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

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

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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Tumbbad (2018) – Movie Review

You shouldn’t claim everything you inherit.

Tumbbad is a historical period Fantasy horror film directed by debutant Rahi Anil Barve. Anand Gandhi, the director of Ship of Theseus (2012), serves as the co-writer, executive producer and creative director of the film.

The film depicts a mythological goddess who blessed the universe with food and gold, the things go wrong when her first-born son ‘Hastar’ steals gold from her, and when he goes for food all gods curse him. The film sets in Tumbbad, where it revolves around the consequences when humans build a temple for ‘Hastar’ from the greed of gold. The story of the film spans across three generations of a Brahmin family. Vinayak (Sohum Shah) is at the center of the story who has inherited the cursed hidden wealth beneath the ancestral mansion in Tumbbad.

Tumbbad2

At the core, the film talks about the consequences of endless human greed. Even before the movie starts, the famous tagline by Mahatma Gandhi is displayed on a screen, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”, which gives a fair idea about the film’s subject, but it shows that in a very fresh and inventive way. The film has so many things to serve like elements of horror, fantasy stories of mythological demon god, and well woven real-world message.

Tumbbad3

Atmospherically the film is surprisingly impressive, and every on-screen imagery is astonishing. The production design of the film is remarkable, no set pieces seem fake. The visual effects look so real and are at its best as compared to any Indian film. The camera work is splendid, some moments are shot with hand-held camera which actually feels real. The background music and songs lifts up the overall movie watching experience. The performance by Sohum Shah is flawless and very much convincing as a greedy protagonist. Some of the moments in the film really scary including some graphical violence.

One more thing, before the film starts, the film shows their sincere thanks to Anurag Kashyap and Rajkumar Hirani, not so sure about their contribution to this film, but it definitely boosts the audience for the ambitious and incredible story they’re going to witness.

Verdict : A surprising treat for horror and monster movie lovers, that too with great story and performances.

Rating : 4/5

Click here for trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN75MPxgvX8

The Shape of Water (2017) – Movie Review

Exceptionally beautiful fairy tale

The Shape of Water is the fantasy drama film co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, who is well known for his stories based on fairy tales and horror, with incredibly beautiful visuals. His enduring enchantment with monsters can be seen in his filmography, which he considers as the symbols of great power. This film also characterizes the adventure story of a magical aquatic creature, with the predictable but compelling storyline. The film has been nominated for thirteen (highest this year) Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress.

In Cold War era of 1962, the plot of the film builds around the Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), an introvert and mute woman, who is working as a janitor in a scientific government facility. Elisa has only two friends, Giles (Richard Jenkins), a gay next-door neighbor, and her fellow-worker, Zelda (Octavia Spencer). One day, an aquatic (man like) creature (Doug Jones) arrives at the facility in a tank, which has been captured from Amazon by Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). Being a janitor Elisa has access to every part of the facility, which tinkles her curiosity, and she starts visiting the creature and discovers that the creature is a humanoid amphibian who can understand and communicate through sign language. Later, her compassion towards that creature forms a close bond with it. Rest of the film focuses on this special connection they form despite all odds, and how that connection drives Elisa at her extremes, how her friends stand firm with her in all of this, and what measures Colonel Richard takes to destroy it all to fill his incompleteness.

The core story of the film is based on ‘beauty and the beast’ theme. The film is a true spectacle where fairy tale comes real on screen, which strikes directly audiences’ heart, and defines the solid presentation of imaginary fantasy tales. The film is beautifully directed, every shot is well-crafted, the arc of an unexpected and sweet relationship in the story is very gracefully handled, and yes, all the credit goes to Guillermo del Toro. The film gives the very strong and impacting messages about an act of compassion and music to bring two alone hearts together, how people fight their whole life to fill the void of incompleteness, and how a complicated term like ‘love’ has no exact definition to it like the shape of water. The use of practical special effects is the specialty of Del Toro, which is brilliantly used in this one also. Michael Shannon’s negative role looks menacing which gives the exact proportion of monstrosity needed for the story. Sally Hawkins has just shined in her role, without talking she has conveyed so much in the film, which ultimately fetched her the Oscar Award nomination.

Verdict : Rush to your nearest theaters and witness the exceptionally beautiful and outstanding film.

Rating : 4.2/5

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Welcome to the Jungle.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is the action-adventure-comedy film directed and co-written by Jake Kasdan starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan in the leading roles. The film is a loosely coupled sequel to Jumanji (1995) following the adventures around the same game named Jumanji.

The film sets twenty-one years after the events of the first film, whereafter once dismissal by a teenager the game has transformed itself into a console video game cassette. After twenty years, the film follows four high school teenagers who come across this same action-adventure console game in which they’ve to select the characters. As they starts the game holding the gamepad in hand, they get sucked into the video game world of Jumanji, and playing as the character avatars they chose, must win the game in order to return to the real world.

The film is a standalone but intriguing sequel to Jumanji (1995). The film has some really cool visual effects and action scenes which can be experienced better with IMAX or 4DX. At first, the film quickly rolls over all the four real-world characters with very less introduction, but as the film jumps to their counterpart characters in the game, in-depth character development is explored. Each of lead character has some weight and have its own moments. Kevin Hart and Jack Black shine in their comic roles, as they always do. The story is a bit fast-paced at some places yet compelling enough to grab the audiences’ attention. The villain character is just wasted, having zero character development. The film also gives a sincere tribute to Robin Williams, star of the first film, one of the best moment in the film.

Verdict : A comedy entertainer, worth a watch.

Rating : 3.5/5

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away..

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the fantasy adventure and 8th installment film in the epic Star Wars saga created by George Lucas. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson. Going to watch the Star Wars film in a movie theatre itself is a mesmerizing experience, that too when a theatre is full of fans dressed in different Star Wars outfits, t-shirts, and wearables. Some from the audience waves lightsaber in the air chanting one-liners. Then as soon as the film starts with classic John Williams background score and as the Star Wars opening crawl “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away..” comes up on screen, all the fans start shouting joyfully together in the excitement which really shatters the whole theatre and literally gives goosebumps.

The film starts right where the Star Wars: Force Awakens (2015) had left off, Rey (Daisy Ridley) flies from Resistance to find and seek the help of former Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) against the tyranny of First Order run by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) and his conflicted apprentice Kylo Ren/Ben (Adam Driver). On the other hand, under the leadership of Leia (Late Carrie Fisher) with Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega), to keep the hope alive Resistance is fighting against the First Order troops lead by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie).

This is so far spectacularly the best film in the Star Wars universe. The visuals are so good and beautiful that shots literally remain in memory for a long time. The dogfight scenes between Star-fighters and Tie-fighters along with Millennium Falcon are just awesome. There are a lot of fan service moments which fills the audience well with satisfaction. Lightsaber Duels are the heart of Star Wars film, no Star Wars film can be complete without it, and this film fulfills that heart. The story of the film with little deviations here and there lands everything perfectly and that too with unexpected and surprising turns of events. All the characters played really well in the story justifying it’s all aspects. The performances of all the lead characters, in particular, the comeback of Luke Skywalker as lost but wise teacher is the best. The film touches many deeper secrets of the force and leaves the fans just thinking about it.

Verdict : Visually spectacular Star Wars film with unexpected turns of events is just an amazing experience. Worth a watch.

Rating : 4/5