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In 2001 I bought a DVD player and started collecting DVDs of my all time favourites and the current trending movies which went on till the year 2018 I have a DVD collection of about 3300 titles in 18 languages. By 2007 I switched to world movies and was fortunate to see the greatest like Imar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Jean luc Goddard, Francois Truffaut, viittori de sica, Yimou Zhang, Majid Majidi along with Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Oliver stone and Anurag Kashyap who are my Favourites. 2010 onwards I upgraded to Blu-ray but 70% of my purchases still being DVDs.
Watching movies is my life & breath it’s like food to me, no matter what I do or not everyday I watch a movie or two. Very rarely a day passes without me watching a movie along with my wife who is my film buddy since 2007. Lately since 2018 my daughter too has been taking movies seriously (she being brought up on a dose of Disney movies since 2 years old). Of late 2019 I am into web series on Amazon prime & Netflix having bid adieu to the discs. Without IMDb’s help I wouldn’t have been able to search and sort my movies and thanks to IMDb I could Pursue my movie voyage into the beyond.
I love movies and can’t imagine my life without them, I know even in my death bed I would still watching movies for sure.
American beauty of money laundering !!
Ozark definitely had the potential to become one of the best tv shows ever produced, aided by some fresh content, very good acting performances, slick production design and good & interesting characters. But the show, despite holding a ton of promise, is let down at times with some very ordinary writing at times, that is almost filled with fairy tale stuff and lot of logical loopholes. It's like you are almost forced to ask yourself, Really? many many times over.
Despite these shortcomings, Ozark is definitely a addictive binge watch. Everything is interesting & intriguing about the Byrdes. The show is a wonderful physiological triller on many counts, with its characters giving it an edge. The biggest asset of Ozark lies in its characters and their acting performances, Laura Linney and Julia Garney as the young and enterprising Ruth Langmore deliver a stunning performance. Jason Bateman impresses most of the time.
Screenplay is a mixed bag, through its very impressive 80% of the time, it is let down by a lot of silly logical loopholes and plot holes time and again. In fact screenplay is both its biggest asset and shortcomings of Ozark. Production design, costumes and makeup were really good. I hardly heard any music in Ozark to comment. Cinematography was very decent all around, but a little fuzzy in the second season depicting the downbeat mood of the season. Editing had a lot of room improvement. Direction was top class in many episodes.
Overall, if people thought money laundering is an easy job, they ought to see Ozark. The series has some great moments often shimmering upon brilliance in some very well crafted scenes. But again, it lets us down with some silly and unbelievably stupid scenes, expecting the audiences to believe whatever the producers decide to dish out. You will either love it or hate it but the show is addictive for sure. If one doesn't mind letting lose of some high expectations, Ozark will work just fine. 7 stars just for acting and production quality.
El Chapo (2017)
Complete 3 season 35 episodes review !!!
If one compares "El Chapo" head on along with big budget and runaway hits like the Narcos and Narcos: Mexico, El Chapo despite its lower budget and an all Mexican production does very well to hold on its own on several fronts and is in fact is better than Narcos and Narcos: Mexico on certain segments. The biggest strength of El Chapo lies is its solid writing, a screenplay that never deviates even one bit from its storyline whatsoever.
The first season is rock solid and remains totally focused on the raise of Joaquin Guzman. The second season focuses on his taking control of as "The Boss" and the turf wars plaguing within and among the other cartels. The third mainly focuses on a hide and seek game with the government forces and his ultimate arrest. All three seasons also enlightens and gives us great insights on the political system and the corruption that had engulfed Mexico over the decades. Yes, there are several cheesy scenes in second and third seasons on several occasions but the show comes back strongly soon enough and erases the silly effect in our heads with some brilliant follow up scenes every time.
Cinematography is very good right throughout the series and excels in stunt sequences, in fact stunt sequences are a mixed bag owing to a low budget but the DOP covers much of budget concerns with his excellent craft. As said earlier the strongest suit of El Chapo is its screenplay that never deviates from the original storyline, though there are several characters in the series, excellent screenplay makes it very easy to remember them. Editing is excellent as there are almost zero scenes that is not required for the storyline, unlike Narcos or Narcos: Mexico especially. Costumes are in tune with what the cartel members and bosses wear if one googles them, The military costumes were great, though all looked brand new. Production design and casting were par. Makeup is little overdone for the main characters in the 2nd and 3rd seasons. Music is 80% excellent and 20% goofy, the title song is terrific, I never skipped it once in all 35 episodes.
Acting is also a mixed bag in my opinion but very acceptable if one considers the budget and the fact that it was made for Mexican TV. About 6/10 actors were brilliant in their portrayal of their roles, with Humberto Busto delivering a top notch performance portraying Conrado Sol and Marco de la O a distant second playing the lead. On the other hand the actors who played the DEA agents were the worst.
Overall, El Chapo is a must see series for anyone who has seen Narcos and Narcos: Mexico. In fact it's a great follow up, as the series interlaces with the other two series at different time frames. Yes, sadly the making and treatment is not on the league of the other two but the screenplay and editing is definitely better in El Chapo. The series is definitely a gem on its own and will stay in our minds for a long time, if one travels the distance of 35 episodes. 8/10 for first season, 8/10 for second season and 7/10 for the third for an average of 7.3/10 overall.
Kaali Khuhi (2020)
Screenplay does not merit a production !!
"Kaali Khuhi" as a story never takes off at any stage in its 90 minutes run, the scenes keep repeating itself in a endless loop time and again. Though the intentions of "Kaali Khuhi" is genuinely good, as its storyline focuses on female infanticide, but releasing the movie on Netflix doesn't make any sense. I don't think anybody who subscribes Netflix, would indulge in infanticide or need awareness on the subject.
If horror was USP of "Kaali Khuhi" I doubt there is absolutely nothing much to write about. A terrible screenplay supported by some poor acting lets the movie down in every possible way. Cinematography and editing does have a few good moments sparingly, but that does not add any value to make the movie more interesting whatsoever. Production design, music, makeup and costumes were just about par. Director Terrie Samundra really needs to get her act together, if at all she wants to make another movie.
Overall, the movie doesn't scare you one bit, it is not at all even close to even give you a jump scare. Only positive aspect is that, Kaali Khuhi doesn't have any adult scenes and can be watched with the family. Watch it only when you have absolutely nothing else. It's a 20 minute short, made into a 90 minute feature just to bug the audiences.
Surreal depiction of human relationships !!
"Chola" is made for parallel cinema audiences and film festivals around the world. I am pretty sure the mainstream audience would not like the movie one bit. One has to understand the fact that Chola is a different movie made for different set of audiences, that is why the rating here is so poor. The ratings here, definitely doesn't paint the picture of this fantastic movie.
Chola is a road movie that combines a host of genres like Drama, suspense, physiological triller and horror to present a very mature storyline. The film contains some top class elements in cinematography and sound design, and is best when viewed in the biggest screen possible. Screenplay is absolutely realistic with the depiction of even the smallest of details. Editing, production design, costumes and make up ably support the movie.
The three actors have done a wonderful job with Nimisha stealing the show yet again with a stellar performance. The entire film hinges on her expressions of a growing fear, breaking free, sensing her doom and then expressing her insanity or having a bout of Stockholm syndrome. However, though she turns into a victim of circumstance, she continues to show her resistance, in vain. Nimisha infuses a certain power that makes her character of a schoolgirl indomitable despite what she has gone through. Direction is at its best throughout the movie and kept delivering punch after punch.
Overall, An absolutely Disturbing film with strong message on the power politics of patriarchy. Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan's film puts out the bizarrely dark aspects of the reality that we usually choose to ignore. The movie will make you thoroughly uncomfortable. Chola is an very important film in my cinematic journey on many fronts.
Love Sonia (2018)
A Heart wrenching journey !!
Thought there have been many movies on the subject of human trafficking and prostitution, "Love Sonia" carves a top spot among such movies for its deep research and detailed presentation aided by some classy acting performances. Though this is a delicate subject, it was very well handled and put together by director Tabrez Noorani to create much needed awareness on the taboo topic.
The film excels in its screenplay to deliver a heart wrenching tale into the minds of the viewers, ably supported by the lead actress Murnal Thakur delivering a very good & honest performance. There are some outstanding performances by supporting actors in the shape of Manoj Bajpayee, Adil Hussain, Richa Chadda and Freida Pinto. Cinematography is good but Love Sonia is really outstanding in its production design, costumes and makeup. Direction is top class and very professional.
Overall, Love Sonia is a much watch movie for mature audiences to understand the nuances of human trafficking and prostitution. The movie contains some sexually explicit scenes which may not suit young teen audiences but it's a must watch for 16+ to understand the perils of living in the big bad world out there. Watching Love Sonia will awaken the human side within us. Two Thumbs up for the boldness on display.
Narcos: Mexico (2018)
The differences !!!
When Narcos premiered on Netflix, it brought to life the true story behind Pablo Excobar's rise to power in Columbia and the legacy he left behind. And, despite painting Escobar as a sometimes hero of the people, Netflix subscribers ate up the story of drug trafficking, drama, and adventure as DEA agents chased him for the inevitable showdown.
Once Escobar's story was over, the show hit a slight drop and was soon after revamped as Narcos: Mexico in order to extend the story of drug trafficking a little further north. The story continues what initially began on Narcos, even with Escobar long gone in the show's timeline. But because the shows are in the same universe and the spin-off has gained its footing, fans may be wondering how they are even connected.
There wouldn't be a Narcos: Mexico without Narcos just like in real life, there might not have been such a rise in the drug trafficking business had it not been for Escobar's part in South America. Toward the end of the series, the Cali Cartel played a big role and was featured prominently. DEA Agent Javier Peña, who was instrumental in taking down Escobar, was later assigned to take down the Cali Cartel.
The Guadalajara Cartel, which is featured in Narcos: Mexico had real life and in-show dealings with the Cali Cartel. And while the DEA agents in the spin-off are different from those who fans got to know in the original series, the underlying power dynamics and tug-of-war between the law and the cartels is still there in both shows.
Escobar was even featured in one episode of Narcos: Mexico in a flashback, to further string the two shows together. But, as the name would suggest, Narcos: Mexico focuses on the drug cartels in Mexico, which were intent upon moving product across the border into the United States, instead of the South American cartels that are the focus of Narcos.
Overall, If one has enjoyed Narcos, they will definitely like Narcos: Mexico. The later is more detailed in the formation of the cartel and its workings than the former. Yes, Narcos: Mexico definitely lacks the commanding personality of someone like Escobar but it is more refined in its storyline. Except for the irritating blurry filters used in the second season for, what reasons I am not able to comprehend till now. The series is a definitely a good watch.
Putham Pudhu Kaalai (2020)
Neat, Subtle & impressive !!
"Putham Pudhu Kaalai" is a beautiful anthology exploring human relationships set during & after the infamous lockdown of 2020. Directed by veterans and young filmmakers the movie is a blend of youth & experience. Putham Pudhu Kaalai is gentle & delicate in treatment, yet delivers its heart touching messages on love, family, relationships, compassion, optimism, understanding and bonding to name a few. It helps that the movies is written in a way that it appeals all age groups.
Cinematography is excellent throughout all five stories and forms the backbone in storytelling. Editing is very neat and has no lags despite the movie being a anthology. Production design, costumes and makeup are good too. However though good the the music does gets goofier sometimes. Screenplay is deeply engrossing and very well written to keep the viewer fully immersed. All the actors & directors have done a wonderful work, which we usually don't get to see in Tamil movies.
Overall, "Puthum Pudhu Kaalai is very progressive and a rare gem of cinema to hit Tamil screens. The movie asks all the right questions time and again, fully touching the viewers soul. Absolutely recommended and a definite must watch for all movie lovers and not only Tamil cinema fans. A complete family movie, wish they made more like these in Tamil.
Halal Love Story (2020)
Baffled & Puzzled !!
I am completely baffled as well as puzzled after watching "Halal Love story", wondering who this movie was made for? I am astonished on the fact how the producers (including Aashiq Abu) expected to sell this movie in the cinemas? Though the storyline may have looked strong on paper, I honestly believe it not a "Theatrical release" material, despite some fine acting performances in the movie. Yes, the movie has some interesting scenes & comedy but that alone doesn't warrant audiences attention for a 113 minutes.
The major flaw with "Halal love story" is, that it is targeted towards a particular community audience and its poor treatment that resembles a B grade movie despite having so many known faces in it. All important aspects of film making, resembled a "B" movie. Cinematography was good in the dying moments of the movie and apart from that there is nothing worthwhile to write. Surprisingly most of the "Known" actors did their parts very well like Joju George, Sharafudeen, Indrajit sukumaran and funny cameos from Shobin & Parvathy. Grace Antony was the best of the lot and delivered a fine performance.
Overall, the movie is not a total disappointment on the whole. Yes, Lacklustre writing played a spoilsport, and strains the viewer to sit through the entire movie. Hadn't been for the actors and some partially good casting the movie would have been a total disaster. Watch only if you are a fan of any of the casted actors. Four stars for some decent humour & some impressive performances.
Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya (2019)
Well, I am impressed !!
Please don't let the posters and the name of "Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya" fool you, this movie is an a absolute gem of Telugu cinema. Yes, the first 30-35 minutes will look like an average masala cinema, then for the next 100 minutes, the viewers will get totally "Ambushed" as the movie will turn into a phenomenal physiological crime thriller, rest assured no matter however hard we try, the plot cannot be predicted, even for seasoned crime cinema fans.
Swaroop RSJ totally impresses with his storyline and an unpredictable top class screenplay, full marks for him. But the same Swaroop exhibits a lot of flaws and inexperience with the direction of the movie, be its treatment, casting and pacing. But the story and screenplay works wonders to hide the rest of his mistakes made. Background score is quite gripping but cinematography, production design, make up and costumes remain par but it should be appreciated considering the film's budget. On the acting front Naveen Polishetty absolutely rocked portraying Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya and deserves a pat on the back but the performances of all other supporting actors were average and sub par.
Overall, Agent Sai Srinivasa Athreya is another addition to the "New Generation" of Telugu cinema that's been in swashbuckling from since 2017 and has been churning out some very good movies. It is an absolute delight to watch this movie and is highly recommend for all crime cinema fans all over. Please bear with the first 30 minutes to get into a highly unpredictable ride on screen. The movie definitely deserves an 8/10 rating but I am cutting a star for its treatment and some loopholes. Totally worth the time spent, Two Thumbs up, take a bow Swaroop RSJ.
Too long in the tooth !!
The web series starts on a very promising note with a distinct storyline filled with lots of humour. Several factors till the halfway mark keeps "Hundred" interesting enough if one shows some patience. Cracks first begins to appear in the screenplay from the fifth episode onwards, and carries over till the last episode, tiring the viewer in every possible way, even a good dose of humour interlaced within the storyline fails to save "Hundred" from boredom.
Another thing that put me off was the cinematographer's choice to shoot in either natural light or his choice of a dark filters, the result, a poorly lit picture, which becomes extremely tiresome for viewing in boring scenes. Production design and costumes were par but makeup was way overdone for both the female leads. Songs & remixes of old numbers were good but the background score was ear jarring in many places. Editing was way off the mark and had far too many unwanted scenes in the later episodes. On the acting front only Rinku Rajguru deserves a mention, the rest were just par. Lara Dutta proves once again that why she couldn't make it big in Bollywood.
Overall, Though there are several elements in "Hundred" that is promising despite several inherent weaknesses looming within, the series is very watchable if the viewer exhibits certain amount of patience. Humour and Rinku Rajguru's character are the shining pluses in a lot of minuses filled "Hundred".
The Good Lie (2014)
The one that fills your heart !!
Movies are generally made for entertainment, there are only a handful movies that goes straight into your heart every year, The Good Lie is one such movie. The story follows the journey undertaken by a few kids in a strife ridden and civil war torn Sudan, Africa. The movie also focuses on the perils of their newly started lives in the United states of America. The Good Lie is a great eye opener for people living in developed countries on how difficult life is in general for people living in poorer countries, despite them reaching developed countries. It is also a gentle reminder for those who think reaching a developed country is an end to all "their" problems. The movie opens up all borders on the humanity front that is closed politically in the world that we live in today.
Armed with a great screenplay the director has worked wonders on exploring the human touch in this high octane filled emotional drama, The Good Lie is beautifully edited in such a way that even a single scene in the movie remains totally focused on the story. Production design, Music, costumes and make up are decent for a tale of this nature. Acting levels are in fact very good for a majority of "non-regular" actors who are civil war survivors themselves, Reese Witherspoon delivers a neat and subtle performance that does some justice for her talent.
Overall, The Good Lie is a "Must" watch movie for everyone along with their entire families to understand compassion, struggle, the joy of companionship, sacrifice, triumph, love and humanity. The movie will definitely fill our heart with goodness and touch our soul, its very hard not to get emotional after watching it. The Good Lie will also remind its viewers on how lucky they are to have the lives that they are living. Two Thumbs up for the effort and execution and a standing applause for its spirit.
Intriguing & Gripping !!
In a world filled with dozens of overrated web series spread across various OTT platforms, this Swedish series "Kalifat" is a gem that will hold its ground on its own and would make it in the top web series list of 2020. Kilafat is genuinely authentic according to many reviewers here. The shows is decently paced and has several intriguing and gripping moments spread across 8 episodes.
The storyline is very realistic and tells the viewers about the recruitment strategy of ISIS on unsuspecting youngsters in Europe. Armed with a brilliant screenplay and well written characters, barring a few loopholes kalifat is a winner in every way. Music is very well handled and needs a special mention. Editing is subtle and very decent and keeps the suspense throughout. Kalifat has lot of good acting performances, doing lot of justice to the screenplay. Production design, makeup and costumes is decent. Yes, there are some logical loopholes in the series but they can be overlooked considering the overall brilliance.
Overall, Kalifat is a brilliant product that is very well crafted and presented. The web series is very informative and educative and is definitely a must watch to understand how these terrorist organisations recruit and organise. Kalifat is a winner and will fit among 2020's best. Awaiting season 2.
Bandish Bandits (2020)
Welcome addition to the OTT space but...........!!
With the Indian OTT scene opening up tremendously during the last 3 years, most of the web series across platforms offers mostly crime themed shows along with a few comedies. Bandish bandits definitely seemed to be a welcome addition to the OTT scene, when I first heard its storyline. Though Bandish bandits definitely had a good potential to become a wonderful web series, it is riddled with a boring storyline, more boring & predictable characters and a terribly boring screenplay.
An age old dated storyline packaged in a new wrapper adds no value to impress viewers. Screenplay is filled with a liberal dose of utter predictability and fails to add surprises anywhere. Though casting seems to be good with a host of well known faces, the talents of Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Rajesh Tailing and Sheeba Chadda is completely wasted.
Bandish Bandits also suffers from an average production design, frightening amounts of makeup on artists, some poor costumes that are very new and a over enthusiastic hair dresser. I also wonder why despite shooting in 4K the cinematographer chose to add a pink filter/hue to soften the picture. There is nothing much to comment on editing. Music is the only thing that is on the the better side, with some good classical & modern blends.
Overall, Though Bandish Bandits shows some glimpses of hope now and then, it will remain a disaster for non classical music fans. The show is a beautiful example of poor production, lazy writing, wasting actors potential etc. it is definitely a must watch for Indian Classical Music fans, well for the rest my advice is not to expect much from this one and watch it only when you have absolutely nothing else to watch.
Bad Boy Billionaires: India (2020)
How much is too much? !!
Bad Boy Billionaires: India is biographical profile of the leading defaulters in India. It's highly informative, very interesting and the presented in very sophisticated professional manner. There are lots of famous guest speakers who are of significant importance, adding value to the show. These opinions are aided along with tons of rare archival footage, unseen to the eyes of the common man before. Each of these men started out with a dream, and then could not or would not stop when things got out of hand.
The show was set to be released originally on September 2, 2020 but it had hit a legal hurdle after Mehul Choksi, whose name appears in the series, along with Roy and Raju approached courts seeking stay on the docu-series saying it would affect their trials.
Overall, a must watch series to all Indians for understanding the real facts, though documentary does not offer us anything about how every account holder with the bank was paying the price of those unlimited Letters of Undertaking. In the end no one seems to be able to tell how much was too much? When does a bad boy face the consequences for his actions? Is there punishment for those who aid and abet? None in the near future, or is it?
Criminal Justice (2019)
Beautifully adapted for India !!
Though the web series is directly inspired from the UK series of Criminal Justice (2008), it is wonderfully adapted for Indian TV by Sriram Raghavan & his team. The series gets almost everything right and ticks a large number of boxes. The episodes are seriously gripping and totally binge worthy, it's very hard to stop watching once the first episode starts. Though there is a slight lag in the middle, the series reboots itself to work wonders inside the thinking portion our brain.
Vikrant Massey absolutely nails it in his depiction of Aditya Sharma, the lead character and is ably supported by Pankaj Tripathi, Anupriya Goenka and Rucha Inamdar among a host of other supporting actors. Tigmanshu Dhulia's treatment & direction is outstanding and this web series is his best work yet in his career. Cinematography was brilliant, and the choice of lenses and filters used for the tone sets the mood of the web series very nicely. Editing is great I did not feel any fatigue or boredom even after watching 10 episodes. Production design, costumes and makeup were par.
Overall, it's a must watch for people who have NOT watched shows like UK series of Criminal Justice (2008) and The Night Of (2016). Please don't compare this to Sacred Games or Pataal Lok, they are altogether on a different level. Criminal Justice is well crafted with a good pace and will definitely do justice for a great weekend binge watch.
Brilliantly as Dark as one can see !!
This ominous series features an overarching story that starts out slow and difficult to follow but becomes worthwhile as it unfolds. The mixture of murder, mystery, and supernatural elements encompassed in a dark tone raises more questions than it does answers. While this serves to pull in audiences, the show's odd and sometimes disturbingly emotionless vibe creates a sense of apprehension that isn't easy to let go of.
Certain elements of the series feel similar to a serial killer movies but Dark is unique enough to hold its own. However, the sheer number of characters in the story makes it frustratingly difficult to fully understand what drives them. Certain details of the story get a little muddled with the choice of subtitles too. Nonetheless, it succeeds at telling a strange story that is eerily entertaining.
Brilliant cinematography sets a high standard and gives the web series a terrific treatment. Screenplay laced with suspense keeps us on the edge more often than not but with too many characters, both past and present makes it tougher for the viewers to follow. Eerie background score is the benchmark of Dark, it will be remembered for a long time. Production design is very decent and ably supports the story very well. Costumes & makeup were very good too. Casting could have been a little better as many characters have a similar look. Editing though good, may not be of everyone's taste.
Overall, Dark is a brilliantly written, and a very engaging german sci-fi thriller. It's totally dark in tone just like it's title. The story is very complicated, twisted and confusing. But it's meticulously written and brilliantly executed. A must watch web series for matured audiences, who would love to see something different and doesn't mind a slow burn storytelling. But non-the-less one of the most underrated shows on Netflix!
Really sad to write this !!
Terrible movie. Terrible plot, terrible screenplay and terrible acting "Nishabdham" is a scream in agony for the unsuspecting audience". The buck should stop at the director Hemanth Madhukar for making such an horrible mess. Though the trailer looked so promising, this is yet another 'penguin'. Amazon Prime needs to get better Indian scripts!
Anjali, the main female cop from whose perspective the whole movie has such a wooden face and her voice / dialogue delivery if anything kills the mood and suspense of the movie. Couldn't they have found someone else whose voice is more expressive as the narrator?
Anushka looks old and haggard and her hay days as a heroine seem to be over. She looks and acts middle aged and her hair, dress, demeanour looks as if she has just stepped out of Covid-19 quarantine! Though she is a mute orphan raised in Washington, US but somehow she can only speak telegu/tamil/malayalam and needs someone to translate all english dialogues to her (when the cops interrogate her). What's even more bizarre is the American cop translates everything spoken in the regional language back and forth! Her depiction of sign language is so bad that sums the lack of effort portrayed by the actor. Madhavan is a terrible misfit for this movie. A terrible Michael Madsen adds no value to this movie.
The plot twist at the climax is so predictable or rather hinted right at the start of the movie it is tiresome to watch how they connect the dots, and they did a very shoddy job of that. Isn't this serial killer topic so overdone? Also, how does one get away after so many murders? Why is there no investigation or evidence when Anushka can simply find stuff with a google search? Do not waste your time watching this extremely boring and predictable movie.
The Fall (2013)
One of the best in the genre !!
"The Fall" is unarguably among the best web shows or movies on serial killer that I have watched in over 3 decades. Luckily I saw this series very late, that is after watching Netflix's Mindhunter's 2 seasons, I have to say that, Mindhunter was the theory lesson and The fall practical examination. One has to appreciate the fact all elements in making of a serial killer are well crafted and presented beautifully together in a classy way, 3-4 years before Mindhunter. I have watched only the first two seasons at the time of posting this comment on The fall
This show is for binge watching at its best; it's at once compulsively watchable and intelligent, well-written and beautifully acted with compelling performances to boot. Excellent Cinematography sets the tone for this dark show. Screenplay is very engaging and authentic but is guilty of slowing the plot many times. Music is equally fine, eirre and subtle suiting the mood of The fall. Costumes, make up and production design go overboard to make The fall as authentic as possible. Editing could have been a little better to avoid such a slow burn show that tests our patience. Good acting performances from most of the actors definitely goes the distance to make the show a intriguing watch. Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector, a rumpled-handsome grief counselor, dad, and husband who has some extremely alarming extracurricular activities steals the show with some really good acting.
Overall, if one is interested in serial killers, The Fall might be a blessing as it is highly accurate to the core. But one has to have tremendous patience to go through this series as it is horrendously slow at times but the eventuality of a proper spectacle in return, kept viewers like me going. The Fall is definitely a very good reward for all viewers who exhibit good amounts of patience. Should have been 9 stars but I have to take a star out for its slow burn screenplay.
Serious Men (2020)
A classic rope a dope...!!
Serious men is based on the book of same name and tells the story of a over-enthusiastic office assistant, who would go the extra mile to get the respect he deserves along with is son. The movie on one side focuses on a High IQ child prodigy, who seems to blessed with natural intelligence and inquest while the other side parallels the games played by individuals from all the strata of society to get what they want. The whole premise tends to reach a boiling point when the core sub-plot unfolds sometime in the middle.
Gradually though, despite the humour in the situations portrayed, especially in the satirical take on corruption that knows no social barriers, and despite the entertaining audacity of abundant strategies, the film reveals its hollow centre, only to pick itself up in the last 20 minutes with a liberal dose of practicality.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is at is usual best in his portrayal of a Ayyan Mani. Indira Tiwari and little Aakshath Das do their parts well. Nassar as Dr. Acharya a shrewd, no nonsense arrogant director of a government-run scientific research institute excels the most. Director Sudhir Mishra tries to put in too many punches but only a handful land on where it is intended. Adapted screenplay may not have done enough justice to a good story. Cinematography, casting, music, costumes and production design were decent. Make up was a little over done.
Overall, not a perfect movie but Serious men is funny and poignant in equal parts, it's a mix of complexities that exist around us and the state of affairs that we live in and ignore. Watch it for Nawaz who yet again proves that he has the ability to play wide range of characters convincingly. It is high time that parents in India stop using their children as insurance policy for their future.
The Laundromat (2019)
Off Shore accounts for dummies !!
The Laundromat is an easily understandable movie for the layman for complicated yet simple things in the corporate world like tax evasion, money laundering, off shore accounts, corporate fraud, shell companies and tax havens. The asymmetrical presentation and portrayal of the story is a delight to watch. The movie is more of an education rather than entertainment. The biggest plus of the movie is that, We get to see who all benefit when some of us lose money to the corporates.
Steven Soderbergh shows the way in his own style, with his different treatment. Screenplay is decent in filtering corporate jargon that is usable to the layman. Cinematography is as brilliant as in any Soderbergh movie. Costumes & makeup were a touch overdone for film of this genre. Thankfully the run time is 95 minutes, anything more would have spoiled whatever the little good work that Steven Soderbergh had done in the first place. With an ensemble cast and some big names attached to the project actually fails to add much to the movie's mojo. This is the first film that I have seen where Meryl Streep absolutely does almost nothing.
The Laundromat Is great example for not utilising the caliber of such great actors in the cast. Overall, it's a good one time and a crash course on shell companies, corporate fraud and how we get affected by it. Meryl Streep and Steven Soderbergh fans definitely stand to be disappointed on this one for sure.
Surreally impressive !!
Theatre and musicals aren't my cup of tea, but Hamilton simply blew my mind with its impressive presentation. A surreal musical screenplay on one of America's founding fathers, filled with amazing and spectacular songs that ensures Hamilton to be among the topmost musicals of all time.
Full credit to director Thomas Kail and his whole production crew for churning out this beauty. Performance of all the stage actors were outstanding & extraordinary, that's when I try to put it in a modest way. Thanks to Disney+ for getting this masterpiece to our TV screens. The updations of all the classic songs to today's time and age makes it a very attractive offering even to the tech savvy younger generation.
Overall a must watch for everyone of all ages and colours. Hamilton is like a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness the best in theatre. The only beef is that the show's length at 170 mins but if one splits into 2 parts it's very doable. Please don't miss this at any cost, As Hamilton is one that will be remembered for ages in this era.
Sand Castle (2017)
Deserves 7 stars for the content !!
I didn't expect much from sand castle but the movie turned out to be a surprise package just for its content and screenplay. Agreed, this may not be a Saving Private Ryan or a Apocalypse Now, but Sand Castle delivers a no nonsense approach and tells us all the initial problems faced by US soldiers in its invasion of Iraq in 2003. The confusion & the helpless faced by the soldiers is presented in a beautiful manner.
But the biggest problem made by the makers of Sand castle is its presentation. The treatment, casting, and acting is a big let down to such a wonderful and different screenplay on their hands. It would have definitely helped to have had a better action director for stunt sequences. Cinematography was average just like the production design and makeup. Actors though they tried their level best, didn't deliver much to help the movie's cause.
Overall, Though Sand Castle punches above its weight with a strong screenplay, sadly ends up looking like a B grade movie with a high quality screenplay. I would definitely recommend this to "War" movie fans for its strong & different content, but will also warn you not to expect a Platoon or a Black Hawk down.
Impressive only in portions !!
Holocaust is a very difficult subject to talk, far more difficult when it comes to the movies, because movies such as Schindler's List, The Pianist, Life is Beautiful and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas have already set a high standards for the genre. "Sobibor" though a valiant attempt by director Konstantin Khabenskiy, to tell the tale of the only breakout from a concentration camp in the nazi occupied Poland, falters in many places.
The biggest problem of "Sobibor" is its character introduction, I believe it lacked detail and was pretty rushed, and it failed miserably in connecting to the minds of audiences. Cinematography was very good, along with production design, make up, costumes and music were par. Casting was a big let down. Acting barring a few scenes, was very average overall, not fitting to a movie of Holocaust genre. But it wasn't bad either. Editing could have been a little better, consider the material they had and the final cut. The usage of multiple languages in movie was rather confusing.
Overall, a good one time watch for audiences sans any expectations. "Sobibor" does has some really good & touching scenes, but has far too many flaws in its screenplay & dubbing. While it may not impress audiences who have watched all "great" Holocaust movies, it would be a good watch to young tech savvy audiences. Though there is nothing impressive in the movie apart from a few scenes, it's a "bit different" in comparison to the Holocaust movies of the past.
Yeh Ballet (2020)
Surprise Package !! Delivers a Punch !!
On any normal day, under normal circumstances dance movies are a strict no no to me. Without any expectations and with absolutely nothing else to watch on Netflix, I gave "Yeh Ballet" a try. The movie was really very interesting and painted a great picture on Grit, Determination, Strength, Talent, and of course dance. Usually dance movies are all the same and "Yeh Ballet" is no different, as it treads along the traditional dance cinema storyline, but it's treatment & presentation really gives it an edge and it stands tall among all other similar dance movies.
A Fantastic storyline to begin with and an equally apt screenplay gives life to yeh Ballet. Cinematography set with a dark tone paints a rosy picture. Production design was decent throughout the movie. Casting was really good and it has really made a difference in my opinion. Acting is generally good though the lead characters are a bit raw. But with a lot of debutants adding minor character details to their roles, literally sparkled the screen. Characters were well written and equally acted well by all supporting actors, however small their roles were. Veteran Sooni Taraporevala just aced it, when it comes to directing. However it would have been nice if the editor had cut about 15 mins from the final run time.
"Yeh Ballet" is a film which that will connect with your heart in a jiffy. Though dance is no way my cup of tea, I really enjoyed it throughout It can be watched with the entire family, and rest assured that it will be loved by all age groups equally. A must watch to celebrate human will & spirit.
Ghost Stories (2020)
"Simple" Ghost Stories !!
The two problems of "Ghost stories" I believe is, the added pressure on the film, weighted down by big names like Johar, Akhtar, Kashyap and Banerjee and the choice of title "Ghost stories" . It could have been anything else whatsoever other than Ghost stories. As there were no Ghosts anywhere in the movie, 3 paranormal activities and one zombie fest. The title name was a great undoing itself for the movie.
Segment 1: Zoya Akhtar, The story is very old one and almost rudimentary. Technically well crafted and all around. Acting is very basic in this segment. Overall, Not bad but fails to put in any thrills to the audience. No Ghosts.
Segment 2: Anurag Kashyap, worst segment of the 4 segments. In fact Anurag Kashyap's worst work in a long time. A very average paranormal story. Overall, Nothing exiting and a bit disappointing. Difficult to believe that Anurag Kashyap actually directed this. No Ghosts.
Segment 3: Dibakar Banerjee, Chilling story and will surprise you till the last second. Overall, The Best segment in the movie and will be remembered for a long time. No Ghosts.
Segment 4: Karan Johar, A very very simple storyline but Johar surprises us with his craft technically. Outstanding Cinematography is the best feature of this segment. Costumes were great too. No Ghosts.
Overall, with less expectations, a dimly lit room and a higher volume will make "Ghost Stories" a little better. Definitely worth a try and is certainly not as bad as the other reviews.