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
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
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
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.
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
The Girl on the Train Review – The Girl on the Train is an English mystery thriller released in 2016. The movie is based on the novel of the same name written by Paula Hawkins. A woman becomes an alcoholic post the separation from her husband. In her daily commute to New York by train, she sees an attractive couple residing in the neighborhood of her ex-husband. The everyday glimpses of their life catch her attention that it soon it turns into an obsession.
I haven’t read the novel. However seeing how the movie goes I believe the movie has done proper justice to the novel. Director Tate Taylor has given life to the characters in the novel. The movie starts with a bang. While the lead lady gets curious about a couple, the audience gets curious about the lady herself. Post the initial establishment of the character the pace takes a nose dive and moves at a snail pace till a major turning point around 30 minutes into the movie that shakes things up and we are glued to the screen once again. From then on it is a very thrilling ride. Although I could predict the ending, I still loved the way the movie has been shot and enjoyed watching it.
Emily Blunt has played the role of an alcohol addict very well. We travel and see things in her perspective throughout the movie.
High Points: The plot of the movie is engaging, the performance of Emily Blunt, the suspense is held throughout.
Low Points: The initial 30 minutes of the movie is slow, however, the remaining 90 minutes make up for it. The role of the detective didn’t gel well in the movie. I believe in the novel the character might have been explained better.
Overall if you love mystery thrillers you can’t miss The Girl on the Train.
Worth a Watch