Category Archives: Worth a Watch

Baby Driver Review

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

Maanagaram Review

Maanagaram Review – Maanagaram is a Tamil thriller released in 2017. The movie plot revolves around events that happen around Chennai on two nights where the incidents affect people who were strangers to each other till then.

Director Lokesh Kangaraj has created a well-knitted screenplay in his first full-length feature film Maanagaram. His short film Kalam in the anthology of shorts released under the name of Aviyal had been interested in how situations create difficulties and situations make it easy when unexpected. Maangaram follows the same pattern on a bigger scale. The lives of a Don, a police officer, a jobless youth stalking his love, HR manager, a new employee, a taxi driver, small-time kidnappers and school boy cross each other on a fateful night in Chennai. The knots get more complicated as the movie progresses and it makes the proceedings very gritty. The screenplay is engaging right from the word go.

The screenplay is engaging right from the word go. The eerie and uneasiness of a big city is created very well by the director in the first few scenes. When you start hating the city there is this dialogue “People would complain and speak wrong things about this city, but they would never leave it” He has created a very nice character to the city itself. Although it is dark it is very enjoyable. The performances of the lead characters help in moving the story ahead. There is also dark humor in the scenes where Ramdoss comes in. In particular, the episode of him walking into the school to kidnap a boy is hilarious.

High Points: A gripping screenplay, performances of the lead actors, dark humor. No songs which could have otherwise slowed down the pace.

Low Points: Due to the genre this may not appeal to folks who expect a linear tale with one protagonist.

Overall Maanagaram is an excellent first movie from Lokesh Kanagaraj. If you love dark action thrillers, don’t miss this one.

Worth a Watch

The Salesman Review

The Salesman Review – The Salesman is an Iranian drama released in 2016. The couple Emad and Rana move into a new apartment after their current apartment building collapses. Some unforeseen events happen that change their lives forever.

The movie has won the Academy Award for foreign film category for 2016. Director Asghar Farhadi creates a very emotional drama drawing parallels to the “Death of the Salesman” play by Arthur Miller which the couple is enacting in the theater.  The screenplay keeps you guessing until the end. The movie is quite engaging and there is never a dull moment. The climax as it unfolds explores the struggle between anger and forgiveness.

Shahab Hosseini’s performance is a standout in the entire drama. In particular, the way he has performed during the climax portion is impeccable. His performance is ably supported by Taraneh Alidoosti. Her looks convey more powerful emotions. Unlike some run of the mill thrillers where an action is thrilling here the way the characters react to a particular situation causes the thrill.

After such a powerful climax I felt bit hanging in the ending as it was open ended. I couldn’t immediately connect the interpretation that the director wanted us to have. However only later I got the emotional conflict portion between anger and forgiveness. You might be able to draw a different interpretation. If you do share it in the comments section. Although this is a well-made movie, I wasn’t sure if this is path breaking to win an academy award compared to the other nominations we had in that category.

High Points: A very engaging screenplay, The performance of the lead actors, the powerful climax and the conflict drawn between anger and forgiveness.

Low Points: If you haven’t read or watched the play “Death of a Salesman” you would find it hard to understand the parallels. The ending leaves you hanging for you to decide the conclusion.

Overall The Salesman is an excellent thriller drama and stands apart from the run of the mill thrillers. You would enjoy this more if you have watched the play by Arthur Miller. The climax being open ended may not connect with everyone.

Worth a Watch

 

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review – Baahubali 2 is a Telugu historical fantasy fiction released in 2017. This movie is a sequel to the Baahubali: The Beginning released in 2015. Shivdu, after rescuing his mother from the prison has to take over Mahishmati kingdom by defeating Bhallaladeva to regain his father’s glory. The movie is also released in Tamil, Malayalam, and Hindi as well.

More than Shivdu’s plight, the expectation has turned towards the reason as to why Kattappa had killed Baahubali. There are no much surprises here. I am not going to reveal it and spoil the fun for you.  The movie is an out and out visual grandeur with a lot of war sequences. The visual effects are quite stunning with some great production quality. Rajamouli is a true magician for he makes everything believable and when you sort of think logic he has slipped in emotions for you to overlook it.  Prabhas, Ramyakrishnan and Sathyaraj have a more elaborate role to play in this edition. Anushka plays a younger avatar and the love interest of Amarendra Baahubali. Rana’s performance comes only in the second half of the movie.

Certain key sequences in the movies have been done really well. The initial war sequence in Anushka’s palace, the pivotal scene of Kattappa killing Baahubali, the interval block. All these sorts of gives you goosebumps.  There are many minimum guarantee cliched sequences as well in an attempt to please a wider variety of audiences like the introduction of Prabhas, catapulting using a Palm tree, the final war sequence. Despite these the movie still keeps you engaged for the 2 hours 47 minutes of run time. The creative touch in the titles using brass statue figures to cover the highlights of the first part of the movie is brilliant.

One of the key element I look forward to in Rajamouli’s movies is the characterisation. The stand out is the characterisation of Rajamaata and Amarendra Baahubali. Rana and Anushka’s characters have been constructed well. I felt Kattappa’s characterization has mellowed down from the first part. He fills in for the role of hero’s sidekick in the first half of the movie. While the performance is enjoyable, but having seen Kattappa fierce fully jumping on his enemies to save Sivagami this did not go well for me. While focussing on visual grandeur the script loses the emphasis on drama. For instance, Anushka trying to practice with two arrows just passes through subtle when compared to Shivdu’s irresistible desire to climb the mountain in the first part. You could see many instances where the script hasn’t given any time for you to soak in the drama of the scene. Whenever the drama is created even fewer instances it is quite a treat to watch for instance Bhallaladeva stopping his father from speaking in the meeting and letting him loose at an opportune moment, the crown ceremony during the interval block.

The climax fight looked to be a cloying overdose of special effects and emotions.

High Points: Visual Effects, the interval block as in the first part, Prabhas, Rana, Ramyakrishnan and Sathyaraj’s performance, the initial war sequences, Kattappa killing Baahubali.

Low Points: Cliched sequences of the hero worship. The BGM scores well in key sequences otherwise it was a forgettable affair for me. Kattapa’s character transformation to be hero’s sidekick performing comical acts. The Catapulting sequence using palm trees.

Overall Baahubali 2 is a much greater visual grandeur compared to its prequel. In a haste to cater to formalities, it fails to bring in the punch like its prequel. Nevertheless, it is a treat to watch this on the big screen.

Worth a Watch

 

 

Split Review

Split Review – Split is an American psychological thriller released in 2017. 3 teenage girls are kidnapped by Kevin who suffers from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). The highlight being Kevin has 23 distinct personalities and there might be a 24th one yet to be identified.

I was lucky enough to have watched this movie without watching the trailer or reading promos, plot, and posters. The experience of walking into an unknown movie plot crafted by M. Night Shyamalan was indeed very intriguing. What sets the plot apart is the conflict within oneself has been portrayed through a set of split personalities within the character. The story slowly unveils some of the significant personalities through the eyes of the girls and the psychiatrist sessions. Every scene is well constructed to feed the audience with a new information and adds complexity to the knot in the plot. The curiosity of the 24th personality has been built well and the way the incidents lead to it is constructed well. Unlike earlier Shyamalan movies where the thrills come in after a slow build up, here it is maintained throughout.

James McAvoy’s performance is a standout in the movie. He has bought in the variations of this multiple personalities mannerisms and behaviors very well. His performance is so convincing in all the roles he has played. Anya Taylor-Joy has the other most prominent role in the movie. Her distinct looks add more mystery to the plot. The non-linear narration of her back story adds a new layer to the movie and convincingly merges with the main plot in the end.

The rule of third has been broken and an exact symmetry appears in the visual. Everything in the visual is so balanced in the center of the screen much like Kubrick’s obsession with symmetry.

High Points: Plot Structure, James McAvoy’s performance, Thrills maintained throughout the plot, a convincing end to the story.

Low Points: M. Night Shyamalan’s sees a thing in a way many may not see. Some may sense a bit of weirdness in the thought process and the movie would not connect with them. You can’t take kids to this movie.

Overall, Split is a good come back for M. Night Shyamalan and the movie ends with a promise to a sequel. If you love psychological thrillers, movies with complex plots then you should not miss this one.

Worth a Watch

Paulina Review

Paulina Review – Paulina is a Spanish drama released in 2015.  A young woman leaves a promising career as a lawyer in Buenos Aires to go back to her suburban hometown and teach in a high school. In a sudden turn of events, she becomes a gang rape victim. Amidst of disapproval from the people she still returns back to teach in the same school.

The movie is inspired by the 1960 movie La patota. I had got to watch this in Bangalore International Film Festival 2017. The movie deals with the subject of a rape victim from a point of view of the victim. The movie explores the point of view which usually is ignored by many movies dealing with the same subject. The movie is characterized by some lengthy shots. It also repeats the same scene in from a different point of view one of the lead character and the other of the different characters in the movie. This has effectively played into the treatment of the plot.

Dolores Fonzi has performed the role of Paulina very well. The way she copes with the situation and stubborn to do what she wants to do is brilliant. The lengthy shot of her walk along with the camera is so impactful.

Many of you may not be able to understand Paulina much like her father or her boyfriend. You dwell more into what is moral and what is the right thing to be done for greater good. She doesn’t speak of morals. She does not harm herself, does not go after to avenge the criminal, does not forgive him. Instead, she wants to find out who he is, wants to talk to him, continue doing what she had been doing in her village. She is a character that is always wanting to live a normal life. When she is faced with some tough questions by her father, boyfriend, and her colleague, she has a blank stare as the answer she wants to give them is beyond words.

High Points: Long shots to increase the intensity of the drama, the two perspective shots from her front and back. The front conveying her perspective and back conveying others is a brilliant stroke.

Low Points: This is not a feel-good tale, it is going to hurt your emotions and in a way make you feel guilty. There is no logic to the solution.

Overall Paulina is a high intense drama that would hit you hard. Still, you can’t forget those look in her eyes questioning the behavior of the society. The society thinks that her life has changed forever after the incident, but she thinks she still has the right to lead a normal life. The contrast is brilliantly portrayed.

Worth a Watch

Kavan Review

Kavan Review – Kavan is a Tamil thriller released in 2017.  Thilak an aspiring Television anchor takes on the task of exposing an unethical practice of the media to sell news.

(Since IPL 10 has started I have used cricketing metaphors :))

Director K V Anand has batted in his home turf. He has also eliminated some of the mistakes in his recent movies. Instead of playing defense there are sixes flying all over the park in the first half. What happens to a match that starts so exciting and a wicket falls? Even some good stroke play gets boring. Kavan’s wicket falls in the interval block. The second half becomes a customary end to the proceedings with some cliched twists.

The first half of the story not only introduces the main characters of the plot but also introduces what happens in the media world to the audience. The tiff between the two lead characters, the social issue all of them adds extra flavour to the whole scene. The only flaw you could point out is some of the elaborate scenes of the reality show and lengthy TR dialogues could have been made crisp. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining first half and sets up your excitement for the second half.  K V Anand also has teased the audience with a dramatic interval block but reverses it to what fits in with the story.

The second half is a let down for me. Although the social issue takes the center stage, the script runs out of ideas for moving the story adding additional knots and removing them very convincingly. Everything looks a bit artificial. In the climax scene, there is no tension at all as you know the hero is going to win as he has the upper hand. If you had empathized on the villain you might have some thrilling moments here.

Coming to the checklist of KV Anand, many of it is fulfilled in this one like a party song, romance on the top of a high mountain peak, KV Anand trolling himself, a social issue. But for one thing having a song after the death of a character.

High Points: Very engaging first half, the core plot of exposing unethical media practices, Vijay Sethupathi and Madonna Sebastian’s screen presence.

Low Points: Lengthy dialogue scenes, Cliched second half.

Overall Kavan would be a treat for masala movie lovers where you want to watch a movie without thinking anything. Hence this gets a Worth a Watch verdict.

Worth a Watch