John Wick 3: Parabellum – Just for the action.

I was shocked to see the amount of people in the theater, cheering and applauding, for Keanu Reeves (as John Wick). My question to them is that where were they in the first two parts?

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Yes, there is a huge audience for insane action films with a hint of the thriller genre in it. Yet, I still remember vividly, there were ten or probably fifteen people in the theater, when the first John Wick (2014) had released. I am glad, for Keanu Reeves, for the fact that his fans have outnumbered the amount of how many there were before this. But were they really fans? When many of them weren’t even present in first two parts of this series?

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Let’s now get to the ultimate topic. The film. Look, it has always been a mediocre story-line when spoken about John Wick films. The director, Chad Stehalski and writers Derek Kosltad (lone writer of the first two parts), Shay Hatten, Chris Collins and Marc Abrams tried their level best to evolve the film, making it vast, including more actors and better villains. It is also appreciable that in that ‘vastness’, it’s not only guns what he is playing with this time, it’s horses, dogs, knives, axes, swords and motorbikes too.

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The drawbacks of this film might not be too many but one is that too much of Keanu’s physical skills were being displayed, where he looked fatigued and laid back. Now, there was an action scene [might be interesting for some], a fight scene rather, with one of the Japanese foes, where too much of screen time was being used and it literally felt elastic, given the fast-paced state of the film. Nonetheless, the background score excelled and the comedy content, taking a good portion in the film, also, makes it worthy of the extra point.

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Fortifying actors who reprise their roles, Ian McShane, Laurence Fishburne, Randall Duk Kim and Lance Reddick and the new ones, Asia Kate Dillon, Halle Berry, Angelica Huston, Saïd Taghmaoui and Jerome Flynn are simply fantastic, in their little roles.

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With all that being said, John Wick 3: Parabellum proves to be slightly better than it’s previous two parts. I will remind you to watch the first two parts before going for this one. It is not a standalone. It is connected.

3.5/5

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Four More Shots Please! – What’s the selling point?

Four women, who are poles apart, trying to make their fragile life whole, meet at a bar and become each other’s crying shoulders, eventually becoming close to each other, sharing their life’s sunrises and sunsets.

A lot might have compared this web series to the film Veere Di Wedding, I surmise it is much more enhanced than it, giving the story a more practical touch. But it is definitely not a ‘version’ of it. It might be similarly themed, but it isn’t an adaptation of it. I found it really okay, when and if compared to other mind-boggling shows out there today. It proves to be more individualistic than overall.

Four More Shots Please! tries to be cool, throwing bold dialogue and strong characters at you. Yet, the script isn’t serious and that’s where it deteriorates. The characters too aren’t perfect. Maanvi Gagroo (as Siddhi Patel) and Sayani Gupta (as Damini Rizvi Roy) being the best out of the four lead characters, give you one reason to watch this. Gurbani Judge (as Umang Singh) [who calls herself “Bani J“] really needs a lot of improvement in terms of screen presence. She is over-confident. Isn’t giving attention to detail. Kirti Kulhari (as Anjana Menon), despite having experience in a few films, carelessly tends to overact. Not every time, but has done it more than a few times.

The recurring cast is a blessing to this mediocre show. Credits to all, Prateik Babbar, Milind Soman, Neil Bhoopalam, Ankur Rathee, Simone Singh, Amrita Puri and Paras Tomar. Lisa Ray, 47, however, is still not a good actor. But so is one of the LEAD characters.

People who are feminists OR tend to have a feminist outlook, in life, will favor this one. On the contrary, audience who have a general opinion & taste of things and are really looking for a critically acclaimed show, this one’s not it. Even the ending of the show might make you feel like it’s trying too hard. Director Anu Menon & writers Devika Bhagat and Ishita Moitra really have to up their game, in season two, to impress THE REST of the humans of the world.

2.5/5

Aladdin – Ecstatic. A perfect remodel.

It is one of those jubilant films which you could watch more than once. It definitely makes you sentimental and glad at the same time, bringing those precious memories back, which you loved and adored in the early nineties.

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Guy Ritchie (direction and screenplay) and his co-writer, John August had two main responsibilities. First, not to make too many changes to the story and second, to bring the exact same feel of the cartoon film Aladdin to the moviegoers, in this realistic form/version. They did it. To all those critics who gave this film a mediocre or below average rating, I want to be on the contrary. It is a semi-musical [according to me]. Be prepared for that. Even the cartoon film was, where the characters would express their innermost feelings through the medium of a melody. It didn’t seem weird, even after twenty six years.

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Mena Massoud (as Aladdin) & Naomi Scott (as Princess Jasmine) are confident and are more than apt for their roles. You will understand that from their first respective shots. It is quite fascinating how they managed to sing their parts themselves, so tunefully, which really brought relevance to their characters. It is quite better than making a professional sing for you.

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There couldn’t be a better Genie in a half-animated Aladdin than Will Smith. He has agreed and followed the rules of a musical. He hasn’t hesitated and has shown a full spirit towards his role. He is singing, dancing, having fun and all so gracefully. Smith is one of the vital reasons I would recommend this motion-picture to everyone. The flavor he brought to the film is the tastiest you’ll ever get. Two characters, which I found to be a little less convincing were Jafar (played by Marwan Kenzari), in terms of his ability to portray the antagonist, and The Sultan (played by Navid Neghaban), who, when compared to the cartoon film, was cute, fun-loving, jolly and sometimes childish. Herein, he is rigid, not all over the place, a little strict and adamant.

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The parrot Lago (played by Alan Tudyk), which was played by Gilbert Gottfried in the 1992 animated film of the same name, sadly has a very limited role (alike The Sultan) in the flick. Numan Acar played the splendid Hakim. Furthermore, the soundtrack is remade by same composer of Aladdin (1992) Alan Menken, elegantly. He is accompanied by Golden Globe winner duo, Pasek & Paul, in making the background score and music flawlessly.

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What’s new about the film? Just a little. New generation music and dance (hip-hop, rap, beat-boxing etc.) obviously because Will Smith is in it. Also, the magic tricks genie performs, while exaggerating his powers, have been added with things which weren’t available back then, in the 90’s. An addition of a character, Dalia (Princess Jasmine’s handmaiden) didn’t seem unnecessary.

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Aladdin is the most perfect adaptation of it’s animation film. There is nothing to dislike in the film. With a world class direction, graphics, plot and soundtrack, it will keep you entertained and delighted till the end.

4.5/5