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
Mazhalai Inidhu Short Film Review – Mazhalai Inidhu is a Tamil short film released in 2016. The short film explores the space between the importance to career and personal family life.
In the fast paced moving world with nuclear families and both couples working the time they get to spend with the child gets minimized. In case of high flying jobs, the child often gets lonely and longing for the time with the parents. Mazhalai Inidhu short film does an honest take on the problem.
The plot for the script is very common and connectable one. It also addresses the real world problems in a family. Kudos to the team for choosing it. They have also included the plot devices of showing two extreme characters of one being career oriented and the other willing to lead a balanced life at work. This helps in painting two contrasting picture. The climax of the film is very effective in driving home the message. Meesha Goshal has done the character with ease and is very convincing on the screen. Be it conducting team meetings, chasing down the kid to get ready or breaking down she has done it well. The background score blends well with the theme of the movie. Also, the team has used many different locations for the shoot.
When it comes to a nuclear family the burden should be equally shared between husband and wife. However, the plot hasn’t given importance to that. The length of the short film for its message is a bit too long. It would have been more effective to have it under 20 minutes.
Overall Mazhalai Inidhu is a very good attempt by director Gopinath and team. The team has a good potential for making more such intriguing dramas. Kudos to the team and all the best for their future endeavors.
You can watch the short film here
Lipstick Under My Burkha Review – Lipstick Under My Burkha is a Hindi Black Comedy released in 2016. The movie revolves around 4 women of various age group living in Bhopal. Each one of them has a dream that appears “Rosy” to them.
First and foremost this is a very bold movie and many of you may not like what you see on the screen. Although deep inside it reflects some of the true facts in an overly dramatic fashion that needs to be done to drive the point home. The movie captures the conservative background the four women live in and how contrasting wild their dreams are. A college-going girl Rehana wants to free herself from her Burkha. She idolizes Miley Cyrus and loves Led Zeppelin. Leela, about to get married wants to become an entrepreneur and start a honeymoon package for couples. Shireen, a mother of three kids living with an insensitive husband is a successful sales women and wants to grow in her career and a 55-year-old lady Usha who had lost her husband very young finds solace in fulfilling her desires by reading a soft porn magazine.
The events build up and the transition between the lives of the lead characters are filled in with the description from the book Usha is reading. Rosy is the lead lady in the book and it talks about her dreams. Rosy is a metaphor for the dreams these women wish for. The rosy picture in the dream is not so rosy in reality. There are very brilliant moments in the screenplay subtle yet powerful that exposes the stereotypical nature of the society. The scene where Usha introduces herself as Buvaji and then realizes she has a name. Another scene where Rehana steals items from the shop to look fashionable.
The problem with the plot is not everyone would be able to relate to every woman. But definitely, they would be able to relate to one aspect of it.
High Points: The plot and the premise is an interesting one, the narration style of using text from the book for the transition has worked well, The lead characters have performed well, in particular, Rathna Pathak’s performance.
Low Points: The story touches some sensitive subjects which many might find hard to digest, Due to the content this is an Adult movie.
Overall Lipstick Under a Burka is a bold movie that paints the picture of various stereotypes women are subjected to. Not all that one dream is as “Rosy” as the reality is.
Worth a Watch
Vikram Vedha Review – Vikram Vedha is a Tamil Neo Noir film directed by the duo Pushkar and Gayathri. The film released in 2017. The plot is akin to the folklore tales of Vikram and Vethal where Vikram was a righteous king who set out to the deep dungeons to capture Vethal. Vethal kept telling him tales where the lines of right vs wrong were blurred. In the end, the Vethal asked a riddle as to what is the right thing to do. Once Vikram answered it escaped. The movie starts with the animated version of this and the story has the same theme with a police officer and an encounter specialist Vikram after a deadly gangster Vedha.
Madhavan plays the role of the encounter specialist Vikram and Vijay Sethupathi plays the role of Vedha. The plot is definitely a very interesting one that can keep you glued to the seats. Vijay Sethupathi has literally rocked the show in his role as Vedha. From a characterization perspective, this is written strongly as well and has a good character arc. Madhavan too has equally performed well in bringing out the demeanor of an encounter specialist. The movie starts with what appears to be a casual outing for the police team and ends in a deadly encounter mission. Very nicely done and it sets up the tone of the movie and establishes Madhavan’s character very well. Even before Vedha appears on the screen there are tales about him which establishes him as a deadly demon. And when he appears it stays up to the expectation. When he narrates the first story it is quite gripping and the twist of his escape from the situation is also well planted. The movie had been extraordinary till this point.
Post this there are more occasions he narrates the story to Vikram but quite unsure as to why Vikram listens to it patiently. He is shown to be a cop who doesn’t take even seconds to leave the bad people alive. Why does he have to listen to Vedha is still a question. When Vedha knows he would escape from the situation why does he have to tell a story to Vikram is also not established well. We did not know why Vethal told stories to Vikram as well isn’t it. That’s the only analogy I could draw for this.
Shraddha Srinath and Varalakshmi’s roles help in moving the story forward.
High Points: Vikram and Vethal as a plot device, Vijay Sethupathi and Madhavan’s performance, The initial story narrated by Vedha, The background score, and cinematography.
Low Points: The screenplay has many loop holes in the second half and it is hard to reason out why Vikram’s and Vedha’s behavior changes.
Overall Vikram Vedha is a Flamboyant and stylish encounter that would make you whistle at many moments. If you are able to ignore the loops holes in the screenplay you would enjoy this very much.
Worth a Watch
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.