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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The Tashkent Files (2019) – Movie Review

Who Killed Shastri?

The Tashkent Files is a drama mystery-thriller film written and directed by Vivek Agnihotri. The film depicts the conspiracies surrounding the death of India’s 2nd prime minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri.

The film sets in the present time, when a low time journalist Raagini Phule (Shweta Prasad) publishes the article regarding the conspiracies surrounding the death of former Indian prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. This article raises the questions amongst masses and forces the government to form a committee to investigate the truth behind this alleged event; is it really a natural death, or a well planned assassination.

The trailer of the film has given the exact idea about what to expect from this one. And this film delivers the same in a really compelling and grounded way. I was desperately avoiding watching this film as it is widely deemed to be politically motivated in light of the concurrent 2019 general elections. But I finally went to watch this film without having much idea about its content, it made me feel how ignorant (I am/we are) about our own political history. The film goes deep into the darkest chapter of our political history. In 1966, when India’s 2nd prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri went to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to sign a peace pact between India and Pakistan. And just after 8 days, Prime Minister Shastri dies of a heart attack in Tashkent.

Even if the film is politically motivated and biased against a certain political party, it does educate the people about that event, which is the most appreciated thing about this film. The film is good at delivering the content but loses the balance between the documentary and the political thriller. Even the screenplay of the film seems dull in some places. If we ignore some of the technical issues and its political motivation the film shines like anything.

The film stars Naseeruddin Shah and Mithun Chakraborty in lead roles. Besides leads, the film also stars Mandira Bedi, Pallavi Joshi, Rajesh Sharma, Vinay Pathak, Prakash Belawadi, and Pankaj Tripathi. The film has got a totally talented caste, and hence we get to see some really powerful performances. Some of the monologues in the film just steals the show.

Verdict : It is a must watch for its hard-hitting content and some really powerful performances.

Rating : 4/5

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

Romeo Akbar Walter (2019)

Our Hero. Their Spy.

Romeo Akbar Walter is an espionage action thriller film written and directed by Robbie Grewal.

The film sets in 1971, when India was on the verge of a war with Pakistan. The film centers around Romeo Ali (John Abraham), an Indian banker, with patriotic family background, get recruited as an undercover agent by RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) for a top-secret operation inside Pakistan.

The story of the film is pretty straight-forward and predictable. This film sets at the same time in which the events of the film Raazi (2018) took place. Even this film has a similar story, characters, and situations as that of Raazi, but unfortunately not that intriguing. All the character performances in the film are worth appreciating. The film is all about John’s character and he justifies it by giving an intense performance. Besides John, the character played by Jackie Shroff as Shrikant Rai, the head of RAW, is also excellent.

The first half of the film feels a very slow burning and lazy, in the second half, the things start moving with some pace and maintains the same towards the end, but even climax doesn’t make an impact which it should have actually made. The film is an interesting attempt to make a drama-driven espionage film by breaking the stereotypes of action-packed film, but it lacks the grip it needed the most. The film has its own moments and patriotic feel to keep the audience engaged, but dull storytelling, an unnecessary romantic aspect & music tracks make it an average film.

Verdict : A patriotic film should make us feel proud and it surely does the same, but only when you endure its slow pace. A one time watch film.

Rating : 3.3/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSHjC8VdzCM

Kesari (2019) – Movie Review

The story of Valor and Sacrifice.

Kesari (a saffron color representing bravery and sacrifice) is a period action-drama film written and directed by Anurag Singh.

The film depicts the events leading to the Battle of Saragarhi, a battle between 21 Sikh soldiers of the 36th Sikhs of the British Indian Army against 10000 to 12,000 Pashtun Orakzai tribesmen. The film stars Akshay Kumar in a lead role of Havildar Ishar Singh, who led the battle at Saragarhi.

The Battle of Saragarhi is considered one of history’s longest hold against the enemy and one of the greatest last stands. If we read history, we can actually see the valor and renunciation of those 21 Sikh soldiers. But this film hardly captures that. In the process of dramatizing and making it an entertaining one, the makers have totally ignored the crux of this historical event. The film lacks the authenticity and the rawness, which needed the most for a film like this. Everything in the film was just polished, for instance, the uniforms of the soldiers were looked like brought straight from the designer shop.

The film is a two and a half hours long, and out of which less than an hour was actually about the battle. In the remaining time, it focuses on some unnecessary subplots, the deceased wife of Ishar Singh played by Parineeti Chopra (the most irritating part of the film), and too many slow-motion shots. Some of the moments in the film will definitely make you remember the superhit war film Border (1997).

The film feels really slow and boring in the first half and comes to life only in the second half. The performance of Akshay Kumar is worth appreciating in a film. The film also has some interesting and compelling characters with apt comic timing, which makes the film watchable.

Verdict : Kesari is definitely not the best patriotic film of Bollywood but it surely worth a watch.

Rating : 3.2/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFP24D15_XM

Us (2019) – Movie Review

They are Coming!

Us is a horror thriller film written and directed by Jordan Peele, the director who is known for his excellent work in Get Out (2017).

The film follows the family of four, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o), her husband Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and their children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex), where they head to her family’s beach house in Santa Cruz. Soon their peaceful vacation turns into a nightmare when they are confronted by their doppelgängers (double of a living person).

There are some things in a storyline which are never explained or are just illogical, which may get you out of the film or may feel boring. The film also has a really nice screenplay and direction, along with a spooky musical score. The performance-wise, all the actors have done a good job. The concept of encountering doppelgängers is really fresh and interesting topic. Like his previous film, Peele once again addresses the theme of the oppressed and the oppressors in the society. The film also has some American cultural references and nuances which may not be understandable for the outsiders while watching it.

This is not an ordinary horror film which nowadays heavily relies on the jump scares; it is an unconventional horror film like The Witch (2015), Hereditary (2018), and The Babadook (2014). I liked the way, the director chose not to spoonfeed everything to the audience, rather he had given the little details and hints throughout the film. Although there are some reveals towards the end of the film, still it makes the audience keep on guessing all the time.

Verdict : An unconventional horror film, maybe not everybody’s cup of tea.

Rating : 3.5/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNCmb-4oXJA

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) – Movie Review

Their Final Quest.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World is an animated action-fantasy film written and directed by Dean DeBlois. The film is a third installment in the How to Train Your Dragon film series.

The film continues the adventures of Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his buddy dragon Toothless, where they are rescuing dragons captured by warlords and bringing them to Berk. And their efforts have resulted in the island becoming overpopulated with dragons. In response to tackle this situation, Hiccup sets to find the “Hidden World”, a safe haven for dragons, which his late father Stoick (Gerard Butler) always talked about. Meanwhile, warlords hire an infamous dragon hunter Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) to hunt down Toothless.

The first two films were all about how Hiccup and Toothless become the bridge for bringing peace between humans and dragons. But this film tells that why dragons and humans can’t live together, which is actually contradicting its previous storyline. The one more problem I had with the storyline of the film is that it again goes on exploring Hiccup’s true strength without his dragon, although he has already done so many unbelievable things in the previous films. So it doesn’t make any sense to revisit the similar character arc. And that is why I personally felt that maybe it is a good standalone film but an unnecessary sequel.

As always, The chemistry between Hiccup and Toothless is really fun to watch. A furious dragon, with the expressions of a cute little cat, who won’t adore that? The villain is one more enjoyable part of the film. The film also explores the romantic side of Toothless by introducing a female light fury, and how it impacts Hiccup and his friendship, which was actually something new and interesting. The visuals and action sequences (the animation) by DreamWorks Animation are striking in a true sense; A good visual treat. Overall, the film is all about its characters and an emotional message about love, friendship, and family embedded in it.

Verdict : Not as good as its prequels but a fair conclusion to the Dragon trilogy.

Rating : 3.5/5

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

Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (2018) – Movie Review

Get Wild, Get Crazy, Get Screwed!

Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (In English: The Man Who Feels No Pain) is an action comedy film written and directed by Vasan Bala.

The film follows Surya (Abhimanyu Dassani), a young man, who has a rare condition called Congenital insensitivity to pain, meaning he can not feel pain. Because of the strange condition under tragic circumstances; Surya has been raised in solitude by the odd-couple combination of his father (Jimit Trivedi) and his mischievous grandfather Ajoba (Mahesh Manjarekar). In that solitude, Surya develops his fascination for fighting against the criminals by watching action films on VHS tapes, and even starts practicing martial arts on his own. What happens next is the real fun when Surya steps into the real world and starts fighting his foes.

I went for watching this film, without having any idea that what the film is about. I wanted it to surprise me with its content, and exactly that’s what happened. The film is something I’ve never seen anything like this before in the history of Indian cinema. As a director, its a second film by Vasan Bala, and he completely surprises the audience with his brilliant take of this film. The camera angles, lights, colors, slow-motion shots, and of course the unconventional story, all work together really well.

It is the debut film for Abhimanyu Dassani as a lead actor and totally steals the show. His relationship with his Ajoba is one of the best and core parts of the film. Along with leads, the film also has Radhika Madan as Supri, Surya’s childhood friend and love interest; and Gulshan Devaiah as Karate Mani and Jimmy. All of the characters in the film have a niche role to play, nobody feels out of place.

The story of the film is layered and filled with emotions, and as it progresses it gives the sense of fulfillment. The humor in the film is very well placed in the story, which works at all the moments. The action sequences in the film are so real, intense and funny at the same time. The action choreography of the film is so perfect that it’ll definitely make you remember old Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee films.

Verdict : Watching this film is like reading a comic book, which has a superhero, a heroine, an enjoyable story, and a cliched villain. 😛 Don’t miss it at any cost.

Rating : 4/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb0-Mw_V_bA

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

Anandi Gopal (2019) – Movie Review

Extraordinary story of an ordinary couple.

Anandi Gopal is a biographical period drama Marathi film written by Karan Shrikant Sharma, and directed by Sameer Vidwans.

The film is a biopic of Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi, also referred to as the first lady doctor of India. Originally named Yamuna (before marriage), Anandi was born and raised in Kalyan, Mumbai. In 1874, As per the practice of that time, Anandi (Bhagyashree Milind ) was married at the age of nine to Gopalrao Joshi (Lalit Prabhakar), a stubborn widower, who was almost twenty years older than her. Even at that time, Gopalrao was a progressive thinker about supporting education for women. And before getting married to Anandi, the same condition he puts forward that his wife would get educated and would go to medical school. It is the rebellious and extraordinary tale of an ordinary couple of becoming victorious against all odds. Gopalrao’s consistent support and Anandi’s focus and determination for becoming the India’s first lady doctor form the rest of the film.

This film can be stated as the mother of all feminist stories ever told on-screen. The film has a really compelling and wonderful story to tell. The direction and screenplay of the film do its job of keeping the audience engaged with stunning imagery and vibrant colors. At first, I thought that what this film could have to show. But believe me, the film has dragged me completely into it from start till the end. The film’s story is very simple but has been told in a really fascinating way, with its even more beautiful and layered characters.

It feels good to watch when a film is able to deep dive into its characters and is able to convey the same to the audience. At some points, the film seems to have become slower, but which is completely fine, because at that moment it is important to show the impact of some specific situations on those characters. And it gives time for characters to breathe and gives the space for understanding their particular behavior.

Verdict : It is a must-watch film, for its content and beautiful storytelling.

Rating : 4.3/5

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

Gully Boy (2019) – Movie Review

Our time will come!

Gully Boy is a musical drama film written by Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, and directed by Zoya. The film is inspired by the lives of Indian street rappers Divine and Naezy.

The film sets in Dharavi, slums of Mumbai, where it tells a coming-of-age story about an aspiring street rapper Murad Ahmed (Ranveer Singh). Murad, a final year college student, lives in the Dharavi, who is fascinated with rap music and writes lyrics to express his life. Not so long into a film, he meets local stage rapper Shrikant aka MC Sher (Siddhant Chaturvedi). Murad’s acquaintance with MC Sher draws him into performing his lyrics at underground shows and eventually uploading his first video on YouTube.

The film is a musical story portraying a struggle of an aspiring rapper and his surroundings that influence his journey. There is a love angle to the story, but it hardly feels deviating from its main content. The film stars Alia Bhatt as Safeena, Murad’s longtime love companion, who fits perfectly in this role and gives total justice to it by complementing the story. Ranveer Singh completely owns his role by giving the raw and compelling performance. Besides leads, Vijay Raaz as Murad’s abusive father, Amruta Subhash as Murad’s mother, Vijay Varma as Moeen, Siddhant Chaturvedi as MC Sher, and Kalki Koechlin as Shweta/Sky bring depth to the story by delivering impacting performances.

Along with these powerhouse performances, the film also has really edgy and situational music numbers and background score, which never feels out of place. The direction and the screenplay by talented Zoya Akhtar are just outstanding like her previous films, where we can clearly see her grasp on keeping the audience engaged till the end without getting deviated from the actual content. The story of the film may be pretty straight-forward but the characters and their performances take the film to another level.

Verdict : It is a must-watch film for everyone. It’ll definitely entertain you and will connect to you.

Rating : 4.1/5

Click here for the trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfbxcD6biOk