Vikram Vedha

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Vikram and Vedha have represented the right vs wrong, the just vs corrupt in the form of stories of King Vikramadityan and the demon Betaal or Vethalam from our childhood.

The plot follows Vikram – a headstrong, self-righteous cop who sees good and bad as clearly as day and night or so he believes. On the other side is Vedha – a dreamer, driven by situations and angered by the constant fight for dominance in his own world. Priya is the attorney wife and Chandra is a hard talk but good at heart tough lass. The character painting is an extremely complex art which the writer-director duo – Pushkar-Gayathri excels at, just like in ‘oram po’

Madhavan is back with his amazing screen presence and a glimpse of ‘ayitha Ezhuthu’ and maybe a bit of ‘irudhi Suttru’ but the show stealer is definitely vijay Sethupathi. His thoughtful demeaner, the poriki slang and the menacing beard is just perfect. Shraddha Srinath is exceptionally spicy and takes the lawyer-attorney privilege a bit too seriously. Varalaxmi Sarathkumar is praiseworthy in her short and meaningful role.

Although the entire movie is 2 Hours and 27 minutes but the story is very engrossing and the editing is air-tight. The screenplay is very well crafted, P.S Vinod is brilliant in his cinematography and finally Nassar is a smart choice as a narrator. Overall fantastic edge of the seat thriller.

Verdict – ‘saar, oru kadhai sollatuma saar?’ (saar, can I tell you a story saar)

 

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Jab Harry Met Sejal

 

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The big question is why? Shahrukh still tries to play the DDLJ hangover Europe settled Desi from Punjab. Why does the camera focus on zoomed-in shahrukh’s nose when the movie is shot in beautiful European locations? Why does imtiaz ali – who is a master when it comes to creating complex mind blowing characters like Geet of Jab we met or Jordan of rockstar or Veera of Highway – create such a unbelievable, over the top and superficial characters like Harry and Sejal ? Why do shahrukh still think that with his quivering whispering voice he can still floor the audience?

This time on there is ‘wheat field hand caressing’ immortal scene of the gladiator as well.

Harry (Harinder Singh Nehra) is a tour guide by day and a womanizer by….well rest of the time that he is not tour guiding. Sejal is a Gujrati girl who is engaged to someone else and has lost her ring. With this premise Harry and Sejal travel almost entire Europe without addressing the elephant in the room. The Elephant being why Anushka agreed to do this movie.

In the entire movie there is absolutely no editing. The story is unbelievably weak and acting by the lead pair is totally over the top. Surprisingly Chandan Roy Sanyal as the bad guy is refreshing; rest of the cast selection is as ordinary, Mukesh Chhabra is the casting director who has done PK, Dangal, Gangs of Wasseypur, etc to name a few feather on his casting cap. Even Pritam fails to impress in the music department.

This entire venture is like few talented people have come together and got in each other’s way and as a result the audience gets to endure the 2 Hours and 24 minutes venture.

Verdict – Why ?

 

Spiderman: Homecoming

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This movie deserves an applaud just for not showing another spider biting peter parker transforming to Spiderman sequence. There is no flashback or ‘uncle Ben’ and also aunt May is quite hot. We all know the origin story, but now that Spidy is an Avenger it makes a whole lot of sense to show how the teenage kid can fit into the marvel universe just before infinity war.

But there is Tony Stark in the movie and he is at his sarcastic best. There is a quick sequence shot in India as well (yay!…) But the show stealer is John Fraveau who plays Happy Morgan the perfect bored, uninterested and slightly loathing grumpy baby sitter.

Laura Harrier as the teenage crush fails miserably and Zendaya was hardly given any screen-space. One thing that I wanted to see was the upside down trademark spidy kiss (and it came sooo close in one sequence) Ned, as the confidante/side-kick is just about ok and Chris Evans as captain America features in lame educational videos.

Michael Keaton is the vulture – supposedly the villian, and in spite of everything anybody can relate to this guy. I mean…. You cannot ignore him; He is the batman after-all and has won 26 awards for the movie Birdman in 2014. He makes the character of Adrian Toomes/vulture so much believable.

The runtime of the entire movie is 2 Hours and 13 Minutes but there is not one slack moment. Making a movie 3rd time with 2 very successful franchises behind is a commendable job and Jon Watts does a pretty good job about it. Jon has directed ‘clown’ & ‘Cop Car’ prior to this movie. Both these movies have got average success in box office. So I guess this is his big ticket.

Verdict – watch it because it’s not a origin story and also because Tom Holland did a better job than Tobie Maquire and Andrew Garfield put together.

PS: Don’t wait for the post credit scene, its not worth the time.

Naam Shabana

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Its good to know that like marvel & DC even Indian movies are getting into origin stories. The familiar characters portrayed in BABY (2015) resurface again minus Rana Daggubati who is busy with Bahubali2 release.

There is no doubt that Naam shabana is a no non-sense kick ass action thriller. The story starts with establishing the normalcy of the college going Shabana with a past. Manoj Bajpayee as the handler and recruiter is near perfect. The supporting cast include familiar faces including Anupam Kher and his ridiculous wig playing Shukla. Of course Akshay kumar had to be a part of this movie, how else would you establish the making of BABY-2 which I am quite sure is already in Neeraj Pandey’s pipeline.

The direction is handled by Shivam Nair. Shivam nair is more famous in the TV circuit. His notable contribution was ‘Sea Hawks’ of the 90s in DD Metro. But Neeraj Pandey has kept the Production, writing & screenplay to himself. Prithviraj Sukumaran plays the suave arms dealer, being the main baddie he could have been given more screen space as he is brilliant when it comes to negative roll (Kana Kandaen – 2006 tamil movie) and also can hold his own (Aurangzeb – 2013, Hindi)

Tapsee herself is absolutely fantastic; it’s difficult to acknowledge anything other than her when she is on screen. Her transformation from South masala movie heroine to character roles likes Pink and now this is truly mind blowing, The plot is tight, screenplay is crisp, the song ‘Zubi Zubi’remix is foot tapping. The action choreography is realistic along with the actors themselves.

A bit more editing to bring the entire movie under 2 hours would have made it more watchable. The climax mission could have been a bit detailed whereas the prep could have been cut shorter. As a result the execution is not that great

Verdict – If you liked BABY in 2015, you will like this as well

Befikre

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Yes, Befikre is definitely a love story.

Set in the beautiful city of Paris the story shuttles between the 1 year gap showing the relashionship-development between Dharam and Shyra. The flashback and present transitions are signified by hum-tum style drawings and feels a bit unnecessary to the screenplay.

Dharam is a stand-up comic from Delhi recently arrived in Paris and Shyra is a free-spirited girl brought up in France by her Indo-French chef parents. The relationship starts with a dare and the free-spirit modern attitude is portrayed quite effectively.

The cast and crew have quite a few French involvements and the lead actors have adopted their characters very well. When it comes to the intimate scenes both look at ease and the onscreen chemistry is pleasant to watch. The director is very seasoned in love stories and hence is almost flawless, editing is very efficient. Music by Vishal-Shekhar duo along with Mikey McCleary is quite refreshing.(BTW…Mickey is the Brother in Law of Lucky Ali) ‘Nashe Si Chad Gayi’ by Arijit and ‘Ude Dil Befikre’ by Benny Dayal are already topping the charts. The surprise number ‘khulke dhulke’ by Punjabi Rock-star Gippy Grewal has turned out quite good.

Both the lead pair can dance quite well and has done justice to all the peppy songs

In conclusion this is a feel good love story which reminds you of ‘love aaj kal’, ‘Friends with benefits’ and maybe a bit of ‘The ugly truth’.

Verdict – Watch it – Befikar

Fantastic beasts and where to find them

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At the outset JK Rowling must recognise the fact that not all book writers can write screenplay. With the last movie of Harry potter series in 2011, the director David Yates had set a bar for us and when the same guy comes up with FBAWTFT (wow, even the acronym is too long) the expectation are high. But unfortunately, the essence of magic is lost the moment you look at Newt Scamander played by Eddie Redmayne in his underacting methods. Eddie Redmayne is the same guy who delivered a brilliant performance in ‘the Danish girl’ but unfortunately he is not the right cast selection for Newt.

The rustic world of magic is upgraded to a slightly modern version in its new setting in New York and most of the daily magical awe is replaced with ‘seen that before’ graphics. The spells are unrecognizable except ‘Alahamora’ and at the final scene ‘Revealio’ and the muggles are called ‘no-maj’, as in no magic, Really?

Collin farrel looks like count Dracula instead of a ministry official and the leading lady Katherine Waterston looks and acts like the unmarried aunt of the house.

The cast selection is uninteresting and in the attempt to bring back the magical world the animators have gone overboard, and so the result is excess magical intervention which is unappreciated, but the 3D effect is very good. The beasts themselves are adorable animations but have very little screen space.

In conclusion, a simpler non-glamorous direction and tight editing could have improved the experience but the screenplay itself is the biggest drawback.

Verdict – trust me, finding this beast of a movie is not worth it.

 

Doctor Strange

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So, the big news is that Marvel Studios has come up with a new logo animation which is way cooler than DC Comics logo.

Benedict Cumberbatch plays the arrogant yet genius neurosurgeon doctor Stephen Strange. The good doctor soon meets with an accident and his hands are subjected to multiple fracture leaving his hands shaking just like the movie itself. As is the case usually in situations like these there is no cure – or is there?

Halfway through the movie people starts missing Rachael McAdams and so she is brought back in the action and is seen wheeling patients into an operating theater, twice with confused looking staff all around.

The best performance without any doubt is by ‘special effects’. The inception style dimension change and of course the journey through multiverse (not universe) is very well designed. Tilda Swinton as ‘the ancient one’ is not convincing at all and the baddy is played by Mad Mikkelsen, the same guy who was the bad guy in James bond Casino Royale, he was much meaner and terror invoking then but here he just falls flat with black kohl makeup below his eyes.

In conclusion, this is a movie for those who already know the history of Doctor Strange or has a fetish for 3D visual effects. Direction by Scott Derrickson is crisp but a bit of creative screenplay could have done wonders to the movie experience.

Verdict: Watch the animated movie instead – ‘Doctor Strange – Sorcerer Supreme’ or If you are a Bendict Cumberbatch fan – wait for Sherlock Season4 premiering on 17th Jan 2017.