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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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

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

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

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.

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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.

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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

Searching (2018) – Movie Review

I didn’t know my daughter.

Searching is a drama mystery thriller film co-written and directed by Aneesh Chaganty. It is the first its kind film, where the film sets completely on smartphones and computer screens.

The film revolves around David Kim (John Cho), a single working father. David is raising his 16-year-old daughter Margot (Michelle La) alone, after the death of his wife Pamela (Sara Sohn) from cancer nearly two years ago. Pamela’s death leaves David and Margot in a phase full of grief, and both become distant from each other. The things go from bad to worse when one night Margot goes to a friend’s house for her study-group and does not come back home. Rest of the film focuses on David’s desperate attempts to find his daughter, firstly, by seeking help from police and then by breaking into her laptop to look for clues to find her.

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At very first, the film looks like a conventional missing-person drama, even at some extent the story resembles with Liam Neeson’s Taken (2008), but it is not, it is something quite extraordinary and totally outstanding in its style of inventive storytelling. Along with its absolutely perfect and gripping storyline, the film also shines in its visual execution. At first, it takes some time to understand the film’s screenplay, but when it does, it is just incredible. Not only at the technical front but also film does great on the performances’ side.

The missing Margot’s mystery keeps the audience at the edge of their seat till the end, and talking more about this film may give some spoilers but its climax is of some another level. The film also focuses on the parent-child relationship, and nowadays how speedy life has affected it badly.

Verdict : A truly outstanding storyline and inventive execution. A must watch.

Rating : 4.1/5

Click here for trailer : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ro9ebQxEOY

Andhadhun (2018) – Movie Review

Every Artist has a Secret.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating : 4.4/5

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

Hereditary (2018) – Movie Review

Evil runs in the family.

Hereditary is a supernatural horror mystery film written and directed by Ari Aster, which is also his directorial debut film. The film is receiving really positive reviews and getting acclaimed by critics, who called it “truly, upsettingly powerful on an emotional level”.

The film is centered around a family of Annie Graham (Toni Collette), a miniaturist artist, who is living with her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), their teenage son Peter (Alex Wolff), and their 13-year-old daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro). The film starts at the funeral scene of Annie’s mother Ellen, who was extremely secretive and had not so good relationship with Annie. Following this event, the strange things start happening with each family members, and not so long into the film, the family faces Charlie’s death in a fateful accident, which builds the more tension between family. What follows next is the deadly drama where the family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets, will the family be able to survive this?

The film has defined a completely different genre with horror and emotional gravity. The film has delivered the spine-chilling horror without using much jump scares. The film is unconventional in many aspects and will definitely make you remember The Witch (2015), Get Out (2017), and A Quiet Place (2018). The film is an unsettling, edgy, and really effective mixture of frightening visuals and background score. Most of the scenes are silent, but every time when background score joins the scene it’s just terrifying as hell. The film is slower at some places but picks up eventually. It is strictly not for faint hearted people, and not everybody can appreciate or handle the film filled with grief, others can go and just feel the horror being at the edge of your seat.

Verdict : It is not everybody’s cup of tea. Not everybody can handle uneasy and painful stuff. An artistic, unconventional, and emotional take on horror-mystery genre. The horror film lovers should not miss this at any cost.

Rating : 3.9/5

Pari (2018) – Movie Review

Not a Fairytale

Pari (Fairy in English) is a supernatural horror mystery film co-written & directed by debutant director Prosit Roy. The film stars Anushka Sharma Kohli in a lead role who has also co-produced the film.

The film starts with Arnab (Parambrata Chatterjee), while on the way in a car with his family meets an accident, causing the death of an old lady who was passing by the road. The police get involved and they track the residence of that old lady in the isolated dark forest area, where they find Ruksana (Anushka Sharma Kohli) chained in the house. Now being alone and afraid of the world Ruksana finds shelter at Arnab’s house, and Arnab being filled with guilt kindly accepts it. What happens further? who is Ruksana in real? whom is she running away from? and what is her purpose? these are the questions which keep the audience guessing until the end and gives memorable frightening experience.

Definitely, it is not a typical horror film with overdone background score or jump-scares or the story of possession and exorcism, it is a very fresh and daring attempt to explore the totally different aspect of the horror genre. The film is not what it has promised through its trailers, but it doesn’t mean it’s bad, it is an actually unique supernatural thriller in its own way. The film proceeds linearly with mystery hints at every step. Surely there are some flaws with pacing and execution of the film, but those are actually needed as per the tone of the film. There are some disturbing and unusual scenes in the film, so beware. Anushka Sharma, Parambrata Chatterjee, and Rajat Kapoor have given really good performances, which cover-ups the pacing issue and keeps the film refreshing.

Verdict : It is not an usual horror film. Totally different and refreshing. Worth a watch for horror genre lovers.

Rating : 3.2/5

Aapla Manus (2018) – Movie Review

The Loved One

Aapla Manus (a dear/loved one) is the mystery-thriller Marathi film produced by Ajay Devgn & directed by Satish Rajwade who is well known for his peculiar take on romance-drama films in Marathi.

The film’s plot is very simple, sharp and ruthless Sr Inspector Maruti Nagargoje (Nana Patekar) is investigating a case of fatal accident happened with an old man, who is living with his son Rahul (Sumeet Raghavan) and daughter-in-law Bhakti (Iravati Harshe). Being an investigating officer of the case, Maruti’s prime suspects are Bhakti and Rahul and starts digging deep down in their lives & their relationships with each other. These mind game played by Maruti to find the culprit goes on and on and keeps the audience guessing whether its an accident or attempt to suicide or attempt to murder.

As the genre and the trailer of the film suggested it’s a murder mystery, and yes in the first half film delivers exactly the same, but towards the third act in the second half the film becomes unnecessarily over convoluted and loses its path, and so does the audience. Towards the end unexpectedly the film becomes the overdose of emotions and talks about complexities of relationships. Even some of the generalized statements made by leads are just accepted in the film and not universally, so those cannot become the message through film. The performances of all three leads are apt and believable. In particular, Nana has shined in all his screen appearances, and that’s the only reason for which film is watchable. The story of the film is slow burning, and had some plot holes here and there, but can be neglected. The story had a potential to be one of the best murder mystery thrillers but unnecessary aspects, and cameos, and the weaker script does not let it happen.

Verdict : Plot is good but the end is not. Watch it only for Nana Patekar.

Rating : 3.5/5