John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) – Movie Review

Prepare for War.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is an action-packed crime thriller film directed by Chad Stahelski, stunt-director turned director. The film is the third installment in the John Wick film series, following John Wick (2014) and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017). And it is the third directorial film by Chad Stahelski, after its two prequels, which means he totally owns this film franchise. The film is written by Derek Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams, based on a story by Kolstad.

The film starts exactly where it left off in Chapter 2. After killing a member of The High Table on continental grounds, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) finds himself on the run from the guild of assassins after a $14 million contract is put on his head. Now John must find a way out of this deadly madness before he gets hunted.

The film is everything which John Wick fans are expecting it to be. This is the third time Keanu Reeves is reprising his role as an unstoppable killing machine, John Wick. And I must say, Keanu has got the perfect grab on this character, and he flawlessly does what this character is best at, hunt. His body posture, movements, and of course his performance truly makes this larger than life character alive on screen. And when the first time he made his entrance on screen, it just put a smile on my face, which just got bigger and bigger at that moment.

John Wick films are getting better and better at every installment. The film is trying to expand the franchise by exploring this fictional world of assassins. The film also goes ahead and gives some more character development, for some existing, and some new characters. It is a purely high-octane action-packed film with a really high entertainment value. The direction and the action choreography is just mind-blowing. We can clearly see where every punch, kick, bullet, and knife lands, and all the credit goes to Chad Stahelski. What made it even more enjoyable is its long-shot fight scenes, there is hardly any moment when it feels choppy. When the action is going down, one just cannot take his eyes off the screen. The film franchise has truly become the definition of best action films.

The film finishes on an open end, which clearly indicates the possibility of Chapter 4. Prior to the release of this film, Chad Stahelski confirmed that there has been a discussion for another film and that he would develop. Even Keanu Reeves stated that he will continue making sequels until the audience stops going.

Verdict: Parabellum makes it a perfect trilogy. A must watch for action film lovers out there. Just Go and feel the rage of Baba Yaga (The Boogeyman).

Rating: 4.2/5

Check the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU8-7BX9uxs

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Badla (2019) – Movie Review

Revenge

Badla (In English: Revenge) is a crime mystery thriller film written and directed by Sujoy Ghosh. The film is an official adaptation of the 2017 Spanish film The Invisible Guest.

The story of the film follows Naina Sethi (Tapsee Pannu), a young successful businesswoman, with a perfect family of a husband and a daughter. Naina’s world gets shattered when she finds herself locked in a hotel room with her dead secret lover Arjun (Tony Luke), and gets arrested for his murder. To get her out of this mess, her lawyer Jimmy (Manav Kaul) hires a prestigious defense attorney, Badal Gupta (Amitabh Bachchan) to defend her. What follows next is an interview between Badal and Naina to get each and every detail about and around the incident on the table, to prove her not-guilty.

Sujoy Ghosh is a brilliant storyteller who came in light with his surprising mystery thriller film Kahaani (2012), which has one of the biggest plot-twists among the Indian films. From that point, the audience expects a similar kind of films from him. Badla may not have that awesome plot-twist moment, but it surely has an engaging story to tell.

As the discussion between Badal and Naina goes on, we get to see the whole picture slowly. The story of the film is mostly straight-forward and slightly predictable. That’s where the director plays the game of deception, shows one side of the story and hides the other one. Which works to some extent, and even it gives some reveals towards the end, but unfortunately, those just don’t work as expected, and the film ends in silence.

The performances by the leads are really appreciating, those are the only ones who make the film believable, other supporting characters are there just for the sake of filling the gaps. Cinematography and the background score of the film are complementary to the story.

Verdict : It is a one-time watch film. Not so perfect film, but a decent mystery thriller with a gripping story.

Rating : 3.7/5

Check here for the trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSlgu8AQAd4

Why Cheat India (2019) – Movie Review

Cheating Soon!

Why Cheat India is a crime drama film written and directed by Soumik Sen. The film talks about the reality of flawed Indian Education System and shows the struggles of students which they go through to complete their parents’ expectations.

The film revolves around Rakesh Singh (Emraan Hashmi), a con man, who provides a backdoor entry to undeserved rich students to get into premier institutes by exploiting the vulnerabilities of the system in exchange of a lot of money. He does it specifically by trapping clever but needy students, and by making them appear as a dummy for entrance exams in place of other students. The film’s story also involves one such boy named Satyendra Dubey (Sattu), who falls prey to Rakesh’s scam, what happens next forms the crux of the film.

The film talks on a really fresh and daring topic. The newness of the story is one of its plus points apart from the performances. Emraan Hashmi’s portrayal of a con man is flawless; he brings different shades to this character which makes it even more convincing and compelling. But the film falls behind on the front of storytelling, which gets really boring and messy towards the second half. The songs in the film do not complement the story, and actually makes the film slow-burning. Even if the film talks on the solid topic but fails to give a logical ending to it.

Verdict : The film is decent to watch for its performances and a fresh topic, but don’t expect more from it.

Rating : 3.2/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B6vjua8aK4

Baazaar (2018) – Movie Review

Make Money.. Money Money Money..

Baazaar is a crime drama film directed by a debutant director Gauravv K. Chawla, and written by Nikkhil Advani, Aseem Arora, and Parveez Sheikh.

The film heavily revolves around the corporate world of business and the stock market. The film sets in the Mumbai, a financial capital city of India, where people come to make their dreams come true. One such dreamer, Rizwan Ahmed (Rohan Vinod Mehra) comes to Mumbai to fulfill his big dreams. By keeping only one wish in mind is to meet his idol Shakun Kothari (Saif Ali Khan). Shakun Kothari, the billionaire businessman, whose only interest is his money and profit, who is known for his wicked ways of acquiring and expanding his business.

Not so long into the film, Rizwan gets a job in a stock trading firm, where he meets Priya Rai (Radhika Apte). In that firm to keep his job, Rizwan gets a challenging task of being a trader of bad performing stocks. In the catastrophic event with one of the businessmen from his list, Rizwan gets a chance to sell stocks to Shakun Kothari, which Shakun desperately wanted to buy. After witnessing the potential of Rizwan’s stock trading skills, Shakun takes him under his wings. From the struggles of securing his job to becoming Shakun’s one of the closest associates, Rizwan gets every pleasure of shiny life.

Reaching these heights of business, money, and power is fine, but maintaining that height is definitely difficult because when you fall on the ground from that height, one is definitely going to spread into pieces. This is the central theme of the film. The film’s topic is very fresh and interesting. The film is also informative in its own way, one does not have to possess all the knowledge of the stock market to understand this film. In the first half, the film really enjoyable and intriguing enough to keep the audience engaged. In the second half, the film loses its momentum as compared to its first half. The film has a very ordinary and satisfactory climax, which made me a little disappointed, but overall it is an enjoyable film. One more bad thing about this film is unnecessary long-running songs which just eats up the time.

Saif Ali Khan is in his full form, after his appearance as one of the leads in Sacred Games (2018), he is just unstoppable. Despite the little flaws in the film, Saif’s aura remains all the time. Saif’s commanding screen appearance as a ruthless businessman and the soft side of his character as a family man is worth applauding. Rohan Mehra as Rizwan Ahmed also does a good work despite being a debutant. Radhika Apte and Chitrangda Singh also have some crucial moments to serve which they do it seamlessly.

Verdict : For the movie lovers who want to watch something different than stereotypical romance, comedy, and actionBollywood films.

Rating : 3.7/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb7iJnIWzNk

Me Shivaji Park (2018) – Movie Review

Unexpectedly Disastrous.

Me Shivaji Park is a Marathi crime-drama film written and directed by Mahesh Manjrekar. Since the official and poster and the trailer of the film were released, it has created a significant buzz with its promising cast. Even the strong background score in the trailers gave intense and thrilling effects, which elevated the expectations, but after watching it in theatres I must say it all went down.

The film revolves around five friends, a suspended inspector Digambar Sawant (Ashok Saraf), retired judge Vikram Rajadhyaksh (Vikram Gokhale), Professor Dilip Pradhan (Dilip Prabhavalkar), Doctor Rustum Mistry (Shivaji Satam), and Chartered accountant Satish Joshi (Satish Alekar). They all are regular joggers at Shivaji Park and spends their time discussing the current socio-political affairs. The things go sore when Satish’s granddaughter dies under mysterious circumstances and the prime suspect gets out clean from the investigation. Then they decide to take the matter in their own hands and investigate themselves by going on the other side of the law.

The peculiar ways they use to bring justice to the victims form the crux of the story. Now, there is some newness to the story but it can be just looked as old wine in a new bottle. The cast of the film is top notch but the weaker script and bad screenplay waste all of it. The lead characters try hard to keep the film engaging but none of that works. Not a single character is compelling, just feels underdeveloped. There are few songs in the film and those are so bad that audience literally started yawning. The film with highly talented cast and the renowned director like Mahesh Manjarekar obviously sets the expectations high but it feels sad when it turns out to be a crap like this.

Verdict : Save your time and money by not watching it.

Rating : 2.4/5

Andhadhun (2018) – Movie Review

Every Artist has a Secret.

Andhadhun is a black-comedy crime thriller film directed by Sriram Raghavan, who is well known for his work in the films of the similar style like Ek Hasina Thi (2004), Johnny Gaddaar (2007), and Badlapur (2015). The film is inspired by the 2010 French short film L’Accordeur (The Piano Tuner).

The film revolves around Akash (Ayushmann Khurrana), a blind and talented piano player, who spends his time focusing and sharpening his skills. Not so long into a film, while playing the piano at a diner, Akash is noticed by yesteryear actor Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan). Pramod is blissfully wedded to Simi (Tabu), and on the occasion of their wedding anniversary, invites Akash for a private concert to his apartment. When Akash arrives at Pramod’s apartment, unknowingly he gets involved in Pramod’s mysterious murder, what follows next is the witty and gritty tale of complete chaos.

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Undoubtedly, Andhadhun is one of the brilliant films of the year. Sriram Raghavan, with his peculiar way of storytelling, glues the audiences’ eyes to the screen. This is the film where you may forget to eat a popcorn in your hand, because you may think that you might miss a little detail, which will make you lose a track.

The film portrays day-to-day characters and puts them in dangerous yet funny situations. The film also explores the dark sides of its each and every character. Characters are very well studied and put into the story, even a small character has a purpose and leaves a mark on the audience. Along with the leads, the remaining cast of the film is also great, in particular, Radhika Apte as Sophie, Akash’s love interest, and Zakir Hussain as Dr. Swami are excellent.

The background music and all the songs in the film are apt, which elevates the film’s overall drama and thrill component. Some of the moments in the film are very well shot and surprises the audience with the brilliant use of camera angles. At some places, the film slows down but picks up the momentum eventually. After the interval, I was stunned by each and every aspect of the film’s first half, which of course elevated my expectations, and when the film ended with an even more exciting second half, I felt just fulfilled.

Verdict : Without a second thought, just go for it. A must watch.

Rating : 4.4/5

Click here for trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iVYI99VGaw

Tc Gn: Take Care Good Night (2018) – Movie Review

Be Alert! Be Safe!

Tc Gn: Take Care Good Night is a Marathi language crime-drama thriller film directed by Girish Joshi, which is also his debut film as a director. The film actually explores the Techno-thriller genre in Marathi industry, which is first of its kind.

The film revolves around Avinash (Sachin Khedekar), who chooses to take a voluntary retirement from his job after a long service and live a relaxed life with his wife Aasavari (Iravati Harshe) who is a counselor and his teenage Daughter Sanika (Parna Pethe). Not so long into the film, while returning from his Europe trip with his wife, Avinash realizes that his life’s saving of around 5 million has vanished from his bank account. After this completely shattering event, Avinash immediately seeks the help of a Cybercrime branch and Inspector Pawar (Mahesh Manjarekar) to find whoever is behind it. Soon after this fateful event, someone threatens to upload the private video of the Avinash’s daughter Sanika on the internet, which endangers the family’s stability and pride. What is this unknown cyber criminal’s motive and will this family be able to win the fight against him?

The film is 110 minutes long, and throughout its runtime, the screenplay unfolds the gripping story, which keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. The story is very well put on the screen as it keeps the audience guessing until the end. The film is an intriguing techno-thriller, with nail-biting suspense component, and informative in its own way.

Throughout its runtime, the film discusses cybercrime, social engineering, phishing, and how we can be preventive about these, which manages to create awareness about it. Even if one is not a Techno-savvy, but just by having some basic knowledge of Internet frauds one can prevent these from happening. The film also talks about family dynamics in the modern world and parent-children relationship. At some places, the story loses its pace but picks it up eventually. The film fits really well in today’s time, and with some top-notch performances entertain the audience to the fullest.

Verdict : Nobody should miss this gripping and informative crime thriller. A must watch.

Rating : 4/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVoQqFfUcug

Sacred Games (Season 1 – 2018) – Review

The Game has just begun.

Sacred Games is an Indian crime-drama web tv series by Netflix directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane. The series is based on Vikram Chandra’s thriller novel of the same name. The novel was adapted by Smita Singh, Vasant Nath, and Varun Grover. The series consists of eight episodes which were made available on Netflix for streaming on 6 July 2018.

The series tells the story of Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan), a righteous and jaded police officer, whose paths intersect with Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), the self-obsessed notorious gangster boss. Sartaj, who is at conflict with the questionable moralities of the police force, when receives a cryptic message from Gaitonde and learns about the lurking attack on Mumbai, starts his own investigation to prevent the attack.

The series chronicles a diabolical plot, one depicts the efforts of an honest police officer caught between corruption, dirty politics, and deadly conspiracies, and still has all the will to do the right thing, another one sets in the flashbacks of past exploring the rise of all-powerful Ganesh Gaitonde, a mob boss with delusions of grandeur, operating out of a Mumbai ghetto called Gopalmath, and how they both become part of these sacred games.

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Overall the plot is intimidating, and as the trailers had suggested, which were released a couple of months before, it is truly intense, darker, grittier than ever, and maintains that thriller vibe throughout. According to one interview, the Gaitonde’s gangster life portion has been directed by Anurag Kashyap, and it’ll definitely make the audience remember his previous directorial film Gangs of Wasseypur (2012). And the other part following the present day story of Sartaj’s character showing the underbelly of the society has been directed by Vikramaditya Motwane. Structurally, it is a well-put story, and well-shot as well. The lightings, costume design, camera angles, background score, and instrumental music are remarkable.

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Undoubtedly, the casting of characters is top notch, and this can be seen in their grounded and compelling performances. The role of a brash and brutal gangster is not new for Nawazuddin, but here it feels totally different from his previous portrayals, he steals every scene he’s in, and unknowingly audience loses the moment when they start feeling for an unquestionable baddie. For Saif Ali Khan and his character Sartaj, this series has become a point of redemption. It’s a stellar performance by Saif, he has literally embodied the broken persona of a mistreated cop who can go to any limit to set things right. Along with leads, the supporting cast is also impressive. In particular, Radhika Apte as the investigating RAW agent, Neeraj Kabi as Sartaj’s commanding officer Parulkar, Jitendra Joshi as constable Katekar, Jatin Sarna as Gaitonde’s henchman Bunty, Girish Kulkarni as Minister Bipin Bhosale, and Kubra Sait as Kukoo. Every single character in the series has their own character arc which creates the emotional gravity, and it’s just moving.

At its heart, it’s the raw and scary story told in a brilliant way, the story of Mumbai city where all this drama plays around religion, politics, corruption, and Bollywood. There are multiple themes run at a time in a story, one of which is a theme of corruption in the system, it gives a closer look at how it is crumbled from inside, and even if one tries to rebel will eventually have to compromise at some point. Another theme is the theme of religion, “The biggest business in the world is religion. Under the garb of faith, they make fools out of all of us.” when Gaitonde delivers this line, it firmly hints that what is going to come ahead, the catastrophic consequences of religious polarisation. For an international audience, India’s communal divide appears akin to the US’s institutionalized racism. Most of the parts of the story play in parallel with real-life past events which makes it relatable and interesting. The use of symbolism throughout the series can be seen, either in visuals or in monologues.

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There are intriguing endings to every episode, and in no time, the viewer goes for the next one, just like that. From the starting point, there are many characters been introduced one by one, episode by episode, and we actually need to keep track of them, as their paths are definitely going to cross somewhere ahead in the story. It is the mix of likable and unlikable characters, the good and the bad ones, which are going to intertwine in the interesting, upsetting and uncomfortable series of events.

At last, “streaming is liberating”, as it is the web tv series, there are no constraints of the censor board. Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane waste no time in exploiting the opportunity offered by a platform free of censorship to make a powerful and hard-hitting statement. The series doesn’t hold back while portraying an unapologetic content like a real gangster life, scenes of gore and bloodshed, sexually explicit scenes etc. Plus the brilliance and thoughtfulness of makers keep it understated and yet impacting.

Finally, with no doubt, on the global platform, Sacred Games has successfully made its mark and has earned the prestigious position among top international web tv series. Even the Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 91% approval rating based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3 out of 10. On IMDb, it is on the 25th rank as a top rated tv series, with an astonishing average rating of 9.4 out of 10.

Verdict : Without any second thought, just watch it, and get lost in Sacred Games.

Rating : 4.6/5

Kaala (2018) – Movie Review

Karikaalan : The god of death

Kaala is a Tamil-language action drama film written and directed by Pa. Ranjith and produced by Dhanush. The film stars Rajinikanth (Super Star) in the lead role. It is the 2nd time when Pa. Ranjith is working in collaboration with Rajinikanth after Kabali (2016).

The film revolves around the people who had migrated from Tirunelveli District in Tamil Nadu are living in the Dharavi slum. The film follows Karikaalan/Kaala (Rajinikanth), a family man, the leader of oppressed people of Dharavi, serving justice to his people by exercising criminal methods. Haridev “Hari Dada” Abhayankar (Nana Patekar), the union minister, previously a gangster who had carried out many attacks in Dharavi, tries to evict the people and seize their land. Over the years Hari Dada becomes a minister and plans to clear the area of Dharavi to construct buildings using his construction company in the form of government scheme with the help of his supporter Vishnu Bhai (Sampath Raj). Now, Kaala, must stand and oppose it to protect the area and his people.

Having Rajinikanth and Nana Patekar in one movie is enough reason to watch this film. The film is filled with many exciting moments, especially the confrontation scenes between Rajni and Nana are mind-blowing, and when these two charismatic characters come face to face, it’s just a total blast. The story of the film is completely new, but still, there are some similarities like any other south Indian film, like family dynamics, super cool action sequences, and of course revenge stories. Along with the lead characters, Easwari Rao as Kaala’s wife Selvi also steals the show.

The only thing which may hamper the film is its almost three hours of runtime, which could have been made half an hour shorter. The film is grounded, darker and funny at the same time. The film also talks about the revolutions of oppressed people against the cynical government, politicians, and builders. The artistic representation of the significant moments in the film is applauding. Watching it in a movie theatre full of fans whistling and shouting is just another level experience.

Verdict : Rajinikanth is in his full form, a great watch on this weekend. Do not miss this epic face-off of Rajni & Nana at any cost.

Rating : 4/5

Check out trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSnMt6h6zk0

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero (2018) – Movie Review

Real. Edgy. Unexpected.

Bhavesh Joshi Superhero is an Indian action-drama film written and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane who is well known for his edgy storytelling style. In the film, Harshvardhan Kapoor is playing a lead role.

The film starts with two friends (I’m avoiding taking names to avoid spoilers), who are drawn towards sensitive issues like dirty politics and corrupt government. A question, as an individual, what are the possible ways to tackle these problems, which they keep on asking themselves, which ends up them making the online channel called ‘INSAAF’ (justice in English), which will become a stand against oppression. As they start working on the ground level, soon they realize that the system is very powerful and things can go lethal. While working on one of the issues reported by a user of their channel which could uncover the bigger conspiracy, things go wrong, and it results in the death of one of the friend. Now, the other friend must take a stand and must do the right thing, which will eventually bring the superhero out of him.

The film is a totally unexpected tale of a common man becoming a superhero. The film throughout is very raw and edgy. The story of the film is so simple yet impactful. The film is relevant in times that we live in. The only disappointment with the film is it’s slow-burning and unnecessarily lengthy. The film is not fully action-packed as per the trailers has hinted, but these action scenes were shot very beautifully. In terms of performances, Harshavardhan Kapoor does not shine as he should, better luck next time, rest all the other performances are best. The film is good in its own way but the audience may miss the excitement factor in it. As an origin story of a hero, it’s worth a watch.

This origin story of superhero almost reminded me of Ben Affleck’s Daredevil (2003). Even in the last scene of the film, the superhero and the main villain are standing face to face, with totally dark and stormy weather outside with some lightening (When the Daredevil and the Kingpin stands face to face).

Verdict : As an origin story of a hero, it’s worth a watch.

Rating : 3.7/5