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Category: 2017 (page 1 of 7)

Holds latest movie reviews from the year 2017

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle Review (2017) | An Entertaining Upgrade

Suprise! Surprise! Jumanji resurrects in our very own gaming world and you know what? It’s not bad at all. Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle has all the things to entertain you despite its fantastical roots. That being said, there are elements in it that will make you scoff nevertheless, but isn’t that how this entertaining franchise has always been? Fanciful and scratching the surface of surrealism?

Plot of Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle (Spoilers)

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle starts off lugging, with that same old game metamorphosing magically, syncing itself with technology. That’s how the franchise justifies its time leap, and it seems like that’s what’s going to happen in the long run as well. However, difficult it was on the eyes, you can always look beyond by branding it as just plain old “magic”.

So the plot features a certain Alex Vreeke from Brantford being sucked into the game in the year 1996 when the board game transforms itself into a video game cartridge to pique his interest. Later in the year 2016, four students from Brantford (Spencer, Fridge, Martha and Bethany) end up in detention together. They have been asked to clean up the room when they bump into the same Jumanji video game that we saw Alex play.

Characters and Avatars in Jumanji Game

While trying to choose the characters in the multi-player game they find out that they are unable to pick one of its characters. When they begin the game they all get sucked in. Each draped in their new gaming avatars.

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle characters and avatars

So even though their appearance changes, persons inside them come with their own individual qualms. Apart from that, they also have their newly acquired skills and weaknesses.

Where’s the rest of me?

These are the avatars they become:

  • Spencer – Dr. Smolder Bravestone (explorer) – Dwayne Johnson
  • Fridge – Franklin “Mouse” Finbar (zoologist) – Kevin Hart
  • Martha – Ruby Roundhouse (commando) – Karen Gillan 
  • Bethany – Professor Sheldon “Shelly” Oberon (cartographer) – Jack Black

Now when you are playing a game, you are bestowed with lives. Here too, each character has three lives, confirmed when a hippo attacks Bethany killing him/her in the process, and a new revived Bethany falls from the sky. Each one of them has a tattoo depicting the lives they have.

Jaguar’s Eye

Since it’s a game they bump into an NPC (Non-playable character) named Nigel (Rhys Darby) who briefs them about the mission. Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) is after the Jaguar’s Eye, a jewel that would give him complete control over all the animals in Jumanji. Van Pelt is the same guy from the 1995 movie Jumanji however with all the transformation (the age leap), he has transformed too. In Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle, he has been introduced as a colleague of Smolder who has gone rogue.

jaguar's eye Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle movie

Decoding Nigel’s code, the crew realizes they have to call out “Jumanji” after placing the crystal on a Jaguar’s statue where it belongs to win the game and escape. That’s their only way out.

Martha: Are you gonna help, or are you too pretty?

Bethany: I am too pretty.

Lives are lost as difficulties arise during their gameplay. But they manage to hang in there till the end. They bump into Alex (Nick Jonas) from 1996 and realize that he went missing in the real world because he was stuck in Jumanji all this time in the avatar of Jefferson “Seaplane” McDonough. Alex had been living in Alan Parrish‘s (Robin Williams‘ from the prequel) treehouse.

Alex loses his only life when bit by a mosquito but Bethany performs CPR on him transferring one of her lives to resuscitate him. In a theatrical end, we find the team in a face off against real jaguars. In the nick of time, Smolder reaches the top of the Jaguar statue as Martha intentionally dies with the Jaguar’s eye so that she could revive and show up from the sky (talk about accuracy) with the jewel. Smolder catches her mid-air as everyone shouts Jumanji after returning the eye to the statue.

Smoldering!

Jumanji Ending Explained | How time worked for Alex

The game ends as players return to the real world. They are back in 2016 in the same detention room. However, it has been 20 years for Alex. He has aged and become Colin Hanks (one guy three characters! Whoa!) When the quadruple bumps into Alex it isn’t surprising that it takes Alex a while to recognize them, but weirdly enough he is spot on. His house that used to look ramshackle looks neat and tidy, and he has a kid too.

So what really happened?

Jumanji has its own timeline. It’s like a limbo where the time of the real world doesn’t matter. And when you are done, basically the game puts you back in your own time. So if you are playing it say in 2017 and you end up getting stuck there for like a century, but still win it eventually, the game will spit you out in 2017 some time after you started playing the game.

It goes on to show that Alex Vreeke had a regular life after the prologue. He went on to live the life he had missed in Jumanji. He did not go missing and his house was never derelict. For the viewers, I surmise it must have been somehow hard to digest watching Alex recognize all four so quickly. But it was done I would say in an okayish manner.

You can order Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle from here:

The Final Verdict

Overall Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle was done brilliantly. It was above average and packs in plenty of laughs. Above all, it makes you inquisitive all the time. It’s like a game after all, and if you are a gamer you will have a blast every second.

I was a big Jumanji fan ever since I bumped into it as a kid. The concept of playing a game that brings all its units to the real world is akin to bringing all your fancies to life. After all, everybody wishes to be stuck in one, in their favorite one, to nail that happy ending that they are often unable to find in real life.

Check out our other movie analyses too.

Ferdinand Movie Review (2017) | A Pacifist’s Tale in a Violent World

Surprisingly a good movie! I would be honest with you. From the trailers, I didn’t expect much from Ferdinand Movie.  But I was wonderstruck when I actually saw it. Watching it become a powerhouse of emotions as the movie progressed, I knew I had been dead wrong. That a movie should not be judged by its trailer, just as no book should be judged by its cover.

Ferdinand movie didn’t pack in as many jests as you find in animated movies nowadays, but it was a great entertainer nevertheless. It was successful in walking a tightrope of emotions. That’s where its true strength lurked. When you focus on other parts critically you realize there were tons of issues strewn around the movie as well. But all of that can be overlooked once you become the bull the movie cashes in on, and try to empathize with that creature who doesn’t share his dream based on his appearance, rather stands by his decision to see what others fail to.

Story and Characters

Not everyone is same. We have been wired differently. Whilst a father wishes to be something, his son might not share his dream. He might have a dream of his own. Everyone has a choice. That very fact forms the basis of Ferdinand movie.

You can’t decide or judge someone by their size or appearance. What you can’t see, their brain, in fact, holds the key to their vision.

Ferdinand movie wallpaper

Place that impactful storyline into animation and you have got an enjoyable hoot to savour. That’s what Ferdinand does with its bull, the protagonist voiced by John Cena. He is an out of place animal who doesn’t share other’s dreams.

Bullfighting in Ferdinand Movie

Either you are a fighter, or you are meat.

What you might call as someone’s dream is a brilliant mockery of materialism. In the movie, the dream of fellow bulls is to fight the matador. Whilst the bulls in the flick fail to see the pointlessness of it, (like all the people who consider bullfighting a sport) Ferdinand in his blatant sense of indifference towards the game, digs up the real truth behind it. They are all ending up getting slaughtered! Just as we had seen in Sausage Party, the blind followers are all prepping up to die.

Sure, you get to fight in a magnificent stage, but it’s just another chop shop!

Ferdinand movie uncovers the ugliness that surrounds the sport in a way that will leave you teary-eyed.

Ferdinand is all about saving the meek, helping others. He is finding it hard to explain it to others why he is the way he is. Doesn’t that chime in with life? I don’t know, like your very own? How many times have you felt that way? As if you are in someone’s else body, forced to live someone else’s dream. Are you fighting for it?

It’s good to see someone is. Ferdinand is willing to leave no stones unturned to make the world understand he is not like the others. He is different. Violence his not his place even though he has been bedecked with a body that leaves the onlookers marveling.

Look at your pecs! They are like two tiny bulls inside a bull.

But the world, being the world, judges Ferdinand by the way he looks and brands him as destructive.

A Glance at Life

Ferdinand is given a shot at identifying his life the way he wishes to live it. He finds it in a place right next to Nina voiced by Lily Day. That’s where he wishes to be – In a patch of land where a bull is chosen over a dog, Nina teaches Ferd the Nerd what love is all about.

Is this love? I love love.

It’s that taste of life that helps the bull in registering home – not where you are born but where you are supposed to be.

Ferdinand and Lupe in Ferdinand movie

Deprived of the life he desires to lead, Ferdinand is picked up and dropped at Ground zero once again. He ends up in Casa del Toro, the place that he had escaped from, to be prepped up for bullfighting, something he is not cut out for. Unable to understand what the fuss is all about Ferd tries to escape a bull’s fate, but ends up drawing himself closer to the inescapable sport. Lupe voiced by Kate McKinnon is one of those weird funny characters, who brings in most of the punches and stays close by.

El Primero (Miguel Angel Silvestre) is in search of a bull to fight his final fight. Marking Ferdinand as a perfect contender he awaits him in the center of all applause.

Even though the main villain brings that heightened sense of befitting contrast to Ferdinand’s character, you realize it is a typical cliched build-up that you have often seen in countless movies in the past. El Primero might have reminded you of Anton Ego from Ratatouille if only he had better words to say. The screenplay of the flick, unfortunately, isn’t impressive and hence framing him as a villain to remember is something you might want to reconsider.

The Final Showdown

What tears you apart is the final face-off that puts the bull against El Primero. While there’s an imminent death written in the frames, the demeanor of the bull is enough to shatter you into pieces. The multitude is busy cheering the one with the sword, but they easily forget that the one fighting without is a true champion.

Ferdinand refuses to fight back despite being instigated. There is this moment where he loses it and almost becomes what he dreads. He comes back to his senses when he steps on a flower and realizes that he is no matador. That he is no killer. He was never one. That nothing could make him go rogue. He submissively leaves himself at the mercy of the sword waiting to be lanced.

That scene would force you to erupt in tears if you have been holding them too long. It’s trying to say –

I will not stop being good. No matter what you do. I will die before succumbing.

It’s hard not to die inside a little when the matador decides to lance Ferdinand. That’s one of the saddest scenes in the movie as the bull puts out his heart to accept his fate. But he is saved by the very people who came to watch him die.

Eventually, we find the bull bringing in everyone to show them that one place that he had fallen in love with. That’s what you do. You open eyes of the people around to show them the magnificence of what you see.

ferdinand movie scene

Messages and Theme

There are plenty of messages inscribed in Ferdinand movie. Apart from those that have been mentioned earlier, it presses the vein of animal cruelty the most.

A lot of wrongdoings happen in the name of culture. You take any boisterous festival out there and you would end up finding something noxious clinging to it.

Things have been written in our flesh, our brains marked with all the conventions, that make parting with them difficult. But if we open our eyes, really open our eyes to see what’s being done in the name of religion, culture and conventions, we will perceive how many innocents suffer because of our drunken disregard.

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From the perspective of mankind all of the things we do seem justified. But when you start noticing things from the perspective of everything that lives and breathes, you begin to empathize. You realize it stands true for right about everything in our life.

“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

Issues with Ferdinand

Apart from the fact that Ferdinand does not score well in the screenplay enclave, it has a lot of other problems as well. The point where it introduces its characters Una, Dos and Cuatro seems a tad forced. There are a lot of times the humour fails to squeeze out a laugh. There are cheesy lines aplenty and a lot of cliched things strewn all across the movie that might bother some.

Also, Ferdinand is not bold enough to kill its characters. Like it resurrects Guapo even though it would have been an extraordinary icing to play with people’s emotions. Still, Ferdinand chooses to save its characters as if it aimed at making the movie entirely for kids in the first place. It’s a family movie that saves everyone and makes sure of all its happy endings in almost all of its frames.

That brings that dance-off scene to mind which was, by the way, totally unnecessary even though how hilarious it was.

The Final Verdict

Ferdinand movie is an eye-opener for all those who have been giving themselves a hard time in a place which is not theirs to hold. The bull is built on that non-violent Gandhian theory that will leave you insanely impressed. He is a pacifist who advocates it in a place that needs it the most.

It is great that the pointlessness of the bullfighting sport comes out in the open. Unfortunately, there are thousands of such festivals and sports celebrated all across the world. Fortunately, it’s a start, and that winds of change can only come from such empathizing depictions.

The message is loud and clear. The question is – are we listening?

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review (2017) | Epicness Continues

One word. Epic! Star Wars The Last Jedi promises goosebumps and it delivers exactly that on a silver platter. Episode VIII in the Star Wars saga has an extremely well-written story that gambols on different storylines to keep viewers interested. It has so many awe-inspiring moments in it to leave you wonderstruck, nay, starstruck with each scene that follows. Whether it be the inclusion of new characters or species, Star Wars The Last Jedi movie aces them all in a plot that’s simply befitting.

Direction of Star Wars The Last Jedi

You might know Rian Johnson from Looper fame. He is a fantastic director who carries a gradual enthralling pace when it comes to depicting frames. While others choose to run towards action, he lets it come of its own accord. That being said, Star Wars The Last Jedi movie has plenty of action but there’s not a single moment in it where you feel it has been rushed. Every section has a proper build-up which Rian creates to rope you in until it reaches fruition. When everything sieves in, it feels like as if each story meets its perfect end.

Yoda: The greatest teacher, failure is.

In terms of presentation, he scores the highest when he chooses to depict decimation in a light that lets things stand out. Yes, a nod to that final Crait fight in red and white. Simply spectacular!

Rian breaks free from all standards and conventions of cinema. He obliterates those customary fetters that we have become so accustomed to – seeing things happen the way they are supposed to happen. He toys with parallel storylines wherein an expected course of action doesn’t generally work as planned. To be honest, it all feels like life itself. How many times have you felt that way? Like when you expect something to happen and things don’t go as planned. There’s always Plan B for failures. Rian Johnson presses on that living and extant nerve.

You cannot overlook Rian’s genius even when portraying the force ‘connection’. Never for a second does he get into the eyes of the characters to show us what they were seeing, primarily because it is a notion intangible that binds them. You cannot depict them seeing each other in a crystal clear light. It’s a feeling to be felt.

Rey and Luke Skywalker

Reprising her role as Rey, Daisy Ridley once again proves why she was a perfect choice for a protagonist when she was signed for one of the most brilliant and successful running franchises of all times. To take the legacy forward Rey leaves no stones unturned and fits in her storyline that follows the events of The Force Awakens like a glove.

Rey and Luke in Star Wars The Last Jedi

I need someone to show me my place in all of this.

We find Rey learning ways of the Jedi from a reluctant Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). It is a relentless struggle to bring Luke to train her and the director makes sure you understand the struggle really well. It is quite palpable when you look inside Luke’s brain and find out as to why he had decided to call it quits. The tension runs for a while, and though exhausting at times, it all builds up for its epic showdown.

The Balance between the Dark and the Light

The Last Jedi teases you more than once to make you truly believe the story that’s painted on the screen, forcing that layer of credibility, making you actually think that inclining to the Dark or the Light is only a thought away. And it builds itself around that quotient intelligibly. You get to know what Force is all about and what it all means through what Rey actually sees and feels.

Luke Skywalker: Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out. What do you see?

Rey: Light. Darkness. A balance.

Luke Skywalker: It’s so much bigger.

That montage of frames Rian Johnson decided to go with, goes on to show how he wishes us all to have a glimpse of what we have been only registering in our thoughts for decades. That popular symbolic energy that permeates us has a form to be felt. Rian makes it all very tangible for us.

Kylo’s Tussle (Spoilers)

Whilst Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is busy walking on the precipice of the forces, occasionally gleaming with that good guy spark, you realize it’s something Darth Vader was struggling with too in the past prequels. But Adam Driver simply nails it! With all the right expressions, the brawl in his head oozes out like a real struggle.

The Empire, your parents, the Resistance, the Sith, the Jedi…let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you are meant to be.

You can taste defeat in Rey’s hopeful face when she makes a theatrical broken heart sound real. It is as if you are rooting for Kylo for a second, counting on him to turn towards Light, and then your heart gets broken too. Rey and Ren make it all very relatable transporting you into their world.

To break Rey, Kylo does what any villain would do. Plucking that parentage card and playing it. Giving her hope, a darker one to coax her into joining hands with someone that connects.

You come from nothing. You are nothing. But not to me.

It is amazing how the creators have always managed to create dark as a tempting alternative to light. It feels so right and yet it is so wrong. Like a perfect balance! It’s good to see The Last Jedi milking it again.

The Resistance in Distress

You might think that’s the only story in the plot, but it expands as it oscillates between the one that’s holed up in the beginning frames. While Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) is incapacitated, Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) takes command.

With Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) confined indoors the rebels rebel amongst themselves as he takes charge of the situation. There’s a Plan A still under wraps headed by Finn (John Boyega) which Poe wishes to see through.

I was raised to fight. For the first time I have something to fight for.

Finn finds a pleasant company in Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) who by the way is just perfect for him.

Rose Tico in Star Wars The Last Jedi

That’s how we are going to win. Not fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.

It is brilliant what Rian does with the story when he chooses to confuse the audience by showing Holdo in a bad light, (letting us watch her from Poe’s perspective) and then resuscitates her as the one who was actually trying to help.  She was the Plan B that was playing in the backdrop all along. Watch out for her badass assault on First Order! That was out of the blue!

The Epic Showdown

Whilst at a point you feel that the movie is about to end, you realize the action is just getting started. Everything takes us and prepares us for one final showdown that’s as epic as it gets. Not only does it do justice to the title but it also does justice to Luke, the protagonist of prequels, paying as much homage to him as one could by giving him a single shot at fame in a limited time.

He shows up like a true Jedi he is, finally overcoming his recalcitrance to face the First Order’s suicidal onslaught. What follows is an eye-boggling moment to be witnessed only in theatres for true mirth.

Every word of what you just said was wrong.

You cannot also overlook what Resistance does in desperate times. Whatever limited resources they had in their hands they use it nevertheless. By heading to an old base in Crait, they revive the old. Despite surrounded by obsolete and battered stuff, they still give it a shot, fighting with what little they had, but fighting nevertheless.

The Final Verdict

Star Wars The Last Jedi is a brilliant addition to one of the most venerated series of all times. It does the franchise the most justice a movie could possibly do.

The flick also pays tribute to titular characters and goes on to include more, literally aiming the gun at impending sequels. It reprises Falcon, Chewbacca, the AT-ST, Yoda, and lets us relive a lost era. New additions are great too. Porgs are simply the cutest!

Here you can order your own life-sized porg:

There are plenty of epic moments in Star Wars The Last Jedi that you cannot simply forget.

Snoke: You are no Vader. You are just a child in a mask.

The most impressive one is hands down the way Snoke gets slaughtered. Not to mention the final showdown where Luke shows up like a one-man army. Despite the teary end to Luke’s bit, his passing away doesn’t feel painful. It was in a way fulfilling as if he was waiting for a purpose all this time, to slide the torch to his posterity before he left.

See you around kid.

Star Wars The Last Jedi is a beautiful movie that shouldn’t be missed.

Go ahead and watch this one at once if you haven’t still. May the force be with you.

Wonder Movie Review (2017) | Always Choose Kind

A wonder-full movie! Wonder movie is based on R. J. Palacio‘s eponymous debut novel. Boy! Has it been adapted brilliantly! With Jacob Tremblay doing justice to the role of Auggie, this movie is going to melt your heart on countless occasions. It is riveting throughout and lets you relate to its characters. Unlike other movies where a protagonist-perspective is often brought into play for right about everything, Wonder movie doesn’t revolve around just Auggie, but all the people whose lives get affected owing to him.

Some lines are right there up with you. They sear you with a disheartening pang that is hard to escape if you are completely engrossed in the movie. There are numerous occasions in Wonder movie to make you all teary-eyed, and then there are plenty to lift up your spirits too.

When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.

The fact that the writer understands people so well will make you want to read her even more. Either through her books or her adapted work. There is so much she has to say, and so much she understands that it is hard not to applaud her brain. More power to her! Keep impressing us with more of you Palacio!

Direction of Wonder Movie

If you have watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower you are already aware of the alluring style of Stephen Chbosky‘s direction. He has a superpower to make his films really enchanting. There is something magical in the way he depicts drama that makes you connect almost instantly.

The cast he has chosen here is simply amazing. Right from Nate, (Owen Wilson) the cool dad to the mother, Isabel (Julia Roberts) whose life has taken a major setback owing to Auggie’s arrival, not to forget the overlooked brave sister Via (Izabela Vidovic) and the struggling friend Jack Will (Noah Jupe). All of them have been extremely well executed in frames that together tell a melting story.

still of Wonder movie family selfie

Chbosky experiments with the story he has, by playing it in the form of a book. Giving characters in the movie their own section of frames, where their own perspectives come into play. While what Via speaks into the ears of Auggie is inaudible to the parents, we find out about what was said in Via’s section. It is a brilliant way of showing a movie that keeps the audience on their toes. Also, it goes on to show how unaware we are about someone else’s perspective until we become them and until we start empathizing with their characters.

Like the fact that Via seemed really understanding from one look, and that if she was okay with all the attention Auggie got, is not only the viewer’s idea about her, but even that of the parent’s. It goes on to say – what we see, or what appears isn’t how things are. Brilliantly directed!

Jacob Tremblay as Auggie

While you can’t talk enough about this talented young kid, Jacob Tremblay keeps delivering every time he shows up in a movie. Whilst it is still hard to ignore his performances in Room and Before I Wake, he shows up how good he is in this beauty of a flick too. And how adorable he is! You can’t love him enough!

I am pretty sure you are secretly wishing Jacob Tremblay to not grow up. He is so cute, and that isn’t the only notion that’s winning him all the accolades but his ability to become versatile characters, so young.

Precepts are rules for really important things.

It is hard not to feel for Auggie when he is trying to find a place amongst others. He places fear and awkwardness in a contrasting optimistic light and visualizes himself how he wishes to be looked at. That’s one psychological lesson and  smart life hack right there – When people are staring at you, you turn it into something powerful.

All the Hope

It is amazing how this little lad is brimming with hope at all times. His pain so understandable, and his ecstasy immensely enjoyable! Feeling for him is something you cannot avoid throughout. Watching him rise is like watching your own kid rise. When you watch him struggle you just want to be there for him. Now that’s the power of acting! Making you feel for painted characters, and tying it all to your thread.

I know you don’t always like it, but I love it. It’s my son’s face.

At one point you are thinking what’s going on in his head? It’s all so relatable. If you put yourself in the shoes of Auggie everything the child is thinking and everything the child is going through can be empathized with. You think about all the thoughts that were said out loud, and that weren’t, and you realize it is an insanely depressing situation. You realize the huge import of finding your place in a world that considers a certain face to be akin to normal, like there’s a standard to everything we see.

To take birth in abnormality, and to face the very definition of normalcy is bound to emit sparks. Even though you are aware of what all things are going to happen, to witness it through the eyes of a small child is exceedingly painful.

On being asked what his superpower would be, Auggie says,

I’d be invisible.

And you can understand why he chose that answer! Poor child!

Julia Roberts as Isabel

Julia Roberts gives a great performance as Isabel. You can read genuine pain, trouble, and concern on her face when Auggie isn’t doing fine. It is hard not to put yourself in the shoes of Isabel.

Wonder movie Quotes

Wonder movie plants you in her feet and you become her. All the emotions, they go through you, and you are crying with her, feeling happy for Auggie when he makes a new friend.

Dear God, please let them be nice to him.

There are lines in Wonder that will shake you up, scintillate your soul, and connect with you on an emotional level. All of them have been beautifully imagined.

We all have marks on our faces. (pointing towards face) This is the map that shows us where we are going. (pointing towards heart) This is the map that shows us where you have been.

Isabel says all the right words to a child going through a tough time. But in doing so she misses out parenting a girl who has learned to take care of herself – her other child.

Izabela Vidovic as Via

Izabela Vidovic’s portrayal for Via can’t be forgotten either. Whilst at one hand, you find this really strong image of a girl who is completely okay with her parents focusing all their attention on the child who deserves all the attention. On the other hand, you find her completely vulnerable and missing out on all the love.

If they stare let them stare. You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

Via is insanely strong and you realize that her problems, however, small, insignificant and mundane they might appear, are problems too. That she too deserves an eye in a family that is struggling to be normal, and be consumed and accepted by the world as one of their own.

When you look at Via’s character you realize that she has been put in a really smart move. It is a contrasting image that Wonder movie shows when they try to show how a person gets neglected even when you are focusing on someone who really needs it.

Other Cherishable Characters

Among other characters brilliantly woven are that of Jack Will’s and Julian’s (Bryce Gheisar‘s). While Jack Will is a child like any other, who is torn apart in a world that’s twisted and a world that isn’t, he shows what any other child would do in a situation he is put in. While he makes mistakes and amends them, it is endearing to watch the reconciliation in the flick.

The latter is the problem child, who shows us the bitter truth. He is like the reality eyeing us up good. You cannot enforce kindness in people, but you can help them learn their own lessons of humanity.

You can order Wonder 2017 Movie from here:

Then you cannot also overlook the cooperating brainy principal Mr. Tushman (Mandy Patinkin) who does all the right thing, saying all the right words, and deals with crooked people with a hard to imitate kindness.

still from Wonder movie

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

The Final Verdict

You cannot just commend one person for turning Wonder into something that’s astoundingly powerful. It is a team effort that deserves countless accolades. I guess it would be safe to say that “they should make more movies!”

There are so many life lessons imbibed in this tale that it feels like education, and whatever it stands for.

If you really want to see what people are, all you have to do is look.

The movie will leave you intensely satisfied when you leave the theatre. Go watch this one!

Coco Movie Review (2017) | Remember the Forgotten

Pixar still doesn’t fail to amaze! With fancy that could put the fanciful to shame, Coco movie invites applause even by hopping into different universes. It launches with the theme of a dreamer Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) who is bent on becoming something he is destined to. Just when you think the movie is going to be all about it, it turns into something more exciting as it progresses.

There are tons of messages inscribed in its alluring run, and even if you choose to overlook them all, you still end up getting an extraordinary passionate tale of love, hope, despair, and valour. All in all, it presses on the penultimate lesson that it carries forever in its womb – Remember the forgotten!

When life gets me down, I play my guitar. The rest of the world may follow the rules, but I must follow my heart.

The Olaf Debacle

First things first, I was in one of the theatres that showed Olaf’s Frozen Adventure prior to Coco Movie. Whilst I am sure it must have miffed a lot of people, owing to how long it played for a short, the short animated film wasn’t really bad exactly. I watched people leave the theatre wondering if they were in the right one. Many got up complaining that they didn’t pay to watch a musical.

There it was! The problem with Olaf! It ran for too long and to make matters worse, it was a musical. Not everybody likes musicals! If at all they had gone for some super humour, people would have actually liked the idea of watching two movies by paying for one. But it turns out to be excruciatingly punishing. Even though, I felt it was kind of alright!

The Coco Movie Magic

Coco uplifts the downed spirits almost immediately when it starts off with a stunner. Watching Miguel’s life is like framing yours in a movie frame, if you have a family who fails to get you. There is the Xolo Dog Dante, with a tongue that wags like a tail, who forever accompanies Miguel wherever he goes. He will bring a smile to your face almost immediately.

You are going to get me in trouble Dante. Someone could hear me! I wish someone wanted to hear me, other than you.

Coco movie xolo dog Dante

Miguel carries in himself a dream to be a singer, convinced it is in his blood.

You know that feeling like there’s a song in the air and it’s playing just for you?

His gusto isn’t shared by the members of his family, and his dream is literally shunned by everyone owing to a past tragedy. Despite their austerity, he still ends up falling in love with it. You know, some things you don’t have control over. You can’t really explain people why you love doing a thing, it is just inbred!

Music tore her family apart. Shoes brought them together.

Day of the Dead (Spoilers)

Convinced that his great-great-grandfather was none other than the insanely renowned Ernesto de la Cruz voiced by Benjamin Bratt, Miguel wishes to prove himself by playing for the crowd for a talent show on the Day of the Dead.

No one was going to hand me my future. It was up to me to reach for my dream, grab it tight and make it come true.

He sneaks into Ernesto de la Cruz’s tomb and steals his guitar. But when he strums it, he ends up entering the Land of the Dead. There he discovers that nobody from the world of the living is able to see him and his dog, and vice versa. But the dead are able to.

Tonight is about family.

Figuring out that the only way to get back to the world of the living is by receiving blessings of his dead family on an Aztec Marigold petal, and that if he stayed up to sunrise he would become one of the deads himself, he approaches Imelda (Alanna Ubach) his great-great-grandmother.  Imelda grants him her blessing however on a condition that requires him not to pursue music. Convinced that Ernesto would think otherwise, he decides to pursue him in the land of the dead.

I am not like the rest of my family. There’s something that makes me different.

Hector

There he encounters Hector voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal who is keen on visiting the Day of the Dead for the mere fact that he was being forgotten. Being forgotten in the land of the dead meant an unavoidable passing away into eternity.

coco movie miguel dante and hector

With promises to help Miguel meet Ernesto, in exchange for letting him take his photo to the land of the living, so that he could see his daughter before passing away, they embark on a journey together.

It has been an honor. I hope you die real soon.

Hector is created as a great companion to begin with, but with Miguel lying to him to fulfill his own motive of meeting Ernesto, he ends up getting trapped in a quandary. Unable to convince Miguel to let his photo be taken to the land of the living, he finds himself pursuing Miguel as the boy finally meets Ernesto.

Our memories have to be passed down.

The Climactic Truth About Ernesto de la Cruz

As Miguel ends up meeting and declaring himself as the great-great-grandson of Ernesto de la Cruz, we perceive him being accepted owing to the beautiful voice he has. However, soon we find out that there’s a huge plot twist. He isn’t exactly the hero he poses to be. In fact, he is an impostor who had poisoned Hector when the latter had decided to go back to be with his family. He had even stolen his guitar and had become famous by using Hector’s works calling them his own.

Hector is a poor bloke deprived of name, fame and his family, misunderstood for not coming back, in fact, he was meaning to, before he was murdered. He was deprived of the credit that he truly deserved.

You don’t have to forgive him, but we shouldn’t forget him.

The reason why Hector was diminishing gradually was because he wasn’t recognized by anyone from the world of the living. Let alone his daughter, Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguia), for whom he used to dedicate all his songs. Coco, by the way, is Miguel’s great-Granny who is really old and is suffering from memory loss due to old age.

Ernesto, the prick he is, takes the photo of Hector and throws him into a pit alongside Miguel. There Miguel bonds with his true great-great-grandfather.

One cannot deny who one is meant to be.

With the help of Dante, who turns into his spirit animal, an alebrije, and his dead family, Miguel and Hector are saved. They upend Ernesto’s Sunrise concert and expose him in front of the crowd, as he is crushed by a giant bell just as he was killed in the real world – a poetic justice. However, they are unable to get to Hector’s last photograph as it falls down and disappears.

The Final Moments of Coco Movie

Imelda blesses Miguel to return to the world of the living where he sparks the memory of Coco who is on the verge of forgetting Hector.

Miguel, I give you my blessing, to go home and to forget about music? And never forget how much your family cares for you.

Miguel sings the same song, her father (Hector) used to sing for her when she was a child. It reignites the lost memory helping her to remember, thus bringing Hector back to life….uh….back to the world of the dead i.e. stopping him from passing away into eternity.

Remember me, though I have to say goodbye. Remember me, don’t let it make you cry. For even if I’m far away, I hold you in my heart. I sing a secret song to you, each night we are apart. Remember me, though I have to travel far. Remember me, each time you hear a sad guitar. Know that I’m with you, the only way that I can be, Until you are in my arms again, remember me.

Coco shows him the missing face from the photograph she had kept for herself because of her love for her father. Miguel’s family accepts Miguel as part of their family again.

all characters from coco movie

Before the curtain falls we fast forward to a time where Coco is no longer there, but her saved letters written by Hector has helped Miguel to publicly denounce Ernesto and revere Hector with all the credit posthumously.

You can order Coco Movie with a bonus content here:

Overlooking Fantasy

Even if you choose to overlook the fantastical story woven in the world of the dead, you still register Coco movie as an impactful story about a child trying to unveil a long overlooked family secret. It is a secret that could change lives!

You take it as his mission, as if Miguel found out the truth behind his true grand-grand-grandpa by coincidence, owing to his love for music, and by interacting with Coco, and you still have a solid proof story to feast upon.

But that’s the beauty of fantasy! It takes you into a world of magic just to elaborate a fair point, and when you get it, you realize how taut it becomes in its structure.

The Forgotten Theory

Pixar has once again tingled our emotions by taking a shot at the forgotten theory, as it had done in the past with Inside Out. It’s a topic that’s immensely saddening. I couldn’t control my emotions when it flared that shot.

Coco movie connected to me on a personal level on so many occasions. I have often wondered about how some people’s deeds resound till eternity. And that’s like an achievement per se when people are remembering you for ages to come. My maternal grandfather late Dr. Ajit Narayan Singh Tomar was a writer like me, but little of his work is left in today’s world. I tried to track him down, but there’s nothing substantial on the internet about him today. For the mere fact that internet hadn’t blossomed during his time, when he was alive and in good health (he had gone blind during old age).

Now I am left with his memories alone, that aren’t as strong as the light he used to propel. I feel really awful that people don’t know him anymore, despite the amazing books he had written and published. I can’t track down his work, and I see people turning a blind eye towards him. As if he was akin to Hector, mistreated during his time.

I don’t want people to be forgotten. The really good ones, they deserve our living time, whether or not there’s an eternity waiting to swallow them. Above all, I don’t want me forgotten, whether or not I do something great in life ahead. It is an intensely disheartening thing! It impels us in a pit that’s devoid of love.

The Final Verdict

A standing ovation to Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina for helming this beauty of a flick. Three cheers for the entire team who made this entire project possible! Coco movie deserves all the love there is in the world. A fantastic film that should not be missed.

Highly recommended!

Qarib Qarib Singlle Review (2017) | Keeping Up with the Gifted Irrfan Khan

Tanuja Chandra‘s Qarib Qarib Singlle places Irrfan in a light we love to see him in – the ballsy carefree reckless man who doesn’t hold back from talking his heart out. The flick is built on romance but the chemistry, unfortunately, doesn’t have the right spark to make you really feel it. On one hand, Irrfan simply mesmerizes you with his realistic performance. On the other hand, there is Parvathy who fails to impress you as much.

Qarib Qarib Singlle is subtly put on the building block of moving on. It tries to pass down the message of how important it is to move on even though things from the past still cling to you. If you don’t let go, you end up chafing your present. The biggest strength of Qarib Qarib Singlle is that it is laconic where it matters the most. It allows the silence to do most of the talking. While it is a virtue well played by Tanuja Chandra, I believe, it might have also baffled some of the audience.

On a personal level, I felt the climax was brilliantly pulled off. That every movie should learn from the subtlety that went on in its ending. It leaves you brooding, speaking a thousand words without actually saying anything. It is a beautifully painted picture that tells us how a reconciliation scene should be properly theatricalized.

Direction of Qarib Qarib Singlle Movie

While Tanuja Chandra has garnered experience aplenty throughout her 22 years of cinematic run, she has forever kept herself on the learning curve. She is open to experiments, a fact evident through her work. She has literally grown as a director.

But still a lot of ground is left to cover, so you can tell by the unwanted shots she has ended up nodding to.

qarib qarib singlle movie wallpaper

Like some deliberate shots where you literally feel the pointlessness of placing small bulbs in front of the camera to deliberately milk the bokeh. You can picture her cinematographer asking her – “How about I take this shot like this?”

She chooses to mess with the “fourth wall” as in a way letting the protagonist talk to the audience. Although it isn’t intended for the audience in reality and is a bold decision per se, it just doesn’t feel right. What makes the work on the fourth wall really shoddy is Parvathy’s disconnect. She seems conscious when she talks, not to mention the slight camera zoom in, which appears to be clearly done on a software.

If we look at the bright side of Tanuja’s direction, she has learned to curtail the obvious from her frames, a strength which a lot of directors today are still struggling with. It is with time people move towards becoming better versions of themselves. Qarib Qarib Singlle is like a conch blaring of her arrival nay her revival, in a country that’s learning to revere the changing face of Cinema.

Irrfan Khan as Yogi

It is hard to cover Irrfan in words. He has become this peerless dome of perfection who is hard to keep up with. You put anyone against him, if they are not good enough, it simply shows.

The character Irrfan plays here is that of Yogi. He plays a lot of him taking liberty with his acts and creates this endearing character that is quite candid in his ways. Yogi’s superlative strength is in the way he treats the people he meets. He is a down to earth bloke who truly enjoys life as he lives it. At the same time, he is clumsy too as he makes a dozen mistakes in the wake of his existence.

Qarib Qarib Singlle Movie Irrfan Khan Still

The best thing is that he doesn’t take things as seriously as we often tend to. There is no problem in the world that’s so huge that it doesn’t have a workaround.

Yogi is literally ogling us to be like him, to sport a carefree attitude even when things go south on you. To appreciate little things in life, to talk, really talk with people, with strangers as you bump into them, making them forget all their problems. To tag people along your ride making life less miserable for them and to keep smiling and appreciating people despite how bitter life might become.

Parvathy as Jaya

While we have a man so relaxed and leading an uncomplaining life, we have the exact opposite Jaya, an uptight girl who is drowning in the sea of her insecurities. She has a past she is clinging on to. Moving on doesn’t feel right to her. She has been pushed so much that she has learned to compromise with everything, listening to right about everything.

Jaya keeps talking to his dead hubby breaking the fourth wall on us occasionally in a way asking for his permission in everything she does. Opening up to finally let someone in, she decides to do what the world around her is doing – finding a partner. That’s how Yogi happens.

still of Parvathy as Jaya in Qarib Qarib Singlle

To be really honest, there are a lot of times you feel disconnected owing to Parvathy’s performance. The way she is supposed to react to a thing sometimes feels not up to the mark.

However, good, she looks onscreen alongside him, in the end, you are left feeling, maybe Parvathy wasn’t the right choice for the flick. Since Jaya was the protagonist, her role demanded a heightened sense of charisma, so that one could start relating to her character almost immediately. But somehow it was difficult to stay on the same page with her. You fail to empathize with her emotions because she clearly doesn’t appear to be having any.

The Ending Explained (Spoilers)

The melodrama has been smartly pushed to the end of the flick so that the audience is allowed ample time to fall in love with the characters just as the characters fall for each other. It is written in emotions as you begin to feel how both Jaya and Yogi aren’t ready to move on with their lives. Even though they secretly want to, they are happy with the way things are. Grown accustomed to their usual way of living.

Yogi, the guy who has issues moving on, still carries tokens of memories from his past girlfriend in his pocket. He is okay with the life he has chosen to lead by keeping things from his past, occasionally bumping into them and letting his past take a piece of him. Then there is Jaya, who still talks to her dead husband, still uses his name on her password. Both of them are struggling with it unknowingly.

They are yet to understand what they have been doing. In the finality of meeting their exes, both of them end up hurting each other, only to realize the real value of moving on. They have no clue whatsoever of how things would pan out if only they chose to come to terms with the good things in their past, and chose to move on.

Exes Messing with Your Life Since Forever

In an uncaring theatrical display of emotions, Jaya bursts out losing it at Yogi, for making everything about him. That the whole trip was intended just for him, when in reality Jaya had agreed to come with him only for the sake of meeting her ex in Gangtok. Yogi’s terse reply forces her to see her own flaws too. The good in all that venting is that she becomes what she was unable to become – bold!

Irrfan and Parvathy in Qarib Qarib Singlle Movie

Meeting with an ex isn’t easy, and is a downward tumble. Whilst we see Yogi noticing how he has influenced all his girlfriends so much that they were unable to forget him, he comes to terms with himself, impressed by how good or bad the life had turned for them. The whole trip in his head was to see how the people he had affected so much were faring in life. Even though he realizes that some were fine, some weren’t, there were elements of him in every life nevertheless.

Happy and content with the bottom line that people never really move on in reality, that they keep the good things close to their heart even when they move on, Yogi ends up finding out how he had influenced Jaya too, who had clearly fallen in love with him, from the blog she had made about him. It should be well noted that Jaya had finally stopped clinging on to her dead husband as well when we find her coming to terms with him in a final goodbye after which she stops to look at the fourth wall.

In the Gandola Lift

Yogi then pursues her eventually running into her in a Gandola lift that he doesn’t miss this time. It, in a way, depicts how serious he has become about the relationship. That he is keen on loving her back and not letting life decide his fate this time.

We see Jaya in tears in the lift. It is fathomable that things didn’t go well for her either. As stated before, meeting an ex isn’t really easy. It’s headed nowhere, but the good news is that the lift they are on, is definitely going somewhere. With that, the movie ends.

The Final Verdict

Qarib Qarib Singlle might have been a play at a dating app, but what it becomes eventually is something huge.

It is like almost shouting at us that everyone in life is “Qarib Qarib Singlle” only. Everyone is having a hard time moving on. While we can’t really do anything about the past, one must choose to take the good from it and move on. That’s one lesson that the flick hides in its alluring storyline.

I am pretty sure Tanuja Chandra finally feels validated in today’s feminist era. It is great that time is doing justice to her at last. Watch this flick for its humour, for Irrfan and for its intense messages.

Check out our other Indian Cinema Reviews as well.

Check out the trailer of Qarib Qarib Singlle movie here:

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review (2017) | Full Spoilers

Murder on the Orient Express movie helps us relive Agatha Christie‘s crime mystery era once again. Hercule Poirot, the forgotten detective breathes yet again and he does so, with a flair that’s peerless owing to a power pack performance aced by Kenneth Branagh. The whodunnit flick is based on the eponymous novel and is further aggrandized by Kenneth’s cinematic filters and its extraordinary screenplay written by Michael Green.

However, the movie isn’t pure gold either. Frame segues, at times, do not feel effortless. Murder on the Orient Express movie drags for its first half trying to sieve into its tale. Even though that part is crucial, it often sucks out life from the movie.

The world is a cold cruel place.

Continuous shots are a joy to watch. Long winding takes that the cast aces without letting their guards down only tell us how good they are all as actors. They perform their bits unflinchingly. Kenneth  Branagh’s visionary takes from different angles make the story more riveting. His close-ups and continuity in shots will leave you stupefied.

Even though the final revelation is an epic unspooling and might have blown your brains out, I am pretty sure you were left scratching your heads on a lot of occasions. For that, I have decided to do an analysis of sorts with full spoilers for the Murder on the Orient Express movie.

Bear with me, it begins:

Plot Analysis of Murder on the Orient Express Movie (Spoilers)

We see Hercule Poirot, the Belgian detective solving a theft case at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem first. Then we find him traveling to Istanbul where he wishes to rest but is forced to return to London for another case. Piggybacking on the Orient Express with his friend Bouc (Tom Bateman), who is the director of the train, he is asked to scooch himself into a room.

They may get lost in life, but I will be damned if they don’t know where they are.

Edward Ratchett (Johnny Depp) offers a job to Hercule to be his personal bodyguard during the three-day journey. Ratchett had been receiving life-threatening letters and so he wishes Hercule Poirot to help him out.

Ratchett: You are the world famous detective Hercule Poirot. Avenger of the innocent. Is that what they call you in the papers?
Hercule Poirot: And you are the innocent?

The latter bluntly refuses since he knows Ratchett to be a crooked businessman. His reputation preceded him.

still of Johnny Depp as Ratchett in Murder on the Orient Express

The same night Hercule has a hard time sleeping owing to noises coming from Ratchett’ s room.

Caroline Hubbard: Eyes linger any longer I will have to charge rent.
Edward Ratchett: I will pay.

At one point he even sees someone running in a red kimono down the hallway. The train gets derailed on account of an avalanche leaving the passengers stranded.

You know there’s something about a tangle of strangers pressed together for days with nothing in common but the need to go from one place to another and never see each other again.

The Murder

So we already knew a murder was imminent. (What gave away? The title?) The next morning it is discovered that Ratchett was murdered during the night with a dozen stab wounds on his body. The investigation begins with Bouc convincing Hercule to take the case up, so no one gets wrongfully convicted by the police.

If there was a murder then there was a murderer.

Caroline Hubbard (Michelle Pfeiffer) claims there was a man in her apartment the other night.

Hercule discovers a note that has been destroyed. He manages to reveal its content, figuring out the reason behind the murder – the first piece of the puzzle.

Let’s ask the victim.

The Reason

Ratchett, the victim, earlier known as John Cassetti was responsible for abducting Daisy Armstrong, a child abducted from her crib and held for ransom. Even after the ransom was paid, Ratchett still murdered the poor child. Taken by grief, her mother Sonia died in childbirth giving birth to a stillborn. Her father, Colonel Armstrong too committed suicide unable to bear the pain.

The police wrongfully convicted Susanne, the family’s nursemaid, who hanged herself up, even though later exonerated after her death.

 I have lived long enough to know what I like. What I dislike, I cannot abide.

Murder on the Orient Express movie still of Hercule Poirot played by Kenneth Branagh

Evidence

What follows is Hercule Poirot individually setting suspects aside interrogating them one by one. Amongst other pieces of evidence, he finds a handkerchief with an ‘H’ mark on it, a missing button from a conductor’s uniform from Hubbard’s compartment. Hercule also discovers the kimono he had seen the other night in his own suitcase.

Hubbard is meanwhile stabbed in the back however she survives. She is unable to register the attacker though saying the attack was from behind.

As the investigation proceeds, Hercule keeps on discovering links that people have to Armstrong’s family in one way or the other. When all fingers seem to be pointing towards Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley), Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom Jr.) tries to shoot Hercule claiming himself to be the killer.  But misses him shooting him on the shoulder. Bouc intervenes and he gets caught.

We are surrounded by lies.

But it is clear to Hercule that he isn’t the killer since the doctor was an expert marksman who wouldn’t have possibly missed.

The Revelation

In the final moments, Hercule lines everybody up, buys time for a showdown even though the train was already repaired and ready to leave once again.

He presents two theories. The first one being – the killer disguised himself as a conductor boarded the train and killed Ratchett and absconded.

The second theory is the real one where we find out that each traveler in the train had a motive to kill Ratchett. They were all affected by the monstrosity of a villain that didn’t deserve to live. They all stabbed Ratchett together inflicting on him poetic justice, all twelve of them, and hence 12 wounds.

Did he have enemies?
Pick a number.

It is revealed that Hubbard is none other than Sonia’s mother Linda Arden former stage actress who set the events in motion.

You can order Murder on the Orient Express movie from here:


It is also revealed that it was Arbuthnot, the doctor, who had deliberately planted the knife in Hubbard’s back, so as to not injure her and to set Hercule Poirot on a wild goose chase.

Poirot places his gun in front of them asking them to shoot him, since he was the only one who knew their truth. That Bouc could lie, but he couldn’t fracture the truth. Hubbard picks up the gun and tries to shoot herself, but the gun wasn’t loaded. A test clearly on Hercule’s part to see how would the suspects react.

It is a mind-boggling output that leaves Hercule brooding. For the first time in his life, he believes that the killer deserved to die. He goes with the first theory in front of the police allowing all of them to escape.

What are you afraid of?
Everything.

As the movie concludes we find Hercule Poirot being approached by someone about a murder case near the Nile river. It is a wink at the sequel that’s clearly based on the book Death on the Nile.

The Final Verdict

It feels so good that Agatha is still not forgotten! Her famous character Hercule Poirot springs alive and that too in ravishing pizzazz. It is hard not to marvel at how amazing Kenneth Branagh looks as Hercule. He does him enthralling justice. Can’t wait to see him in future runs.

The flick is a stunner especially when it comes to its cinematography. It packs some really astounding visuals. It has this alluring cinematic feel to it that will make you marvel every shot. I particularly loved long uncut camera shots that Kenneth preferred to show working on different perspectives. Although some of the long shots ended up taking away the fun and you feel a little editing could have made it better. To be honest you can still be okay with it, if you are paying attention to what the characters have to say.

It was one of a kind experience. It makes us believe that the future of Agatha Christie is in good hands. Highly recommend this movie to people who genuinely love crime drama.

You can check out our other movie reviews as well.

Check out the trailer of Murder on the Orient Express movie:

Victoria and Abdul Movie Review (2017) | The Lost Story of a Queen and her Indian Servant

Victoria and Abdul movie is based on the true story of Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim as assembled in the eponymous book written by Shrabani Basu. While the movie is like a theatricalized version of what events could have possibly played based on the journals of Abdul Karim, it has little information to offer.

Without proper substance to hold it up, the story of Victoria and Abdul ends up becoming a tad bland. There isn’t anything much here to aggrandize its drama. Doesn’t have a great screenplay to make things better either. While Judi Dench plays her character very convincingly, Ali Fazal‘s portrayal of Abdul becomes very monotonous. Drama doesn’t evoke even a morsel of emotion.

Even though Victoria and Abdul movie is conjured up in a way so as to elicit pity for a character that was ripped straight from history, the depiction, however, fails to make you actually care.

Direction of Victoria and Abdul Movie

To this date, I still marvel at Stephen Frears phenomenon Philomena. There was so much heart in the flick. I was surprised at how it all went missing in Victoria and Abdul Movie. There weren’t words left to marvel, and Stephen fails to reignite his old magic.

Judi Dench as Victoria in Victoria and Abdul Movie

He tries to keep humour intact for the most part of the movie, but when the time comes to show some real drama, the movie becomes really thin.

Ali Fazal’s role has been provided with such fewer dialogues that you can’t take that man seriously. He becomes irritating at times when all he could manage to say is:

Whatever your Majesty wants.

You don’t see real concern on his face, but brows that constantly seem to be saying “I am enjoying all the grandeur.” Even though it is a tad true, you want to see his character genuinely rooting for whatever worried the queen. But you sense a weird disconnect. You find him imparting bookish knowledge to a soul who might have already at some point come across such things before. What was crucial there was the gradual build-up of a proper connection, which we see, quite frankly, missing.

The Romantic Link-up

While Stephen Frears does his best not to slap a name to the relation Victoria shared with Abdul, in a way, he somehow does. There are some instances where Victoria is shown swooning over Abdul. Why can’t we think of Abdul as a good friend, a confidant in whom she confided all the things she felt? Whilst the relationship shown between the two is joyfully affectionate, it balances itself precariously on a thin blade of dubitation.

Life is like a carpet…The skill of a carpet is to bring all the different threads together and make something we can all stand on.

Then again Frears could have done that to leave the audience thinking as to how easily a mind wanders, forcing you to walk in the shoes of the spectating world that walked around the main characters. You too were forced to think something might or might not have been there. It’s the gossip world we live in, and it is hard to escape it when important personalities are concerned.

The Lack of Chemistry

Friendship or not, there is an apparent lack of chemistry that will fill you with disinterest. Whilst Judi Dench plays her part just right, Ali Fazal feels like he is constantly moving in with indifference. He makes lesser eye contact, doesn’t really listen to what she has to say, and appears like he doesn’t care. Quite frankly, playing the exact opposite of what his role demanded.

victoria and abdul movie still

I think it has something to do with the screenplay when you can’t write enough gratitude or can’t properly elaborate the issues Victoria faced, or even get a snappy witty response from Abdul or even a mere well empathizing nod of understanding.

Abdul was an interesting man, the precise reason why Queen Victoria was always so happy with him around, and bestowed him with all the riches. But we don’t see him as an interesting guy. His character was clearly not fabricated properly.

Berti the Son

Personifying a combination of all the jealousy and the malice is Berti, a necessary villainous element in the tale. Berti played by Eddie Izzard, the son of Victoria, is shown in a despicable light.

Whilst his dialogues might have been theatricalized for theatrics, the movie deliberately blemishes a character to shine the light brightly on its protagonist.

Berti: Don’t you see mama? He’s using his position for his own gain.
Victoria: How does that make him any different from you?

The movie makes a villain out of him placing him in the vanguard desperate to renounce Abdul, the Munshi, of all his rights. The rest of the cast assist him beautifully to show Victoria what she failed to see blinded by all the adoration and respect she had for Abdul.

The Good

While the movie had many flaws, it isn’t really bad either. Victoria and Abdul movie surges in like a wave, goes up and down occasionally pressing in melodrama showing what grandeur is from the eyes of a man who hasn’t seen anything grand before. That’s a perfect way to show the true value of something.

Victoria and Abdul Movie Munshi and Queen

The flick is not mawkish which would have killed it for many viewers, even though it doesn’t use enough drama. The best thing is that it shows all the pointlessness of daily chores that the then queen was forced to go through. In a way, it forces us to reflect on our very futility in vanity.

Oh to be by oneself, in a simple, rudimentary existence.

People born royal often end up hating materialistic things because they have that aplenty. They are looking for contrasting things, the reason why Abdul was picked almost immediately.

Also, the fact that the movie starts triumphantly by basing itself upon the sheer fact of not looking the queen in her eyes, which was in fact, something that the queen longed for. It is almost screaming to say that she wants people to be like people, looking into each other’s eyes as if peeking into one’s soul.

Listen little drops and give yourself up without regret. You will return to the great sea.

You can order Victoria and Abdul movie from here:

The Final Verdict

The contrast of a queen and servant is amazing. For a man to stand up on a pedestal next to that of a queen, it takes more than mere luck. The movie fails to show that yes, but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they pose a pretty picture together. The disparity is what dreams are made of. It leaves your jaws wide open like Abdul staring at the lofty artistic ceilings and secretly wishing himself to be a part of it.

If you somehow focus on just the story it has a great storyline but not a great plot. Only a good direction and striking screenplay could have turned it into a movie we all would have wanted. You strike out some apparent issues, focus on the story sans Fazal’s portrayal of Abdul, and you realize it had content capable of becoming salient.

I guess it’s just not the best of ways to tell a story.

You can check out our other reviews of movies released in 2017 as well.

You can check out the trailer of Victoria and Abdul movie here:

Justice League Movie Review (2017) | An Undercooked Meal But Not Insipid

Justice League movie is entertaining nevertheless a slight step down from all the standards DC had set in the past, and I am simply ruling Suicide Squad out from the squad. With Nolan nowhere in sight, it is quite apparent, we are not going to get the DC movie we all want. So we are not looking for Nolanish elements anymore frankly, but something to satiate that fanboy zest in us at least. Really, to be honest, we have learnt to make do!

The Justice League movie feels like an undercooked meal primarily because you don’t see your favorite superheroes getting proper justice. They get eclipsed a lot and feel helpless against an enemy they don’t understand. Whilst the movie packs in theatrics galore, at times you feel its CGI fidgeting (don’t even get me started on the moustache thing), and feel it galloping quickly towards an ending.

While there are directors who drench you ‘in the moment’ to let you feel the horror and the pain, Zack Snyder, on the other hand, runs away from it. He does the exact opposite of what he did with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice keeping all the gravitas at bay.

still of Justice League movie

The movie’s editing becomes really questionable towards the end, and you see it flailing and breaking into pieces. Most of the action scenes were already there in the trailers, and it feels like you have already seen the better parts of the movie in the trailers itself. With Hans Zimmer nowhere around for rescue, the music department badly gets affected too. Danny Elfman fails to impress much.

The good thing, however, is that the League gets formed. They have set their temporary HQ and are ready to take more projects.

When you look at the flick’s action bit, it’s all brilliantly done. Entertains you enough with some of the best parts hiding in the middle of the movie. The story is good too, well fabricated to keep you riveted at all times.

There are heroes among us. Not to make us feel smaller, but to remind us of what makes us great.

Let’s quickly move to the spoilers part because talking about it will give away the essence of the story.

Plot of Justice League Movie (Spoilers)

With BvS opening all gates of doom (forget that Martha bit for a minute) to allow villainous elements like Steppenwolf to step in, the story of Justice League movie was already onto something.

No protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian. This world will fall, like all the others.

So why is Steppenwolf really here? That’s what forms the basis of the Justice League movie story.

The Backstory

Batman tries to capture a Parademon flying around in Gotham who fed on people’s fears. As he vanishes, a trail of three boxes, paints itself on the wall, later revealed to be Mother Boxes. Steppenwolf and his Parademons are after these boxes who are trying to once again remake Earth, a failed attempt that was foiled thousands of years ago by the Amazonians, the Lanterns, the Olympians and the humans, who fought side by side. The mother boxes were separated from each other and placed at different locations.

Steppenwolf successfully retrieves the first Mother Box from Themyscira, as Hippolyta warns Diana of the impending danger. Diana approaches Bruce Wayne to brief him about it, as they try to contact other metahumans Arthur Curry (Aquaman), Barry Allen (Flash) and Victor Stone (Cyborg) in order to form a team to fight Steppenwolf. Curry and Stone refuse and Flash says yes without a second thought, the geek boy he is.

I eat a lot of snacks to fill this black hole. I’m a snack hole!

Steppenwolf attacks Atlantis where the second mother box is located forcing Aquaman to join the league. Stone agrees when he finds out his father Silas is kidnapped along with other S.T.A.R. labs employees.

Justice League movie stills Silas STAR Labs

With the help of Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons) the League tags the employees to an underground tunnel. An epic battle ensues as they manage to rescue the employees, however, fail to defeat Steppenwolf and his army. The resultant fight floods the tunnel with water as Aquaman intervenes just in the nick of time to allow them to escape.

Failing to stop Steppenwolf by themselves, everyone agrees to Plan B of resurrecting Superman by using the third Mother Box that Victor had already with him. With a contingency plan up in Batsy’s sleeves, Mother Box is charged up by Flash to bring the Kryptonian back to life.

The Death and Return of Superman

While the DCEU’s version of the death and the return of Superman plays a little different, it isn’t entirely bad. While it sped things up with Doomsday, bringing him in and then killing Sups in BvS’s eventuality, the return of Superman was once again hastened. But to abate things down, his return is lathed with sheer badassery.

You won’t let me live, you won’t let me die.

When Superman returns he is all whacked up, struggling with his memories, and he finds Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg right in front of him. He is already eyeing them as a threat, when Cyborg does an accidental friendly fire of reassurance. A war ensues as Superman delivers some of the best action scenes the movie has right then and there.

Flash vs Superman

That isn’t even the best part. It is when Flash is trying to move past Superman as Sups turns in slo-mo to look at him go whaaaaaat? Hands down the best scene in the movie!

When he finds Batsy and is about to shatter him to pieces, in those moments you realize how vulnerable Batman is.

Do you bleed?

It is as if in a way trying to justify all the ass-kicking Batsy did in BvS. It was like Zack Snyder decided to lift the curfew for Superman once, and said – “Go have a shot at him now Sups.”

But the contingency plan is what every Beast falls to – The Beauty. Read this interesting case study of Hulk and Betty Ross’s relationship in case you are scratching your head, why?

And another doomsday gets contained. He then flies with Lois Lane back to Small Ville to see his mother and to recover his lost memories.

Amidst all the chaos, Steppenwolf steps in and takes away the third mother box. That sneaky bastard!

The Final Clash

Locating Steppenwolf and his army in Russia, the rest of the team go all in. They fight the Parademons and try to ward off Steppenwolf’s plan of creating his own world by joining the Mother Boxes. While Steppenwolf was busy giving the Justice League a hard time, Superman joins the team and bashes Steppenwolf to pulp. Steppenwolf, for the first time, experiences fear himself, forcing his own Parademons to turn against him.

Remember how they sniffed fear? Well, no, right? That wasn’t shown enough.

He disappears into the portal he came from along with the Parademons as the Justice League rejoices in their debut victory as a team.

Wayne Manor is declared the Headquarters for the team’s operations as they carry on with their lives.

We have two post-credit scenes here. The first one showing the kick off to that one debatable race between Superman and Flash, leaving the audience once again fighting amongst themselves for “Who’s the fastest?” The second one is Lex Luthor‘s escape where we see him inviting Deathstroke a.k.a. Slade Wilson to make a legion of their own. You guessed it right Injustice League. That epic team of supervillains! \m/

Superman’s Justice League Movie

The way Superman is projected in the Justice League movie, it feels as if he was capable of handling things all on his own. None of the superheroes could do substantial damage to the main antagonist. It is true that the Justice League is incomplete without Superman but unfortunately the whole flick gets judged by his addition.

still of Superman in justice league movie

Whilst Batman goes suicidal at times, you can’t help but realize how ineffectual he stays for most of the parts. You wanted a good solid Snyder standalone tete-a-tete with Batman as was shown in BvS, but unfortunately, this movie becomes all about Superman.

Batsy, au contraire, does heroic things from his mouth sometimes slipping in beautiful advice like this one to a reluctant Flash:

Batman: Save one person.
Flash: And then?
Batman: Then you will know.

It was good.

Other Misses

While there were stories to be retold, something we had already seen the prequel stumble with, Justice League movie tries to do that all over again. Every superhero’s story that nerds already know about (not everyone) get subtly told. Aquaman’s tale however directly dived into it quite unconvincingly. I am guessing we have a solo movie on the cards, probably that’s why.

It’s good that we haven’t been including Green Lantern or the Martian Manhunter so far, or nothing could have stopped it from becoming a catastrophic hotchpotch all over again.

At the end of it all, however, you feel justice hasn’t been really done to your favorite characters. Batsy has been eclipsed way too much in front of Superman, and the Man of Steel literally shines out as everyone’s sole saviour, making every other superhero feel pointless.

Steppenwolf doesn’t create a memorable villain either. You will remember him as the guy who got his ass kicked by Superman. While we expected a lot of villainy from Steppenwolf, he had no master plan or surprises up his sleeves.

Steppenwolf in Justice League movie

With Steppenwolf’s dud trial, the movie seems like a stepping stone. That’s exactly what it feels like – a ladder to help you climb a gradually building universe. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you look at it in a positive way. At least we are building DCEU.

The Final Verdict

Justice League movie might not be the best of DC’s work, but it feels like a satisfying comic read that fills you up with knowledge. The movie is saved mostly by its storyline which is like a nicely written tale if not climactic.

To be honest with you, there’s nothing like the animated movie edition of Justice League: The Complete Series, that made me fall in love with the league in the first place. You can order it from here:


While we will find some really good directors to helm our favorite characters properly, sometimes we won’t. But the good thing remains, we are chugging forward with our DCEU, even though it feels like a dodgy start.  It’s good that we have quickly picked up the pace.

I really hope solo movies do them all justice in the long run. Keeping fingers crossed.

Check out the trailer of Justice League movie:

Thor Ragnarok Movie Review (2017) | Everything Marvel Stands For

An epic conclusion to the Thor trilogy! Thor Ragnarok movie is fun, adventurous and action-packed. Just like Marvel movies generally are. Marvel plays their cohesive universe card once again, this time bringing Hulk to the vanguard to complement the story.  We get our very own cinematic version of Thor vs Hulk, which even though stays the highlight of the movie isn’t the foundation on which the flick is built. The clash appears to be a fair fight and the movie chugs forward like it was supposed to.

Marvel, the pro it is at aggrandizing events and helming great stories, releases a movie that’s built more on fun than on dead action. We have seen it grow like that, but in their past creations, emotions used to linger around a lot. In Thor Ragnarok movie, however, with its gigantic plot waiting at the anvil, there is literally no time for it. It is focused more on entertainment and tries to cut short emotional stuff.

Direction of Thor Ragnarok Movie

Marvel has always made great investments. This time the crosshair was on Taika Waititi as the rest of the universe sat in anticipation. MCU never fails to identify talent in great men. Probably that’s how and why Marvel Studios always stays ahead of the curve.

thor and hulk in thor ragnarok movie

Hulk like real fire. Like, raging fire. Thor like smouldering fire.

Taika does justice to Thor. He knows what he is doing and moves around beautifully betwixt Hela’s badassery to Sakaar, a garbage planet where Thor gets stranded. He runs parallel stories without disconnecting you, lets Thor shine out as the protagonist he was meant to be, without belittling other Marvel characters.

Taika Waititi has plenty of screentime stored for characters that were forever meant to belong to Thor’s world, allowing characters like Jane Foster not be missed. There is theatrics galore, plenty of wow moments to leave you wanting to see more, and music that will forever ring in your ears whenever you will think about this movie. A wink at Led Zeppelin‘s badass remix of Immigrant Song.

The score by Mark Mothersbaugh is amazing, puts you in the right mood. It complements the frames, and lets you truly enjoy the movie.

You can order Thor Ragnarok’s Original Sound Tracks from here:


Grandmaster (Spoilers)

Jeff Goldblum‘s portrayal of Grandmaster is hands down, one of the most memorable characters he has ever played. You are going to remember his flair and delivery when you look back. He becomes successful in creating a character you cannot hate even though he stands on the wrong pedestal against the Lord nay…God of Thunder.

Thor Ragnarok movie Grandmaster with Topaz and Valkyrie

Grandmaster: I love when you come to visit, 142. You keep bringing me just the best stuff. Whenever we get to talk to Topaz about Scrapper-142, what do I always say? She is, and it starts with a B.

Topaz: Trash.

Grandmaster: No. Not trash. Were you waiting to just call her that? It doesn’t start with a B!

Korg

Korg voiced by Taika Waititi himself was a chucklesome addition to the story. His voice alone will make you laugh.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Korg. I am kind of like the leader in here. I am made of rocks, as you can see, but don’t let that intimidate you. You don’t need to be afraid, unless you are made of scissors! Just a little Rock, Paper, Scissors joke for you.

The Kronan species is slapped right from the comics but is given an amusing perspective. The fact that he is going to reappear in MCU, in the long run, is a fact that’s worth rejoicing.

Valkyrie is an interesting addition to the story as well. Played by Tessa Thompson her presence made us overlook Jane Foster, and parting with her character, in fact, didn’t actually hurt. Also, life is all about moving on, isn’t it?

Mark Ruffalo literally aggrandizes everything with his presence. Bruce Banner suddenly becomes funnier with his memory jetlag, and flings at us some rib-tickling jests.

Welcoming Loki to the Other Side

I can’t believe you’re alive! I saw you die. I mourned you. I cried for you.

While a lot of Loki’s perversion disappears with the passing away of Odin, it doesn’t feel right when we don’t see him do something mischievous. Even though he tries, Thor stays ahead of him. We don’t see him in that usual mindnumbing avatar that we were so accustomed to. Even though it wouldn’t be wrong to say that it was a relief watching him drift towards the good side. But as hinted from the looks, he gave to one of the infinity stones, I guess it would be too soon to comment.

still of loki in thor ragnarok

Yes! That’s what it feels like!

The universe becomes further taut when we see Doctor Strange in the opening scene. He helps Thor locate his father.

It is amazing how Marvel packs entertainment inside another capsule of entertainment. We get a mini-movie of sorts, like a short film, that’s as congenial as their movies are.

Thor: No, I don’t have a phone but you could have sent me an electronic letter. It’s called an email.

Dr. Strange: Yeah. Do you have a computer?

Thor: No. What for?

That’s what they do with their end credits that tell us there is something always worth waiting for.

Some Issues

Comedy mostly takes the pain and viciousness away. That’s what happened to the Loki storyline. Following that logic, even Hela portrayed by Cate Blanchett becomes less intimidating even though she housed peerless powers. Her badass portrayal feels short lived. The final battle doesn’t feel like a final boss fight though.

The music even though how awesome it sounds takes away the noise that powerful blows make that used to so subtly place you on the battlefield.

Gardens and goblets? Peace offerings? All his deeds of peace. None of what he did to get it!

Skurge (Karl Urban) another one of those characters that we saw take shape in Thor Ragnarok movie appears to be an opportunist. Even though Karl aces it, the story seems to be doing him a poetic justice. In that wrapping closure, we find him ending up being very trivial, cliched and of little value.

The Final Verdict

Thor Ragnarok movie thrives on humour for most of its runtime. It stays away from gravity when it comes to showing thoughtful drama. That being said, it screams fun in every frame opening gates to future sequels. It allows Thor to move on, introduces new characters to the storyline, thereby helping MCU to grow even more.

I choose to run towards my problems, and not away from them. Because’s that what heroes do.

While the movie is more inclined towards entertainment, it doesn’t compromise on the plot and keeps you well riveted to your seats. There is something in every frame, and the pace is just right. Great editing there!

It’s amazing how MCU is growing with every cinematic release, the universe expands. The way it accomplishes it is simply alluring.

It wouldn’t be wrong to easily count Thor Ragnarok as the finest Thor movie in the entire trilogy. Can’t wait to see how the Avengers are going to fare against their toughest nemesis Thanos for whom the stage is set.

Check out the trailer of Thor Ragnarok movie here:

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