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A small-time reviewer on IMDb.com.
Poetry In Motion!
Jim Jarmusch reminds us why Poetry defines our lives with 'Paterson', his cinematic triumph. Subtle, Beautiful & Heartbreaking, Jarmusch delivers an unforgettable tale on life, with an astounding central performance by the impeccable Adam Driver as Paterson.
'Paterson' is A quiet & affecting observation of the triumphs and defeats of daily life, along with the poetry evident in its smallest details, seen through the lives of Paterson, a bus driver who's a poet at heart & his wife Laura, who aspires to be a music country star & also open a cupcake business.
'Paterson' is narrated richly in a week-long span in the lives of Paterson & Laura. And its something to be witnessed & felt. Its so realistic & affecting, that I almost felt I'm barging over the lives of these people. 'Paterson' is about life & that there is poetry even in its smallest moments. Its a story about how & why you want to matter in the world, even though it can be in the smallest way possible. We watch the protagonist & his wife fight life at every moment & its all done in a manner that appears real & at the same time, beautiful. I found myself arrested to my seat from start to finish & even though there was major scope for monotony here, I never felt it.
Jarmusch is in top-form! 'Paterson' is a Masterstroke from this Master Storyteller. His Writing is pure emotion & the use of poetry, is indeed brilliant. His Direction, as always, is fantastic. Its so sad that the Academy or any other Award Ceremony, didn't honor Jarmusch for his work here. A film like 'Paterson' comes right from the heart & grips your soul. It deserved many honors. Cinematography & Editing are marvelous.
Performance-Wise: Adam Driver's portrayal of Paterson, is simply astounding. Again, what was the Academy thinking when they snubbed this acting masterclass? Driver delves deep into his portrayal & delivers a flawless performance. Right from his body-language to his subtlety in dialogue, Driver is a marvel from start to end. Lending him great support is the Gorgeous Golshifteh Farahani, who's extraordinary as his wife, Laura. The two performers make 'Paterson' an even more unforgettable experience.
On the whole, 'Paterson' is Pure Cinematic Joy! Two Big Thumbs Up!
Notting Hill (1999)
Writer Richard Curtis & Director Roger Michell define Romance in the best way possible with the 1999 Box-Office Blockbuster 'Notting Hill'. This one's a simple, sweet & entirely heartwarming film, that touches the core of your heart. I enjoyed every minute of it.
'Notting Hill' Synopsis: The life of a simple bookshop owner changes when he meets the most famous film star in the world.
'Notting Hill' is about love & it does love right. It's the story of a common man later forms a relationship with the most famous film star in the world. And its a heartwarming journey from start to end. The romance here appears real & you feel for the characters, despite the difference of status between them. It's pure heart!
Richard Curtis's Screenplay is lovely. The Writing is engaging all through & is full of warmth. Roger Michell's Direction is perfect. Cinematography, Editing & Trevor Jones's Score merit a special mention.
Performance-Wise: Julia Roberts & Hugh Grant are top-notch. Both of the screen giants share an infectious on-screen chemistry & deliver wholeheartedly. Of the supporting cast, Rhys Ifans, James Dreyfus & Tim McInnerny stand out. And in a cameo appearance, Alec Baldwin is delightful.
On the whole, 'Notting Hill' is a winner all the way.
Over Long, Yet Sweet!
'Phillauri' is a highly polarized film. I've read reviews that are really good to downright terrible. I, somehow, liked this odd little film, despite its shortcomings. This Fantasy Romantic-Comedy is inconsistent & over long, yet its a sweet tale with a clean heart.
'Phillauri' Synopsis: A man must marry a tree to ward off threats to his love-life, but the tree turns out to have more spirit than the man bargained for.
'Phillauri' has an interesting premise & it makes good use of it. The first-hour is more on the comedic side & the laughs are register. The tale of the ghost & the henpecked leading-man is amusing. Its the second-hour, where 'Phillauri' takes in flaws in heaps. The old-age love-story of Shashi & Phillauri isn't arresting enough, although there is a certain earnestness to it. The contemporary love-story of Kanan & Anu, works far better & scores on its humor. But, the biggest letdown here is the culmination. Its overstretched & unconvincing. What starts off as a light-hearted, slow-moving story about lovers, turns into a really long story of departed souls. As mentioned before, the first-hour works, but the second-hour doesn't arrest beyond a point.
Sure, 'Phillauri' is far from perfect, but what I liked particularly here is the breezy & lighthearted tone. Anvita Dutt's Screennplay is sweet, but needed some trimming & a more consistent tone. Had the Writing been more crisp, the overall result would've been a lot more effective. Anshai Lal's Direction is simplistic. Cinematography, Editing & Graphics, are decent. Art & Costume Design are excellent. Shashwat Sachdev & Jasleen Royal's Score is good.
Performance-Wise: Anushka Sharma shines as Shashi, the friendly ghost. She's very sincere in her portrayal. Suraj Sharma as the henpecked Kanan, springs a pleasant surprise. The actor is terrific & displays his gift for physical comedy. Diljit Dosanjh as Phillauri, is restrained. Mehreen Pirzada as Kanan's fiancé, is wonderful.
On the whole, 'Phillauri' may not work for all, but it did for me. For a large part of it.
Wonder Woman (2017)
All Hail Gal Gadot!
Gal Gadot has charisma. A rare one. She pulls you inside her world of 'Wonder Woman' & doesn't let you go. Donning the superwoman role for the 2nd time, starting with the forgettable Batman V. Superman, Gadot brings energy, command & a whole new level to the word Sexy! She's irresistible.
Having said that, 'Wonder Woman' is never as strong as her leading-lady. While she soars, the Writing never allows the narrative to remain consistently strong. Its entertaining, but far from amazing.
'Wonder Women' Synopsis: Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.
'Wonder Woman' begins grippingly & holds well until our strong leading-lady comes to London with her Leading-Man (A Likable, Earnest Chris Pine) . But, soon after, the pace drops & gets sluggish. Also, despite some excellent action set-pieces, the film never Wow's you, as the Writing gets lazy. What starts off as an engaging origin story, suddenly becomes a regular Good versus Evil Fight. The villains lack the punch, so its all about upto the wondrous superwoman to keep it going.
And Gadot does it with spectacular success. I was mesmerized by Gadot's heroic turn, that is sure to send the audiences into a high. Gadot is a Star & is certainly here to stay. I can't wait to see her in the Justice League Movie, which opens later this year.
Allan Heinberg's Screenplay is super initially, but settles for regular stuff in its second-hour. Patty Jenkins's Direction is well-done. Graphics, expectedly, are extraordinary. And special mentions for the nicely done Cinematography by Matthew Jensen & the wonderfully done art & costume design. The Editing needed to be crisper.
On the whole, 'Wonder Woman' is a Gal Gadot show all the way. Watch it for her & you'll be rewarded!
Three Kings (1999)
Guns & Gold!
Written and Directed by David O. Russell, 'Three Kings' is Pure Cinematic Joy. An overlooked gem, this Satirical Black-Comedy War Film, ranks among The FINEST Films Based on Modern War. Its Violent, Frantic & Absolutely Hilarious!
'Three Kings' Synopsis: In the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, four soldiers set out to steal gold that was stolen from Kuwait, but they discover people who desperately need their help.
'Three Kings' works because the Screenplay is Solid. David O. Russell is in top-from here, who's seen at his best long before he got all the Oscar-Attention & those blockbusters. This is early David O. Russell & its pretty remarkable. His Screenplay moves from brutality to humor, and the transitions are so well-done, it never seems like they've been weaved in for the heck of it. The characters work, the action blasts up the screen & the graphic detailing of war & how a body is internally harmed, is sure to make your squirm. But, the laughs are gonna be a aplenty & quite frankly, the most memorable as well. O. Russell's Direction is superb, as well. Undoubtedly, 'Three Kings' is among his best works to date.
Newton Thomas Sigel's Cinematography captures the madness, proficiently. Robert K. Lambert's Editing is sharp. Carter Burwell's Score adds enormously to the narrative. Art & Costume Design are perfect.
Performance-Wise: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze carry this heavyweight film on their firm shoulders. Clooney stuns with his superlative portrayal Major Archie Gates, who is disillusioned with the war. Wahlberg is terrific Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow, an officer who's got a wife & daughter waiting at home, who must save his ass if he wants to see them again. Cube is a bad-ass as Staff Sergeant Chief Elgin, an airline baggage handler who believes he is protected by a ring of "Jesus-fire". And Jonze, much before picking up an Oscar for his talent for Screenplays, delivers an entertaining, affecting performance as Private First Class Conrad Vig, a jobless, semi-literate soldier from a group home who idolizes Troy a bit too much. Its the camaraderie of the four supreme leading-men, that makes 'Three Kings' an even more delight experience. And a special mention for Cliff Curtis, who's remarkable as Amir Abdullah, an Iraqi rebel who stumbles upon the American war heroes & ends up with them.
On the whole, 'Three Kings' is, quite simply, a big winner. Two Big Thumbs Up!
Half Girlfriend (2017)
No Heart, All Talk!
Based on the novel of the same name written by Chetan Bhagat, 'Half Girlfriend' Directed by Mohit Suri is No Heart, All Talk! Despite sincere efforts, this romantic-drama fails to strike a chord. Reason? Poor Writing.
'Half Girlfriend' Synopsis: Madhav Jha (A Stilted Arjun Kapoor) meets a girl named Riya (The Gorgeous Shraddha Kapoor) and falls in love. After struggling to convince her to be his girlfriend, she half heartedly agrees to be his "Half Girlfriend".
'Half Girlfriend' is about a man's obsession towards a woman who keeps running away from him, due to bizarre reasons. The film is too long & stretched without much feeling. While the first-hour still has a few breezy moments between its leading-pair, the second-hour is very disappointing. Also, the sub-plot, involving Madhav's attempt to educate girls in Patna, Bihar, appears forced. The film aims to be a heart-touching romantic fare, but ends up being barely anything.
The Screenplay is poor. I haven't read the novel, but what has come up on the big-screen, is under-whelming. Mohit Suri's Direction is below average. Cinematography, Editing & Art Design, are fine. Music by Various Artists, is wonderful.
Performance-Wise: Arjun needs to loosen up. Though he makes an earnest attempt to portray Madhav & even get the Bihari dialect right, he doesn't leave much of an impression. His act feels monotonous after a point. Shraddha Kapoor is wonderful & looks stunning. Despite being given a half-baked character, she gives her best & is the sole saving grace. Of the supporting cast, Vikrant Massey is sensational as Arjun's friend & Anisa Butt leaves a mark as Vikrant's wife. Rhea Chakraborty looks lovely in a cameo.
On the whole, 'Half Girlfriend' is a letdown.
Meri Pyaari Bindu (2017)
Lighthearted, but Soulless!
'Meri Pyaari Bindu' has its heart at the right place, no doubts on that. But, in terms of Soul, its a miss. Director Akshay Roy delivers a film on love & longing, but is unable to make you feel the pain or the joy of its bruising leading-man. It only works in parts.
'Meri Pyaari Bindu' Synopsis: A successful writer Abhimanyu Roy (Ayushmann Khurrana), stuck with writers block, returns to his roots to write an old-fashioned love story, which ends up to be his own & how Bindu (Parineeti Chopra), changed his life for better or worse.
'Meri Pyaari Bindu' begins well & the sequences involving Abhimanyu aka Bubla's Eccentric Bengali Family, are a joy to watch. And even when the story goes back in the past, the interactions between Bubla & Bindu, offer charm. And though things get wobbly soon enough, yet you're in your seat safely till the interval. Its the second-hour that dampens 'Meri Pyaari Bindu' to great levels. Abhimanyu & Bindu's longgggg journey from friends to lovers, is unappealing. The second-hour simply doesn't connect, as the narrative takes a dip & doesn't rise above. Even the culmination, is overlong & might make you restless. What begins as a sweet friendship-turned-into-love story, turns into an overlong story about people who just aren't sure about life or themselves!
The Writing is lighthearted, but soulless. I liked the first-hour to a large extend, but the second-hour, is a slog. And one is never sure about Bindu's erratic behavior towards Abhimanyu, nor does Abhimanyu's longing wait, make you melt, as the characters aren't well-etched out. A much better Screenplay was the need of the day! The Dialogue, however, are good, although its protagonist's continuous narration throughout, gets repetitive.
Akshay Roy's Direction is decent, but the Writing pulls the efforts down. He has the talent, but it needs to be backed with a better Script. I particularly enjoyed how he began the film, with the Goddess Durga roaming over the stunning city of Kolkata. Cinematography, Editing & Sachin-Jigar's Score are top-notch. And the use of retro Bollywood Music, Is Always Welcome!
Performance-Wise: Ayushmann Khurrana is extremely likable. As the long-waiting lover protagonist, Ayushmann delivers a first-rate performance. He holds the film & even his Voice-Over work throughout, is credible, although there is a lot of it! Parineeti Chopra is earnest as Bindu, but her character isn't entirely understandable. The on-screen chemistry between Ayushmann & Parineeti, is nice. Rajatabha Dutta & Aparajita Auddy, as Ayushmann's eccentric parents, are simply fantastic. The actor who portrays the part of Ayushmann's manager, is also terrific. Nishant Dahiya sparkles in a cameo.
On the whole, 'Meri Pyaari Bindu' is only partly appealing. Disappointing!
Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016)
Has Some Fun Moments. What Else Did You Expect?
'Keeping Up with the Joneses' is a fair Spy-Comedy, that has some fun moments. Its got some laughs, despite all the silliness around. What else did you expect anyway?
'Keeping Up with the Joneses' Synopsis: A suburban couple becomes embroiled in an international espionage plot when they discover that their seemingly perfect new neighbors are government spies.
Zach Galifianakis, Jon Hamm, Isla Fisher and Gal Gadot are the true strengths of 'Keeping Up with the Joneses'. Zach is happily stupid & raises some good laughs, Fisher is fabulous, Hamm is anything but a ham & Gadot is the hottest thing you'll see on the big screen in a long time. The 4 talented actors sportingly deliver in this predictable comedy, showing us their potential yet again.
Michael LeSieur's Screenplay is fair, with some hilarity in store, while Greg Mottola's Direction is satisfactory, at best.
On the whole, 'Keeping Up with the Joneses' is a great way to kill a dull afternoon.
Strange, Innovative & Interesting!
'Colossal' brings a genre defying turn to the world of Sci-Fi and blends it with comic touches. This Human/Monster movie is Strange, Innovative & Interesting! While it may not cater to all, considering its risky story-structure, but those who are ready to wait & enjoy the ride, are sure to be rewarded.
'Colossal' Synopsis: Gloria (A TERRIFIC Anne Hathaway) is an out-of-work party girl forced to leave her life in NY and move back home. When reports surface that a giant creature is destroying Seoul, she gradually comes to the realization that she is somehow connected to this phenomenon.
Director and Writer Nacho Vigalondo delivers a film on many themes, mainly on the actions we take & how they reflect our surroundings. The Sci-Fi & getting the Monster thing in, is a rather clever way to put up a message that's strong & timely. The Protagonist here, Gloria, is a wreck & can certainly be a better person, and she, oddly enough, realizes that when her Monster version shows up in Seoul. Nacho's Writing takes time to grab your attention, but once the Monster blasts up the Screen, you get glued to your seats & will likely not move thereafter. The twist in the narrative is interesting & the culmination, is simply superb. What's interesting here is how Human a story 'Colossal' is, even though its USP is its Monster. And that's where Nacho wins as a Writer & Director. He makes the human-conflict engrossing & the Monster angle, amusing & attention-grabbing. Nacho's Innovative Screenplay is definitely among the most daring ones we've come across this year & his Direction, too, is competent all through.
Eric Kress's Cinematography is another Ace. The lens-man's work here is of superior quality. Ben Baudhuin & Luke Doolan's Editing is pretty crisp in parts. Some crispiness in its initial parts seem missing, though! Art & Costume Design are well-done. Graphics are top-notch.
Performance-Wise: Anne Hathaway is a show-stopper. The Oscar-Winning Actress gets into the skin of Gloira & portrays her with realism. Her Performance is among the top merits of 'Colossal'. Supporting her in a rather dramatic turn, Jason Sudeikis is a pleasant surprise, in a role that has grey shades. Sudeikis proves here that he's more than your regular funny man & I hope Hollywood does him proud.
On the whole, 'Colossal' is daringly original & undeniably engaging. Grab a huge tub of popcorn & enjoy the ride!
The Hollars (2016)
We Are Family!
John Krasinski's 'The Hollars' is all heart. And that's precisely why this family-dramaedy shines so bright. With Krasinski calling the shots & acting in one hand, along-with an ensemble ready to leave you awe-inspired on the other, its hard to refuse 'The Hollars', despite its predictable plot.
'The Hollars' Synopsis: A man returns to his small hometown after learning that his mother has fallen ill and is about to undergo surgery.
'The Hollars', for all it stands for, is about Family & Love. Where would one be without a Family? The Hollars are flawed, but that's how us Humans work, amidst this ride called "LIFE". Krasinski treats the narrative with realism & makes sure you have a smile on your face once this story concludes. I liked The Hollars, all of them, this family of four, full of madness, secrets, regrets, but above-all, there for one another at its most crucial moments.
Krasinski is self-assured at his job here & his Direction is skillfully done. He has the knack of a true filmmaker! James C. Strouse's Writing is strong. The emotions bloom out beautifully & the humor, though brief, works wonders whenever its put in. Cinematography is first-class. Editing is neatly done. Art & Costume Design are good.
Performance-Wise: Krasinski is a fine actor & 'The Hollars' is a yet another reminder of that fact. He's nicely restrained in the central role. Richard Jenkins & Margo Martindale are Acting Jewels. Jenkins is faultless as the overtly emotional, subtly devastated Hollar Sr., who doesn't miss a single beat. Martindale, meanwhile, steals the show! In a role that demands a performer of true merit, Martindale chews on the character & offers soul in abundance. Sharlto Copley is in form after a long time. He shines here. Anna Kendrick is natural to the core, as always. Charlie Day can do better for himself in the world of acting, as he's marvelous here. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is cute in a small cameo. Randall Park is decent.
On the whole, 'The Hollars' is a Winner. This one's right from the heart, made with a genuine sense of feeling.