Ready Player One – Ready Player One is an English action fantasy movie released in 2018. In the year 2045 virtual worlds are an escape route for people not doing great in reality. The master game creator Halliday leaves a message prior to his death about an easter egg in his famous game Oasis. The one who finds it would inherit Halliday’s wealth and control Oasis in the future.
The movie is based on author Ernest Cline’s novel under the same name. Spielberg has given a visual form to the novel and it has worked very well. The fans of movies like The Matrix and Inception would find similarities of the plot switching between the virtual and real world.
The first 10 minutes of the movie takes the viewers on a journey of the world in 2045. The scenes in the stacks as Wade climbs down from his house gives glimpses of people’s addiction to the virtual world and it has a striking resemblance to the addiction to mobile devices we see around today.
The movie gets on with the actual challenge from the word go, the pace of the screenplay is quite racy and maintains the pace. It is akin to the most happening virtual world. There are very fine references to many movies in the virtual world, that every movie buff would enjoy. The visual effects of the virtual world as well the stack in the real world is very stunning.
High Points: Racy screenplay, visual effects and the construction of virtual worlds, memories of some famous movies.
Low Points: Folks who find the concept of virtual world and gaming world as a silly manifestation of reality may not connect with the movie.
Overall Ready Player One is a visual treat for movie buffs, particularly if you love movies in the fantasy and action genre. Spielberg has given a movie that has much appeal to the newer generation.
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
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
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
The Hitman’s Bodyguard Review – The Hitman’s Bodyguard is an English action comedy movie released in 2017. A professional bodyguard Michael Bryce is assigned to escort a notorious hitman Kincaid as he is the only physical evidence who can testify against the dictator of Belarus.
Action Comedy movies are bit tricky as you may either like it or not like it. Everything depends if the comedy suits your taste or not. The movie definitely has some very good action sequences and thrilling moments. However, the comedy involved may not please everyone. Ryan Renolds and Samuel Jackson use their star power to advance the movie. The action sequence involving the chase sequence in the climax has been shot very well. The contrast in the characters of the two lead men has been written very well where Michael believes boring is good which means everything should be uneventful while Kincaid lives dangerously.
There is never a dull moment in the movie and always there is something or the other happening that keeps you engaged. Given the plethora of superhero movies coming out this one doesn’t have the necessary gas to blow you off your mind.
High Points: The plot of the movie is a very interesting one, the lead character’s star value, the character sketch of Michael and Kincaid, the climax chase sequence.
Low Points: The comedy sequences may not have worked for all. The love angle of Michael seemed very cliched.
Overall if you love to watch mindless action movie then this one is for you. If the comedy in the movie connects with you then you would enjoy this more.
Wait for DVD/TV
Vikram Vedha Review – Vikram Vedha is a Tamil Neo Noir film directed by the duo Pushkar and Gayathri. The film released in 2017. The plot is akin to the folklore tales of Vikram and Vethal where Vikram was a righteous king who set out to the deep dungeons to capture Vethal. Vethal kept telling him tales where the lines of right vs wrong were blurred. In the end, the Vethal asked a riddle as to what is the right thing to do. Once Vikram answered it escaped. The movie starts with the animated version of this and the story has the same theme with a police officer and an encounter specialist Vikram after a deadly gangster Vedha.
Madhavan plays the role of the encounter specialist Vikram and Vijay Sethupathi plays the role of Vedha. The plot is definitely a very interesting one that can keep you glued to the seats. Vijay Sethupathi has literally rocked the show in his role as Vedha. From a characterization perspective, this is written strongly as well and has a good character arc. Madhavan too has equally performed well in bringing out the demeanor of an encounter specialist. The movie starts with what appears to be a casual outing for the police team and ends in a deadly encounter mission. Very nicely done and it sets up the tone of the movie and establishes Madhavan’s character very well. Even before Vedha appears on the screen there are tales about him which establishes him as a deadly demon. And when he appears it stays up to the expectation. When he narrates the first story it is quite gripping and the twist of his escape from the situation is also well planted. The movie had been extraordinary till this point.
Post this there are more occasions he narrates the story to Vikram but quite unsure as to why Vikram listens to it patiently. He is shown to be a cop who doesn’t take even seconds to leave the bad people alive. Why does he have to listen to Vedha is still a question. When Vedha knows he would escape from the situation why does he have to tell a story to Vikram is also not established well. We did not know why Vethal told stories to Vikram as well isn’t it. That’s the only analogy I could draw for this.
Shraddha Srinath and Varalakshmi’s roles help in moving the story forward.
High Points: Vikram and Vethal as a plot device, Vijay Sethupathi and Madhavan’s performance, The initial story narrated by Vedha, The background score, and cinematography.
Low Points: The screenplay has many loop holes in the second half and it is hard to reason out why Vikram’s and Vedha’s behavior changes.
Overall Vikram Vedha is a Flamboyant and stylish encounter that would make you whistle at many moments. If you are able to ignore the loops holes in the screenplay you would enjoy this very much.
Worth a Watch
Baby Driver Review – Baby Driver is an English Action film released in 2017. Baby is a young getaway driver who helps in escapes of robbery planned by the mastermind Doc. Baby is usually kept out of the Robbery scene, but during one of the heist when the Doc has Baby visit the Robbery scene hell breaks loose.
The movie has some excellent action sequences and would entice all action movie lovers. Director Edgar Wright keeps the audience right at the edge of the seat from the word go. The scenes are cleverly edited to suit the rhythm of the song. As the focus is only on the driver the heist scenes are not shown but the focus is rightly kept on the escapades. The opening scene where the Baby driver is introduced, he is listening to loud music and singing along with it as he waits for the heist to complete. Once he starts the car and escapes you come to know about his skill in driving. Within those few minutes, the character of Baby Driver is well established. A very good example of character introduction. Adding a layer of tinnitus problem to Baby driver makes it very convincing to have music in the story. The music tracks add an additional layer to the whole story. Every driver has a lucky track is a catchy punch line.
The ending looks a bit ordinary when compared to the whole movie. However, the characterization, action sequences and the music itself provide a lot to enjoy the ride.
High Points: Car chase sequence, editing the scenes along with music, the tracking shot of Baby getting coffee for the team, the music he creates based on the everyday dialogues he hears.
Low Points: A very predictable ending to the story
Overall if you are an action movie lover and enjoy good music then Baby Driver is the movie just for you. Watch it in the theatres.
Worth a Watch