Just for Movie Freaks

Movie Reviews & Editorials

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Blog posts March 2014

Noah - Movie Review

Verdict: “Extremely exhilarating at times and deeply emotive in its approach.”

A wide range of controversies swiveled around this movie by various religious groups as Noah movie is broadly recognised for its provoking debates among the film fans.

Enduring the "Book Adaptation" tradition, Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" delve into the narrative part and enlightens the factual story behind the "Book of Genesis" with Noah identified as the chosen one by the creator and is assigned a job to build an arc which provides shelter for all living creatures before the terrain comprised with human beings was swamped leaving nothing but a gigantic catastrophe behind.

About the contentious part of the movie, the story was a bit  offensive. Now! I absolutely have no knowledge about the actual happenings, but as per my exploration few parts of the movie were purely fictious. According to Aronofsky, his intent is to deliver a fictional subject which was principally adapted from its source material. Because it's something illusory, it may indeed bother you to some extent if you're specific on this particular subject.

On a filmic perspective, the movie does take a while to establish the characters and the story, for me it is crucial to take time and develop the storyline because the focal point of the movie depends on the heart-trending emotion and the reaction of a human when he was given an ultimatum.

As I stated earlier, the characters were pretty much imposing. Aronofsky and Ari Handel developed Noah's character with contrast shades of fear, faith and wickedness. His enthusiasm towards the creator may sometime impair few relationships and that is really well shown in the movie.

With his dichotomous character, Russel Crowe was completely immaculate with his performance and also did an astounding job in varying the likable and the unlikable aspects in his character. Ray Whinstone was great as this evil leader who manipultes people easily. Jennifer Connely and the Emma Watson characters were mostly poignant throughout the movie and they are usually superlative with their performances.

Because its specified as a biblical epic, special effects are largely used in the movie. Although I throughouly enjoyed the overall usuage of CGI, few parts are perceptible which is not an upsetting factor. Alike Aronfsky's previous movies, the editing style was unique and the background score by Clint Mansell strengthened the narration of the movie.

Nevertheless, Noah is not a movie which follows up it's original accurately. It adds few fictional elements which may offend you. But on a cinematic standpoint, it deeply edifies the feelings of a human being in tandem with few epic thrill-seeking sequences. Recommended!

My Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Ceylon aka Inam - Movie Review

Verdict: “Highly disturbing narrative fiction, that will make you leave the theatre with a heavy heart.”

Inam, directed by the legendary cinematographer Santhosh Sivan is set in the back drop of the Sri Lankan Civil War. It depicts the sufferings of thousands of Lankan Tamils who were caught in among the conflicts of LTTE and Sri Lankan Gouvernment.

The film commences with Rajini (Sugandha Ram), a young refugee recollecting the disastrous happenings in her homeland. Tsunami Akka (Saritha) gives shelter to Rajini and many other children who had lost their families in the war. She is being assisted by Stanley (Karunas), a school teacher.

Nandan (S.Karan), a young boy with down syndrome had been rescued by the children and is taken to the orphanage. He himself had a knife and is searching for his brother.

Besides the constant gun shooting and bombing, the children are bound together by the love and affection of Tsunami Akka. But when Savithiri a refugee girl, is taken away on the pretext of questioning and is raped. Incensed by the ignoble incident, a bunch of boys along with Savithiri leaves the orphanage to join the war.

Facing all the adversity and dissipated pleasures of the Sri Lankan soldiers, how Rajini and others cross the ocean to reach the refugee camp in India forms the rest of the story.

The film shouldn’t be missed for three factors, S.Karan’s acting, Vishal Chandrasekhar’s background score and Santhosh Sivan’s cinematography.

S. Karan as Nandan, a boy with down syndrome had given an awe-inspiring performance. His body language and mispronounced dialogues are not to be missed, especially his frequent use of the phrase “My Mr. Friend”.

Vishal Chandrasekar's background score was another strength of the film. His composition perfectly reflected the actors struggle and the condition of the war.

Santhosh Sivan's camera work was stupendous. He had come out with a script which is not easy to be made into a film. He worked really well on each and every character in detail. The brave attempt to make a film about the refugees of civil war should be appreciated.

Finally, Ceylon had some intense story telling about the refugees, their dark, disturbing life and struggle; the desire to attain freedom from disturbance and mental calmness.

My Rating: 4/5
Grade: A (The best one around!)
-By Nirmalraj aka AK (@NirmalRaj2911)

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Ragini MMS 2 - Movie Review

Verdict - “A slothful attempt that ended up with a disappointment.”

The film opens with the plot we all are aware of, Director Bhushan Rocks (Parvin Dabas) plans to shoot a movie based on the Ragini MMS event in the same locality that was obviously haunted. Knowing that they are already wedged in a creepy situation, some members of the crew begin to experience few uncanny occurrences around the house that perceptibly lead to an upsetting past and a ravenous evil seeking for retribution.

Judging by the trailers of the movie, I'm quite sure about the object they are aiming to and I indeed appreciate that. But on a serious note, I'm all geared up for all the terrible aspects of the movie that discernibly makes the movie an inferior one.

The script was captivating to prolong the movie into a decent thriller but the abysmal standard in writing the screenplay was a worrying factor. It was a lifeless attempt by adding a scarce amount of erotic scenes and many sequences in the movie leads to an amatory ending which was appalling.

Moreover, the movie didn't generate any kind of tension in me, I was sitting with a flat face throughout the movie. The weak jump scares are rather laughable than creating a certain amount of trepidation inside me.

It was generally annoying to hear loud sounds so as to undergo a horrific situtation, it exhibits the lack of creativity in the director and I'm not a fan of CGI generated demons that are widely used in the movie, it usually takes me out of the experience.

Besides everything, the characters in the movie are largely underdeveloped, the funniness they are trying to pull out in few scenes didn't really work out. Sunny Leone was assigned to do a particular job and she accomplished it incredibly well. Although she was awful with her poor acting ability, she stood as an eye-catching factor for the movie with her sizzling looks.

Constructing a horror movie is a tough task and I absolutely respect the attempt of the filmmaker. That being said, adding something genuine to the movie was the thing that really fascinate the audience members and enrich the quality in a horror movie and Ragini MMS 2 doesn't adhere to any of these points and concluded with a giant disappointment.

My Rating - 1/5
Grade - D (Disastrous piece of movie!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Veronica Mars - Movie Review

Verdict - “Kristen Bell shines bright in a splendid captivating thriler.”

As I didn't watch the original TV series, Veronica Mars, I'm pretty much unfamiliar with the whole plot and as per my research, the movie is a continuation of the television series, nine years after the actual narrative.

After a quick glance of the events from the television series. The movie kick starts with Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) now a NYC resident with a much enhanced personality and also with a job awaiting in a major law firm. She believes in the contemporary world and considers to revive her career in a distinct way.

Subsequent to her daily life activities, she receives an imperative call from her ex-boyfriend Logan, as he requests Veronica's help after being accused for a murder against a mainstream pop-star Bonnie DeVille.

With his compelling style on the screenplay, director Rob Thomas controlled the movie with a gripping storyline which will predominantly enthral you. It mixes up things rapidly which you can comprehend easily even though it's perceptive in every significant frame. Likewise, the dialogues were penned beautifully which are quite candid and authentic.

However, on a negative note, the climax was slightly tedious, it does its job in unwinding the mysterious outline but the antihero aspect of the film was not memorable. Also I'm concerned about few other storylines which are unnecessary and artificial.

Kristen Bell does a tremendous job as the main protagonist of the movie. Her straightforward effortless style and her charming screen presence,fetches the movie to a whole new level. The other characters in the movie are forgettable and I also assert that as a major drawback.

With an intermix of all the good aspects, Veronica Mars is a captivating thriller with an interesting storyline merged with an incredible performance from Kristen Bell which will definitely appeal you with few inspirational attributes of life.

My Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Bewakoofiyaan - Movie Review

Verdict - “A pointless entertainer which was unremarkable.”

Mohit Chadhdha (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Mayera (Sonam Kapoor) are a jovial yet sympathetic pair with an ongoing relationship for two years. With an upgrade in his occupation, Mohit proposes Mayera for marriage and she cheerfully accepts.

Knowing that Mayera's father VK Sehgal (Rishi Kapoor) is a giant obstacle in their relationship, Mohit tries to persuade and impress him in the best way possible and often diminishes himself in every attempt. Eventually Mohit gets dismissed from his job and things get complicated even more with an inaccurate destination.

I'm a bit cynical after watching the initial promos of the film, the story looked a bit generic and dull for the most part and sadly the movie also doesn't concede anything novel other than that.

Above all, I can state it as a two faced movie. It dispenses pointless entertainment and compacts with both reality and unreality factors.

The uncertainity of the writer Habib Faisal is an upsetting factor of the film, trying to add diverting fillers in an insipid story ruined the movie predominantly. The climax is forseeable and we've been put into a perplexing ride to reach the main target.

Director, Nupur Asthana must adhere to the given script and she does an okay job with it. The production value of the movie was quite appealing and well utilized. Neha Parti Martiyani's cinematograpy and Raghu Dixit's music assisted the movie on a satisfactory note.

Ayushmann Khuranna somehow plays his character well but it's completely unmemorable. Sonam Kapoor's character as a supportive caring girlfriend was likable but as I previously stated, they are generic.

Rishi Kapoor is absolutely delightful to watch and his character was the imposing aspect of the whole movie. His dominating persona and the amusing humour was completely believable and engaging.

Overall, Bewakoofiyaan is not a storyteller, it holds with a stale storyline and tries to spread out into few confusing ways which are forgettable after fifteen minutes. It tries to deliver the amusement which may sporadically appeal you. Not a definite watch, but if you're enthusiastic, go for it.

My Rating - 2.5/5
Grade - C+ (It deserves your attention for a while!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Grand Piano - Movie Review (Short Version)

Verdict - “A masterpiece in it's own standards.”

The movie opens with the widely known piano player Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) preparing for a classical concert in the memory of his mentor who passed away recently. He's been in disguise for five years after choking hugely on a major event and still couldn't liberate himself from the past.

After receiving his notes for the concert, he perceives unknown signs and lines which extorts him to play the perfect tune without choking. Distrusting the situation as a prank, he eventually realizes that he's been trapped in a dreadful situation prearranged by Clem (John Cusack) and is coerced to play or else his wife will be shot dead.

Straight away with the positives! Director, Eugenio Mira guided the suspense in the film magnificently, the unnerving camera shots with a seamless set design work added an eerie flavour to the movie.

Ofcourse, the story of the movie was minimal but the screenwriter Damien Chazelle never dissatisfies in buliding up the tension and the thrill. It was tight, gripping and absolutely captivating in every single frame.

They are few flaws which can be taken into consideration, the climax of the movie was a let down. Even after an impeccable setup, it didn't really carry the edginess for the most part and concluded in a generic way. Also few characters are wearisome and totally under developed.

Eljah Wood in the movie was tremendous, he carried out the tension in his character flawlessly and also managed to pull out all the piano scenes in a believavle way. John Cusack's voiceover throughout the movie was appealing and spooky.

On the whole, Grand Piano is a masterpiece in it's own standards and imparts many things on a fimmaking stand point . It's fascinating, enthralling and a well directed thriller from Eugenio Miro. Definitely worth checking it out for their tremendous attempt.

My Rating - 4/5 | Grade - A
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Nymphomaniac Vol. 1 & 2 - Movie Review

Verdict - “Valiant and frank. Definitely sets new standards in flimmaking.”

Before watching the movie, you should be conscious that this movie is hard to watch, it mainly enlightens deeply into sexuality and how things are influenced by these situations. Word of warning given!

Seligman (Stellan Scarsgard) finds a woman named Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) crushed and thrown on a downtown alley, she's in anguish with several cuts and wounds and Seligman takes her to his home for protection.

Later on, they get into a deeper conversation and Joe starts narrating her story beginning from her childhood. She expresses that she's been a Nymphomaniac and has this perpetual affection towards it. The whole narrative process is serialized into eight chapters beginning from her youth.

Director, Lars von Trier's vision in enlighting the character of Joe in every single stage can be considered as a major plus point. He displays how a family can be affected by her addiction and also exhibits that she's been suffering from miserable consequences that made her contemplate towards sex. In the second volume, he also displays that Joe is humiliated with her own personality which makes her react to ordinary things in an aggressive way.

Also, a superior thing that I adored the most was the comparision between men and sex with musical notes and also when he took references from the things surrounding the environment and explained about them concisely.

On a technical standpoint, the movie was brilliant. The visual representation of the director was deeply impressive in the beginning scene when he compares fishing with sex by just illustrating few angling scenes. Also the arthimetical portrayal of a scene by displaying numbers and words on the screen was precise and detailed.

They are few earnest things also explained in the movie like how to try and find a good detail even in a bad situation and how sex is so distinctive when compared to love which was cleverly justifed in the movie.

Charlotte Gainsbourg is the foremost lead for the whole movie, she mainly narrates the whole story in the first volume and gets more screen presence in the second volume where she's quite strong with her performance. Her character in the second volume was solid and also have few severe beat down scenes which are really hard to watch.

Shia LaBeouf enacts a small character and he looks confident and smart with his portrayal. Stacy Martin is the main lead throughout the first volume and she absolutely owns the role. Although it's quite disturbing to involve in sexual activities, she does it with ease counted in with straightforwardness.

For the most part, Nymphomaniac is new, fresh and contoversial. You may deeply get offended by it or may relish the art of film making with a great perspective. Don't consider it as a sexual pleasure cause what's shown in the movie is not severely erotic or stimulating. Highly recommended only for those who deeply love movies and has the intent to learn something innovative.

My Rating - 4/5 | Grade - A
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Total Siyapaa - Movie Review

Verdict - “Total Siyappa turns out to be Siyappa for viewers”

Asha (Yami Gautam) brings home Aman (Ali Zafar), her boyfriend. All seems normal until Asha's mom (Kirron Kher) finds out that Aman is a Pakistani while Asha and her family are Indians.

If you’ve watched the trailers of Total Siyappa, probably you’ve seen most of the the fun parts, barring a few.

Ali Zafar is as usual charming & plays his part perfectly, while Yami Gautam doesn't have much scope to show off her acting skills. Anupam Kher is totally wasted. Sara Khan & rest all are passable. 

But the saving grace of the film is Kirron Kher. She has an excellent comic timing and nails the Bollywood clichéd, over-the-top Punjabi mother with a ease. 

There are uncountable flaws in direction. Director E Niwas does a terrible job. Neeraj Panday's writing is a big letdown. Never expected this from the man who gave us films like A Wednesday & Special 26.

Total Siyapaa's music is first rate. Ali Zafar has done a commendable work in the music department. All the songs are very well sung by him.

The first hour of the film is average while the second half is awful. It seemed that even the makers didn't know where the story is heading. Even at one-hour-and-fifty-minutes, the film does test our patience.

Only for Kirron Kher & the film's music, I'll rate Total Siyappa one point five out of five stars.

My Rating - 1.5/5 | Grade - D+
-By Nisarg Shah (@Nisakki)

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Queen - Movie Review

Verdict - “Kangana is fabulous in a unique fun ride. Not to be missed.”

Rani (Kangana Ranaut) is an introverted girl who is all excited for her marriage with her boyfriend Vijay (Rajkummar Rao). Right after all the traditional festivities Vijay finds Rani timid and turns down the whole marriage, Rani tries to beseech Vijay but he's no longer in a state to accept her. Disheartened and disturbed with her situation, Rani decides to travel to Paris all alone (which is a part of her honeymoon before) with no detailed destination and many waggish dreams to fulfill.

Movies encircled around women are definitely needed and Queen is a charming and an enjoyable entry to that genre. It showcases the character of a generous and a reserved downtown girl transform into a mature and a settled individual who establishes herself in everything she experiences.

Also the transition between the scenes are really well mastered, the idea to narrate and relate the story with many back and forth references are heartfelt and genuine. Director, Vikar Bahl disbursed more time in developing the characters and sometimes it worked really well. The whole preceeding love segment of Vijay and Rani was fresh, amusing and added a crisp romantic flavour to the movie.

That being said, The movie did get a little dull on it's approach, it started to sink down a little after forty minutes, with all the unnecessary chessy jokes which are cheap and disturbed the remarkable drift. But the movie picks up easily in the second half, where it was quite eccentric compared to a typical Bollywood movie.

Entirely hinged on the main lead, Kanagana Ranaut was outstanding throughout the movie, I really did believe in her innocence and fantasies and with an authentic character to portray, Kangana didn't take a bump in any of her scenes and is one of the best female performances I've seen in a while.

Rajkummar Rao and Lisa Haydon are decent in reprising few important roles which are short yet relatable to every extent.

To conclude, Queen is an unique ride filled with bliss, passion, guiltlessness and fearlessness. Accompanied with scenic shots and stirring background music, Queen is absolutely delightful and moving for the most part. The screenplay was slightly unbalanced but nevertheless, it's a movie which is not to be missed in theatres.

My Rating - 3.5/5
Grade - B+ (A perfect weekend pick)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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300: Rise of an Empire - Movie Review

Verdict - "Entertaining and defective. Low expectations will help"

Being sceptical is a good thing. For instance, I'm never excited for "300: Rise of an Empire". The trailers didn't really intrigue me for the most part and I'm glad that I didn't upsurge my expectations to any level.

Helmed by a whole new director, Noam Murro. Rise of an Empire is totally based on a Frank Miller graphic novel "Xerxes". Zack Snyder, the director of the first installment was credited as a writer and producer.

The movie is mainly recited by dividing it into three foremost acts, the memoir that took place before, during and after the Battle of Thermopylae. Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) is a brave and a valiant warrior who trudges with his greek army and trounces the battle against King Darius of Persian empire. [prior to the events happened in the first movie] Subsequently after his father's (King Darius) death, Xerxes turns nefarious and seeks for vengeance against the Greek realm complemented with the support of the Persian commander Artemisia (Eva Green).

Similarities compared to the first movie had to be detailed here, the stylistic bloodletting carnage is the most profound strength of 300, it set new standards in world cinema. But even after eight years in advancement, Rise of an Empire looks the same. They are few vastly improved visual effects, but the content was the same. Soaring violence, gueshed out blood, slow-mo captures, nothing novel was presented.

The screenplay was poor, it's informative and edifies us about many things that happened before and after the Battle of Thermopylae. But on a negative note, it was imperfect for the most part which leads us into more dejection. Overall, it's too customary for a combat movie to start with an inspiring speech and end up loosing someone on your side who is close to your heart.

On a postive note, even though it's conventional I enjoyed the epic conflict scenes in the movie, more like a guilty pleasure. Director, Noam Murro managed to pull out few good scenes that all we need and expect, but the lack of narration is what concerns me here. 300 turned-out well in balancing both the action and the storyline equally and that's the notable famine aspect in the second installment.

Although they pulled out few references of Leonidas in the movie, Gerald Butler didn't make an appearance. Switching Leonidas character, we got Sullivan Stapleton here, more of a frigid fearless ruler and Stapleton does a good job as the main lead. Eva Green plays the most vicious amatory antihero in the movie and she totally outplayed her character, her persona and impudent looks are arrogant and bold which had my full attention.

Though I'm not a fan of three dimensional cinema, I'm impressed with the total impact. The movie had some decent visual effects, they are dark and gloomy for the most part and the design of every single frame was unorthodox and unusual.

As a massive fan of the first movie, I was not surprised with Rise of an Empire. It elongated the story really well but the needed oomph was missing. It's still a good deal for your weekend and is a movie you can enjoy watching it in theatres and forget about it after an hour.

My Rating - 2.5/5
Grade - C+ (It derserves your attention for a while)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Philomena - Movie Review

Verdict - “A sharp, genuine and a stirring drama”

Inspired by some profound and unpleasant real events, Philomena was a book adaptation from "The Lost Child of Philomena" written by Martin Sixsmith.

Philomena (Judi Dench) was raised in a catholic organization from her teenage and later on she gives birth to baby boy (Anthony) in a inferior situation. Considering this as an offence, the organization plans to bequeath Anthony to a married couple from America as a part of adoption, Philomena was unaware about the whole situation and pleads not to carve-up Anthony from her.

Fifty years tosses away and Philomena still abides in her son's memories. Philomena's daughter Jane meets journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) [who recently lost his job in BBC] at a party and requests to write a story about his mother who was currently in pursuit of her lost son. Martin eventually agrees the proposal and takes a trip to Washington with Philomena for further investigation about Anthony.

We certainly learn about the characters really well here, Philomena is a sympathetic and has a juvenile behaviour, she likes sharing stories and often fantacizes every little thing she cares about. Dissimilar to that, Martin is an unholy irked individual who is certainly slapdash. Chemistry shines on the bright side between these two diverse characters and it's delightful to watch them get along with the story, learning about themselves in many ways.

There is indeed some harsh truth sported in the movie regarding the catholic institutions and their malicious conduct which infact hurt several lives and on a positive note, it also exhibits how generous and humane few persons can also be in certain situtations of life and that was really well balanced.

I also loved the chemistry between Judi Dench and Steven Coogan, as I stated earlier, being dissimilar to each other, their characters mingled well and postively added a lot more to the storyline. Dench was undoubtedly at her best in the movie, her poignant expressions in the climax twirled little tears in my eyes.

Director, Stephen Frears and screenwriter Jeff Pope did a really good job in handling the emotions and it was paced really well. It was sharp, intelligent and quick towards it's intent. The scenes didn't drift with melodramatic parts but certainly added a lot when it's needed.

To conclude, Philomena is a genuine heartfelt story of a caring mother trying to find his long gone son in a society filled with depraved individuals. I was moved and impressed with everything in the movie and it absolutely deserved an oscar nominaton.

My Rating - 4.5/5 | Grade - A
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Nebraska – Movie Review

Verdict – “An uncomplicated ride with enough funny elements”

Nebraska is filled with honesty and precision. In reality, I really do find senior citizens filled with confidence and guiltlessness. They often don't tend to blend with the social world. Disimilar to that, they are also few people who are grumpy, tetchy and irritable. Bitching about other family friends is customary in their behaviour. Nebraska is a concoction of all these spirits involved in a simple yet delightful journey.

Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is an unfussy yet aggravated old lad who claims that he won a million dollars in a lottery and decides to travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for collecting the prize money. Regardless of his wife Kate's (June Squibb) bitter words and his son David's (Will Forte) requests, he never concurs that the whole thing was a scam. Distressed David, assents his father's proposal, as they take a road trip to Lincoln with a dubious impression.

Now! This is a modernized black and white movie, I do have few thoughts about why it's been done in that fashion. I comprehend that Director Alexander Payne, wants us to concentrate more on the characters other than the surrounding environment. Black and white don't really attract our eyes to focus on other things happening around. Also, the tone of the movie was quite depressing and funny and that may also commence a reason behind the whole idea.

I do accede that, Nebraska is all about the characters and story telling aspect, they are no twists and turns in the entire movie, it's a candid subject. Screenwriter Bob Nelson (with no film experience before) had penned an eccentric and a peculiar story with enough quirky moments. Even in a dull environment which was not so pleasing to the eyes, I found myself enjoying the waggish humour and the envious characters of the old agers. Payne's transition technique was clever and it really mingled well.

Pleased that the movie got six academy award nominations and I really do believe that the performances are the main reason why the movie got a deserved applause. Bruce Dern's portrayal was authentic and is a perfect representation of the current old timers. June Squibb was amazing with her comical timing and every single time she was on-screen, I was totally delighted.

Nevertheless, Nebraska is an easy, uncomplicated ride with enough fun elements which sustains a smile on our face throughout the movie. It's mainly based on characters and their odd mental state which may/may not intrigue you at the end.

My Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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