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 Bollywood, Comedy, Drama, Fiction, Inspirational, Psychological, Reality Check, Romantic, Sports

Chhichhore – Entertainingly inspirational.

The writer and director of Dangal enters the ring again and this time without the ‘A’ factor. Could he (Nitesh Tiwari) actually do something as wondrous as his last directorial? Let’s find out.

First of all, full points to the casting director and the cast itself. Not only the the extremely talented Sushant Singh Rajput (as Anirudh “Anni” Pathak), Shraddha Kapoor (as Maya), Prateik Babbar (as Raggie) and Varun Sharma (as Gurmeet “Sexa” Singh Dhillon) gave great performances but the newbies and the lesser experienced Tahir Raj Bhasin (as Derek), Naveen Polishetty (as Acid), Tushar Pandey (as Sunder “Mummy” Saxena), Saharsh Kumar (as Bevda) and Mohammed Samad (as Raghav) too were exceptional.

The predictable plot inspires us with a message which is mostly directed towards the young students of India. Chhichhore is surprisingly funny. It gets serious when necessary. It generates hope. It has concentrated on a topic which has just been a tad part of a few films before. Nitesh Tiwari, Piyush Gupta and Nikhil Mehrotra, the screenplay writers, enhance this topic with grace and successfully keep it peppy at the same time.

The music by Pritam is not too bad. It doesn’t interfere in anyway in the film. Just graciously plays as a background score, adding the required emotion to it. Plus, the kind of reviews I have been hearing about last week’s Saaho, I surmise it is safe to say that this one’s a better watch.

3.5/5

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 General, Psychological, Reality Check, Social Media, Technology

Is WhatsApp a lifeline today?

I tried this for ten odd days when I had given my phone for repair and didn’t have a backup phone. I said to myself, “Let’s try living in a world without WhatsApp”. I put my sim card in a feature phone – which doesn’t have a capability of installation and usage of social media applications and messengers. I had a little bit of ego growing inside of me. Whoever wants to contact me, shall do it in any way. There are other mediums too. They could call me? Or text me. Just like the olden times. The era of late nineties and most of 2000’s.

Most of my contacts didn’t realize that I am off WhatsApp. Well, I had put it on my story. Didn’t they see it? I used to log in on my Facebook account, once in a while, through my laptop to check if it really was the “other” medium of communication. But, I found my inbox empty.

I really didn’t bother so much about my friends and family trying to connect with me or contacting through this application. Because I knew they would do it through any medium, if they really needed me. Whom I got worried about, were my clients. Some of which contacted me ONLY through WhatsApp to place orders. And when finally I made a rough decision of buying a low-budget backup phone and appeared again on WhatsApp, there really was a message from one of my clients {along with hundred other group chat messages and personal messages from friends} and he did give me a couple of orders. If I would have been a week late, I might have not gotten that order.

I really feel that most of us humans have become so dependent on WhatsApp. Probably chained and locked to it. Gone are the days where we used to be without smartphones. Gone are the days where there used to be so much of letter writing. Gone are the days where there used to be one-to-one, face-to-face, real conversations. Hence, I want to ask you this question. Do you really think business should be done on these social messengers? Isn’t electronic mail a better option? Doesn’t it feel more professional? Can WhatsApp and other social messengers be neglected? Just for a little bit of peace, perhaps?

Posted in Fiction, Hollywood, Horror, Psychological, Thriller

Orphan – The out of the box horror.

Sometimes, intending to do a good deed and eventually doing it, for the sake of a life and giving a tribute to a baby who couldn’t succeed in being born after dying in a mother’s womb, can also become dangerously harmful. This film is precisely about that.

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Thus, I did a little research on Jaume Collet-Serra, the director of this film and realized that he is the one who also directed Non-Stop, starring Liam Neeson. I found out that he had earned his limelight after Orphan, where he helped the child actor (Isabelle) get critically acclaimed for her performance.

The flick has a great concept, kept me absorbed, all the time. I highly find the star cast commendable, especially the lead child actor Isabelle Fuhrman. Orphan is suspenseful and thrilling even though it carries the genre of a psychological horror. With the unbeatable direction, I’d say that Jaume deserves all the recognition for this film, for bringing out the best in the actors such as Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard and making each sequence so intensified and detailed.

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Moreover, the background score by John Ottman is really enhancing the horror scenes, making them scarier. If a director leaves an effect after his film onto your mind, no matter what emotion may it be: happy, scared, thrilled or motivated for a period of time, then I think that director is a mastermind and thus, has the power to create any kind of magic to boggle your mind.

It is a very present-day film.

3.5/5