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Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw Review: An Over-the-Top Action Showcase, Minus the Emotional Depth of the Series’ Zenith

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A decade and four months ago, the Fast and Furious franchise was all but dead. The fourth eponymous entry — the second from director Justin Lin — had scored the worst reviews of the series yet, with criticism aimed towards the sheer CGI-ness of the action sequences amongst several other issues. But then surprisingly, Lin put Fast and Furious back on track with Fast Five, which became the franchise's first genuine hit and paved the way for future entries that rolled out as instant blockbusters. (The three films since have made more than two-thirds of the total earnings.) Fast and Furious is now big enough to warrant its own spin-off, and that's exactly what it's getting with Hobbs and Shaw, featuring the title characters played by Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

Fast and Furious: Hobbs and Shaw review in detail
Fast Five didn't just hotwire Fast and Furious back to life, but it also began the franchise's slide into fantasy and sci-fi territory. Remember that endless runway in Fast & Furious 6? Or that jump between three buildings in Furious 7? Hobbs and Shaw director David Leitch — best known for Deadpool 2, Charlize Theron-starrer Atomic Blonde, and John Wick — knows that very well. And the writers — Fast and Furious veteran Chris Morgan, and Drew Pearce (Iron Man 3) — and he leans into that fully with the spin-off, which is not even coy about it anymore. The villain Brixton (Idris Elba, from Luther), is equipped with bleeding-edge tech that literally makes him superhuman. No wonder that he is a self-proclaimed “black Superman” or referred to as the Terminator by others.

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Khandaani Shafakhana Movie Review

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Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Badshah, Varun Sharma, Annu Kapoor and Priyanshu Jora
Director: Shilpi Dasgupta

Rating: Three and a half stars (out of 5)

It ventures boldly into thorny, uncharted terrain courting the risk of floundering on the way and turning either too risque; or too chessy, but Khandaani Shafakhana, directed by debutante Shilpi Dasgupta from a screenplay by Gautam Mehra, is an admirably sure-footed, if not dizzyingly scintillating, film. The line that separates drollery and mockery is admittedly thin. No worries on that count here. The witty screenplay, the deft directorial touches and the consistent onscreen performances keep Khandaani Shafakana from straying.

How the film has turned out must redound in large part to the credit of Sonakshi Sinha. She carries the film on her shoulders with impressive composure, in the bargain etching out a character who, notwithstanding the improbable turn of events in her life, never ceases to be believable and completely convincing.

The character-driven, female-centric film looks erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and low sperm motility in the eye although the characters, all men, who suffer from these and other sexual disorders are sheepish and secretive about making a clean breast of their problems until a woman who defies gender barriers and chips away at the taboos and inhibitions.

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'Nerkonda Paarvai' - movie review

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Genre: Drama
Director: H. Vinoth
Cast: Ajith Kumar, Shraddha Srinath, Abhirami Venkatachalam, Andrea Tariang, Vidya Balan

This Tamil remake of ‘Pink’ not only discusses society’s collective gaze on women, but also gives us uniformly excellent performances from its lead cast

Traditionally, the title of a Tamil ‘mass hero’ film conveys very little. It typically is the name of the lead character (as has been the case with many Rajinikanth films) or something that would describe one outstanding quality of the lead protagonist.

But when was the last time, really, that we had a lyrical title for a film starring a 'mass hero'?

The remake of Hindi superhit Pink in Tamil is called Nerkonda Paarvai, something that a lyricist like Thaamarai might have come up with for a romantic song in a Gautham Menon film. But in this H Vinoth-directorial (he’s the man who gave us the riveting cop thriller Theeran: Adhigaaram Ondru), the title is about the society’s collective gaze on women.

Or could it about that piercing gaze of Bharath Subramaniam (Ajith Kumar) who does nothing but that, for the first 15 minutes into the film? He has recently moved into a residential complex, and across the road stay Meera Krishnan (Shraddha Srinath), Famita (Abhirami Venkatachalam) and Andrea (Andrea Tariang). The film, post an opening musical festival song, kickstarts with quite some intrigue: the three girls seem anxious, while elsewhere, three boys are driving away, with one of them severely injured in the head and bleeding.


Jabariya Jodi - Movie Review

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Parineeti Chopra, Sanjai Mishra

Director: Prashant Singh

Lately, Bollywood has taken on social issues with a vengeance. While many like Pad Man and Article 15 attempt to deal with touchy themes with sensitivity, others leave you scrambling to look for the message frantically.

Sadly, Jabariya Jodi, starring Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra, falls in the second category. The film focuses on the problematic concept of pakadwah vivah (groom kidnapping), which is a deadly custom prevalent in the Northern part of the country, including UP and Bihar. In such cases, bachelors are kidnapped by criminal gangs and forced to marry women at gunpoint, when they try to back out of the wedding due to dowry-related issues.

Rating: 1.5/5


Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Movie review


Cast: Zoe Margaret Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Zajur, Natalie Ganzhorn
Director: André Øvredal
Rating: 1.5 stars

If the Guillermo del Toro connection as co-screenwriter and producer is not enough to draw you to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, how can we resist this: Alvin Schwartz’s three books of short stories for children on which this film is based carried nightmarish illustrations that made them America’s most frequently challenged series for inclusion in school libraries.

But don’t raise your expectations too high. Assembled into one story line about a haunted house, a girl kept imprisoned within, who told stories which killed everyone who heard them, the film sputters to life in patches, grabs you with its first few tales, and then lets the scare fizzle out too fast and too much. Besides, separate ghosts haunting separate stories may have worked as a compilation in a book, but assembled together into one story line, they make little sense or enough chill.


Batla House - Movie Review

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Movie Name:Batla House
Critics Rating:3.5/5
Release Date: 15 August 2019
Director: Nikkhil Advani
Genre: Drama Mystery

At the very beginning, we hear a woman ranting at her husband complaining about how his duty as a cop has become more important than their marriage. At once, it is established that John Abraham (ACP Sanjay Kumar) is a truthful and dedicated police officer as a wife (Mrunal Thakur aka Nandita) points out how after 6 medals also there is no stopping him from being the ‘good cop’.  We also get to realize the couple is undergoing some marital issues. On top of that Nandita is forced to take a neutral stand at work (she’s a television news anchor) against her husband’s methods.

ACP Sanjay Kumar’s life as a disciplined and dedicated cop begins to fall out when an investigation turns into an unauthorized encounter.  Also, an inspector KK played by Ravi Kishan gets fatally wounded under Sanjay’s investigation. As several media and politicians term the investigation as ‘fake encounter’, Sanjay Kumar is wracked with guilt. He also begins to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  He even starts doubting himself and, also asks wife Nandita, “Were we wrong?”.


Mission Mangal - Review

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Movie Name:Mission Mangal
Critics Rating:2.5/5
Release Date: August 15, 2019
Director: Jagan Shakti
Genre: Drama

Mission Mangal starring Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari, Sharman Joshi, H. G. Dattatreya and Sonakshi Sinha in important roles, the movie is loosely based on scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation, who made India's Mars Mission successful in its maiden attempt. Undoubtedly, it is a commendable achievement as no country in the world has achieved this benchmark in the very first attempt and that too in a budget of Rs 450 crore.

Bollywood has hardly attempted any space movie so far, hence, when there is a first full-fledged movie based on India's ambitious Mangalyaan or Mars Orbiter Mission, some serious challenges surface. To translate such a gigantic mission into a commercially entertaining story and at the same time, minimise the usage of technical and scientific jargons. Jagan Shakti, director of Akshay Kumar starrer Mission Mangal has succeeded in both the departments. In their constant attempt to make masses understand the complexities around such a giant space project, makers have used incidents which are overdramatic and unbelievable much like Indian daily soaps. That makes the film fall flat on face.


Yomeddine - Movie review

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Cast: Rady Gamal, Ahmed Abdelhafiz
Director: Abu Bakr Shawky
Rating: Three stars

This is a road trip with a real difference. A disfigured man and a bright-eyed boy set out from a leper’s colony on a journey. Both want to know more about themselves: who were they before they came to be here, abandoned and alone? Do they even have a past, or have they been erased from memory?

The 93-minute `Yomeddine’ (‘Judgement Day’) was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival 2018, and Egypt’s entry to the Oscars 2019. And you can see why the film became such a favourite. The middle-aged Beshay is played by Gamal, a man who lives in a leper’s colony because he used to be one, and right there you see the power of authenticity: Gamal doesn’t have to scrunch his eyes, they are practically hidden under layers of scarred tissue. He doesn’t have to turn his fingers inward; his hands are stumps. He is free of the disease, but the ravages are imprinted on his face, and his body.


Angel Has Fallen - movie review

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Cast: Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Danny Huston, Nick Nolte, Piper Perabo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tim Blake Nelson
Director: Ric Roman Waugh
Rating: 2 stars

Mike Banning (Butler) is done saving Presidents after Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen. This time he is out to save his own skin, after he is set up as the culprit following an assassination attempt on the President. The inept FBI, led by a hardworking Pinkett Smith, can’t go wrong with this one. The clues are laid out like a bread crumb trail, from DNA matches, to Banning being the lone Secret Service agent who survives the attack, to 10 million dollars in an offshore account, to links with Russia.

Moscow has time and again shown that it is far from as transparent as every second Hollywood script makes it out to be. But you can’t fault them for not trying. Here, Vice-President Kirby (Nelson, looking as untrustworthy as always) even talks about the ambiguity that helped Russia escape the “election tampering” taint — in a precise, logical way that seems out of sync with this often mess of a film.


Bakrid - movie review

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Cast: Vikranth, Vasundhara Kashyap

Director: Jagadeesan Subu

Rating: 2.5

Bakrid isn’t a great film but moves you in a lot of places. I get the intentions of Jagadeesan Subu, who sets out to make a straightforward innocent film. What happens when a stray camel enters into the life of a farmer has been explored on-screen beautifully. What is and isn’t real; what stories can be believed — Jagadeesan Subu keeps all of that aside and focuses on milking human emotions. Music director D Imman also ably aids the process with the background score. His music, in fact, stayed with me long after the film got over.

Rathnam (a likeable Vikranth) visits the house of a Muslim money-lender with his friend, ahead of Bakrid, where he spots a camel calf and decides to bring it home. (Of course, after his wife Geetha’s (Vasundhara Kashyap) approval on the phone.) He names the camel after his father Sarangan and calls it ‘Sara’. Meanwhile, we are shown Rathnam is in desperate need of money to resume farming.

The uneducated Rathnam doesn’t know what to feed the camel with. He tries to give whatever he offers his cattle. The camel resists. However, Rathnam’s little daughter convinces Sara. This is where Bakrid scores. You can give it to Jagadeesan Subu, who partially engages you with his earnest portrayal of characters. One such is the parental bonding between Rathnam and his daughter, which is smile-inducing. His daughter asks him for a packet of chips. Rathnam distracts her with groundnut candies. She is adamant and gets what she wants. That scene took me back to childhood. Bakrid draws energy from the effortless chemistry between its characters.


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