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Revenge is sweet, excessive romance made it little bitter
Seo Ye Ji's comeback show, Eve, started off well in it's first few episodes where she plays the lead character Ra El, looking for revenge on those who had his life trampled upon. The first half of the show's plot development is fantastic. The pilot episode and the initial sequences, including the opening scene, all had a constant flow and a number of peaks. The show's plot thickens with each passing episode as Ra El accomplishes more of her goals. We must acknowledge the way in which the characters' pasts were handled during times of uncertainty.
It's sluggish in the later half of the show, but it keeps you engaged and curious about what's to come. I felt there was too much of romance and less of revenge story going on in 2nd half, which made me uninterested a little, however Ye Ji was phenomenal in her role and she portrayed it really well, which made me stick to the show very end. The penultimate and concluding episode were the weakest episodes of the drama and evidently doesn't compares tp to other revenge thrillers, this is not one to write home about and ultimately struggles to stand out.
My Rating : 7.5/10.
Thirteen Lives (2022)
Non cliche biographical survival drama
Thirteen Lives is a film that truly orients itself around a grounded cinematic approach to story, one largely told without big, grandstanding emotional speeches but instead focused on visually capturing subjectivity, demonstrating tension, and highlighting the life-or-death weight of the characters' choices.
Shot on a documentary style, the movie depicts the 2018 incident of 12 Football playing children and their coach getting stuck in a cave due to heavy rainfall in the country of Thailand. After a couple of undermined directions, Ron Howard gets it right this time around with this biographical drama, due to it's gripping and no nonsense approach. It's an approach that succeeds overall, though a little more time with the boys, their frantic families, and a bit deeper window into the central characters' inner lives would have hit the story's tension and impact a little harder home. Nonetheless, it's a fine drama with adept performances that are sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
My Rating: 8.5/10.
Not much of a luck with this one
Luck is a somewhat confounding blend of past, present, and future. The plot was good, but a number of stories convuluted together and it messed up.
The characters were good, however the story felt a drag, with 60 minutes of repetitive Good Luck/Bad Luck sob. The funny moments didn't felt funny and there was no emotional depth on the scenes that were supposed to be.
Possibly the biggest surprise to Luck is just how generic and uninspired it feels, despite how many ideas are crammed into this story. There's no wonder, no excitement, no jokes that land. Only a few scenes were interesting enough to this otherwise flat animated movie.
My Rating : 5/10.
Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)
Yellow cute creatures continues to spread laughter
Minions: The Rise of Gru gives fans more of what they've come to expect, mainly Gru acting evilly, the Minions acting stupidly, and enough clever gags that will fly over its target audiences' heads but keep their adult chaperones from dozing off.
Set in 1976 California, the film is an origin story depicting how Gru became allied with the minions and embarked on his career path to villainy. The gags were funny, the characters were lively and the trio of Kevin, Stuart and Bob were amusing as ever.
My Rating : 7/10.
Rocketry: The Nambi Effect (2022)
A story that has to be heard
Rocketry is the tale of Nambi Narayanan's splendid career as a scientist in the ISRO and how he was subsequently treated when a false case of epsionage was foisted on him. Madhavan deserves praise for picking a subject that not many people might be aware of, and more importantly, not diluting it by adding 'filmi' elements.
The first half was all about the achievements of the said scientist depicted in a fashionable way and there were few hiccups with regards to direction and dialogue deliveries, overall being decent.
It is in the second half that Rocketry feels more like a film, like a missile suddenly galvanised into action. The dialogues get sharper. Making up for the average directorial skills of Madhavan is actor Madhavan, who springs to life in the portions capturing Nambi's older days. The actor aces some of these sequences, especially the ones that follow his custodial torture. The film is also about choices, and one really wishes that it explored that in more detail.
The story of Rocketry is, without doubt, something that audiences have to be told. But, behind that thought is a film that connects only in parts. The actor Madhavan was great, but the director Madhavan could have been better in his assignment.
My Rating : 3.5/5.
Good Luck Jerry (2022)
One time watch, this dark comedy is.
I haven't watched the original by Nayanthara Kolamaavu Kokila, but Good Luck Jerry was good to watch. The story follows Jaya Kumari aka Jerry (Janhvi Kapoor) who joins mobster group for collecting funds for her mother's treatment.
Jahnvi Kapoor, on a surprising note, had a good performance along with all the supporting characters. The screenplay was quirkily funny, as it should have been. The story is promising and offers a good amount of scope for entertainment. The dark comedy placed in a few scenes evoked laughs.
Compared to the first half, the second half loses its steam. The second half is rushed and results in a hodgepodge where the viewers just can't understand what is happening. There is a lack of clarity in a few scenes.
On the whole, Good Luck Jerry entertains in parts. There are hiccups in the execution till the end. The film is a one-time watch
My Rating : 6/10.
Why Her (2022)
Gripping, with rushed yet somewhat satisfactory ending
Another law mystery drama in this year's plate, Why Her started strong, thanks to an amazing performance by See Hyun Jin. The premise is simple, a goal of reaching to the top, due to unfair past behaviour by everyone.
In a world full of injustice, there seems to be no hope of going up against big corporations that can easily influence various institutions in society.
Although fictional, characters like Chairman Han, Assemblyman Lee, and Chairman Choi represent a portion of the powerful in today's society, who abuse the law for their personal gain.
But in the end, there is an end to their abuse of power that disgraces the justice system. The collapse of their empires is also caused by their own misdeeds, which have always been at risk to be exposed.
The pacing was well maintained, although it suddenly rushed in when the 14th episode aired, with multiple layers coming and ending within moments, without giving a proper enclosure. The finale was cliche and had nothing extraordinary, but what made me feel good about the finale is that justice prevails in the end, no matter what.
My Rating : 8/10.
The Gray Man (2022)
Mediocre Spy Thriller
Two solid hours of efficient Netflix content is what's on offer here, the action-thriller equivalent of emptiness with nothing but cliche thrillers and mediocre action.
The Gray Man is mostly a collection of tired spy tropes, directed in a muddled and baffling way, that seemingly exists to set up what seems like will be a fairly unimaginative franchise.
The dialogues were cringe and didn't excite at all. The only grace was seeing Ryan Gosling on screen. A big budget film with neither strong screenplay nor efficient set up, The Gray Man feels like a sunk ship with lots of efforts vanishing in vain.
Aside from two hand-to-hand combat scenes, the fights are a dimly-lit mess of quick cuts and bullets flying, something similar to what Michael Bay has done all over these years.
Being a big budget film, The Gray Man is a disappointment to a greater extent, considering that the project had A List actors, but a poor storyline.
My Rating: 5/10.
The Speed Going to You 493km (2022)
First half intriguing, second half mehhhh
Love all play started very well, giving us a glance in the past of the main characters and focusing more on the sports aspect. The situation that young athletes go through in their life, was visibly portrayed in the first half of the drama.
The downfall started in the next half, wherein it became more of a love story and very little a sport drama. Undoubtedly, the main characters 'Park Twins' had a good chemistry on screen, however too much of an emphasis on their love life and not on their professional life as a badminton player, let me down in the second half.
The soundtrack was decent, however while watching the show, it felt like an Instagram filter thanks to it's weird production. Overall, Love all Play had good intentions but didn't stood upto the expectations as a sports drama.
My Rating : 5/10.
Universe in the making
A part of Lokesh Kanagaraj universe, Vikram is the second installment after Kaithi. This follows Kamal Hassan seeking revenge for his son's murder.
The action scenes were good, although the narrative was weak. Fahad Faasil and Vijay Sethupathi were brilliant and the climax cameo of Surya was terrific. At almost 3 hours runtime, Vikram felt tired at times, as if the mantra of killing for revenge was the only thing the movie was focusing about. There were sudden developments at certain points, which instead of getting revealed as a suspense, felt predictable. To summarise, Vikram was a good action movie, and watching Kamal Hassan as a badass hero was pleasant to watch.
My Rating : 7/10.
Kotaro wa Hitori Gurashi (2022)
Funny at one moment, emotional at another
Kotaro lives Alone is a solid blend of comedy, drama and emotional moments that will make you laugh at one moment and cry at the other.
The anime follows the rhythm of daily life, its humor deadpan. Each episode is made up of short, sometimes disconnected vignettes that feel like paging through a scrapbook. Equal parts heartwarming, laugh-out-loud funny, a rather nuanced exploration of child abuse, and one of the biggest surprises of the season. This Netflix anime series is not a strong must-watch, but if you are looking for a heartfelt story, then Kotaro will undoubtedly provide you with plenty of heartwarming chapters.
My Rating: 7/10.
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
Bland and not heroic at all
Love and Thunder was chaotic, all over the place, messy, filed with lots of weird dialogues and punchline with a not so strong storyline.
The film is particularly disappointing given that it's directed by Taika Waititi, the nimbly funny New Zealander who made Thor's previous installment, Ragnarok, a smash hit and generally has a strong track record of mixing tones, swerving from silly to sentimental with practiced ease.
The return of a major actor such as Portman should feel compelling, but she's simply part of some busy wallpaper. Bale and Crowe are instead the film's biggest standouts, because they dare to supersize their performances.
To summarise, Love and Thunder offers the usual lightning-streaked action and tossed-off gags, but this time, there's not enough heft behind the flashiness.
My Rating: 4.5/10.
Dance Dance Danseur (2022)
Passionate story with colourful visuals
Another MAPPA winner, Dance Dance Danseur is a hidden gem of this year. It's is a ballet anime that absolutely exudes passion. From the voice acting, to the animation, to the choreography, everything felt meant to be.
Dance Dance Danseur is consistently gorgeous, especially when it features any kind of dance sequence. The movements are exceptionally fluid in what may often be rotoscoped animation for the ballet sequences.
Ballet in Dance Dance Danseur is a tool used to accurately display the harmful effects of toxic masculinity on boys, push the characters towards each other, and develop their personalities through their changing styles. Just like Paripi Koumei, Dance Dance Danseur is another hidden gem of this year that emphasize on the internal conflict pf the characters and the motive to push themselves forward.
My Rating : 8/10.
Ai no utagoe o kikasete (2021)
Harmony between two entirely different world
In a year with both Mamoru Hosoda's Belle and Wit Studio's Vivy - Flourite Eye's Song, a story about a singing AI robot doesn't seem like much of a novelty. But although Sing a Bit of Harmony might struggle to stand out against its high-concept peers, it's still a sweet and funny movie which definitely proves as a crowd-pleaser.
The movie's plot is split into two halves. The first half introduces Shion to a human environment and plays out like a high school romance drama, with a familiar cast of characters with different backgrounds and personalities. The film's second half then adopts somewhat of a heist-like scenario that heightens the climactic stakes when both Satomi and Shion's safety is threatened. The tone shifts from a slow-paced high school romance to a high-impact thrill ride and successfully delivers an emotional climax.
Sing a Bit of Harmony excels in music department and the lead Tao Tsuchiya delivers an amazing singing voice for Shion. The animation by J. C Staff is worth an appreciation too. While not a traditional musical per se, the science fiction aspect of the story gives the anime film some narrative depth, sympathetic characters, and a message to think about as the technology around us becomes more advanced.
My Rating : 7/10.
Paripi Koumei (2022)
Underrated gem of 2022
Paripi Koumei is another example why P. A works is an underrated studio. A musical anime, with a twist of a historical figure in the current Tokyo generation.
Paripi Koumei's story is about the music and how its passionate artists tackle the music scene and produce the songs they want other people to hear, ranging from the big concert moments, to the more quiet harmonizing sections with just someone and a guitar. It's really pleasant, actually. And it's the kind of thing in storytelling that works so well when the heart and soul of the series is given the correct time of day.
An extremely smart tactitian of his era, Kongming puts all his efforts to bring Eiko, a cheerful never giving up attitude girl, into the music industry limelight to let her achieve what she wishes to. I have to say the music was no doubt amazing, and the animation by P. A Works was outstanding.
What Odd Taxi did last year, Paripi Koumei repeated this year as well. With niche audience who has watched this anime, this surely is an underrated gem which needs to be explored by as many anime fans as possible.
My Rating : 8/10.
Gekijouban Jujutsu Kaisen 0 (2021)
Thank you PVR for bringing this to India
Finally after 6 months, Jujutsu Kaisen 0 got released in India and it was pretty much hyped up. The movie is a prequel story of Yuta Okkatsu, the protagonist.
The animation is stunning as always, the story-telling of Yuta and Rika is creative, beautiful, and deeply tragic, and we even see the return of our our fan-favorite characters. There was less action and I was hoping for more to see.
The movie explored the characters of Maki and Togo, which was quite impressive. MAPPA has done a great job with animation, almost in the similar lines of the TV series, if not better. The wait of 6 months was worth it and now I am eagerly waiting for the Ita-Noba-Megu trio to come back to television.
My Rating : 8/10.
Sarkaru Vaari Paata (2022)
Chaotic, with no sense of direction
Sarkaru Vaari Paata is such a misfire, be it in terms of direction, dialogues and even characterisation, that even Super star Mahesh Babu with his charisma cannot save the movie from sinking.
The plot was interesting about defaulting bank loans and rich getting their way out of it. However when it comes to execution, the film implies its take on justice blindly rather than exploring the cause and necessary remedies to be taken for such heinous crimes. Overall, it was an utter failure or rather a comedy out of a serious subject.
My Rating : 3/10.
Sufficiently gripping and suspenseful
Chloe Okuno's Watcher, with its acute attention to location, atmosphere, and its protagonist's paranoia, is a welcome return to the sort of pure thriller that seemed to go out of fashion at the end of the 1990s. Maika Monroe as the troubled, stressed Julia was a fitting role and she delivered it precisely.
The movie takes advantage of the Bucharest's sparse population and enables this suspense tale to be gripping and intense. Although what lacks is a strong narrative and the ending, which I felt could have been more elaborate and strong. Nonetheless, Watcher has elements that makes it gripping and suspenseful stalker/victim case.
My Rating: 6/10.
Effective take on geopolitical tension of Northeast
Anek is a deeply-political film that asks why people of certain parts of the country have to repeatedly prove their love and worth for the country, and echoes the deep-seated distrust that a section of the Northeast people have for Delhi. It shows how violence by state agencies leads to the radicalisation of the youth.
Ayushmann Khurrana is at his sincere best as an undercover agent who develops a conscience. He underscores his versatility once more through his rock solid performance. The film's heart beats with love for the region, and that's its biggest strength. It's saying in large bold letters that we should celebrate our diversity while being united.
Although the film was well directed, the screenplay and the dialogues could have been more tight to have a great impact. The scenes were slowly paced and the narration was impressive as well. After a series of eye opener movies like Thappad, Article 15 and Mulk, Anubhav Sinha attempts another socio-political concerned theme which does proves effective, if not on the same level with his previous works.
My Rating : 7/10.
A missed opportunity to be oddly impressive
Spiderhead starts very well, with a serious tone and lots of conversation, kinda similar to Ex Machina. However, the story doesn't holds itself well and the plot gets convuluted without much of a development for the characters.
Though it starts with promise, "Spiderhead" is heavy weighted sci-fi stuff that doesn't intrigue much with it's elements due to weak development, and leaves it's mark as a disappointment, rather than being something impressive.
My Rating : 5/10.
Love Stories behind the scenes
Shooting Stars offers a story about the different lives of people behind the cameras. Starting from writers, managers and PR's who work hard to take care of the image of their artists.
During the drama, these characters also unveil the hardships of their work especially in handling their actors. Even though they are immersed in their jobs, they also opened their hearts to the people whom they like. Shooting Stars shows that a well-balanced lifestyle would make one's heart happy.
The background music and the pairing were effective, although the acting of the cast felt overdone and sometimes there was a lack of stability. The drama felt monotonous at times however the end result was not bad at all.
My Rating : 7/10.
Naui Haebangilji (2022)
Life is tiring and this drama empathizes with it
My Liberation Notes is the story of three siblings with a strict hard-working father who seldom speaks, and a mother who does most of the talking in order to avoid arguments at the dining table, and then a stranger living as a neighbour.
The drama is relatable on various levels, especially the mood at the workplace of the three siblings, the camaraderie between the co-workers, the after-work gossip, and the random ranting sessions.
Regardless of which side of the human spectrum you find yourself on and which character's journey you relate to the most, My Liberation Notes hits many correct points, if not all, and makes the viewers feel relatable about the reality of life. MLN was a good drama, a slow burn with good character development, although gets very slow with pacing at times.
My Rating : 7/10.
Again My Life (2022)
Engrossing and captivating, but finale faltered
Again My Life started on a strong center point, with justice as it's selling point. The first episode may feel like a fantasy, but it's not. Except that one point in the pilot episode, everything about here is a strategy of 10 years to bring a criminal down.
There's a slight disappointment in the development process. As the plot primarily centers around Hee Woo, the support characters are inconspicuous. After his amazing work in Flower Of Evil, Lee Joon Gi delivers himself with aan another great performance of a charismatic character set out to eradicate evil.
Everything was brilliantly written, but when it came to finale it faltered. The ending was rushed, there was sudden romance (which I didn't felt, the right couple) involved at the end of the episode and there were many plotholes which weren't filled in the last episode, which might leave many of the audiences half hearted about the finale.
To summarise, Again My Life had good elements and writing and was strongly held till the penultimate episode, while faltering at the end. Although the drama didn't end as expected, it was a very good show with some good acting and decently impressive execution.
My Rating : 8/10.
Fruits Basket: Prelude (2022)
Fans of Fruits Basket will definitely cherish this
The prequel movie about the Honda couple was emotional, romantic and leaves a lasting impression along with the flashback scenes of Tohru and Kyoko.
The story of Katsuya and Ryoko was heartfelt, and quite romantic. The animation was solid and on par with the prior season's quality.
Fruits Basket - Prelude - did get me to tear up twice. It hit all the emotional notes as the original, and Kyoko's story in retrospect to nearly all other characters is truly one where you can't help but root for her. It also made me reflect on my own ways of expressing grief, and when a film can get you to do that I think that's something special.
Overall, the film is an excellent way to preserve the story of Kyoko and Katsuya. For long term fans of Fruits Basket, this is just a cherry on the cake.
My Rating : 10/10.
Be strong for your tomorrow
Tomorrow is a different K drama than the usual ones we see. Dealing with sensitive cases like bullying, rumours that leads individuals to end their life is something that has become a harsh reality of the society, that is showcased in Tomorrow, in an effective way.
A Team of 3 people (2 Grim Reapers and 1 Half/half) are on a rescuing spree of those who wish to give up on their life due to the harsh treatment in the society. Although it's not as serious as it should have been, considering the seriousness of the issue. However Tomorrow, handles the theme effectively and every episode is an emotional ride in understanding each individual's life and purpose.
Tomorrow finale bowed out with a sweet last episode as best as it could. Although some of the episodes in the series have been quite problematic, the series had its moments and the episodes surrounding the main characters were splendid. The soundtrack was good, the acting of the characters could have been better.
It had moments where it shone and considering some of its weaker episodes, the end was rather satisfactory considering the finale felt a little bit rushed, without exploring more about Re yeoon and Jung Gil.
My Rating : 8/10.