film directed by Gareth Evans and stars Iko Uwais. Gareth Evans is a Welsh film director based in Indonesia who met Uwais while making a documentary. This is their second collaboration after their first film, Merantau (2009). Both films showcase the traditional Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat. And if you havent seen Pencak Silat before, this film will definitely make you rethink the term martial arts entirely.

In the heart of Jakarta's slum lies an impenetrable apartment bulding which is the safe house to the world's most dangerous killers and gangsters. Rookie member of an elite special-forces team, Rama (Iko Uwais) is instructed to infilrate and extract the crime lord from within the building. But when his crime lord Tama (Ray Sahetaphy) uncovers the SWAT team's plan, he offers lifelong sanctuary to every killer and gangster in the building in exchange for their heads. Now, Rama must fight for his life 
and discover who really is his enemy. 

The Raid: Redemption is exactly the kind of film, Americans need in their lives post-oscar season. No sugar and fluff, just a straight shot of gritty and raw violence. Amazingly, there were a plethora of advertisments popping up from every medium and yet, only three theaters in the los angeles area was showing it (which i think is ridiculous). Regardless, I drove out of my way and invited all my friends to celebrate the refreshing and unknown realm of Indonesian film. After getting a glimpse of the trailer, i thought i would be prepared for the impending awesomeness of the movie, but boy, was i wrong.

Warning: you may experience extreme dryness of the eyes, nausea, and high tension in the body within the first thirty minutes of the film. Be prepared to bring Clear Eyes because your eyes will quickly dry out due to fear of missing one milisecond of the non-stop action. and when i say, non-stop, i truly mean, NON-STOP. it tests your capacity of intensity and nausea as you witness the most realistic fighting and body injury ever seen on screen that will inevitably force you to experience shortage of breath and tenseness in all the muscles of your body. all the heart-pounding and eye-drying action will leave nothing short of sheer adrenaline in your system and once it is done and over with, like any junkie, you will crave for a second dose of The Raid. What is profound and refreshing with these Third World Country films is that there are no gimmicks such as CGI or stuntmen which is now a neccessity for Hollywood standards of entertainment. With just mis-en-scene and the bones in their body, these actors were able to bring the audience jaw-dropping and heart-stopping action that choke you with captivity and excitement. And even that, i feel like it is an understatement.

The only sad end to this story is that Screen Gems, which is a subsidiary company to Sony who actually acquired The Raid's North American distribution rights, is that they are in negotiations to make a Hollywood remake. (BOOO!) Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian were the choreographers for the film and they want them to also be part of the remake. Which is good to hear but the real concern is that, even if actors train and learn the techniques of Pencak Silat, I don't think the same kind of force and precision will be there that will truly awe and stimulate the audience the way the original did. But what do i know, I'm just a hater of remakes (don't get me started on Old Boy). Regardless of the bad news, The Raid: Redemption is possibly the first movie that puts Indonesian action film on the American market in a really big way. And be ready, because the way their action films are heading, we are going to be going to be in need of more eye drops and medication. B+

I accidentally wrote that it was a Cambodian film in the last paragraph. Sorry for the typo! And thanks guy/girl who let me know!


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The Raid: Redemption
(2011, Gareth Evans)

Grade: B+
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This 'Blue Valentine' (2010) still warms my heart so dearly that i thought i should share with everyone.
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WHOA. This is the first trailer to be released for On the Road, the infamous Jack Kerouac novel. And seriously, who better than Walter Salles (Motorcycle Diaries) to direct this life-changing novel. Like i've said i read this when i was 15 and was completely moved, i almost wanted to live by the dharma ways. so, there is a lot of anticipation and hope for this not to be a complete disaster like most novel to film adaptations. But after watching the trailer, i see oscar nominations coming to Salles' way very quickly. Not only is this film completely and so thrillingly stacked with the most amazing actors from Kirsten Dunst to Kristen Stewart, Viggo Mortensen, Amy Adams, Garrett Hedlund, and even Mad Men's very own, Elizabeth Moss ( PEGGY OLSEN! ) but this story will excite and entrall many people. seriously, cant breathe. There is no release date yet but i am pretty sure and hope it will be released by the end of the year, just in time for the oscars! fingers crossed!
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So awesome. This is the first released poster for the upcoming Wes Anderson's new film, Moonrise Kingdom. The story follows a young boy and girl (jared gilman and kara hayward) who fall madly in love and run away together. it comes out may 25!


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Jack Kerouac's infamous novel 'On the Road' is being adapted by Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries, Dark Water). I was given this book to read by my friend when i was 15 and least to say, it did change my life. This bohemian lifestyle driven story was refreshing  to read amongst the cattiness of my high school. While i do not like adaptation especially a story this inspiring, i think Salles would do justice.

Firstshowing says: It tells the story of Sal Paradise (Sam Riley), who sets off on a cross country journey expressing the restless energy and desire for freedom that makes people rush out to see the world. Garrett Hedlund plays Sal's friend Dean, who inspires him to see America, while Kristen Stewart plays his on-and-off again wife Marylou. Viggo Mortensen also plays Old Bull Lee, a character loosley based on novelist William S. Burroughs, while Amy Adams plays Jane (an incarnation Joan Vollmer), the junkie mother of two kids, and Lee's wife. 

This has a stacked cast. i mean, Viggo Mortensen? i am down! and i hope Kristen Stewart can play more than two characters. she continues to portray submissive girls or lost souls. and it's getting more than old. i am glad to know that Kirsten Dunst is making a comeback to the screen. And in a big way considering shes going to be in five films released this year alone. On the Road doesnt have a distributor just yet but with big names like these, I'm sure it will be released this year.






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