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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An Epic Journey of MCU to Endgame (2008-2019)

Whatever it Takes..

It’s been over a decade that Marvel Cinematic Universe has been around entertaining the fans worldwide through its superhero adventure stories based on the Marvel comics and the characters created by Stan Lee.

Over a period of ten years, MCU has established many superhero origin stories in the same universe. And now, MCU has reached the point where all these stories are going for an epic crossover, where Earth’s mightiest superheroes are going to assemble to fight the battle against greatest villain universe has ever seen.

The MCU had kickstarted with Iron Man (2008), which came out on May 2nd, 2008. The script was not completely finished when filming began, since the filmmakers were more focused on the story and the action, even the makers were not sure about what they were doing, despite all these difficulties Jon Favreau, the director of the film has pulled off everything so brilliantly, that eventually had laid the foundation of what MCU today is. The casting of Robert Downey Jr. as TonyStark/Iron Man was considered very risky for the project because of his past but Jon Favreau commented: “The best and worst moments of Robert’s life have been in the public eye. He had to find an inner balance to overcome obstacles that went far beyond his career. That’s Tony Stark. Robert brings a depth that goes beyond a comic book character having trouble in high school, or can’t get the girl.”, and today we see Robert Downey Jr. as the biggest star of MCU who has ignited the never-ending flame of incredible filmography.

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From the very start, MCU hinted upcoming crossovers in the post-credit scenes, and from that point, it became a trend. So even after the film ends, fans still wait on their seats for these little scenes until the screen gets completely black. It started with the post-credit scene in the very first Iron Man film. In that, the fans were teased with the appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., who approached Tony Stark for an Avengers initiative, and that’s where seeds for this greater universe were sowed. In the same year of 2008, along with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk (2008) was also released, and in this film also Tony Stark has made an appearance in the post-credit scene, which again hinted the crossover of superhero films in the near future.

Iron Man was Marvel Studios’ first self-financed movie but then in 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Entertainment for USD $4 billion. After this acquisition, the studio has not stopped yet and has delivered 21 in the saga out of planned 22 films. Avengers: Endgame is going to be the 22nd and final film in this chronology on three phases. Later, they’ve also added the 23rd film Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019), which will get released in July 2019. MCU has defined the solid style of interconnected filmmaking where different stories are running in the shared universe and concluding together in the end. The MCU has maintained their timeline of events happening in different films pretty well apart from the Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) which had some incorrect timeline as confirmed by Joe Russo in one of his interviews.

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Iron Man serves as the perfect start to the MCU and is surely the best origin story ever put to screen for a comic book character. After the success of Iron Man, the next milestone was The Avengers (2012) and before that MCU introduced the new superheroes through films like Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Thor (2011), which assembled the core Avengers team. Making the team of Avengers alive on the silver screen was one of the most ambitious projects MCU had ever done in the past. If we call Iron Man as the foundation, then The Avengers surely can be called as the backbone of this shared universe. The Avengers grossed over $1.5 billion worldwide and became the third-highest-grossing film during its theatrical run—as well as the highest-grossing film of Marvel production till the present day. And all the credit for its success goes to Joss Whedon who has co-written and directed the film, which ultimately fetched him a chance to direct Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

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MCU’s all the planned 22 films are divided across three different phases. The chronological order of these films is as follows :
Phase One: Iron Man (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), Iron Man 2 (2010), Thor (2011), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012).
Phase Two: Iron Man 3 (2013), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015).
Phase Three: Captain America: Civil War (2016), Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Captain Marvel (2019), Avengers: Endgame (2019).

In the first phase, MCU introduced the core characters through their standalone films and kickstarted the Avengers saga. Going forward, in the second phase, they not only introduced some more new characters and films having their roots connected but also discovered some deeper aspects of the existing members of the Avengers. Now, in the third phase, all the separate threads from previous films are coming together and are forming a big picture. Apart from the characters in the core Avengers team of phase one, the studio has also introduced some new superheroes like Ant-Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Guardians of the Galaxy, with similarly intriguing storylines.

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All these superheroes have already joined the fight against the Mad Titan in last year’s Avengers: Infinity War (2018). In that film, the major and 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 very talented director duo Anthony and Joe Russo made it possible altogether, who has previously directed Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016). Russo brothers have found the perfect balance between comic and intense moments in their superhero 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.

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Along with the mighty superheroes, every MCU film has portrayed equally or more powerful villains – the villains which would act as the most important arcs in defining who the superhero really is. In the 1st phase of the Avengers, Loki played the villain character and threatened the Earth’s very freedom, which eventually united the Avengers. In the 2nd phase, Avengers faced the catastrophe in the form of Ultron, the AI program, which made the Avengers think about the meaning of their own existence. And Now, in the finale of the 3rd phase, the Avengers have come face to face with Thanos, the mad titan, who has an obsession with balancing the universe by wiping out half of its population.

Infinity War was the culmination of 10 years of MCU’s fascinating stories and characters. The film was titled as Avengers but the film was actually about the villainous character Thanos. The film’s storyline keeps him in the center and follows him through his quest for trying to acquire all the Six Infinity Stones, which are appeared in the previous Marvel films and are located at different places. The film discusses Thanos’ ideology in a really great way. One of his many great quotes, “The hardest choices require the strongest will.” says everything about him. And about his genocidal ways, he calls it mercy. He is so determined that he even sacrifices his own daughter for this cause. He’s not just a psychopathic mass-murderer, he also has an emotional drive, his love for his daughter, which we can see throughout the film’s runtime. He’s a villain with a good cause, the greater good, but with really evil and ruthless ways.

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All powerful Thanos was first spotted in the post-credit scene of The Avengers(2012), and later, in the post-credit scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), since then he was pulling all the strings from background, but in Avengers: Infinity War (2018), he has got the things done by himself. It is the first time in cinematic history when 22 superheroes assembled against one powerful supervillain, which was truly spectacular to watch. At the end of Infinity War, Thanos accomplishes his plan of wiping out half of the world’s population by defeating the Avengers. And now, in Avengers: Endgame, the finale of this epic saga, the fallen heroes are going to get back and fight Thanos one more time. So mark the date, 26th April 2019, and be a part of this never seen before cinematic experience.

Every single character from MCU has earned a special place in fans heart. And as Avengers: Endgame is the end of this saga, the film is gonna be an emotional ride for everyone. This may be the last film in which our favorite characters will reprise their roles (characters may die/end of their contact with MCU). Seeing all our beloved characters once again and maybe for the last time on screen really touches our hearts. And witnessing the fate of all these characters is another best thing about this film.

In every phase, MCU has evolved spectacularly, in terms of storytelling, technological advancements, mesmerizing visual effects. MCU films not only talk about superheroes and villains but also emphasize on emotional drifts of its characters, which enables the audience to root for them. It also talks about family, friends, and relationships which eventually makes it more human. Like any other films, even some MCU films are flawed, either in storytelling, or weaker script, or underdeveloped characters, despite all these factors, and as MCU is seen as a whole, every MCU film has its own fan base and has earned a place in the popular culture. Today, MCU has become the most successful and highest grossing movie franchise of all time and its gonna remain there for a long time.

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

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


Redmi Y2 (Rose Gold, 3GB RAM, 32GB Storage)

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

Raid (2018) – Movie Review

Raid is a period crime-drama thriller film written by Ritesh Shah and directed by Raj Kumar Gupta who is known for his unique take on storytelling. The story of the film is based on the real-life longest running high profile Income Tax raid that was conducted in the 1980s.

The film revolves around very honest and fearless Income Tax Department officer Amay Patnaik (Ajay Devgan), the man driven by rules, who had been transferred 49 times in his 7 years of government service. Now newly shifted in the city of Lucknow with his wife Malini (Ileana D’Cruz), Amay receives some confidential information against Rameshwar Singh/Tauji (Saurabh Shukla), the three times MLA and most feared and corrupt politician in the city. Amay, after verifying the same information, who is not afraid of knocking anyone’s door decides to attempt the raid on Tauji’s big house. Rest of the film portrays intriguing drama which happens between Amay and his department’s team and Tauji and his similarly corrupt family during this raid.

The story of the film is not so convoluted, at the core it is pretty interesting and gripping. The clash between Ajay Devgan as a noble and honest income tax officer and Saurabh Shukla as a corrupt and cruel MLA is worth watching and most entertaining. Even after having so many different characters in the film, only Ajay Devgan and Saurabh Shukla steals every scene they are in. Pushpa Joshi as Amma Ji is the comic relief in the film and fits really well in every situation she is in. The film has some pacing issues and has some totally irrelevant soundtracks which make the film unnecessarily longer.

Verdict : For the performances by leads and unique story alone this film is watchable.

Rating : 3.8/5

Vodka Diaries (2018) – Movie Review

Park your Demons in the Dark

Vodka Diaries is the debut directorial crime mystery thriller film directed by Kushal Srivastava. The film stars Kay Kay Menon, Mandira Bedi, and Raima Sen in prominent roles.

The film starts with ACP Ashwini Dixit (Kay Kay Menon) and Shikha Dixit (Mandira Bedi), living together happily married life in the beautiful town of Manali. In one fateful night, Ashwini Dixit comes across series of four mysterious murders which are somehow pointing at a nightclub, Vodka Diaries. Not so far in the film, Ashwini learns that his wife Shikha is missing, and the people whose murder case he is solving starts to pop out in front of him one by one, for him blurring the line between reality and illusion. Further while trying to solve these impossibilities he gets sucked deeper into the black hole making him doubt his own sanity. Where is Shikha? Is Ashwini hunting or getting hunted? Who is lurking in the dark and pulling all the strings? What is the reality?

The film is clearly inspired by one of the best psychological thrillers from Hollywood (won’t name it here otherwise it’ll get fully spoiled). From the start till before the climax the film is interesting and intriguing, it keeps the audience hooked to it despite the weaker script. Before the climax, it sets all the pieces well and tries to play with audiences’ mind but fails miserably towards the end. There is a notable number of plot holes, and Kay Kay Menon tried with all his strength to cover it up, but can’t be overlooked. Kay Kay Menon’s character is believable, his way of expressing his on-screen emotions is applauding and he sure makes the audience feel for his character, and he is the only reason to watch this film.

Verdict : There is a newness but clearly, it is not a perfect thriller rather disappointing. A one time watch for Kay Kay Menon alone. It would be better if you could have some shots of Vodka before watching this.

Rating : 2.8/5

The House Next Door (2017)

Thanks to The God & The Devil..

The House Next Door is a 2017 Indian horror film co-written and directed by Milind Rau. The film stars Siddharth in a lead role, with him also working on the film as a co-producer and a co-writer. The film simultaneously shot and released in three different languages as Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi; and the film is receiving a surprisingly positive response from the audience even after the publicity like nothing. This film has made its mark among the very few Bollywood’s best horror films after Raaz(2002), 1920 (2008) etc.

In an opening scene, the film gives the glimpse of 1930s era in the British occupied India where a happily living Chinese mother and daughter is shown, and quickly the film traverses at the present time to the happily married couple Krish (Siddharth), a neurosurgeon, a loving husband and Lakshmi (Andrea Jeremiah), caring and loving wife. Not so long into the film, a new Catholic family (D’Costa) consisting a grandfather, a mother, a father/Paul (Atul Kulkarni) and their two daughters Jenny (Anisha Victor) and Sarah move into their neighboring house. The two families being very supportive and caring neighbors, they get along well. A sudden incident at a housewarming party at D’Costa’s house horrifies everyone including Krish and Lakshmi. Following the series of terrifying and thrilling events and unstoppable horror in the first half builds up the solid suspense which does not let the audience take eyes off the screen and continuously makes the story more and more intriguing. These events leave Jenny possessed by the demonic entity in the house whose identity is uncertain which is first recognized as the psychic case but soon leads to her exorcism by Father Joshua (Prakash Belawadi). Who is that demonic entity? What is it’s purpose? What path of hell both families has to walk to battle against these supernatural powers? what are the deadly and violent secrets hidden behind all this? These are the questions which makes a movie much more engaging and serves the purpose right.

There are some really intense moments which can make a viewer disturbed and uncomfortable. As compare to the family of horror films in Bollywood the performances of the leads are just right, supporting cast have not much to serve so those can be neglected. Along with performances the horror elements like scary visuals, camera work, and the jump scare sounds are well utilized and that’s what elevates the film’s entertainment value, and those will definitely send the chills down to the viewers’ spine. At some places, these horror elements overlap each other and it feels like a mess, and sometimes those are overdone. Even after these little drawbacks here and there, this film with very fresh and convoluted but strong plot surpasses the expectations.

Before the opening scene, the film gives it’s sincere thanks to the God and the Devil, which makes people in the hall chuckle but has its own genuine meaning. This film has the potential to be the benchmark for horror genre family films, and yes it literally makes the audience remember Insidious (2010) and The Conjuring (2013)films in smaller details, even in one scene Jenny is seen reading the classic Hollywood horror film The Exorcist’s (1973) novel, what a treat!

Verdict : Horror genre lovers should not miss this at any cost. Go for it, and get haunted.

Rating : 3.5/5