Category Archives: Reviews

Movie Reviews

Joji Review

Joji Review – Joji is a Malayalam dark crime drama released in 2021. The story revolves around a family of brothers where everything seems to go fine from the outside but internally greed lurks around. How a simple amazon order triggers the chain of events that would bring out the worst in people is what Joji is all about. Joji is a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Joji is Dileesh Pothan’s third outing with Fahad Faasil after Maheshinte Prathikaram and Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum. One could notice the signature style of Dileesh Pothan’s world that captures the essence of reality as it is. This one may not be pleasing to anyone and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are people who dislike this movie.

Dileesh has taken time to introduce the characters and the surrounding of the story visually without explicit words. A courier delivery person riding through a small town and then through rubber plantations to reach Joji’s house, the empty dining table in a big house filled with members, each of them not looking into the eyes while talking, absence of any house help for a such a big wealthy family and many more such visuals tell you a lot about the family.

Fahaad’s performance as Joji is brilliant. He has lost a lot of weight for this character. He is the son that his muscular father is not very proud about. He treats him like a trash as he is just a boy in a blanket, for he feels solace is confining himself to his closed room (Joji’s palace) wrapped in a blanket. He tries hard to impress the family that he has a seat at the table by doing horse trading but none of them takes him seriously.

The only person in the house on whom he can exercise some control is the son of his eldest brother. The other person in the house, who treats him equally is his sister-in-law ( wife of his second brother ). When the father of the family meets with an unexpected accident that puts him in mortal danger, the dark side of the family turns up. It’s not just the family the film also brings out the selfish nature that is everywhere. His father’s friend asks the son to get the liquor bottle from his father’s case while his father is still unconscious. The priest is obsessed with the latest gadgets. The people spreading rumors around the mishap in a wealthy family,

The only sequence that happens outside of the estate is few shots at the hospital. Otherwise, the entire movie happens within the estate. For the most part of the movie, there is no background score but at key moments the symphony kicks in elevating the impact of the scene to a different level.

High Points: Direction of the movie, performance of Fahad Faasil, background score, visuals.

Low Points: Its a slow burner and is very dark. It may note suite the taste of general audience.

Overall Joji is an excellent film that stays very true to its genre. Once you get connected to the world, you would feel you have lived with the family for 90 odd minutes. If you love slow burner, crime dramas then don’t miss Joji.

Must Watch

CHOIR GIRL REVIEW

CHOIR GIRL REVIEW Choir Girl is a dark drama in English released in 2020. A photographer from lower economic strata becomes obsessed with a street prostitute in his neighborhood. Their unusual friendship unfolds into a gritty and gripping tale as they try to make a life for themselves.

This is a debut movie for director John Fraser. I didn’t get a feeling of watching a debutant’s movie. It was engaging right from the first scene till the end. The writing of the movie is brilliant in terms of character development and plot progress. In the first few minutes of the movie, you understand the plight of the two lead characters and their motive. The cramped room of the photographer versus the perfect symmetry of a high-class society which he is longing to get into is brilliantly framed. The scenes and expressions of the lead characters convey a lot beyond the dialogues.

The uniqueness of the plot comes in terms of the characters whose unusual friendship and obsession complicates the knot. The climax is very well made and it is something not easy to guess. The use of black and white makes it go well with the photographer’s tale and also builds more tension to the scene.

High Points: The lead character development, uniqueness in the plot, cinematography, background score, and the climax

Low Points: This movie has a strong appeal to the lovers of dark and gritty drama. It may not appeal to the folks who do not love dark gritty drama.

Overall, I had the same feeling of watching Following directed by Nolan after watching Choir Girl. I am looking forward to the future works of John Fraser. This is a must-watch if you love dark thrillers.

Must Watch

Asuran Review

Asuran Review – Asuran is a Tamil crime thriller released in 2019. When powerful landlords in the village, try to overpower the poor farmers to take over the land, the family of Sivasami doesn’t budge and the following events turn into an endless revenge saga between families.

I always wish that Indian directors make movies on already written material than trying to create material on their own every time. Director Vetrimaaran has taken a step if followed by other fellow directors in this country could change the landscape of Indian Cinema in a positive way. Kudos to him for making a movie based on a novel Vekkai by Poomani. This makes the content very rich, characterization very deep-rooted and overall movie a very engaging one.

I haven’t read the novel so I may not be able to comment on how much true to the book the movie has been. My analysis is mostly on the structure of the movie. The structure of the screenplay is much akin to the structure of the cult classic commercial movie Baasha. Due to the rural treatment and the message in the movie, it also resembles Devar Magan in many ways. An innocent protagonist, who doesn’t raise voice against atrocities has a dark past in which he is akin to a menacing Villain, the secret breaks right at the interval block and then dwells into the past to establish the gory side of the protagonist, coming back to the present to close the proceedings. While many directors have tried to emulate the success of these movies have miserably failed, Vetrimaaran banked on the content which eventually created a successful product.

I was very intrigued by the fact of the choice of the name Asuran. In Hindu mythology, the Asuras were always looked down upon by the Devas and were constantly at war between each other. Devas also made peace with Asuras whenever they needed some work to be done with them like in the case of churning the ocean to create Amruth. In the movie too, the landlord keeps a good pact with Dhanush till he is preparing liquor that helps his business grow. It is only later he realizes where his real place is and things change. Even the scenes involving the insult of the upper cast before women, the insult he takes for her laughing and the way he avenges for it are all in correlation to the Deva and Asura wars. In that way, it is a befitting the title.

The characters are sketched well. Although Dhanush becomes of prime importance in the second half, other characters still have a convincing life cycle. It is nice to see Pasupathi and Prakash Raj on screen after a while. The choice of Manu Warrier to play Dhanush wife as well is a great choice. She has a lot more scope in the first half of the movie.

The locations in which the movie is shot adds a more convincing tone to the whole narration. In particular, the forest sequences are taken very well. The background score is the soul of the movie and GV Prakash has done a phenomenal job in scoring the BGM.

High Points – Strong content, Interval Block, background score, depth of characters, visuals of the forest sequence, action blocks, raw treatment

Low Points Too much violence might not appeal to everyone.

Overall Asuran is a very well made commercial crime thriller. It has all the ingredients that would keep you glued to the chair until the end and leave you with a powerful message. It is now available in Amazon Prime.

Must Watch

Joker Review

Joker Review – Joker is an American psychological thriller released in 2019. The movie is based on the famous DC Villain Joker and traces his origin story.

After the rave reviews, the movie has been receiving, I had finally watched Joker on the IMAX screen. It is a movie that breaks the fourth wall of sorts where it requires the involvement of the audience to interpret and make sense of the proceedings. It leaves you with a lot of emotions about what you have witnessed. It sort of symbolizes the rise of a dystopian society that Gotham had become later as you would have watched in Batman movies.

The movies opening scene paints the picture of the city that it is becoming. Arthur is putting on his clown make up, metaphorically putting on a happy face when the city is gone to the rats as it is conveyed by the newsreaders in the news channel. Rise of rats indicates the rise in the homeless people in the city living in makeshift shelters leading to the rise of rodent menace. The government is trying to control the rodents rather than addressing the source of the problem. There is a joke that gets aired in the Murray Franklin show on TV calling the rodents as super rats and the solution is to fight them with super cats. A sarcastic take on the tryst between Super-Villains and Super-Heroes is brilliantly weaved into the story.

The economic divide in the city has become so huge that the quality of life of the jobless people is in a very pathetic state. Arthur is just a representative of them where he craves an identity by fantasizing himself to be a successful standup comedian. Post the dramatic turn of events ( not revealing them here to avoid spoilers ), the prospective candidate for the Mayor, Thomas Wayne calls them clowns by accidentally giving them an identity that unites them.

The rest of the movie is about how Arthur’s life takes a turn with the turn of the events and what he becomes eventually. The climax is very open-ended letting you reflect and create your own version of the story.

Joaquin Phoenix is literally in every frame of the film and has delivered a very commendable performance. The hysterical laugh convinces you of a man who has a condition of mental illness. Director Todd Philips has given a movie that is much beyond the movie made out of comic. Joker can be an independent movie that has a lot to convey without having the link to the comic.

High Points: Performance of Joaquin Phoenix, the open-ended climax that leaves room for interpretations, the soundtrack from Frank Sinatra classics, the gripping dark screenplay.

Low Points: The film is dark, gritty and bold which may not appeal to the taste of folks who do not like it.

Overall, Joker is here to stay as a cult movie for very long and is arguably one of the best performances of Joaquin Phoenix yet. Joker is not just an origin story of Super-Villain but a movie that paints the side effects of the inequalities in society.

Must Watch

Parasite Review

Parasite Review Parasite is a South Korean black comedy movie released in 2019. The movie explores the significant divide in a society based on the socio-economic background through the two families at extreme ends of financial status.

Director Bong Joon-Ho has attained legendary status and like all his previous movies this one too left me with an awe for the number of layers this simple black comedy had and its reflection on the subject it deals with. Every frame has been thoughtfully constructed to create a visual representation of the core theme of the movie. As Kim’s son always say it is metaphorical.

  1. The long staircase Kim’s family takes down to reach their house when they return from the house of the Park family.
  2. A house that doesn’t let visitors walk inside the gate without permission to the sub-basement makeshift house where people pee outside the window without any remorse.
  3. A family thanking the rains for it has made the city greener to the family that had to spend a night at the gym among hundreds of people as their house got flooded with shit due to the rains.

As the movie begins at the poor man’s dwelling in a sub-basement, with the family discussing the wifi connection which they were connecting to now has a password, you tend to think the family living in the basements are parasites metaphorically. And as they all get placed in various jobs at Park’s house this feeling is more cemented. Here is the genius of Bong Joon Ho where he makes you feel a certain way and leaves you guilty for the thought process as the movie progresses and you are truly confused about who or what the real parasites are. The same treatment I had very much enjoyed in his movies Memories of Murder and Mother.

Song Kang-Ho yet again delivers a stellar performance. He can just transform into any role just like that. The treatment of the script through comedy just falls in his comfort zone and he delivers it with ease. All the characters in the movie are well written and their character arc as the movie progresses is beautifully constructed.

High Points: Brilliant screenplay and narration. The metaphorical construction of the scene that goes well with the theme of the movie. Performance of the actors.

Low Points: Hardly any low points for this movie

Overall Parasite is yet another legendary work by Bong Joon-Ho. It grows on you through powerful visual storytelling and some brilliant screenwriting. If you get a chance to watch this in any film festivals don’t miss it.

Must Watch