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Tik Tik Tik - Honest Movie Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hereditary - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Spine-Chilling Experience!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Rating - 4/5 | Grade - A (The Best One Around!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Lust Stories (Netflix) - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Breaking Ground!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Race 3 - Honest Movie Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Mundane and A Disappointing Film!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kaala – Honest Movie Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Thing & Apollo 13 - Classic Movie Reviews

Classic Movie Reviews is something that I wanted to do for a very long time. They're many movies like The Thing or Halloween that I never watched, but due to the recent changes we went through in our website by posting fewer amounts of movie news or reviews, I'm finding time to watch these iconic films which helped heighten the Hollywood industry to a superior level.

Surprisingly, The Thing which is released back in 1982, did not get proper reception from the audience and from it's 15 million dollar budget it only made 19.6 million and was a quoted as a gory-disgusting film. Over the years, the film garnered a cult following and was applauded for its special effects, cinematography, and direction. Apollo 13, on the other hand, was a blockbuster success accumulating both critical and commercial success on a global scale.

With that being said and done, let's get right into the reviews starting off with John Carpenter's The Thing.

"The Thing" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 4/5

Set in the frigid weather of Antartica, The Thing tells the story of a group of American Government researchers who were stranded within a trepidation of an extra-terrestrial entity which is causing conflict and taking over the world with it's ungodly and imitation abilities. Presented with its dreadful gory scenes, the special effects in this films were outstanding. From the imagination to the creation and the execution, the gruesome hair-raising scenes in this film gave me chills and honestly that's what made this film so special. Carpenter's ability to capture both beautiful and petrifying shots must be appreciated alongside with the film's remarkably written screenplay. The compacted tension between the characters and the importance of their decision making was explained masterfully and kept the movie moving without any intervals. Overall, The Thing was one-of-a-kind and gave me those nightmarish shudders very often. I'm guessing that we'll never see a movie like this again and I'm happy that I took the time to sit and marvel the brilliance on-screen. 

"Apollo 13" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3.75/5

Nominated for over nine Academy Awards, Apollo 13 narrates the real-life story of three astronauts and their unsuccessful mission to the Moon. I've read that director Ron Howard wanted to create technically accurate film and so he employed NASA's technical assistance in astronaut and flight controller training for his cast. And that hard work certainly paid off, this movie is packed with technical jargons and complex terms which are tough to follow. But, Howard did an excellent job narrating the storyline fluently without any pacing issues and by giving the characters time to breathe and develop in few significant scenes. Performances from the complete cast featuring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon were outstanding along with Ed Harris and Gary Sinise. Overall, Apollo 13 is an exhilarating and a joyful drama filled with great performances, remarkable narration and splendid directorial work from Ron Howard.

-A Classic Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Mahanati / Nadigaiyar Thilagam - Instant Movie Review #40

Nag Ashwin's - "Mahanati / Nadigaiyar Thilagam"

Positives:
1) Keerthy Suresh
2) Story and Screenplay
3) Direction
4) Production Design
5) Cinematography
6) Music
7) Performances

Negatives:
1) Subplots

Introduction - Directed by Nag Ashwin, who's responsible for one of the best films of 2015 in Yevade Subramanyam, Mahanati is a biographical drama based on the controversial yet heartening life of Savitri garu, one of the most celebrated and exceptional female actresses of the 50's, 60's and the 70's in both Tollywood and Kollywood film industries. The storyline follows the journey of Savitri from her childhood to get married to her sweetheart Gemini Ganesan and later spoiling her health and relations with her family after getting addicted to alcohol.

Analysis - Now, making a biopic is a tough task, the research, and the execution have to be spot on cause you don't want things to go south when presenting the life stories of one biggest lady superstars. Nag Ashwin, did a fantastic job directing the film and the screenplay (excluding the sub-plots) was well written. The film's objection was to make us love, care and feel for the protagonist's character and it delivered on that level cause I didn't find a single person in the theatre without a teary eye. The technical aspects of the movie, cinematography and production design also deserve a notable appreciation. Also, the music and the background score by Mickey J. Meyer was outstanding and matched the film's vibe remarkably.

Performances - Now, portraying Savitri garu and her character accurately is one giant obstacle or even casting the right actor to represent the character is also a huge task. With that being said, Keerthy Suresh was phenomenal to a point where I believed that I was watching Savitri garu on-screen. Her ability to transform into this character who has a multitude of variations has to be appreciated and she carried her role perfectly. She is one of the reasons why the movie worked out so well. Her co-star Dulquer Salmaan along with the supporting cast, Samantha Akkineni, and Vijay Devarakonda also did their best in their respective roles.

Verdict - Overall, 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. So far, without a doubt, the best film of the year.

My Rating - 4/5 | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks
An Instant Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Deadpool 2 - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Fun Ride!"

Remember when Ryan Reynolds appeared as Deadpool in that awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie back in 2009? Yeah! That was a nightmare. Fast forward nine years later, Deadpool is now this super-cool fourth wall breaking character that everyone adores. That was a giant leap! From being utterly awful to terrific. Anyway, I've recently rewatched the first film to see if the comedy holds up to this day and it did. I still giggled a lot and had a great time. Now, with the second installment, even though I'm excited, I kept myself away from the trailers to enjoy the movie with a fresh mind and zero expectations. So, here are my thoughts!

Two years into the events of the first film, Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is now a universally famed contract killer taking down the bad guys with his elite skill set and his hysterical comedy. On the night of his anniversary, when spending time with his girlfriend Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), dreadful and dramatic things take place which forces Wade to take a different path. Will he adapt to all the changes patterns the remainder of the storyline?

Now, as expected the comedic sequences deliver for the most part in the film and Ryan Reynolds remained as the stand out star.  The DC and the previous X-Men movie references,  the brief cameos were all super-funny and made me giggle in many instances. Deadpool is also very notable for breaking the fourth wall and for his meta-humor, although I had problems with the overabundance of jokes, they're still rib-tickling and entertaining most often. Director David Leitch delivered on his promise and similar to the first film the action scenes were fun to watch. They are choreographed, captured and presented remarkably as the action looked fantastic on-screen.

And the most significant aspect that I enjoyed the most from the film are the characters. Excluding Deadpool, Colossus yet again entertained as the funny Russian patrician. Josh Brolin as Cable was a huge bonus and I loved his character arc in the film which didn't take the generic route that we witness in every superhero film. Zazie Beets as Domino is another stand-out as her couldn't-care-less attitude brought a different feel to the film.  But the emotional connection and the relationship between Wade Wilson and Vanessa is the heart and charm of the film and the scenes between them together are what made this movie very distinct compared to other films from the same genre. 

With that being said, here are my negatives. The storyline which I agree was very different felt a bit off at times. Especially during the second act, the whole thing about saving the kid was underwhelming and the pacing was slow which made me disinterested. At the same time, as I stated earlier, the over-abundance of jokes bothered me after a while, as not every single one of them was funny.

Nevertheless, Deadpool 2 was funny, different and overall an entertaining experience. It's not as good as the first one, but there's some fun to be had in this film.

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

Deadpool 2: Movie Posters - Click Here  | Deadpool - Movie Review: Click Here

Top 5 Interesting Facts That You Need to Know Before Watching Deadpool 2: Click Here

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Raazi - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Alia Bhatt Steals the Show in n Engaging Thriller!"

Directed by Meghna Gulzar and starring Alia Bhatt in the lead role, Raazi is a spy-thriller and is one of my most anticipated movies of this Summer. The storyline of the film follows a 20-year-old college-going girl, Sehmat (Alia Bhatt) who is tutored and altered into an Indian Spy and is consigned to investigate a Pakistani Army family at the time of the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971. Sehmat marries the youngest son in the family, Iqbal (Vicky Kaushal) and moves to Pakistan to carry forward her precarious mission.

Let's start with the performances, Alia Bhatt is a promising actress, her stellar performances in Highway and Dear Zindagi proved that she is one of the top-tier talents in Bollywood as she continues to impress me in every one of her films. Raazi is no exception, she carried the entire film on her shoulders especially in the emotional scenes and made me believe and feel for her character. Vicky Kaushal is also another standout, his innocent character is unlike I've seen him perform in his past movies and he delivers.

That brings me to the characters in the film, which I should say were well-written. I always champion for well-rounded characters in every film and Bhavani Iyer and Meghna Gulzar did a terrific job by building and giving the characters time to breathe as they're memorable and noteworthy throughout the film. Also, Meghna Gulzar, who directed one of my favorite films of 2015, Talvar, did a tremendous job in keeping the movie interesting and engaging until the end similar to her work in her previous film.

Continuing ahead with the negatives, as I stated earlier, the screenplay was written very well, but, the storyline was thin and felt less impactful. This film is more about the character of Sehmat and her journey with respect to how she reacted and responded in these treacherous situations and less about the actual plot. Therefore, at times, I felt that I needed more from the ongoing storyline which is partially neglected.

Overall, 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.

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

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Den of Thieves & Game Night - Double Header Reviews

Greetings interwebs! What are you guys up to these days? Well, I've been passing my free time checking out movies that I missed watching and they're a few good ones out there that I cannot miss. I honestly love doing these Double Header Reviews only because of the fact that I don't have to rush my reviews and take some time to analyze and contemplate before giving my thoughts to you guys. On this edition of Double Header Reviews, I'll be talking about two films which garnered a positive response from the audience and the critics when they're released, one of them is the Gerald Butler starrer Den of Thieves and the next one is Game Night starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.

As always, let's see how well these films were received critically and commercially. Den of Thieves made 79.9 million worldwide with a production budget of 30 million and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 41%. Maze Runner: The Death Cure made 114.1 million worldwide from its 37 million production budget and with a Tomatometer score of 82%. 

"Den of Thieves" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3/5

Directed by Christian Gudegast, Den of Thieves is a heist film and tells the story about two gangs, one is the police team led by a cocky and an arrogant Detective in Gerard Butler and the other clan is a bunch of evil bank robbers who wipe out anything in their way to get the job done. As the two teams face-off, we get a series of exhilarating action sequences mixed with storylines which are generic at the least. 

As expected and stated earlier, the action scenes in the film deliver, they're breathtaking, loud and a lot of fun to watch. But, the subplots with Gerard Butler's family was lackluster as the film doesn't explore anything new in the genre as I felt like I've seen this film a bunch of times before. 

Nevertheless, I like when a film makes a city or a town as a character and displays it with real authenticity and there's a lot to enjoy in Den of Thieves. Surely a rainy night rental.

"Game Night" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 3.5/5

Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who are rumored to direct the upcoming Flash movie in the DC Universe, Game Night is an action-comedy film starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams in the lead roles. The storyline is about a group of friends who get together for a game night as things quickly go wrong because of the nature of the game and how its conceived. 

Advancing to the comedic aspects, this was by far the funniest movie I've seen in a very long time. The jokes are not generic or cheap, the writers delivered with clever writing skills as they worked every single time. Not only the comedic sequences, the storyline was also very crisp, fast-paced and engaging throughout the runtime. Therefore, despite it's few occasional flaws, the film was highly entertaining to watch. 

The performances from the Bateman and McAdams were great as they're hilarious, charming and likable as the weird competitive couple. But, Jesse Plemons as the super-creepy next door neighbor was extremely amusing, he stole every single scene he's in and is the stand-out of the entire movie.

Overall, Game Night is funny, entertaining and is a total blast and honestly is one of the best comedies of the past two years. Watch it ASAP!

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

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Naa Peru Surya - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "So Long! So Boring!"

Directed by Vakkantham Vamsi, Naa Peru Surya (Naa Illu India) stars Allu Arjun in the lead role and co-stars Anu Emmanuel, Arjun Sarja, R. Sarathkumar, Thakur Anoop Singh and Boman Irani as the supporting cast. The basic premise of the film revolves around Surya, a resentful, passionate soldier of the Indian Army and how his debauchery over anger management resulted in a failure of his Army career and how he responded to overcome his contradictions.

Clocking at an exhausting 148-minute mark, this trainwreck of a film tested my patience from start to finish. The storyline had no precise path as it bounced from one thing to another constantly and the numerous subplots also didn't improve the film's quality as I'm dunked with boredom the whole time. Also, with the inclusion of the subplots, the screenplay was atrocious especially during the second half of the film which suffered due to its unbalanced flow.

Likewise, the addition of Anu Emmanuel and the romantic angle between her and Allu Arjun did not blend well with the storyline or the overall film. Being a patriotic-action movie, Emmanuel's role didn't have any significance as it felt like she's only present to add sensual glamour to the film. Furthermore, the music by Vishal and Shekhar was excruciating and forgettable as I don't understand the reason behind choosing them over many talented Telugu musicians to score the music for the film.

Advancing to the positives, Vakkantham Vamsi did a terrific job at the presenting the film incredibly. Every single shot was lit, captured and rendered very well and all credits must go to the cinematographer Rajeev Ravi. Also, the action sequences were remarkably shot, performed and choreographed along with the dialogues which are wonderfully written. But, the biggest advantage of the film is Allu Arjun, he carried the movie on his shoulder and looked dynamic, aggressive, charismatic and was a perfect fit for his role. 

Overall, excluding the action sequences, dialogues, and Allu Arjun's magnificent performance, this film was a painful watch. It's boring, long and irritating at the same time as I left the movie theatre with no smile on my face and aggravated.

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

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Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuthu – Movie Review

Verdict - "Lame and Disgusting!"

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. 

Inspired from trailer of an unreleased film “Hand Job Cabin”, IAMK have nearly the similar plot. Two couples stay in a bungalow possessed by the ghost of a women, dead of unsatisfied sexual desires. The ghost decides to have sex with anyone of them and never let them to escape of that bungalow. How did they get away from that lustful ghost forms the rest story.

Thanks to Yaashika Aanand (of Dhruvangal Pathinaaru fame), a 18-year-old teenager who is very popular on Instagram as she interacts actively with her followers and shows good part of her upper body in all her photos is one of the important reason for the films successful opening. Even in the film, she is extremely hot and shows off a lot making the film concupiscent. 

Gautham Karthik should be appreciated as he boldly does this kind of film as none of the young stars have done it. But it would be better if he works on his acting skills to look natural and not fake. 

Being an adult-horror film, it is 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 and not sickening.

Nevertheless, IAMK does make things hard up but the overall output of the movie looks uninteresting and feels over sexed. 

My Rating – 2/5 | Grade – C (Meh! Probably a rental)
An Honest Movie Review by Nirmalraj aka AK (@NirmalRaj2911)

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Avengers: Infinity War - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Emotional and Entertaining!"

Remember when the first Iron Man came out? That's like ten years ago, I still remember my first impressions when I first saw the Iron Man poster at a local theater and contemplating it as an action movie of some sorts. Back then, Superhero film genre is an unknown entity for me, but now fast forward to 2018, comic book movies had become a significant part of my life and I should say that it all started because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which is been consistent with its quality and execution in all respects.

Shortly after the events of Thor: Ragnarok, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is busy bringing together the six infinity stones as he believes that the whole universe requires a balance for a better good. So, a group of twenty-five superheroes squares off against Thanos and his callous children to stop the commotion and his quest to dominate the entire universe.

Now, one of the main reasons why I'm excited to watch this movie is because of the crossovers between different characters that we all fell in love within the past ten years. Consequently, we've got many collaborations throughout the film like Thor with the Guardians and Iron Man with Doctor Strange and Star-Lord. Furthermore, I should say that everything worked and delivered as we anticipated. Also, they're few ecstatic moments which made me jump out of my seat with joy.

Another critical aspect that was maintained throughout the film was the relationship between the core characters. The character arc between Star-Lord and Gamora, Wanda, and Vision added an emotive impact in the film who later have to go through severe consequences due to their ardent decisions. The Russo Brothers did an exceptional job by giving the characters their time to shine and therefore by the climax when the film took few risks it felt heartfelt and genuine.

Now, a lot of people complain the antagonists in the MCU movies excluding Loki from Avengers and Killmonger from Black Panther were bland and disappointing and I agree with them for the most part. But, after watching this film, I should say that Thanos is by far the best villain that MCU ever had. He's big, powerful, menacing, unstoppable and at a certain point, I believed that no one can ever overpower him and that shows you how effectively he was portrayed as the mighty supervillain.

That brings me to the entertaining aspects of the film which are the action and the comedic sequences. The action/fight scenes were fun and as I stated before, the team-up of different Avengers like Captain America and Black Panther is what made these particular scenes so different and interesting in the first place. The humor worked in most cases, but I had few issues which I'm going to get into in a bit. However, they're loads of laugh-out-loud moments throughout the film which cracked me up hard couple of times.

Nevertheless, here are my major problems with this film, like I said the humor worked for the most part, but I felt that it got exhausted after a while. Drax who is a badass mercenary in the first Guardians film is now wasted as a comedic relief along with other characters. Also, the pacing of the film during the first and the second act felt a bit off where it was stretched-out and took a good amount of time to get to the point. Likewise, the abrupt cuts between scenes (especially when there's important going on) bothered me a bit which is one of the main problems I had with Justice League in 2017.

Overall, Avengers: Infinity War was everything that you've hoped for. It's funny, emotional, entertaining and was a great ensemble of a gigantic cast. Russo Brothers did the best they could with the script and did a magnificent job by concluding the first part with many unanswered questions and tons of curiosity within the fans. They're bountiful of drawbacks inside and out but nonetheless, I had fun watching the film.

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

Avengers: Infinity War: Movie Posters - Click Here  | Avengers: Age of Ultron - Movie Review: Click Here

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Bharath Ane Nenu - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Bland and Boring!"

Directed by Koratala Siva, Bharath Ane Nenu starring Mahesh Babu in the lead role is a political-drama dealing with the current situation of politics in Andhra Pradesh and also stars Kiara Advani as the female lead.

After his father's sudden demise, Oxford University graduate Bharath (Mahesh Babu) is cherry-picked by his uncle (Prakash Raj) as the next Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Irritated with the poor governance in the state, Bharath brings few radical changes to the society which in-turn introduces him to new rivals and bitter adversaries from the opposition party who questions and argues for his zany agendas.

Now, if you've seen Koratala Siva's previous films, you're well aware that he presents his heroes remarkably. Similarly, his execution of Bharath's character was exceptional to watch. The stature, persona, and caliber were brilliantly presented by Siva as Mahesh Babu did his best to deliver on his performance. Also, the dialogues were also well written and added a much-needed weight to the film.

Advancing to the technical aspects, Ravi K. Chandran and Tirru did a fantastic job when it comes to the camera work. The music and the background score was well presented by Devi Sri Prasad especially the BGM which synced in well with the bestowment of the film. Also, Kiara Advani was delightful to watch. Although her character and involvement in the film felt forced and was understandable, she did her best in the role she's offered.

But, I'll tell why this movie didn't work for me. First up, the storyline, which is nothing new or broke any rules. As I stated earlier, they are few radical ideas in the film that I want to see implemented IRL, but, the basic storyline excluding the ideas was bland and mundane to watch. I can't help draw similarities between this film and Leader starring Rana Daggubati cause the two storylines are soo parallel to each other and I didn't see this coming from an acclaimed director like Siva.

Nevertheless, Bharath Ane Nenu had few moments here and there, but on the whole, this movie is a disappointment as it felt like something I've seen before. Watch it when it debuts on Amazon Prime.

My Rating - 2.5/5 | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks
An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Rampage - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Dumb Action-Entertainer!"

Directed by Brad Peyton and starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson in the lead role, Rampage is based on the popular 1980's video game of the same name and narrates the story of a rare albino gorilla named George and his relationship with Davis (The Rock) and how he (along with two other animals) quickly transforms into a ruthless monster after being exposed to a biochemical pathogen which is genetically edited.

Being the Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment History, The Rock demands the screen presence throughout the film. His charisma, magnetic persona and allure keep you invested in the movie despite its standard flaws. His relationship with George was heartwarming, amusing and few scenes between them were the best moments from the entire film. Adding more to the positive side, the action sequences in the movie were enjoyable to watch. It's just super-large and crazy animals squaring off against military and government officials and Brad Peyton made sure that the monsters looked gigantic, scary and alarming. Also, with a runtime under 110 minutes, I thought that the film was well-paced and didn't waste time in terms of concluding or establishing the plot.

But, the movie majorly suffers do it's weak and lousy storyline. It's predominantly predictable and explores nothing new. The characters apart from The Rock were mostly underwhelming. The English actress Naomie Harris plays the tedious doctor that we see in every disaster film, Malin Åkerman plays the most obvious generic rich villain, Joe Manganiello was by and large wasted and Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character didn't make proper sense cause he shows up at the right time and at the right place a bunch of times to save the lead characters.

Overall, Rampage is a dumb action entertainer which you will enjoy for the spectacle, action sequences, and The Rock's compelling screen presence. Watch it if you really want to, if not, just wait till it debuts on any streaming platform.

My Rating - 2.5/5 | Grade - C+ (It Deserves Your Attention for a While!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Krishnarjuna Yuddham - Instant Movie Review #39

Merlapaka Gandhi's - "Krishnarjuna Yuddham"

Positives:
1) Screenplay
2) Cinematography
3) Music

Negatives:
1) Story
2) Runtime

Introduction - 2017 has been a successful year for the Natural Star 'Nani' with his films like Nenu Local, Ninnu Kori, and MCA garnering box-office success irrespective of how critics felt. On the other hand, director Merlapaka Gandhi has also seen great success with his previous two films Venkatadri Express and Express Raja and was immensely appreciated for his screenwriting work. So, with the director and actor both being in terrific form, I expected an entertaining film with commercial elements sprinkled all over it. But!

Analysis - Clocking at 154 minutes, the runtime is one of the primary drawbacks of the film. Established on a bland generic, seen-before storyline, the film loses its pace and delight in the first thirty minutes and never tries picks it up. But, Gandhi entertains with his clever and adept screenplay and proves that he is still one of best screenwriters around. Karthik Ghattamaneni once again impresses with his remarkable camera shots and his ability to make a scene look delightful, rich and vibrant should truly be commended. Also, a special shout-out to the Kollywood sensation Hiphop Tamizha for his incredible work with the background score and music.

Performances - Despite few dull character moments, Nani impresses and entertain in his double-role, especially with this Chittoor district slang and verbiage, Nani demands the screen presence and enthralls with his incredible performance. Both the actresses, Anupama Parameswaran and Rukshar Dhillon were decent in their respective roles as well as the supporting cast.

Verdict - Overall, Krishnarjuna Yuddham is a total disappointment, the lackluster story and the dreadful runtime hurts the movie immensely. If you have the right amount of patience to sit through a bland film then this might be for you.

My Rating - 2.5/5 | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks
An Instant Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Ready Player One - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Classic Steven Speilberg Film!"

Directed by the illustrious Steven Speilberg, Ready Player One is a film adaptation of a popular book (of the same name) written by Ernest Cline and stars Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse fame) and Olivia Cooke in the lead roles. One of the most significant reasons why the book is widely popular among the audience is because of the 80's pop culture and film references that we've seen glimpses from the trailers. However, I have a confession to make, my knowledge of the movies from the 1980's is fairly weak. Although I know the more mainstream ones like Back to the Future and Nightmare of Elm Street, I'm sure that they're tons of references in this movie that didn't get cause I haven't yet watched many films from the golden era.

With that being said, let's kick off with the plot. Set in the year 2045, where living in the real world is a mundane activity for people as they spend the majority of their time in a virtual reality world called the Oasis. Inside the Oasis, people can do whatever they want and everything is off-limits. Shortly after we are introduced to the fantasy world, we learn that the creator of the Oasis James Halliday (Mark Rylance) pieced together a convoluted maze to find the next inheritor of the trillion-dollar company before he passed away. So, we follow Wade's adventurous journey with his trustworthy friends in solving the intricate puzzle with the help of clues that Halliday plants after each level.

Before I get into the positives, let me quickly glance through the problems I had with this film. Now, I heard fans saying that Nolan Sorrento's (Ben Mendelsohn) character in the book was authoritative and menacing. But, in the movie, he was underwhelming as I expected a more dominant antagonist. Also, Nolan's sidekick F'Nale played by Hannah John-Kamen was another dud and felt like she's doing a bad impression of Ruby Rose in John Wick: Chapter 2.

With 70% of the film taking place in the Oasis, the majority of it is computer generated imagery. Walking into this movie, I had a feeling that the CGI will disqualify the emotion and feel more of a distraction. But, the Oasis experience was enjoyable. The action sequences were great and fun to watch and the entire design and the presentation of the fairyland was flawless.

That brings me to the magic of all Speilberg movies, the emotional elements. From the beginning until the end, this film was filled with heartwarming scenes that we usually expect in a Speilberg film. The characters were so well developed as you start to root for these kids throughout the entire film. Countering to my earlier point, I didn't feel distracted by the CGI characters cause the emotion was in the right place that makes you immerse in the storyline which was paced and told perfectly.

About the nostalgic factor, I was very surprised to see many familiar movie references stuffed throughout the runtime. In particular, there is one scene that pays respect to one of the most popular horror films of all time, and that was hands down the best scene in the entire film and I'm sure that you'll be flabbergasted.

Overall, Ready Player One was a ton of fun to watch, it's filled with great character and emotional moments, incredible action sequences, flashes of memorable nostalgia and that Steven Speilberg magic that we all grew up watching. Watch this film while it's in the theatre's cause it's one of those rare occasions that you will enjoy the movie-going experience.

My Rating - 3.5/5 | Grade - B+ (A Perfect Weekend Pick!)
-A Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Blackmail - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Justifies the Black-Comedy Genre!"

Directed by Abhinay Deo (Delhi Belly and Force 2 fame), Blackmail starring Irrfan Khan in the lead role is a black-comedy and revolves around the elements of revenge, deceit, and trickery. The film also co-stars Kirti Kulhari, Divya Dutta, Arunoday Singh and Omi Vaidya as the supporting cast and is jointly produced by T-Series Films and RDP Motion Pictures.

The film takes us through the life of Dev (Irrfan Khan), a typical middle-class citizen who is in a depressed state with his failing marriage, monotonous job and increasing money problems. Amid all the troubles that he's already facing, he finds out that his wife Reena (Kirti Kulhari) is having an extramarital affair which motivates him to take misconstrued steps which primarily involves blackmailing.

First up, have to appreciate director Abhinay Deo for taking the risk and doing a black-comedy which are rare to find in Bollywood these days. Similar to Delhi Belly, Blackmail also impresses with its clever and unorthodox humor. I found myself laughing throughout the entire movie and I can't remember the last time I chuckled soo hard sitting in a theater. So, the film delivers from a comedic standpoint and justifies the black-comedy genre. But!

Here's the problem, this movie is 140 minutes long and that's a long stretch. Assembled around a tight and an interesting concept, I expected the screenplay to be swift and well-paced, but, unfortunately, the movie falls apart at times and dwindles down after the second half. Few unnecessary sub-plots would've easily been minced which in-turn could've helped the narrative, but that didn't happen.

The performances from the complete cast were decent. As always, Irrfan Khan impresses with his character work, he had nothing new to explore cause I felt that this character is not tailored especially for him as its accessible to anybody. Also, a special shout out to Omi Vaidya who was hilarious and is a great addition to the film.

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

My Rating - 3/5 | Grade - B (Worth a Watch!)
-A Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Maze Runner: The Death Cure & Insidious: The Last Key - Movie Reviews

Welcome back to yet another "Double Header Review". I naturally love sharing my opinions on movies in a simple format like this when compared to a more regular format which is our "Honest Movie Reviews". This week, I'm discussing two films that I missed watching in theaters and these were two sequels of two reputable franchises. Well, maybe not! Nevertheless, here are my thoughts!

As always, let's see how well these films were received critically and commercially. Insidious: The Last Key made 166.3 million worldwide with a production budget of 10 million and a Rotten Tomatoes score of 32%. Maze Runner: The Death Cure made 284 million worldwide from its 62 million production budget and with a Tomatometer score of 42%. 

"Maze Runner: The Death Cure" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 2.75/5

Maze Runner is a decent franchise, I enjoyed the first installment and the second one was sub-par. So, being the third film in a YA franchise, my expectations were low as I expected nothing but entertaining and exciting action sequences and a good enough climax to cap-off the franchise on a good note. Well, I should say that it did deliver in few aspects primarily the action scenes which were well-shot, directed and choreographed. But, the runtime of this film is 142 minutes, which was an awfully long stretch, with a basic storyline, this film would've easily benefitted with a shorter runtime and swift narration.

Also, Dylan O'Brien is a star to watch out for and his hard work and dedication pay off in the film as his action sequences and character work was remarkable which was the major positives among others. Overall, Maze Runner: The Death Cure is a decent finish to a decent franchise that I will forget in the next few months. This film had few things to offer like entertaining action scenes and solid performances, but ultimately the storyline and the runtime spoiled the movie for me.

"Insidious: The Last Key" Overall Thoughts / My Rating - 2.5/5

The Insidious franchise is an interesting one, the first two films were legitimately scary, remarkably shot and directed. Well, that's what you expect from a masterclass director like James Wan right? I honestly don't remember what happened in the third film and I never cared to watch it again the second time. And when I saw the promos for the fourth film, I thought that this is franchise will inevitably fall off a cliff like every other horror franchise when studios try to milk one sequel after another until they reach an obscure saturation point. 

IIn this film, we explore the dark and disturbing childhood of Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) and how her father used to abuse her when she was a child. So, the first thing that you might be wondering, is this film scary? Yes! Mildly! They're few jump scares here and there and that's about it! Now, one of the primary problems that I had with the film is the storyline. Do we really have to know what happened in Elise's past? No! Or maybe, is it at least interesting? Again, No! This is the only significant problem that almost all horror franchise face and The Last Key falls into the same class. But, at the least, this film is not bad, it had few moments and is not a monotonous watch. Give it a shot when you're bored and have nothing else to do or watch.

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

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