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Blog posts November 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody - Honest Movie Review

Celebrating the life of Rock's Greatest All-Time Entertainers, Bohemian Rhapsody chronicles the inspiring yet involute life story of Queen's lead singer Farrokh Bulsara, professional known as Freddie Mercury. The film stars Emmy Award-winning Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek in the lead role and co-stars Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello as the supporting cast with Bryan Singer as the spearheader of this prestigious project.

Verdict - "A Celebration!"

The movie commences by introducing us to Freddie's initial working days as a baggage handler at the Heathrow Airport and builds up by narrating his first taste with the band to selling out arenas throughout different cultures and countries to his emotional and distancing complications with his band, friends and loved ones. 

Nailing all the right notes essential for a typical biopic, the movie, by and large, serves more like a Greatest Hits Collection of Mercury rather than a comprehensive in-depth look of his arduous journey to preeminence and beyond. Screenwriter Anthony McCarten offers a storyline which is, on the whole, paint-by-numbers and predictable from start to finish. Contrary to that, if you contemplate this movie as a celebration rather than a detailed observation, these criticisms might surface as a nonsensical argument.

But, the positives overweighs the negatives, as the rocking Oscar-worthy performance of Rami Malek and the overall journey of Mercury is engaging enough to keep you glued to the silver screen. Coming from a conservative family in Zanzibar, Mercury inspired generations of artists and millions of fans worldwide with his talent, music, charisma and flamboyant persona. However, although moving forward on a straight line shorn of any abstract deviations, the film did a decent job unveiling the man behind-the-mask, Farrokh Bulsara. His intentions were pure, but the ignorant decisions he made from time to time labelled him as controversial or hardhearted and distanced him from his friends and family perpetually. The movie discusses every aspect of love and emotions, highs and lows, success and failure, and Malek triumphs every hurdle with ease by making his exemplary character likeable, relatable and above all the focal part of the entire movie.

Adding to the celebration aspect, similar to its awards season counterpart, 'A Star Is Born', this movie had that concert-like-feel especially the glorious, breathtaking climax which will make you clap, cheer, and absorb that unreal musical experience to the fullest. 

Overall, Bohemian Rhapsody is not perfect considering the screenwriting issues, but, it is, in fact, a virtuous display of Freddie Mercury and his extraordinary life. This is more than just a movie it's a Celebration!

Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+

-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Visual Treat!"

Being one of the most anticipated films of the year, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald pleases the followers and surprises the muggles by acting more like a channel for the development of the story rather than independently being one. With highly renowned actors in the cast, the performances are enticing to watch and the visual effects and cinematography, enchanting!

Jude Law playing Albus Dumbledore maintains the poise as well as the playfulness of the beloved character, and Johnny Depp is flawless as usual. Eddie Redmayne connects Newt to the audience much more effectively than the previous movie while Dan Fogler and Alison Sudol manage to cheer the audience between intense scenes. The most impressive and fulfilling part of the film is Ezra Miller and Zoe Kravitz who were successful in giving impeccable and acute performances which were important because of the anticipation of their characters from the books.

The story picks up right from the beginning with grand escapades and entrances but towards the climax leaves you confused much like in the later Harry Potter movies. A few expected characters like Nagini (Claudia Kim), Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) are given less screen time and also Grindelwald resembles The Dark Lord a lot which is why it is hard to acknowledge his unique personality.

Enclosing I'd like to say that David Yates has done yet another spectacular job making this movie a visual treat and for JK Rowling, well, I have only one thing to say - the brightest writer of her age!

Rating - 4.5/5 | Grade - A+

-A Just Stream Editorial by Nikitha Kashyap aka WW
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Taxiwaala - Honest Movie Review

[This Movie Review was first posted on Anurag's The Filmy Basti]

Horror comedies seem to be the flavor of the season. After the recent stupendous success of ‘Stree’ in Hindi, director Rahul Sankrityan brings us a Telugu comedy thriller, Taxiwaala, starring Vijay Devarakonda in the lead. Just to jog your minds a bit, this genre has largely been successful in the Telugu Film Industry, though the movies have been rather sporadic. Most recently, notable movies in this genre were the 'Raju Gari Gadhi' series and 'Anando Brahma'. Taxiwaala, with a supernatural plot, falls in the same category, yet, is different in some ways.

Shiva (played by Vijay Devarakonda) moves to his uncle’s (played by Madhunandan) garage in Hyderabad, to earn a living. After dabbling at odd jobs, he buys an old Contessa car to turn into an Ola driver. Dressed in leather jackets and ganjees that flaunt his toned body, Shiva starts earning while also making a pretty doctor, Anu (played by Priyanka Jawalkar) fall for him. His life with his uncle and his English movie fanatic help, Hollywood (played by Vishnu) is turned upside down, when he experiences paranormal occurrences in his car. This leads to series of thrills, chills and a whole lot of laughter!

While I began discussing Taxiwaala in the same light as 'Anando Brahma' and 'Raju Gari Gadhi', it is similar in genre yet different in treatment. The movie has a very real, plain and quirky treatment of camera (by Sujith Sarang) and sound – reminiscent of one of the first Telugu movies in this genre, the 2005 sleeper-hit, 'Anukokunda Oka Roju'. Like 'Anukokunda Oka Roju', there are no cheap thrills or jarring background scores. Most of the thrills and laughs are induced organically, using the camera angles, lights and the performances. The movie is filled with little moments of laughter – band-aids on all their fingers for a hilariously stupid occult experiment, Shiva’s naïve ‘thanks’ to the ‘ghost’ in his car for steering it while he fell asleep or Hollywood (the boy who works for them) fidgeting with a bottle in the middle of a serious scene in the Hospital. It is such moments that bring this movie alive.

The movie also reminded me of the 2004 Hindi-disaster, 'Tarzan: The Wonder Car', where a car turns rogue with Ajay Devgn’s spirit trapped in it and seeks revenge. While the premise and the treatment are interesting, it is the execution where the movie slightly falters. The writing by Rahul Sankrityan takes time to set the base and the ride is pretty much fun after that. Well, almost. Until, there is a slight slump in the narrative in the second half, where the explanation of the paranormal activity takes centerstage. Even though it has a crisp run-time of a little over two hours, the second half seems a bit of drag, especially towards the climax, sprinkled generously with trademark Telugu masala.

Having said that, the movie is still an enjoyable ride thanks to the witty dialogues and superb performances. Vijay Devarakonda has already proven his mettle and he does not disappoint here either. While his swag, rugged look and clothes off a runway model seem a bit contrived for a cabbie, he uses his charm and wit to make the viewers overlook it. Another contrived sub-plot happens to be his love story with a doctor, which also seems highly unlikely in real life. Since this love plot is cleverly shown very little, it does not take away from the main premise. Vijay’s comic timing and acting chops are further elevated by his Babai, played by Madhunandan and Hollywood, played by Vishnu. These are not mere sidekicks, but very well woven into the plot. The camaraderie between the three is fun to watch. One of the funniest moments is the sequence where the three stealthily break into someone’s home. Like Laya in 'Amar Akbar Anthony', another actress makes a comeback this week – Kalyani. Along with another yesteryear actress, Yamuna, Kalyani gets an extended cameo and delivers whatever is expected of her. Malavika Nair is decent in her small part in the second half, when the supernatural part is explained.

While there are a few irregularities and hiccups in the second half, the movie manages to keep you entertained with its thrills and humor. If nothing else, Vijay Devarakonda’s rugged charm is enough to stay invested till the end.

Rating - 3/5 | Grade - B

-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Amar Akbar Anthony - Honest Movie Review

[This Movie Review was first posted on Anurag's The Filmy Basti]

Director Srinu Vaitla’s latest release, Amar Akbar Anthony, is an opportunity completely wasted. He uses his tried and tested template – a hero running the show, surrounded by a bunch of comedians and fighting against a gang of shrewd villains. Despite using all his formulaic tropes, the film is an incohesive drag, that tries every trick in the trade, yet, falls short of hitting the mark.

Verdict - "An Incohesive Drag!"

Amar Akbar Anthony (played by Ravi Teja), much like their Hindi namesakes, are three characters from three major religions. Amar, a Hindu, is the son of a pharmaceutical baron, who is destined to marry the daughter of his father’s business partner, Aishwarya (played by Ileana). The love birds are separated in their childhood by the four suave looking antagonists, who take over his father’s business. Akbar, a Muslim, speaks Urdu-laden Telugu, and is a Robinhood in New York – cheating the cheaters. Anthony, a Christian and thankfully the last one of these wretched characters, is a congenial and smiling psychiatrist. Just like any other Srinu Vaitla movie, the protagonists go against the treacherous antagonists, while being surrounded by a bunch of comedians, headlined by Sunil and Vennela Kishore.

The problem begins in the first 20 minutes itself, when the narrative feels like two different movies. The comedy track at ‘Whole Andhra and Telangana Association (WATA)’ seems completely unrelated to the parallel track involving the conniving villains, all of who look way better than Ravi Teja in their salt-and-pepper looks. Ignoring the logics (or the lack of it), Srinu Vaitla’s movies have always been madcap comedies, which keep the audiences entertained throughout. This is where Amar Akbar Anthony fails miserably. While the comedy does evoke a few laughs, it remains underwhelming in comparison to his previous works in Ready, Dookudu, Dhee or King (actually, any movie before Aagadu)! Also, the insipid dialogues feel nauseating. Sample this – one of the antagonists says, “Not to expect badness from bad people is madness”, which is quickly translated into Telugu by his partner in crime, “Chaddavadi degara chaddatanam expect cheyakapovadam pichhitanam’! It’s almost 2019 and its high time we are spared of such nonsensical dialogues.

One of my major contentions was Ravi Teja’s mysterious demeanor and performance. For the longest time in the beginning, he makes you wonder if he is playing a blind character again, after Raja- The Great. He stares into oblivion, keeps a straight face for most part of his performance and surprisingly, barely does he emote! (If this frozen face and staring gaze is due to a medical condition in his real life, my apologies!) Even his impeccable comic timing, which is usually on point, is faltering in this movie. He comes across as an uncomfortable hero amid a chaotic narrative. Ileana, making her comeback to Telugu movies, looks healthier than before and has dubbed for herself for the first time. This is all one can say about her, because that is all that she brings to the table. I wish we saw the sparks that were there between the two in Kick, but even that ends in a disappointment here.

Giving credit where its due, the cinematography and the casting of actors for comic relief were pretty good. Venkat C Dileep captures New York in all its glory and makes the frames comes alive. The supporting cast, especially Vennela Kishore as the comedian and Abhimanyu Singh as the conniving cop, are quite good. There are moments of hilarity, especially the sequences involving a religious leader, Junior Paul. Sunil, who appears pretty late in the movie, misses his charm but manages to be decent. It was surprising to see Laya in a movie after a long time, and equally shocking to see her get a completely inconsequential and small part. Again, another opportunity wasted.  

We have seen psychological angles being used in movies like Aparichitudu and Chandramukhi, but it feels like a quick fix in this movie, without adding much to the plot or the narrative. Srinu Vaitla seems to be stuck in the early 2000s, and he needs to evolve with the changing audiences. If he doesn’t, he is not going to find many takers again.

Rating – 1.5/5 | Grade - D+

-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Throwback Thursday: Ratsasan [Review]

Verdict - "One of the Best!" / Rating - 4.5/5

For the first time in a long time, I really did not want a movie to end. A finely crafted suspense thriller, Ratsasan (2018), will have you at the edge of your seat. Right from the beginning, the film starts off with a murder and the pace of the film is steadily kept on the accelerator all the way through. The first half of the film sets the story and there are some speed breakers in the form of romance scenes and songs. However, the second half of the film is electric and this is where the audience is bombarded with intense nail-biting moments. The last half an hour of the film holds the biggest surprise and the way the scenes were so expertly staged, you could actually compare this to a Hollywood film.

One of the film’s strengths lie in the background score department. Ghibran’s music for Ratsasan is excellent. He manages to elevate the film to a god-tier level with his eerie and spine-chilling BGM. The cinematography is on point as well. The film had both dark and light sequences that was well shot and edited. But the biggest strength for me, was the story itself. The director has not taken the audience for granted. He has gone through every small detail with extreme care and he presented an antagonist who is methodical and intelligent and somewhat unbeatable. Additionally, the young protagonist’s character development is a joy to watch and as the audience, you can’t help but silently urge him to move a little faster or think a little harder to crack the case.

The only problem I had with the movie was that I found Vishnu Vishal’s (the protagonist) acting just passable. The lack of variety in terms of facial expressions and body language showed in certain emotional scenes that Vishnu could have busted wide open by emoting a bit more. However, this film is a stepping stone for the actor and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

-An Editorial by Siddharthen R (@cheeeekyponnama)
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Top 5 Overrated South Indian Actresses

More than Bollywood, South Indian Actresses were considered as an eye-candy or more of an after thought in every other movie. With limited opportunities to really shine like the Lady Superstar Nayanthara, Anushka Shetty and Trisha Krishnan, they're quite a few overrated or supremely hyped actresses in South India. So, here's my Top 5 List (which will hopefully not offend any die-hard fan out there).

Related - Top 5 Overrated Bollywood Actresses [Part 1]Top 5 Overrated Bollywood Actresses [Part 2]


5. Samantha Akkineni

Now, before you accuse me of overrating a good actress, I'm not judging her character or her status, I'm only mentioning her choices of movies and her skills displayed. Having her voice dubbed (sometimes) takes away half the intensity and impact from her dialogue delivery and playing the repeated sidekick whose part can be completely deleted from the movie (and it wouldn't make a difference) doesn't help much either. But, thanks to her looks, decent acting and dancing skills she stayed in the industry long enough to become famous. The only reason shes overrated is that of the lack of diversity in her acting as well as her selection of roles which is too normal to be given any extra credit. Besides that, her movies like 'Nee Thaane En Ponvasantham' and 'Eega' were impressive which is why she still holds on to all those fans today. 


4. Anu Emmanuel

If there is an actress whose luck is envied by others its Anu Emmanuel. She has been in the industry for almost six years now, but, unfortunately remains a mediocre preference for her performances. An actress is expected to be on point with her facial expressions and voice modulations all the time, and that is exactly what Anu Emmanuel has misinterpreted. Considering that shes American, it might have been tough for her to understand our line of films and performances.

But, as I mentioned before, her luck and looks, mainly played the role in bagging her some good movies, not forgetting to mention her boldness on screen. But, being bold on-screen itself seems overrated and hence she is too. She hasn't been labelled as an eye candy yet, so hopefully, she realizes that and make better choices in the future.


3. Kajal Aggarwal

You guys probably know about the female cat in Tom and Jerry; appears once in a fortnight, dances her way with all the grace and style and distracts both of them from entertaining us. Kajal is definitely that cat from the show, who ends up at the wrong place at the most interesting times, distracting both the hero and the audience from the main plot. Her dances and dreary performances are too lazy to pay attention to, but, inevitable to ignore like her performances in 'Thuppakki', 'Maattrraan' or 'Vivegam' for instance. A few films were amazing but barely reflected her contribution although she gained critical appreciation for 'Do Lafzon Ki Kahaani'. Enclosing, I'd like to say that Kajal has tons of potential to showcase her skill, but, that can only be seen if the directors realise that and give her better scripts instead of casting her as the unwanted female cat in every other movie and wasting her skillset.


2. Rashmika Mandanna

Welcome the Zarine Khan of Sandalwood (and Tollywood). The one who is supposed to be an example of a bad actress. But, she can dance and her face is so cute! let's make her the National sensation ignoring all the good ones around just for that! I still fail to realise how Rashmika got her overnight fame taking in context, her recent and rather awful performances. Now, I'm not bashing her, but clearly, she is overrated. People who like her probably didn't notice that she can't speak or move an inch of her face except for that smile which we will eventually get bored of. Her movies are quite mediocre (considering that I also failed to understand why 'Geetha Govindam' was such hit excluding Vijay Deverakonda's performance).

There is a reason why I didn't compare her to Katrina Kaif is that Katrina can dance and does heavy gymnastics. That isn't a talent to be shown off in Bollywood but is definitely a noteworthy skill. Well, at least she has some skills unlike the person in reference here. Besides smiling and being goofy, I don't see anything better in her performances which is really tiresome and after her marriage controversy, people are expecting something worth their attention from her and its all in her hands to shape her career in a better way.


1. Amy Jackson

As always, there surely is, a #1 in this list as well and it's none other than...[drumrolls]..Amy Jackson! Her career graph will always remain a mystery to me. So, let me be specific, she does not know the language, she is not good at expressing any emotion, she probably doesn't understand the plot of the movies she is cast in, but most of all, how she gets all those top rated directors to sign her alongside such megastars will never be understood by people like us. Being British, she rather got a warm welcome from Kollywood through 'Madrasapattinam (2010)' and guess what?

After all these years of striving in the industry, she has learnt absolutely nothing! Her performances are paler than ever, her other skills like dancing or crying haven't improved even slightly and her expressions are out of question! But, '2.0' is coming up folks! She plays a robot Barbie in it; how convenient. Shankar finally found a role made for her. So yet again, we cheer, lead on and shower heart emojis all over her. 'Thangamagan' and 'Ek Deewana Tha' were only marks of her lacking hard work and talent and for 'The Villain', I still have no words to say. But, she barely has to be worried about anything because of all the attention and opportunities that directors, as well as people, will continue to pour on her. But, just so you didn't realise earlier, Amy Jackson is overrated.

-A Top 5 List by Nikitha Kashyap aka WW
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Why Thanos Is An Anti Hero?

Premise - As an Optimistic Nihilist, even though I don’t believe in any God, morals or principles, I truly agree that everybody has a right to live their lives as they see fit without any bigotry or judgement or (hate provided that they don’t harm others in the process). Nobody should be in a position to decide who lives or who dies let alone killing half the Universe. But, assuming that Marvel Universe is real and as portrayed in the movies, let’s have a look at Thanos real close before shaking our fists at him.

Argument - What makes a person? The experiences he’s/she’s had since the first memory. That’s what drives us. If we can afford an apple, stealing would be immoral as our companions (parents, friends, relatives etc.) tells us so. And so, we believe that every thief has to be brought to justice. But for an orphan, crossing that moral line may result in his survival.

Thanos is a citizen of planet Titan, a civilization like us but much more advanced. Apparently, Titan was also suffering from overpopulation much like Earth and the governing bodies of Titan didn’t listen to Thanos’ advice to wipe out half of the Planet’s population to save it from extinction. After his planet’s extinction, Thanos made it his personal mission to save the universe from a similar fate. While on Marvel’s Earth, the last few years have made some technological advances. But still like our Earth, has the same issues of poverty, unemployment, economic meltdowns, totalitarians trying to enslave the fellow humans, world wars and climate Change. All products of one monster, unchecked population growth. Overpopulation is the single most downplayed recipe for disasters.

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Captain America (all goodness of humanity on steroids), Tony Stark (An average human that bends the law who happens to be a Genius Billionaire), Thor (A literal 1500-year-old God that is obviously an ideal King) combined with some sidekicks and very strong allies (like Hulk) tried their best to stop Thanos. Leaving out the bloodshed, the battle and the physical conflict, it boils down to the will of Thanos. To diminish half of Universe into nothing is no less feat than an almighty God (more than half of the world’s population believes God wiped us out in Noah’s flood 4500 years ago because we didn’t obey him. But according to us, he’s merciful, while Thanos, on the other hand, is a mad Titan). Thanos calls it mercy. And standing from where he is, it kinda makes sense. Sigmund Freud calls this 'Death Drive'. The behavior that drives one towards death and self-destruction.

And evidently, Gamora’s native planet has been well-fed without poverty and misery, proving Thanos’ point. The conviction of Thanos is unshakeable. He even sacrifices his beloved adopted daughter Gamora. A person with that kind of conviction almost always gets his way. Even after he acquires all the stones, he kept his character throughout. He was as confident as ever, as cruel as he can be. He never gloated, never bragged, never dwelled on the past, never dumped his pain on anybody. But we still believe he’s the evil Titan because what he did challenges our morals. We didn’t want to see Spider-Man, the teenage boy to die because almost all Humans have a soft spot for kids. And we want justice for Spider-Man’s death.

Anyway, life is meaningless, all the Universe is racing towards the cold and dark end. Thanos knows and truly believes that it is inevitable. Why postpone the obvious? Half of us can live happily or all of us can suffer. Nobody can make this decision, not without it weighing on you. To know that half of the Universe won’t exist because of you and still do it?? He chose the first option than the latter. He, firmly believed that only he has the will to perform it and so he should.

And he did it with absolute randomness. He has no personal favorites. All of the beings in the universe got the exact equal chance of life as the others. Equality all over. Although the halfdead beings won’t feel a thing, death always affect the living. To cause that much sorrow without guilt, one must be as tough as Thanos. Thanos is the necessary evil like U.S bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War 2. Without bombing the US still might’ve won, but the bombings broke the Emperor’s will, made Japan surrender unconditionally. This paved way for article 9 of the Japanese constitution which in-turn prevented Japan from starting another war in the last seven decades.

“The hardest choices requires toughest wills.” If Batman would’ve had said this…., it would’ve been a Christopher Nolan’s movie.

P. S - We claim to be merciful but we really don’t care. Morals of Humans are like Onion layers. If I point a gun to your head and ask you to choose one Universe, you’ll choose our observable Universe. Supercluster? Virgo. Galaxy? Milkyway. Spiral Arm? Orion. Star system? Our Solar System. Planet? Earth. Country?-Your Country, State-your state, City-your city, your street, your family, your wife and kids……. YOU. That’s why we care about Kerala floods while North East India have 2 floods almost every year. You relate to Kerala as you or your associates have been to one of the hill stations in Kerala while you were a kid or a student. We don’t care about other people let alone other animals. We almost wiped out half of the species since we came into existence. We know that Seals enjoy music, Dolphins are self-conscious, Whales are emotional beings. But we pretend we don’t know or tell ourselves that’s how the world works and turn a blind eye. Tell ourselves that one species dominates the other to give way to progress. But forbid one Thanos decides the fate of our existence as we do with other animals. So, how right it is for us to condemn Thanos?

-An Editorial by Suhel Abdulla
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The Logic of Bollywood - Exposing the Clichés!

Bollywood has always tried to make the perfect Biryani of all times. Yes, it needs all the spices and masala, it needs strong characters like the chicken and rice obviously, it needs a lot of time to marinate all the stuff and concentrate on how to place the final touches of coriander. Although, the quality is based on the brand name and not its actual worth, mostly it goes bland and sometimes causes diarrhea. The spices used for a Bollywood movie are an overwhelming mix of emotions, drama, attempt at comedy, foreign locations and a lot of clichéd dialogues. It is sad to see the clichéd dialogues used in commercial movies as a cliché! Remember 'Ae Dil He Mushkil'? Using your own movie’s plot to do another movie and using the same dialogues and songs, come on!


To make a great movie in Bollywood, you need a Khan or a Kapoor obviously (or a nephew and niece will just do). It is only once in a decade or so that a movie without a Khan or Kapoor as the lead role or their production house makes it big. No matter how beautiful the storyline is, there needs to be a mandatory item song by a famous model turned actress and the only novelty at times they bring in, is by adding a male item song instead of a female celebrity and call it unbiased.

The spices are always too strong for India’s audience’s sensitive digestive system and are thrown in roughly at times when they are not needed, causing questionable hiccups. A Hindi cinema can flop at the box office and yet have songs running at the top of the chartbusters that way at least the actors and actresses, singers and choreographers get the limelight even if the directory and the script couldn’t; so it is a win-win situation after all.

Lately, the logic of Bollywood has moved towards making biopics of great personalities and the hardships they faced during their rise as a star. It definitely feels fresh to view commercial actors and actresses’ in non-glamorous roles, getting their hands dirty by actually working hard for their role like 'Mary Kom' and 'MS Dhoni'.

It is an old trick to make a movie with a designated target audience based on a particular culture and highlighting the most stereotypical aspect of the said culture in an attempt to woe them but alas! Mostly it gets them on the wrong side and a controversy erupts harming sensitivities and calls for the severed nose of Padmavati! Sorry 'Padmaavat'!

The controversy helps the movie gain a bigger audience and it is infamously criticized by many (that is a good PR team right there, guys!). While the research team analyses minute aspects brilliantly, like the accent, specific synonymous words and slangs, the color of the bangles and the shape of the bindi worn by the women folk, bringing together two actresses who are each other’s nemesis, the major story plot is thoroughly modified to fit in the Bolly-mould of love/action/emotion/twist *cough Bajirao cough Mastani cough*

However, the audience is not to be fooled so easily. We know when an actor is giving his best shot at acting and we know how deeply the director is involved with his team to bring out their best performances. While an amateur director can be contended with the basic acting of his actors, only a proficient director can get the maximum effort from his team of actors and actresses, making every single shot perfect. We shall keep a thorough check on Bollywood and update you if at all the logic evolves into a better version of itself.

-An Editorial by Anusha Shanbhag
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Outlaw King Review: A Decently Made Historical Epic!

Starring – Chris Pine
Director – David Mackenzie
Genre – Historical / Action / Drama
Streaming Platform – Netflix

Introduction

Set in the 14th century, Outlaw King, a historical action drama, explores the journey of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotts, and his heroic efforts in leading Scotland during the First War of Scottish Independence against England. Also starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Florence Pugh in supporting roles, this Netflix Original opened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to mixed-to-positive reviews and both audience and critics are by and large excited about this film because of David Mackenzie, who had a remarkable success with his 2016 film 'Hell or High Water'.

Rationalization

Incognizant to none of these historical events, Outlaw King provided a brief with enough memoir for me to understand these individuals who took part in this revolution and their personal lives to a certain extent. One-minute over the two-hour mark, the pacing of this film, especially in the first hour was a tad slow and struggles to the keep the viewer engaged as the story tries to achieve a ubiquitous status by moving far and wide continuously. But, the movie turns full circle when it comes to the second hour. The battle scenes were bloodstained, unpleasant and were put together really well, especially with a multitude of extras. The emotional aspects of Robert and his family were portrayed poignantly in addition to the characters of the supporting cast. Furthermore, the movie rests on the shoulders of Chris Pine and relies on his exceptional performance as the Outlaw / King. Apart from the fact that he fights for his country, his character demands much more, in terms of emotional and decision-making aspects which shape up his personality of a meritorious emperor.

Conclusion

Filmed in real castles and authentic locations from all across the United Kingdom, Outlaw King gives you a legit mega movie theatre-experience, unlike any other Netflix Original you've ever seen before, thanks to those incredible wide-screen panoramic shots. Regardless of a few screenwriting issues, this movie delivers and is worth permitting your valuable time.

Rating - 3/5 | Grade - B

-A Just Stream Editorial by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Thugs of Hindostan - Honest Movie Review

Directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, YRF's latest 300 crore outing Thugs of Hindostan, continues the Bollywood's moneymaking tradition of producing grand-epic films once or maybe twice a year. Consistency doesn't seem a concerning factor here, as the audience will, by and large, feel tickled when they're affectionately served with flamboyant trailers, multiword genre, prolific star cast, extensive social media marketing and a sexy Katrina Kaif who seem to have a problem putting on extra clothes.

Verdict - "Boring! Disappointing! Frustrating!"

Set in the late 1700s, the film's storyline follows the reign of John Clive (Lloyd Owen), a generic, cold-blooded and an easily manipulated English Officer, who is slowly but conventionally, capturing Indian Territories one after the other. Soon after Clive executes and captures her turf, a young Zafira takes off with Khudabaksh (Amitabh Bachchan) and his eagle buddy before getting caught. Eleven years later, now an adolescent highly-skilled archer and a bungee jumping expert Zafira (Fatima Sana Shaikh) plots for revenge against Clive alongside her old-grimy sword-fighting specialist (Bachchan Saab), now hailed as Azaad.

In simple words, we can contemplate Thugs of Hindostan (The Film) as a battleship, struck by lightning, dynamited by other adversary warships and submerged underwater in a sea of blood-soaked negatives. So, let's pick apart the drawbacks of the film one by one. The plot, which, as expected, is predictable for the most part and is a perfect blend between 'Point Break (1991)', 'Pirates of the Carribean' and a million other movies you've already seen before. But, that's not the worst part. Vijay Krishna Acharya as a writer/storyteller failed twice before (with 'Tashan' and 'Dhoom 3') and dropped the ball once again with TOH. Similar to Remo D'Souza, the guy can shoot a bombastic scene which is lit, choreographed and produced nicely, but, the seamless transition and the crisscrossing of the storyline between these theatrical episodes was utterly non-existent. It honestly felt like a bunch of ridiculousness knit together with the intention of making an entertaining movie.

Marketed as an Action/Adventure/Drama, this film is overbrimmed to the fullest extent with action sequences, so much to a point where you can pause every five seconds of the movie, take a screengrab and put it on a billboard, and that's a compliment! As I said earlier, the composition and choreography behind each shot, especially the battle scenes, were proficient enough to watch them on a big screen. But, unlike Tollywood's magnum opus 'Baahubali', the combat scenes had no creative thinking or artistic imagination behind them and just felt like a myriad of sword fights with distinct knife-edged metal on metal sounds.

The characters and the performances serve as another disadvantage to the film. Aamir Khan's character Firangi Mallah felt like less charismatic and a not-so-funny rip-off of Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Carribean. Amitabh Bachchan and his stunt double deserve appreciation for taking the physical risk in most cases but were thwarted by a generic heroic character. Fatima Sana Shaikh, who for the most part, designated to intense standoffs, had very little to speak and was wasted despite having an interesting story arc. Katrina Kaif, on the other hand, was treated like a sensuous ghost of the film, who only appears to provide "entertainment" with her commendable dancing skills, a glittery attire, and a total screen time of fewer than fifteen minutes. That's about it!

Overall, exaggerated with mammoth expectations, a year-long hype and TV spots on every other channel, Thugs of Hindostan is a perfect example and display of why you shouldn't hop on the 'Baahubali' bandwagon with a terrible script and a lousy storyteller like Vijay Krishna Acharya. This movie is a disappointment and will, no doubt, contend with 'Race 3' for the #1 spot, not the best but, for the worst.

Rating - 1.5/5 | Grade - D+

-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Sarkar - Honest Movie Review

To all you neutral fans and general audiences, expecting a ‘Thuppaki’ or ‘Kaththi’ from this blockbuster combo of Vijay-A.R. Murugadoss, I’m sorry to say that Sarkar might disappoint you. Pre-release problems are no alien to Vijay and his films, yet a problem occurred this time in form of an assistant director Varun Rajendran complaining against A.R.Murugadoss for plagiarism. After some sordid fights and moving to court, Murugadoss agreed for compensation and the movie had a 30-second slide thanking the assistant director.

Verdict - “A Huge Letdown!”

The storyline of Sarkar is about a wealthy CEO, Sundar Ramasamy nicknamed as ‘Corporate Monster’ returning to Chennai to cast his vote for Tamilnadu legislative assembly election, only to find that someone has already cast his vote. Disappointed by this felonious act he decides to fight back the corrupt politician Masilamani (Karuppaiah) and his political party. 

Okay, with that being the plot of the movie, I wondered why they went till High Court for such a simple and predictable story. They could have easily settled the matter among themselves. With so much pre-release hype created, I expected something different from A.R.Murugadoss but comparing  Sarkar with his previous two films starring Vijay, this is dull, dreary and an inferior piece of work.

I appreciate ARM for throwing light on a lesser know Indian Law, Section 49P in The Conduct of Elections Rules and educating the people about their Right to Vote. For me the problem was with the screenplay, I don’t know why but I couldn’t connect with the movie and the scenes, they lacked a punch and didn’t create much impact on me. I would also blame ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay for it, as he performed his role insufficiently. 

Remember the 'Kaththi' or 'Mersal' climax, where Vijay boldly criticizes the ruling government through his thought-provoking speech? That spark is long gone and he has gone back to the days of ‘Vettaikaran’. He has overdone certain scenes, with a lot of enthusiasm that it couldn’t register on the audience because of his displeasing expressions and body language. Also, the movie tried to parody the ruling government of Tamilnadu, as certain scenes could be related to some major political event that had happened. Even with that, they have failed unlike Director Anand Shankar’s ‘NOTA’ where he satirizes the Government with his well-written screenplay.

It is better to avoid a female lead right than just making them stand like a junior artist next to a hero. It was pathetic to watch Keerthy Suresh being wasted as her total screen time including a not-so-needed song was less than 10 minutes. Being a Rahmaniac, I felt A.R.Rahman’s songs and background score with Qutub-E-Kripa was mediocre. 

Without further whining, I would like to conclude by saying that ‘Thalapathy’ Vijay has started his political journey and Sarkar serves as the platform for it. Had A.R.Murugadoss worked more on the script, finely tuned it in a proper way and Vijay not overplayed his role, they could have repeated their magic.

Rating – 2.5/5 | Grade – C+

-An Honest Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
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A Look Back at the Past Six Films of Ilayathalapathy Vijay

On the occasion of 'Sarkar' releasing this week on November 7, 2018. We decided to take a trip down memory lane and visit all our reviews of Ilayathalapathy Vijay, see how he did in regards to ratings and performances, also see how we reviewed movies back in the day. So, buckle up and scroll down, we also will preview an average rating of 'Sarkar'. 

Thalaivaa (2013) | Rating - 2.5/5

Directed by A.L. Vijay, the primary storyline of Thalaivaa (2013) draws inspiration from Kamal Haasan's 'Nayakan' and is loosely based on RGV’s 'Sarkar'. The film manages to entertain at times but fails to create an impact. Performances from Vijay, Satyaraj and Amala Paul are noteworthy, but, the mundane three-hour runtime didn't do the film much favours. Overall, Thalaivaa had nothing new to offer but does succeed in transforming Vijay from “Thalapathy” to “Thalaivaa” giving him a complete mass look again.


Jilla (2014) | Rating - 3/5

Jilla, directed by Neason brings together the Superstar of Mollywood Lt. Col. Mohanlal and “Ilayathalapathy” Vijay in the lead roles and the storyline revolves around the aspects of guns, violence and relationships. The film lacks a racy and engaging screenplay because of its mighty three-hour runtime. Mohanlal and Vijay's performances are the backbone of the film while Kajal Aggarwal and the remaining supporting cast had nothing much to offer. Overall, Jilla had the proper ingredients needed for a mass commercial entertainer and although its mighty length works against it, it will surely impress Mohanlal and Vijay’s hardcore devotees.


Kaththi (2014) | Rating - 3.25/5

Kaththi has “Ilayathalapathy” Vijay playing a dual role as Kathiresan and Jeevanandham, supported by Samantha, Satish and Neil Nitin Mukesh. Director A.R. Murugadoss deals with the most unrecognised problems in the society like farming lands being taken over by MNCs, farmer’s suicides and the news media working only for TRP Ratings. It’s indeed a bold attempt by Murugadoss to take up a sensitive subject. But, he deals it with ease. The screenplay was engrossing despite a few sluggish scenes in the first half. The dialogues were sharp, especially the one line definition of communism which is not to be missed. On the whole, Kaththi is a perfect commercial entertainer with a strong social message. Vijay, Murugadoss and the entire team of Kaththi deserve applause for bringing in the much needed social awareness.


Theri (2016) | Rating - 2.5/5

Directed by Atlee Kumar, “Ilayathalapathy” Vijay as Vijay Kumar IPS packs a punch as Deputy Commissioner of Chennai City. He scores with his body language, dialogue delivery, and a couple of mass scenes. But, as the drawback, he looked short of expressions in melodramatic scenes. Samantha Akkineni and Amy Jackson were used just like any other heroines would be used for a commercial entertainer.  Nainika, daughter of actress Meena was very cute and adorable with her facial expressions. On the downside, I feel that Atlee made a mistake by choosing to make a movie with Lemuria old formula and story. The storyline looks like many revenge flicks we have seen earlier and you may even feel that the plot is similar to other Vijay films. Nevertheless, even though the plot is racy and has a certain refreshing romantic and sentimental scenes, the pale overall story makes the film a hard one time watch.


Bairavaa (2017) | Rating - 2/5

It’s not new watching Vijay in commercial films with nothing new to offer and Bhairava is one of them. The long-lost director Bharathan could have worked more on the screenplay and though his intention to come up with a social message is appreciable, the way he presented it failed to create an impact. Vijay, being the darling of Mass movies does his part well. But seeing him repeatedly in these kinds of commercial films offering only punch dialogues, unwanted or over crafted fight sequences makes the general audience and neutral fans tiresome. To conclude, Bhairava is yet another commercial pot-boiler in which Vijay acts every now and then. I didn’t even find one good aspect in the film to praise wholeheartedly. Watch it if you really want to.


Mersal (2017) | Rating - 3/5

Mersal follows the Lemuria continent old story of two brothers avenging the brutal murder of their parents. Atlee’s search for a fresh script without any adaptation continues with Mersal too. Yet, what makes Atlee’s movie entertaining is his way of presenting it to the audience. The scenes and dialogues about the present condition of the state (TN) and the country are highly commendable. Even though the storyline had nothing new to offer, Atlee extensively worked on the screenplay with Vijayendra Prasad and executed it well with a top-notch technical team. Overall, by being an inspired and off-the-record adapted movie, Atlee managed to pull off a worthy commercial entertainer with a social message. Despite the fact that it has certain logic issues, Mersal is surely a praiseworthy film.

Average Rating of 'Sarkar' - 2.7/5

-An Editorial by Nirmalraj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911) and Team JFMF
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Top 5 Reasons Why Thugs of Hindostan Will Fail Critically

Now, before I dissect the reasons why Thugs of Hindostan will fail critically, I want to make it clear that I wish nothing but success for the movie. I will walk into the theatre with an open mind, and if the film proves me wrong, I'll be the first person to admit my mistakes. So, with that out-of-the-way, let's start picking apart the Top 5 Reasons.


1. The Poor Track Record of the Director

Taking the recent epic blockbusters 'Baahubali' and 'Padmaavat' as examples, although the characters and the star cast were the essential reasons for the films' success, the primary and the dominant reason why those movies made a huge impact was because of the directors S. S. Rajamouli and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who are the premier superstars of their films. Cut back to TOH, Writer-Director Vijay Krishna Acharya, who is the architect behind 'Tashan' (a critical and commercial failure) and 'Dhoom 3' (another critical failure) has a poor track record when it comes to his previous works, is not considered as a superstar director, and is mainly an unknown name in the industry. So, watching his name on-screen didn't get me particularly excited.


2. Similarities to Pirates of the Caribbean

From the characters to the action set pieces and production design, you can't help but compare TOH to the Pirates of the Caribbean. Aamir Khan's character Firangi Mallah is at the bottom, an Indian version of Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp), who even has a distinct accent like Mr. Sparrow, walks and dances unusually like Sparrow, chugs a bottle of whiskey like our beloved drunkard Sparrow and may also cheat like our five-installment hero Jack Sparrow including Amitabh Bachchan looking all the more identical to Black Beard. And is Fatima Sana Sheikh going to portray the more serious and equally attractive version of Angelica (played by Penélope Cruz)? Let's move on!


3. The Other Characters

Taking nothing away from her amazing dance skills, Katrina Kaif once again fills in as a glamour quotient in the film. So far, we've seen her dance indoors and outdoors within extravagant sets, covered in glittering outfits, so maybe the director is using the best of her abilities. Also, by not declining his incredible talent and bravado, Amitabh Bachchan's character also looks like an extension of Kattappa (played by Sathyaraj) from 'Baahubali' franchise. He is the leader of his battalions like the backstabber Katappa, swinging and blinging the sword like the tenacious Kattappa, but, the only dubious aspect from Mr Bachchan's character is him jumping and kicking everyone around with his far-fetched aerobic abilities.


4. Video Game Visual Effects

With nearly a 300 cr budget, this film is, for the most part, drenched in CGI, similar to its counterpart 'Baahubali'. But setting excuses like time, budget and availability aside, the visual effects, at least in the trailer looked below par. But, I'll reserve my final judgement till I see the movie on a big screen, however, judging by the trailers the VFX used in certain shots and scenes looked they're plucked straight out of an expensive video game. It seemed like 'Baahubali' set new standards for computer-generated imagery in Indian Cinema and TOH might fail in the midst of being successful.


5. Following a Trend

Speaking of 'Baahubali', it's quite obvious that TOH is riding the coattails of the immense success of S.S. Rajmouli's magnum opus. It is also apparent that Patriotic movies are the trending genre in Bollywood right now (look at Akshay Kumar's success rate in the past few years). So, it's a no-brainer to mix both successful genres and make a noteworthy movie. But, the bigger question is, will people respond to it critically and make it a crowd-pleaser? I don't think so! But let's wait and see.

-A Top 5 List by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Top 5 Overrated Bollywood Actresses [Part 2]

With Part 1 of our Overrated Bollywood Actresses out-of-the-way, we decided to return back with Part 2, simple because of we left out few doozies in the previous one. So, let's roll!

Related - Top 5 Overrated Bollywood Actresses [Part 1], Top 5 Underrated Bollywood Actresses


5. Yami Gautam

For someone who has been in the show business for nearly a decade, you would expect Yami to have upped her game by now, but clearly not. Even with box office as well as the critical hits like 'Kaabil', 'Vicky Donor' and 'Badlapur', things haven't been bright for Yami (except her fair and lovely ads of course) because of her almost identical characters in every movie. She is definitely talented but people will rarely appreciate a repeated role with the same storyline and the same personalities. Her role in 'Batti Gul Meter Chalu' might have been a turning point which we can judge better in the future, but her films including blunders like 'Action Jackson', 'Total Siyappa' and 'Sanam Re' have been the prime reasons for the low success graph in her career so far. But she definitely is better than some top Bollywood actresses and that means, with the right movies she'll undoubtedly earn the fame she deserves one day.


4. Daisy Shah

Introducing herself as one of Salman Khan's minions, Daisy was subjected to the same fate as the others, thanks to her overrated choice of roles in plain old masala Bollywood movies. It's almost a miracle that Salman Khan bounced back from erroneous movies like 'Race 3' and 'Jai Ho', but, unfortunately, Daisy wasn't a part of it. She made a worse choice by featuring in the 'Hate Story' franchise which was already looked down upon by critics and audience. She might look like a new face but her career started in the South Indian film industries from around 2011. One could think that it's enough time given for a worthy actress to prove herself. But with such movies, Daisy Shah remains on the dimmer light of Bollywood.


3. Shraddha Kapoor

The "ex-national crush" created a buzz from her debut in 'Aashiqui 2'. But it took two more movies that it wasn't acting that she did in her first movie but she was just being herself. Like we didn't have enough daily soap actresses to flood tears and play the innocent Disney Princess already, Shraddha became the new annoyingly sweet and predictable princess of Bollywood. Her one film to change her fate (Haseena Parkar) didn't work out and within no time she was back to giving us obvious flops like 'Rock On 2' and 'Batti Gul Meter Chalu'. Her percentage of versatility in the characters she has played divided by the number of her movies is zero because anything divided by zero is zero! Her drudging and wearisome performances in 'Half Girlfriend', 'Ok Jaanu' and 'Stree' are completely ignored because one and only one reason, she's cute. People put up her photos, praise her dancing skills and her off-camera attitude that everything else rules out but she still survives in the industry and that is why she belongs in this list.


2. Kajol Devgn

Who doesn't love the bubbly boyish girl from 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai'? Kajol is clearly one of the most successful actresses from our beloved Karan Johar's lot. But there's a difference in loving the actors and rating them. I would never judge her acting skills but I'd be lying if I didn't say that she's been given a lot more credit than she deserves. It's probably Kajol from whom Kareena Kapoor learnt all that overacting and enthusiasm. With movies like 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham', 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' and 'DDLJ', she earned enough fame but if such movies were to be released today, it would've been dreadful. Let's not even talk about some of her choices like 'Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi', 'Hulchul' and 'Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya'; the limit bar of overacting probably cracked and her recent outings 'Dilwale' and 'Helicopter Eela' didn't help either, but, she is currently safe because of her older movies like 'My Name Is Khan', and 'We Are a Family' were critically accepted well. Call it the era of the 90s or her choice of movies, I think it's reasonable to have her on this list.


1. Sonam Kapoor

Being one of the most controversial and overrated actresses, Sonam Kapoor is the first one I'd like to mention here. She started with chick flicks and movies with mild storylines which barely worked out for her but then, with 'Neerja' and 'Mausam', she finally gained attention from the critics and media. Unfortunately, then came disasters like 'Sanju', 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo' and 'Veere Di Wedding' which were already black marked due to their controversies and her performance in both these movies were appalling enough to label her as 'overrated'. She may be a passionate fashionista but it's valid to say that she isn't that good of an actress. As observed, her skills are highly dull and careless in movies like 'I Hate Luv Storys', 'Bewakoofiyaan' and 'Khoobsurat' while it is nearly irritating in 'Aisha', 'Pad Man' and 'Dolly Ki Doli'. But then again, being called overrated doesn't hinder her capacity (if she has) and only her future projects can prove that to us.

-A Top 5 List by Nikitha Kashyap aka WW
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