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Blog posts January 2019

SONI Movie Review: Subtly Feminist!

Starring – Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra
Director – Ivan Ayr
Genre – Crime / Drama
Streaming Platform – Netflix

Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra sitting opposite to each other in Soni

Introduction

Premiered at the 75th Venice International Film Festival, Soni stars Geetika Vidya Ohlyan and Saloni Batra in the lead roles and explores significant yet undiscussed topics like gender issues, women safety, behavioural issues of men, etc. The storyline follows the journey of Soni, a sub-inspector whose actions speak louder than words and Kalpana, her superintendent in Delhi Police. Soni is in the middle of a broken marriage, and her conflicting bad temperament issues jeopardizes her reputation at her workspace resulting in various transfers. The film chronicles Soni's personal and professional battles against society in a one-hour-thirty-minute slow-moving narrative directed by debutant Ivan Ayr.

Rationalization

For a film with two primary characters, Soni, gets it right when it comes to showcasing and bolstering their emotions through long-tracking and single take shots for every single scene. With no fast cuts and reactionary close-ups involved, the narrative felt fluid, and the gave the film a real-life vibe needed for an unorthodox crime drama. Demonstrated more as a character study of a female cop in Delhi, the movie takes time to establish itself by displaying her day-to-day activities and so much more to a point where we start questioning the filmmaker's reasoning behind displaying everything so meticulously. It's ambiguous, hesitates you with boredom and even questions your brain that maybe you're not sensible enough to understand what's going on.

However, the movie succeeds as far as highlighting the real issues that Women of India face on a regular basis. It spotlights the behavioural issues of men (who in a particular scene) makes a nuisance by smoking and snorting coke in a ladies restroom, it also sheds light on the nepotism factor which overtrumps the legal system most of the time and gender equality problems that women face in their everyday lives. The film never hesitates to display the legitimacy of these problems and whacks you with veracity that India still has a long way to go with reference to cleaning up the idiocy and illiteracy in the streets.

Also, the performances from both the lead actors were equally impressive.  Geetika Vidya Ohlyan who doesn't come off as a debutant (at least for me) commands her role with a range of emotions from being delicate to utterly aggressive, her appearance and presentation as an everyday working female made her character even more relatable that it's tough to not root for her throughout the film. Saloni Batra who plays Soni's superior also plays a vital role in a woman struggling with leadership qualities and management issues as she delivers a decent enough performance to compliment her counterpart.

Geetika Vidya Ohlyan in Soni

Conclusion

Overall, Soni manages to elucidate the issues that it's trying to showcase flawlessly with exquisitely-shot and remarkably-acted scenes. But, the main drawback of the film is the in-between stuff, which was a bit too long and lackluster at times. A solid one time watch!

Rating - 3.25/5 | Grade - B


A Just Stream Editorial by Surya Komal
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks
Twitter Profile - @JFMFOfficial

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Throwback Thursday: The Wolf of Wall Street [Review]

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street

“Hilariously Dark and Outrageous!”

The Wolf of Wall Street is directed by Martin Scorsese which based on the life story of Jordan Belford played by Leonardo Dicaprio, who is trying to climb his way up the Wall Street. With the help of his friends Jordan starts a small company, and with his immense talent, he turns the small company into a huge firm in no time. He is a drug addict, despicable, self-centred, cheats on his wife, and you still root for him because he is such a great character and also one of the best characters Scorsese has ever put on screen. He has a great passion for what he does, and he can do anything to make him richer.

The movie has got a spot-on cast which includes Jonah Hill, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Margot Robbie, Cristin Milioti and MatthewMcConaughey. The best thing about the movie is its acting. Dicaprio kills it as Jordan! He is very energetic and also charming at the same time. Just a few minutes into the movie Dicaprio disappears completely, and all you can see on the screen is Jordan. His commitment to the role is incredible. Jonah Hill plays Donnie Azoff, who is the right hand of Jordan in all the disgusting things they do. Leonardo and Jonah Hill delivered their best performances yet.

The direction by Martin Scorsese is brilliant and the editing style he picked up for this film is quite different though in a good way. The screenplay is fast-paced and energetic. There’s not even a single dull moment in the movie from the start to the finish. To add emotions and seriousness in a  film with such fast-paced comedy, Scorsese did an awesome job. 

Overall, The Wolf of Wall Street is highly recommended for you to watch and if you are Scorsese and Leonardo Dicaprio fan, you cannot miss this movie.

Rating - 4.5/5 | Rating - A+


An Editorial by Chinmay Chawade
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks
Twitter Profile - @JFMFOfficial

Leonardo DiCaprio Biting His Fist in The Wolf of Wall Street

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Top 10 Best Bollywood Movies of 2018 That You Can Stream Right Now

Looking forward to binge few Bollywood Movies this weekend? How about the best out of the bunch from 2018? I handpicked few elite and definitely the Best Bollywood Movies from last year and sorted them starting from Average to the Best. Have a look and please do leave a comment if I managed to miss a movie from the list below. With that being said, Netflix and Chill BAYBAY! 


10. Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety

Starring -  Kartik Aaryan, Nushrat Bharucha and Sunny Singh
Genre - Comedy
Streaming Platform - Amazon Prime

"Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety is not a bad film, it will entertain you with few funny laughs, peppy music, and enjoyable performances but as an overall film, it failed in few aspects which are crucial."


9. Blackmail

Starring - Irrfan Khan and Kirti Kulhari
Genre - Black Comedy
Streaming Platform - Amazon Prime

"Blackmail had an interesting concept and was extremely funny to watch. Despite having few ups and downs with the screenplay, pace, and runtime, it impresses as a black-comedy and is totally worth spending money on it."


8. Karwaan

Starring -  Dulquer Salmaan, Irrfan Khan and Mithila Palkar
Genre - Black Comedy / Road Film
Streaming Platform - Amazon Prime

"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."


7. Raazi

Starring - Alia Bhatt
Genre - Spy Thriller
Streaming Platform - Amazon Prime

"Raazi is an engaging thriller and an excellent display of one of the unsung heroes of the Indo-Pakistan War, Sehmat. It certainly had few issues, but, I had an enthralling experience watching the film and Alia Bhatt steals the show as usual."


6. Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran

Starring - John Abraham, Diana Penty and Boman Irani
Genre - Action / Drama
Streaming Platform - Netflix

"Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran succeeds in keeping the tension and was an intriguing two-hour watch on a laid-back weekend."


5. Pad Man

Starring -  Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte
Genre - Comedy / Drama
Streaming Platform - Netflix

"Pad Man is a significant film with a strong influential message which should be articulated to everyone especially to the people living in the rural areas who still, to this day, feel that menstrual cycle is something taboo."


4. 102 Not Out

Starring - Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor
Genre - Comedy / Drama
Streaming Platform - Amazon Prime

"For a movie which only had four primary characters, 102 Not Out delivered much more than I expected, as I found myself laughing out loud and crying emotively within those 150 minutes and is a prime example of a heartening family drama."


3. Badhaai Ho

Starring - Ayushmann Khurrana and Sanya Malhotra
Genre - Comedy / Drama
Streaming Platform - Hotstar

"Embracing the weirdness of the plot, the entire narrative was sprinkled over with witty jokes, funny dialogue, poignant emotion, delightful love stories, weepy family-drama and terrific performances from the entire cast."


2. Andhadhun

Starring - Tabu and Ayushman Khurrana
Genre - Black Comedy / Crime Thriller
Streaming Platform - Netflix

"Andhadhun is a well acted, meticulously crafted and an incredibly written satirical crime-thriller which keeps on the edge of your seat the entire time with multiple twists and turns."


1. Mulk

Starring - Taapsee Pannu and Rishi Kapoor
Genre - Drama
Streaming Platform - ZEE5

"Mulk tells a significant story about all the religious (Hindu-Muslim) problems contaminating our modern-day India in the best way possible and is a must watch for all the right reasons."


A Top 10 List by Surya Komal
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks
Twitter Profile - @JFMFOfficial

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David Fincher Films Ranked from Worst to Best

Respected as one of the best directors of our generation, David Fincher enjoys quite an impressive distinction of not having many failures in his illustrious career as a filmmaker. Frankly, he deserves all the appreciation he receives as his film making style is one of a kind and is challenging to duplicate. So, let's cruise through his entire filmography and ranks all his film starting from the worst to the best.


10. Alien 3 (1992)

"Fincher's first directorial job which involved heavy studio involvement in the post-production as Fincher disowned the film outright, pretty much never to mention it again."


9. Panic Room (2002)

"One of Kristen Stewart's early movies, Panic Room is still a good thriller, but, not the best when compared to others."


8. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

"A poignant emotional drama complimented by some stellar performances from the lead cast especially by Brad Pitt who went through all the arduous transformations!"


7. The Game (1997)

"A classic performance by Michael Douglas and riveting thriller from the beginning to the end!"


6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

"Yet another dark, gritty thriller from Fincher that fascinates you from start to finish followed with some remarkable performances by Craig and Mara!"


5. The Social Network (2010)

"Reinforced by a brilliant portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg by Jesse Eisenberg, Social Network is a definite watch if you love biopics!"


4. Gone Girl (2014)

"Intense, perplexing and completely nefarious in its approach. Gone Girl is unnerving and exhilarating!"


3. Zodiac (2007)

"Crafted with an intelligent screenplay and narration, Zodiac pulls you down to a humbling cinematic experience with its interesting plot and stellar performances!"


2. Seven (1995)

"A movie without a dull moment and with screenplay and performances as its main strength! The first hit for David Fincher which nurtured him as the director that we know and love today!"


1. Fight Club (1999)

"An intense psychological thriller and one of the best-narrated storylines in Fincher's filmography!"


An Editorial by Surya Komal
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks
Twitter Profile - @JFMFOfficial

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NTR Kathanayakudu - Honest Movie Review

With over 280 films experience and releasing a single movie every month in his prime years, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao is Telugu Cinema's First Male Superstar, considered as an icon and a demigod of the industry and is most importantly a hard-working individual with an admirable work ethic. Been discussed and in-development for several years, his biopic is specifically curated, performed and produced by his son Nandamuri Bala Krishna with Krish Jagarlamudi (Gamyam and Vedam fame) handling the directing job.

Verdict - “Underwhelming!”

The narrative of the film follows NTR's journey from his early days working as a sub-register at a government institution, him finding his first-acting job, his immediate rise to stardom, his directorial jobs, social and charity works to him finally joining politics due to public demand and announcing his political party name.

Although I hate to draw comparisons, let's take a look at what last year's blockbuster hit Mahanati accomplished to do. It gave an in-depth look at the highly regarded yet emotionally fragile superstar in Savitri and never backed down in showing the stardom and also the dire downfall of one of the prominent actors in the industry. In Kathanayakudu, although, Krish (director and screenwriter) succeeds in crafting the significant aspects of NTR's character and personality, the struggle was barely shown, and the setbacks were invisible. Subsequently, it was tough to feel or cheer for his character apart from admiring his gentlemen qualities. The movie felt more like a celebration or his greatest hits collection other than as a seamless narrative between his real and reel life. As a result, the movie was three hours long, and the snail-paced screenplay progressively deteriorated the film to boredom.

However, the film accomplished to what it set out to do. It showcased the stubborn, no-nonsense character of the superstar who never gave up when asked to perform a ten-hour long immovable shot. It also established, the kind-hearted side of the legend when he performed and organised charity events with the aim of helping the poor and unaided people. If the goal of the film is to celebrate the bright side of his character and to remind the audience that a performer of his talent and integrity will never be born or will see the face of the industry, consequently, Krish and NBK had done justice to their roles respectively.

Complimenting NTR's gargantuan character is his wife Basavatarakam played by Vidya Balan. The care, relation, support and understanding between the two was displayed well throughout the runtime, and Vidya Balan impressed with her decent acting skills. But, the main focus of the film is on its titular character played magnificently by Balakrishna. Despite the fact that his 58-year old age is distracting at times, he commanded his role with confidence and excellence all-around and did not disappoint or fail performance wise.

Overall, with only one phase of his career displayed, a three-hour runtime is, in my opinion, a tough flick to cruise through. Kathanayakudu suffers from its storytelling flaws of being slow and uncultivated but impresses when it comes to exhibiting NTR as a prodigy that we all already know and love. Nevertheless, I'm still excited to watch the second part and hopefully it's not 180-minutes long.

Rating - 2.75/5 | Grade - C+


An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks
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Vinaya Vidheya Rama - Honest Movie Review

“A parody is an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect.”

'Burning Star' Sampoornesh Babu, who is notoriously famous for his ridiculously comical romantic-action movies at least understands the meaning of parody and doesn't expect his audience to take them seriously unlike the highly regarded commercial director, Boyapati Sreenu who went balls-out-crazy with his recent action film, Vinaya Vidheya Rama bringing back the nostalgia of the early 2000s Balakrishna films that we dearly do not miss or care about.

Verdict - “An Atrocity!”

Starring Ram Charan Tej in the lead role with Vivek Oberoi portraying the heavily dramatised antagonist role, the storyline amplifies the journey of five orphan men who persevere by living their lives together as brothers, and one of them (Rama [Ram Charan]) single out and becomes the human shield of the family defending them from all-around chaos and foolhardy gundas until he meets a super slick, death-defying Bihar native, Raju Bhai Munna (Oberoi) in one his crazy normal escapades.

Question: List one of the main aspects which distinguishes the difference between a well-written script and a horribly written one?

Answer: A well-written script branches out and is easily memorable even after you reach home and reminisce about it. A horribly written one is so easily forgettable that you can't even recollect what happened previously in a five-minute old scene.

The primary problem with Vinaya Vidheya Rama is not even it's routinely old, tried and tested, rehashed and revamped storyline. The actual pitfall is Boyapati's chaotic screenplay which takes numerous turns by making zero sense along the way and the bothersome continuity errors that are literally spread all throughout the film. Although they're a few good one-liners and punch dialogues adjusted for comic relief, the confusing narrative makes you question How and Why a particular scene is transpiring right in front of your (already sleepy) eyes.

Question: Who is a Superhero?

Answer: A superhero is a type of heroic stock character, usually possessing supernatural or superhuman powers, who is dedicated to fighting the evil of their universe, protecting the public, and usually battling supervillains.

Question: Is Rama (Ram Charan) a Superhero in Vinaya Vidheya Rama (2019 Telugu Movie)?

Answer: Absolutely not! But... Wait...!

Jumping on a rapidly running super-fast train, blasting through brick walls and saint-gobain glass, killing 300 super-angry hooligans in your expedition from point A to B are outrageous tropes which were heavily criticized and made fun of in the past. But, in an era where smaller budget films like Arjun Reddy and Goodachari are re-defining how an audience member enjoy an action sequence by shooting them more realistically, it is, in fact, sad to see Boyapati Sreenu still stuck in the bygone era where death-defying and out-of-this-world bombastic scenes were a thing. Filled with one atrocious scene after another, I've never heard an audience scream out so loud not with joy or excitement, but with disbelief and anger. The entire auditorium loaded with Ram Charan fans went nuts and shouted "Reiiii!! Boyaaaaa!!" and those were the only few moments which made me laugh in the entire film.

However, Ram Charan come across as the only saving grace for the film even with a half-baked character. His delivery and charisma boarded well with the film's vibe that the director is aiming for and his performance was not that bad. Other characters and performers including Vivek Oberoi, Sneha and Kiara Advani (who is solely underutilized only for duets and displaying glamour) didn't have much to add and were again overwhelmed by idiocy. Devi Sri Prasad, who generally impresses with his commercial music numbers completely missed the mark with this monotone and joyless songs and the background score is not that great either.

Overall, I hope this movie will be a healthy reminder and a straight answer to all the directors and producers who still think that the audience member will enjoy and support mindless action scenes and poor storytelling. With that being said, Vinaya Vidheya Rama is a failure and a movie that never should have existed in the first place.

Rating - 1/5 | Grade - D


An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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Petta - Honest Movie Review

When director Karthik Subbaraj promised that Petta (2019) would be a tribute to Superstar Rajinikanth, he delivered as promised. The film is basically a modern re-imagination of Baasha and as the audience, you pretty much know the course of where the film is headed. However, the director has placed certain clever plot twists that keeps you from guessing how it ends. The director constantly reminds you that Petta is a throwback film by subtly throwing in certain “feelers.” The film consistently has old Tamil film songs littered throughout the movie and the side characters and their names are a throwback to Baasha, which I found smart. There were some impressive Gun-Kata action sequences towards the climax of the film which is a breakaway from the usual Tamil cinema hero fights.

Verdict - “Intha Aatam Pothuma?”

Bringing back vintage Rajinikanth with his trademark swag and bounce works for the masses because it encapsulates the very root of his acting dexterity. Superstar Rajinikanth, with his larger-than-life screen presence, is simply a performer. Thus, Karthik Subbaraj paints the film with bouts of Rajinism, allowing the actor to showcase emotion, throw punch dialogues and capture the audience with his inimitable style. Personally, I think this is one of the main strengths of the film as it does not pretend to be director’s film and it belongs uniquely to the Superstar himself. 

However, the film did have its drawbacks. The first half of the film was a bit too long for me and I wished it could have been edited shorter to get the actual plot of the film going. There were many characters introduced that were not really necessary and if they had actually been edited out, the movie would have rated much better. Simran and Trisha barely had 15 minutes of screen time before they disappeared. The antagonists of the film, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vijay Sethupathi felt really underused and underwritten and it could literally have been just anyone else to play their roles. Vijay Sethupathi is delightful to watch and the screen times he spends with Rajinikanth are some of the highlight of the film. However, if you’re thinking of some sort of Vikram Vedha type of cat and mouse game between the two, you’d be left disappointed.

It could have been a much smoother ride if not for certain speed breakers, but Petta (2019) is a treat for ardent Rajinikanth fans who have been waiting to see their Thalaivar of old.

Rating - 3.75/5 | Grade - B+


An Honest Movie Review by Siddharthen R.
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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Top 5 Evergreen Movies of Bollywood

At the end of the day, on a bleak night, only few movies have the eternal freshness which can turn a boring day into a pleasant one. A few hand counted movies can live across decades. Although the plot may be old, but the feelings and emotions are always intact to us mortals and restore our faith in love, life and relationships. Below are five such top movies which have ever lasting stories which warms our heart, now and forever.


5. Dil Chahta Hai (2001)

The story of three close friends and their messed up lives connected well with the generation and continues to be viewed and enjoyed even 17 years later. Dil Chahta Hai can truly be regarded as the game changer for mainstream Hindi cinema. The movie depicts a slice of lives of three friends, each with his own idiosyncrasies; a solemn artist guy, one who is a lady’s man and a hopeless romantic another is funloving cynic who doesn’t believe in love. The infamous Goa trips saga was started by this movie and even after 17 years, still inspires youngsters today to pack up and go for an impromptu trip – to Goa.

This is a trend-setter movie by Farhan Akhtar which broke all stereotypes related to love, drama and comedy. The slight humor, the complex love stories, differently made family set up, brings a new freshness to movie-making in the fast paced entertainment industry. The movie speaks the language of the youth, where boys find it hard to complete their sentences, clichéd romance is frowned upon, feud between men and its intricacies etc. where shown in between lines. All-in-all, a hip movie with some drama at the end, which was brought on-screen over a decade ago but still is appealing to most youngsters of today.


4. Andaz Apna Apna (1994)

The movie that started the feud between the 2 famous Khans. While we are not very much bothered about the feud anymore, we love the brotherhood of the two Khan, Amar and Prem who have taken up these names in many of the movies later on. Comedy as its foremost genre, this movie kills us with bouts of laughter after every scene and every dialogue. ‘Aila’ and ‘Ui ma’ became synonymous to Aamir Khan and Salman Khan who use this as prefix for every dialogue. Limericks, wittiness, humor oozes throughout the movie and will never get you bored.

Amar and Prem on their journey to woe and marry the famous Raveena (Raveena Tandon) and her secretary Karishma (Karishma Kapoor) fight each other to grab the upper hand. Tables are turned when Raveena revels that her name is actually Karishma and that her secretary Raveena is the rich girl who swapped their names to find her real lover. Double acting by Paresh Rawal is both the villain and the father of the Raveena adds to the comedy. Crime master Gogo played by Shakti Kapoor, along with Robert and Bhalla get caught in the wildfire created by Teja in an attempt to steal the riches of his twin brother. This movie is a family entertainer will slight comedy and a breezy humor which can brighten your day, any time.


3. Lagaan (2001)

‘Hum tumhara lagan maaf kar dega’: this movie made taxation famous. Set in the backdrop of Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj, the story of a village and its residents who get caught in a situation where they have to play an alien game for their life and future. Bravery, simplicity, love and farmer’s issues are highlighted throughout the movie. Anybody who is depressed in life and feels stuck should watch this movie to come out of a bad situation. While courageous Aamir Khan unites the village against the pompous British officer, he also upholds the need for equality in society.

Back in the days, racial discrimination persistent throughout the nation and widespread like a plague. The protagonist not only identifies the real threat but also explains the village leaders break the shackles of racism and embrace everyone. One cannot take their eyes off when office Captain Russell catches the ball in the final game of cricket and realizes that he is standing outside the boundary. This movie brings back emotions that have been deep set in our hearts and showcases the troubles faced by farmers in India.


2. Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994)

The musical romantic comedy movie was released ages ago and has been winning hearts ever since. A family drama, complex love stories, a pet dog Tuffy, wedding ceremonies, vibrant outfits and dance numbers, Hum Aapke Hain Koun is a movie a family can enjoy over a holiday dinner any time of the year. Two brothers on this side of the family, two sisters on that side of the family; an arrange marriage and a love story brewing amidst these occasions.

Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan are the yester year famous couple who, with their beautiful smiles and chirpy dialogues which hit hearts explicitly. Breaking the monotony, this movie set the record by not having a villain character. Instead viewers feel like watching a big fat Indian wedding, musical events, dancing events. Families enjoy watching this movie even after decades.


1. Anand (1971)

Although an old movie, it is a classic. While there have been a lot of movies in the same genre, Rajesh Khanna steals the show with his everlasting smile even in the face of death. While cancer was not a widespread disease in those days, we all know the repercussions of the deadly disease which preys on people’s lives randomly. Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of a pessimistic oncologist who is disheartened that he cannot treat all the illnesses in the world.

While his patient, Anand (Rajesh Khanna) has cheerful demeanor and always manages to bring smile on the face on his friends and helps everyone around him. While Anand knows that his days in this world is counted, he doesn’t want to spend his remaining days in the hospital but instead enjoys sunrise and sunset. This movie is timeless; it teaches us to value our days, our lives; while everyone is running around chasing dreams, very few realize that we are living our own dreams and at times we should appreciate smaller things in life.

This is my list of evergreen Bollywood movies. Do you have any such movies which have everlasting freshness? Do let us know your views in the below comment section.


A Top 5 List by Anusha Shanbhag
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@JustMovieFreaks

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Top 5 Best Tollywood [Telugu] Movies of 2018

Introducing the Top 5 Best Tollywood [Telugu] Movies of 2018! Didn't find your favorite one? Well, comment down below and let us know about your personal picks! Would love to see them all!

Honorable Mentions: Geetha Govindam

Possible Contenders That I Missed Watching: Ee Nagariniki Emaindi, c/o Kancharapalem, Taxiwaala and Tholi Prema


5.  Sammohanam | Rating - 3/5

Directed by Mohan Krishna Indraganti, Sammohanam is a simple yet a beautifully told love story elevated with great character moments, well-written dialogue, wonderful performances and sweet-sounding music composed by Vivek Sagar. A clean, simple, family-friendly movie convenient for a cozy weekend watch.


4. Antariksham 9000 KMPH | Rating - 3.25/5

Released at the back end of the year 2018, Antariksham 9000 KMPH is Tollywood and Director Sankalp Reddy's courageous attempt to diversify and tell great stories in different genres which are left unexplored. Although the film has its own flaws, it still dispenses the plot with riveting and emotional moments and constructs an entertaining two-hour nail-biter worth watching on the big screen.


3. Rangasthalam | Rating - 3.5/5

The highest-grossing and the most successful Tollywood film of 2018, Rangasthalam, directed by Sukumar and starring Ram Charan Tej and Samantha Akkineni in the lead roles deserves all the success it received all throughout last year mainly because of the regional vibe that it imported to the silver screen. The profoundly-written screenplay, the deeper meaning behind certain scenes complimented the commercial aspects of the film like the revenge-driven storyline, custom-written music, action sequences and the bombastic performances from the entire cast. This movie is the perfect example of a commercial film, and the audience responded to it accordingly.


2. Mahanati | Rating - 4/5

Celebrated as the biopic of India's First Female Superstar Savitri Garu, Mahanati is an incredible, emotional, thoughtful and a well-illustrated biopic of one of the most beloved actresses of South Indian Cinema and this film did the best it could to display her love for humanity, acting, and movies. Without a doubt, one of the best Indian films of the year.


1. Goodachari | Rating - 4/5

Re-inventing one of the forgotten genres in Tollywood, Goodachari is, in fact, the best Tollywood film of the year and all credit goes to Adivi Sesh and his incredible team of new and upcoming artists. Giving the utmost significance to the core aspects of the film which are the storyline and the screenplay, screenwriters Sashi Kiran Tikka, Rahul Pakala and Adivi Sesh did a magnificent job interweaving entertaining attributes like plot twists, action set pieces and produced a two-hour-twenty-minute riveting thriller which set the Tollywood movie standards pretty high with an incredibly small budget of six crores. Films like Kshanam, Goodachari are shedding new light on a wide variety of ignored genres, and it's the perfect time to be a Telugu movie fan.


A Top 5 List by Surya Komal 
Instagram Profile - 
@JustMovieFreaks

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Editorial: Struggle of the Snowpiercer

Premise

How does one becomes a leader? A true leader, not the political ones. What do you consider as leadership material? Think about the masses all the time, putting the people needs first, take the first step even though it maybe towards certain death, make sacrifices along the way. The list could go on depending on the type of leader you’d want you to bear the torch for you. In Snowpiercer, Curtis (Chris Evans) has all the above qualities but won’t agree that he’s the leader. We keep asking why is he denying the fact? Obviously, he’s the brains and the brawn of ‘The Great Curtis Revolution’ as it is called in the movie.

Brief Story

After Humans do some stupid sh*t as always to counter the Global Warming by spraying a chemical in the upper atmosphere, Earth is propelled into the worst Ice Age ever known. Civilization collapsed, countries turned into the white ice wastelands with concrete pillars. Humanity is saved by the magnificent, benevolent ‘Wilford’ who was a full-time billionaire and part-time locomotive enthusiast (guys who climax while watching or learning about trains). He predicts the outcome of the artificial cooling of the Earth. So, he being soo kind, built a self-sustaining train which circles around the globe once a year and sold the tickets of the train to the rich. But he also made room for thousands of less fortunate people in the literal back of the train. Curtis also boarded the back train along with thousands of others crammed into few hundreds of square feet. They’re treated like nothing less than slaves and after 17 years and multiple revolutions that are suppressed without mercy, Curtis starts his own revolution to bring equality to his people with the guidance of an old kind man (Gilliam) and to kill Wilford.

Argument

If you’re thinking “Okay, so he leads a revolution... and of-course every revolution has struggle.”, think again. While I nod to the presence of physical struggle and conflict in the movie, the most fascinating thing is the internal struggle of Curtis. The job of a real leader is tough. No one really wants it, but everybody suggests this is better, you could’ve done this. A real leader don’t boasts of his position, power and the things he could do because he knows that not everything goes as planned. Knowing that sacrifices have to be made along the way losing our dearest in the name of a revolution.

Curtis never once agrees he’s the one that should take his people to the front of the train. He sought Gilliam’s advice and acts accordingly. Because he knows even though he’s capable of handling it, he’s struggling with the fact inside that he was a savage once till he met Gilliam. He ate people to survive in the early days of the train. And he hated himself for knowing that babies tasted better. He even killed mothers to get his hands on the kids to eat. 

Struggle of the Snowpiercer 

These are the most morally, ethically, socially and humanly disgusting things you can think of. Still you won’t know these things till the end. Till then, we only see Curtis as the leader who was shy of accepting the power and responsibility. But when you get to know the Curtis that ate kids to survive, we might judge him immediately. Then, if we can, we’ll possibly try to understand the obvious signs he gave us along the way that pointed that he wasn’t an ideal human much less a leader. Most of us might be like ‘Understand him? He ate humans. What more do you want to despise him?’ Yes, his past was dark, dehumanising and possibly, just possibly natural.

What is natural? A Pride of Lion always tries to hunt a baby Antelope because they know big ones aren’t to be f*cked with. But we explain in such a way that it is natural, Lions keeps the balance. Hunting for food is survival no matter the victims. Peacocks dance... the most f*cked up thing we can say about them. Just because a bird’s colors are entertaining to us, we make them the center of our romanticized world. Women are compared with them. A Peacock is presenting himself to get a chance to mate with her. That’s the truth of it. But you won’t feel anything when I say the truth. Don’t agree? Everybody hates Vultures, Hyenas. Why?? They steal. More importantly, they are ugly. And everybody hates an ugly thief. Why, even a Fox steals. But as a Fox’s got a personality, we let it slide.

Anyway, all this is to prove that we judge ugly things. The ugly doesn’t have to be a physical thing. Till the end, we love Curtis, we agree with him, we clap when he kills the evil lady. But as soon as we get to know the ugly things he did like he ate kids and also have killed his ward’s mother (Edgar’s mother) while Edgar was a baby, the tables are turned. Some might even hate him. But most don’t.

That’s the brilliance of the movie. When you travel with a stranger (Curtis) looking for a villain (Wilford) and it turns out that the stranger also has committed some crimes, you’ll try and side with him. Because now, along the quest to search the villian, you’re invested in this person emotionally, personally. You want to satisfy yourself with an alternative explanation like ‘he did what he did to survive. And he regrets it. It’s not like he actually enjoyed what he did. What more do you want?’ 

Conclusion

The question of the day isn’t “How well do you know a person to judge him?”, the real question should be “Should we judge a person at all without ever experiencing remotely closer to what he did?”. And while we’re at it, should we judge ourselves? The past moulds our future. The experiences you’ve had, the situations you’ve been through, the choices you’ve made and the person you’ve chosen to be defines you. It’s all about the future. You’ll be better off leaving the past behind. Never forget it but never carry it either.


An Editorial by Suhel Abdulla
Follow Suhel on Quora - @SuhelAbdulla

Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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Top 5 Best Hollywood Movies of 2018

Introducing the Top 5 Best Hollywood Movies of 2018! Didn't find your favorite one? Well, comment down below and let us know about your personal picks! Would love to see them all!

Honorable Mentions: First Man, Upgrade, Eighth Grade, A Star Is Born and Black Panther

Possible Contenders That I Missed Watching: The Favourite, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Crazy Rich Asians and The Hate U Give


5. Mission: Impossible – Fallout | Rating - 3.75/5

Directed by Christopher McQuarrie, Fallout is the sixth film in the Mission: Impossible franchise and the storyline kicks off with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his gang intercepting the sale of three plutonium cores and things go south, they lose the plutonium and Hunt goes on this insane mission to acquire these elements which involve running, racing, diving, and loads of zany stuff Cruise loves to do.

Go Tom Cruise GIF

The Mission: Impossible franchise is well-known for its notorious action sequences and in the previous two films we've seen Cruise climb one of tallest buildings in the world (Burj Khalifa) and maniacally hang to the side of an A400M aircraft which is still breathtaking to watch. At this point with Cruise approaching his 60's and breaking an ankle in the midst of shooting the roof-top scene in London, I thought that this film might revert when it comes to action, but, bloody hell, it took two steps forward and delivered much more than I expected.

Overall, Fallout is a magnificent theater experience permeated with mind-boggling action sequences that are totally worth your penny. Watch it on the biggest screen available and let Tom Cruise take care of the rest. This is undoubtedly the best action movie I've seen this year and rightfully deserves all the praise and acclaim.


4. Love, Simon | 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, likeable 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 centred around a gay.


3. Hereditary | Rating - 4/5

Directed by Ari Aster and starring Toni Collette and Alex Wolff in the lead roles, the storyline of Hereditary deals with the themes of death, family issues and emotional disconnects and is, in fact, not only the best movies of the year, but, is also one of the best horror film I've seen in recent years.

Nevertheless, 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.


2. The Endless | Rating - 4/5

Established as a partial sequel to their 2012 film, Resolution, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's sci-fi horror film, The Endless, follows the journey of two siblings who return to a UFO death cult, ten years after their initial departure. Operating on a micro-budget, the director duo (also lead actors), Benson and Moorhead enlighten the fact that all you need for a movie to deliver is an intriguing storyline, tight screenplay and decent character development.

Best described as a sci-fi/horror film on drugs, the trippy visuals, the ambivalent nature of the narrative, ominous background score, splendid direction, and the on-going character work between the brothers throughout the film only make The Endless one of the most intense and bewildering movie experiences of this year with a great rewatchable factor.


1. Searching | Rating - 4.5/5

Aneesh Chaganty's directorial debut Searching piloted by John Cho in the lead role might just one of the best movie-watching experiences I've had this year. Demonstrated entirely on computer screens, smartphones, news broadcasts and surveillance footage, Aneesh Chaganty manages to explain this unravelling (whodunnit) mystery drama with an impeccable screenplay, pristine edits and at the same time, compliments the storyline with various emotional connotations and character development.

Actor John Cho gives his career-best performance as an upset father of a missing daughter and keeps his character engaging enough throughout the runtime. Nonetheless, Searching is an absolute masterclass of a film, an exhilarating roller coaster ride and is a solid testament that intriguing films can even be portrayed on a computer screen.


A Top 5 List by Surya Komal 
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@JustMovieFreaks

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Top 5 Worst Kollywood Movies of 2018

Over 200 movies released in 2018, half of which we didn’t even know the names or if they even had a theatrical release. Some movies raised the expectation meters before the release but ended up as a disappointment. Some are a missed or wasted opportunity and some landed in this list simply because they’re crap. Without further ado let’s check the Worst Movies of Kollywood in 2018.

Related: Top 5 Best Kollywood Movies of 2018Top 5 Best Bollywood Movies of 2018Top 5 Worst Bollywood Movies of 2018


5. Vishwaroopam 2 | Rating 2/5

Reason(s) Why The Movie Sucked: "A Disappointment!"

Did writer-director Kamal Haasan brought an end to what he started in an attracting fashion? NO! Unlike its prequel, Vishwaroopam 2 lacked a gripping storyline and suffered with 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.


4. Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu | Rating 2/5 

Reason(s) Why The Movie Sucked: "A Missed Opportunity!"

It was surprising that a producer accepted to even make a movie with Director Santhosh Jayakumar who gave a half-baked failure movie last year. Teaming once again with Gautham Karthik, Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu (IAMK) is nothing but a pile of lascivious scenes. Being an adult-horror film, it was quite okay to use some sex based jokes and scenes, but the over usage of them makes the film look filthy. Santhosh Jayakumar could have come up with better screenplay to make the film more entertaining rather than sickening. Nevertheless, IAMK does make things hard up but the overall output of the movie looks uninteresting and feels oversexed.


3. Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren & Junga | Rating 1.5/5

Reason(s) Why The Movies Sucked: "A Disappointment!"

With seven releases (of which two were special appearance), Vijay Sethupathi was on a roll last year. One of the movies ’96 even made it to our Top 5 Best Kollywood Movies of 2018 list. But these two, didn’t go well with the audience. “A comical adventurous thrilling mass entertainment” is what the tagline of the movie reads. But on the contrary, the film is nothing relatable to the tagline. Director Arumuga Kumar’s “Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren” (ONNPS) ended as a humorless, dull and an uninteresting flick.

Barring the performances from the cast, Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren suffers from its unexciting storyline, poorly written screenplay and dull comical scenes which conclusively made it a tedious watch. Even with Junga, the fate was the same. Though VJS & Yogi Babu’s comedy performances were appreciated, the overall film was lacking flavor with weak screenplay.


2. Seemaraja | Rating 1.5/5

Reason(s) Why The Movie Sucked: "A Crap Show!"

As expected, Director Ponram repeats the same with ‘Seemaraja’ what he had done in his previous two flicks with Siva Karthikeyan in the lead role. While they were at least entertaining to a certain extent but ‘Seemaraja’ is bland and boring. Ponram has decided not to write anything fresh or intriguing to a rising star who believed him for the third time. What didn’t work with ‘Seemaraja’ is almost everything. The plot was an overly clichéd  with Siva Karthikeyan himself acting in similar movies earlier. The screenplay really tested my patience, after a long time during a movie I was looking at my watch every now and then, hoping for the movie to end soon. Without further whining I would like to say, Seemaraja is a tedious watch. A big yawn!


1. Saamy Square | Rating 1/5

Reason(s) Why The Movie Sucked: "A Crap Show!"

Have you ever been to a movie, where you felt suffocated because of the miserable scenes, headache causing songs, and background score and you just wanted to run away from the theatre? That’s how I felt while watching Chiyaan Vikram’s Saamy Square. Saamy 1 is considered as one of the best cop movies, a major break-through in Vikram’s career, the songs of the movie are still fresh to listen, Vivekh had talked about social injustice through his comedy, and punch dialogues are still enjoyed. Director Hari has overturned it and made a complete mess out of it. The movie adds up nothing new or intriguing or at least makes sense and the plot descends into complete mayhem.

The film lacked everything, right from a solid story, gripping screenplay, enjoyable action sequences, refreshing romance scenes, listenable songs or at least quick comical relief. But, no, the director offers us an outdated story, predictable and boring scenes with cringe romances which were very awful. Finally, Saamy Square comes down to nothing but damaging and destroying the reputations of its prequel. I still couldn’t understand why Vikram agreed to do something like this and degrade a character which was highly appreciated and made him a Star. Do yourself a favour and avoid it!


A Top 5 List by Nirmalraj
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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Top 5 Best Kollywood Movies of 2018

Hey all! Happy New Year 2019! Among the ‘New Year! New Me!’ bakwaas, it’s also time to revisit 2018 and take a look at the movies which we loved watching in theaters, which made us laugh, cry and create an impact on us. Remember, these are my personal picks. Didn't find your favorite one? Well, comment down below and let us know about your personal picks! Would love to see them all!

Honorable Mentions: 2.0, Kadaikutty Singam, Kolamavu Kokila and Irumbu Thirai


5. Merrku Thodarchi Malai | Rating 4/5

I never dreamt about a film before or after watching it unless it is Superstar Rajnikanth’s movie or if the film creates a deep impact on me. ‘Merrku Thodarchi Malai’ is one of the few films which didn’t let me sleep after watching it. Debutant director Lenin Bharathi struck me hard with his writing and filmmaking skills. The movie is high on emotions, throws light on the unheard-of struggles of people, capitalism, communism.

The director has made justice to his writings by having all newcomers as the cast, who doesn’t look like trained artists yet the residents of the village and presented the film in a beautiful manner with the backing of breathtaking visuals captured by Theni Eshwar.  “Merku Thodarchi Malai” is a one of a kind movie which shouldn’t be missed at any cost. Thanks to the director for making a non-commercial film, a moving tale and subtly delivering a message.


4. Pariyerum Perumal | Rating 4/5

Pariyerum Perumal, directed by Maari Selvaraj and produced by Pa.Ranjith, goes straight for the jugular in this film about anti-caste. The first ten minutes of the film is arguably one of the best opening scenes in 2018 Tamil cinema. Karuppi, the protagonist’s dog is killed by members of another caste and this serves as a tipping point for the film to take off.  The director has conscientiously filled up each scene carefully giving the viewers the chance to look at how things are from the perspective of a lower-caste individual.

While Karuppi might have only lasted 10 minutes in the film, she is the very fulcrum of which the film is placed on. A metaphor for the prevalent class and caste oppressions that still occur in India, Pariyerum Perumal attempts to answer its own question with the climax scene. One of the more important works in recent time, Pariyerum Perumal is a scream.


3. 96 | Rating 4.5/5

When did you actually cry because of the movies content and the acting performances from the lead cast? If not, '96 will make you cry. Starring Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha Krishnan in lead roles, 96 is a soulful story of two lost souls, Ram and Jaanu who studied together in school, part away without a goodbye due to unforeseen circumstances. What happens when they reunite after 22 years for their school reunion party forms the story.

Director Prem Kumar deserves appreciation for such a beautiful story which didn’t rush and took time to settle. Certain scenes are long enough to create an impact as the director Kumar gives ample time for us to dissolve into it.  I would dare to say that '96 is a movie without a flaw, right from the introduction till the very end. The film is sure to take you on a trip down memory lane, a journey of a lifetime, sure to stir your soul and make a lasting impression. Don’t miss this gem!


2. Ratsasan | 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, 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.

One of the film’s strengths lie in the background score department. Gibran’s music for Ratsasan is excellent. He manages to elevate the film to a god-tier level with his eerie and spine-chilling BGM. It is arguably one of the best in Tamil Cinema’s suspense thriller genre.


1. Vada Chennai | Rating 4.5/5

Vada Chennai is the result when you bring together two National Award Winners for a film once again. It is intense, rugged and sticks true to its nature. Vada Chennai is the tale of two gangsters Guna (Samuthirakani) and Senthil (Kishore) who run their illegal business along the coastal line area of North Chennai and how the life of Anbu (Dhanush) interweaves with theirs in such a manner as not to be easily separated. Vetri Maaran seems to not compromise in anything for making the film utterly realistic. They even went for ‘Adults Only’ certification from the censor board without muting the bad language which was a bold attempt cause that made the film more native.

Another pillar to the already astonishing film was Santhosh Narayanan (SaNa) and his pulsating background score. SaNa did know when to use the background score, thereby elevating the film on a tremendous level. A movie without a flaw? I would dare to say, Vada Chennai is undoubtedly the best movie of 2018. Congregated with a gripping narrative, intriguing characters, impressive performances and overall some masterful storytelling this movie is Cinematic Brilliance!


A Top 5 List by Nirmalraj
Writing Assisted by Siddharthen R.
Instagram Profile - @JustMovieFreaks

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