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Anurag Kashyap's 'Raman Raghav 2.0' is a letdown. Reason? Despite
Kashyap's efforts & Nawazuddin's brilliance, the film falters in in its
Writing department. The film lacks crispness & also gets monotonous.
'Raman Raghav 2.0' Synopsis: Set in present day Mumbai the story follows the life of a serial killer Ramanna who is inspired by an infamous serial killer from the 1960s, Raman Raghav. His strange obsession with Raghavan, a young cop keeps growing as he closely follows him without his knowledge and often creates situations where both of them come face to face.
'Raman Raghav 2.0' tries to narrate the story of a violent psychopath & a coked up cop. And while the film begins superbly, the narrative becomes monotonous after a while. The murders keep happening & the cop's troublesome personal life doesn't offer anything shocking enough. Kashyap & Vasan Bala's Writing is disappointing. Kashyap's Direction, on the other-hand, is suitably grim & dark. Cinematography is well-done, while the Editing needed to be sharper.
Performance-Wise: Nawazuddin is every bit of the violent psychopath he portrays. The actor ignites the screen, but how longer are we suppose to see this versatile talent portray craziness? I wish the industry offers Nawaz meatier roles, like say a Lunchbox? Vicky Kaushal doesn't match up-to his co-star's brilliance. He's alright. Debutant Sobhita Dhulipala looks seductive & delivers rather confidently. Amruta Subhash is remarkable as Nawaz's tormented sister, while Vipin Sharma steals the scene he appears in.
On the whole, 'Raman Raghav 2.0' is a misfire.
Jean-Marc Vallée's 'Demolition' isn't an easy film to watch & nor does
it want to be seen that way. This Dramatic-Dark-Comedy focuses on a
unsettled man & his unusual behavior, after a tragic incident occurs in
his life. But 'Demolition' isn't a film that you can shun away. This is
a Stunning Film about grief & the consequence of death.
'Demolition' Synopsis: A successful investment banker (Jake Gyllenhaal) struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep (Naomi Watts) and her young son (Judah Lewis), he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.
'Demolition' will not appeal to all. And I strongly believe Director Jean-Marc Vallée is aware of this fact. Watching Davis, the protagonist, deal with grief in a rather unusual way, may be misinterpreted as crazy, obscene, but its not that. 'Demolition' examines Davis's grief, with a feeling of mental destruction & how you must break all that you have, to only build again. Its very metaphorical, very deep & hugely affecting. I was engrossed by Davis & how he slowly creates a new self.
Bryan Sipe's Screenplay is Brilliant. 'Demolition' isn't an easy film to write & choosing such a different treatment, requires a strong amount of commitment & belief. Sipe's Writing is compelling. Jean- Marc Vallée's Direction is superb. He has handled the film, with command. Yves Bélanger's Cinematography is visually rich, while Jay M. Glen's Editing is sharp. Art & Costume Design are top-notch.
Performance-Wise: Jake Gyllenhaal as Davis, delivers a transformative performance. Undoubtedly one of the finest actors to have ever graced the big-screen, Jake is absolutely terrific here, enacting the unsettled protagonist with enviable energy. Its a yet another winning performance from an actor who doesn't forget to surprise us. Naomi Watts is restrained, while Judah Lewis is confidence personified. The scenes between Jake & Judah, are great. Chris Cooper is masterful, yet again! As the heartbroken father, who later dismisses Davis for his unusual behavior, Cooper is a presence to reckon with. Heather Lind leaves a mark.
On the whole, 'Demolition' is a must watch, for those, who are willing to look at a story on grief, with a difference. Strongly Recommended!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After much hype, controversy & headlines, 'Udta Punjab' is finally out
& has been watched. And fortunately, this is a Well-Made Film, Directed
Honestly by Abhishek Chaubey. Also, the Performances are SUPERB by all.
Despite flaws, 'Udta Punjab' dares to tell a horrifying truth, without
'Udta Punjab' revolves around the drug abuse in the affluent north Indian State of Punjab and how 4 four lives intervene, involving A Cop (Diljit Dosanjh), A Doctor (Kareena Kapoor Khan), a Bihari migrant (Alia Bhatt) & A Rockstar (Shahid Kapoor).
'Udta Punjab' gets into the grassroots of the doomed state & explores the journey's of its characters. You watch a naive girl sell drugs & later pay for it in a horrifying way. You watch a Rockstar fading due to his fatal addiction. You also watch the Cop's younger sibling succumb to drugs. 'Udta Punjab' is a relentless tale on the dark side of Punjab & how the drugs are ruining the state. If you thought Punjab on celluloid is all about Yash Chopra's clean green fields, well then, 'Udta Punjab' shows an all new side altogether.
However, 'Udta Punjab' doesn't soar entirely. The pacing is inconsistent, while the romantic-angle in the second-hour, doesn't work. Despite such intensity, watching the narrative shift (though only for a brief time) into shy romance, just doesn't fit in & appears forced. 'Udta Punjab' has a terrific first-hour (despite inconsistency of its pacing) where things get uglier & more affecting, but the second-hour is flawed. A better second-hour would've made this daring attempt, even deeper.
Sudip Sharma & Chaubey's Screenplay is great, but in parts. The Writing isn't as strong the subject it tackles & one certainly feels slightly underwhelmed by that. Nonetheless, The Writing has some genuine merit. The Dialogue are excellent & YES the Cuss Words add to the narrative massively. Chaubey's Direction is Honest. He directs 'Udta Punjab' without any inhibitions & presents a story, that's dark & also disturbing. Kudos to Chaubey for delivering his story with sincerity. Cinematography is perfect. Editing is sharp, but could've been tighter. Art & Costume Design are superb. Make-Up is well-done. Amit Trivedi's Score is Brilliant.
Now Coming To The Performances! Alia Bhatt steals the show & how! If you thought Highway was the actress at her finest, wait till you watch 'Udta Punjab'. As the tormented & drug-addicted Bihari migrant, Alia transforms into the part. Her Bihari dialect is flawless & the range of emotions she displays, are simply awe-inspiring. Its a Knockout Performance all the way!
Coming next in line is Shahid Kapoor, who ignites the screen with sheer madness. As the obnoxious Tommy Singh, Shahid is at his most zaniest, delivering a delightful turn, although a change of heart in his character (in the second-hour), isn't convincing enough. Nonetheless, Shahid Shines!
Diljit Dosanjh lends maturity as well as intensity as the honest & concerned cop, while Kareena Kapoor Khan is wonderfully restrained as the caring & lovable doctor. And although their romance doesn't leave an impact, both the actors lend weight to their parts.
A special mention for the Impeccable Satish Kaushik, who's astounding as Shahid's uncle/manager.
On the whole, 'Udta Punjab' is definitely worth a watch, despite some flaws. And it needs to be watched at the CINEMA. NOT anywhere else.
Based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Kevin Wilson, 'The Family
Fang' by Jason Bateman, is a wonder of a film. No kidding, this is a
sublime film, about family & the importance of parenthood. This One's A
'The Family Fang' Synopsis: A brother and sister return to their family home in search of their world famous parents who have disappeared.
'The Family Fang' is a quietly devastating film, on how important it is to be a good parent, in order to raise their children sane. In here, the unsettled protagonists (Bateman, Nicole Kidman, in Pure Oscar Peak Form), are a victim of unusual parents (Christopher Walken & Maryann Plunkett, both brilliant). They are not your regular parents, they are attention seekers, who find Art in the Reality of Life. They put up gigs (not even one of which shows any signs of entertainment, but of rather fright) & they swear to live by it, in extreme measures. Its a devastating journey to see this family so distort, torn between love, commitment & art.
David Lindsay-Abaire's Adapted Screenplay is superior in all terms. 'The Family Fang' is essentially a comedy, with some dark, dramatic undertones. I was engrossed & heartbroken by the struggle of its scarred protagonist. 'The Family Fang' is about artistry gone too far & how a family is only a family, when you treat it like one. Bateman's Direction is Brilliant. He takes charge of the narrative & doesn't let you go. Take a bow, Mr.Batemen!
The Fangs aren't particularly normal, but nor is their journey. Don't Miss It!
Based on the memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan
and Pakistan by Kim Barker, 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' is a mostly
entertaining War-Dramedy, that is anchored by a Stupendous Performance
by Tina Fey. The usually comedic actress, boasts range & class in her
first dramatic role (with comic touches, of course).
'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' Synopsis: A journalist Kim Baker (Fey) recounts her wartime coverage in Afghanistan.
'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' explores Baker's life-changing journey, with moments of fine comedy & dramatic undertones. Her journey wasn't an ordinary one, it had laughs, heartbreaks, violence & even betrayal. But Baker's journey is worth watching on celluloid, as its engaging for the most bit.
Robert Carlock's Adapted Screenplay is good, although the last act doesn't quite add up. Baker's Journey is exciting, but the culmination of this chapter of her life, doesn't come up as a whole. The Writing needed to be better, no doubt. Glenn Ficarra & John Requa's Direction is passable. Cinematography is superbly done. Editing is alright. Art & Costume Design are perfect.
Performance-Wise: Tina Fey is the life of 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot'. She's in top-form & owns the show form start to end. Martin Freeman is first-rate, as always. Margot Robbie is stunning, both appearance & performance wise. Alfred Molina (with a Afghani accent), is a hoot. His scenes with Fey, are fun to watch. Billy Bob Thornton stands out. Christopher Abbott is very good.
On the whole, 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' is worth watching for Fey's Performance alone.
Billed as being based on a true story, '13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers
of Benghazi' is An Intense Film, that works on its hardcore nature &
deft direction by Michael Bay. Bay is in form after a long, long time &
'13 Hours' is a welcome return of the once inspiring filmmaker.
'13 Hours' follows six members of a security team who fight to defend the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya after waves of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2012.
'13 Hours' begins boringly, but gathers fantastic momentum as it progresses. Once the attacks begin & the heroes fight back, '13 Hours' turns into a gripping ride. I was involved in the narrative, when the violence erupted in tremendous speed. This is an unfortunate story on violence & loss, & Bay delivers it with a beating heart.
Chuck Hogan's Screenplay, based on Mitchell Zuckoff's 2014 book by the same name, takes time to gain power, but once it does, oh baby! Bay's Direction is well-done. Its good to see Bay focusing on restrained storytelling, rather than VFX Porn. Cinematography captures the gritty mood, with dexterity. Editing is sharp, although the film is a bit too long (144-minutes). Art & Costume Design are perfect. Action/War-Sequences are excellent. Make-Up is nicely done. Background Score merits a special mention.
Performance-Wise: John Krasinski is at his most compelling self. He takes charge here & remains the scene-stealer. James Badge Dale is first-rate. Max Martini is efficient. Dominic Fumusa does well. Others lend adequate support.
On the whole, '13 Hours' brings Bay back to form. Watch It!
'No Escape' is A Fair Watch, that despite some heavy violence, manages
to become something more than just a bloody mess. Its surprisingly
thrilling (in parts) & also well-acted.
'No Escape' Synopsis: In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape from an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed.
'No Escape' is about violence & the sheer courage of human survival, in the middle brutality. John Erick Dowdle & Drew Dowdle's Screenplay is heavy, but its got some really thrilling moments. The second-hour, in particular, has some notably engrossing moments. John Erick Dowdle's Direction, on the other-hand, is realistic. Cinematography is ably done, while the Editing is crisp at times. Action-Sequences are well executed, but too violent.
Performance-Wise: Owen Wilson is in good form. Enacting a rather serious role, Wilson stands on his own & convinces you in his tormenting journey. Same goes for Lake Bell, who's super here. Pierce Brosnan shines in a brief, yet dynamic role. Sterling Jerins & Claire Geare are very sincere.
On the whole, 'No Escape' is worth watching, despite its speed bumps.
A remake of 2013 South Korean movie Montage, 'Te3n' is a Well-Made
Thriller, but its not engrossing enough. Director Ribhu Dasgupta
succeeds in handing your attention, but only, in parts. The
Performances are good, though!
'Te3n' Synopsis: A grieving grandfather (Amitabh Bachchan) after losing his granddaughter, in a kidnapping case 8 years back & unable to find the culprit, teams up with police officer (Vidya Balan) and a cop turned priest (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) when a similar kidnapping occurs.
'Te3n' is a tale of loss, redemption & revenge. Its easy to sympathize with its aged protagonist & his never-ending quest to the find the culprit who took away his granddaughter from him, but a guilt-driven cop turned priest or a super cop for that matter, come across as cardboard characters. The mystery is nicely build up in the first-hour, although the sluggish pace does get bothersome. The second-hour unfolds on much speed, but as the final twist in the tale is revealed, the predictability wears you off. Frankly, the first-hour works, despite the problem of its pace, but the second-hour, despite fastness, lacks the bite.
The Screenplay engages, but in portions. The predictable second-hour spoils the fun. Ribhu Dasgupta's Direction is excellent. He has handled this thriller with skill. Cinematography Captures the essence of Kolkata, amazingly. 'Te3n' is nicely shot, no two options on that! Editing is alright, the pace in the first-hour is slow. Art & Costume Design are perfect. Music by Clinton Cerejo is good.
Performance-Wise: Amitabh Bachchan delivers a sincere performance as the grieving protagonist. Right from his body language, to his ever searching eyes, the legend remains true to his character. Nawazuddin Siddiqui & Vidya Balan's characters aren't strongly written, but the actors make them worth watching. Nawaz brings subtlety to his part, while Vidya (Strangely Billed in a Guest Appearance, though she's there almost throughout the film), plays it straight as the no nonsense cop. Sabyasachi Chakrabarty is terrific, as always. Others lend fair support.
On the whole, 'Te3n' isn't engrossing enough, nonetheless, it has some merit to earn itself a viewing.
The sequel to the solid The Conjuring, James Wan's 'The Conjuring 2' is
A Terrifying Sequel, that almost scores as much as its legendary
predecessor in terms of scares & atmosphere. The Sequel is unsettling,
spooky & absolutely engaging, turning out to be a much satisfying
'The Conjuring 2' Synopsis: Lorraine and Ed Warren travel to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits.
'The Conjuring 2' is a compelling horror ride, that arrests your attention & scares the daylights out of you. I found myself terrified at my seat, almost shutting my eyes & ears whenever a sound or visual offered something ghostly. I was particularly terrified in a superbly done sequence, involving a painting & a nun. Believe me, I'm never looking at a nun in the same manner!
Wan, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes & David Leslie Johnson's Screenplay (supposedly based on a true-story) is hauntingly scary. 'The Conjuring 2' is almost at par with its predecessor, as the scares here, are truly well-done. The Writing superbly warms up in its first-hour & turns into a ride in the second-hour, only to culminate into a feast of a climax. Wan's Direction is brilliant. He creates an unsettling, eerie atmosphere, with his superior storytelling. Don Burgess's Cinematography captures the misty filled London, as well as all the scares & the human-drama, with flourish. Kirk M. Morri's Editing is crisp. Art & Costume Design are Fantastic. Joseph Bishara's is perfect.
Performance-Wise: Patrick Wilson & Vera Farmiga return as paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren & they deliver remarkably. Its the strength of their performances that push 'The Conjuring 2' to further success. Frances O'Connor as the mother under torment, is fabulous. Madison Wolfe as the child under possession, is excellent. The kid blends sympathy with pure terror, without ever breaking out of character. Simon McBurney is first-rate.
On the whole, 'The Conjuring 2' is A Winner. Go, Get Spooked!
A sequel to the 1990 comedy film Kindergarten Cop starring Arnold
Schwarzenegger, 'Kindergarten Cop 2' is a surprising sequel by all
means. I mean, its been over 26 years since the first one released. A
sequel, that too without Arnie being there, is risk.
But this is a direct-to-DVD film & to its luck, Dolph Lundgren is a fine new hero. He shines in the Cute Sequel!
'Kindergarten Cop 2' Synopsis: Assigned to recover sensitive stolen data, a gruff FBI agent goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher, but the school's liberal, politically correct environment is more than he bargained for.
'Kindergarten Cop 2' is simple film, that doesn't aim for any form of greatness. And hence, the narrative works. No, some of the jokes are silly & even some of the sub-plots, aren't sharp. But its Dolph's performance that makes most of it work. He's game here & gleefully plays the big-guy with a soft heart. If not for him, maybe this sequel would've fallen flat on its face.
Final Word? 'Kindergarten Cop 2' is fair watch.
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