Menu

Just for Movie Freaks

Movie Reviews & Editorials

header photo

Blog posts June 2018

Sanju - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Curated Look at the Controversial Life of Sanju!"

Directed by the acclaimed and celebrated director Rajkumar Hirani, Sanju starring Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role is a 'biopic' of the controversial yet admired film star Sanjay Dutt. The film explores the early days of his film career, his drug-addiction phase and his involvement in the 1993 Bombay bombings.

The film opens up with the Supreme Court of India announcing that Sanju (Ranbir Kapoor) should, in fact, serve his notice in jail and offers him 30 days to surrender so that he can complete his unfinished projects. Sanju then meets the admired biographer Winnie Diaz (Anushka Sharma) to pen his notorious life story and despite few issues, they decide to work together as Sanju starts his story remembering his time on the sets of his first film Rocky (1981).

Alright, let me start by saying this, this is not your traditional biopic where it encompasses the complete story of Sanjay Dutt, they're many uncharted territories that you expect answers from, but Rajkumar Hirani focuses more on the moments which made or destroyed Dutt's career. The timeline is almost non-existent in the film, we jump from incidents out of the 80's to the 90's and to the 2000's and I felt like large chunks of details were left unexplained.  I understand that the makers cannot cram everything into the two-hour-forty-minute runtime but I found myself out-of-the-loop trying to piece together the plot regularly. Moreover, few scenes in between these timelines were almost hard to believe. Maybe the man truly had such an outlandish lifestyle or maybe it's fictionalized, we never know.

The first half focuses on the early stages of Dutt's career from the 80's and more on his reckless and slapdash attitude and how he's not able to focus on his career, family, and life. But, I might be in the minority for saying that I didn't like the approach that the writers took to infuse comedy into serious moments. Like, he obviously did some awful stuff, but the way it was told or portrayed was a bit nonsensical.

But, one of the main aspects that shines the most throughout the movie was the relationship that Dutt had with his father Sunil Dutt and his dear friend Kamlesh. They're extremely emotional, genuine and made the film feel very special. The concern that these guys showed towards Dutt at the darkest times of his life was well showcased and made the lead character look endearing.

Advancing to the performances, Ranbir Kapoor is in top-form here and he transformed himself into Sanjay Dutt when it comes to the physical transformation, facial expressions, voice, mannerisms and I didn't feel even for a second that I was watching Ranbir Kapoor on-screen. But, Vicky Kaushal as Dutt's friend Kamlesh is the show-stealer here and made his character delightful to watch. The Gujarati accent, innocence, and the earnest gratitude that he had for his best friend was heartwarming and Kaushal made sure to knock it out-of-the-park in every single scene. Other notable performances include Paresh Rawal as the loving father and Anushka Sharma as the no-nonsense biographer, both their characters had equal importance in the movie with much significance.

Overall, Sanju felt less like a biographical drama and more of a story that Dutt wanted to tell the audience through his point of view. Disgraced by negligent journalism, Dutt answers most of the significant questions about his drug use, involvement with the terrorists and his asinine behavior but I felt like many phases of his life are still left unexplored. But then again, the performances were top-notch and the relationships between the focal characters were remarkably displayed which makes Sanju an engaging film from beginning to end.

My Rating - 3/5 | Grade - B (Worth a Watch!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
Instagram Profile - 
@JustMovieFreaks | Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

Go Back

Why is Set It Up a Must Watch Movie on Netflix Right Now!

Starring -  Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu
Director - Claire Scanlon
Genre - Rom-Com
Streaming Platform - Netflix 

Introduction

Set It Up is slowly but rightfully becoming one of the sleeper hits of this Summer for all the right reasons and I'll explain you why. But first, let's start with the storyline. Set up in the busy streets of New York City, the film explores the hectic yet dismal lives of Harper and Charlie who work as the assistants for two different sociopathic bosses. After coming across each other and learning about their cheerless careers, they decide to embed a relationship between their two employers to get more spare time to spend with their loved ones.

Rationalization

With the growing popularity of big-budget franchise driven films, feel-good light-hearted rom-com's are rare to find these days and Set It Up was just a delightful watch from beginning to end. It had everything that you expect from a modern-day romantic comedy. The jokes were hilarious and made me laugh inside and out, the storyline was silly, simple and didn't bore me even for a single second. The strong yet funny performances from Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu and the charming chemistry between Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell was so compelling to watch as their characters were just a cherry on top of a beautiful movie.

Conclusion

Finally, if you've read the entire editorial you can understand why I loved this film so much and I'm sure that you will also do for all the same reasons. If you're looking forward to watching a cheerful and a humorous romedy this weekend, make sure to stream Set It Up on Netflix cause it's one of the best movies of this year so far.

-A Just Stream Editorial by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks | Instagram's Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

Go Back

Love, Simon & Red Sparrow - Double Header Reviews

Hello Movie Freaks! Welcome back to yet another Double Header Review and the last time we did something like this it is for two movies that I enjoyed quite a bit; Den of Thieves and Game Night. But this time, it's different, two diverse films that I'm wanting to see for a very long time. So, let's get right into it.

But, let me stop you right there! You guys know the drill, let's see how well these films performed critically and commercially. Love, Simon made 60.8 million worldwide with a production budget of 10 million and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 91%. Red Sparrow made 151.3 million worldwide from its 69 million production budget and with a Tomatometer score of 47%. 

"Love, Simon" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 4/5

Directed by Greg Berlanti, Love, Simon stars Nick Robinson in the lead role and is a coming-of-age story of Simon who is gay and is extremely afraid to admit it to his family or his friends because of the circumstances. The film explores the final year of Simon's high school life and his journey through finding love with an anonymous fellow school-mate and at the same time dealing with quite a few obstacles. 

Now, I love coming-of-age films, when they're done right. I still remember watching The Perks of Being a Wallflower back in 2012 or even Paper Towns from 2015 and felling in love with those films instantly. Love, Simon is also one such film I knew I would immediately love mainly because of the vibe it carried throughout the runtime. The simple yet suspenseful storyline, well-written dialogues, witty and emotional scenes, the upbeat songs and background score and the relatable characters made this film super charming, likable and entertaining.

Overall, Love, Simon is easily one of the best films of the year and is a delightful watch in and out. If you're waiting to watch a feel-good movie, make sure to check out this one because it's not often we get a different coming-of-age film centered around a gay.

"Red Sparrow" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 2/5

Starring Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role, Red Sparrow explores the story of Dominika Egorova, a former ballerina turned spy who is forced to work for the Russian Intelligence and is directed by Francis Lawrence (Hunger Games fame) and co-stars Joel Edgerton along with Matthias Schoenaerts as the supporting cast.

They're a tad too many drawbacks with this movie, so, let's start with the positives. Jennifer Lawrence once again proves why is one of the best Hollywood actors working right now. The demeanor, charisma and the allure that she brings to her character is remarkable and as the standard-bear who is practically present in every single scene she does a good job and keeps the movie despite its numerous flaws. Talking about problems, clocking at 140 minutes, the runtime of this film is lengthy and after a certain point in time, it started to aggravate me because of the storyline which is pretty ordinary. Sure, the suspense of the focal character is maintained until the third act, but the movie is dreary and mundane cause it lost me in the first or the second act itself.

Overall, excluding JLaw's noteworthy performance, Red Sparrow is a disappointment and there is no reason for you to check out this movie unless you bump into it on a late Saturday night. 

-A Double Header Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
Twitter Profile - 
@JustMovieFreaks | Instagram's Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

Go Back

Tik Tik Tik - Honest Movie Review

Verdict – "A Remarkable Attempt Ruined by Some Clichéd Writing!"

When an asteroid is about to strike some regions in South India, the Indian Defence Army decides to blast it using a nuclear weapon. Since there is no nuclear weapon of such intensity available in India, they decide to steal it from a secret vault in outer space with the help of a magician cum escape artist.

Director Shakthi Sounder Rajan is known to explore untouched genres in Tamil Cinema. With ‘Miruthan’, he gave the first Zombie movie ever made in Tamil Cinema Industry. And now with ‘Tik Tik Tik’, he delivered India’s first outer space based film. With soaring high expectations people anticipate for a solid movie but Rajan chose to ignore the writing aspects and focused more on the visual part which resulted in a film having a generic plot. 

‘Jeyam’ Ravi has solely carried the entire movie on his shoulders. He compensates for the weak writing and makes sure the movie is watchable with his acting. Nivetha Pethuraj, Jayaprakash, and other supporting cast were just fine. 

On the technical side, the film is of the highest quality. I didn’t expect the VFX to be excellent and it surprised me for the most part. As India’s first space adventure, the visual effects should be breathtaking and the movie succeeded in it. The songs and the background score by D. Imman are also another one of the few positives I found in this film as he made sure that his music creates the right impact needed for a space genre film.

Nevertheless, Tik Tik Tik would have been better if with an attractive story and an engaging screenplay cause the writing part of the movie is a letdown. Barring it, the movie is definitely a well-made space genre film and the effort of the whole team should be appreciated. 

My Rating – 2.75/5 | Grade – C+ (A Decent Flick!)
An Honest Movie Review by Nirmalraj aka AK (@NirmalRaj2911)

Go Back

Hereditary - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Spine-Chilling Experience!"

Directed by Ari Aster, Hereditary is a horror-thriller and stars  Toni Collette and Alex Wolff in the lead roles along with Milly Shapiro, and Gabriel Byrne as the supporting cast. Applauded and celebrated as one of the best horror movies of recent times, critics went on to call this film as the modern-day Exorcist in their overwhelmingly positive reviews as the Tomatometer now stands at 90%. But, similar to this decades horror releases The Witch and The Babadook, this film is not well received by the audience or the general public as it earned a D+ cinemascore which was quite bizarre.

The plot of the film tells the story of the strange Graham family who is going through the death of Ellen, mother of Annie (Toni Collette) and the grandmother of Peter and Charlie (Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro). Shortly after that, weird things slowly start to unravel as Annie and Charlie begin to notice Ellen who is involved in a strange and a mysterious past.

I love horror/thriller movies and the experience of watching them in a movie theatre. I still remember torturing myself watching Conjuring 2 in an almost empty theatre just for that eerie ambiance. But, I even found myself not enjoying horror movies when they have too many silly jump-scares and a generic storyline. Anyway, coming back to Hereditary, I avoided all the promotional material and the trailers of the film and walked into the theater with an open mind only expecting to watch a good horror film. Now, nearly eight hours later, thinking about this movie is still makes my pulse pound and I'm even uncomfortable visualizing what I saw. Let me explain why!

Right from the first frame, you can tell that there's something wrong within this house and even with the family. Director Ari Aster masterfully made use of the setting, environment, characters, background score and the creepy imagery to assemble the disconcerting vibe and ensured that it's maintained throughout the film. Every scene was shot and designed with perfection and Aster did not make any mistake by spoiling the tension with an absurd jump scare. The first half was a slow-burn, it took the time to narrate the eerieness of the characters and made me become accustomed to the setting of the film. But, the second half is when the pace starts to pick up as its occupied with scary and unsettling scenes, weird anecdotes and many more. Anyhow, let's move on before I start spoiling the movie. 

Now, what made the film much more special were the characters. The development was exceptional as you can feel sorry for them and at the same time get weirded out with their actions. Complementing to the perfection of the characters, the performances from the complete cast was extraordinary. Toni Collette delivered an Oscar-worthy performance and I was honestly spooked just by looking at her in every scene. Alex Wolff was also phenomenal as this helpless guy as you can see this powerlessness and grief on his face the whole time. Milly Shapiro's appearance is creepy enough for me to not trust her character from the beginning as she carried the uncanniness with her the from start to finish.

As I complimented earlier, the technical aspects in the film were great. The way it was shot to provide and continue the frightening feeling was quite extraordinary. Also, the background score was most definitely chilling and endorsed the spirit of the film flawlessly.

Nevertheless, the hype is real and Hereditary is, in fact, the best horror film I've seen in recent years. The unsettling atmosphere and the disturbing imagery will mess with you for a long time. It's also exquisitely shot and directed film with top-notch performances. Watch it on the biggest screen available with premium sound quality to experience the uncanniness to the fullest.

My Rating - 4/5 | Grade - A (The Best One Around!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
Instagram Profile - 
@JustMovieFreaks | Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

Go Back

Lust Stories (Netflix) - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Breaking Ground!"

Distributed and released by the global streaming leader Netflix, Lust Stories is an anthology film consisting of four short stories based on love, lust, honesty, status, misery, and desire. Directed by the some of the most celebrated filmmakers in Bollywood (Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar, Dibakar Banerjee and Karan Johar), this film breaks new ground and highlights few significant problems and complications that men and (especially) women face in their relationships and everyday life.

Let's briefly discuss the storyline of the four short films without spoiling anything. Kashyap's film starring Radhika Apte and Akash Thosar tells the story about an unusual relationship between a college teacher and a student and trades with the subject of honesty. Zoya's short cruises on the lines of class and dignity and stars Bhumi Pednekar as a housemaid and Neil Bhoopalam as an unmarried day job worker. Dibakar's movie sees Manisha Koirala having an extramarital affair with Jaideep Ahlawat and also explores her reasons for not liking her husband's behavior and attitude. Finally, Karan's film delves into the life of a newly-married couple Kiara Advani and Vicky Kaushal and emphasizes the topics of sex being one-sided, women being confined to a traditional married life and more.

What makes this movie special is the significant directive it's trying to express. We live in a fast-growing world where we often forget about basic things in life which are important. Like in Kashyap's film Radhika Apte's character expects the same amount of honesty and transparency from her friend, but she gets upset and goes paranoid when he starts to lie to her. Dignity, despair, aggravation and even Karan's film tells a substantial story about how women have the same desire as men and so on. Also, this film breaks new boundaries when it comes to talking, expressing and opening (not in a vulgar way) about sex which is still considered as a taboo in India. 

Centered around four different female protagonists, the performances from every one of them were great. Radhika Apte is the most notable one as she embodied and portrayed the psychotic part of her character tremendously. Kiara Advani is also another pleasant surprise as her character was by far the likable and relatable one among others.

Overall, Lust Stories had an imperative and a distinctive message to share in each of its four films and was also remarkably narrated and directed. Go watch this film as this is one of the many steps that Indian Cinema is taking to divert itself from the commercial genre.

My Rating - 3.5/5 | -An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks | Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

Go Back

Race 3 - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "One of the Worst Big Budget Movies in Recent History!"

Directed by Remo D'Souza who is the man behind-the-camera of one of the worst films of 2016 'A Flying Jatt', 'Race 3' stars Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Jacqueline Fernandez, Daisy Shah and Saqib Saleem in the lead and supporting roles and is the third film in the highly successful 'Race' franchise.

Separated from the previous two films, the plot of this movie introduces us to a filthy rich family who has disputes between them over domination and money. After undertaking a deal to rob a hard drive from a "highly secured" vault, the family discovers few miraculous facts which shatters the trust and love that they have developed over the years. Beyond believable!

If you got through the above paragraph understanding something about the movie then I should applaud myself for narrating the chaotic mess which is the storyline. It's a disaster! And even recollecting it to disintegrate what happened is giving me a headache. The franchise is notoriously known for its double-twists; a twist within a twist and more twists and that's where this plot became even more heedless. They're rather confusing, pointless and ineffective than surprising as the twists were only introduced to continue the ridiculous gimmick of the franchise.

Ten minutes into the movie, I can already tell that it is awful when the narrator says "Now that you learned about the characters, let the race begin!". That's borderline pathetic storytelling and the idiocy never stops and it continues with terrible dialogues, cringey character moments, humorless comedy and abysmal timing of songs between unimportant scenes. 

Remo D' Souza who is now into creating mindless grandiose spectacles is hand-picked by Salman Khan to direct the movie and it is literally the worst decision he made. D'Souza's approach to push style over substance can clearly be seen in the film and it didn't even remotely work for any scene. He can't piece together a scene properly or at least cannot extract a decent enough performance from any of the talented cast and it's disgraceful. All he made sure is that the actors looked elegant by dressing them up with expensive clothing and made them drive around in supercars so that we can all think that they're wicked cool.

But hey! You may say that I'm just being salty and demoralizing everybody with negativity, at least they're action sequences to shut my brain and enjoy. Don't get me started! From the mind-numbing skydiving sequences to the insane flying car crashes and the in-your-face detonations, the action scenes in the movie were absurdly bad. They're so atrocious to watch as the audience in the theatre I'm watching had a range of emotions with the kids running down the steps infused with madness and the elders either laughing or holding their heads in awe cause they can't believe what they're watching.

Even the characters or the performances didn't elevate the film. Salman Khan walked, talked and acted like a robot. Anil Kapoor and Bobby Deol did the best they could, Jacqueline Fernandez and Daisy Shah were present for the looks, songs, and few poorly choreographed fights which are seriously bad. And there's nothing much to discuss about Saqib Saleem or Freddy Daruwala either.

Overall, Race 3 is undoubtedly one of the worst big budget commercial movies I've seen in a while and is an all-around failure differing from the storyline, screenplay, direction, action, music, and performances. Here's my suggestion, forget that this movie existed, ignore it when it debuts on Amazon Prime or on TV and then thank me later for saving 160 minutes of your valuable time.

My Rating - 1/5 | Grade - D (Absolutely Awful!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

Go Back

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Mundane and A Disappointing Film!"

Directed by J. A. Bayona, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the sequel to the highly successful 2015 film Jurassic World which grossed 1.6 billion worldwide and revitalized the franchise back to its glory. The sequel stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprising their respective roles along with Rafe Spall and Justice Smith as the supporting cast.

Soon after the events of the first film, Isla Nublar is now the resort of a raging volcano and the government is in a dilemma whether to save the dinosaurs or let them succumb with the catastrophe. After the adverse decision by the authority, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who is now running a campaign to save the ancient spices receives an excellent offer from Benjamin Lockwood who articulates that the beings can be carted to different and a more safer island. Shortly afterwards, Claire finds herself in trouble along with her friends and Owen (Chris Pratt) who joins her for help.

As expected, the film starts off with on a higher note with dinosaurs being stranded on Isla Nublar. The visuals looked fantastic, the action scenes felt exhilarating and certainly dark and emotional. Soon after the first act, the film took a nosedive into the atrocious land and never even tried to retreat from its mistakes. 

That's when the horrendous storyline and writing job by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly came into the picture. It felt that the script became lazy as the entire another half of the movie takes place in a mansion where nothing interesting happens, tries to make an uninteresting generic villain work and also aims to insert a subplot with a child which was unwarranted. The entire movie was predictable and everything excluding the first act was mundane to watch.

The film's sound design was fantastic, sitting in a DOLBY ATMOS theatre with surround sound I felt the cinematic experience more convenient to me and Giacchino's background score was off-the-roof. Performances from the complete cast were decent as I felt that the characters had nothing much to do in this film and were easily forgettable after the movie.

Overall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a bummer in terms of writing and delivering an enjoyable film. As the fifth film in the Jurassic franchise, I expected something more than a blatant adventure film as it is by far the most disappointing films I've seen this year.

My Rating - 2/5 | Grade - C (Meh! Probably a Rental!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

Go Back

Kaala – Honest Movie Review

Verdict: “Kaala Shines As a Pa. Ranjith Film with Rajini Touch In It!

Set in Mumbai, Kaala stage the story of an immigrant man from Tirunelveli and eventually emerges as a righteous don in the Dharavi slums. Director Pa. Ranjith also highlights the sufferings of Tamil migrants and other slum dwellers in Mumbai who are often victims of discrimination.

Pa. Ranjith came up with a story with an excellent blend of commercial and realistic elements. He executed it well with utmost care not to overdo in any aspect. He sticks true to his ideologies and the film has many subtexts to follow and understand where the director has conveyed his thoughts.

Rajnikanth as Kaala Karikalan is electrifying to watch with his unmatched screen presence, charisma, and body language. But, as earlier said it is a Pa. Ranjith film with Rajini touch in it. We do get to see many goosebumps scenes, yet it is not an outright Rajini film. It has a heavy content and the actor has done justice to the director’s character and portrayed as Kaala.

Nana Patekar as Hari Dada is a perfect choice as the actor has carried out with ease. The scenes where Kaala and Hari Dada face each other are such a delight to watch as both the actors are high on their performance. Huma Qureshi, Easwari Rao, Samuthirakanni and other ensemble lists of support cast have done their part well.

Kaala is technically a brilliant movie. Kudos to art director T. Ramalingam for bringing the Dharavi slums to live. Cinematography by Murali. G is fascinating as the film had many colors to be captured in the frame. Santhosh Narayanan elevates the movie with his background score and songs. 

Finally, Kaala has what fans expected in Kabali (Pa.Ranjith and Rajini’s previous film), perfectly delivered and definitely, this is one of the best movies in their respective career. Keeping the lead actors political credo aside, Kaala is altogether an enjoyable movie.

My Rating – 3.75/5 | Grade – B+ (Highly Entertaining!)
An Honest Movie Review by Nirmalraj aka AK (@NirmalRaj2911)

Go Back

TOP 5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT RACE 3

1. Supercars Blown Up!

The stunts of Race 3 were choreographed by Hollywood action director Tom Struthers and were shot in Abu Dhabi. At the trailer launch event, Salman Khan had said that they picked up 15-16 brand new cars while shooting in Abu Dhabi thinking they would get them back, but the action director ensured they don’t get even one car back. “The cars were blown up in 200 parts, which made it impossible to bring the cars back,” he added.

2. 5 Days! Just 5 Days!

Can you believe that the climax of Race 3 was shot in just 5 days? As per a report from the film's team, the climax was shot with three units simultaneously. A set of actors were continuously shooting on the three units and wrapped the schedule in just five days that could have taken ten days to shoot.

Director Remo D’Souza stated, “The climax scene is an elaborate action sequence that was to be shot with the entire cast. Salman ensured that the grueling schedule that would otherwise take 10 days to shoot, was completed in just 5 days. We had three separate units that were shooting simultaneously on set. The live explosions also had the military’s presence for security concern. The entire sequence was an event in itself.”

3. Sidharth Keeps Making Bad Choices?

Sidharth Malhotra was approached and opted out of the film, as he was to be cast opposite Daisy Shah, who is the supporting actress in the film. Malhotra has always been paired opposite the leading ladies, so he decided to opt out. Also, Aditya Roy Kapoor was first approached for the second lead after Siddarth Malhotra. But producer Ramesh Taurani didn't agree to his price.

4. The Real Anil

Anil Kapoor who plays the role of a business tycoon Shamsher in the film will be introduced through an action scene which will reportedly see no body double because Anil Kapoor has decided to do the stunts himself, reported mid-day. Anil Kapoor's entry scene will reportedly involve an adrenaline-pumping car chase sequence and rounds of a gunshot.

5. Jacky vs Daisy - The Cat Fight?

Talking about her experience of doing action scenes, Jacqueline says, “ I was part of very big action centric films (Dishoom) in the past but this is the first time I have gone all out and done action with Race 3. Daisy (Shah) and I have a massive cat fight in the film and it’s actually one of the hardest action sequences I have ever done in my life. In the movie, Daisy actually hits me and while shooting she has kicked me hard many times.”

Sources and Writing Credits - Indian Express, IMDB, NDTV and Hindustan Times. (Thanks)

-A Top 5 List by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

Go Back

10 blog posts