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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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Pacific Rim: Uprising - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Mind-Numbing Entertainment!"

Directed by Steven S. DeKnight and starring John Boyega in the lead role, Pacific Rim: Uprising is the sequel to 2013 hit science-fiction film, Pacific Rim which was directed by the recent Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro. 

Ten years after the Battle of the Breach, while the world is still slowly recovering from the nightmare, the PPDC (Pan-Pacific Defence Corps) is coerced by a proposal from the Shao Corporations to replace the traditional Jaegers with a drone program which offers to produce remote controlled Jaegers for the entire world. While waiting for a final assessment to determine the authorization of the drones at a PPDC council meeting, a new threat emerges from beneath the sea and wrecks havoc on the entire city which induces the PPDC to take charge and eliminate the unknown threat expeditiously.

So, let's kick off with the positives, before walking into this movie, my expectations were plain and simple, I wanted to see giant robots fight giant monsters and did the film deliver on that level? Yes! It certainly did! The action sequences in the film looked grandiose and DeKnight made sure that they're terrifically executed. The fight scenes between the Jaegers and Kaijus were mesmerizing to watch when compared to Michael Bay's Transformers and are broadly entertaining.

John Boyega, the lead, and the producer of the film was fantastic as the main protagonist, his alluring on-screen charisma, the ability to light up his character should be appreciated as he is one of the bright spots in the entire movie. Also, the visual effects looked awe-inspiring, I'm sure that 80% of the film was shot with a green screen behind and it transformed really well on the big screen.

Although I didn't expect much, they're a few negatives in the film that I should discuss. The storyline, characters, dialogue and the overall writing of the film is a giant letdown. Few lines were cheesy and predictable because the plot is utterly generic and lackluster. Almost all the characters in the film excluding Boyega and Cailee were under-developed, easily forgettable and were overall wasted throughout the runtime which was a bummer.

Nevertheless, Pacific Rim: Uprising suffers from its weak writing problems but ultimately entertains as an overall film, If you're looking for few well-shot and impressive action sequences then I recommend you to watch this film as its a fun-popcorn theatre experience.

My Rating - 2.75/5 | Grade - C+ (It Deserves Your Attention for a While!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)

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Annihilation - Instant Movie Review #38

Alex Garland's - "Annihilation"

Positives:
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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Pari - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "Unsettling But Definitely Not Scary!"

Co-Produced and Starring Anushka Sharma in the lead role, Pari: Not a Fairytale is directed by debutant Prosit Roy and co-stars  Parambrata Chatterjee, Ritabhari Chakraborty, and Rajat Kapoor as the supporting cast. Positively, the film did get a good amount of buzz from the spooky promos and people are excited to see a major actress like Anushka do a genre film and props to her for taking a bold step.

It's honestly been a while since Bollywood filmmakers got Horror films right, recent films like 1921, Raaz: Reboot and 1920: London felt more like cliched-oversaturated-CGI-mess as people started to laugh on these films because of how bad they were presented. The point that I'm trying to make is, the horror genre is slowly dying unless it's cleverly executed by makers who take it seriously and Pari appeared to be the film with that distinct approach. But!

After the tragic death of her mother, Rukhsana (Anushka Sharma), an introvert and a girl with very little knowledge of the outside world reaches out to Arnab (Parambrata Chatterjee) for help as she has been hunted down by a group of miscreants who are involved in satanic rituals and wants to her as a hostage to complete their evil practices. The film follows the eerie yet virtuous journey of Rukhsana as she tries to find love and battles her demonic existence which is weird and unconventional at the same time.

Let's start with the positives, this film is without a doubt unsettling to watch. The filmmaker took full advantage of the certified 'A' rating and didn't hesitate to present us with disturbing and gory imagery. From the practical makeup (which I appreciate) to the jump scares and sound effects the film created a frightening atmosphere which is comparatively a lot better than the CGI eye-and-tongue-popping-out monsters that we usually see in typical Indian Horror films. Cinematographer, Jishnu Bhattacharjee should also be given a well-deserved praise for maintaining an unnerving vibe throughout the film filled with the monsoon rains and a dull bluish-green hue.

In regards to Anushka Sharma's performance, she was remarkable with her portrayal of the innocent yet terrifying character. She's the show-stealer and acting aside, IMO she's doing an exceptional job so far as a producer bringing unorthodox cinema and introducing new talented directors to the Bollywood Film Industry. Moving forward, I expect her to make wise decisions when it comes to the story and screenplay of her production house films which are definitely not great (excluding NH 10).

And that brings me to the problems of the movie, which are undoubtedly the story and the screenplay. It's an interesting concept for sure, but the flawed and patchy screenplay, the setup which didn't have a proper pay-off and overall a messy execution didn't help the film by any means as it ultimately ended as a boring and mundane horror-thriller which I'm not looking forward to.

On the whole, the producers and the director must be appreciated for the attempt and the ambition. However, as an overall film, Pari is unsettling but definitely not scary, the tedious story and screenplay didn't make the movie a must watch, but if you're all in for Anushka's performance and something different wait till it debuts on Amazon Prime or Netflix.

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

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Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Bumpy Ride!"

Directed by Luv Ranjan who presented us with two of the funniest comedies in the past few years, Pyaar Ka Punchnama 1 and 2, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety stars Ranjan's staple actors Kartik Aaryan, Sunny Singh, and Nushrat Bharucha in the lead roles and is collectively produced by both T-Series and Luv Films. 

Kicking off with the plot, Sonu (Kartik Aaryan) and Titu (Sunny Singh) are BFF's who run a business and enjoy every moment of their life together. After going through a break-up, Titu decides to tie the knot to an uptown, all-in-all ideal nice girl Sweety (Nushrat Bharucha) who seems to like Titu at her first sight. But, Sonu doubts Sweety's polite and cordial nature, as he believes that no one can be utterly flawless in this day and age. Is there any legitimacy in Sonu's conspiracies? or Is Sweety actually a wonderful human being?

Walking into this film if you're expecting ridiculous humor similar to Pyaar Ka Punchnama 1 and 2, then this film will disappoint you a bit. Although they're few laugh-out-loud moments followed by notable comedic sequences, it is not a nonstop comedy where every comic bit works. It had a few bumps, but the breezy pace keeps the film moving without hanging onto a mundane narration.

Before moving onto the negatives, I have to give props to the production design team and the cinematographer as the film looked gorgeous and extravagant with a moderate production budget of 30 crores. Also, the performances from the lead cast Karthik, Sunny, and Nushrat were decent enough as they're enjoyable as a trio who can carry the film throughout the runtime.

Here's the problem, there's a twist involved with a particular character which was significant for the film to move on, but, it didn't come off as a surprise to me and it did miss an essential element which was the motivation. The reason behind the betrayal is something that needs an explanation and the filmmaker failed to do it. Also, the climax of the film tries to get a bit too poignant which ultimately didn't work as expected only because of the lack of character development.

On the whole, Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety is not a bad film, it will entertain you with few funny laughs, peppy music, and enjoyable performances but as an overall film, it failed in few aspects which are crucial. Give it a shot this weekend or at least consider watching when it eventually debuts on Amazon Prime.

My Rating - 2.75/5 | Grade - C+ (It Deserves Your Attention for a While!)
-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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Aiyaary - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "The Worst!"

Two talented lead actors, one celebrated director, a sixty-crore budget and an engaging source material, all the essential traits needed for a commercially successful film met. What could possibly go wrong? Sounds and seems like an entertaining film for me. Now, after watching the film, I asked myself only one question, At which spot will this "trainwreck of a film" end up in my "Top 5 Worst Bollywood Movies of 2018" list? 

Normally at this point in any one of my reviews, I would typically introduce the plot just to give you guys an idea of what the movie is all about. But, for this particular review, I feel it's unnecessary and pointless (hopefully this will be the last time) to elaborate. Cause, firstly, the film didn't have a clear-cut storyline and secondly, if it did, I didn't understand any of it. Surprising? Isn't it?

Nonetheless, Neeraj Pandey is a successful director with a 100% track record and that's tough to maintain. However, it's hard to believe that a writer-director who gives immense importance to the storyline and screenplay would make such an atrocious film like Aiyaary which is awfully boring and impotent at the same time. The whole 160-minute runtime was this slow, mundane, absurd, frustrating build-up which is never really resolved anything in the climax which is the most aggravating part. The patchy screenplay is downright horrendous cause you will never understand where the movie is going, why is it extremely long and why certain scenes exist. Honestly, I can't even recollect the film now and it's only been two hours since I've seen it. 

Advancing to the performances, Manoj Bajpayee didn't fail to impress as he did the best he could with his lackluster character. Sidharth Malhotra was decent, he's not bad or exceptional, again due to the lifeless character, you can't cheer, feel or even connect with his character which was a letdown. Rakul Preet Singh and Pooja Chopra were just present for the sake of it as they add no interest to the film.

Let's wrap this up quickly, overall, Aiyaary is undoubtedly one of the worst films I've seen in a very long time. The dreadful screenplay, purposeless storyline and the exhausting runtime baffles you with boredom, outrage, and disgust. It's been a long time since I've seen people leave the auditorium with expressions which are unerringly negative and that's not a good sign at all.

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

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Pad Man - Honest Movie Review

Starring Akshay Kumar and Radhika Apte in the lead roles, Pad Man is loosely based on the real-life story of Coimbatore based Social Entrepreneur Padma Shri Arunachalam Muruganantham who excelled with his innovation of affordable sanitary pads in India.

As you guys already knew about the primary storyline (I'm assuming that you've seen the trailers) of the film, let's quickly move on to the overall positives. 

First off, I should indeed admire Akshay Kumar, R. Balki, and Twinkle Khanna for producing a significant film with an influential subject which is a taboo in India. As Akshay Kumar stated, he didn't want to turn this film into a documentary but considered to make it commercial with the intention of reaching a wider audience and I honestly appreciate his reasoning.

If you've seen his earlier films, you should be familiar with Balki's work and the way he gets you emotionally invested in his characters. During the course of the film, I sometimes found myself tearing up a little and that only transpired because I'm fully rooting for the lead characters which I consider as the major plus points for the film.

As I always mumble in most of my reviews, when the characters are properly developed and were given enough character moments, we naturally root and get behind them which in turn favors the film during the emotionally impactful or climactic scenes. Furthermore, the performances should also aid the well-written characters and Akshay Kumar along with Radhika Apte was fantastic in their roles.

Akshay Kumar continues to surprise me not only with his unique choice of films but also with his magnificent character work and performance. His normal-courteous-average look made his character more relatable as he carried his innocent yet intellectual persona flawlessly. Likewise, Radhika Apte carries on to mesmerize everyone with her remarkable performance and is one of the only few actors who prefer content over masala and I should applaud her for that.

On the other side, they're a few negatives, the screenplay by R. Balki and Swanand Kirkire was sub-par which affected the pace of the film primarily in the first half that felt a bit stretched out. Also, we're well aware that 70% of the film was fictionalized and I normally don't complain when the dramatized storyline blends well with the actual storyline. But, more or less, the screenwriters fizzled out in this area when a few things happen which are easily convenient to the storyline as they're ridiculous to watch. Likewise, the sub-plot involving Sonam Kapoor's character and her addition to the film felt undercooked and uninteresting.

Overall, discounting all the negatives, Pad Man is a significant film with a strong influential message which should be articulated to everyone especially to the people living in the rural areas who still, to this day feel that menstrual cycle is something taboo. Kudos to all the producers and the crew for putting in the effort to deliver a much-needed message that will only improve our country's acumen.

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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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"

Positives:
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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Padmaavat - Honest Movie Review

Disclaimer: My opinion on this film might be different than yours, I'm not articulating to anyone to not go watch this movie. Go to the closest theatre and decide it for yourself.

Verdict - "A Giant Disappointment!

In the midst of few ludicrous allegations from religious groups, state governments, and nonsensical people Padmaavat finally got released to the public nearly two months after its initial release date. But, after making the news headlines for at least three months, did it live up to everyone's hype? I must say, NO!

As Y'all already knew it by now, the storyline of Padmaavat revolves around a barbarous ruler and the 'Sultan of Delhi' Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) and his mad quest to capture the 'Queen of Chittor' Rani Padmavati (Deepika Padukone), whom he believes will fill in the missing bit in his journey to be the most powerful leader in the entire world.

Clocking at a drawn-out two-hour forty-five-minute runtime, I should say that this film tested my patience for the most part. Indeed they're few positives that I'll get to in a moment, but, with a fairly familiar storyline and a lackluster screenplay crafted with scenes that we've already seen many times before, this film predominantly didn't peak my interest dramatically or emotionally.

And I consider that as a big letdown. Coming from the house of Bhansali, we expect much more than elegant costumes, grandeur production design, and fantastic BGM from an epic historical film. We expect a tightly packed storyline, beguiling screenplay (which would've been better as the film, for the most part, is fictionalized) and characters that we could get behind; therefore when something dramatic happens there will be an emotional impact in the audience member. Moreover, they're many scenes in the film including the climax which had the potential to look and feel poignant, but, Bhansali totally misses the opportunity and in turn, makes it a 163-minute snore-fest.

As I stated earlier, they're few positives to look into in this film, primarily the music and the background score by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Sanchit Balhara was astounding. The songs were choreographed and picturized masterfully and the production design was exquisite, which I must give Bhansali props for, he truly captured the 13th-century look magnificently that involves vast research and hard work.

Another major positive for the film is undoubtedly the performance by Ranveer Singh, his charisma and the way that he presented this barbarous cold-blooded evil character was something truly exceptional. Weirdly, when you start to root for the bad guy, that's when you know the actor had excelled with his performance. Shahid Kapoor was more or less decent, as his character was by far the weakest when compared to the other two. Coming to Deepika Padukone, I don't know who proposed the idea to digitally soften up her face in the post-production to make her resemble the moon, but, that distracted me during the entire film. Anyhow, being the focal point of the plot, I expected Deepika's character to be profound and with nearly (excluding the climax) zero character moments her performance didn't stand-out for me. And I'm not going to complain about how bad the CGI looked at times because it is something involved with the budget of the movie.

Overall, barring Ranveer Singh's extraordinary performance, Padmaavat suffers from its unexciting storyline, poorly written screenplay and an exhausting runtime which conclusively made it a tedious watch. After literally being bombarded by the news channels left and right with the controversies and allegations, this is not something that I expected from Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a boring film!

My Rating - 2/5 | Grade - C (Meh! Probably a Rental!)
-An Honest 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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Gulaebaghavali - Honest Movie Review

Verdict: “Fizzles Away Without Entertaining!

After tasting success with Devi, Prabhu Deva’s anticipated movie Gulaebaghavali released during the Pongal festival weekend clashing with two big releases, Thaanaa Serndha Koottam (Gang) and Sketch.

Badhri (Prabhu Deva) makes a living by robbing idols for his boss Nambi (Mansoor Ali Khan). He, along with Viji (Hansika Motwani); who cheats people for their valuables outside a bar, Masha (Revathi); a car stealer and Munish (Ramdoss); henchman of a business person (Anandraj), go in search of a treasure hidden behind a temple in the village Gulaebaghavali. How they acquire the treasure forms the rest of the plot.

Director Kalyaan had the opportunity to make the film in two different ways. Either it could have been neither an adventure film nor a comedy film. Yet what we got is a result of poor writing which led to a messed up movie. 

Prabhu Deva did his best and it’s always amusing to see him act as he is naturally witty with his actions and body language. With an ensemble list of casts, the director could have used Rajendran, Ramdoss, and others in a proper way to make the movie humorous. Failing to do so resulted in blunt funny scenes. 

Songs by the duo Vivek-Mervin were mediocre, yet the BGM made a mark in giving the movie an upper hand. Technically, the cinematography was neat in capturing and editing was crisp and fine.

Overall, the deficit of a fulfilling story and the lack of entertainment factor make Gulaebaghavali a unenjoyable one.

My Rating - 2/5 | Grade – C (Meh! Probably a Rental)
An Honest Movie Review by Nirmalraj aka AK (@NirmalRaj2911) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Sketch - Honest Movie Review

Verdict: “Falls Short of Being A Decent Film!” 

It has become a habit for Vikram to give a hit movie and then come up with a couple of ordinary ones. His last venture “Irumugan” was a moderate success at the box office. Now with Sketch directed by Vijay Chander, he follows his routine as the movie turned out to be an average flick.

Set up in the iniquitous streets of North Madras, Sketch (Vikram) works as a vehicle seizer to Saettu (Hareesh Peradi). Saettu uses Sketch’s ability to seize any vehicle and provokes him to grasp the car of ‘Royapuram’ Kumar, a local don, who thinks the car as his proud possession. Sketch with his skills, snatches the car along with his friends, only to earn foeship of ‘Royapuram’ Kumar. Within few days, Sketch’s friends die one by one. What happens next forms the rest of the story with an impressive twist. 

While we have seen quite a few cat and mouse revenge flicks in the past, what makes Sketch unique was the screenplay with detailed character plan for each role. Vijay Chander lets the character develop slowly on the screen, as we get to know the actual plot of the movie only before the interval.

Yet, the unnecessary love portions with Tamannaah and unwanted songs make the film sluggish. When we are made to sit on the edge of the seat with thrill scenes, these clichéd romance scenes come as a speed bump and spoil the mood set by the preceding scene. Trimming them or completely avoiding them would have made the film even better. 

Moving to the performances, Vikram never fails to amaze us with his acting skills. We have seen him as a North Madras guy in ‘I’ but that too for a short time in that movie. Seeing him as a North Madras local in this film was a delight as he portrayed the role with ease with his charismatic persona. 

Tamannaah had nothing significant to do, as her scenes were the ones that messed up the movie. Soori, Baburaj, RK Suresh, Sriman, Kalloori Vinoth were apt as North Madras natives and were all remarkable in their respective roles that had an equal importance all through.

BGM and songs for the film were composed by S. Thaman. Though the BGM was elevating, songs and their placement ruined the overall movie. Technically, the cinematography was uppermost capturing the North Madras in its most natural manner. 

Overall, Sketch falls flat and ended up as tolerable one. Though the director sketched a good screenplay for an average story, well-written characters, an interesting twist and a convincing social message, many unwanted scenes made the film a tedious watch.

My Rating - 2.25/5 | Grade – C (Misses the Mark!)
An Honest Movie Review by Nirmalraj aka AK (@NirmalRaj2911) | Website's Twitter Handle - @JustMovieFreaks

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Thaanaa Serndha Koottam / Gang - Honest Movie Review

Verdict - "A Profound Entertainer!"

Directed by Vignesh Shivn and starring Suriya Sivakumar and Keerthy Suresh in the lead roles, Thaanaa Serndha Koottam (dubbed as Gang in Telugu) is loosely based on the 2013 Bollywood film Special 26 which was inspired by the 1987 Opera House Heist in Mumbai. 

Set in the late 1980's, Iniyan (Suriya Sivakumar) recognizes a crooked trend in the Government offices where bribery plays a major part in getting selected for a job. After personally being denied for a post in the CBI office and seeing his friends getting the same treatment, he decides to assemble a team of fraud CBI officers, as they conduct a raid and steal gold, money from corrupt politicians and organizations.

Loosely based on Special 26, director Vignesh Shivn opted the proper approach by not making the film an exact photocopy of its source material and made sure that he tweaked the storyline enough to entertain the South Indian audience. The core elements and the emotional scenes in the film were impactful and enhanced the necessary depth in the storyline. The comedic scenes were short, quirky and were not overdone. Furthermore, the heist sequences were rendered well with entertainment and edginess.

Advancing to the negatives, the first half suffered for a bit with the screenplay not being clear and a lengthy runtime. Don't get me wrong, the film kept moving at a decent pace but it felt a fraction long primarily because of the love-angle and the songs between Suriya and Keerthy which I felt unnecessary, but I get why the director has to keep them in the movie.

Regarding the technical aspects, the music and BGM by Anirudh were stellar throughout the runtime, the retro passé music filled with catchy beats suited the storyline flawlessly and elevated the entertainment level of the film. Cinematography by Dinesh Krishnan was also exceptional with the vibrant colors that felt beautiful to gaze at.

Moving to the performances, Suriya Sivakumar proved to be remarkable again with his ability to engage the audience with his charismatic persona. His conduct during the comical, emotional and action sequences were all on point as he portrayed the role with ease. Keerthy Suresh was decent with the minimal amount of screen time she's given. Ramya Krishnan, Kalaiyarasan, Nandha, RJ Balaji, Senthil, Sivasankar Master, Sathyan and Suresh Chandra Menon were all splendid in their respective roles that had an equal impact all through. But, Karthik was the stand out at least for me, as his involvement in the film felt significant and his screen presence felt captivating in the second half.

Overall, Thaanaa Serndha Koottam / Gang had few bumps in its entirety, but the movie was solid and engaging enough for me to get enthralled. All credits to the director Vignesh Shivn for taking the basic elements from Special 26 and making a profound entertainer.

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

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