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

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

 

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

The Girl on the Train Review

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

 

Red Jacket Short Film Teaser

Red Jacket Short Film Teaser

Red Jacket is a bilingual short film made simultaneously in Kannada and Tamil. Before I begin writing here is the teaser of both Tamil and Kannada versions.

Tamil Teaser:

Kannada Teaser:

After 2 years of running a blog on movie reviews, my passion towards movies and the movie making process has only grown more. So I decided to experience a movie making process first hand. I created a short film script for a 20-minute short film and decided to direct it. I am happy to announce that the short film is at a completion stage and we released the teaser for the short film yesterday.

The film is a revenge drama, a typical pulp fiction. I chose this genre as I felt this would allow me to experiment the aspects of movie making I wanted to. I request you to view the teaser and do share your comments.

The entire movie making process was very humbling and an eye opener in many aspects. The biggest experience has been witnessing how much the entire process relies on collaboration wherein every individual involved is accountable to make the movie an impeccable product.

Once I release the movie I plan to share some of the highlights of the journey I had traveled, the learnings, about my crew and many more aspects that would be useful for aspiring movie makers. In case any of you have any suggestion on a specific area of movie-making I should start with, share it in the comments I can start with it.

I have included the youtube videos of the teaser on top of this post. Hope you enjoy it. I am eager to hear your comments.

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

I'm not a critic

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