Posted in Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fiction, Hollywood, SciFi, Superhero, Technology

Spider-Man: Far From Home – My restrained views.

It is so difficult to write about Marvel films without letting out a spoiler. Especially in the second installment of this franchise.

It is a fun film. As usual. Since it gives you a very teenage kind of feeling, everything is really advanced, rapid and modern. I loved Chris McKenna and Eric Sommers‘s script, having just the right amount of everything. The story put through is obviously the next chapter, post Avengers: End Game and explains casually, how Peter Parker is affected, after the sad demise of Tony Stark (Iron Man).

The direction (by Jon Watts – who also directed the first part) is great. The technological/graphical parts of the film [which is most of the film] will impress you. A lot. It is really mind blowing what all you can create by just putting green screens everywhere around the actors and letting a computer do it’s part. Undoubtedly, the graphic and/or VFX (visual effects) designers do most of it.

One thing I couldn’t understand is that how Mary Jane’s (MJ) character has completely taken a turn from what we had witnessed in the Tobey Maguire‘s Spider-Man series. Herein, MJ (played by Zendaya) is completely obsessed with Peter Parker [and weirdly stalks him too] since the first part, Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was a complete different scenario in Sam Raimi‘s directed Spider-Man franchise.

It is rejuvenating to have a new character, Jake Gyllenhaal (as Mysterio) who actually enhanced the film. He is truly a brilliant actor. Sober, yet effective. The twists and turns in this sequel, along with great suspenseful moments will keep surprising you every now and then. The comedy portion is a little less, however present, compared to other Marvel films.

Everything has changed, ever since the brilliant Tom Holland (as Peter Parker/Spider-Man) has taken over. The costumes, the actors, the names, the villains. For the most basic examples, Aunt May/May Parker’s character is now played by the sizzling Marisa Tomei or Peter Parker has a best friend, Ned Leeds (played by Jacob Batalon). Beginning from 2002, what Spider-Man (played by Tobey Maguire) used to be and what it is now. How the characters revolving around him have altered. How Spider-Man got involved with Avengers. The inclusion of Tony Stark/Iron Man in his life. I have accepted it. It’s great. Yet, deep down somewhere in my heart, I will always miss Tobey Maguire. What he created on the screen was something else. Unspeakable. Magic.

4/5

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Posted in Action, Crime, Fiction, Hollywood, Thriller

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

Posted in Action, Adventure, Animation, Cartoon, Comedy, Fiction, Hollywood, Romantic

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

Posted in Action, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Sacred Games – Game changer.

I tweeted, tagging the cast and creators of this show post watching it, lauding and being really glad about India upping their game with this masterpiece. Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane have created a prodigy, after all.

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It is said that novels are much better than shows which are based on them. But, I think Kashyap (director) and Varun Grover, Smita Singh & Vasant Nath (screenplay writers) flipped that scenario by making this so craftily. Undoubtedly, it is based on Vikram Chandra‘s novel of the same name from 2006.

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About a year from the release of this glorious show, I had heard confirmations of Khan making his debut on a TV platform or rather web series which made him the first out of all Bollywood actors to do so. I was skeptical yet felt proud. Then when the poster released of this and Nawazuddin Siddiqui was seen playing an antagonist. There went my skepticism, out of the window, almost instantaneously.

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Let’s see what we have here. Exceptional veteran actors (Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan, Pankaj Tripathi, Aamir Bashir, Neeraj Kabi, Chittaranjan Tripathy, Samir Kochhar, Saurabh Sachdeva & Girish Kulkarni) and proficient new ones (Jatin Sarna, Rajshri Deshpande, Kubra Sait, Surveen Chawla, Geetanjali Thapa, Anil Charanjeet, Radhika Apte & Vikram Kochar). A well-written and conceptualized story (Grover, Singh & Nath). A mind boggling background score (Alokananda Dasgupta) and musical track (Phenom, Divine & Rachita Arora). Plus, to top it off, a phenomenal direction (Kashyap & Motwane) and superb photography work (Swapnil Sonawale, Sylvester Fonsenca & Aseem Bajaj). You cannot go wrong. Sacred Games is my Netflix recommend, if you STILL haven’t seen it.

4.5/5

Posted in Action, Adventure, Animation, Cartoon, Comedy, Fiction, Hollywood, SciFi

Pokémon Detective Pikachu – Reminiscing, slightly.

I wasn’t going to watch this film for Pokémon or the characters and hell I didn’t even know many of them. What really got my attention was when I read that Ryan Reynolds has given his crazy voice to the character of Pikachu. The Deadpool star is one of my favorite actors because of his great sense of humor.

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This collaboration of actual human actors and Pokémon monsters was really well thought of, yet, lacks so much in the story and the addition of various other characters/monsters. There are 812, according to Wikipedia. It is a secret as to why Reynolds adds his comedic manly touch to the cute, adorable Pikachu, which, shall be revealed way after the climax of the flick.

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Inclusive of a display of some next-generation technology, some great graphical representation, this film is adventurous. It has a good portion of comedy, thanks to Ryan Reynolds, of course. Rob Letterman, the director, who has made a few beautiful films in the past, unfortunately, couldn’t bring out the charisma, which was very much required in this game-adapted Pokémon Detective Pikachu.

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Apart from some moments of recollection of our good old memories concerning this legendary Japanese game and characters (or monsters) [which has been played on various different mediums since 1995], there are only a few notable things this film has to offer. Which reminds me to mention about a superb upcoming actor, Justice Smith (as Tim Goodman). With great dialogue delivery and facial expressions, he is quite the impressive one. A year younger to him, the female lead, Kathryn Newton (as Lucy Stevens) still has a few skills to master, however, is not that bad an actor. Probably experience shall teach the pretty one some more.

2/5

Posted in Action, Drama, Fiction, Hollywood, SciFi, Superhero, Technology

Avengers: End Game – No spoilers inside.

Over the decades, we were made to believe that superheroes always save the day and it always ends on the note of happily ever after. Post Avengers: Infinity War, the directors (Anthony & Joe) took the Avengers series to the next level. It had grown older. It had bigger wings. It had a more realistic and a mature approach. It has reached beyond the point where the graphical representation, the actors’ performances or even the photographic work are being praised. We are way past that. Hence, it is the plot or script where it must actually flourish.

Admitting, that this one had a mediocre start. A little laid back. Possibly more practical. More human-like. The most longed-for film is huge, yet, it is not what I wanted it to be, or as per my assumption and what many of the moviegoers [especially Marvel fans] might have wanted it to be. However, it makes you run through a lot of emotions. It is inclusive of a few applause-worthy and whistle-worthy scenes. Avengers: End Game has explained the term C’est La Vie, very conspicuously. Two factors which were supported and displayed in a crystal manner, were feminism and racism. In my opinion, these factors are supposed to be conveyed very indirectly. Furthermore, this motion picture is running for twenty four hours in a few parts of the world. It has already made double of it’s investment, in the matter of two days. Fans have watched it five to six times already. That is something!

It is beautiful how Anthony and Joe Russo stitched the ten years of films of the MCU along with the End Game, combining the past, the present and the future and gave it a sense of completion. The appreciable factor is that the audience were kind and lived up to Russo brothers’ expectations and made sure to follow their appeal. Moreover, it is also important that you know that if you are expecting any after credit scenes [which Marvel fans usually do; even I did], there aren’t any. And a more pressing matter is that if you haven’t been following all the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks, you WILL not understand the details of the characters and the film.

If I talk any more about the flick, the chances of a disclosure is very high.

3.5/5

Posted in Action, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Inspirational, Spy, Thriller

Romeo Akbar Walter – Master of disguise.

Stories like these keep my belief in Bollywood film industry alive. They come once in a year, though. It is how director Robbie Grewal kept us devoted to his film, the theater screen, until the end, he marks his win.

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Espionage-Spy-Action-Thriller is what they call it when referring to the film’s genre. Espionage-Spy is one of my favorite genres in motion pictures, serials and books. And that is not the reason I am favoring Romeo Akbar Walter (R.A.W). I have always believed and even mentioned in my previous articles that the plot (written by Grewal, Ishraq Eba and Shreyansh Pandey) is the backbone of any film. Here, it excels. The direction, on the top of it adds glamour to the story, making it look fantastic.

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However, how much I wished I could watch this film uncensored. U.A.E has always been really strict in censoring films [and cutting scenes only from films they don’t like]. It causes so much disturbance and irritation to moviegoers, especially, who are observant to detail. Moving on, setting aside a few scenes where I feel that it was overdone, the background score is ninety five percent accurate. Which also brings me to praise the soundtrack of the film which is composed by various artists. Jee Len De is easily my favorite out of all because it is the first time we get to hear Mohit Chauhan sing a Punjabi song in his fascinating voice.

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Jackie Shroff is absolute class as far his performance is concerned. Apart from him, Sikander Kher, Anil George and Raghubir Yadav make themselves stand out, with their exceptional acting. Pretty convincing. One character which was completely meaningless in the film was Mouni Roy‘s. Plus, her evident plastic lips are too disgusting to glance at. Romeo Akbar Walter is a dedication to every Indian RAW agent who’s existence is extirpated from the records when and if they are sent to secret missions. Who give up on their family, closed ones and their life just to serve their country.

It is hard to believe that I am going to be giving a good rating to a John Abraham flick. Films with him as a lead are usually okay, not this great. Howbeit, he has improved quite a bit. Winding up this article, I would just mention that ideologies like R.A.W have been developed and delivered in Bollywood before. It is just how strong the script and the execution are to keep you glued to your seats. And this one has kept all boxes ticked for me.

4/5