Category Archives: Must Watch

John Wick: Chapter 2 Review

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 Midnight Matinee Review

The Midnight Matinee Review – The Midnight Matinee is an anthology of shorts released in 2017. The movie is presented in a format of 5 short films which has some interesting twist at the end.

The movie’s presentation kept me curious and engaged throughout. The entire presentation had a feeling of walking into a hall to enjoy variety entertainment. Each of the short films had thrilling moments and a very interesting end. The common theme seemed to be horror. I usually do not like run of the mill horror movies that has a horror for the sake of it. The Midnight Matinee had cleverly used the element of horror without creating a cloying effect.

In an old school theatrical style, every movie starts with a textual introduction and a sort of moral and sarcastic ending. This adds a new layer to the storytelling. In a pure Hitchcock kind of style, the suspense and thrills are created out of most common circumstances rather than bringing in some out of the world sequences. The first movie Open Sea is entirely taken in a found footage style of movie making. The ending makes it totally worth it. Having short bursts of stories gives less room to guess the ending which makes it an interesting watch.

Kudos to the writer, director and producer Justin Doescher and his team for experimenting a new way of story telling.

High Points: Theatre style presentation, Surprise twist at the end of the tale, the element of suspense and thrills.

Low Points: For folks who are not fans of found footage kind of treatment would not enjoy all the short films in this.

Overall The Midnight Matinee is a treat for all independent movie lovers. It stands out from the crowd for its unique style of presentation and the difference in treatment of the script. You would find it hard selecting which of the shorts you liked the most. The movie is available on Amazon Prime. Don’t miss it.

Must Watch

Assassination Review

Assassination Review – Assassination is a South Korean action thriller released in 2015. During the Japan’s rule over Korea, an assassination is planned against the governor general and a pro-Japanese business man.

After director Bong Joon-ho, Choi Dong-hoon becomes my favorite director in the South Korean film industry. Choi Dong-hoon makes very stylish movies with an engaging screenplay with plots and subplots backed by high production value. I had liked his movie The Thieves. Assassination is, even more, a visual grandeur than Choi Dong-hoon’s previous movies.  The movie is a set in a period of the early 20th century. The sets and costumes are created with much detailing to make it convincing. The plot is equally engaging and keeps you hooked on till the end. The movie begins with a bang with the first assassination attempt and then jumps 20 years later where yet another attempt is made. The characters flow through the 20 years and there are some surprise twists with their transformation during this period. Although there are multiple characters in the movie every character connects with you and have some significant screen time. The stunt sequences are well choreographed with the highlight being gun fights. In particular, the final climax gun fight has been done well with so many characters. Choi Dong-hoon thinks ahead of the audience so you are always in for surprises.

Jun Ji-hyun delivers a very contrast performance compared to her role in My Sassy girl. Her performance is one of the highlights of the movie. Lee Jung-jae and Ha Jung-woo’s performances stand out.

High Points: Very stylish visuals, Period based sets, and costumes, Jun Ji-hyun’s performance the assassination attempt at the gas station, characterization of Hawaii Pistol, the Climax fight.

Low Points: There was never a dull moment for me in the movie so the shortcomings are too hard to catch.

Overall, Choi Dong-hoon has created a visual grandeur combined with some clever screenplay. If you love espionage movies or stylish action movies then you would love this one.

Must Watch

Kaatru Veliyidai Review

Kaatru Veliyidai Review – Kaatru Veliyidai is a Tamil romantic drama released in 2017. VC an Indian Air Force fighter pilot is captured by Pakistani army as a war prisoner during the Kargil war, his hope to meet Leela once more keeps him alive.

Director Maniratnam creates a yet another gem out of his “Akshaya Patra” (inexhaustible vessel) of love. He still has some much more stories to tell. In Kaatru Veliyidai, he deals with yet another tale of romance the core conflict being male chauvinism. The canvas for the tale he has chosen is quite interesting. It is a love between an Air Force fighter pilot and a doctor. The swag of a pilot naturally makes the male chauvinist behavior very believable. I will not dwell more on the story and spoil any fun for you.

Ravi Varman’s cinematography is a great plus. The entire movie is a visual treat. The breathtaking view of the Himalayan mountain range makes it even richer. I couldn’t take the eyes from the screen. Extreme close up shots, communicating with eyes, a lesser number of dialogues, a slow movement of the scene to build up the drama all makes it very appealing. I love drama in the movies, off late watching the treatment of directors like Hari, KV Anand and many other directors I have led to believe that slow moving shots, communication through silence all have become old fashioned. But this vintage magic of Mani sir is still magical. Those short and sweet dialogues still evoke the emotions in you. Those silent visuals still teleport you.

The most striking performance is from Aditi Rao Hydari. She is not only eye candy but her eyes speak a lot. The scene in which she looks into the mirror and questions herself, she has performed so well. Karthi’s performance is also good. At times you feel he goes overboard with his performance but all this works well to establish his male chauvinist attitude. RJ Balaji for a change has acted in a mellowed down manner. He could make you laugh even with serious dialogues without trying too hard with mixing Tamil and English.

The music and background score of AR Rahman is very apt for the visuals. Mani sir has re-used some of the iconic romance scenes from his earlier movies shamelessly. And we too would enjoy these shamelessly as they still stay fresh after so many years.

High Points: The treatment of the core conflict of love, Breathtaking visuals, slow drama and communication through silence, Aditi’s performance are all high points.

Low Points: If you don’t like silence in movies or slow drama you might feel a bit restless.

Overall I would say Vintage Mani Sir is back. He still has a lot of love (stories) left in him. If you love movies like Mouna Raagam, Alaipayuthey, Vinnai Thaandi Varuvaaya, you would love this one too.

Must Watch

 

Very Big Shot Review

Very Big Shot Review – Very Big Shot is a Lebanese comedy film released in 2015. Three brothers who are into drug dealing business take up one last job before they set out to go clean and straight to open a restaurant business.

I had watched this movie in the Bangalore International Film Festival 2016. How I wished Tamil movie Jigarthanda’s second half was something like this. Anyways that is my personal views which many may differ to agree. Without getting into that argument let me talk about Very Big Shot. The movie is a gangster drug lord flick at the outset. However, there is a very sensible humor throughout the script right from the first shot. Once the gangsters figure out that film roles are spared from being screened at the airport, they decide to become a producer of a film. The movie gets very interesting from there on and it is a ride filled with loads of laughter.

The screenplay has been done very nicely to ensure there is a logical flow to the whole story. The characters have been created and established the way they fit into the situations well. There is no point it looks force fitted. Usually, comedy movies suffer from the phenomenon of force fitting humor into the script.

High Points: The scene where Ziad (eldest of the brothers) decide to make a movie to smuggle the drugs, the filmmaking scene where the Bhurka clad lady is stopped and the onlookers jump in to create a commotion without realising it is a shooting.

Low Points: As the humor is built around the movie making process, this humor may not work for all.

Overall, Very Big Shot is a wholesome entertainer that would make you laugh and keep you engaged throughout the movie. If you get a chance to watch this one do give it a try.

Must Watch

One Man and His Cow Review

One Man and His Cow Review – One Man and His Cow is a French comedy movie released in 2016. Fatah a peasant from Algeria travels on foot with his Cow Jacqueline to compete in Paris International Agriculture Show.

Yet another gem I had seen during the Bangalore International Film Festival. The movie is a joint collaboration between France and Algeria. This easily is one of the sweetest feel good movie I had watched recently. The best part of the movie is its simplicity. They have used the resources available to them very economically to convey a heart warming story. Fatah and his cow steal the viewer’s heart right from the first scene where he gives a motivational speech to his Cow on how she would win in the competition. The characters in the village are also naive and very realistic.

There is also some excellent screenplay construction of tracking his journey through lessons in a classroom where its everyday task of the students is to point the place in the map where Fatah and his cow are currently. Usually, filmmakers cover it with a cliched map and a red line going through it. But hearing it through the class makes it very interesting.  The class stops tracking him after crosses the border which I believe is a sarcastic indication of how the developed nations are so clueless about the life outside. The introduction of Lambert Wilson’s role as Philippe adds a very interesting dimension to the tale. The interactions between Phillippe and Fatah draw the contrast between the two worlds they belong to.

High Points: The overall feel good factor, The peach drink scene, the scene in which Fatah tries to write a letter to his wife, the climax scene.

Low Points: There is not really a low point in the movie as it is sincere to its screenplay.

Overall One Man and His Cow will make you laugh, touch the soft corners of your heart and bring a big smile on your face.

Must Watch

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove – A Man Called Ove is a Swedish comedy-drama released in 2015. This is based on the book by Fredrik Backman. 59-year-old Ove decides to end his life and join his late wife in the other world. But ending his life doesn’t seem so easy.

This is yet another gem of a movie which I was able to see at Bangalore International Film Festival 2017. The movie is nominated for the Academy awards 2016 under the foreign language films and best hair makeup and styling category. I haven’t read the book yet. The movie was as enjoyable like reading a book. The simplicity of the tale and the reaction of the characters to the day to day problem is a great strength to the movie. There are no larger than life incidents or characters.

Rolf Lassgård’s performance as Ove is the best part of the movie. The other characters in the movies are also sketched beautifully. Director Hannes Holm has maintained the naivety of the tale in the movie as well.  This makes it a very pleasant watch. The movie has good humor that arises out of the characters, situation and the interaction between them. The portions where Ove’s obsession for Volvo cars is involved were hilarious.

High Points: Simple story line, the innocence of the tale is a strong point, Performance of Rolf Lassgård is a big strength for the movie, The romance sequence between husband and wife is picturized well. The humor in the screenplay works very well to keep the audience engaged throughout.

Low Points: For the love of Ove you would tend to ignore any low points.

Overall the movie appears to be a sincere attempt in getting the book to real life. Combined with great visuals and stunning performances the movie is a pleasant watch.

Must Watch