‘It’ Movie Review: Watch It, Fear It

Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer
Duration: 2 hours 15 min
Genre:  Horror
Rating: 3.5/5

Thirty one long years ago, Stephen King published his novel ‘It’ never thinking that years down the line, it will be one of the feared and best horror work witnessed in a long time. Hollywood revisits the old classic and presents us with a movie with the same twisted, evil and horror elements intact.

Coulrophobia- the fear of clowns is a strange yet commonly found phobia. Some have it or some might acquire it after watching the film. The story, set in the backdrop of Derry, a small town in Maine is about a bunch of school kids labelled as ‘The Losers’ Club’, who encounter some spooky incidents which makes them aware about the presence of a murderous supernatural entity. The hide and seek game continues until they finally come face-to-face with the dreary spirit which is none other than a scary clown, who returns every 27 years to exploit on children’s fears. The kids, with their share of fears, bullying troubles and overbearing parents become the target of It who grimly haunts them.

The extremely popular scene of the paper boat swiftly floating towards an old sewer, little Georgie chasing it and a mysterious cloud popping up from the drainage and the eerie dialogue between the two serves as the beginning of the film. Not only the scene sends shivers down our spine but the dialogues like ‘I am the Pennywise dancing clown’ and ‘You’ll float too’ set up the mood for the film. The film does a great job of maintaining anticipation that anything dreadful can happen to any of the kids.

The plot, midway falls on loose tracks and it is unclear why the monster or ‘IT’ targets only seven kids or why does it appear randomly every 27 years. As for the acting, kudos to the talented bunch of kids do a great job and Jaeden Lieberher who does justice to his creepy role. The effortless acting makes up for the few plot-holes the film witnesses.

The quaint American culture, costumes, craftsman houses makes it very evitable that the setting is of some American town. As far as the look of the clown is concerned, the grotesque appearance with hypnotic eyes, red evil grin, strange mannerism, everything captures the evilness perfectly. The cinematography with a balance of long and medium shots as well as the visual effects along with the apt musical score in the background gave brownie points to the movie. Lastly, the red balloon becomes the ultimate essence of fears and horror combined. Love horror- Watch It! Fear horror- yet don’t ignore It!

 

 

Shubh Mangal Savdhan: Movie Review

A Guy and a girl fall in love, decide to have a ‘love-cum- arrange-cum- love’ marriage and their elated families plan a typical North Indian wedding for them. Sounds perfect? Well, it isn’t always Shubh Mangal because sometimes, some things aren’t ‘Up’ for a celebration!

There are three things this movie is high on- Entertainment, Acting and metaphors. Bollywood has progressed by dealing with a bold and tabooed subject of erectile dysfunction in a hilarious yet subtle way. A remake of a Tamil film Kalyana Samayal Saadham,

SMS is a light-hearted comedy with a powerful undertone. The story revolves around the shy Mudit Sharma (Khurrana) who is in love with the starry- eyed Sugandha (Pednekar), who craves a dramatic Bollywood-ishtyle type of romance
before saying ‘I do’. After several failed attempts to approach her, he sent her an online rishta which her family immediately accepts. After their rishta is pakka and roka, very pheeka, she decides to bring that ditzy drama in their courtship. A chance meeting alone in her house heats things up between the two. Alas! steam is blown when he realises he has ‘Gents problem’. Family pressure and a wedding around the corner, he tries to ‘cure’ himself trying every herb and hybrid. What follows next is a series of comic events where the families are also involved in the ‘matter’.

Despite the absence of explicit terms in the dialogue, the film beautifully conveys the otherwise stigmatized issue by using a lot of metaphors (yes, Parle G falling into tea- disheartening!). Bollywood films in the past have always shied away from portraying such taboo issues but movies like Vicky donor and SMS showing it with such ease is a welcoming move.

It was not just Mudit and Suggu who engaged us but also their family members, who tickled our funny bone. As for the ending, it was a sheer disappointment. The idea to make the characters reconcile after a James-bond style Ariel adventure was a turn off. It was sad to see such an interesting built up of storyline get marred by an over-dramatic, clichéd end.

The flow of the film was linear with a foot-tapping soundtrack. While the climax could have been achieved in an interesting manner (100 puns intended), the quirky lines and the typical middle class-Delhi mannerism of the characters along with lots of metaphors, made the film quite an entertaining package.

Image Source: Movie poster from Aajtak

Annabelle: Creation – Breaking the horror sequel trend

Director – David F. Sandberg

Cast – Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto, Stephanie Sigman.

Rating – 3.5/5

It has been a recurring trend in the film world for horror movies in the series succeeding the original to be extremely dull and disappointing. After capturing the horror genre all over the world with Conjuring in 2013, the makers New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Pictures, tried to cash in on the success with Annabelle in 2014 and Conjuring 2 in 2016. As predicted, lacklustre script, typical music and cheap scare tactics resulted in a less than worthy follow up to the widely loved Conjuring series.

Now, it seems the trend has been broken with the recently released film ‘Annabelle: Creation’. This is the fourth film in the series so far and the only one which has been able to live up to the expectations of the first film in the series.

As the title suggests, the film focuses on the origins of the eerie doll Annabelle around which the series has been based. The fact that the doll is not just a fictional imagination makes it even more sinister.

Interesting camera angles add to the already strong visual language of the film. From the image of a cross in a dark room to the gory scenes resembling the crucifixion, the director David F. Sandberg has been able to add so much more character to Annabelle: Creationthan your everyday horror movie.

The story revolves around a group of young girls who have come to live with the Mullins after their orphanage closed down. Accompanied by Sister Charlotte (Stephanie Sigman), the story develops after one of the orphan girls Janice (Taliha Bateman) along with her sweet best friend Linda (Lulu Wilson) find the ominous doll in a room which is supposed to be locked up and is prohibited entry to. Janice, weakened by polio, becomes the easy target as it is common logic that the weak and innocent are the easiest targets for evil forces.

Sandberg has been able to master the portrayal of fear in his characters and this fact has somewhat been able to overshadow the gaps in acting in many scenes. Fortunately, after a good build up in the first half, the movie is able to lead up to an equally gut wrenching climax. The audience are at the edge of their seats as the director has been able to show the common scary tricks and go beyond them to surprise and shock the viewer at the same time.

The barn sequence in the film truly scared the wits out of the viewers. The religious imagery and commentary on the relation between religion and evil in the film has been done beautifully. The narrative of the story has been able to finally connect the entire series as one and not just separate spin-offs under the same banner.

Truly, Sandberg has been able to do some justice to the film. For added kicks, opt for a late night show and enjoy this film which is finally giving a sequel worthy of the Conjuring series.

 

Root for the Planet of the Apes

Caesar’s journey from a tiny, adorable chimp to a fearless leader began with 2011’s Rise, and continued with Dawn in 2013, which showed mankind’s desperate struggle to survive in a planet rapidly being overtaken by apes. Matt Reeves’ latest instalment in the science fiction franchise that no longer feels sci-fi, is War for the Planet of the Apes. Strap yourself in, to witness one of the best endings to a trilogy in recent memory.

In War, we follow Caesar and his clan of apes into the forest, in an attempt at peaceful coexistence with humans. Quickly after the movie begins, tragedy befalls the apes as a battalion of ape-hating soldiers led by a man who calls himself The Colonel, sneak into their hideout. What follows is a story of such thematic depth and visual beauty, that it will have your jaws hanging by the time you walk out of the theatre. The word “War” might bring to mind extravagant battle sequences and slow motion explosions, but don’t go expecting an action fest. It’s a war movie, more in the vein of Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket.

Andy Serkis provides yet another masterful performance as Caesar, with some truly incredible motion capture performance, along with an equally strong cast of apes, including Steve Zahn as Bad ape, who brought unexpected humour into the film and Karin Konoval as Maurice, the wise and gentle orang-utan and Caesar’s trusted confidant. Woody Harrelson gives a good performance as The Colonel, who’s motivations are surprisingly believable. Lower priority is given to human characters but you won’t be complaining, because lets face it, we’re rooting for the apes.

From the technical perspective, the CGI in this film is phenomenal. We have finally reached the point where differentiating a CGI ape to a real one is impossible. Michael Giacchino, who also did the soundtrack for the last two films, has done his best work yet, with music that is sure to hit hard. All in all, this is a masterpiece of filmmaking, and a stellar example of what a film looks like, when all the parts in the machine are fine-tuned to perfection.

Director: Matt Reeves

Rating : 5/5

Movie review: Jagga Jasoos

Jagga Jasoos, written and directed by Anurag Basu, plays out like a musical fairytale where every dialogue is in the form of catchy rhymes and tunes. 

The movie is not only intricately written and plotted, but filled with clever visual flourishes and details, some of which are clues and some of which are magical – and several, like the twisty street up a hill and elephant turning tiny, are a bit of both.

Jagga is a bespectacled boy, who chooses to remain silent so that he can hide his stammering. His life takes a turn after he runs into a man who tells him how to overcome his speech impairment. Just sing, he tells Jagga. From this point on, the movie transforms into an audiovisual treat, with every word and movement being beautifully synchronised.

However, the songs in the movie like Ullu Ka Paththa and Galti Se Mistake don’t have much essence of the musical genre. The person who keeps the movie entertaining though, is Ranbir Kapoor. He manages to make you smile and even tugs at your heartstrings by being goofy and gloomy as promptly as required. 

The pace of the movie, with a running time of 162 minutes to be precise, especially in the second half, could have been improved. 

Overall, the movie is a fine attempt. It tries its hand at something new. But, the slow pace will ensure that this movie is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Saswata Chatterjee, Sayani Gupta

Director: Anurag Basu

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Sources: NDTV, Firstpost

He came, He saw, He conquered- Spiderman Homecoming

Spiderman is one character in the Marvel Universe that has been put through a dynamic amount of changes. Begining from a meek Toby Maguire to the flamboyant Andrew Garfield, the portrayal of Spidey has been open to interpretations to the directors.
When Tom Holland’s first trailer came out in Captain America- Civil War; the internet raged with memes of the new Spiderman having the voice of a little girl.
And now look, how far we have come in only two movies.
Spiderman Homecoming is all what you expect a Marvel movie to be.
Visual treat- check
Stunning action scenes- check (Tom Holland is a gymnast)
Comedy- check
Entertainment- hell yes check
But then comes the surprise package, this 21 year old playing to role of a fifteen year teenager is mesmerising; the dedication, the delivery…its all spot on. We have seen him in Cap. America and we see him in his standalone film, the guy is going to be a crowd-favourite in Avengers franchise despite being beside seasoned actors like Chris Evans, Scarlett Johanson, Jeremy Renner etc.
For the first time a movie portrays Spidey as a school going kid with not so superhuman attributes. His love interest, problems, have been very progressively written and Mary Jane cameo has been beautifully played with.
The movie doesnt add much to the Avengers, but we do get to see the Iron-Spider suit which definitely makes the already strong boy to somewhat invincible Superhero provided, he learns to control the suit (believe me its tough, even for a super-charged spidey brain).
The post credit scenes do introduce a new villian but its very unlikely that he may play a major role in the Avengers series.
Contrasting portrayals run throughout the movie and for the first time we see Iron Man otherwise reckless as a responsible fatherly figure.
The first day first show today in Pune attracted a housefull audience and luckily the spiderman himself was there to watch the movie with us, a die-hard fan, college going Divakar.
All in all, Spiderman Homecoming is a cracker of a movie from Marvel franchise and it is a must watch for all the fans out there. And Tom Holland is the deserving candidate to carry the baton after Toby Maguire.

Raees Review: SRK shines in a lackluster ‘Raees’

CAST – Shahrukh Khan, Mahira Khan, Nawazuddin Siddique, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub, Atul Kulkarni
DIRECTOR – Rahul Dholakia
RATING – Two and a half stars

Speculated to be based on the real life of Abdul Latif, a gangster from Gujarat, Raees focuses on the illicit liquor trade in the state. Starting from the late 1980s moving towards the 2000s, director Rahul Dholakia tries to show the underlying criminal and political current of the state.

With its one-liners on ‘secularism’ and the condition of the judicial system in the country, the movie brings a change focusing on the realities of law and order in the ‘controversial’ state. Shah Rukh Khan manages to live up to the viewers’ expectations by delivering a different shade in the role. His portrayal of ‘Raees’ is a breath of fresh air compared to his previous ventures like Dilwale and Happy New Year. Khan actually steers the first half of the movie forward on his stellar performance and displays a very different and appealing side to the audiences.

He still manages to retain his romantic charm as he flirts and dances around with Mahira Khan, who plays his love interest in the film. Mahira, on the other hand, disappointingly is barely seen in the film and is given mere relevance to her character. This perhaps must be altered in the post-production following the anti-Pakistani actor lawsuit.

Nawazuddin Siddique doesn’t fail in his performance of the honest cop Jaideep Majmudar who as the narrator of the plot is initially shown to be the major obstacle of Raees, but grows to be just a side voice in the film later on. Yet his crisp dialogue delivery makes his one-liners even wittier than SRK himself. Though Khan propounds a good work, Siddique simply takes the best character tag away from him despite his stardom.

Other major characters are played by Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub who plays Sadiq, childhood friend and right hand of Raees. Without going into too much detail (possibly for the fear of censors), the film does manage to comment on the politics around riots, corruption, and bureaucracy and the organized crime around alcohol trade in the state.

The climax of the movie dragged too much and simply takes away from the narrative which promised so much in the beginning. Khan does manage to win our hearts with his genuine efforts in the film but fails to reach the heights of a complex script. The movie eventually comes off as an everyday entertainment flick with poorly choreographed action sequences and vain music.