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Aiyaary - Honest Movie Review

February 18, 2018

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)

Pad Man - Honest Movie Review

February 10, 2018

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)

Oru Nalla Naal Paathu Solren – Honest Movie Review

February 3, 2018

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)

The Disaster Artist - Instant Movie Review #37

January 30, 2018

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)

Padmaavat - Honest Movie Review

January 25, 2018

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)

Three Billboards & The Post - Honest Movie Reviews

January 19, 2018

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

Gulaebaghavali - Honest Movie Review

January 15, 2018

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

Sketch - Honest Movie Review

January 14, 2018

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

Thaanaa Serndha Koottam / Gang - Honest Movie Review

January 12, 2018

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

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - Honest Movie Review

January 2, 2018

Verdict - "Very Much Enjoyable!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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