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Cappuccino with Jules

Lifestyle. Music. Film. TV. Freshly brewed.

“The Lion King” 2019 Film Cast

The circle of life will be revamped with an all-new cast for its 2019 cinematic version.

With The Lion King being Disney’s top masterpiece, die-hard fans were opposed to any form of remake, but after the new cast reveal that include quality names like Donald Glover, James Earl Jones (in a reprising role as Mufasa), Billy Eichner, Seth Rogen, Alfre Woodard and Queen Beyonce Knowles as Nala, it’s safe to say this remake would not only be promising but also strongly recapture Simba’s story, vast African landscape and grand music.

As someone who has seen The Lion King over 80 times as a kid (and still a fan in my 20’s), bought tickets to the Broadway production, learned a bit of Swahili, looked up more of Lebo M’s musical works, and written fan fictions about it, I’m very open to this new interpretation of the Hamlet-based plot. It’d be thrilling to revisit Pride Rock and all its glory and to see the universe expand and reach a new generation. Now if only they’d feature some of the tracks used in the Broadway version like “Morning Report” and “Shadowland”…

#Epic

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Notes on the 2017 Comic Con

In collaboration with the New York Comic Con, Indonesia Comic Con is back in full swing this weekend, delighting all fans of pop culture in the heart of metropolitan Jakarta.

Still located at the same venue as the previous years – Jakarta Convention Center in Senayan – this year’s Comic Con presents yet another variety of guest speakers and visiting artists, from actor Daniel Logan (young Boba Fett in Star Wars Episode II) to Japanese composer-producer TAM and famous cosplayer Angie. Comic books, Funko Pops and action figures of our favorite superheroes and film/TV characters dominate the merchandise booths, and the Star Wars shop offers a brand new collection of items from the upcoming film The Last Jedi. FOX and Indovision team up to bring The Walking Dead to the Comic Con in the form of a fun escape room that die-hard fans shouldn’t miss out on.

Now you might be facing the ultimate question: is it worth attending? That actually depends on what you’re expecting. If you’ve never been to a Comic Con before, then let this be a spectacular first experience for you. Are you a huge fan of any of the “guest stars”? Then you know you need a ticket to ride. Been there, done that? You might not find anything new, especially if you attended last year, unless you’re after the new Star Wars products. If you’re a merch hunter like me, it helps to know if your favorite movies, shows and comics are represented. Let this list be a guide to the characters you’ll be sure to encounter at most merchandise stands:

  • ALL Marvel & DC characters – they’re obviously a given
  • Major Star Wars characters
  • Harry Potter
  • Lego Ninjago
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Moana
  • Sailor Moon
  • Kingsman‘s Harry Hart & Eggsy Unwin (yesss!!!)
  • Game of Thrones
  • Totoro & characters from Hayao Miyazaki films
  • Gudetama
  • Hello Kitty
  • Transformers robots
  • Gundam
  • Woody, Jessie & Buzz Lightyear
  • Pocahontas
  • Cinderella
  • Elsa & Anna
  • Zelda
  • Power Rangers
  • Star Trek
  • The Orville

My adventures in pictures… Enjoy the gallery.

Jules’s Halloween Movie Guide 2017

We’re halfway through October, and Halloween is just around the corner. Make it cinematic by revisiting the classic and contemporary Halloween flicks that have always given you the chills and thrills! Don’t know where to start or looking for alternatives to the usual fan favorites like Hocus Pocus, Psycho, The Nightmare before Christmas, Harry Potter series and all the classic monster films? Feel free to turn on your flashlight and peek into Jules’s list of Halloween movies (or ones that defy the tradition but still fit the occasion). Most aren’t heavy on the horror factor, but this unique blend of noirs, murder-mysteries, deliciously dark rom-coms and whimsical animated features offer enough variety for you to amp up your spooktacular season.

  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – A dark spin on a Jane Austin classic? The Bennett sisters and Mr. Darcy as zombie hunters are epic.
  • The Prestige – It’s Christian Bale vs Hugh Jackman in this brilliant Christopher Nolan work about two magician friends turned rivals. Prepare for mind-blowing magic tricks and non-stop suspense.
  • Great Expectations – Pip’s story is just as intriguing to follow this October as it is any other season. In addition to the powerful themes of wealth/poverty, love/rejection and good/evil, the movie (and Charles Dickens novel) has Gothic elements that include Miss Havisham and her mysterious mansion.
  • Oz the Great and Powerful – Once you’ve ventured with Dorothy and friends in The Wizard of Oz, explore its prequel that highlights the first time Oz discovered the Emerald City and how the Wicked Witch of the West came to be.
  • Practical Magic – Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman make a fine duo of witches in this bewitching drama.
  • Double Indemnity – Barbara Stanwyck has cruel intentions in one of Hollywood’s greatest noirs. Dark and twisty, this murder-mystery is a must watch.
  • Crimson Peak – A quality horror movie with a stellar cast – Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain.
  • Tower of Terror – The Hollywood Tower Hotel is always worth revisiting.
  • Kiss Me Goodbye – A unique, elegant rom-com with a ghoulish touch. Sally Field is about to marry her fiance Jeff Bridges, but the ghost of her Broadway star husband – fantastically played by James Caan – disapproves of their relationship.
  • Black Swan – Dark and atmospheric, this Darren Aronofsky psychological drama that gave Natalie Portman that Oscar win is a cinematic art.
  • Magic in the Moonlight – Colin Firth and Emma Stone add a whimsical flair to this underrated Woody Allen rom-com. Emma is impressive as Sophie Baker the medium, and the southern France setting is delightful.
  • Scream movies – The adventures of Sydney and friends are always thrilling to follow in this superior horror trilogy (I recommend the fourth one too).
  • Maleficent – Angelina Jolie owns the role in this live-action retelling of Sleeping Beauty as told by the villain.
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events – Definitely a misadventure to remember with Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.
  • Interview with the Vampire – Still one of Tom Cruise’s and Brad Pitt’s most iconic roles with a very young Kirsten Dunst who stole the scenes with her strong performance. The Gothic tone and interview angle set this movie apart from other vampire movies of that time.
  • The Others – No matter how many times this movie has been watched, that unexpected twist in the end will always be worth discovering.
  • Corpse Bride – Simply an underrated Tim Burton film. Stunning animation, great Gothic atmosphere.
  • 101 Dalmatians – Both the animation and live action deliver. Cruella DeVil has gotta be Disney’s most stylish villain.
  • The Birds – Complete your Hitchcock marathon with this title.
  • Jagged Edge – Great murder-mystery that explores the ultimate question: Is he really a killer or just a wrongfully accused husband? A vehicle for Glenn Close.
  • What Lies Beneath – One of the best thrillers ever made featuring the star power of Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.
  • The Mummy films I’m referring to the original ones starring Brendan Fraser.
  • Scooby Doo – Catchy theme song, epic cast of characters, non-stop mysteries to solve. Whether you’re going for the TV series or live-action movies, the Scooby gang is bound to keep you company.
  • Descendants – If fun, music and hip young adult characters are what you’re craving for, then this one delivers.
  • Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Picture a mysterious island, an abandoned orphanage and old peculiar photos. It’s all just the beginning for Asa Butterfield’s Jake. Join him on an escapade that leads him to Miss Peregrine – greatly played by Eva Green – and her home for peculiar children.
  • Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass – Be it the original animated movie or the live-action duology, there are plenty of curious characters and things to discover in Wonderland, from the Mad Hatter, white rabbit to the Cheshire Cat.
  • The Addams Family – Definitely the VIP family to dine with this Halloween.
  • A Monster in Paris – Set in 1910 Paris, this delightful animation tells the story of a monster living in a garden and a chanteuse who charms him. A lighter version of The Phantom of the Opera.

Lana Del Rey’s “Lust For Life”

After the masterful and darkly cinematic Born To Die, Ultraviolet and Honeymoon, Lana Del Rey returns with a brand new record Lust For Life. Her smiley face on the cover signals a more sunshiny set of tracks and a shift towards the positive without losing her signature.

Collaborating with respectable music icons like Stevie Nicks, A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd and Sean Ono Lennon, Ms. Del Rey once again delights listeners with her vintage vocal and songwriting talent.

Here’s a track-by-track commentary based on my first listen of the entire album. Nothing beats the joy and pleasure of a first listening experience, and with Lust For Life, nostalgic surprises are everywhere to charm the ears.

  1. Love” – “Love” is a lovely opener that evokes the sensation of being in a quaint English garden on a late afternoon. The ascending chorus brings forward an uplifting vibe… like a spring awakening.
  2. “Lust For Life” (ft. The Weeknd) – If divine intimacy has a melody, this song would be it. A wonderfully recorded duet.
  3. “13 Beaches” – Very cinematic it could easily fill the end credits of a perfectly crafted noir film.
  4. “Cherry” – Dark, mysterious and moody. Classic Lana. It has a Hitchcockian vibe with a hint of danger and an unsolved puzzle. Favorite part of the lyrics? My cherries and wine, rosemary and thyme/And all of my peaches are ruined.
  5. “White Mustang” – Has a hypnotic quality, especially in the repetitive chorus. Super impactful.
  6. “Summer Bummer” (ft. A$AP Rocky & Playboi Carti) – It captures the feel of her first album Born To Die and has the making of a post-party jam in the summer. Great mix of haunting melodies, the rap, eerie moments and dope beats.
  7. “Groupie Love” (ft. A$AP Rocky) – Single-worthy. This song has the magic touch. Gets me in a nostalgic mode with its dreamy Bohemian flair. It’s like a love letter to the hippie days.
  8. “In My Feelings” – Another powerfully hypnotic tune. One of my favorite tracks from the record. It definitely got me in my feelings.
  9. Coachella – Woodstock In My Mind – Also single-worthy. A Coachella story told through music. Whimsical tune with a narrative quality in the lyrics.
  10. “God Bless America – And All The Beautiful Women In It” – A special dedication to the beautiful ladies of America… and all females with an American heart and a fighting spirit.
  11. “When The World Was At War We Kept Dancing” – Given today’s political climate, this thought-provoking song from Lana is immensely needed. As emphasized in the lyrics, the best we can do is hold on to hope and strive for a happy ending.
  12. “Beautiful People Beautiful Problems” (ft. Stevie Nicks) – Two musical goddesses recording together results in a retro-inspired track that sounds amazing on both CD and vinyl.
  13. “Tomorrow Never Came” (ft. Sean Ono Lennon) – Simply timeless. A Beatles sound is to be expected. There’s a great degree of authenticity in it.
  14. “Heroin” – An exploration of a very dark subject matter. Flying to the moon again, dreaming about heroin… 
  15. “Change” – Very piano-driven. Perfect for a reflective moment. The lyrics grab your attention from the get go. After all, change is a powerful thing.
  16. “Get Free” – As a conclusion to the album, this track is a finely crafted epilogue. It’s like her commitment, and she’s doing it for all of us.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Craving an old school sci-fi flick? Agents Valerian and Laureline shall deliver. The electric duo in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets embark on an outer space mission that will leave you entertained as well as enthralled by the universe created in this high quality space opera.

Luc Besson has been one of my favorite directors since the Taxi trilogy and The Fifth Element, and now he’s back at it again with this ambitious film based on a retro comic featuring the adventures of Valerian and Laureline. A vast array of dominating colors are being laid out on the screen (from midnight blue and illuminating purple to the pastels that build the beach scenes), and the CGI effects are there to enhance the plot and not just visual tricks.

Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne surprisingly have a natural, out-of-this-world chemistry. Their constant banters strengthen their partnership and make for fast yet charming dialogues, but their respect for each other shows. Cara appears commanding here. For a model turned actress, she is one of the better ones, as she really delves into Laureline’s character, giving her that iconic persona. A scene stealing Rihanna plays a whimsical, wacky shape-shifting character named Bubble who teams up with Valerian at one point to figure out Laureline’s whereabouts. Bubble is simply lovable you can’t help but wish she gets a more positive ending. Filling in the role of the classic villain is Clive Owen, who’s very convincing in the way he acts.

An eclectic soundtrack features a range of tunes including David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” that gives the intro a cool retro vibe and Cara Delevingne’s relaxing yet catchy “I Feel Everything” plus impressive scores by Alexandre Desplat. Definitely one of the best!

Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets is a galactic adventure in space worth following. A mix of Jupiter Ascending and Avatar, it’s very trippy and full of wonders, action and intriguing cast of characters! Take a trip to Alpha – the city of a thousand planets – with Valerian and Laureline and enjoy the ride!

Studio Ghibli Exhibition @ the Ritz Carlton

Welcome to the wonderful world of Ghibli, inspired by Oscar-winning director Hayao Miyazaki and his collection of artsy animated films! The whimsical magic of Studio Ghibli is now within reach of Jakarta fans in the form of an exhibition at the Ritz Carlton – Pacific Place.

Iconic settings, pieces and characters from classics such as My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Castle in the Sky are brought to life, ready for Instagram-worthy selfies. The 3D installations may still be in the works, but Ghibliland is looking marvelous at the moment. If you’re a lover of any of Mr. Miyazaki’s works, the Rp.300.000-Rp. 350.000 entrance fee is worth spending. Immerse yourself in the animated, fantastical realms like the ones captured in the following photos and “be a part of the scene”.

A merchandise store will greet you at the exit, boasting a variety of items like mini Totoro plush toys, notebooks, lunchboxes and folders featuring stills from your favorite Studio Ghibli movie. The only downside to these whimsical merch is the price tag. Most are overpriced, which is understandable given they’re original imports from the Ghibli Studio in Japan, but make sure you really love whichever product you decide on getting.

So what’s your favorite Ghibli movie? Sound off below. Mine is Kiki’s Delivery Service, ’cause witches and bakeries brew up a delicious plot. But I will always adore My Neighbor Totoro.

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The bakery from “Kiki’s Delivery Service”.

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Look who greets us at the ticket desk.

Boat
Somehow I’m reminded of the opening scene in “Great Expectations”. PS. You can sit on the boat.

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From the iconic “Spirited Away”.

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Gotta own this folder. I heart bread and croissants.

Everyday They’re Out There Making “DuckTales”! Woo Hoo!

Life is like a hurricane here in Duckburg as the all-new revamped Disney hit show DuckTales premieres its very first episode on Disney XD. Coinciding with the lyrics of the catchy theme song, the series rewrites history by retelling the adventures of Scrooge McDuck (Doctor Who star David Tennant) and company the way Carl Barks has written them in the original graphic novels.

Great family dynamics among Scrooge, the triplets Huey, Louie and Dewey, and Donald, who is rightfully a regular now instead of his usual guest-starring roles in the previous TV version. A badass, quirky and proactive Webby brings a fresh twist to the lovely female companion to the boys, thanks to Garfunkel & Oates‘s Kate Miccucci and her whimsically commanding voice. Plus classic Launchpad is back to crash the airplane as always.

Here are some of my favorite moments and reveals from the 1-hour pilot episode (“Woo Hoo!”), which functions like a standard TV drama:

  • Scrooge riding a dragon Game of Thrones style!
  • The city of Atlantis! It’s definitely fascinating and the perfect way to start the series!
  • Huey, Louie and Dewey’s individual personalities are more distinguishable here. Gotta love adventurous Dewey and him making up his own theme song during the bridge-crossing (PS. It turns out actor Ben Schwartz did an improv on that, and the song got put on the scene).
  • Donald being a responsible, caring uncle to the trio and also the voice of reason on the show. This sweet side of Donald is what I’ve been longing to see, just like in the comics. Adults will find the Scrooge-Donald interactions interesting.
  • Flintheart Glomgold making his first grand appearance. SPOILER alert: Donald ended up working for Glomgold not knowing he’s Scrooge’s sworn enemy ’til Scrooge found out about it.
  • The cliffhanger at the end courtesy of Dewey.

Overall, the first episode of DuckTales 2017 exceeds my expectations and delivers tons of unexpected surprises. Top-notch animation too with the promise of adventure, mystery, action, and lighthearted comedy. Kudos to Frank Angones, Matt Youngberg and their team for bringing it back in a massive way.

DuckTales is definitely not your typical Disney show. There’s a grandness and cinematic quality to it that viewers of all ages can enjoy. It’s like a treasure chest full of endless gold. So if you haven’t already, come and join Uncle Scrooge, Donald, the boys, Webby, Launchpad and Mrs. Beakley on their exciting escapades! Who knows… you might solve a mystery!

 

 

Pop Con 2017: Photographic Highlights

New comics. Cosplays. Westero-inspired artworks. Anime merchandises. Fantastical delights. Here are pictures from Jakarta’s two-day Pop Con event at the Jakarta Convention Center that featured notable guests like Power Rangers star Walter Jones to groundbreaking stunt actors. As a ‘prelude’ to the upcoming Comic Con in October, Pop Con attracted a large number of visitors in fantasy fans and cosplay lovers from all over the city that it was a surefire success.

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The official Pop Con banner.

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“Children of Westeros” is a fanzine created for all die-hard “Game of Thrones” addicts. It sold out really fast.

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A cosplayer showed off his costume as a Transformer. He was a crowd favorite.

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This whimsical”La La Land” greeting card was a best seller. Glad I bought it before it sold out.

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Presenting a brand new medieval game called “Celestian Tales”. I purchased the soundtrack and character art to get inside the world of the story.

The Selection Stories: Here’s to America Singer!

It’s Sci-Fi and Fantasy Week according to Goodreads. So allow me to recommend one of the most whimsically bold fantasy reads I’ve ever had the privilege of enjoying in the world of YA fantasy… Kiera Cass’s The Selection, a trilogy that later expands into a five-book series, beginning with the adventures of one-of-a-kind heroine America Singer – a Five in an eight-caste system and, you guessed it, a singer – as she reluctantly enters a nationwide competition for the heart of Maxon Schreave – a One given his Royalty status – along with the other ladies of Illéa.

Of course, America would rather be with her soulmate Aspen Leger, but she joins the Selection anyway to save money for a married life with Aspen. What follows later is her unforgettable journey at court that makes all the novels worth savoring like a delectable chocolate cake.

At a glance, the glossy, enchanted covers make The Selection look like just another bland fantasy, despite their elegance. That was actually my initial opinion, but thankfully my BFF Cindy found it refreshing and encouraged me to give the series a shot. And she was right. I was so charmed that I ended up sticking with the series all the way to Eadlyn’s reign – featuring an all-male Selection full of smart, desirable guys and the first of its kind.

The Selection explores a variety of topics such as friendship, intelligent romance, female independence, Illéan history and family relationships. The whole explanation of the caste system gives the story a dystopian touch. You’ll meet a cast of characters that are varying in personalities, from the kind-hearted Prince Maxon to the determined Aspen but also complex ones like Celeste, who fits into the role of a mean girl really well but as the plot progresses, a deeper layer within her is revealed. Marlee as Miss Perfect who becomes fast friends with America also has a hidden life. Plus King Clarkson and Queen Amberly’s story are worth following, as are America’s three maids Anne, Lucy and Mary with their own subplots. Separate novellas are available as companions, providing us with the POVs of most of the cast (Maxon and Aspen in The Selection Stories and almost all integral characters in Happily Ever After that’s also filled with grand-looking sketches).

The delicious world of The Selection isn’t complete without America herself, who’s very much like Katniss Everdeen in the way she approaches everything. Even though she looks like a carbon copy of Katniss herself, I do enjoy the fire and drive in her character, and she never backs down from throwing a punch in defense of her friends and loved ones. Now that’s honorable!

Collect all of The Selection, The Elite, The One, The Heir and The Crown along with The Selection Stories and Happily Ever After and treat yourself to a royal feast. Here’s to America Singer!

Fun fact: The Selection was adapted into a pilot for the CW Network, but the show failed to get green-lighted. Hopefully it’ll see better days in the near future. It’s much too great and queenly not to make it on the silver (or big) screen.

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