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Blog posts September 2017

Newton - Movie Review

Verdict - "An Eye Opener!"

Directed by Amit V Masurkar, Newton starring Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi is India's official entry for the Best Foreign Film Category in the 90th Academy Awards scheduled to take place on March 4th, 2018. With a positive trend in the box-office collections including a positive response from the critics and the audience, Newton is slowly fetching out as one of the best if not the best film of 2017.

Newton Kumar (Rajkummar Rao) is a punctual and a disciplined government employee who rejects getting married to an under-age girl and aspires to bring a change in his everyday life and the way the system (government) works. Simultaneously, he receives an offer to conduct an election poll in a rural Naxal-heavy area of Chhattisgarh and he agrees to do so. The remaining part of the film enlightens the characters of Newton and his companions and touches on different sensitive subjects that our country struggles with.

Essentially in every other review of mine, I criticize the characters in the film not being fully developed and left out half-baked. But, Newton is the first film in a while that I've seen characters that are relatable, memorable and were given ample time to grow throughout the film. Every lead character was given a purpose and a demeanor that made them relatable and interesting at the same time. The critical aspects of discipline, stubbornness, and disregard were all portrayed masterfully by the actors and the screenwriters who played a significant part in the film's success.

Like I stated earlier, they're few sensitive subjects in the film that are excellently discussed in the film. The narrative of the villagers not being educated well of their neighborhood happenings or even about the elections, them living a manipulated life being scared between the local police and the Naxal group raises many concerns and questions the idea of democracy that our nation lives by.

Also, the performances in the film were top-notch, Rajkummar Rao and Pankaj Tripathi are on the top of their game, the comedic bits between them were hilarious which is also one of the bright spots of the overall film. Not only them, Raghubir Yadav and Anjali Patil were also great and the chemistry between their characters worked out so well that kept the movie going a decent pace.

Now, onto the real question. Did this film really deserve an Oscar nomination? Well, I can't really answer that question because I've not seen any other films which are in the contention, but by judging the plot and the subject that Newton explored with, it is certainly an eye-opener and leaves you with more questions about the current state in our villages. It is a remarkably directed, written and well-acted film that justifies all the attention that it's been receiving lately and also a film that you need to go see in a movie theatre.

My Rating - 4/5 | Grade - A (The Best One Around!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Featured In Our "Top 5 Best Bollywood Movies of 2017" List - Click Here

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle - Movie Review

Verdict - "Misses the Charm!"

Directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges in the lead roles, 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' is the sequel to the 2014 smash hit 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' and the plot of the film circles around a new threat to the world orchestrated by Poppy (Julianne Moore) who already destroys every single central station of the Kingsman and poses a new threat to the entire planet by inducing a dangerous virus into every illegal drug.

Here are few negatives in the film that I noticed. Basically, with a 100 million dollar budget, director Matthew Vaughn went smoking with action sequences in the film neglecting the fact that they felt stratospheric, superhero-like and even needless at times. The process of building up an action scene (like he did in the previous film) was completely overlooked and by doing so, none of those scenes (although entertaining) felt memorable. Like I said, despite the fact, there is over usage of CGI in the film, the action sequences were choreographed well and were entertaining to watch for that moment.

Also, the plot of the overall film was a letdown and was very much like many other films we've seen before. Accordingly, the new characters in the film (except for Julianne Moore) were not given much importance like I expected them to be which was an utter disappointment. The performances from the complete cast were decent, everyone tried to give their best despite many character flaws, but ultimately every performance was fun to watch.

Overall, excluding the enthralling action sequences and few emotional moments. The Golden Circle was a bummer in terms of a good plot and as a distinguished resilient film. 

My Rating - 3/5
Grade – B (Worth a watch)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

Kingsman: The Secret Service - Movie Review: Click Here

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Bareilly Ki Barfi & Shubh Mangal Savdhan - Movie Reviews

Ayushmann Khurrana has been the success story of Bollywood for the past one month, his latest two films Bareilly Ki Barfi and Shubh Mangal Savdhan were surprisingly commercially successful at the box-office and this proves and restores the faith that smaller films with low-budget can and will be successful at the box-office when delivered with an entertaining premise and enjoyable acting performances. 

Now, I know that it's been a while since the movies were released. So I'm gonna go ahead do a doubleheader, give my overall thoughts on both the films and see how this format pans out!

Bareilly Ki Barfi Overall Thoughts: 

Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, I was quite frankly skeptical going into this movie, I heard mixed reactions about it, few people liked it and few didn't. So, my expectations were pretty low when I walked into the movie theatre. And to my surprise, I found myself enjoying the film from the get-go. Although, the film did not have the finest written screenplays that had few pacing issues here and there. The storyline was compelling/entertaining enough to keep me interested. The comedic sequences were on point, the relationship between the characters was well-developed and the overall performances were fun to watch. But, the highlight of the film has to be Rajkummar Rao and his performance as an innocent and dapper looking dude who kept stealing the show every time he's on-screen especially during the second half. Overall, Bareilly Ki Barfi often had few hiccups but it's delightful enough for you to give it a shot!

My Rating - 3.25/5 | Featured In Our "Top 5 Best Bollywood Movies of 2017" List - Click Here

Shubh Mangal Savdhan Overall Thoughts:

Directed by R.S. Prasanna, Shubh Mangal Savdhan is the most trending movie of 2017 and the box office results ultimately tell the story, cause they're enormous. Set in New Delhi, the film is an official remake of a Tamil film 'Kalyana Samayal Saadham' and the storyline is about a soon-to-be-married couple Mudit and Sugandha and their attempt to overcome many disputes especially Mudit's sex-related issue. Now, the comedic elements in this film were amazing, the jokes were on-point and the film was a laugh riot throughout its runtime. But, the storyline of the film quickly faded out and became lackluster, at that point although it's entertaining, it reached an alarming level and felt that it's stretched-out too far. The performances were great, the chemistry between Ayushmann and Bhumi Pednekar worked really well and they're both entertaining to watch. Overall, SMS is a feel-good film with a lot of laughs that will keep you entertained and is also worth a shot!

My Rating - 3/5 | -By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Simran - Movie Review

Verdict - "The weakly written screenplay is the culprit."

Directed by Hansal Mehta (Shahid and Aligarh fame), Simran stars Kangana Ranaut in the lead role and is loosely based on the real-life story of Sandeep Kaur, an NRI in California, U.S.A convicted of four bank robberies and was nicknamed the Bombshell Bandit. 

Praful Patel (Kangana Ranaut) is an independent hard-working NRI residing in Atlanta, Georgia and is quite decisive to buy herself a new house in an established neighborhood. While expecting for her loan to get approved, Praful gets trapped in the world of poker in Las Vegas, Nevada where she loses a huge amount of money and even gets in trouble for taking money from a private money-lender. The other part of the film delves into how Praful dodges all the obstacles thrown at her by her parents, soon-to-be in-laws and the menacing mob from whom she lent the money from.

Now, this film is about the rise and fall of Praful's character, we will cheer, feel and even despise the decisions she takes throughout the film and the screenwriters did a superior job in developing character and made sure that the comedic and the emotional sequences were always counted in. So, for the towering importance given to her character, Kangana Ranaut knocked it out-of-the-park with her performance. I've seen a lot of actors struggle when their characters were filled with a wide-range of emotions, but Kangana Ranaut does it with ease and proves why she is one of the best working actors in Bollywood right now.

But, although the film had a unique storyline and an interesting character, the screenplay of the movie was not up to the mark. The second half was tiresome and felt that it was prolonged to a mind-numbing extent. And in the process of not making the film take a dark direction of anguish and hopelessness, the screenwriters twisted the storyline a little by making the villain and the opposing characters look as ludicrous as possible which was quite insipid to watch.

Overall, although Simran had the comedic chops and a captivating character which is entertaining, the screenplay of the film was a letdown and it missed an opportunity to become a good film with a memorable aspect.

My Rating - 3/5
Grade – B (Worth a watch)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) 

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Lucknow Central - Movie Review

Verdict - "A Disorganized Mess"

Helmed by the debutant director Ranjit Tiwari, 'Lucknow Central' starring Farhan Akhtar and Diana Penty in the lead roles is a prison escape-musical drama and is loosely based on the true story of a jail-based band known as "Healing Hearts" who resided in Uttar Pradesh. 

After wrongly being convicted of a murder of an IAS officer. Kishan (Farhan Akhtar) an aspiring singer, who now serves his death penalty in the Central Jail of Lucknow will be given an opportunity to form his own band accompanied by few other jail inmates of his choice to take part in a band competition administered by the Chief Minister of the State. Although his decisive dream is to form a band and to display his talent, Kishan also prepares a plot to break out from the prison with his other band members equipped with unique abilities which are helpful for their departure. Will his plan to escape from one of the most dreadful prisons in Lucknow prevail?

Advancing to the many problems I had with the film. I'll address a few here. First off, I don't recall the movie really well and that's a major problem, don't get me wrong they're moments in the film which are clearly motivating, the storyline of Farhan Akhtar and his ambition to start his own band and to perform in front of a live audience was delightful. But, the supplementary storylines that added to the primary plot were uninteresting, forgettable and lackluster to watch. The whole prison-escape storyline felt underwhelming for me. And the supporting characters, although developed decently, felt insipid because of the lack of dynamic between them. 

Moving on to the performances from the cast, Farhan Akhtar gives a decent enough performance to make his character look better, Diana Penty had nothing left to do as she works well with her minimal involvement. The other supporting actors like Deepak Dobriyal and Rajesh Sharma didn't shine as much as I wanted them to.

Overall, Lucknow Central is an underwhelming film with a disorganized storyline and weak directorial effort by Ranjit Tiwari. The film doesn't have good enough reasons for me to recommend you guys to go watch it in a movie theatre.

My Rating - 2/5
Grade - C (Meh! Probably a rental!) 
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Magalir Mattum – Movie Review

Verdict: ‘Joyous and An Emotional Reunion.’

Magalir Mattum follows the story of three middle-aged women who were separated during their school days and reunite after 38 years. The movie has Jyothika, Urvashi, Banu, and Saranya Ponvannan in the lead.

Prabhavathy (Jyothika), a tomboy, stays with Gomatha (Urvashi) who is her mother-in-law to be and carries her documentary works. She introduces her to Social Network and helps in finding her school friends. They eventually end up finding them. 

Seeing them entangled in their daily life chores and pressure from their husbands and family people, Prabha decides to take them on a trip. A trip of their life, without any worries, mental stress and day-to-day chaos.

Jyothika pulls off her character with ease. She is full of energy and enthusiasm. It’s always a delight to watch the Queen of Kollywood on screen. Yesteryear actresses Urvashi, Banu and Saranya Ponvannan do their part equally well. They are sure to take all the ladies who experience similar turmoil in their life, a ride down their memory lane, to their school days. 

Director Bramma has tried to explore a completely different journal after his previous flick “Kuttram Kadithal”. Coming up with women centric plot is very much appreciated. Though he has succeeded in the plot, there were many details missing in the script. Certain scenes and characterization could have been much better. Those would have made the movie even more engaging. 

Despite the minor flaws, the second half recovers the movie and offers lots of happy moments. The picturization of the scenic locals and the childish acts of the three ladies were a delight to watch. 

Keeping aside the issues with the script and how could it have been made better, Magalir Mattum is an easy watch showing how much ladies eager for a holiday from their eternal job as housewives. It's sure to give nostalgic moments to the ladies who watch the movie.

My Rating – 3/5
Grade – B (Worth a watch)
-By Nirmalraj aka AK  (@Nirmalraj2911)

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IT - Movie Review

Verdict - "A Modern Day Horror Classic"

Directed by Andrés Muschietti, 'IT', headlined by the most complex iconic super-villain 'Pennywise - The Dancing Clown' is a 2017 psychological-horror-thriller which is the center point of discussion in the recent-past on the interwebs and is heading towards a gigantic opening week domestically with above 100 million dollars gross. With colossal expectations and with creative differences between the first appointed director (Cary Fukunaga) and the studio, will the new Stephen King's book adaptation 'IT' rise and shine as a modern-day classic? Let's find out!

The storyline of the film revolves around the town of Derry, Maine where a bunch of kids keeps getting kidnapped by the killer clown Pennywise as the Losers' Club unite not only to hunt down the evil gagster but also to end the reign of this dreadful enigma once and for all.

Unlike every other modern horror-thriller we watch these days, this film had a completely different vibe added to it. The way the director and the story writer narrated the seven lead kid characters in the film was effectively elaborate and exceptional. It imported a unique coming-of-age feel in the film in addition to the horror elements. And Andrés Muschietti and the rest of the writing crew should be given special props for developing the characters efficaciously so that we (the audience member) can get behind their experiences throughout the movie.

Another significant part of the film was the shape-shifting macro verse entity 'IT', whose character was more complex than you think. The ability to feed on the attribute of fear especially with the kids, the shape-shifting capability, the talent of manipulating people's' mind was a fascinating trait to have or to watch it on the big-screen. And Bill Skarsgård knocked it out-of-the-work with his performance as Pennywise which is one of the body forms that IT possess in the film. 

Advancing to the performances in the film, the whole cast of the Losers' Club was downright remarkable. Especially Jack Dylan Grazer with his allergic disability, Jaeden Lieberher with his stuttering disability, Finn Wolfhard with his cool-kid attitude and Sophia Lillis with her audacious persona.

Overall, IT was not an example of a stereotypical horror film where we get a bunch of jump-scares or a creepy old grandma lurking in the background. It is the definition of how a horror/thriller should be made by establishing the characters and the storyline and at the same time giving us the equal amount of scares to a point where you just feel uncomfortable with everything happening on-screen. This film already is and will continue to give me nightmares for the next few weeks.

My Rating - 3.75/5
Grade - B+ (Highly Entertaining!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) 

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