So I recently watched: Black Panther

Wakanda Forever

Generally, I absolutely love the movies where Villains beats the hell out of the Hero. Villains which question the Hero to think a lot about hero’s own existence. Villains who are so good that they make Hero look like a lucky chump. In a nutshell, I personally like movies where the Villain is a character on which writers have paid a good amount of attention, almost as much as they have paid on the Hero.

So I recently watched: Black Panther. And I liked it!

It was surely worth the hype. As it has been said several times, the best part about all Marvel Heroes is their own imperfections. T’Challa, the king of Wakanda, the Superhero Black Panther is ideal in his own right but might not be the best fit in the evil world. How he deals with his fate and the world around him is the crux of the story.

Without going into any spoiler-y detail, I will list the parts I liked the movie:

  • Super Strong Villain

I had loved the scenes where Bane breaks Batman’s back. I had loved the scenes where Joker makes Batman feel helpless, several times, in several movies. You get it right? Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger here is a villain with a purpose, which you almost relate to pretty well. Although, the means he uses to achieve the purpose makes him the villain. But his performance and all his screen time made me want to see more of him.

  • Super Strong Female Characters

A movie where the Superhero, the Avenger is saved on multiple occasions by genuinely amazing female warriors is a feat in itself. Not only saved but also supported technologically by female scientists. Not only supported but encouraged from time to time by females. This made me wonder, why Black Panther is not a woman in first place. (We shall wait for Captain Marvel for this)

  • Politics

One important point about this movie is the politics in it. This politics about the treatment of Blacks at the hands of the Imperialistic powers has not only been relevant when the comics originated but even now, will make this movie even more memorable. One of the funniest scenes involves a comic treatment to one side-character-white-guy (good old Martin Freeman) had me in splits. Time and again, the words, the era, and the politics of hatred/superiority is mentioned which never seems over the top but very much relatable. This also makes the Villain Killmonger a grey area bad-guy instead of a genuinely evil person. Wakanda is something which could have been of any country which wouldn’t have been conquered and looted for centuries.

  • Music & Costumes & Backdrop

Africa’s best was showcased with proper detailing. I don’t have much to say about it apart from it being very impressive.

Some parts which could have been much better:

  • Forgettable Action Scenes

Technically, we all go to Superhero movies for seeing action. This had lots of action but none of the scenes stood out.

  • Less Screen Time for Killmonger

I seriously felt that there could have been more of Killmonger beating Black Panther for more number of instances.

To summarize, Black Panther movie was a movie which left me wanting for more. I might not be the biggest fan of the character himself, but I liked the movie and the background behind Wakanda as a whole. I hope we get to more of this in coming movies.

 

So I recently watched: Trapped

Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours had James Franco stuck in a ditch in the middle of nowhere. There was nobody in the vicinity and no means of communication whatsoever. That was actually based on a real story. I don’t want to spoil the movie ending for you in case you haven’t still watched it but it was a decent ‘one-time watch‘ for its entertainment and thrill value. A similar theme of human endurance, eagerness to live and never give up attitude was seen in The Martian. Although, there as well, the protagonist was so far and away from humanity that it was almost impossible to come out alive. All in all, it was a treat to read/watch, chuckle, hope for the hero’s struggle and feel inspired. In both of the above 2 movies/books, it could be said that the person who got stranded or stuck had no other option but to fight for their survival. Also, they had themselves knowingly placed their own life in known danger. As in, they were quite aware of the issues and perils, one could face when they go away into the unknown isolation.

Vikramaditya Motwane’s ‘Trapped’ starring Rajkumar Rao is different as well as same from both of them. Same but different, you understand? It also has one guy stuck somewhere plot but here, the protagonist gets locked alone in a newly constructed building’s 35th floor, a building right in the middle of one of the most densely populated places on Earth, Mumbai. He even has a Mobile Phone with a low battery at his disposal (our real-life problems), although the building has elongated power outages (again our real-life problems) that can go on for days, as we know, this being India. So, basically, this guy is just stuck in an apartment in a new high-rise building in an urban setting but cannot call for help, as he is, you know, too high altitude-wise.

The plot is straightforward, and many a time predictable. I didn’t particularly feel thrilled as much I should have been. I should have cared for the protagonist but there were certain judgments I feel that could have been made better. For instance, throwing away cardboard to no avail, phobia of the rat, etc. I could think of some more ways to call for help. Also, a glaring goof in the scene when he actually gets stuck. He puts the keys in his pocket and then the keys were not there, or something of that sort.

However, there are certain nuances which brought multiple smiles to my face. Certain names, some foreshadowing, and funny name references were quite nicely done. Above all, since this was mostly a one-character story, Rajkumar Rao shone like anything. He created an almost flawless depiction of a slightly hyper person (which he did in his initial few movies and can do this really well) who don’t know what to do in such drastic situations. Kudos to him. He felt most real as a person stuck in a dire situation with really bad luck.

‘Trapped’ showed that for getting trapped, one doesn’t need to travel far and wide. One can be stuck in one’s apartment, into one’s life, into one’s work, and into one’s mind.

By the way, I am now 1 year into this apartment where I am staying right now. And I’ve already been and seen people trapped in it because of faulty locks. Since then I have learned 2 lessons:

  1. Remove faulty locks at once.
  2. Always take your mobile with reasonable battery left in the bathroom. For safety, of course.

I recommend watching any of the 3 movies mentioned in this post: 127 Hours, The Martian, and Trapped as all three have a one-man podcast kind of scenes. All three have a man trying desperate measures, risking the life, just to get out of these precarious situations. But, while 127 and Martian are eventually really inspiring movies, Trapped is a reality check movie.

So, next time you leave your house, keep your keys safe. Not too safe as well.

So I recently watched: Arjun Reddy

A Question first

How do you consider whether a movie is good or not? If a movie is really well made and makes sense technically most of the times but you don’t agree with the actions of the characters or feel that the story missed on some aspects, would you still like the movie? Or say, you loved the story, but the treatment could have been improved. The production quality, technicalities, VFX could be better? What’s your take on that?

Back to the Review

*This review has SPOILERS*

I recently watched the Telugu movie ‘Arjun Reddy’, which was claimed to be a mature and path-breaking of sorts. For those who haven’t, it is available on Amazon Prime with subtitles in English. This movie is from a debutant director Sandeep Reddy Vanga and stars Vijay Deverakonda as Arjun Reddy Deshmukh and Shalini Pandey as Preethi Shetty in lead roles.

I was particularly intrigued by some discussion on Twitter about some folks not liking some sexist aspects of the movie. Usually, such discussions on Twitter bear no fruit but since the movie was available and the trailer made sense and had a good background song, I just watched it anyway.

This movie can be seen as a more realistic take on India’s ever favorite story of the loser, Devdas. The guy likes a girl but she gets married to someone else. The guy is not able to cope up and falls prey to alcohol and in this case, drugs abuse. The guy, however, is quite a prodigy in the medical field. He is the top student, amazing sportsman and good-looking, etc. But also suffers majorly from Anger Management issues.

Now, we have seen many Devdas movies and I am not at all fond of such genre. But this movie has a basis in reality so this made it an interesting watch. The way Arjun Reddy woos a fresher girl (Shalini) can be easily termed as patriarchial and borderline-abusive but then that is in the context of the movie and passable to an extent. But then, again and again, Arjun imposes himself on Shalini and she gives in every time which made me cringe. Eventually, this movie proves yet again the Indian Movie Theory of Wooing a Girl that, if you persist and stalk and threaten and don’t give up on a girl, she will eventually give up and be yours forever. But I will shut myself up and give credit to this movie as all was shown in the context of the story. Some people are like that in reality too so I understood the intent. The acting of the leads, as well as supporting characters, was really good. Overall, the movie continues to tell the story of this guy who has not been able to move on with life. He starts taking drugs. He leaves his home. He starts womanizing but in a weird way in which he just sobs/drinks in front of them and doesn’t care about doing anything positive about his life. He totally doesn’t believe in any usual-society rules about lovers getting separated due to caste and regional issues.

I would even appreciate the portrayal of this realistic Devdas by Vijay. He does everything which made me think of slapping him with a bat and bringing him back to normalcy. So, I guess he did justice to his role.

Now the major issue part. Devdas movies might be fake, grand and everything dramatic but they do one thing right. In the end, the Devdas character drinks so much that he loses his health, mental state and eventually dies on the road. He is never able to move on and ends up only in shambles and disaster. SPOILER ALERT but this movie has a happy ending. Not only this abusive, angry, junkie, loser, etc finds the girl back, she comes back to her as if their love was 100% Dettol Pure types kosher. This means that whatever happens, if you still don’t move on from your lover, even if you spend months and years away from them, the lover herself has not even tried to contact you at all, eventually, in the end, all will be well and you will get what you always wanted. Even if that love was partly just lust.

Seriously?

I will give all marks for the production value, non-linear storytelling, technical details, core in realism, really good acting, decent background score, but if this movie ends up as a happy ending movie, it will only make me delete half of the marks I gave earlier.

 

So I recently watched: Justice League

Has it ever happened to you when you took a turn anticipating less traffic but ended up getting stuck with no turning back? Now, when you have taken the turn you decide to continue with it, albeit with a sore mood.

DC, with its movies, is at a similar crossroad/junction where it knows that it has taken a path which leads to nowhere so it thinks okay what the heck, let’s buy something on the way, enough with the somber mood, time to light up and make the trip slightly merrier.

After getting hugely disappointed with Batman v Superman (and later ending up finding some sense in BvS Ultimate Edition), getting immensely saddened by Suicide Squad, liking Wonder Woman a lot, I thought, alright we can surely give one last try to the Justice League. So, I recently watched it and following are my thoughts for your perusal.

Lee Bermejo Justice League Movie Poster Released for MondoCon
Lee Bermejo Justice League Movie Poster Released for MondoCon

Throughout the movie, except a handful of moments, I didn’t feel any excitement for any character. I liked Barry Allen of course but probably because of the Flash TV Show knowledge. Not sure from where Aquaman and Cyborg came into being and it was left for future movies to tell about their origins. This is a somewhat similar treatment to Hawkeye in Avengers where the character is just a character for whom we don’t need to care about much. Batman cracked some PJs and suddenly fell in some bro-love with Superman only when Superman had left after BvS. There was a scene where Wonder Woman looks at Batman’s bruises and then suddenly turns like a Hindi Movie Bhabhi and helps him get at ease with his muscle pull. Seriously? The antagonist was also as forgettable as the villains in Marvel movies. Do you remember any good one?

There are some positive points though. And that’s the lighter mood brought by Aquaman and the Flash. And the return of the MAIN DC CHARACTER also brings some sort of hope. I don’t want to comment on his lack of mustache though as enough has already been said. This light mood saved the movie from being a total bore and I hope future movies take some lessons out of it.

They also did a comic-animation-tie-in in the post-credit scene where the Flash and Superman compete in a race. That was a good note to end with. (I didn’t see the other post-credit scene during the movie but later on Youtube which turned out to be okayish)

Sometimes, if we do take the path which didn’t turn out to be as good as expected, it is better to enjoy it with much more confidence and moving on from the regret. Hopefully, DC would have realized now as to which path would be best to take from here.

So I recently watched: Spiderman : Homecoming and, Dunkirk

SPOILER ALERT: No spider bite this time!

Spiderman : Homecoming
Spiderman : Homecoming

In case you have watched Captain America : Civil War, the audience cheered most when  Spiderman appeared on the screen. Such has been the love for the character on big screen, thanks to the relatable Sam Reimi + Tobey Maguire take on Spiderman back in 2000s. I even watched the Amazing Spiderman when Andrew Garfield was there. And if I remember correctly, I didn’t hate it.

Now I recently watched Spiderman : Homecoming, the third reboot or Boo-t-hree, if you will. I found myself enjoying throughout the movie. Mostly because, the movie’s core is how eager a teenager is to become an adult and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I generally liked it.

The only problem is, just after a couple of weeks, I am not able to remember what all happened in the movie. Only if I really press hard, I realize that Michael Keaton was there too. Then there was that scene of boat splitting into 2. That’s all! That’s the case with most Marvel movies. But, I am not complaining more.  Because just the week after, I went to watch (I mean hear Dunkirk).


So, I recently watched Dunkirk and this post is mostly about Dunkirk only!

Dunkirk
Dunkirk

You have heard it correct, Dunkirk is mostly about Visuals and Sounds. Story is plain simple that Allied forces are forced to evacuate Dunkirk because ‘Enemy’ has surrounded the area from all sides. Nolan tries to be Nolan-y by making it more intense by showing same thing from 3 perspectives: Land, Water and Air and, 3 timelines 1 Week, 1 Day and, 1 Hour. But overall, it stays a spectacle, one should see only in IMAX. And thankfully, there is no 3D, otherwise half the time is spent in adjusting 3D Glasses over actual spectacles.

It was mostly about the horrors of the war and the soldier’s struggles once they are caught in between and they have nowhere to go. There are tales of the bravery of soldiers during war-time, but realistically, when you know that you can die any instant and you have no help, that only makes you a mute silent spectator, like the movie’s characters. You never get to know the names, their background but just their struggles to somehow reach home.

The sound design by Hans Zimmer is the real hero. They have used this Shepard Effect with full effect throughout the movie.

That makes it sound really haunting. And it really works. Some sounds are so intense that you actually feel as if your seats are shaking.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and I feel I can watch it again in IMAX. But I won’t because tickets are costly. Sigh.

So I recently watched: Wonder Woman

I recently watched the latest outing from DC, Wonder Woman. The supposedly best female Superhero since last 75 years without a proper movie till now.

Wonder Woman 2017 Movie
Wonder Woman 2017 Movie

First things first, I have never read any of Wonder Woman’s comics but I did watch a bit of that 70s TV movie they made with Lynda Carter (may be only for the visuals of Lynda Carter). So I went in with no expectations. Because DC movies have mostly ruined my expectations. I liked Man of Steel but I cannot recall a thing about it. I was disappointed with the theatrical edition of BvS but the extended edition was much better. But not super. And I was severely disheartened with Suicide Squad. What nonsense was that! So my overall excitement was as high as, nothing else to do on a Sunday evening, so why not go sit in the dark for a couple of hours to watch a movie which is getting good-ish reviews.

So, I ended up liking the movie. Mostly because, it shows something new Superhero wise. A proper origin story, though a lot was still left for speculation which is also good in a way. Second, a proper plot which nowadays superhero movies take for granted. Thirdly, great visuals which is the only thing DC has done right till now. But above all, the lead Gal Gadot, makes the movie worth what it is. Not only her chemistry is great with Chris Pine (Steve Trevor) with good jokes and everything, but overall she does fab in the fighting sequences which are choreographed pretty nicely. She was also quite interesting in BvS. I specially loved the part where she goes right in the middle of an open fire and does what a Superhero does with style. Kicking and beating the enemies with finesse and a lasso.

When it comes to female Superhero movies (if there are any), there is more talk of how the lead looks and what ethnicity is she, and what all she wore. For me, I didn’t even think about that throughout the movie, because whatever was presented in the movie, was in context of that movie. (And I am not an expert movie critic anyways).

Except the final act of the movie, which goes full supernatural, overall movie is entertaining and keeps one hooked. What else matters?

Memorable? Mostly no, partly yes, It would be now, because there are going to be more of Gal Gadot Wonder Woman appearances in future, considering this has been a huge box-office success. I am not complaining.

Which brings us now to decide over the expectations setting from Justice League movie releasing later this year.  I would say, it would be good. (hopefully)

I will go with dash out of dash stars. (We don’t do stars here, go away!).

Here’s a brilliant take on this character by Kaptain Kristian on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j73IkjslvoM

So I Worked in a Movie

I didn’t get a chance to say these lines…

Cosmo Kramer Seinfeld GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

but still, I got to work in a feature film.

Things happened in the following fashion:

Back in 2012, when I was getting fame and money for the minimal posters, film-maker Sandeep Mohan approached me to make official posters for his movie, Love Wrinkle-Free. So I made the posters and became friends with Sandeep.

He’s a full-fledged Indie Movie Maker so he usually also casts non-actors to do parts in his movies, in true Indie style. For more of his work, follow this.

For his new movie, “Shreelancer” he had come to Bengaluru sometime in 2016. He posted on his Facebook page that he wants to shoot a scene involving a Company’s Induction day. He invited his friends to be a part of the shoot, or if someone just wanted to see how a movie shooting’s done. I went there and then being his friend, I was asked to be a part of a couple of scenes. There was one more scene but unfortunately, the camera was slightly ahead of me so I couldn’t be seen there.

Nevertheless, I am there in 2 scenes and can brag about it to my grandkids.

Also, funnily, Shreelancer is a tight budget movie where they get things done via Jugaad if they run out of resources. For some reason, they couldn’t get a blue colored formal shirt. By chance, I had one. So they used my Shirt for a big portion of the movie.

Arjun Radhakrishnan, who’s the protagonist in the movie and does a fine job, wore my shirt and spoke many dialogues. So what if I didn’t get any dialogue, my shirt looked fab and played a major role in the movie.

Here’s the trailer for Shreelancer: