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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.
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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.

Donald Duck’s Birthday!

Disney ducks always kick butt and go on the most exciting adventures, but my ultimate favorite is the one and only Donald. So it’s only fitting that a special dedication to him is made in honor of his birthday (and years of service in the Navy).

If you’ve been following the Carl Barks comics and TV shows like the original DuckTales and House of Mouse, it’s very clear that Donald is way more than just that quacky guy with an uncontrollable temper. He comes across as genuine and is very much a team player, especially in stories where he, Mickey and Goofy are a trio. It’s also shown in the comics that he’d go out of his way to make his darling Daisy happy while being a cool uncle for the triplets at the same time. And that performance he gave in The Three Musketeers film? Astounding, heartfelt and daring! From the original voice actor Clarence Nash to the current successor Tony Anselmo who Nash personally mentored, Donald’s character continues to evolve and in a positive direction.

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In The Three Musketeers.

Here’s to more Donald in the new DuckTales that’s set to premiere this summer on Disney XD! To celebrate his birthday, the team behind DuckTales presents a brand new short with Donald, Huey, Louie, Dewey, Webby and of course, the great Uncle Scrooge!

Hey, it’s all fun in this duck family, right? Happy Birthday, Don!

Kartini Day

All females shall rejoice, for April 21st marks the celebration of Raden Adjeng Kartini’s birth. Kartini became one of Indonesia’s very first heroines and fought for women’s rights and education at a time when women still didn’t have a voice. In honor of her legacy, a brand new film depicting her life has been released starring notable actress Dian Sastro. Watch it now at a cinema near you! Happy Kartini Day, everyone!

Kartini

“La La Land” DVD, Blu-ray and Steelbook Art

Here’s to the fools who dream! Get ready for another day of sun and a lovely night, all La La Land lovers! The city of stars are shining bright for us, as the (almost) Academy Award-winning film and recipient of 7 Golden Globes will finally be available to bring home on April 25th.

Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling)’s charming little adventures around LA in pursuit of their individual dreams – acting for Mia and jazz for Seb – are worth reliving, and the nostalgic references to Old Hollywood adds a degree of timelessness to this Damien Chazelle musical masterpiece.

Not only is La La Land going to be on standard DVD, 4K Ultra HD and the popular DVD/Blu-ray/Digital HD combo format. A collector’s edition steelbook will also be released on May 15th. Even Target, Walmart and Best Buy offer their own versions with varying covers.

With delightful special features that include Designing La La Land, Ryan and Emma: Third Time’s the Charm (I’m personally glad this one makes the list, as I enjoyed their previous works in Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad), John Legend’s Acting Debut and La La Land‘s Great Party, this brand new classic is definitely a must-own, no matter which version you decide to pick!

Here are the many different cover artworks for La La Land

La La Land DVD
Image Source: Amazon

La La Land Bluray
Image Source: Amazon

La La Land Target
Image Source: Target

La La Land Best Buy
Image Source: Best Buy

La La Land Back
Image Source: Zavvi

La La Land Walmart
Image Source: Walmart

“Moonlight” and “La La Land” at the 2017 Academy Awards

Film has always been a medium where dreams, ideas and stories can be visually expressed, and the annual Academy Awards is the one night that celebrates the magic of cinema and the large number of creative talents involved in Hollywood and international filmmaking – directors, actors, screenwriters, cinematographers, musicians, costume designers, animators and other professionals within the industry. The 2017 Oscars have finally brought back diversity, which was lacking in recent years. Jimmy Kimmel as the host provided entertainment as well as encouraged filmmakers from all over the world to continue to shape the films of tomorrow. Moonlight and La La Land – two wonderful films with equally inspiring messages – managed to pull a few wins out of all the nominations they got.

Moonlight, with its lyrical pace and compelling script that highlights the life of Chiron as he goes on an identity search, is an underrated hit with a huge likeability factor. Excellent performances by all the cast, especially Naomi Harris as Chiron’s unstable, crack addict mother! Mahershala Ali, who provided a much-needed warmth and a sense of belonging for young Chiron in the short scenes he had, managed to pull a win for Best Supporting Actor – very well-deserved. His charisma and gentlemanly quality showed throughout the Oscars ceremony. Winning Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture gave this film the credibility it deserves. A must-watch for audiences looking for life inspiration.

Fan-favorite La La Land seemed like a sure bet for the Oscars, and having Emma Stone win Best Lead Actress, Damien Chazelle as the youngest director to have won his category, Justin Herwitz for the charming music he created, and the award that was given for the film’s cinematography meant this film has what it takes to stand among the classics with its colorful visuals, dreamy leads (Emma as wannabe actress Mia and Ryan Gosling as aspiring jazz artist Sebastian) and the portrayal of dreams. John Legend, who played Gosling’s musician friend in the film delivered a smooth, cinematic mash-up of “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” at the Oscars. “City of Stars” ended up winning Best Original Song, and rightfully so, even though all contenders were equally powerful.

Despite the announcement mix-up that created a lot of controversy at the end of the night, both Moonlight and La La Land are Oscar-worthy, and the inspirational messages they convey should be welcomed by all film audiences. The compelling and diverse storytelling in Moonlight and the pursuit of dreams that La La Land represents are gold.

As a bonus, I present you a list of my other favorite #Oscars2017 moments:

  • Piper winning Best Animated Short. Cute little birdy!
  • Viola Davis’s amazing win for Fences and her remarkable speech about being an artist – “It’s the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life”.
  • Alicia Vikander and Kate McKinnon got to present.
  • The Hidden Figures ladies – Taraji Henson, Olivia Spencer and Janelle Monae – looked out-of-this world fantastic.
  • All the cookies and donuts falling out of the sky toward the guests. Very innovative!
  • The random tourists’ surprise and Jimmy Kimmel’s hilarious line about all the Oscars guests looking like a wax museum had they remain still.
  • Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) and her fierce performance of “How Far I’ll Go” (despite getting hit by the wave behind her at some point) with an introduction by co-star Dwayne Johnson and Lin-Manuel Miranda rapping out the intro.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio handing Emma Stone her award.
  • Meryl Streep!!!

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