Extraction (dir. Sam Hargrave, 2020) – Tyler Rake embarks on a mission to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned crime lord.
Meet black market mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth). The Australian has been sent to India to rescue a drug lord’s son Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), whom a rival linchpin has kidnapped for ransom.
It is supposed to be a simple extraction. The hero charges all guns blazing into the streets, forms an emotional bond with Ovi, and likely saves the day. But Tyler is not the only man in business. Unable to afford the ransom or the mercenary fees, Ovi’s father has also sent his own henchman Saju Rav (Randeep Hooda) to do the job himself.
The plot beckons questions. Why would Ovi readily follow a stranger with a murderous rage, instead of his own father’s partner? Why couldn’t Saju have done the job himself in the first place? How did a South Asian feud manage to implicate a mercenary from down under?
Continue reading Movie Review: Extraction (2020)
You’ve marvelled at your own reflection in Black Mirror, mastered the Brummie accent alongside Peaky Blinders, brushed up on your crime history with Mindhunter, and took 80s fashion tips from Stranger Things. What next?
The Netflix library in Singapore may be scant compared to others, but there is no lack of quality choices. As cabin fever starts to set in, there is no better time to binge on great series to take your mind off reality. Here is a list of ten underrated shows that may point you to the right direction.
Continue reading #QuarantineAndChill: Netflix Binge List
Tigertail (dir. Alan Yang, 2020) – A Taiwanese factory worker leaves his homeland to seek opportunity in America, but struggles to fit in.
Pin-Jui (Hong-Chi Lee) lives a poor but comfortable life in Taiwan. He spends happy days with his mother, his first love Yuan (Yo-Hsing Fang), and a steady job at the factory. Still, he dreams of better. The opportunity comes when his boss offers him the chance to start a new life in America.
He takes the chance and agrees to an arranged marriage to his boss’ daughter Zhenzhen (Kunjue Li) in return, leaving his past behind. But it is not long before he tires of his dead-end job and loveless marriage, realising just how much he has given up.
Continue reading Movie Review: Tigertail (2020)
The Platform / El hoyo (dir. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, 2020) – Two people wake on a cell in a vertical prison, where one single food platform descends to feed the occupants of each level for two minutes per day.
At any given moment, on the same planet, there are those who live in excess and many who survive on none. Some inherit their wealth. Others are born into poverty. Unfortunately, the class divide keeps widening and we struggle to keep people from falling through the gap.
The Platform illustrates this harrowing divide in a literal analogy. The grim urban legend is told through the eyes of Goreng (Ivan Massagué), who awakes on Level 48 of a seemingly endless vertical shaft. Every day, food descends to each level on a massive platform for two minutes.
Continue reading Movie Review: The Platform / El hoyo (2020)
Horse Girl (dir. Jeff Baena, 2020) – Sarah experiences increasingly lucid dreams that begin to trickle into her waking life.
Sarah (Alison Brie) takes comfort in her mundane routines. She works at the arts and crafts store, spends time with her childhood horse Willow, and enjoys the rest of her night with her favourite supernatural crime show, Purgatory. It is an ordinary life that takes a sudden turn when she begins to experience surreal dreams. Inexplicable time loss soon has her questioning her reality that loses its sheen and threatens to shatter.
In the story of her mental breakdown, Horse Girl shares one writer and close DNA with I Heart Huckabees. Both riff on themes of existentialism, questioning the random laws of the universe and the consequently absurd meaning of life. But Jeff Baena’s latest film turns out a much darker take than its comedic predecessor.
Continue reading Movie Review: Horse Girl (2020)
Giri/Haji (by Joe Barton, 2020) – A Tokyo detective arrives in London when he is tasked to find his brother, whose alleged crime sends ripples across the two cities.
Tokyo detective Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira) travels to Soho in search of his estranged brother Yuto (Yosuke Kubozuka), whose alleged murder of a Yazuka family member ignites an all-out gang war. The incident sets the Yakuza on a collision course with the Met Police, embroiling others along the way.
In an endless sea of British crime dramas, Giri/Haji stands out by a mile. It is for one, an adventurous cultural exchange. Shuttling between Japan and the UK, the unique series takes its time to understand the minutiae of foreign traditions, respectful and never exploitative.
The contrast in cultures is interesting, though it is ultimately the similarities that fascinate the most. In his story, Joe Barton recognises the experiences that are neither uniquely Japanese nor British, but simply human.
Continue reading Series Review: Giri/Haji (2020)