Monday, July 31, 2017

Mubarakan review: "Typical run of the mill though it does evoke laughs!!!"

Hilarious comedies has been far & few in recent times for reasons best known to film makers. Invariably, majority of the so called "comedies" that hits the screens are inundated with sexual innuendos. I would have laughed at some of the jokes though frankly speaking, I am not a huge fan of such comedies. This week saw the release of Anees Bazmee's "Mubarakan" which was in the news as it featured the first reel collaboration between uncle Anil Kapoor & nephew Arjun Kapoor.  So will it be as hilarious as some of his previous ventures???

Karan & Charan (Arjun Kapoor) were twins who were orphaned in their infancy when their parents met with an accident. They were then raised by their aunt & uncle, with Karan in London under the care of Jitto (Ratna Pathak Shah) & Charan with Balvinder (Pavan Malhotra) in Punjab. Both of them grow up to become handsome hunks & Jitto decides to fix Charan's alliance with Bickle (Athiya Shetty), daughter of Sandhu, a rich industrialist. Since Charan was already in a relation with Nafisa (Neha Sharma), he sought the help of his uncle Kartar Singh (Anil Kapoor) to somehow get out of the proposal. But instead of solving the issue, the situation got messier by the minute.

It's been a while since Bazmee had a release with his previous one being the forgetful "Welcome Back" a couple of years back. It's common knowledge that Bollywood does struggle to make movies that belong to the comedy genre without going under the belt. In that respect, this one stands out though its plot is neither unique nor executed in a fresh manner. But there are a number of sequences that will genuinely make us laugh. However, it is awfully long & Rameshwar Bhagat ought to have cut it short by half an hour. None of the other technical aspects deserves mention.

Arjun might be the protagonist, but it's his uncle Anil who walks with the applause courtesy of his comic timing & buffoonery. Equally impressive were Ratna Pathak & Pavan Malhotra, who shoulders many of the scenes expertly. Arjun has done a decent job though there is much scope for improvement. As for the female leads, Ileana is spirited, Athiya didnt have much to do while Neha was given a raw deal. 

Verdict: It's been a while since we had a comedy movie which should work in its favour as it ticks that box. For a weekend spent out with family, this movie will be an ideal choice to lift the spirits. In short, it wont become a money spinner for Bazmee but you my give it a try !!!

Rating; 2.25/5


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Nibunan review: "Not a memorable 150 for the Action King!!!"

Just when I thought that I would spent a good part of the weekend watching the Test match, the Men in Blue decimated the Lankans by a whooping 304 runs with a day to spare. The mainstay behind this emphatic victory was the 150 plus scores smashed by Dhawan & Pujara. Incidentally, there was another individual who reached the milestone of 150, though it was from the film fraternity & it happened to be the Action King Arjun Sarja. So will it be a happy outing for the veteran like our boys???

Ranjith Kalidoss (Arjun Sarja) is the dynamic DSP of the Crime Investigative Department who along with his team, Joseph (Prasanna) & Vandana (Varalaxmi Sarathkumar) had solved many challenging cases in the past. Their latest case seemed like the work of a serial killer & it all began with Ranjith receiving a package which contained a doll. Soon after a murder happens & the doll happened to contain the clues for it. One murder led to the other & it seemed to be part of an elaborate plan in which Ranjith was also linked. But before Ranjith & his team, could crack the case; he was diagnosed with a debilitating condition. Will it be the end of the distinguished career of the ace cop???

Arun Vaidyanathan is a familiar name for Malayalis as his previous venture was "Peruchazhi" with Lalettan. But he is well known for his debut venture "Achchamundu Achchamundu" which dealt with pedophiles. His latest effort "Nibunan" is a crime thriller that looked promising at the onset but failed to live upto expectations. The manner in which the murder was carried out was interesting, however it didn't seem unique or managed to impart an edge of the seat experience for the audience. Another flaw is the casting of the antagonist, who was incapable of sending a chill down the spine & the choice of Suhasini, who though had a brief role didn't seem the apt choice. Arvind Krishna & Sathish Suriya has done a fine job with the visuals & editing respectively. As far as music is concerned, Navin didnt quite hit the bull's eye. 

There are a handful of artists in the movie but it is primarily an Arjun feast as he is pretty much there in almost all the scenes. He has done utmost justice to his role & seemed at ease with both action & emotions. As for the rest, Prasanna & Sruthi Hariharan was fine while Varalaxmi was average & Vaibhav was wasted.

Verdict: The trailer of the movie was released with much fanfare a couple of months back & boy, just like millions of fans even I loved it. It did have the substance to be a brilliant movie but falls well short of it. In short, you can give it a try though not with much expectations!!!

Rating: 2.5/5


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Vikram Vedha review: "Smashing thriller where lines blur between good & evil!!!"

It's been a while since I have watched a Tamil movie as none of the recent ones had enticed me to check it out. But all that changed this weekend when "Vikram Vedha" hit the screens. The main reason being the stellar star cast which pitted Madhavan against Vijay Sethupathy & the classy manner in which the trailer was made. Interestingly, I haven't watched any of Sethupathy's movies though many of my friends told me that he does make wise choices. So was it wise of me to watch this one???

Vikram (Madhavan) is an encounter specialist who along with his colleagues are entrusted with the task of nailing the dreaded gangster, Vedha (Vijay Sethupathy). The film unfolds with Vikram & his team on a mission where they eliminate many of Vedha's aides including his innocent brother, Puli (Kathir). Even as Vikram plans his next move, Vedha surrenders to the police & hence begins an intriguing match of wits between the two. Vikram strongly believed that there is a clear demarcation between right & wrong and that there was no justification for Vedha's crimes. But the latter tries to prove it otherwise & coaxes Vikram to listen to his story before he makes an assumption.  Will Vikram beliefs still remain unshaken???

It is rather uncommon to see director duos nowadays & even more so, when the pair is a couple. The brains behind this intelligent thriller is Pushkar & Gayathri who are calling the shots after seven years. Since I havent watched their previous ventures, "Oram Po" & "Va", I dont have any preconceived notion about their craft. The uniqueness of the movie is the manner in which they have taken the essence of the Vikramadityan-Vedhalam tale & incorporated it here. The interactions between the protagonists is the main highlight, to the extent that each dialogue has relevance at some point in the movie (if I say anything more, it would turn out to be a spoiler). On the technical side, the tone & texture of the visuals adds to the overall effect for which P S Vinod deserves praise. Sam C's tracks & BGM gels with the mood while Richard Kevin's editing was impressive.

But there is little that a director can do unless he has a credible star cast that does justice to his efforts. Luckily, Pushkar & Gayathri have opted for the services of Madhavan & Sethupathy, both of whom were electric on screen. As the track moves forward, we cant help root for Vedha which happens solely due to the swagger & bindaas attitude that Sethupathy imparts to the character. Madhavan was equally good as the no nonsense cop & they were ably supported by Kathir, Varalaxmi, Shraddha & Hareesh Peradi.

Verdict: There is no doubt that this is one of the finest crime thriller that I have watched in the last couple of years. Apart from the acting caliber of the lead pairs, the film has a credible script which is executed in a unique manner. As a person, who never felt the urge to watch a Sethupathy movie until now; this movie was definitely an eye opener. In short, dont miss it!!!

Rating: 3.5/5


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dunkirk review: "Non linearity at its best as Nolan beckons Oscar!!!

Over the years, Hollywood has had some extraordinary directors such as Hitchcock, Spielberg, Lucas, Ridley Scott, Tarantino etc etc. But one person who has absolutely fascinated me with each of his films is Christopher Nolan. I became his fan with "Memento" & since then he has never ceased to surprise the audience with his craft. On the contrary, he kept setting the bar higher & higher. So when the trailer of his war thriller "Dunkirk" hit the screens just before Xmas, it created an unprecedented hype & anticipation. Is it indeed one of the greatest war movie ever made???

As the name suggests, it is about the evacuation of the British forces who were stranded on the beach of Dunkirk in France during WWII. The enemy (interestingly not even once, Germany is mentioned) was unleashing hell on the 400,000 soldiers who were virtually sitting ducks on the beach. The movie moves in a non linear pattern with three separate tracks, each of which focuses on land, water & air respectively. The first track happens over a week & is about a young British soldier Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) who had managed to reach the beach alive & was trying to find a vessel which would take him home. With the Royal Navy ships coming under heavy fire, they opt to command private boats for evacuation. Mr. Dawson (Mark Rylance) joins the mission but rather than wait for the Navy, he sets sail on his own with his son Peter (Tom Glynn) & his friend, George (Barry Keoghan). This track unfolds over a day while the third segment happens over an hour in the sky. The Royal Airforce spitfire fighters which included Farrier (Tom Hardy) tried to keep the airspace clear to provide a safe passage for the rescue boats.

Apart from donning the director's hat, Nolan has penned this brilliant script as well. The beauty of the movie is that even though there are very few dialogues, the impact that is able to create on the audience is unbelievable. He has weaved all the three segments so well that even though there are difference in time duration, we dont feel it at all. All the technical aspects are brilliant & so realistic especially the aerial sequences that we actually feel we are on the fighter planes, kudos to Hoyte's breath taking visuals. Another major factor that elevated the viewing experience to a whole different level was Hans Zimmer's music which instills chills & goose bumps in equal measure.

As far as performances are concerned, each & every actor has done utmost justice to their roles. Tom Hardy with his mask on reminded me of Bane from "The Dark Knight Rises" but that didnt handicap him as his expressions conveys the emotions effectively. The same applies to Kenneth Branagh as Commander Bolton, Mark Rylance & Tom Glynn as well.

Verdict: It is undoubtedly one of the greatest war movies ever made which is more than reason enough not to miss this gem. Even without the gory scenes that is part & parcel of movies in this genre, it still manages to keep us on the edge of our seats. In short, just rush to your nearest theatre if you havent done it till now!!!

Rating: 4.5/5


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jagga Jasoos review: "Unique & absorbing but not many would share the same opinion!!!"

The Indian eves have booked their place in the WC semis & Roger will be gunning for his 19th Grand Slam title in less than 6 h from now. Since I had time at my disposal, I decided to check out "Jagga Jasoos" after I was done with the household shopping for the week. Ever since I had seen the trailer, I was enthralled by the manner it was picturised as it seemed like a mishmash of Hollywood & Bollywood (in a good way). With a stellar cast & crew behind the making of the movie, the expectations are nigh high. So will it be a critical & commercial success like "Barfi"???

Jagga (Ranbir Kapoor) was an orphan who had the problem of stammering but had a keen eye for detail which made him an expert at deduction. He didnt have anyone for company, until he was adopted by Badal Bagchi aka Tooti Footi (Saswata Chatterjee) who instilled in him the confidence to overcome his stammer. Life moved on happily for Jagga, until his father puts him in the boarding school & leaves on a secret mission. Over the next few years, the only contact that Jagga had with his father was the video cassette that Tooti Footi used to sent him on his birthday. But when the present stops coming, he senses that some danger might have befallen his father & sets out to unravel it with the help of the journalist, Shruti (Katrina Kaif). 

This impressive piece of art is the creation of Anurag Basu, who continues his fine form after "Barfi" which was released five years back. Scripted by Anurag himself, the film is a combination of different genres such as musical, mystery & adventure. Kudos to his vision, as it engrosses our attention even though it runs close to three hours. The protagonist seems to be a desi version of Tintin & the whole movie has basically got three separate cases which gets bigger & grander as it reaches the climax. 

Personally speaking, I absolutely loved the musical format & all the technical aspects were brilliant. Pritam & Amitabh Bhattacharya deserves praise for their excellent music & lyrics such as "Khaana Khaake", "Galti se Mistake" etc which accentuates the mood of the movie. Equally impressive was Ravi Varman's visuals that captivates us. Ranbir was brilliant as Jagga & has done utmost justice to the role. The same amount of praise or even more applies to Saswata as well, who would be familiar to many as the assassin in "Kahaani". Saurabh Shukla rocks as usual while Katrina & Rajatava Dutta have done their parts aptly as well. 

Verdict: The unique treatment & musical format might not be palatable to many as was evidenced by the mixed reviews that had come out. From my point of view, it is an excellent movie which is distinct in flavour & yet ticks all the desired boxes that would entertain the audience. In short, definitely check it out; who knows maybe you will also love it!!!

Rating: 3.5/5


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Mom review: "Impresses for large parts but lacks the edge of the seat effect!!!"

Over the years, we have heard & read about articles which scream hoarse about the importance of women equality. There is no doubt that it is a fundamental right that is extremely important for the upliftment of the female gender & development of any nation. However, I believe all of this will happen unless the women is given the respect that they deserve as a human being rather than a commodity for gratification. Sadly, we are witness to news about gory rape incidents all across our country every day & though there are rules in place, more often than not our judicial system is found to be woefully short. This is exactly what is depicted in Ravi Udyawar's "Mom" which has Sridevi as the protagonist. But Bollywood has a habit of making such movies pretty cliche & titillating rather than make us empathetic about the victim. Will this be any different???

Devki (Sridevi) is a Biology teacher in a respectable school in Delhi who is popular among her students. But she knew were to draw the line as Mohit, a wayward rich kid realised when she threw his mobile out of the window as punishment for sending a porn clip to her step daughter Arya (Sajal Ali). Even though, Devki adored Arya as her own child; the latter maintained a frosty relation with her. With Valentine's Day just round the corner, Arya sought the permission of her father Anand (Adnan Siddiqui) to attend the most happening party in the city. Though reluctant early on, he eventually agrees after Devki's persuasion. Little did they realise that this party would change their lives forever. 

The film was helmed by debutant Ravi Udyawar who is relatively well known in the advertising world. Along with Girish Kohli & Venkat Rao, he has scripted a story which is not unfamiliar to any of us due to similarities to real life incidents. Even otherwise as well, it is more or else similar to Raveena Tandon's "Maatr". But it would be fair to admit that this is a superior version of it, in terms of the way it has been shot & the caliber of the leading lady. However, it fails to thrill the audience & except for Sajal, we dont empathize with neither the sequences (except for the court scenes which was brilliant) nor the characters. Equally unrealistic was the manner in which the protagonist gets away with the crime. 

On the technical side, hats off to the Anay Goswami's slick visuals especially the manner in which the rape was picturised until the victim gets disposed. AR Rahman's BGM was brilliant & added to the overall impact. However, I wish Monisha Baldawa was more judicious with the editing. Coming to performances, this is Sridevi's first outing since "English Vinglish" & is her 300th movie in the 50th year of her film career. She carries the movie on her shoulders & brings her A game to the fore, though she hams it up at times. Sajal Ali was excellent along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who provides the comic relief with his hilarious statements. Akshaye Khanna was wasted while the others have done their parts adequately.

Verdict: As expected, it is unlikely to create a rush at the box office due to the genre & grim nature of the subject. When it comes to the thread, it wont come across as anything unique but the manner in which it has been shot coupled with credible performances makes it worth watching. In short, it's definitely worth a try!!!

Rating: 3/5


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spider-man Homecoming review: "Marvel gets the Spidey series on the right track!!!"

In recent times, superhero movies have taken the world by storm & the two big players slugging it out for box office glory are DC & Marvel.  But it would be fair to admit that Marvel have come up on top invariably at all times. However, about a fortnight back I had watched "Wonderwoman" & my word, it was freaking awesome. It is surely the first genuine threat that DC had posed & Marvel would be hoping that they can negate that threat with the Spiderman franchise launched a third time. remains to be seen whether "Spiderman: Homecoming" would impress the audience or are there already too many spiders in the web???

The Avengers' battle with the Chitauris had demolished New York & the responsibility of cleaning up the city was entrusted upon Adrian Toomes (Micheal Keaton) & his salvage company. However, due to the risk of presence of exotic alien artifacts in the ruins; Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) Department of Damage Control took over the responsibility which put Adrian out of business. In order to make up for the loss, Adrian & his team enters into arms trafficking making use of the Chitauri technology that they had scavenged. Things moved along smoothly until a conflict broke out between Captain America & Iron Man (“Captain America: Civil War”) & the latter brings in Spiderman (Tom Holland) into his team. After the conflict was resolved, Stark informed Peter that he would be kept in the loop as he still needed further training before being inducted into the Avengers. But Peter was impatient & inspite of Stark’s stern message, tries to prove his worth by taking on criminals. It was during one such pursuit, that Spiderman stumbled upon Adrian’s arms deal. So did he have it in him to take on Adrian or was Stark right after all???

At the turn of the 21st century, Sony Pictures decided to launch the Spiderman series & it was a decision that they never regretted The first two parts were both critical & commercial successes with Tobey Maguire donning the suit, but the final part garnered mixed reviews. They rebooted the franchise with Andrew Garfield which also saw a see saw effect after the initial hype. However, Sony laughed their way to the bank as they reaped close to four times of what they had invested. Now they have joined hands with Disney & Marvel, to launch a new version which would be in turn integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Jon Watts was entrusted with the task & I would have to admit he has done a pretty good job despite the fact that he doesnt have a track record to harp about. The story by Goldstein & Francis Daley wouldnt make us sit up, but their screenplay made up for it with a lively premise. Interestingly they didnt waste time on the origin of Spiderman or characters like Uncle Ben, which was a smart move & gives us a fun filled breezy film instead that is so typical of Marvel productions. Tom Holland has done justice to his role while Michael Keaton breathes life into a villain which barely had much spice to it. As for the rest, Jacob Batalon as Ned was spot on, Marisa Tomei was wasted while Robert Downey Jr impresses in his extended cameo.

Verdict: Spiderman has got off to a roaring start cashing in about $117 million dollars over the weekend. Frankly speaking I was sceptical when I had seen the trailer as I felt Tom Holland didnt seem to have the X factor needed for the character In addition, the movie lacked a meaty storyline as it seemed like this was just to establish the character as we approach the Infinity War series. However, you can rest assured that when you watch the movie you would be thoroughly entertained!!!

Rating: 3/5