Blog posts : "English Reviews"

Annihilation - Instant Movie Review #38

Alex Garland's - "Annihilation"

1) Cinematography and Production Design
2) Direction
3) Background Music
4) Natalie Portman

Introduction - Alex Garland is one of the best directors working right now, I haven't had a chance to check out Ex Machina until last week and I completely regretted waiting so long. They're also few reports floating around that he also unofficially directed the Dredd remake starring Karl Urban (which was quite awesome). Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is Alex Garland does great and different Sci-Fi films unlike anyone and going into Annihilation, I'm very much excited to experience something diverse, offbeat and exciting.

Analysis - First off, this film was shot beautifully. Everything from the production design, cinematography, and CGI looked exquisite and is a true cinematic experience. The direction by Garland was exceptional, but, the film is a slow-burn, it's filled with social commentary, creepy imagery, and exciting subplots which makes it special and also very confusing.

Performances - The performances by the complete cast were decent. Oscar Issac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez were all favorable for the film to keep moving. But, Natalie Portman's character had the best story arc with diverse layers involved and her performance was remarkable. The plight, regret, and emotion that her character had to go through were displayed wonderfully by Portman as she totally impresses as the main lead.

Verdict - Overall, Annihilation is not your conventional Sci-Fi flick, it had quite a lot to unpack with no coherent ending and will pretty much baffle your brain with alternate theories and social commentary. On the contrary, it is a beautifully shot, wonderfully acted, masterfully directed and gorgeous looking film that you should not miss if you're up for a discrete science-fiction drama.

My Rating - 3.5/5 | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks
An Instant Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Tomb Raider - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Completely Watchable!"

Tomb Raider (2018) is a reboot of the Tomb Raider films which were released back in 2001 and 2003 starring Angelina Jolie as the title character. This new revamped and restructured film stars Alicia Vikander in the lead role and is directed by Roar Uthaug and also stars Dominic West and Walton Goggins in supporting roles.

Kicking off with the plot, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is an audacious spitfire doing everything in her favor to make money despite having a wealthy background. Few incidents later, she decides to take over her family business and discovers her father's research about Himiko,  an ancient shaman queen of Japan. She then plans to travel to the island of Yamatai where Himiko was buried and discover her lost father's whereabouts who went missing during his archipelago escapade.

Clocking at a super-swift 120-minute runtime, the film kept moving despite having major narrative problems, the action sequences are enjoyable and were choreographed appropriately to give the film a blockbuster feel. Also, yet another asset of the film is its lead star Alicia Vikander who was downright amazing in her role. Her portrayal of the badass frondeur character was very much enjoyable as she carried the entire film on her shoulder quite remarkably.

Here are my problems with the film, as the film progresses the storyline got a bit too convenient for the characters and narratively it didn't add any stakes. Sure, Lara crawls through many obstacles in the film to get to her destination, but everything felt accommodating for her that solved the missing piece of the puzzle fluently. Also, the father and daughter relationship between Alicia and West came off as generic to me as I didn't feel the emotion the writers are going for.

Overall, Tomb Raider is a watchable film with entertaining action sequences accompanied by a hasty pace and an impressive performance by Alicia Vikander who is undoubtedly the stand-out star. It had few narrative flaws but I'm still looking forward to the sequel in a positive way.

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


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Black Panther - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "The Real Deal!"

Debuting at 235 million dollars on a four-day weekend, Black Panther had the biggest opening weekend in February, biggest non-sequel opening weekend, biggest solo superhero launch of all time, biggest pre-summer opening weekend, second biggest comic book superhero opening weekend and the fifth biggest opening weekends of all time. Here's an interesting comparison, Justice League made 228 million dollars on its overall domestic box-office run and it only took four days for Black Panther to beat that record. That's a hard punch in the gut for all DC fans (including me), but that's the reality and a well-deserved accolade for a well-made film.

After the sudden demise of his father and T'Chaka (John Kani / Atandwa Kani), the administration decides to crown T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as the new King of Wakanda and the storyline advances with T'Challa understanding and amending his responsibilities until he comes across Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) who not only challenges the throne but also questions the perspectives and principles that Wakanda upholds.

From time to time, I always address the importance of character work in a film especially if it's a stand-alone superhero film. One of the main reasons why Black Panther is such a great film is because of the well-developed and appealing characters. Let's start with T'Challa, an amateur and a King stuck in dilemma or puzzled in a tight spot to choose what's right and not right, his character was incredibly written so that the emotional connection was excellently established. Advancing to Erik Killmonger, another rightful heir to the throne, his intentions very plain, simple and very understandable. His character had a much-needed depth and his overall motives were one of the reasons why he's one of the best Marvel villains we've seen in a very long time.

Not only the lead characters but Nakia played by Lupita Nyong'o, Okoye played by Danai Gurira and Shuri played Letitia Wright everyone had an important role in the film which was inspiring and entertaining to watch. Also, great performances will always fortify the well-written characters and both the leads Boseman and Jordan were remarkable in their respective roles. Jordan especially was very charismatic and fit perfectly as the anti-hero with bad-ass abilities.

On the other side, the cinematography and the production design were incredible, the film looked vibrant, stylish and very exquisite. The background music was another positive, it added a unique authentic feel to the film especially with the percussions which sounded amazing. 

Ending with the negatives, this film was definitely not flawless, it had few issues primarily with the villain and his overall presence which was definitely limited. I hoped to see more of Killmonger as he was barely present in the first one and a half hour and then shows up in few action scenes and the film ends. That's a bummer, mainly because his character felt significant and would've been explored with more screen time.

Nonetheless, Black Panther lives up to the hype and is undoubtedly one of the best stand-alone superhero films in the MCU right beside The Winter Soldier. Similar to Logan, this film didn't feel like a generic superhero film as it presented us enjoyable characters, pleasing performances and a dazzling look at the world of Wakanda. An excellent entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

My Rating - 3.75/5 | Grade - B+ (Highly Entertaining!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Black Panther: Movie Posters - Click Here

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Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren – Honest Movie Review

Verdict: “An Unfunny, Un-Adventurous, Boring Chore!

“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) starring ‘Makkal Selvan’ Vijay Sethupathi in the lead ends as a humorless, dull and an uninteresting flick. 

Set in the fictional village of Yemasingapuram where the primary occupation of the villagers is stealing and they worship ‘God of Death’ Yeman as their idol. Vijay Sethupathi is their village head and he is in pursuit of marrying Abhaayalakshmi (Niharika Konidela), whom he promised to marry in the name of God. The rest of the plot elaborates how he marries her and why the promise in a tiring way.

While selecting the script, Vijay Sethupathi has been very choosy in acting in the right film. After giving the best movie of last year Vikram Vedha, he has slightly skidded with ONNPS. Director Arumuga Kumar could have made the movie a lot better by making the comical scenes more humorous as most of the scenes fall flat without tickling our funny bone. 

Coming to the performances, Vijay Sethupathi once again proves that he is the best in the business as he was absolutely stunning with his acting skills. Right from his body language to dialogue delivery and showing variation in his eyes, he does everything with ease. Gautham Karthik as the second hero shines equally well. Along with Daniel Annie Pope, the duo made the film tolerable with their comical scenes which were to some extent funny, yet fails in the end. 

Ramesh Thilak and Rajkumar were also equivalently good with their roles.  Niharika Konidela didn’t overdo her role and makes a satisfactory mark.

Songs were very ordinary and was not even hummable, which was another reason for the films letdown. Though the story didn’t need much of songs, yet the available ones weren’t favouring the movie. 

On the whole, barring the performance of 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.

My Rating – 1.5/5 | Grade – D+ (A Hangover!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)

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The Disaster Artist - Instant Movie Review #37

James Franco's - "The Disaster Artist"

1) Direction
2) Performances
3) Story and Screenplay

Introduction - The storyline of The Disaster Artist is adapted from a book (of the same name) written by Greg Sestero. He explains his friendship and how he met the mysterious, enigmatic, "New Orléans" based Hollywood star Tommy Wiseau and his experience shooting on the sets of the greatest bad movie ever made, The Room, which went on to become a cult classic and is still, to this day, being played in select midnight screenings worldwide. 

Analysis - Frankly, I never got a chance to check out The Room until earlier last week, where I sat back and gave the film a chance which I've seen people rambling about online and I can't believe how much I enjoyed watching the movie. I was surprised and was truly fascinated with the thought process that went into Tommy's mind while making this disastrous movie that he truly intended to be dramatic and not absurdly comedic. Nevertheless, James Franco captured the true essence of this film masterfully, the comedic scenes were a riot and the relationship between Tom and Greg was illustrated remarkably well. As Tommy rated the authenticity of this film to 99.9%, I should commend Franco for all the effort.

Performances - Advancing to the performances, James Franco was again splendid in his role, transforming into Tommy Wiseau was not an easy task and with all the hard work that went behind in getting his accent, body language, and his expressions right, Franco, in fact, deserves all the praise that he received up until the Academy Awards nominations. His brother, Dave Franco, was a great addition to the film, he captured the innocence and the likability of his character really well and portrayed his role with ease.

Verdict - Overall, Franco superlatively demonstrated the chaos, ridiculousness and all the drama that went into making The Room, which was fascinating and entertaining to watch at the same time. On the other side, it also displayed the inexplicable admiring friendship and relationship between Tommy and Greg which was sometimes questionable but also endearing to watch.

My Rating - 3.5/5 | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks
An Instant Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Three Billboards & The Post - Honest Movie Reviews

Time for a doubleheader again and this time I'm reviewing two films that you might hear about a lot in the upcoming months because of the Oscars. But the nominations were not out yet, so you never know. Anyway, I'm looking forward to these two movies in a very long time and here are my thoughts.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3.5/5

Directed by Martin McDonagh, who previously directed one of my favorite films of 2012 in Seven Psychopaths and starring Frances McDormand in the lead role, Three Billboards is a film about an enraged mother, who is avidly trying everything in her power to make the local police authorities solve her dead daughter's case. Similar to Seven Psychopaths, the unpredictable story and the screenplay were the primary aspects which kept the movie going for me. Martin McDonagh made sure that the doesn't fall into the clichéd paint-by-numbers category and kept it interesting throughout the runtime. Also, the characters and the performances were another advantages, Frances McDormand was truly exceptional and her blunt unconventional character was invigorating and extremely amusing to watch at the same time. Woody Harrelson's significant character served as the focal point for the entire film and Sam Rockwell is without a doubt the standout performer with his unappealing character that had an astounding story arc when compared to others. Overall, Three Billboards was one of the best films I've seen this year filled with amazing characters and incredible performances from the three main leads. A fascinating watch!

The Post Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3.5/5

The Post brings together Steven Speilberg, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep, Hollywood's mega heavyweights in a movie that revolves around the Pentagon Papers Case in the early 1970's. Surprisingly enough, Speilberg began the Principal Photography of the film in the month of May 2017 and fast-tracked the production to meet the end-of-the-year release date and I can understand why. Oscar bait? or is it because of the striking storyline which partly resembles President Trump's administration? Keeping the theories aside, this film moves at an extremely fast pace filled with splendid performances across the board. Streep's character was a definitely a standout because of the monumental decisions she has to make. Bob Odenkirk was amazing and Tom Hanks was as usual brilliant in his role. But, the only negative about the film is the storyline which was dragged a little until the third act which was exciting to watch. Nevertheless, barring the only negative, The Post is still a fascinating story told by Steven Speilberg and I recommend watching it in case if you're interested in the source material.

-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal (@SuryaKomal) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Very Much Enjoyable!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Movie Review

Verdict - "A Splendid Building-Block for Episode IX."

[Before I share my thoughts on The Last Jedi, I want you guys to be clear that I'm not a huge Star Wars fan, although I thoroughly enjoy watching these movies. So, if I get one or two references wrong, please don't bomb me with hate comments. I'll do my best!]

The Central Government of the Galaxy is now gone and General Leia Organa's (Carrie Fisher) Resistance is on their own to fight a long impending battle against the heinous First Order governed by the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and administered by Kylo Ren / Ben Solo (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). The film starts with Commander Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) leading a group of X-Wing pilots to destroy the cannons of their rivals which kicks off the war between the good and the evil. On the other side, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is busy convincing Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) at the Jedi Temple to join his sister's army and fight the battle against the First Order.

Between all the overwhelming positives in the film, the one that stood out the most for me is the development of characters. Writer and Director Rian Johnson took the new undefiled characters from The Force Awakens and established them by giving strong character moments and most importantly equal importance in the film. The scenes between Rey, Luke, and Kylo Ren were the ones that I enjoyed the most. Rey trying to understand her status and learning the powers of The Force. Luke trying to break out from his past experiences that he had with Ben and his other trainees and have a peaceful death. And Kylo struggling with his conflicting opinion whether to comply with Snoke's commands or to turn against him and join The Resistance with his mother. 

Poe had a much more prominent role to play in this movie when compared to The Force Awakens. His scenes with Leia worked really well and with him nurtured as the next Leader of the Resistance and a possible romantic angle with Rey, I'm really excited to see the progression of his character in Episode IX. The storyline between Finn and the newly-introduced character Rose was a bit of letdown for me and I should say that this the only negative I have with the film for now, after watching it once. The romantic angle between them and the whole situation in Canto Bight with the rich and the poor people and the treatment of animals felt below par and briefly took the excitement away from the film.

The actions sequences (as most of the fans are already going insane about) were one of the best I've seen in any Star Wars movie. They kept me on-the-edge of my seat the whole time and were flat-out entertaining to watch. The background score by John Williams was again outstanding and the performances by the complete cast particularly by Daisy Ridley, Oscar Issac, and Adam Driver were astounding.

Overall, The Last Jedi is not only a great Star Wars film, but it also served as a perfect continuation of the franchise by building up great characters which are passionate and intriguing to carry on in the next movie. They're loads of questions still left unanswered, however, I had a great time watching the new episode in the greatest saga ever told.

My Rating - 4/5 | Grade - A (The Best One Around!) 
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Movie Posters - Click Here

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Avengers: Infinity War - Trailer Breakdown

The trailer starts with the voice-over of none other than Nick Fury played by Samuel L Jackson, so it is possible that he would show up in this movie somewhere.

Then we find Bruce Banner/Hulk played by our spoiler guy Mark Ruffolo is fallen inside the sanctum sanatorium and we see Doctor Strange and Wong looking at him.

And we later see Bruce meeting Black Widow in Wakanda; this might be because Stephen Strange using his rings to teleport him from New York to Wakanda.

Then we see Scarlett Witch and The Vision somewhere in England, The Vision is found to be in his human form, this is because he has shapeshifting abilities. In the comics when he was in his human form he named himself Victor Shade.

Then we see Thor in his spaceship looking at a destructed planet that might be Asgard right from the movie Thor: Ragnarok. Later we hear Thanos narrating, his speech and his entrance give us the chills.

We see a new costume worn by Tony; we can also see his arc reactor. It might be possible that this outfit he's wearing might blend in with his body forming the new kick-ass comic book suit or it might be some standard costume.

We get a glimpse of the Spider-Man when he's on the bus and looks at Thanos smaller dropship.

We later see Loki handing out the Tesseract to Thanos, it might be the aftermath of Thor: Ragnarok. It is very much possible that Loki might die in this movie, as stated in the interviews, there will be significant amounts of death in the upcoming films.

We can see Thanos placing the Space Gem on his gauntlet, the Tesseract is the Space Gem, which grants him to teleport to Earth.

Then we see Thor holding a ship like we saw Captain America do in the Civil War movie. This might be Thor trying to defend his ship and his crew from Thanos army.

Black Order play the most critical role in this movie. They're Thanos minions comprising his children like Proxima Midnight who is shown later in the film throwing her spear at Captain America. The primary objective of the Black Order is to hunt the Infinity Stones.

We also notice that Thanos has the power gym, it was previously with Nova Corp of Xander, so it means that Xander is done for sure.

We see Black Panther fighting a four-armed monsterthey're called as Outriders, and they are from Thanos Army. They have telepathic abilities so that they can dig information easily.

We see Winter Soldier in Wakanda with his new arm. We also see War Machine recovered, and flew with the rest of the crew.

We also see Black Panther in the new and upgraded suit that was shown in the Black Panther trailer. 

And then we see Thor meeting the Guardians of the Galaxy which we saw more in the leaked Comic-Con trailer.

They haven't shown the Soul Gem yet; it is very much possible that they reveal it in the Black Panther movie and it is the final Infinity Stone. 

We hear T'Challa saying "Give This Man A Shield." But we don't see him holding his shield instead if you notice, he's wearing his Vibranium Gauntlets.

Most of the trailer takes place in Wakanda, and this might be because of the soul gem and also it is the most advanced city in the world, and it is hidden.

That might be the reason the Avengers decided to stay in Wakanda and defend the last Infinity Stone, that is the Soul Gem.

-By Balaji V Kumar (@Bvk1997)

Thor: Ragnarok - Movie Review: Click Here | Spider-Man: Homecoming - Movie Review: Click Here

Captain America: Civil War - Movie Review: Click Here | Ant-Man - Movie Review: Click Here

Avengers: Age of Ultron - Movie Review: Click Here | Guardians of the Galaxy - Movie Review: Click Here

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Baby Driver & Logan Lucky - Movie Reviews

Now, they're many movies that I missed watching in the past few months, and I'm looking forward to checking out these two films in particular not only because Edgar Wright and Steven Soderbergh are the directors, also because they're two very different Heist-Crime-Drama genre films that I surprisingly love.

Before I give my thoughts on both the films in a Double Header format, let's see how well these films were received critically and commercially. Baby Driver overall made 227 million worldwide with a production budget of 34 million and totted up 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Logan Lucky made 45.7 million dollars worldwide from its 29 million production budget also with a Tomatometer score of 93%. 

Baby Driver Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3.75/5

Baby Driver stands out as an entertaining-original film which is made possible by the excellent directing job by Edgar Wright, marvelous performances from the complete cast (especially Ansel Elgort), enjoyable characters, splendid use of music (treated as a character in the film), outstanding work by the sound mixing and sound editing department and the breathtaking action sequences. Similar to his previous films, Edgar Wright made sure that the movie is fast-paced with almost zero dull moments. The cast was terrific together, and everyone had a moment to shine in the entire film. But, the climax was a bit messy in my opinion, although it didn't damage the overall fun experience of the film. Nevertheless, Baby Driver is one of my favorite of the year which was incredibly fun to watch.

Logan Lucky Overall Thoughts / My Rating 3.5/5

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Logan Lucky is again a heist film that feels like a less flamboyant derivative of the Oceans Eleven movies. Comprising few fantastic performances from Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and Daniel Craig, it's tough to choose a favorite character from the film, cause they're tremendous with their performances which is only made possible by the amazingly well-written characters. The comedic sequences were hysterical, and the Soderbergh style of delivering a crafty film with skillful direction was evident throughout the runtime. Overall, Logan Lucky is an enjoyable film with the right amount of comedy and character moments and a movie which is not to be missed this year.

-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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The Big Sick - Instant Movie Review #36

Michael Showalter's - "The Big Sick"

1) Story and Screenplay
2) Performances

Introduction and Plot - With a production budget of 5 million, The Big Sick is one of the highest-grossing Independent Films of 2017 bringing in a whopping 54 million in box-office revenue, and it's one of the best films I've seen this year. The movie follows the real-life story of Kumail Nanjiani and his now wife Emily and narrates about how they first met, how did they break-up and how Kumail got across his in-laws played (brilliantly) by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano while Emily is going through surgery for a severe lung disease.

Analysis - One of the reasons why I liked this film so much is because of its heartwarming storyline. Being based on a true story, you expect the writers and directors to make the movie as authentic as possible, and they deliver that with perfection. The interactions and the dialogue between the characters felt sincere, and the comedic sequences were thoroughly amusing. 

Performances - This is the first time I've come across Kumail Nanjiani's performance in any movie or a TV show, and I should say that I enjoyed his presence entirely. Playing himself in the film, he brought that innocence and goofiness to his character which was a total blast. Zoe Kazan is another excellent addition to the film. I've previously seen her in the movie "What If" starring opposite Daniel Radcliffe and it's a delight to watch her perform. Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are the show-stealers in my opinion. Their interactions with Kumail were soo natural and comical as the film didn't feel dull or sluggish at any given moment.

Verdict - Overall, The Big Sick is a complete surprise for me, I didn't expect much going into this movie, but I ended up loving it when the credits rolled. It's hard to find a film filled with jokes, an earnest love-story, and serious family dramas these days and The Big Sick is one of the few movies that I enjoyed watching for the first time and even the second time.

My Rating - 4/5 | -By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Justice League - Movie Review

Verdict - "The League Entertains!"

Abysmal Rotten Tomatoes score for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Expensive and extensive re-shoots. Joss Whedon, taking over the directing job from Zack Snyder (after Snyder proactively left the production due to a tragic loss in his family) and a bizarre debate encasing around Henry Cavill's (Superman) mustache (or Superstache). Justice League had everything going against its favor except for Wonder Woman's (IMO, the best comic book film of the year) critical and commercial success. So, will this new entry into the DCEU (that we've been waiting for decades) deliver? And will it continue the momentum that Wonder Woman set earlier this year? 

While the citizens of Metropolis are grieving the loss of their (our) beloved Superhero, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) are busy bringing together a team of metahumans to stop a dangerous threat in the form of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons. Will the mammoth team-up of the Justice League avoid Steppenwolf and his minions taking over the world? 

Let's discuss the positives first, the lead characters (Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg) in the film and the chemistry between them were amazing to watch. If you've watched the promotional interviews that the cast did during their press tour, you can tell that they have a fantastic bond between them and that portrays in the film. They work incredibly well as a team, and you start to care more about these people because they're given equal importance throughout the film, and the brief yet compelling introduction for the new characters makes us crave more from them in their upcoming standalone movies.

Speaking of the new characters, let's start with The Flash first. If you're one of the many people who complained about the lack of humor in the DCEU, then Justice League will impress by being lighter and more witty with its approach. The Flash steals the movie with his innocent and I'm-excited-to-be-here persona. He's funny, has the best one-liners in the entire film and was pretty well handled by the writers. Aquaman, however, is the rock star of the film. Jason Momoa's portrayal of the bad-ass surfer was on-point, and I'm thrilled to watch his standalone film next December. IMO, Cyborg is the most underrated character in the movie, his backstory and personality had few new layers which are yet to be explored, and Ray Fisher had done a fantastic job interpreting a unique character who is quite robust to relish.

Wonder Woman is the stand-out star of the League, riding off the massive success of her standalone movie, the studio made sure that she is the focal point of the entire film. The dynamic between her and Bruce Wayne (or even the whole team) was established pretty well, and her role had the most impressive through-line throughout the run-time when compared to others. Being the leader of the League, Batman's character is more matured coming off the events after Dawn of Justice. He also had few impactful one-liners and was overall a blast to watch.

On to the negatives, now with a runtime under two hours, the film does feel a little rushed, and few scenes didn't have the time to breathe. It felt like the movie went through some significant slicing in the editing room and that displays. The scenes didn't feel interconnected which kept me out-of-the-experience for a bit. So, let's discuss the elephant in the room, Steppenwolf. Do I think he's an awful villain? No, but he is indeed a forgettable one and felt more like a video game character. His backstory was not well-explained, and it felt like he was just present so that our heroes could unite, fight and save the world. I've heard many people bashing the CGI in the film, for what I observed it was overall serviceable during the action scenes except for the Superstache which is an obvious thing to point out when you heard the news months before the release of the film.

With all the controversies and the complications, the production went through. Justice League entertains as an overall film. Sure, it isn't perfect and yes had significant plot-holes and an uninteresting antagonist. But, with the League carrying great chemistry between them and having a ton of fun throughout the entire runtime made me feel happy and delighted with the film. Justice League is the step in the right direction for the DCEU, and I'm excited about the upcoming standalone films.

My Rating - 3.25/5 | Grade - B (Entertaining! with Few Noticeable Flaws)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

Justice League: Movie Posters - Click Here 
Man of Steel - Movie Review: Click Here

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Thor Ragnarok - Movie Review

[The part highlighted in red might contain spoilers. Please skip the paragraph who haven't yet watched the movie.]

Verdict - "A Fun Superhero Film!"

Directed by Taika Waititi (known for directing What We Do in the Shadows), Thor: Ragnarok is the 17th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is the third installment of the Thor franchise. This film also presents us with the dynamic team-up of Thor and Hulk after two years of absence since the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

After an unsuccessful outing in search of the Infinity Stones and later defeating The Fire Demon: Surtur and his maniacal minions, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) returns to Asgard only to find out that his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is not dead and is in disguise as his father Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) and enjoying having silly fun as the King of Asgard. After questioning their father's whereabouts, Loki answers that he has kept him in exile back at Earth and as they meet Odin (with the help of a famous sorcerer), he warns them about The Goddess of Death: Hela (Cate Blanchett [two-time Academy Award Winner]) and her thirst to take control of Asgard as the Queen and to destroy the nine realms. Will the team-up of Thor, Loki, and eventually Hulk knock down Hela and her zombie army?  

Let's discuss the positives first. Right from the opening scene, director Taika Waititi wasted no time to showcase the comedic aspect of the film. This was a witty joyride from start to finish. The comedic scenes were not overdone, cheesy nor did they dominate the overall story line of the film. That brings me to the characters, who were all well-developed and had equal significance in the film. Thor, Loki, Hulk, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson [Creed fame]), The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum [Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park]), Korg (played brilliantly by Taika Waititi) were all hilarious and the interactions between them were one of the best parts of the entire film. The action sequences were great, we get to see an epic showdown between Thor and Hulk and it's not disappointing and was pretty well handled. 

The performances from the complete cast were enjoyable. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston are consistently impressive. Cate Blanchett as Hela is one of the better Marvel villains we've seen in a while. Mark Ruffalo's Hulk is one of the funniest and perfect iterations we've seen on-screen. Tessa Thompson had a strong vital role and her performance didn't disappoint. Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster was a blast to watch. And the show-stealer for me is undoubtedly Taika Waititi as Korg, who cracked me up throughout the entire film.

Overall, Thor Ragnarok is one of the funniest Superhero films I've seen in a while and is one of the better comedies of this year. This is why I go to the movie theatre, just to have a good time and Thor Ragnarok was entertaining from the start till the finish.

My Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+ (A Perfect Weekend Pick!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

Thor Ragnarok: Movie Posters - Click Here  | Thor: The Dark World - Movie Review: Click Here

Spider-Man: Homecoming - Movie Review: Click Here | Captain America: Civil War - Movie Review: Click Here

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle - Movie Review

Verdict - "Misses the Charm!"

Directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges in the lead roles, 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle' is the sequel to the 2014 smash hit 'Kingsman: The Secret Service' and the plot of the film circles around a new threat to the world orchestrated by Poppy (Julianne Moore) who already destroys every single central station of the Kingsman and poses a new threat to the entire planet by inducing a dangerous virus into every illegal drug.

Here are few negatives in the film that I noticed. Basically, with a 100 million dollar budget, director Matthew Vaughn went smoking with action sequences in the film neglecting the fact that they felt stratospheric, superhero-like and even needless at times. The process of building up an action scene (like he did in the previous film) was completely overlooked and by doing so, none of those scenes (although entertaining) felt memorable. Like I said, despite the fact, there is over usage of CGI in the film, the action sequences were choreographed well and were entertaining to watch for that moment.

Also, the plot of the overall film was a letdown and was very much like many other films we've seen before. Accordingly, the new characters in the film (except for Julianne Moore) were not given much importance like I expected them to be which was an utter disappointment. The performances from the complete cast were decent, everyone tried to give their best despite many character flaws, but ultimately every performance was fun to watch.

Overall, excluding the enthralling action sequences and few emotional moments. The Golden Circle was a bummer in terms of a good plot and as a distinguished resilient film. 

My Rating - 3/5
Grade – B (Worth a watch)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

Kingsman: The Secret Service - Movie Review: Click Here

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IT - Movie Review

Verdict - "A Modern Day Horror Classic"

Directed by Andrés Muschietti, 'IT', headlined by the most complex iconic super-villain 'Pennywise - The Dancing Clown' is a 2017 psychological-horror-thriller which is the center point of discussion in the recent-past on the interwebs and is heading towards a gigantic opening week domestically with above 100 million dollars gross. With colossal expectations and with creative differences between the first appointed director (Cary Fukunaga) and the studio, will the new Stephen King's book adaptation 'IT' rise and shine as a modern-day classic? Let's find out!

The storyline of the film revolves around the town of Derry, Maine where a bunch of kids keeps getting kidnapped by the killer clown Pennywise as the Losers' Club unite not only to hunt down the evil gagster but also to end the reign of this dreadful enigma once and for all.

Unlike every other modern horror-thriller we watch these days, this film had a completely different vibe added to it. The way the director and the story writer narrated the seven lead kid characters in the film was effectively elaborate and exceptional. It imported a unique coming-of-age feel in the film in addition to the horror elements. And Andrés Muschietti and the rest of the writing crew should be given special props for developing the characters efficaciously so that we (the audience member) can get behind their experiences throughout the movie.

Another significant part of the film was the shape-shifting macro verse entity 'IT', whose character was more complex than you think. The ability to feed on the attribute of fear especially with the kids, the shape-shifting capability, the talent of manipulating people's' mind was a fascinating trait to have or to watch it on the big-screen. And Bill Skarsgård knocked it out-of-the-work with his performance as Pennywise which is one of the body forms that IT possess in the film. 

Advancing to the performances in the film, the whole cast of the Losers' Club was downright remarkable. Especially Jack Dylan Grazer with his allergic disability, Jaeden Lieberher with his stuttering disability, Finn Wolfhard with his cool-kid attitude and Sophia Lillis with her audacious persona.

Overall, IT was not an example of a stereotypical horror film where we get a bunch of jump-scares or a creepy old grandma lurking in the background. It is the definition of how a horror/thriller should be made by establishing the characters and the storyline and at the same time giving us the equal amount of scares to a point where you just feel uncomfortable with everything happening on-screen. This film already is and will continue to give me nightmares for the next few weeks.

My Rating - 3.75/5
Grade - B+ (Highly Entertaining!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) 

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War for the Planet of the Apes - Movie Review

Verdict - "Emotionally Riveting!"

Serving as the last installment of the coveted Planet of the Apes franchise, War for the Planet of the Apes saw the return of Andy Serkis (the caesar of Motion Capture) and director Matt Reeves (soon to direct The Batman starring Ben Affleck) and also stars Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn and Amiah Miller in supporting roles.

Advancing after the incidents of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (which are still haunting in Caesar's reverie), Caesar's clan is now at war with a military group known as Alpha Omega led by their Colonel (Woody Harrelson) who is blatantly aggressive to end the existence of the Apes tribe from planet Earth for various unknown reasons.

With a mighty 140-minute running time, Matt Reeves proved to be an exceptional storyteller by taking the time to develop the character of Caesar remarkably. His relationship with his family and tribe, his incredible leadership skills, his perspective on humans and his ghastly memories surrounding his former adversary Koba were all showcased masterfully and Andy Serkis did a terrific job by portraying the character of Caesar in a film that is more ape-centric.

Regarding few negatives, the pacing of the movie is a little on the slower side at times, the storyline is quite predictable and with a movie with a 140-minute runtime mainly centered on developing the emotional side of the characters, it's understandable that the film is, for the most part, slow-paced.

Overall, War for the Planet of the Apes is a solid conclusion for one of the best franchises in recent years. Although this is my least favorite film when compared to the other two, it is an amazing emotional film that gave us a finer outlook on the character of Caesar as a dad, leader and an emotive individual.

My Rating - 3.5/5
Grade - B+ (A perfect weekend pick!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

War for the Planet of the Apes: Movie Posters - Click Here

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Spider-Man: Homecoming - Movie Review

Verdict - "The fun Spider-Man film that we deserve!"

Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Homecoming is the third rendition of the character of Spider-Man with Sam Raimi's trilogy and Marc Webb's duology under the Sony Pictures Network's umbrella and now the new version is supervised by both Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures Networks. Starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker, Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture and Robert Downey Jr. reprising his role as Iron Man, Homecoming will be the fourth film in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) releasing after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and to be followed with the release of Thor: Ragnarok in November of this year.

Shortly after the events of Civil War, Peter Parker returns home to Queens, New York in high spirits excited for his next 'big' mission with the Avengers. Continuing his high-school, Parker impresses as a hometown hero after helping the locals by stopping crime and chaos. After stumbling upon Adrian Toomes and his smuggling business (involving 'exotic alien materials' from the Battle of New York), Parker sets his sights to put an end to Vulture and his crew's malpractices which in return causes Parker bigger disturbances than expected.

Unlike any other Spider-Man film we've seen in the past, Homecoming had a genuine coming-of-age vibe bordered around it with the essential facets like the jokes, action sequences, drama and the relationships between the characters. Everything blended in flawlessly with the storyline and it felt like a straightforward standalone Spider-Man film and not like a film that is heavily tramped down with the appearances of Iron Man and the Avengers.  

On the heels of a critical success, Jon Watts who directed a much different and a smaller film previously called 'Cop Car' had done a tremendous job in portraying the character of Spider-Man with an easy likable tone, the film was well paced, the action scenes were choreographed competently and gave a well-defined picture to the audience of what can they expect from a future Spider-Man film. Regarding the performances in the film, Tom Holland was great as Spider-Man, Michael Keaton unlike every other super villain in the MCU did not prove to be a paper desperado and had a well-written thoughtful character in the film and his performance was decent as well.

Overall, I had a great time watching Homecoming, it's definitely not in my Top 5 Best MCU films list, but it was an enjoyable standalone Spider-Man which is far more superior when compared to the Marc Webb's duology. 

My Rating - 3.5/5
Grade - B+ (A perfect weekend pick!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

Spider-Man: Homecoming: Movie Posters - Click Here

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Transformers: The Last Knight - Movie Review

Verdict - "I am Michael Bay! And I'm here to make another garbage Transformers film!"

Directing for the fifth time in a row, Michael Bay doesn't seem to stop making bad Transformer movies once in two years and it certainly doesn't look like there's an end of his illustrious run. Starring Mark 'I'm sick and tired of this film' Wahlberg and Anthony 'I'm just here for the money' Hopkins in the lead roles, the plot of Transformers: The Last Knight is based on a magical and a mystical staff which Megatron, Quintessa from Cybertron, the TRF and Cade Yaeger try to chase with each other to gain access to. 

Like him or hate him, Michael Bay certainly knows the pulse of his International Audience a little well and he continues to do a great job in filming epic action sequences magnificently. He certainly doesn't experiment something out-of-the-box nor unorthodox, but on the big screen, everything looked grand and ostentatious especially the medieval stuff.

Now when it comes to the plot, there's nothing interesting left to make a two-hour thirty-minute movie. Sure, Optimus Prime and Megatron had few reasons to claim the throne and rebuild their homeland but is it necessary or is it appealing to the viewer? Certainly, not! And also, the over excessive unnecessary humor that Michael Bay tried to inculcate in the film was totally unfunny and boring to watch.

Overall, with a needless 150-minute runtime and humor which is mundane to watch, Transformers: The Last Knight competes with its predecessors to earn "The Worst Movie of the Franchise" title. And the most stupid thing is there is another Transformers film on its way to the theaters soon. God hates me!

My Rating - 1.5/5
Grade - D+ (A hangover!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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The Mummy - Movie Review

Verdict - "Dark Universe off to a terrible start! "

Directed by Alex Kurtzman, The Mummy starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis and Russell Crowe in the lead roles is the first chapter in the Dark Universe (orchestrated by Universal Studios) and is used as a launching pad to acquaint with more classic monster films in the upcoming years. Primarily, the established plot circles around an Ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) who's been mummified alive for her sinful practices in the past. Cut back to the present day, when Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) unknowingly unlocks her (Ahmanet's) mercury filled grave, she resurrects herself back from the dead, congregates a large legion of zombies and creates havoc in the city seeking for supremacy.

As a big fan of the 1999 Brendan Fraser's Mummy film, I was really looking forward to this new incarnation of the Mummy franchise and plus Tom Cruise has consistently been acting in few great films in the recent years. So, I've went into the film with an open mind, wanting to like it and get entertained by it for two hours. Indeed, within the first half hour or so, I thought that the film was decently set up. We get a good back story of Ahmanet's past in Ancient Egypt, the introductions of the new characters (although generic) was handled properly and I anticipated the film to be on the exact pace till it's conclusion.

But, the film took an improper path by explaining things that are not entertaining, interesting or complex and as a result, the (limited) action sequences were not compelling enough to be remembered. Even the lifeless characters of Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis were not appealing enough to care about their love relationship throughout the film.

Nevertheless, The Mummy is an over exemplified action-adventure-romantic-comedy film that takes a straightforward plot and embarrasses itself by making it complicated. The seeds for an upcoming Monster Universe were planted all throughout the film, but the first part itself in the Dark Universe was underwhelming and forgettable on the whole.

My Rating - 2.5/5 | Grade - C+
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)  

The Mummy: Movie Posters - Click Here

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Alien: Covenant - Movie Review

Verdict - "A decent addition to the Alien franchise!"

Presented as the follow-up to the 2012 film Prometheus, Alien: Covenant directed by Ridley Scott and starring Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, and Danny McBride in the lead roles is a story about a group of astronauts and engineers who were on a mission to colonize a remote planet in space called Origae-6. During their extended expedition, they come across and drift to another anonymous planet nearby which is well equipped with natural resources quite similar to Earth. Upon arrival, they quickly learn that they're few other vicious life forms strolling around the region.

With immense responsibility on his shoulders to deliver a superior Alien film, Ridley Scott did a decent job in few aspects of the film, one of them being the visuals. This film was eye-catching and at the same time fascinating to watch, the set design, CGI and the panorama in most parts of the film was quite remarkable. Also, Prometheus did face a lot of criticism about the lack of Xenomorphs in the overall screen time of the film. This time in Covenant, Scott made sure that the Xenomorphs and the other alien creatures procure a considerable amount of screen presence which was always enthralling to watch.

Moreover, the performances from the complete cast were amazing. Especially, Michael Fassbender's role as the synthetic android David and Walter was significant and at the same time exceptional. Katherine Waterston's performance as Danny was noteworthy and Danny McBride's appearance as Tennessee was surprisingly good throughout the film. But, the pacing and the tone of the film was a bit inconsistent at times which spoiled the experience for me at times.

Nevertheless, Ridley Scott explores nothing new or astonishing in Covenant but makes sure that he delivers decent enough Alien movie which is impressive in few aspects that are vital for a film's success.

My Rating - 3.25/5
Grade - B (Entertaining with few noticeable flaws!)
-By Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) 

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