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American Vandal Season 2 Review: Absurdity of Toilet Humor

Starring – Various
Director – Tony Yacenda
Genre – Mockumentary
Streaming Platform – Netflix 

Introduction: Revered as one of the funniest and clever mockumentaries of recent times, American Vandal is a satire of true crime documentaries such as the Wild Wild Country and Making a Murderer. While Season 1 debriefed the absurd phenomenon of #WhoDrewTheDicks at Hanover High School in Oceanside, California, Season 2 enquires about the ridiculous yet astute thrill seeker 'The Turd Burglar', who commits a series of felonies involving poop at a prestigious Catholic school in Washington.

Rationalization: Now, if you've watched the first season of this series, you must be well aware of the type of humor that Vandal benefits from. More than the first season, this second season is much more self-aware, meta and continues to deliver when it comes to comedy. The whole poop humor is not oversaturated and was handled adequately from beginning to end. But, the characters were once again the primary plus side of the show. The recurring characters of Peter and Sam were more mature and less douchey this time around, DeMarcus Tillman, Chloe, Lou added the needed intrigue as the supporting characters.

However, comparable to Dylan's character in Season 1, Kevin McClain aka Shit Stain McClain is the focal character and the one who plays the helpless victim, and Travis Tope who played Kevin was outstanding with his performance. His nerdy look, mannerisms, body language, speech, everything felt incredible and was easily laughable and at the same time pitiful to watch. Additionally, unlike Season 1, this time the show ended with a social message and a twist that I didn't see coming and is again a job well done by the creative team behind the curtains.

Conclusion: Overall, I once again had a blast watching American Vandal, and is undoubtedly one of the easiest, funniest and captivating series you'll find on Netflix. Watch it and revel the absurdity of toilet humor.

-A Just Stream Editorial by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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GHOUL Review: Reinventing the Genre!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-A Just Stream Editorial by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Throwback Thursday: A Look Back at Stranger Things S02

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

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

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

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

-A Just Stream Editorial by Nikitha Kashyap
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Brij Mohan Amar Rahe Review: Atrocious!

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

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

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

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

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

-A Just Stream Editorial by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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Karenjit Kaur Review: Precise! Satisfactory!

Starring – Sunny Leone
Director – Aditya Datt
Genre – Biopic/Drama
Streaming Platform – ZEE5 

Introduction

Directed by Aditya Datt, this ZEE5 Original Series “Karenjit Kaur-The Untold Story of Sunny Leone” narrates the story of Karenjit Kaur Vohra, a regular, typical girl-next-door to the superstar we all know and love, Sunny Leone, India's Most Googled Celebrity.

The series begins with Journalist Anupam Chaubey (Raj Arjun) interviewing Sunny Leone and he starts on a degrading note. Undisturbed by his tone, Sunny calmly opens up about her past. This ten episode series showcases about her early childhood, moving to Los Angeles, her success as a beauty pageant and what forced her to step into the porn industry and why she didn’t step back even when she had a choice. 

Rationalization

Making a biopic is never easy and having the one whom you are making a biography about as the main lead was indeed admirable. It takes nerves of steel to portray yourself and tell your story to the world and in that aspect Sunny Leone has done her best as herself in this series. 

Writers Karan Srikanth Sharma and Niranjan Kaushik have taken into note only the most important happening from Sunny’s life and the screenplay was crisp with all the necessary elements such a love, animosity, emotions, and criticism. Director Aditya Datt made sure that he justifies the writing and presents the debated past life of Sunny Leone in an unadulterated manner though he took some artistic liberation. The series oscillates from 1999 to 2004 to 1994 and back to 2008 yet the storytelling isn’t complex and was trouble-free watch. 

Also, the actors impersonating Sunny’s parents and brother did their part well. Bijay J. Anand as an emotional yet upright father, Grusha Kapoor as an alcoholic mother and Karamvir Lamba as a brother who was more of a friend and supporter to Sunny in every phase of her life. I found Raj Arjun’s performance to be exceptional. Though his screen time was limited, he made a mark as a stringent journal charging questions like a scorpion sting.

Conclusion

Overall, Karenjit Kaur - The Untold Story of Sunny Leone is not very elaborate but still manages to cover the most intriguing and essential part of Sunny’s life. The series is precise, straightforward, understandable and easy to binge.

-A Just Stream Editorial by Nirmal Raj aka AK (@Nirmalraj2911)
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