Monthly Archives: February 2006

keywords of a journey.

let’s see.

batam hills. wavemaster. holland village. bbq half-chicken. cineleisure. walk the line. syriana. sight and sound. bras basah. looftop. tanned skin. coffee bean. clothes hanger and an annoying mother. scene it. borders. car sick. hostel. naked man. brokeback mountain. chatuchak. mrs. henderson presents. siam paragon. munich. grand egv. press pass. ian. kenny. jameson. film market. good night, and good luck. walk out. heading south. odete. don’t tell. consequences of love. rize. four films in a row. smoothie mania. dj station. claudy. daniel. stoned. river queen. willem dafoe. the most commercially successful film last year. joni. patpong. dasa book. overrated balcony. zefri. mandy. alexis. wayne. match point. wrong massage. kenneth. cocktail. holiday inn. 17-baht airport trip. objectifs. capote. rubbing skin. tone.

in a much shorter exclamation: exhaustingly fun!

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Posted by on 02/28/2006 in English, Personal


(i’m off to) Bangkok International Film Festival (again? no! it’s) 2006 (get it? :D)

This happened not that long time ago, not in a galaxy far away.

We see NAUVAL, recently graduated from some university, down on his luck while doing odd jobs by being an assistant to some lecturers at some local university, a teacher at a local high school, a translator of some god-knows-what-kind-of-textbook, a tutor giving private tuition, basically the low-salary-next-to-nothing jobs under the sun.

Wait! Why does this happen again at present time? Oh, that’s another story 🙂

Anyway, it was one afternoon when we saw this poor fella staring blankly to the flickering screen of the TV on a living room, and his DAD approached him in a casual manner.

D(ad): How are you, Nov?

N(auval): Well, fine.

D: So, how’s everything?

N: Just like that.

D: Not going out?

N: Nah, not feeling like to.

D: Okay. Not doing your jobs?

N: No tuition today, teaching at schools only on Saturdays, and uni’s on break, so … yeah.

D: Okay. (reaching his wallet, taking out a note of 100 thousand rupiahs) Here!

N: Huh? What’s this?

D: Consider it as a loan, but make sure that you only use it to rent DVDs, and nothing else. Got it?

N: (puzzled, then excited) Sure!

If I’m not mistaken, I have returned the money back once I got the income from those odd jobs, or more like recently? Wait, I have returned the money back, right?! Yes, I have. Whew.

The reason why I still remember the scene to date, as you may guess, is simply the fact that I can’t be more thankful of having people surrounding me who understand my passion over films, in a way that they may not be able to easily accept at face value. And I realize a cloud of doubts hanging above their heads on thinking, “You have not settled yourself yet, but you are going for a film festival?”

Shall I answer the question?

I’d rather not to, but do allow me to excuse myself for going to Bangkok for the event you see on the title of this entry.
I can’t believe that I can have this journey again, after the first time last year was marred with some unfortunate stuff that should not have happened on the first place, if I had strong willingness to prevent it from happening.

But I have to admit that I have quite an expectation to my companion this time as he is quite a regular to some of the more established film festivals the world has had throughout this time. Yes, I do hope I can learn from Kenny more about the fun film-festival experience, and it’s gonna be joyful time ahead, let’s hope so!

Oh well, shall I take a break then from blogging?

Let’s just wait and see 😉

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Posted by on 02/18/2006 in English, Film



From the direction of Stephen Gaghan, the screenwriter of Traffic.

Seeing the above line, we come to a theatre with a pre-occupied idea that what we’re about to see will resemble the aforementioned film, and when our expectation is met, the next question should be: how different is it?

Recently, a similar notion occured when The Constant Gardener was released, as the promotional campaign relied heavily on Fernando Meirelles’ previous directorial effort in City of God. The former film might share the now-familiar style of puzzling narrative structure as established by the latter, yet his new film still manages to excel on its own, thanks to the strong storyline and the superb turns of the cast.

So is the case of Syriana.


If Traffic takes on a story about several lives affected by drugs problems, then Gaghan’s latest film replaces the drug story with a story on how a merger of two giant oil companies in USA could affect the lives of people across the world, or at least, within USA to countries in Persian Gulf area. These people include the impressive cast of actors ranging from the likes of Amanda Peet to Jeffrey Wright, although the spotlight is strongly given to the pigged-out George Clooney, being groomed by many to receive an Oscar soon.

How Academy loves deglamorization of good looks, it is apparent enough, and Clooney might benefit from this, having gained Bridget Jones’ weight to give a convincing look as his profilic role of a hired killer. Yet, as cliche as it may sound, it takes Clooney more than his bulging flab to carry the role. His presence in both emotional and ruthless scenes is riveting enough to make us long for more, and the singular scene of his conversation with his distant son is enough to make it as “the moment” shown for his nomination clip.
Yet, being in the flood of equally talented cast, it is still hard to see how he should rise above the others, particularly with always-reliable Jeffrey Wright who lit up the screen with his dignified charisma in otherwise passable role as a clean-cut accountant trapped in the dirty and corrupted world of political issues.

Alas, being a poster boy in the film sparks with mind-challening thoughts that leave its audience beguiled in serious thoughts, Clooney does get an advantage of being noticed from the rest. Thus, the glory awaits.

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Posted by on 02/18/2006 in English, Film


Walk The Line

Taking a cue from the above song (thus the title of the film), James Mangold, the director, certainly takes us in a slow walk while building up our confidence in seeing the transformation of Joaquin Phoenix becoming Mr. Man In Black.

It was a gradual process of seeing Phoenix playing himself in earlier scenes, as if his dashing look is on loan for modeling the period costume. Not until the scene at a verandah where he belted tunes for the first time, we are now taken to a belief that Phoenix has finally inhibited the soul of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line. And of course, the pitch perfect note is in synch with a man being at his fullest with a woman on his side. For Johnny’s life, there was June Carter. For Phoenix’s impressive tour-de-force performance, it can only be matched by Reese Witherspoon’s equally convincing portrayal of June.

And for the latter, it was apparent so much on the screen that Witherspoon injects her own warm personality in bringing out the empathy towards the character that we do not mind watching June with a goody-shoe persona a la Witherspoon herself. Alas, June is given a full of life when she sparks the screen with her determination that is far cry from any of Witherspoon’s previous roles where strong willed acts were often imbued with cheekiness, either in Legally Blonde series or Sweet Home Alabama. Seeing Witherspoon in every turn as the country star gives pulsating sensation to the film, in which such a jolt is needed to make the film energetic enough, at least true to the sense of the genre it owes itself to.

Walk The Line

An Oscar gold is only a moment away to hold.

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Posted by on 02/17/2006 in English, Film


what’s killing you?

what has killed me for the past few days turns out …

that it’s not the diarrhoea which forced me to take 3-day bedrest (and not to mention i am not fully recovered yet at the time of writing),

and that it’s not about the amazingly fast internet connection, only to be in the same par as how turtles walk and enjoy their time (oh, it annoys me all the time! someone should minister the use of internet in this country!),

but what bugs me the most is …

i’m having too much infotainment in me!

gosh, holding your tummy while religiously following the breakup of dea mirella and her hubby certainly will not do any good to your mental health.

now, that’s what i call a complete murder.

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Posted by on 02/14/2006 in English, Personal



Has L.A. been as sophisticated and elegant as what we see in Shopgirl?

The answer is an enthusiastic ‘yes’, as we know the film is penned by Steve Martin, whose treatment towards the city can be in the same par with how Woody Allen muses New York in his stories.

Only the challenge this time is that Martin writes a screenplay for the film which is based on his own novella. Certainly a lot of reservations are put throughout the script, and that is what exactly translated to the screen. A certain hold-back attitude seems to keep the film on hold from letting it free, confining each and every character within their own designated frames, unmoveable ones.


Unfortunately this does not work to Jason Schwartzman who is more at ease with over-the-top acts as he did in many of his previous comedies. Even being assigned with the role of Jeremy, the supposedly free-spirited artist, Schwartzman only seen comfortable when he conveys more with his meaningful silence rather than goofy acts that he does uncomfortably here.

Magically, the confinement does not work at all towards Martin himself, and the actress playing the title character, Claire Danes. Once again pulling off his ability to play serious roles, Martin brings suave attitude to his character, Ray, that makes us understand wholeheartedly why we do not mind being swooned over by him at the first glance.
On the other hand, Danes, at her most mature role to date, gives her character, Mirabella, a sense of independence through the actress’ radiant presence, which suspiciously resulted from her own confidence in imbuing the role. Danes breathes Mirabella with fragility and strength that only makes her presence riveting and lovable at the same time.

Alas, such character traits understandably bring hope to the film, making it uplifting and charming.
In a hard way, the mission to become a romantic comedy, with a little dark humor a la Martin, is accomplished.

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Posted by on 02/14/2006 in English, Film


Realita, Cinta dan Rock’n Roll

Perhaps we can take out that particular music genre above, then we are in for a treat of self-discovery journey.

The hype on the music itself is what mars this film, along with other subplot involving an unnecessary love story among the leading characters. There are times when Upi, the director, tries too hard to emphasize the films two main actors’ penchants over the rock music by unconvincingly tortures Herjunot Ali to sing horrendously at wasted scenes of rehearsal, or the prolong dramatic scenes between the two guys and their families.

Yet, as the film slowly builds up its rhythm, we find a solace to an unexpected source: Barry Prima.

After poking his established macho image in Janji Joni, now Barry returns to what I dare say his most prima performance ever graced the big screen. He acts for the first time, and he does not get overwhelmed with, shall I say without trying to spoil, the costume he has to wear throughout his presence. It is interesting how once hard-wooden, static acting of Barry manages to pull some heart-rending scenes that heighten the film to a level beyond pleasure.
Thus, his presence is never a bore, and being funny while dramatic at the same time in imbuing a multi-dimensional character is a rare feat only dreamed of by most actors to this date.

Realita, Cinta dan Rock 'n Roll

And this is the reality of Realita Cinta dan Rock ‘n Roll.
That we are not fooled by the rock as previously done in mostly lyrical ways in Garasi, nor the much hyped homoerotic subtleties that only makes the film look pale in comparison to Y Tu Mama Tambien or any Pedro Almodovar’s films.

The verdict reality of this film stands on its unpretentiousness fun, and do watch it with a big smile throughout.

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Posted by on 02/14/2006 in English, Film