Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle Review – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is an English fantasy adventure movie released in 2017. The spellbound board game is back in its newest avatar as a video game. Though the format is changed, the adventures and the perils it brings remains the same.
I didn’t realize this is the 3rd installment of the franchise. I remember the first one featuring Robin Williams is a classic. I had my doubts looking at the star cast if I would enjoy this one. But I was proved wrong. This is the first 4DX movie I had watched it on screen. It was a very nice experience and Jumanji suited well as I could feel the pull of the gravity as they fall down, ride on the bike, fly the chopper through the jungle. It is totally worth it for the 4D experience.
The story is very much along the lines of the Jumanji Franchise. They have chosen stars who suit the characters well. The irony of having an opposite physique compared to their real world appearance is an interesting twist. In particular, I enjoyed the character of Jack Black. He could play such roles with ease. Kevin Hart’s performance brings smiles to your face. The ending is predictable but nevertheless, the journey keeps you glued to the seats. Kids would enjoy this a lot, like many of us enjoyed the first part.
High Points: Jumanji Franchise, Cast Ensemble, Jack Black’s performance, Kevin Hart’s comical performance, 4D experience, use of video gaming, Visual Effects
Low Points: Predictable ending
Overall Jumanji offers you a fun ride just like the first one did. Despite the predictable nature of the scripts, the events that unfold make it a very interesting watch. If you have access to 4D screens do watch it on 4D as it is much more fun. Go and watch it with your kids.
Worth a Watch
Aruvi Review – Aruvi is a Tamil social drama film released in the year 2017. Aruvi a girl is being interrogated for her involvement in an incident that puts her under suspicion of being a terrorist.
A team of new faces has come together as a team to create a movie that is very sincere to the script and the plot. Without any commercial frills, the movie has the material that would keep the audience engaged throughout. The most striking performance comes from the lead star Aditi Balan who has performed the role with ease and she creates an impact that was intended by the role. The first 20 minutes of the movie revolves around the growing up phases of Aruvi with flashback sequences. Songs and humming have been used as the part of the background score for these sequences, that has striking contrast against the present day dark and gloomy interrogation. The growing up phase through a series of montages brilliantly covers the growing phase of a girl. This one is a fantastic example of using visual language to precisely convey the story on screen. The entire growing up phase is compressed into a ten-minute sequence without any explicit narration.
The holding back of suspense of what bought Aruvi to the place she is in right now has been handled brilliantly. Though an emotionally heavy subject, the director has handled by adding some humor to it like how Aruvi sees her life despite the condition she is in. Kudos to the director Arun Prabhu Purushothaman for handling a very sincere script with new faces so well. Also, the movie is not at all preachy with some message.
High Points: A very strong script, no unnecessary commercial cliches, performance of Aditi Balan
Low Points: Any low points can be easily forgotten and forgiven due to the good execution of the script.
Overall Aruvi is a very sincere attempt that would go a long way in setting an example of how a script based on the story without commercial cliches and without being preachy would still work well with the audience.
Must Watch – for the novel attempt
Theeran Adhigaram Ondru Review – Theeran Adhigaram Ondru is a Tamil crime thriller released in 2017. The movie is based on a true story where a cop and his team has to solve the mystery of people getting attacked and killed at their home for jewels and money.
Director H Vinoth comes up with yet another compelling tale after his Sathuranga Vettai. I loved Sathuranga Vettai very much for its dialogues and screenplay. So naturally, I had expectations around Theeran. Vinoth did not disappoint at all. It is a very racy thriller right from the word go. Karthi has essayed the character of Theeran very well and is a strong backbone for the movie. Bose Venkat has ably supported him throughout the movie. Vinoth has cleverly mixed some of the commercial elements into the movie without much adulterating the compelling tale. Abhimanyu Singh as Oma has performed very well as the villain. The scenes involving him certainly send some shivers down the spine.
The amount of research done by Vinoth is evidently visible. Right from the police training scene to the history animation he has given much attention to the details. The love portion involving Rakul Preet Singh and Karthi is interesting too and blends in well with the theme of the story. Wish our commercial film directors do this instead of bolting on romance and comedy scenes to the movie.
High Points: A well-researched plot, engaging screenplay, location selection, performances of Karthi and Abhimanyu Singh.
Low Points: There are certain scenes made over dramatic in the second half which seem to be touching the border of going overboard. But these scenes do not become a huge distraction.
Overall Theeran is a well researched and an engaging cop thriller based on true events. Vinoth has yet again struck with an engaging drama that keeps the audience entertained with some power-packed performances.
Mersal Review – Mersal is a Tamil action drama released in 2017. Maaran a doctor who charges just 5 rupees for treating patients is suspected to be on a spree to kill people in the medical profession.
I watched Mersal after much of the hype around it settled down. There has been a huge expectation on the movie after the success of Theri at the box office. Director Atlee has stuck to only commercial elements that work for any mass hero movies to create Mersal. Vijay has a triple role to play this time. Evaluating this movie from a commercial mass masala film genre, it falls short of engaging throughout. The story is based on some superficial philosophy and wherever the screenplay drags Atlee has used the dialogues around the glorification of Tamil and Tamilan to appease the audience. However, this does not fit the tale. Too many characters with 3 heroines and 3 Vijay there is very less time on the screen to complete their introduction and get to the story. Although Vijay tells he needs 15 minutes of time to explain the flashback, it actually runs for 45+ minutes and slows down the movie even further. Using the same structure of a 3 act play for the flashback was a bad idea. If this has been inspired by Aboorva Sagodharargal they could have taken a leaf out of the movie to keep the flashback short and quick.
Like I said before the screenplay is inspired by many mass commercial movies. Satyaraj himself says after hearing Vijay’s story that it feels like a Shankar film’s story. Throughout the movie, Satyaraj’s role is to listen to stories and flashback. They could have avoided this patchy non-linear screenplay altogether. SJ Surya’s role as the villain is a treat to watch.
High Points: Vijay’s screen presence, AR Rahman’s background score, SJ Suryah’s role as villain
Low Points: Too many plot holes, Dragging screenplay, Cliched done and dusted scenes.
Overall Mersal is a mixture of Shankar, Murugadoss and Vijayakanth movies put together. If you are an ardent fan of Vijay then there are many fan moments to enjoy in the first half. However, when reviewed as a wholesome product it fails to cross the line.
Wait for DVD/TV
Vivegam Review – Vivegam is a Tamil Action film released in 2017. AK is part of a secret agent team that is on a rescue mission for a console that can trigger an underground weapon to cause mass destruction.
Well, there has been a lot of negative reviews downpouring on this one. I watched this after all the expectations died down. Here is my neutral take on the movie. Vivegam coming from Director Siva I did not have many expectations as I did not quite like Veeram or Vedaalam. However, Vivegam teaser was quite impressive as it promised to be an out and out action movie. Ajith’s physical transformation added more reasons to watch this one. Although there were many loopholes and weak points in the script this one appealed to me better than Veeram and Vedalam.
Ajith carries the movie on his shoulder throughout. His physical transformation and his performance where he has to interrogate the villains mercilessly he scores high. The action sequences, editing, and cinematography has been done very well. Kudos to Siva and team for having pulled an out and out action entertainer with a high production quality. The chase sequence involving Akshara Haasan is one of the high points in the movie that would keep you engaged.
Hero worship and the force-fitted tale of romance have made the screenplay weak. In many sequences, unless you are an ardent Ajith fan you would be like “Really?”. The first five minutes of the opening sequence is a great example of this. The majority of the audience would have been lost by then. Thanks to the engaging first half which kind of compensates for the damage done. The family and emotional angle could have certainly been avoided as it slowed down the pace of the story. Kajal’s character looks so disconnected from the movie. Vivek Oberoi is new kind of villain who overpraises the hero to have a kick in defeating him. But this has certainly not worked in the movie. The last climax fight sequence, the director has tried to recreate the effect the Dhool climax with a song in the background. This too hasn’t worked well as you don’t emotionally connect with the scene.
Overall Vivegam stands out from the normal masala movies for its high-quality action sequences and good production value but suffers from weak characterization. You might enjoy this one when played on TV.
Wait for TV/DVD
Kurangu Bommai Review
Kurangu Bommai is a Tamil Thriller film released in 2017. A simple and straightforward person Sundaram works in the timber shop of a goon in Tanjore. Despite the displeasure of his family and society, he is very loyal to him. When he is entrusted with a work of transporting a high cost smuggled statue, it leads to unexpected events.
Nithilan has created a very compelling thriller in Kurangu Bommai. Right from the time the knot is made the movie holds you to the seat barring the love portion which seemed very detached from the movie slowing down its pace badly. The non-linear narration style of the movie has worked out very well that keeps the audience glued much earlier. The choice of the cast is a very interesting one and it has worked very well for the movie. Bharadhiraja’s performance is a standout. Viddharth yet again has chosen a very good script. The character of Elango Kumaravel is a very interesting one in the movie. Things get dark once his character is introduced and he has played in very convincingly which is in a very much contrast to the comedy portions he usually plays in Radha Mohan movies. The movie’s duration is less than 2 hours which makes it crisp and interesting.
Having said this there are certain loose ends to the script that did not connect well. The love portion and the duet portion although taken well did not fit well into the tale. As they don’t help the movie in moving forward. The police station sequence was a bit overboard for the nature of the script. For folks looking for a Neram kind of climax, there will be a disappointment.
Overall Kurangu Bommai is a very interesting Dark Thriller. If you are a fan of thrillers do watch this one for sure. Kudos to Nithilan and team for making a good thriller.
Worth a Watch
John Wick: Chapter 2 Review
John Wick: Chapter 2 is an English action film released in 2017. John Wick has to return back to his dark life owing to the marker he had sworn by.
After a franchise becomes popular with the audience there is always an irresistible temptation to make a sequel to ride the popularity wave. More often than not the sequels fall flat owing to high expectations or lack of naivety the original film carried. Only very few franchises have been successful in making a sequel that is much more powerful than the first part itself. John Wick franchise joins the list. The Chapter 2 is as compelling and enjoyable as the first chapter. Like in the first chapter this is meant for action movie fans. If you are not a fan of action flicks then you may not appreciate this much.
The gunfights and the martial arts combat has been taken to the next level and choreographed very well. The world of John Wick expands and you get to learn newer rules in the world and also the power of how interconnected the world is portrayed very beautifully. The final scene of the movie is a great example of it. The movie starts with an adrenaline pumping hunt down sequence where John gets his car back. This serves as a good appetizer and then you are served with a delicious main course. Keanu Reeves has portrayed his character as well he has done in the first part. He is very good to watch in the stunt sequences.
High Point: Stunt choreography, Keanu Reeves performance, the portrayal of interconnections in the gangster world, The metro station sequence, Gunfights, Sound effects.
Low Point: If you are not a fan of action movies then you would find this not so interesting.
Overall John Wick is here yet again to take you to his world with rules and entertain the action movie fan in you as much as he had done in the first chapter. With the second chapter clicking so well there is a great anticipation on the third chapter.
Must Watch – for action movie fans