Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) – Movie Review

Gotta catch’em all!

Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a fantasy adventure comedy film directed by Rob Letterman. The film is based on the Pokémon franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri and the 2016 video game Detective Pikachu. The film is the first live-action entry in the franchise.

The film sets in the fantasy world of Pokémons and follows Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a 21-year-old insurance salesman. Tim has given up Pokémon training due to the death of his mother and the absence of his father, Harry. Not so long into the film, Tim learns that Harry has died in a car accident while investigating a case. To collect Harry’s belongings, Tim travels to Ryme City, a metropolis that outlaws Pokémon fighting and pushes the bonds of humans and Pokémon alike. While searching Harry’s apartment, Tim encounters a Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) that can speak and only he can somehow understand. Soon, Pikachu reveals that he is an amnesiac detective who was Harry’s police partner and that they were investigating a case together when Harry disappeared. Now Tim and Pikachu must team up together to find out the clues about what actually happened to Harry and the conspiracy behind.

As it is the first film of its kind, it is more about the nostalgia about these Pokémon characters and the world they live in. The film nicely sets the world where humans and Pokémons live together. The film centers around Pikachu, so except him no other Pokémon gets that polished look (CGI). The makers of the film have tried to make the Pokémons look as real as possible to the real world. In which the challenging part was bringing the rawness and the realism to these characters without compromising their colorfulness and cuteness. And they did it better and believable.

The story of the film is gripping and intriguing enough to keep the audience engaged. One of the best parts of the film is voice performance given to Pikachu by Ryan Reynolds, in which he carries most of the film. The humorous effect of Ryan’s Deadpool character can be seen in Pikachu. His funny one-liners and the way of dialogue delivery makes it even more enjoyable. Rest of the other performances are just fine. Even there are some little flaws with the story of the film. But as I said earlier, the film is about Pokémons and their world, so it can only be judged on the basis of how much fan service it does. Whenever any Pokémon appears on the screen, it makes the fans happy, and it’s all about nostalgia behind it.

Verdict: The film is a nostalgic fun ride for the fans of Pokémon.

Rating: 3.5/5

Check the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bILE5BEyhdo

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Avengers: Endgame (2019) – Movie Review

Avenge the Fallen

Avengers: Endgame is an action-adventure fantasy superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers and the characters created by Stan Lee. The film is a direct sequel to the Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and a 22nd film in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). The film is directed by a very talented director duo Anthony and Joe Russ, who has previously directed three Marvel films – Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and Avengers: Infinity War (2018).

The follows the terrific events of Infinity War, where Thanos (Josh Brolin) had accomplished his aim of balancing the universe by wiping out half of its population by acquiring all of the Infinity Stones. Along with the world, half of the superheroes had also become dust with Thanos’ snap. Now, the remaining superheroes must find a way to set all the things right and avenge the fallen by defeating the Thanos.

In this film, the difficult task was to bring together all these different storylines and characters, and that too without tampering with their appearances in previous films. But the Russo brothers have made it possible by finding the perfect balance between comic and intense moments in their films. They have brought the needed realism, gravity, and intensity to MCUs superhero films. Infinity War has a comparatively darker tone than any other Marvel films. Avengers: Endgame is the 4th film by Russo brothers as a director. And that is why it is going to be Epic, for sure.

Avengers: Endgame is a film with a really grand and epic conclusion to its third phase. There will surely be more phases to come, but this one is surely the greatest culmination of all time to date. I’m really happy that the makers were able to keep everything under wraps till the release date and gave just little things through trailers to boost up the hype amongst the fans worldwide. The film is full of overwhelmingly surprising moments, the moments which will make you laugh and cry, all at once. Seeing all our beloved characters once again and maybe the last time on screen really touches our hearts. And witnessing the fate of all these characters is another best thing about this film.

The film has really high entertainment value, there are a lot of fan service moments, but there are undeniably some plot holes and flaws in the storyline. The film is three hours long, but throughout its runtime, it never feels like three hours, It just keeps the audience engaged with its amazing storyline and character buildup. Towards the second half, the whole movie theatre turns into a cricket world cup match stadium, where everyone is just cheering, whistling, applauding like never before. Like its prequel, the action sequences are very well choreographed, and the interactions between different characters are just sheer fun to watch. The climax of the film is just beyond comparison which literally gives goosebumps to the audience. The Infinity War was the film about Thanos but Endgame is about Avengers, and how they assemble once again to defeat the menacing and all-powerful Thanos.

Verdict : A greatest culmination of all time, which no one should miss at any cost. Just go for it before spoilers come for you. 🙂

Rating : 4.4/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TcMBFSGVi1c&t=29s

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

Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019) – Movie Review

How’s the Josh?

Uri: The Surgical Strike is an action drama film written and directed by Aditya Dhar in his debut. The film is based on a true story of India striking back as the retaliation to the 2016 Uri attack.

The film follows Major Vihaan Singh Shergill (Vicky Kaushal) of the Indian Army, who has successfully lead many field missions and now has taken a desk job at New Delhi to take care of his mother who is suffering from Stage VI Alzheimer’s disease. On 18 September 2016, four well-armed militants attack the army headquarters at Uri, Jammu & Kashmir, killing 19 Indian soldiers in their sleep. Vihaan’s brother in law Major Karan Kashyap (Mohit Raina) also dies in a grenade explosion in this unfortunate attack. The Indian government decides to take strict action against this attack, and National Security Advisor Govind Bhardwaj (Paresh Rawal) comes up with the idea of a surgical strike. Eventually, Vihaan leaves his desk job and once again lead a team of elite commandos to carry out a covert operation to avenge the Uri attack.

The film’s story is nicely divided into five chapters. At the end of every chapter, there is a sense of fulfillment. And with this chapter-wise narration, the story gets more and more gripping, and keeps the audience on the edge of their seat. The soul of the film is its compelling story; the enthralling characters and engaging background score makes it even more enjoyable. Besides Vicky Kaushal and Paresh Rawal’s powerful performances, Yami Gautam as RAW field agent Pallavi Sharma and Kirti Kulhari as Captain Seerat Kaur are worth mentioning. The film has its own moments, the patriotic ones, the thrilling ones, the grieving ones, and cheering ones, all full of JOSH.

Verdict : If we ignore the political propaganda, this film is an official first hit film of 2019 of Bollywood in all aspects.

Rating : 4.4/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVY3do673Zc

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (2019) – Movie Review

I won’t give up my Jhansi!

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi is a biographical period drama film written by Vijayendra Prasad, and co-directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi and Kangana Ranaut. The film stars Kangana Ranaut in the title role.

Mainly, the film revolves around the rebellion against British dominance in India in 1857. A rebellion in a true sense, which had sparked the fire of independence in the heart of every Indian against tyrannical British rule. And queen Lakshmi Bai (Kangana Ranaut) was one of the leading figures of that Rebellion. The film tells the story of her becoming the queen of Jhansi after king Gangadhar Rao’s (Jishu Sengupta) death and her fierce resistance to the British Rule.

In the first half, the film narrates the early years in the life of queen Laxmi Bai. The film shows the different shades and stages of the queen’s life – a brave daughter to Moropant (Manish Wadhwa), who likes to read, who has a decent knowledge of history. An exceptional queen of Jhansi, who after marriage denies the traditional ways, and instead takes a keen interest in the political atmosphere of Jhansi and the state of the country.

Comparatively, in the second half, the things start moving in a much faster way. There happens most of the action, when Queen defends the fort of Jhansi by being a brave and fearless warrior. We also see the compassionate mother and generous queen who wins the love and loyalty of the people of Jhansi. The moment literally gives goosebumps, when queen rides on a horse, with a sword raised in the other hand, and her son Damodarpant tied on her back.

At the start of the film, the disclaimer is shown that some moments are dramatized and fictionalized for the film’s purpose. So the film is the larger than life representation of the valor of queen of Jhansi. The picturization of the film is beautiful and vibrant. The camera angles are very well utilized, especially for the wide angle shots. The battle scenes look impressive with cannons and sword fights. The flaw which I felt is that the screenplay was lazy which made the shots seem disconnected from each other. While watching the film, the things were too glossy for me, I’ll rather opt for something which is more raw and real.

The biggest plus point of the film is Kangana’s extraordinary performance as a fierce warrior queen. She has delivered some powerful monologues with her commanding voice and screen presence. Besides Kangana, some of the impacting performances are Danny Denzongpa as Ghulam Ghaus Khan, Ankita Lokhande as Jhalkaribai, and Atul Kulkarni as Tatya Tope. Definitely, the film manages to inspire and gives the feeling of patriotism.

First Uri and now Manikarnika, and as we all know that 26th January is India’s Republic day; And that’s why this year January has truly become a month of patriotism.

Verdict : Just go for it, and celebrate the valor of Laxmibai, the fearless queen of Jhansi, who fought for our independence.

Rating : 4/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKmkMVaNu9g


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Mary Poppins Returns (2018) – Movie Review

The magic always returns.

Mary Poppins Returns is a musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall. The film is based on the book series Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers, & the film is a sequel to the film Mary Poppins (1964). It is one of the longest gaps between film sequels in cinematic history at 54 years.

The film sets in 1935 London, 25 years after the events of the first film. Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is living in his childhood home with his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer), and his children Annabel (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh), and Georgie (Joel Dawson); having his wife Kate, who has died a year ago. Not so long into the film, the financial calamity strikes Banks family, in which they may lose their home. Now Banks family must find a way out of this distress, but soon Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), the former magical nanny of Jane and Michael Banks arrives at their home to take care of Annabel, John, and Georgie.

It is the beautifully made film in every angle, which truly compliments its prequel. The film is directed so well that every frame of the film is like a nice wallpaper. The film is colorful, vibrant, and soothing to the eyes. Like its prequel, there are some scenes where animated and real characters appear together on screen, which is just fun to watch. The characters are likable and compelling, like every good fairy tale should have. The performances are also convincing and entertaining, in particular, Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda as lamplighter Jack, Mary Poppins’ old companion, both of them have done a great job.

At the start, the film feels more of a childish, but as it moves forward with Mary Poppin’s life lessons and musical numbers, it gives the film a needed depth and makes it much more interesting. The background score of the film is cheerful which elevates the movie watching experience. The dance numbers, costume design, and production design of the film is apt and overwhelming.

Verdict : It is a light-hearted and a nostalgic family fun film.

Rating : 3.7/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3jsfXDZLIY


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Simmba (2018) – Movie Review

Here comes Simmba!

Simmba is a comedy action drama film directed by Rohit Shetty. The film is a spin-off of the Singham film franchise.

The film follows Sangram “Simmba” Bhalerao (Ranveer Singh), a corrupt police officer hailing from Shivgad, the same town as Singham (Ajay Devgan). When Sangram gets transferred to Miramar, Goa, following his unethical nature he quickly befriends with a local don Durva Ranade (Sonu Sood). But soon, Sangram is forced to lead a moral path after tragedy strikes his closed ones.

The film sets in the Rohit Shetty’s cop universe, and it is the third film in it. The plot of the film is pretty straight-forward with full of action scenes and some sprinkle of comedy and romance. The most part of the first half of the film is filled with comedy moments but only a very few of them actually lands. Before the interval and till the end, the film is filled with a lot of tragic drama and spicy slow-motion action sequences. The film would have been wrapped within two hours but has dragged unnecessarily because of too many slow-motion shots, remake songs, and a love story. The film also tries to bring audiences’ attention to an important social issue, which is a good thing, but it causes the drastic tonal shifts in the film.

The whole and soul of the film is Ranveer Singh, and he surprisingly manages to amaze the audience in most of the runtime. Sara Ali Khan as Shagun, Sangram’s love interest, also tries well to keep her role charming, but actually the role was not needed for the story. The reprising role of Ajay Devgan as Bajirao Singham actually steals the show with claps and whistles. Along with Ajay Devgan, there is one more cameo role by the big star from Bollywood, which teases the next possible film in the cop universe.

Verdict : The film is an average Masala entertainer for the masses.

Rating : 3.2/5


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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – Movie Review

What makes you different is what makes you Spider-Man.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated action-adventure film based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales/Spider-Man. The film is directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman.

It is the first feature film in the Spider-Man franchise to be animated rather than live-action. The animation of the film has its own unique style, combining Sony Pictures Imageworks’ computer animation pipeline with traditional hand-drawn comic book techniques including the stop-animation effect.

The film sets in a shared multiverse called the “Spider-Verse”, which has alternate universes having alternative versions of Spider-Man. The film follows a teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who gets bitten by a radioactive spider and develops superhuman spider-like abilities. Not so long into the film, Miles witnesses the deadly experiment to access parallel universes being carried out by Wilson Fisk a.k.a Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). The experiment starts to malfunction which causes different versions of Spider-Man from different dimensions to collide in the present one. Now, Miles Morales must team up with other Spider-People to save New York City from Kingpin.

The animation of the film is one of its kind and it works really well. The plot of the film is very much intriguing with compelling characters and nicely woven humor. The film tells the really good origin story of Miles Morales/Spider-Man as we can clearly see the apt transformation of a teenager becoming Spider-Man. The other best parts of this film are brilliant voice actors and their comic timings. The background score and the soundtracks of the film just elevate the overall experience in the best way. With all these positive points this film will definitely get nominated for the Academy Awards in different categories, and can also possibly win some.

Verdict : The film is undoubtedly one of the best-animated films of the year, and one should not miss this.

Rating : 4.4/5


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Naal (2018) – Movie Review

Pure, innocent, and heartwarming.

Naal (Umbilical cord – in English) is a Marathi drama film co-written and directed by debutant Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti. The film is co-written and produced by Nagraj Manjule, the creator of the gem films Fandry (2013) and Sairat (2016), under his banner Aatpat Production along with Zee Studios.

The film follows the emotional world of an eight-year-old mischievous boy Chaitanya (Shrinivas Pokale). The film sets in a remote village in Maharashtra, where Chaitanya is living happily with his landlord father (Nagraj Manjule) and a loving and caring mother (Devika Daftardar). This is all that the trailer of the film has suggested that it is going to be a visually soothing and beautiful story of a small kid. The same it delivers in the first few minutes; and then what? And then something unexpected happens which turns things upside down for Chaitanya and sets him on a wonderful journey.

From start to end, the film is a stunning visual treat with interesting camera work and beautiful landscapes. Cinematographer-turned-director Sudhakar Yakkanti’s skillful efforts and magic can be seen in every shot. Along with the representation, the content of the film is simple yet powerful. While watching the film, the audience just delves into the naughty and unpredictable eight-year-old boy’s character and starts feeling the same way he feels. There are very few characters in the film, but all of their performances are very much convincing and compelling which actually drives the story forward. In particular, a little kid’s character is so well done that the dialogues and his expressions seem so true that it’ll just melt you down with joy. In the second half, the film becomes a bit slow, but director’s intention to do that is pretty much acceptable.

Verdict : A pure, innocent, and heartwarming tale. A must watch family drama film.

Rating : 4.4/5

Check the trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ajhEq4HqHo


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First Man (2018) – Movie Review

We need to fail down here so we don’t fail up there.

First Man is a biographical drama film directed by Damien Chazelle and written by Josh Singer. The film is based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, and it stars Ryan Gosling as a lead character Neil Armstrong (The first man to walk on the moon). It is the second time when Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling are teaming up, after working together on Academy Award-winning film La La Land (2016). Plus, Steven Spielberg has served as an executive producer on this film.

The film spans across 8 years from 1961 to the legendary Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in 1969. At the core, the film depicts the emotional ups and downs in Neil Armstrong’s life in that specific time span. The film starts in 1961 when Neil Armstrong is flying the X-15 rocket plane working as a test pilot for NASA. At the same time, his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Karen, is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor. Neil is desperate to find the possible treatments to save her, but she dies soon afterward, which throws Neil in a lifelong grief. Soon after that, Neil applies for the Project Gemini of NASA, and get selected for the same, wherein 1965 he completes the extravehicular activity in the Gemini 8 mission. In 1968, after nearly being killed while ejecting from the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, Armstrong is selected to command Apollo 11, which will likely be the first lunar landing mission.

firstman

For the whole world, Apollo 11 mission was the giant leap of mankind towards space exploration. And for the American government, it was just another great mission to stay ahead of Soviets and the whole other world in a race. But this movie goes beyond that and explores the different emotional states of astronauts, their families and personal lives, the accidental deaths of astronauts, the government strategies, and people asking questions to the government about why to spend so much money and sacrifice lives and is it really worth it.

I watched this in IMAX format, and after a few shots, I noticed the grainy effect throughout its runtime. This particular film-format is intentionally chosen by the director and the cinematographer to make the audience feel that they’re actually watching the film of that time. Most of the film was shot in 16mm and 35mm film format, except for the breathtaking moon landing sequence which was shot on IMAX 70mm film. The background score of the film by Academy Award winner Justine Herwitz is very much effective and unsettling in some moments. All the shots, where the astronauts are in a cockpit of a spaceship in space, are noisy with shaky cams, which gives thrilling and real effect in a really good way.

Ryan Gosling does a really good job of portraying the legendary Neil Armstrong of very robotic, focused, and calculative nature. And Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong also delivers a flawless emotionally heavy performance. As the film is spanned across eight years, and that too in a running time of 141 minutes, it feels choppy and truncated. But above all, the moon landing sequence at the end gives the satisfaction.

Verdict : Worth to watch this compelling and fascinating biographical story of ‘The first man to walk on the moon’.

Rating : 3.9/5

Check trailer here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSoRx87OO6k