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Blog posts August 2018

Top 5 Bollywood (Hindi) Movies Releasing in September 2018

5. Pradeep Sarkar's – 'Helicopter Eela'

Release Date - September 7, 2018 | Starring - Kajol

Reasons to be Excited About - The last time we've seen Kajol play a titular role in a film was for 'My Name is Khan' back in 2010. Helicopter Eela will display the Darling of Romance as an aspiring singer and a single mother, and judging by the trailers, so far, the movie seems to have a comedic tone and looks very much enjoyable.

4. J. P. Dutta’s – 'Paltan'

Release Date - September 7, 2018 | Starring - Ensemble Cast

Reasons to be Excited About - Based on the military clashes of Nathu La in 1967, Paltan showcases the intense war between India and China. Backed with a gigantic super cast, this is J.P. Dutta's (known for patriotic films like Border and LOC Kargil) comeback film as the director after twelve years. So, it's always interesting to see if he still has the blockbuster magic or not.

3. Shree Narayan Singh’s – 'Batti Gul Meter Chalu'

Release Date - September 21, 2018 | Starring - Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, and Yami Gautam

Reasons to be Excited About - So far, the vibe that I'm getting from the songs and the promos of this film is similar to Shahid's 2013 film 'Phata Poster Nikhla Hero' co-starring Ileana D'Cruz. But, Shree Narayan Singh is an acclaimed director, and is the man behind-the-camera for one of the biggest hits of 2017 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha'. Batti Gul Meter Chalu explores the electricity issues in rural India, and if it struck the chord when it comes to the social message part, I'm sure that it will be an incredible hit.

2. Anurag Kashyap’s – 'Manmarziyaan'

Release Date - September 14, 2018 | Starring -  Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu

Reasons to be Excited About - Manmarziyaan looks and feels very different from a typical Kashyap movie, which is IMO, a good thing if he's looking to diversify and explore different genres. Also, the cast includes Taapsee and Abhishek Bachchan, which is again, not normal. Nonetheless, Kashyap's films were always something to look for, and with his previous film in 2018, 'Mukkabaaz', not fairing well at the box office, all the pressure is now on Manmarziyaan and hopefully, it will perform well.

1. Sharat Katariya’s – 'Sui Dhaaga - Made in India'

Release Date - September 25, 2018 | Starring -  Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma

Reasons to be Excited About - With one of the most earnest looks in the promos, both Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma look very much down-to-earth in their characters, and I'm sure that this film will likely earn them multiple award nominations. Directed by Sharat Katariya ('Dum Laga Ke Haisha' fame), I'm also confident that this film will have a heartwarming story and will indeed be one of the decent hits of this year.

-A Top 5 List by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal
Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks | Instagram's Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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Top 5 Kollywood (Tamil) Movies Releasing in September 2018

5. Ponram’s – 'Seemaraja'

Release Date - September 13, 2018 | Starring - Siva Karthikeyan, Samantha Akkineni, and Soori

Reasons to be Excited About - This is Ponram’s third film with Siva Karthikeyan as the lead, Soori as the comedian, D. Imman as the music director and this is his only third directorial film. While his debut and the second film were blockbusters, Ponram is trying to repeat the same formula of making a comedy-drama with Seemaraja also. Will he be successful one more time?

4. Ram’s – 'Peranbu'

Release Date - September 7, 2018 | Starring - Mammootty, Anjali, and Samuthirakanni

Reasons to be Excited About - Peranbu is a Tamil-Malayalam bilingual film with the Mollywood giant returning to Tamil Cinema after eight years. Peranbu had it's world premiere at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Asian premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival, China and received huge appreciations for its content, acting and filmmaking style of Ram. Yuvan Shankar Raja composed the film’s score and met with positive response from the critics and fans. The teaser of the film is very emotional, touching and sure to create a lasting effect on us.

3. Pawan Kumar’s – 'U-Turn'

Release Date: September 13, 2018 | Starring - Samantha Akkineni

Reasons to be Excited About - Pawan Kumar, known for his super-hit Kannada film “Lucia”, which was shortlisted for India’s submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is remaking his own blockbuster Kannada film “U-Turn” in Tamil and Telugu with Samantha. The trailer is intriguing and raises a lot of questions and mystery and I’m really thrilled about the film already.

2. Prem Kumar’s – '96'

Release Date: September 7, 2018 | Starring: Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha Krishnan

Reasons to be Excited About - The trailer and teaser of the movie have already gained millions of views on YouTube creating the right sensation, and the soul-stirring songs are ruling the playlist. Trisha and Vijay Sethupathi are very expressive and sure to create an impact with their acting skills. I’m also excited that yesteryear veteran actor Janakaraj is making a comeback to the silver screen after a very long gap.

1. Mani Ratnam’s – 'Chekka Chivantha Vaanam'

Release Date - September 28th | Starring - Ensemble Cast

Reasons to be Excited About - Mani Ratnam is a genius who could bring together talented star casts, bring the best out of them and makes sure no one overshadows the other.  The film has Vijay Sethupathi, Silambarasan (STR), Arvind Sami, Arun Vijay, Prakash Raj, Jyothika, Aishwarya Rajesh, Aditi Rao Hydari, Thiyagarajan, Jayasudha and a lot of other actors playing vital roles. The trailer of the films had the vibe of The Godfather and the fans (including myself) are very much excited and waiting for the movie’s release. Also, the film has Mani’s usual associates, A.R.Rahman, Santhosh Sivan, and Sreekar Prasad handling music, cinematography, and editing respectively. Can we ask for more?

-A Top 5 List by Nirmalraj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911
Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks | Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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Oceans 8 & A Quiet Place - Double Header Review

Hello everyone! Happy to see Y'all return back to yet another Double-Header Review, and for those who are unaware what a DH Review is, it's simple, we take two different movies, combine them together and review them (frankly, to save time, space and effort). But, before we roll, let's see how well the movies we're about to discuss fare critically and commercially.

Ocean's 8 made 289.9 million worldwide with a production budget of 70 million and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 67%. A Quiet Place made 332.6 million worldwide from its 21 million production budget and with a Tomatometer score of 95%.

"Ocean's 8" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3.5/5

With an elaborate and fabulous cast, Ocean's 8 is the smartest heist movie to watch this year. The story is about Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), who is introduced as the younger sister of (assumably) Late Danny Ocean, plans to steal a vintage diamond necklace in the Met Gala event with seven talented women, after getting out of jail. 

Now, while the movie was funny to watch, it is not successful in bringing back the magic of the Oceans Eleven trilogy. Anne Hathaway (Daphne) and Helena Bonham Carter (Rose) were the funniest to watch, and Sandra gives major fashion goals with every outfit she wears throughout the movie. Mindy Kaling (Amita) and Sarah Paulson (Tammy) were not given enough screen time but are funny nevertheless. But, the coolest one has to be Cate Blanchett (Lou) with her boyish charm and eternal cool vibe. The music in the film is decent with most of them borrowed, and the screenplay focuses more on the fashion and the instantaneous humour more than the accuracy of the story. 

Overall, Ocean's 8 may not be a successful match to the original Oceans trilogy, but, it is without a doubt one of the most cheerful comedies of 2018. 

"A Quiet Place" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3.5/5

Starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski in the lead roles, A Quiet Place tells us the story of a family trapped in an apocalyptic wasteland where even a tiny amount of sound, triggers monstrous creatures which as displayed in the movie are indestructible.

Story, screenplay, characters, performances, background score and sound effects were the main traits that Krasinski (who also directed the film) used to make a heartwarming and an extremely terrifying film. The dialogues are pretty much non-existent and to tell an engaging story within 90 minutes, and at the same time developing the relationship between the characters is a tough task, but, Krasinski did a masterful job. Furthermore, this is a well-paced movie and did not waste time explaining how, why or when certain things happened, it leapt right into the focal part of the storyline which made the film much more frightening and suspenseful.

Overall, I'm literally kicking myself for not watching A Quiet Place in the theatres cause it's a complete bloodcurdling experience which shouldn't be missed.

-A Double Header Review by Nikitha Kashyap and Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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GHOUL Review: Reinventing the Genre!

Starring – Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul
Director – Patrick Graham
Genre – Horror / Thriller
Streaming Platform – Netflix 

Introduction: Coming off the terrific success of 'Sacred Games', Netflix's latest original GHOUL starring Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul in the lead roles is marketed as a horror/thriller and is jointly produced by Phantom Films, Blumhouse Productions and Ivanhoe Pictures coupled with Patrick Graham serving as the director for the entire three-episode mini-series.

The narrative takes place in the bleak dystopian future where the country is bludgeoned by sectarian violence and with military personnel executing and arresting anyone who is attached with anti-national undertakings. On the other hand, Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte) who is still going through her military training, was applauded when she herself exposes her father's anti-national activities and gets promoted as an interrogative officer under Sunil Dacunha (Manav Kaul) at Meghdoot 31 (Advanced Interrogation Centre). Her first task is to put the screws to Ali Saeed (Mahesh Balraj), an alarming and also a most wanted terrorist who is responsible for multiple bomb-blasts and religious wars. However!?

Rationalization: Now, after watching the trailers and the promos, if you're going into this series expecting to get scared, you might get disappointed. Cause GHOUL, for the most part, deals with various subjects of bigotry, false patriotism, racism and cues in elements of horror to spice up the subject. The trailers were misleading, but I can find many similarities between this mini-series and Jordan Peele's Oscar-Winning film 'Get Out', which expertly alluded to few debatable subjects by adding a horror element to it.

Furthermore, GHOUL also impresses with its dystopian setup, director Patrick Graham's perspective of the 'near future' as the diplomatic world filled with war, terrorism and authoritarianism is profoundly unique and unlike anything, I've seen on Indian television. The gloomy composition sets up the vibe perfectly for this political / horror centred miniseries and Jay Oza's cinematography complemented the narrative adequately.

Unlike her previous two Netflix Originals ('Sacred Games' and 'Lust Stories') Radhika Apte's predominant protagonist role worked really well as her character had depth, emotion and was sympathetic much like Emily Blunt's character in 'Sicario'. Once again, Apte was fantastic when it comes to her portrayal and is the right fit as the standard-bearer for the show.

Conclusion: Overall, GHOUL is not your conventional horror thriller crowded with jump-scares and meaningless jolts, it reinvents the genre and tells a significant story enmeshed to Modern Day India. And similar to last year's 'Get Out' (from Blumhouse Productions) it ensured to channel the message effectively, and is a fabulously made mini-series which is worth watching.

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

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Top 5: Mission Impossible: Fallout vs Infinity War & Deadpool 2

Top 5 Reasons Why Mission Impossible: Fallout is the Best Movie of the Summer and Avengers: Infinity War or Deadpool 2 Were Not Even Close!

Prelude: Just to clarify, this is just my opinion piece and I don't want to offend anyone with my thoughts. If you like Avengers: Infinity War or even Deadpool 2, it's fine, nothing wrong with that. It's just the magic of cinema. Also, I'm well aware that they're many indie films like Hereditary or Won't You Be My Neighbor? which are certainly much better than these summer blockbusters, and I only want to concentrate on Popular Films. So, I hope everyone is on the same page and with that being said, let's get started!

Reason #1: The Breathtaking Stunts

Advertised and been told as the largest practical action film ever shot, I was astounded to see the amount of hard work, courage and dedication Tom Cruise and the entire crew had put through to entertain the audience and make the big-screen experience memorable. Overwhelmed with CGI, I bet you can't point out any impressive action scene from both Infinity War and Deadpool 2 of the top of your mind. In Fallout, to name a few, the HALO jump, the entire Helicopter scene, felt incredibly special to watch cause it is, in fact, Cruise (not Josh Brolin in a suit) doing most of these deadly stunts without the help from a stunt-double.

Also Read: Mission Impossible - Honest Movie Review: Click Here

Reason #2: Mr Tom Cruise

The second reason why this franchise feels very special is that of The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Tom Cruise, who is crazy enough to up the ante every time we see him in these movies. There is a real reason why he's called the Greatest Action Movie Star of our generation and it's because he trains and skillfully performs these awe-inspiring stunt sequences which are theatric, spectacular and at the same time concerning to watch. The guy is 56 years old and still wants to entertain his audience and make their penny's worth, which is applaudable. I even heard him mention in an interview, that he and his team gave a serious thought to do an action sequence in space. Geeeez! How far can you go?

Also Read: Avengers: Infinity War - Honest Movie Review: Click Here 

Reason #3: An Intriguing Storyline

Now, I'll not even bring Deadpool 2 into this conversation. What's the plot of Infinity War again? Ohh! Thanos snaps his fingers and half of the population vanishes including our favourite Avengers? So, this was his unpopular option to bring law and order to the world? Sounds very familiar! Because that's the same thing every evil-minded supervillain want to accomplish. Destroy half of the society and take control over the world. Even Fallout explores a similar storyline.

But, continuing as the sixth film in the franchise, Fallout still manages to keep the viewer interesting by taking an ordinary storyline and making it intriguing to watch by adding few twists and turns which didn't feel forced.

Reason #4: The Not-So-Cheesy Jokes

Let me start by saying this, few of the previous MCU films were funny, the first Deadpool movie was a riot. However, the comedic scenes in Deadpool 2 stopped being funny after a while and same goes to Infinity War. They got repetitive, oversaturated and the whole thing became unfunny. I remember Rocket Raccoon cracking a stupid silly joke in the midst of serious fight which spoiled the entire scene and that kept happening in both the films.

On the other side, Fallout, for the most part, deals with a serious tone, but the comedic sequences were short, funny and are not overdone, unlike the previous two mentioned films.

Also Read: Deadpool 2 - Honest Movie Review: Click Here 

Reason #5: A Cinematic Experience

Now, I agree, watching the Avengers fight against the CGI giant Thanos and Deadpool dodge bullets from Cable is pretty cool on the big screen. But, there's something really special watching Cruise doing these mesmerizing stunts. It's a heart-stopping experience, and it gave me goosebumps even when watching it for the second time. There is a reason why I go to the movies every week and Fallout enthralled me by making it an absolute cinematic experience which I never really came across in recent times.

-A Top 5 List and An Opinion Piece by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal
Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks | Instagram's Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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Throwback Thursday: A Look Back at Stranger Things S02

Making all the curious viewers and critics dumbstruck, Stranger Things Season 2 is another easy win for The Duffer Brothers. Being a sci-fi-horror tv series, this season gave a whole new image to The Upside Down with a new terrifying entity threatening life at Hawkins.

Unlike Season 1, there is a better weight for every character and the picturization only gets weirder. The music and backgrounds still project the 80's, including kids on bikes fighting demons with the help of Dungeons and dragons, the private Hawkins lab and the unnatural coincidences, but the unpredictability was what that kept me on my toes the whole time. 

Now, it would be rude not to mention the best part of it all, the actors. Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) and Natalia Dyer (Nancy) have a lot more in store for us and are amazing with their performances while Winona Ryder as Mrs. Byers and David Harbour are as natural as they can get. Sadie Sink (Madmax) gains special attention with her shady dysfunctional family background and we can only expect more of this newbie in Season 3. 

I didn't find any weaknesses except maybe a few unnecessary scenes where characters didn't quite add up to the main storyline but it was conveniently overshadowed by the brilliant plot twists and screenplay. Overall, the series is definitely stranger and scarier than the first one and easily becomes a must watch for sci-fi lovers and binge-watchers out there!

-A Just Stream Editorial by Nikitha Kashyap
Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks | Instagram's Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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Kolamavu Kokila - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - “Enjoyable!

“Lady Superstar”, as she is known by her ardent fans, Nayanthara has been acting in many solo movies that are high in content and also commercially successful. Last years ‘Aramm’ with Nayanthara in the lead won several awards and accolades including a Filmfare for the ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Actress’.

Directed by Nelson, the movie is about Kokila (Nayanthara) who hails from a lower middle-class family comprising her father, who works as an ATM security guard, her mother, and her younger sister. Unfortunately, her mother is diagnosed with lung cancer and requires immediate medical attention which would cost lakhs. Kokila frantically tries every possible source for the money and eventually lands in the smuggling business. When things go out of hand and when she's on the police radar, she tries to escape from the smuggling ring.

So the movie draws inspiration from the Hollywood movie ‘We’re the Millers’, yet, the most intriguing aspect of the film is its screenplay and the characters. The writing of the movie is a complete package of emotions, sentiment, a little bit of thrill and humor. Nelson made sure that no character is insignificant and the smallest of the character played a vital part in this film with many twists.

Nayanthara is the show stealer; she is absolutely stunning and impressive with her innocent looks. She blends very well with her character and carries the movie on her shoulder being the main protagonist, making sure the movie is entertaining. Yogi Babu is hilarious with his wittiness. All the other support casts had contributed equally to the movie.

Anirudh’s songs and background score were another positive for the movie. There weren’t any unnecessary songs coming as a breaker for the film and Nirmal’s edit was crisp as the film didn’t have runtime as an issue. 

I didn’t find anything negative or maybe there was a letdown but it didn’t bother me much while watching the movie. I was glued to the screen and the movie kept me entertained the whole time. Even to those who watched ‘We’re the Millers’ might find Kolamavu Kokila refreshing as the director has spent good time on the script. 

My Rating – 3.5/5 | Grade – B+ (A Perfect Weekend Pick!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks | Twitter Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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GOLD - Honest Movie Review

[This review was first posted on Anurag's 'The Filmy Basti' Blog]

At the beginning of director Reema Kagti’s sports biopic, Gold, a young assistant manager of the national Hockey team of British India (in 1936), Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar), meekly interrupts the team’s discussion about their strategy in the Olympics final. During the game against the mighty Germans, in the midst of a serious discussion about the game and the technique, Tapan stands on a chair in the dressing room, takes out a flag of the Indian Freedom movement and gives the winning advice, ’British Nahi, Ab Apna Khel Khelein?’. No technique or a game plan. Just some big, lofty and borderline jingoistic words. This pretty much explains the direction this Akshay Kumar starrer is about to take in the next 150 minutes.

Tapan Das, after helping the National team win Gold at the 1936 Olympics, aims to make newly independent India proud by grooming its young talent to win the 1948 Olympics. A majority of the large team of actors forming the ensemble play Hockey players of the newly formed Indian and Pakistani teams. Predictably, Tapan plays the force that single-handedly fights against all odds. He faces all sorts of challenges (not sure whether these were fiction or facts) – a bickering wife who wants him to work, politics within the Hockey Federation, archaic bureaucratic laws and his own chronic drinking problems. When things outside seem to fall into place, infighting begins within the team and again, not the coach or the captain, but the manager becomes the savior.

I was constantly reminded of another movie made about hockey, Chak De! India! While both the movies, in a nutshell, have a similar template – region-based divide in the team, an arrogant player, a star player and a coach/manager trying his best to bring home some laurels. In addition to these, Gold has a self-indulgent and overbearing manager at the center of the game – Tapan Das, played by Akshay Kumar. The movie revolves around Akshay’s character, thereby reducing the depth and intensity of the other characters. Be it Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De or Aamir Khan in Dangal, in spite of being the central character, they never let the sportspersons in their respective movies be overshadowed. There is a nuanced restraint that both their characters show, to prevent becoming over-prominent. This is where Akshay Kumar, with his inconsistent Bengali accent, grabs more limelight than his character should have. The character, undeniably, is well intended. But making him the lone man fighting every crisis – from logistics to game strategy – puts him on a pedestal, reducing the importance of others. In Chak De, Shah Rukh Khan shines in his speeches like ‘Sattar minute…’, while here we have Akshay Kumar getting drunk and dancing mindlessly in not one, but three songs! Well, commercial reasons I suppose!

To only be critical of the movie is unfair since the movie also has certain aspects going well for it. Reema Kagti, who has in the past worked with big stars (Aamir in Talaash) and big ensembles (Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd), uses her skills of projecting every character beautifully within the character’s space. She is supported by the cinematography by Álvaro Gutiérrez, who gives some well shot and breath-taking scenes during the matches. It is interesting to note that the final match in the movie has been altered, to add more twists and melodrama. While the actual match in 1948 was won by India quite easily, the movie chooses to make it a dramatic turn of event. But I am not complaining, the adrenalin rush in the climax was fun! The music and background score by Sachin-Jigar help maintain the momentum of a sports movie, especially during the nail-biting matches in the climax. I must admit, some of the songs, even though catchy, were completely unnecessary.

Amit Sadh, as the arrogant hockey player from a royal family, gets the best-written role among the supporting cast, since the rest are pretty one dimensional. Sunny Kaushal as Punjabi player Himmat Singh gets lesser screen space but has a captivating presence and much like his elder brother delivers a powerful performance. Kunal Kapoor as former captain Samrat and Vineet Kumar Singh as Imtiaz Shah is just about decent. TV actresses Nikita Dutta and Mouni Roy make their big screen debut but get only small parts to play. Mouni Roy gets over-the-top in emotional or melodramatic scenes. I had to cover my ears, unable to bear her annoying screeching during emotional scenes.

But, the movie rests on the mighty shoulders of Akshay Kumar, the star. The star versus the actor debate has been raging for years now, where the stars (the likes of Khans and Kumars) claim that the audiences cannot accept them in roles which are not larger than life. I beg to differ. Audiences can accept a movie if it requires the actor to take precedence over the star. Aamir Khan in Dangal and Shah Rukh Khan in Chak De! India are fine examples of a star losing his vanity and self-indulgence, to give the movie prominence over himself. Wish Akshay Kumar had done the same.

My Rating – 3/5 | Grade - B (Worth a Watch!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Geetha Govindam - Honest Movie Review

[This review was first posted on Anurag's 'The Filmy Basti' Blog]

Firstly, let’s welcome Vijay Devarakonda to mainstream Telugu Cinema! After playing the lead in two offbeat movies which became massive hits, he finally moves into the quintessential Telugu hero zone. Well, he almost does. Directed by Parasuram, ‘Geetha Govindam’ has all the major elements of a Telugu masala potboiler – stunning leads, lip-syncing songs, a slight dose of family drama, unrequited twists and an unnecessary female-bashing song! But, Parasuram, who has also written the dialogues and screenplay, alternates between an offbeat rom-com and a masala potboiler, making it an irregular movie to watch.

Vijay Govind (played by Vijay Devarakonda) is a young college professor, who believes in old-school romance and love stories. Even though he has his students swooning over him, he idolizes Kamal Hassan-Sukanya’s equation from Bharateeyudu (quite an odd couple for inspiration) and daydreams of stealing similar small pleasures of life – cuddling after a shower or while sharing a cup of coffee. The girl of his dreams takes the form of Geetha (played by Rashmika Mandanna), whose brother is set to marry Govind’s sister. To make this review spoiler-free, let’s just say that Geetha’s equation with Govind starts on a bad note, but while preparing for the wedding, it begins to change (predictably). If you look at my summary of the plot, Geetha Govindam, gives the vibes of a breezy, feel-good entertainer. I wish it was just that, without being burdened by the demands of commercial cinema. The movie would have worked better had it been treated the way Tharun Bhaskar handled 2016’s sleeper hit, Pelli Choopulu – which worked without having any needless subplots or pointless twists. Even the screenplay is problematic in the first 20 minutes when there seems to be an issue in the continuity. Having said that, Parasuram deserves credit for the witty dialogues, especially for Vijay Devarakonda and Rahul Ramakrishna.

But, it is Vijay Devarakonda, who makes this movie a delight to watch. In comparison to his previous cult, Arjun Reddy, Govind is a complete non-hero. He is awkward with female attention, listens to Chaganti’s pravachanam to help him find an ‘ideal wife’ and has no false pretense! Vijay Devarakonda channels his raw energy to play a submissive and naïve, Govind, who is a victim always caught on the wrong foot by Geetha. He has immense screen presence and does not seem to miss a note anywhere. His dialogues and demeanor are so contrasting to Arjun Reddy, that he appears like an adorable misnomer. (He plays a Kakinada boy with a Telangana accent though) Rashmika Mandanna manages to be effective and strong even in the presence of a spectacular Vijay Devarakonda. As the perennially suspecting and angry Geetha, she gets some of the best moments in the movie. The ones where she catches Govind in uncomfortable situations, followed by confrontations are hilarious! Another happy change was to see her gushing and crushing over Vijay – a rarity in Telugu cinema. (Thankfully, this was not shown negatively as in RX100) And yes, both the leads are extremely pleasant on the eyes! The supporting cast comprising of Subbaraju, Nagababu, Rahul Ramakrishna and Annapoorna Amma play their parts well. Vennela Kishore, whose entry was welcomed with a huge applause in the theatre, gets a small role but he manages to evoke quite a few laughs.

It would be a sin not to praise the melodious music by Gopi Sundar, especially, my current favorite – Inkem Inkem Inkem Kavale, in the mellifluous voice of Sid Sriram. Even the background score complements the narrative well. I wish the narrative had continued to remain easy-breezy in the second half as well, instead of going the routine Telugu film route. But, nonetheless, the leads make up for it.

My Rating – 3/5 | Grade - B (Worth a Watch!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Anurag Rao (@The Filmy Basti!)

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Pyaar Prema Kaadhal - Instant Movie Review #41

Elan’s – "Pyaar Prema Kadhal"

Positives:
1) Songs
2) Background Score
3) Cinematography
4) Performances

Negatives:
1) Unvarying plot

Introduction – Directed by the newcomer Elan, Pyaar Prema Kadhal revolves around the urban I.T employees Sree (Harish Kalyan) and Sinduja (Raiza Wilson). Sree hails from a conservative middle-class family while Sinduja is broad-minded and has an uber-cool Dad (Anand Babu), who is a ballet teacher. Sree falls in love with Sinduja and wants to start a family with her whilst Sinduja wants to pursue her dream of opening a restaurant in Los Angeles, California. Despite the difference in their opinions and belief, they decide to move in together. How did they compromise their dream and desire, and marry each other forms the rest of the plot?

Analysis – Pyaar Prema Kadhal is a new age urban love story, which addresses the concept of casual sex, living together and the idea of not having a child unless a couple could afford their future. Though the concept of live-in relationships was conceptualized before in Mani Ratnam’s recent movie OK Kanmani, what makes Pyaar Prema Kadhal unique is the profound screenplay. Though it has the cheesy romance and repetitive scenes, Director Elan and Yuvan Shankar Raja made the movie look fresh and pleasing. Technically, the film scores well in cinematography and post-production work with a wide range of colors captured beautifully.  Yuvan Shankar Raja’s euphonious songs and background score were the biggest positives for the film, making it musically rich, sweet-sounding and kindle the emotions in us.

Performances – Harish Kalyan and Raiza Wilson were perfect as the urban couple. Interestingly, both the actors were contestants of Bigg Boss Tamil S1 and received huge fan following ever since, which was another reason for the movies pre-release hype. I personally liked Anand Babu’s act as Sinduja’s father and also he showed his talent as a ballet teacher.

Verdict – Overall, Pyaar Prema Kadhal is fairly tolerable, not tedious yet nothing significant. The film works well with teenagers and corner seat audience.

My Rating – 2.5/5 | Grade – C+ (It Deserves Your Attention for a While!)
An Instant Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
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Top 5 Patriotic Movies (Multilingual)

August 15, 2018, will mark as the 72nd Independence Day of our Great Nation of India and the entire team of Just for Movie Freaks planned something special for you guys as we co-ordinated and addressed our thoughts on the Top 5 Patriotic Movies. Now, this is by no means the definitive Top 5 list as we're all well aware that they're many great films like Rang De Basanti, Lagaan, LOC Kargil and much more. We just chose to cover movies across all major languages and we can only select five. Hope you understand!

5.  Mahesh Narayanan's - "Take Off" (2017) | Starring - Parvathy

Take Off is a 2017 Indian Drama/ Thriller that narrates the ordeal of 49 nurses from Kerala who were kept hostage by the members of the Iraqi insurgency. The story is similar to Tiger Zinda Hai and the lead character Sameera is almost identical to Poorna from the Hindi version of the movie. Bits of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent movement is shown during the film. The cinematography is quite acceptable but the music is very appealing. Parvathy, Fahadh, and Kunchacki Boban set a new level of excellence through their performances which explains the innumerable awards it won.  As the movie ends, we come to know that the documents revealing the secret dealt between the Indian Military and the ISIS are destroyed. Overall, Take Off gives the more traumatic, realistic and detailed version of the incident, unlike Tiger Zinda Hai and from the goosebumps I got during the climax scene, I would say that this is the most patriotic movie after Chak De! India and Swades.

4.  Krishna Vamsi's - "Khadgam" (2002) | Starring - Ravi Teja, Meka Srikanth and Prakash Raj.

Quoted as one of the "Best Patriotic Movies of Tollywood", The film Khadgam deals with a fictional storyline exploring a wide range of significant topics including the affable relationships between Hindus and Muslims and arbitrates itself with everyone coming together to stop a terrorist attack. However, the powerful dialogues, splendid direction by Krishna Vamsi, exceptional performances by the three main leads, and the mellifluous music by Devi Sri Prasad makes Khadgam a worthy and a superlative watch that you should not miss on any given day.

3. Shimit Amin's - "Chak De! India" (2007) | Starring - Shah Rukh Khan

Released on August 10, 2007, one month before the Indian Cricket Team won the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup (where the movie's title song was played over and over again during the final). Chak De! India holds a special place in all our hearts for numerous reasons. The remarkable performances from the complete cast, the emotional storyline, delightful music and most importantly, the climax scene made us Indians very proud as Chak De! India is and will always be one of the best Patriotic movies of all time.

2. Priyadarshan's - "Kaalapani" (1996) | Starring - Mohanlal, Tabu and Prabhu.

Kaalapani is an epic historical drama, directed by the ace filmmaker Priyadharshan, the movie shows the pain and suffering of Indian Freedom fighters, who are sent to prison in the Andaman Islands during the British rule. The prison is nothing but hell, where the prisoners are tortured, made to bleed and endure extreme misery for the nation. Priyadharshan’s authentic deception of the British rule and soul-stirring acting of Mohanlal leaves the audience teary-eyed.

1. S Shankar's - "Indian" (1996) | Starring - Kamal Haasan, Manisha Koirala and Urmila Matondkar.

One of the finest movies of Shankar which ostentate a 70-year-old freedom fighter's love and respect for the nation, annoyance against bribery, and anguish that the freedom brought by shedding blood is in the hands of corrupt officials. His intense passion for the wellbeing of the country makes him go to an extent of killing his own son, whose dishonesties is the reason behind the death of innocent school children. Backed by some phenomenal acting performances by Kamal Haasan, where his role as Senapathy became very popular as Indian Thatha, razor-sharp dialogues by Sujatha and ingenious screenplay and direction by Shankar, Indian is a perfect movie which etches patriotism in our heart.

-A Top 5 List by Nikitha Kashyap, Nirmal Raj aka AK and Surya Komal aka KM
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Vishwaroopam 2 / Vishwaroop 2 - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - “A Let Down by Kamal Haasan!

‘Don’t force or test my patriotism at random places’ said an exasperated Kamal Haasan on the microblogging site Twitter on the mandatory playing of National Anthem in theatres. On contrary to his views, a brief video about his political party “Makkal Needhi Maiam” and the various public meetings which the actor turned politician took part in, was played at the beginning of the film.

Kamal Haasan’s surprising entry into politics made him quit cinema as the actor says he wants to focus more on becoming a leader. He had vowed to complete all his pending projects, one of which was Vishwaroopam 2.  The 2013 prequel faced numerous controversies and problems before it's release, while the sequel or circumquel (as Wikipedia says) was a smooth release without any complications. But, did writer-director Kamal Haasan conclude what he started effectively?

So, the film takes off right where the prequel concluded. It’s been five years since the release of Vishwaroopam and you don't have to worry about recollecting the plot, as this movie recaps the prequel frequently. Wikipedia states this movie as a circumquel rather than a sequel, and if you've ever wondered what that means, the film elaborates its definition. A circumquel takes place partly before and partly after a particular storyline.

To give a reason why Wisam Ahamed Kashmiri (Kamal Haasan) joined Al-Qaeda, befriended Omar, trained the Jihadi’s, and finally betrayed them, Kamal Haasan chose to intervene in the entire first film in regular intervals along with the post-New York City incident. But, the film doesn’t get complex, yet my concern was that it was evident that Wisam is a RAW agent and he was on a mission, the repetition of scenes from the prequel felt like watching the latter again and the focus shifted from the main agenda of arresting Omar to a logical interpretation of part one. 

Also, was the detention of Omar (Rahul Bose) and his trusty side-kick Salim (Jaideep Ahlawat) told in a distinct way? No! The entire post-New York City incident was structured incoherently, and the addition of unwanted scenes made it even worse. The latter part of the film was more of a personal fight between Wisam and Omar rather than the involvement of the government officials. The film also suffered from logical issues and the pace on which the second half moved added fuel to the fire resulting in audience yawning. 

Advancing to the performances, Kamal Haasan was born-to-act and anyone who criticizes the skill of this man, who has been the definition of acting for decades, is definitely a halfwit. Every other supporting character did their part well especially Rahul Bose as Omar Bhai. Veteran actor Waheeda Rehman was a forced inclusion, absolutely unnecessary and a waste of talent. Andrea Jeremiah and Pooja Kumar were decent with their performances.

The action sequences were choreographed well and were a delight to watch. Cinematography deserves a noteworthy mention but the CGI in certain scenes remains substandard. Mohammad Ghibran made sure that the film had the proper background score to elevate the aura accordingly. The movie had three songs, one was an intro song with the scenes from the first film, and the second song was a flashback one of the training days of Wisam in the Indian Army and the third was a forced inclusion in the second half. 

On the whole, unlike its prequel, Vishwaroopam 2 lacked a gripping storyline and suffered from a weak screenplay. Kamal Haasan failed to conclude what he started in an intriguing manner as the movie ended up as another mainstream cat-and-mouse brawl. Unless you’re highly anxious, an ardent fan of Kamal or excited to know if Wisam kills Omar, you can skip this and wait for it to release on any streaming platform.

My Rating – 2/5 | Grade – C (Meh! Probably a Rental!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
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Veere Di Wedding & Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran - Double Header Review

It's always awkward to open one of these Double Header Reviews with a generic greeting like I admit doing it previously, but I'm not gonna do that this time cause I'm bored, fed up and will not act like I'm always positive like Nushrat Bharucha in the first half of Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. Anyway, thanks to streaming platforms like ZEE5 and Netflix, I had the opportunity to check out the comedy-drama 'Veere Di Wedding' and the John Abraham starrer 'Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran' based on real events. In that case, let's wrap-up these opening traditions and advance to the main event.

Veere Di Wedding made 138.80 crores worldwide with a production budget of 42 crores which is still surprising considering how many people watched this dumb movie. Parmanu made 91.36 crores worldwide from its 44 crore production budget, and that's impressive for a patriotic film that hasn't starred Akshay Kumar.

"Veere Di Wedding" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 1.5/5

Directed by Shashanka Ghosh, Veere Di Wedding starring Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar and Shikha Talsania in the lead roles is the story about four childhood friends having a little reunion, as they have fun, share memories, emotions and celebrate their lives to the fullest due to the fact that one of them is getting married.

Now, they're a few bromance movies like Dil Chahta Hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara which are great and I feel pity for all the girls, cause VDW is not the appropriate film to represent their sisterhood and moreover it just a lousy two-hour bore-fest. Right from the get-go, I felt like I'm watching one of those Star Plus soap-operas (which is understandable considering Ekta Kapoor is one of the producers) as the quality of the film kept declining time after time into obscurity. The storyline is non-existent, the screenplay is a mess, the jokes are unfunny, characters were left unexplored, and the cusswords are basically a bait to lure the audience into the movie theater.

Overall, flooded with chock-full of product placements, Veere Di Wedding is a bad film and is a colossal failure in regards to many aspects like directing or storytelling. Watch it if you're interested, I guess!

"Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3.25/5

Directed by Abhishek Sharma, Parmanu starring John Abraham in the lead role is loosely based on the nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by the Indian Army at Pokhran in 1998 and tells the story of how the historic plan came into flourishment.

Set in the late 90's, the demoded presentation by Abhishek Sharma was one of the most impressive attributes of the entire film. Everything from the shot composition, music and background score, characters, felt like they belong in the 90's as we can effortlessly convince an alien by saying that this movie came out in 1998. Moreover, barring few overly dramatic scenes and convenient solutions, the film was engaging from end to end and kept me on the edge-of-my-seat regularly. 

Overall, Parmanu is reasonably similar to last year's 'The Ghazi Attack' where you can tell that it's not factually correct and heavily dramatized for our viewing pleasure. But, it succeeded in keeping the tension and was an intriguing two-hour watch on a laid-back weekend.

-A Double Header Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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TOP 5 REASONS TO WATCH TAGARU (KANNADA)

Talking about the first Kannada movie to be released in Kenya and Japan, Tagaru is an action thriller which sheds light on the underworld's feud with the police.

Reason #1: The Not-So-Typical Hero

Shiva Rajkumar, also known as the Tom Cruise of Sandalwood is an energetic police officer who is vengeful and just unlike the kind and honorable types. His character defies the stereotype of a kind and peace-loving hero and his dialogues are whistle worthy.

Reason #2: The Insane Villain 

If there is a villain who resembles the Joker from 'The Dark Knight' then it's probably Dolly. It's rare that the villain has a more sound role than the hero but Dhananjay's hard work is reflected highly in his performance. This film also showcases one of the rare instances when the bad guy becomes one for the sake of it and not because of a tragic past or a dead father's debt. It's fun to watch Dolly that way.

Reason #3: The Breezy Plot 

The story is not very complex or twisted because its focus is on the action but nevertheless it gives a glimpse of the bitter reality. Duniya Soori has been very careful in the screenplay and direction. Various unexpected murders happen throughout the movie which is brutal but also necessary to build the abomination between the hero and the villain. Their hate for each other is metaphorically described as a local billy goat duel and hence the title Tagaru.

Reason #4: The Cinematography

Mahendra Simha being one of the most noted Sandalwood cinematographers proves yet again why he's worth it. From capturing the deepest emotions of the actors with the ideal lighting to making the fight scenes as realistic as possible, he is a magician. Every scene is precise and highly necessary and will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Reason #5: The Enchanting Music

When it comes to Jayanth Kaikini, there is no doubt that one of his songs will become a trending anthem among the youth. But blend it with Charan Raj's excellent composing and Hindustani background scores, the songs become ecstatic. The songs are so captivating that it will steal you away. Overall, the movie is promising and unique which according to me are enough reasons to watch it.

-A Top 5 List by Nikitha Kashyap
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Ghajinikanth - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - “Stereotypical Story! Watchable to an Extent!

Santhosh P. Jayakumar, the director of two crap adult-comedy films has finally made a fair to middling remake movie which was decent, funny and enjoyable in a few aspects compared to his earlier films. We have already watched plenty of movies with similar storylines and what made Ghajinikanth unique was the way it was presented and a few comical scenes which provided relief from the clichéd plot. 

The storyline revolves around Rajnikanth (Arya), who suffers from a memory disorder wherein he forgets his pants, shoes, meet or to respond a person who calls him to his mobile if someone diverts him during the conversation. His absent-minded problem eventually gets him a girlfriend, Vandhana (Sayyeshaa Saigal), and the rest of the movie is all about the chaos caused by his inattention. 

I should say that this a good comeback movie for Arya, who hasn't starred in any notable film since Raja Rani. He was hilarious, entertaining and kept the film entertaining. 

Now, let's talk something meta! Remember when I ranted about Sayyeshaa Saigal’s look in my Honest Movie Review of ‘Kadaikutty Singam’, where I said that I didn’t find her attractive? I would like to apologize for that, as the girl was gorgeous and likable with her personality, expressions and acting in this film. She has been doing back to back films with top actors and I wish her to be successful in her blossoming career.

Performances from ‘Aadukalam’ Naren, Sathish, and Sampath Raj were helpful in making the film not boring, as the movie has overly plain, simple, unimaginative and dull scenes to the point of being boring.

On the whole, Ghajinikanth offers absolutely nothing new in terms of content, the movie is heavily clichéd and doesn’t have any intriguing aspect to recommend off. It’s just another passable film but a decent one from the director.

My Rating – 2.5/5 | Grade – C+ (It Deserves Your Attention for a While!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
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Brij Mohan Amar Rahe Review: Atrocious!

Starring – Arjun Mathur
Director – Nikhil Bhat
Genre – Comedy/Crime/Drama
Streaming Platform – Netflix 

Introduction: Starring Arjun Mathur in the lead role, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe is the latest addition to Netflix's young catalog of Indian Originals and is coming off the enormous success of Sacred Games which garnered an immense following in the Indian community. The storyline of the movie explores the character of Brij Mohan (Arjun Mathur), a charlatan, and a hustler who can't stop avoiding complications in his chaotic life. After a while, the problems get so far up his ass he decides to fake his own death which creates much more disputes.

Rationalization: Oh boy! Let me start by saying this, this movie is horrible, and undoubtedly one of the worsts I've seen this year. The reason why I'm confident calling this film a disaster is because I can't recollect anything happened and that's an early sign of a trainwreck. The storyline tried to sketch this silly crime-comedy element, and it didn't work out for even a single scene. The jokes fell flat and were unhumorous, and the satire that the writer tried to infuse quickly floundered in the messy screenplay and there's nothing more to say.

However, I should give props to Arjun Mathur for at least trying and giving his best to justify his character that had a good dynamic but was frittered away in a bad movie. The other characters including Brij's wife, girlfriend, enemies had very little to explore and were nothing significant.

Conclusion: Overall, Brij Mohan Amar Rahe is most definitely one of the worst films I've seen this year, and it breaks my heart to say that cause I wanted to support independent cinema and Netflix Indian Originals, but this is just atrocious. Skip it and move on with your life.

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

Verdict - "A Road Trip Worth Hitching a Ride!"

Directed by Akarsh Khurana, Karwaan stars Irrfan, Dulquer Salmaan and Mithila Palkar in the lead roles and is one of the three movies releasing on this (August 3rd) weekend. The film follows the journey of three lost souls (Shaukat, Avinash, and Tanya) joining together for an unexpected road trip across the beautiful state of Kerala with the purpose of solving a confusion involving two dead bodies. 

Let's start with the story, which I should say is surprisingly unpredictable for the most part. It took a few twists and turns and by and large kept me captivated. Story writer Bejoy Nambiar and screenwriter/director Akarsh Khurana infused quite a few undertones throughout the film whether it's about death, life, self-analysis and introduced a refreshing tone filled with good vibes, affection, and celebration.

Similar to Irrfan's previous film Blackmail, Karwaan is also entertaining in regards to Black Comedy or Dark Comedy. The way the characters made fun of such dramatic situations is something I rarely see in Bollywood, and it exposes the vulnerability and complications of these characters in the most blatant way possible.

Advancing to the characters and performances, Irrfan stole the show with his carefree and jovial attitude and is solely responsible for the majority of laughs. Dulquer Salmaan who is known for his solid acting in South Indian Film Industry is a surprise and charming addition to the film, and perfectly fit the role of Avinash. Mithila Palkar also had a significant presence, and her unusual chemistry or dialogue with DQ worked well inside and out.

But, the heart and soul for this film (at least for me) is the exquisite cinematography that showcased the alluring beauty of Kerala which is essential for a road trip movie. The scenic views accompanied by some sweet-sounding music is a treat for the audience member, and it also positions you in a calm and cheerful mood which is vital for social media magnets like us.

However, before I wrap this up, let me discuss the drawbacks. The film certainly had a few problems especially at the beginning of the second half where it stalls for a while and then picks up, and the 120-minute runtime is IMO a bit unnecessary.

Nevertheless, Karwaan is overall a feel-good road trip film wrapped with few significant themes, amusing jokes, euphonious music, and is a sweet love letter to the "God's Own Country" Kerala. Watch it on a cozy weekend with your loved ones or partners it will not disappoint you.

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