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Blog posts January 2018

Gulaebaghavali - Honest Movie Review

January 15, 2018

Verdict: “Fizzles Away Without Entertaining!

After tasting success with Devi, Prabhu Deva’s anticipated movie Gulaebaghavali released during the Pongal festival weekend clashing with two big releases, Thaanaa Serndha Koottam (Gang) and Sketch.

Badhri (Prabhu Deva) makes a living by robbing idols for his boss Nambi (Mansoor Ali Khan). He, along with Viji (Hansika Motwani); who cheats people for their valuables outside a bar, Masha (Revathi); a car stealer and Munish (Ramdoss); henchman of a business person (Anandraj), go in search of a treasure hidden behind a temple in the village Gulaebaghavali. How they acquire the treasure forms the rest of the plot.

Director Kalyaan had the opportunity to make the film in two different ways. Either it could have been neither an adventure film nor a comedy film. Yet what we got is a result of poor writing which led to a messed up movie. 

Prabhu Deva did his best and it’s always amusing to see him act as he is naturally witty with his actions and body language. With an ensemble list of casts, the director could have used Rajendran, Ramdoss, and others in a proper way to make the movie humorous. Failing to do so resulted in blunt funny scenes. 

Songs by the duo Vivek-Mervin were mediocre, yet the BGM made a mark in giving the movie an upper hand. Technically, the cinematography was neat in capturing and editing was crisp and fine.

Overall, the deficit of a fulfilling story and the lack of entertainment factor make Gulaebaghavali a unenjoyable one.

My Rating - 2/5 | Grade – C (Meh! Probably a Rental)
An Honest Movie Review by Nirmalraj aka AK (@NirmalRaj2911) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Sketch - Honest Movie Review

January 14, 2018

Verdict: “Falls Short of Being A Decent Film!” 

It has become a habit for Vikram to give a hit movie and then come up with a couple of ordinary ones. His last venture “Irumugan” was a moderate success at the box office. Now with Sketch directed by Vijay Chander, he follows his routine as the movie turned out to be an average flick.

Set up in the iniquitous streets of North Madras, Sketch (Vikram) works as a vehicle seizer to Saettu (Hareesh Peradi). Saettu uses Sketch’s ability to seize any vehicle and provokes him to grasp the car of ‘Royapuram’ Kumar, a local don, who thinks the car as his proud possession. Sketch with his skills, snatches the car along with his friends, only to earn foeship of ‘Royapuram’ Kumar. Within few days, Sketch’s friends die one by one. What happens next forms the rest of the story with an impressive twist. 

While we have seen quite a few cat and mouse revenge flicks in the past, what makes Sketch unique was the screenplay with detailed character plan for each role. Vijay Chander lets the character develop slowly on the screen, as we get to know the actual plot of the movie only before the interval.

Yet, the unnecessary love portions with Tamannaah and unwanted songs make the film sluggish. When we are made to sit on the edge of the seat with thrill scenes, these clichéd romance scenes come as a speed bump and spoil the mood set by the preceding scene. Trimming them or completely avoiding them would have made the film even better. 

Moving to the performances, Vikram never fails to amaze us with his acting skills. We have seen him as a North Madras guy in ‘I’ but that too for a short time in that movie. Seeing him as a North Madras local in this film was a delight as he portrayed the role with ease with his charismatic persona. 

Tamannaah had nothing significant to do, as her scenes were the ones that messed up the movie. Soori, Baburaj, RK Suresh, Sriman, Kalloori Vinoth were apt as North Madras natives and were all remarkable in their respective roles that had an equal importance all through.

BGM and songs for the film were composed by S. Thaman. Though the BGM was elevating, songs and their placement ruined the overall movie. Technically, the cinematography was uppermost capturing the North Madras in its most natural manner. 

Overall, Sketch falls flat and ended up as tolerable one. Though the director sketched a good screenplay for an average story, well-written characters, an interesting twist and a convincing social message, many unwanted scenes made the film a tedious watch.

My Rating - 2.25/5 | Grade – C (Misses the Mark!)
An Honest Movie Review by Nirmalraj aka AK (@NirmalRaj2911) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Thaanaa Serndha Koottam / Gang - Honest Movie Review

January 12, 2018

Verdict - "A Profound Entertainer!"

Directed by Vignesh Shivn and starring Suriya Sivakumar and Keerthy Suresh in the lead roles, Thaanaa Serndha Koottam (dubbed as Gang in Telugu) is loosely based on the 2013 Bollywood film Special 26 which was inspired by the 1987 Opera House Heist in Mumbai. 

Set in the late 1980's, Iniyan (Suriya Sivakumar) recognizes a crooked trend in the Government offices where bribery plays a major part in getting selected for a job. After personally being denied for a post in the CBI office and seeing his friends getting the same treatment, he decides to assemble a team of fraud CBI officers, as they conduct a raid and steal gold, money from corrupt politicians and organizations.

Loosely based on Special 26, director Vignesh Shivn opted the proper approach by not making the film an exact photocopy of its source material and made sure that he tweaked the storyline enough to entertain the South Indian audience. The core elements and the emotional scenes in the film were impactful and enhanced the necessary depth in the storyline. The comedic scenes were short, quirky and were not overdone. Furthermore, the heist sequences were rendered well with entertainment and edginess.

Advancing to the negatives, the first half suffered for a bit with the screenplay not being clear and a lengthy runtime. Don't get me wrong, the film kept moving at a decent pace but it felt a fraction long primarily because of the love-angle and the songs between Suriya and Keerthy which I felt unnecessary, but I get why the director has to keep them in the movie.

Regarding the technical aspects, the music and BGM by Anirudh were stellar throughout the runtime, the retro passé music filled with catchy beats suited the storyline flawlessly and elevated the entertainment level of the film. Cinematography by Dinesh Krishnan was also exceptional with the vibrant colors that felt beautiful to gaze at.

Moving to the performances, Suriya Sivakumar proved to be remarkable again with his ability to engage the audience with his charismatic persona. His conduct during the comical, emotional and action sequences were all on point as he portrayed the role with ease. Keerthy Suresh was decent with the minimal amount of screen time she's given. Ramya Krishnan, Kalaiyarasan, Nandha, RJ Balaji, Senthil, Sivasankar Master, Sathyan and Suresh Chandra Menon were all splendid in their respective roles that had an equal impact all through. But, Karthik was the stand out at least for me, as his involvement in the film felt significant and his screen presence felt captivating in the second half.

Overall, Thaanaa Serndha Koottam / Gang had few bumps in its entirety, but the movie was solid and engaging enough for me to get enthralled. All credits to the director Vignesh Shivn for taking the basic elements from Special 26 and making a profound entertainer.

My Rating - 3.25/5 | Grade - B (Entertaining! With Few Noticeable Flaws)
An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Website Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - Honest Movie Review

January 2, 2018

Verdict - "Very Much Enjoyable!"

Who doesn't love the original 1995 Jumanji movie starring Robin Williams? It's definitely one of my childhood favorites and I have fond memories of watching it on a VHS tape. Remember the good ol' Video Cassette Tapes? They're the best! Anyway, the point that I'm trying to make is, Jumanji shared a decent part of my early years and when I first heard the news about the spin-off Jumanji film, I was a bit skeptical and didn't think that the makers would deliver anywhere near the original when it comes to quality and entertainment. BUT!?

Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas and Bobby Cannavale as the leads, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, written and directed by Jake Kasdan, is based on the 1981 children's book of the same name by Chris Van Allsburg. The storyline (as you've already seen in the promos) is about these four high-school kids discovering the Jumanji game cassette and as they start the game after choosing the characters, they get sucked into a fantasy world where they have to finish the mission/game successfully to go back to their ordinary lives.

As I stated earlier, I was a bit skeptical going into this film, I thought the comedic elements would be over saturated and take the fun away from the movie. But, I'm pretty much surprised at how much I enjoyed watching this film. The comedy worked, for the most part, and the writer-director made sure that the chemistry between the leads was captivating enough to carry the entire film. 

The Rock was majestic and amusing at the same time, Kevin Hart did an excellent job by making his antics hit the right notes. But, the standout performance for me was undoubtedly from Jack Black, who was downright hilarious throughout the runtime. Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas were decent as the co-stars and Bobby Cannavale's character was one of the few negatives that I had with this film primarily because of the poor-writing and setup for his character.

The few other negatives I can think about was the adventure element of the film, which was slightly swept under the rug and the pacing was a bit off here and there.

Overall, surprisingly, I must say that I had a blast watching this rehashed version of Jumanji that I thought would never happen. They're enough moments in this film that I enjoyed watching which made me forgive the few minor issues it suffered from. I would suggest you go check this movie out if it's playing in a theatre nearby.

My Rating - 3.25/5 | Grade - B (Entertaining! With Few Noticeable Flaws!)
-A Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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