Posted in Crime, Drama, Fiction, Hollywood, Mystery, Psychological, Suspense, Thriller

Joker – Fly Phoenix, fly!

First off, comparisons cannot be made as to how Heath Ledger portrayed Joker’s character with Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal. Both are equally worthy of every praise they have received.

With the fanatic twists and turns, great suspense elements and a fine performance, Joker makes sure you are tied to your seat in one pose for the entire 122 minutes. Todd Phillips (co-writer and director) is known for more films categorizing under the comedy section. It was quite surprising to see that he could flip completely around and create a psychological thriller so proficiently that it could drive the audience crazy.

There ought to be a different paragraph when I am writing about Joaquin Phoenix. The film excels with his presence. His expressions, dialogue delivery make the film reach to the level of magnificence. He is the heartbeat to it. Believe you me, it is an Oscar-winning performance.

Everything from direction to individual performances has been no less than brilliant. This includes the mind blowing cinematography (by Lawrence Sher). Phillips and Scott Silver (co-writer) have clearly outdone themselves. Another thing which caught my attention was the outstanding background score (by Hildur Guðnadóttir), which was so befitting for the time the flick is shown from, 1981.

No, it is not as scary as people are claiming it to be. Phillips has beautifully depicted how Arthur Fleck turns into Joker and what makes him turn into a complete nuisance. How it all starts. Lastly, Robert De Niro (as Murray Franklin), Zazie Beats (as Sofie Domund) and Frances Conroy (as Penny Fleck) fortified Phoenix well.

4.5/5

Posted in Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Mystery, Psychological, Reality Check, Suspense

Section 375 – The intriguing courtroom drama.

Akshaye Khanna had faced more downfall than success in his 22 years of service in the Bollywood industry. It indeed was his poor choice of films. Sometimes he did great films in consecution to his previous good film and sometimes it took him two years to do a film which would emerge as a success at box office or in terms of the plot (critically acclaimed films).

Ever since he was back in the business in 2016, after a four-year break, he has been even more powerful an actor, whether he played a negative or a positive role. I have always favored him since his initial films, Border (1997) and Taal (1999) because of his habit of capturing the audience’s attention, every single time, with his serious skill in playing a character. The plot in this one determines, very strongly, how some of the laws of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are being ridiculously misused to favor the accuser, just as an act of revenge or in order to punish the accused, even more strongly.

Section 375 is one of the most enthralling flicks I have seen in this year. Not only Khanna (as criminal lawyer Tarun Saluja), but Richa Chadha (as public prosecutor Hiral Gandhi), Meera Chopra (as Anjali Dangle), Sriswara (as Kainaaz) and veterans like Kruttika Desai (as Female Judge) and Kishore Kadam (Male Judge) gave noteworthy performances. It was surprising to see Rahul Bhat (as film director Rohan Khurrana) in a more evident role after Abhishek Kapoor‘s Fitoor (2016). Furthermore, there was no music required in a courtroom drama and hence there is none.

With films like Humraaz (2002), Hungama (2003), Deewaar (2004), Hulchul (2004), 36 Chinatown (2006) and Race (2008), he wasn’t given his due even after some stories being good and some great. Why I speak about him extendedly in this article is because, without a doubt, this flick is Akshaye Khanna‘s best performance of his, a-little-more-than two decade old career.

I am really glad that people like Manish Gupta (screenplay) and Ajay Bahl (director) are bringing stories based on the laws of Indian Penal Code to the Hindi cinema. It gives you a brilliant dialogue with a greater command in the English language rather than the regular Hindi. Do watch this one before it runs out of the theaters. After all, it is a small-budget motion picture.

4/5

Posted in Black Comedy, Crime, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Psychological, Suspense, Television, Thriller, TV

Dexter – Sensational.

Who would have thought that an antagonist could actually be so intimidating that everybody start to love him. Well, the director and screen writer, James Manos Jr. surely kept this for the audience to decide. Sure, it is based on the novel, Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay, but Manos Jr. made sure it aired on television.

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If we talk about the plot and the direction of a television series, I can assure you that this is one of the best you’ll ever see. Now, this was created in the time where technology hadn’t been so much of an aid to the screenplay, hence, it was the story and the cast, taking on the full responsibility of deciding whether or not it is going to be a hit.

Now, seeking through the blurry images in my mind, I remember I had read someone’s status on Facebook, praising about this Dexter show and as all the users usually swipe up the news feed ignoring most of the normal stuff, I also let this status pass on to view the next funny “meme”.

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Who would have thought that many years later, I would actually end up watching the show and love it unconditionally. Although, I must warn you that it might not be for everyone. Especially for the psychologically weak people. No offense but it does categorize under psychological thriller and dark comedy alongside crime drama and mystery. Plus, it did create a few real time, heavily inspired murderers.

A big round of applause to the main, recurring [Michael. C. Hall (as Dexter Morgan) – who undoubtedly stole the show, Jennifer Carpenter (as Debra Morgan), Erik King (as James Doakes), Lauren Vélez (as Maria LaGuerta), David Zayas (as Angel Batista), Julie Benz (as Rita Bennett), James Remar (as Harry Morgan), C. S. Lee (as Vince Masuka), Desmond Harrington (as Joey Quinn), Geoff Pierson (as Thomas Matthews) and Aimee Garcia (as Jamie Batista)] and the guest cast for their mind-blowing performances.

I must praise the intriguing story and how successfully it maintained it’s quality throughout the eight seasons. It is ruthless. It is frightening. It is nail-biting. It is a cold-blooded suspense thriller. If you have the heart, I would recommend this one.

4.5/5

Posted in Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Fiction, Mystery, Psychological, Suspense, Television, Thriller, TV

Sacred Games 2 – A let down.

When you have set your standards so high, you have got to go higher! Not come slipping down. Also, you need to be really careful when you are unveiling a story of the past. It MUST be equal or higher in terms of generating inclination towards it. At least, I am not disappointed with the newly added cast [Ranvir Shorey (as Shahid Khan) and Kalki Koechlin (as Batya Abelman)] because they didn’t seem improper or out of place.

For those who also have seen Game Of Thrones, you’ll agree to my next few words. Khanna Guruji‘s (played by Pankaj Tripathi) and Daenerys Targaryen‘s (Mother Of The Dragons/Khaleesi) thinking is exactly the same. AND both of these revelations came to me as a shock, as it might have come to you too.

Yes, you might have heard, it is slow until the episode five because it takes you through the audacious Ganesh Gaitonde‘s (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) second phase of life. Notwithstanding, the grade of the last episode just falls down the cliff. So, we waited all this while to watch three good episodes of Sacred Games 2? Unbelievably, the makers have left the show hanging, ending it with another suspense which makes it seem like there will be a third season.

I definitely don’t blame any of the cast because they gave exceedingly exceptional performances. All of them! The direction couldn’t be any better (by Neeraj Ghaywan and Anurag Kashyap). The plot or the screenplay (by Dhruv Narang, Pooja Tolani, Nihit Bhave and Varun Grover) is what I am heavily concerned about. It is just went below the expectation.

2/5

Posted in Based On True Events, Bollywood, Crime, Drama

Super 30 – The unexpected comeback.

After Bang Bang!, he said he isn’t interested in a remake. Then he took more than two and a half years to appear in a film. As a fan, I almost gave up until I saw the poster of Super 30.

Hrithik Roshan has beaten all odds and mastered himself in dance and acting since the last two decades. He occasionally sings as well. And he did his homework on the local Uttar Pradesh accent before this film. But I don’t know whether it is his luck or his personal life which is really affecting him because he is yet to choose a game-changing script.

The topic chosen in this film is interesting and one cannot complain about the lead and supporting actors because including Roshan, the newbies and the veterans, Mrunal Thakur, Virendra Saxena, Pankaj Tripathi, Aditya Shrivastava, Nandish Singh and Vijay Varma (and Amit Sadh with a cameo) have given their best, BUT, the flick is so stretched that a moviegoer will feel agitated at some point. The script (Sanjeev Dutta) could have been sharpened a little more.

Look, it is set to give a good inspiration. It is based on a real person with the same name as the lead character’s and his life-changing mission. There are good moments in the film too. Some of the scenes are even hitting the right chord of emotion by providing a reality check.

At the same time, the graph of this film isn’t constant or continuously rocketing, it is going like a heartbeat. Wavering. I am guessing Vikas Bahl‘s (director) stars were in the right position only at the time of Queen (2014). Even the music (AjayAtul) is okay. The track Basanti No Dance is composed, choreographed and performed well. It was also great to hear Udit Narayan again, in a proper song (Jugraafiya) and not a remodel.

This motion picture made me realise how and why a poor person takes time to respond to a person superior in terms of caste, cash, creed or color, if confronted. It’s sad. Super 30 is shown to the world from the poor person’s perception. Slowly.

3.5/5

Posted in Based On True Events, Bollywood, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Article 15 – The underdog.

A film that urges you to think on your outlook on things. A plot that will make you wonder, how is the country, with the second largest population in the world, working with disobeying one of the biggest rules of the Indian Constitution.

I love it when unusual and unspoken topics come out in the open to gain exposure. Anubhav Sinha, brings us another one of his master stories covering one of the biggest topics in India and probably in the world too, discrimination.

Article 15 speaks about the law of the same name in the constitution of India. It is a tale which describes the immense measures of filth which are used against people who are considered of a lower caste.

It is based on a couple of true incidents in India from the years 2014 and 2016. The way it has been portrayed by Sinha (writer and director), Gaurav Solanki (writer) and Ewan Mulligan (cinematography) is worth watching in the theater, at least once. A great combination of crime, drama and thriller genres along with a remarkable background score makes sure that the chill in your spine remains for a long time. There is hardly any musical videos displayed because of the intense script. Not that it was needed.

Some say that Ayushman Khurrana is always being overrated. But I’d say that he is doing what most big stars deny doing because of their “reputation”. He is working hard and it shows. In this one too, in fact, obviously in conjunction with a few incredible performers, Kumud Mishra, Manoj Pahwa, Isha Talwar, Sayani Gupta, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Akash Dhabhade, Ashish Verma, Veen and Ronjini Chakraborty.

4/5

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