Aksar 2 Movie Review

AKSAR 2 STORY: Sheena Roy is hired as a governess for Madame Khambatta, a wealthy seventy-year-old lady, by her trusted investment banker. The plot thickens and the real motive of each character is revealed when the investment banker forces Sheena to indulge in a sexual relationship with him.

AKSAR 2 REVIEW: Aksar 2 starts on the right note when Sheena Roy (Zareen Khan) is hired by investment banker, Patrick Sharma (Gautam Rode) to take care of Miss Khambatta (Lillete Dubey), whose previous caretaker meets with an accident and expires. While Sheena has a boyfriend, (Abhinav Shukla) she lies to Patrick about being single. When Patrick forces her to indulge in a sexual relationship, Sheena reveals her true self. This lands Patrick in a mess as he realises that he is not the only one who is hiding his real motives.

Zareen Khan in the role of the governess with ulterior motives is good in parts. On the other hand, Gautam Rode in his debut on the big screen, comes across as a one trick-pony with not too many expressions on display, even though he gets to play a charcater with more than one shade. Lillete Dubey as the aged Madame Khambatta delivers a measured performance. Abhinav Shukla as Ricky does the best he can with his limited character sketch. Mohit Madaan as Madame Khambatta’s driver is competent. Cricketer S Sreesanth who finds himself on a new pitch as Madame Khambatta’s lawyer scores in his debut outing on screen.

Director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan manages to steer the film’s narrative in the right direction, replete with intrigue in the first half. But the second half with its innumerable twists and turns intended to keep the viewers hooked doesn’t manage to do so. The climax is predictable and the narrative towards the end slackens with the inclusion of a song. Aksar 2 is a movie that begins well, but quickly crumbles to a point of no return.

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/movie-reviews/aksar-2/movie-review/61687273.cms

 

Tumhari Sulu Movie Review

SULU’S VOICE IS LOUD AND CLEAR

TUMHARI SULU STORY: A happy-go-lucky Mumbai suburban housewife Sulochana, fondly known as Sulu, lands the role of a night RJ, resulting in drastic changes to her routine life.

TUMHARI SULU REVIEW: There’s a been a recent spate of Bollywood movies devoid of its typical glamorous sheen with a focus on the lives of middle-class suburban Indian households. Ad director turned filmmaker Suresh Triveni takes this into consideration in his big screen debut while writing the story around Vidya Balan as Sulochana or ‘Sulu’, a housewife whose achievements aren’t typically noteworthy, but that doesn’t stop her from dreaming big. When presented with a rare opportunity, her subsequent decisions & actions affect her husband, son and immediate family. As a testament to Triveni’s ability as a writer, Sulu doesn’t lose her identity as she begins to experience the corporate media life as an RJ, walking the tightrope between her overnight fame and managing her domestic demands.

Vidya Balan is completely in her element, infusing Sulu with an abundance of infectious optimism without being aggravating. She makes Sulu appealing by bringing out the various shades of a woman who has put her personal ambitions on hold because of her family. It also helps that she is surrounded by strong performances all around, in those playing her colleagues and loved ones. Manav Kaul, in particular, is perfectly cast as Sulu’s husband Ashok – a man trying his best to make his wife happy, but also faces work pressure that gets deflected into anger. Also, her family isn’t too thrilled about her sweet-talking potential creeps on a nighttime show which fuels the drama around Sulu’s new career.

The sudden shift from being lighthearted to a serious drama is largely where the film falters. Until then, there are entire sequences, especially with her colleagues which are thoroughly entertaining but don’t eventually add up to much. We spend a lot of time looking through Sulu’s lens, and while there’s a lot to fun stuff to savour there, thanks to Vidya – this crucial conflict emerges well into the film’s runtime, at a point where her voice is just starting to be heard in the world. Fortunately, the tonal shifts are not too jarring to disconnect from the story which is easily accessible. A majority of the urban populace will relate to the challenges faced by Sulu and her family, as we all struggle to live out our dreams of a better life. The essence of this story is ‘Main Kar Sakti Hai’, and with such a refined and affable actress as Vidya Balan in the lead, it is lovingly captured in ‘Tumhari Sulu’ making it an entertaining watch for the whole family.

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/movie-reviews/tumhari-sulu/movie-review/61668494.cms

The House Next Door Movie Review

CAST: Siddharth, Andrea Jeremiah, Atul Kulkarni, Anisha Victor
DIRECTION: Milind Rau
GENRE: Horror
DURATION: 2 hours 12 minutes

A WELL EXECUTED HORROR FLICK; GRIPPING!

STORY: Neurosurgeon Krishnakanth and his wife Lakshmi lead a perfect life in the Himalayas but everything turn upside down when the D’Costas move into the house next door.

REVIEW: A young, happily married couple finds themselves embroiled in inexplicable domestic circumstances caused by their next door neighbours. Krish(Siddharth) and Lakshmi(Andrea Jeremiah), however helpful and social, cannot wrap their heads around the bizarre series of recurring incidents at the D’Costa household and get entangled in them in more ways than one.

Horror is an underexplored genre in Indian cinema that may not excite the audience, given its shoddy record, but this one is surprisingly gripping and scary. Other than a few out-of-place scenes including those with awkward falls, ‘The House Next Door’ has rendered complete justice to the theme and the storyline of the film. It keeps you at the edge of your seats, believable VFX, coupled with some splendid performances by the entire starcast and not to mention, breathtakingly beautiful locales of the Himalayan valley.

The story comes across as an amalgamation of a few classic Hollywood horror flicks—such as ‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ and ‘Insidious’—but full credit goes to director Milind Rau for weaving the paranormal encounters and shock elements into an interesting plot. It works partially because the cinematography(VFX included) is at par with its Hollywood counterparts. One noticeable feature of this film is non-existence of songs, typically used as a tool to ‘scare’ the crowd in almost all the horror movies made here.

Siddharth as a medical prodigy is a treat to watch on screen, and walking shoulder-to-shoulder with him is Andrea Jeremiah. In all the shots, from steamy, passionate lovemaking to being scared to death, these two are naturals. Theatre-trained Atul Kulkarni as the powerless patriarch of the D’Costa family is a perfect fit. Hats off to the casting director—one actor who steals the show is Jenny(Anisha Victor) as a troubled, rebellious Goth girl. If poorly executed, her role could have turned the film into another run-of-the-mill Hindi horror flick.

If you are looking forward to watching this film only for the laughs, think again. Despite a stretched second half, ‘The House Next Door’ is one that compels you to look over your shoulders.

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/movie-reviews/the-house-next-door/movie-review/61582814.cms

Qarib Qarib Singlle Movie Review

CAST: Irrfan Khan, Parvathy, Neha Dhupia, Luke Kenny
DIRECTION: Tanuja Chandra
GENRE: Romance
DURATION: 2 hours 5 minutes

THIS ROM-COM TAKES A DETOUR FROM THE NORM

Qarib Qarib Singlle Story: A contemporary love story between two opposite personalities who embark upon an unusual journey, which becomes an adventure of a lifetime.

QARIB QARIB SINGLLE REVIEW: By now, we’re well aware of the formula behind Bollywood romantic movies. When boy meets girl, they fall in love and overcome all their hurdles because in the end – Love conquers all. Oversimplification aside, it’s been a while since we’ve seen a rom-com that manages to subvert the route usually taken by these movies. ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’ certainly embarks on the road less traveled, and for the most part, it succeeds. Parvathy makes her Bollywood debut as the unassuming Jaya. The accomplished South Indian actress plays a confident girl-next-door who appears to have a stable job and caring friends. Her life is quite self-sufficient and she’s otherwise sorted, save for that one missing element. Fortunately, co-writer and director Tanuja Chandra chooses not to paint Jaya as a woman who is incomplete without a man. She dresses casually, doesn’t hide under layers of makeup and even breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to us, making her very relatable; even a tad mundane. Grounded in Parvathy’s understated portrayal, Jaya’s backstory reasonably justifies why she would resort to online dating to find a suitable companion.

This allows her to take some otherwise questionable decisions when she meets the whirlwind that is Yogi. Irrfan Khan is at his chirpiest here, making Yogi a jovial and carefree person who goes with the flow. Although his backstory isn’t as clearly outlined as Jaya’s, the actor’s ability to make him endearing is how the character grows on her, and us along the way. With these two strong actors at the helm, the film flies through the first half but begins to meander after the interval and doesn’t quite regain its initial momentum even towards the end. The story largely revolves around revisiting Yogi’s past, and in meeting his exes, we expect to discover what makes him tick. But the screenplay doesn’t give us as much clarity as he, and the secondary characters deserve. The latter are introduced and exit the story before their presence makes much of an overall impact. Some scenes could have easily been left on the floor to make a leaner middle act.

This film wouldn’t resonate as much with lesser skilled actors, and Tanuja Chandra knows this. She lets Irrfan and Parvathy bring out their nuanced interpretations of the lead pair, which then keeps you amply invested in their stories enough to see them through to the end. Eeshit Narain’s cinematography also adds to the film’s realism by beautifully capturing the subjects in their natural elements, without resorting to over-dramatic shots. As long as you don’t expect fireworks, enjoy this sweet film that will leave you smiling.

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/movie-reviews/qarib-qarib-singlle/movie-review/61580049.cms

Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana Movie Review

CAST: Rajkummar Rao, Kriti Kharbanda
DIRECTION: Ratnaa Sinha
GENRE: Romance
DURATION: 2 hours 17 minutes

STORY: Hailing from a conservative family, Aarti Shukla (Kriti Kharbanda), an educated girl from Kanpur, falls in love with her arranged match Satyendra (Rajkummar Rao). Sattu’s stable government job (clerk in excise dept) and upper class family background impresses her parents; while his humility and liberal thoughts, win over the girl. But the love story takes a drastic turn when Aarti flees on her wedding day, leaving Satyendra at the altar.

REVIEW: Fearing she’ll end up as a housewife after marriage, an ambitious Aarti sacrifices her love for Sattu as she chooses career and independence. Scarred with rejection, heartbreak and societal humiliation, Sattu becomes a changed man. Years later, fate brings them together. What unfolds forms the story.

Though director Ratnaa Sinha addresses various social issues (dowry, bribe, gender equality) in her overstretched and a tad outdated tale, her film is predominantly a romantic drama that seems inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Class and gender disparity, revenge, jealousy and eternal love – it ticks all boxes.

However, unlike Austen’s classic that beautifully captures the simmering tension, regret and passion between two former lovers, this one leaves a lot to imagination.

What then keeps you engaged despite the rather implausible plot riddled with misunderstandings is some real good performances, led by the very talented Rajkummar Rao. Whatever he touches turns to gold. His subtle and honest portrayal of Sattu is a testament to his much talked about acting brilliance. Kriti Kharbanda exudes charm and simplicity, thus complimenting Raj perfectly.

The film could have been much better than it eventually turns out to be. But if you don’t mind watching a modest family drama, reminiscent of the 90s, you won’t mind being privy to this emotional alliance.

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/movie-reviews/shaadi-mein-zaroor-aana/movie-review/61578942.cms

Ittefaq Movie Review

CAST: Sidharth Malhotra, Akshaye Khanna, Sonakshi Sinha
DIRECTION: Abhay Chopra
GENRE: Mystery
DURATION: 1 hour 40 minutes

MURDER, THEY WROTE

ITTEFAQ STORY: With cops on his tail for being charged with his wife’s murder, Vikram Sethi (Sidharth Malhotra) runs into Maya (Sonakshi Sinha) and manages to get refuge in her house on a rainy Mumbai night. Maya soon learns that Vikram could be a convict on the run so she alerts the cops, who nab Vikram and discover the dead body of her husband Shekhar in the house. Maya accuses Vikram of double murder but Vikram pleads innocence. The case is assigned to officer Dev (Akshaye Khanna), who must decode the mystery in three days.

ITTEFAQ REVIEW: With cops on his tail for being charged with his wife’s murder, Vikram Sethi (Sidharth Malhotra) runs into Maya (Sonakshi Sinha) and manages to get refuge in her house on a rainy Mumbai night. Maya soon learns that Vikram could be a convict on the run so she alerts the cops, who nab Vikram and discover the dead body of her husband Shekhar in the house. Maya accuses Vikram of double murder but Vikram pleads innocence. The case is assigned to officer Dev (Akshaye Khanna), who must decode the mystery in three days.

An adaptation of Yash Chopra’s 1969 suspense drama, starring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda, Abhay Chopra retains the theme of the original and infuses his own twists and turns to the story, which keeps you intrigued. While his efforts are sincere and understated, there’s a lot that gets lost in translation.

Unlike the linear storytelling of the original, this investigative reboot gets a bit tedious as it simultaneously presents two parallel accounts of Maya and Vikram as they reveal their respective versions of the story to Dev. What makes it further complicated is the fact that the two suspects tell their tale in instalments. This results in constant flashbacks.

Eventually, this trick of shuttling between past and present to elevate the suspense quotient backfires as it obstructs your train of thought and doesn’t allow fear or tension to creep in.

However, one person who salvages this whodunit, single-handedly and makes it worth a watch is Akshaye Khanna. He lends gravitas to the otherwise dreary proceedings. His banter with fellow cop (Mr Tambe) is hilarious. On the contrary, Sidharth’s deadpan expressions and Sonakshi’s limited character arc, disappoint.

Overall, Ittefaq may not be a taut thriller that you expect it to be. But if patience is your asset, this unhurried suspense drama can be watched for Akshaye Khanna’s crackling screen presence, acting prowess and sublime charm. Why he doesn’t do films more often is the bigger mystery here.

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/movie-reviews/ittefaq/movie-review/61485316.cms

Geostorm Movie Review

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CAST: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris, Andy García
DIRECTION: Dean Devlin
GENRE: Sci-Fi
DURATION: 1 hour 49 minutes

STORY: A world-wide net of interconnected satellites installed to save the planet from storms fails and starts attacking the world instead and humanity has precious few hours left to save itself from the storm of biblical proportions.

REVIEW: America saves the world again! Only this time, the problem was created by the US in coalition with several other nations. So, it’s more a clean-up job really, headed by the angry satellite designer, Jake Lawson. In his zeal to save a hurricane from hitting China Jake uses unauthorised access to ‘Dutchboy’, a web of satellites which alters the weather on earth. For this, he is dismissed and replaced by his younger brother Max. But now, as ‘Dutchboy’ goes berserk and starts to malfunction attacking cities all over the world, Jake is called back and shot 250 miles up into space to fix the problem. He finds that this is no malfunction. Someone is wrecking the thing he created and he needs to fix it before the unknown entity can create the mother of all storms — the ‘Geostorm’.

This is your typical disaster movie. It’s a shame though, that five years after the film ‘2012’, Hollywood has not learned much. The only good thing about it is the 4D. So when there is a car chase or a rocket shoots into space, you feel your seat vibrating. If there is lightning on screen, white halogens in the theatre flicker. And if there is a storm, cold water is sprayed on your face with giant blowers. But that gets boring after a while and is quite unpleasant if you are watching the early morning first show!

The climax is atypical and the performances are strictly okay. Gerard Butler is dependable as an actor but doesn’t really bring anything to the table with his acting. Same is the case with Jim Sturgess as his younger brother. Ed Harris as the U.S. Secretary of State Leonard and Andy Garcia as the President are both wasted, given the talent they possess. The biggest irony is that the big ‘Geostorm’ that everyone is so afraid of doesn’t really happen. However, the 4D vibrations and halogen-flickers kind of make-up for it.

It’s only entertaining when you watch it in 4D. Because on a normal screen, it’s just another one of those movies where there is so much destruction and so little story, you literally stop caring whether the world ends or not. Although you definitely want what’s playing on the screen to end!

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/english/movie-reviews/geostorm/movie-review/61271272.cms

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

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CAST: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins
DIRECTION: Taika Waititi
GENRE: Action
DURATION: 2 hours 15 minutes

STORY:  The mighty Thor finds himself imprisoned on the other side of the universe, in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his homeworld of Asgard. His quest for survival leads him into a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against the Hulk.

REVIEW: From the very first look at Marvel’s latest outing, it became apparent that there was something unique about ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. More vibrant than its two prequels, and combined with a quirky sense of humour, it reunites us with two larger-than-life superheroes – Thor and the Hulk, both of whom we haven’t seen since ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ in 2015. From the outset, it’s evident how well these two play with, and against each other, continuing their love-hate bromance established in the first ‘Avengers’ film. Additionally, the film is infused with Taika Waititi’s trademark style of oddball comedy and while he plays wonderfully within Marvel’s sandbox, his imprint is evident in every frame and dialogue. Additionally, it translates very well on screen in all the performances from the ensemble cast.

Considering that the odds are stacked against him, Thor is challenged in a way that brings a whole new side to the God of Thunder. A re-energized Chris Hemsworth gets to flex his comedic muscles to full effect. Naturally, this rubs off well on the Hulk as well, especially since Mark Ruffalo is completely at home playing the angry green man-child. The scenes between him and Thor are captivating to watch and will leave you wanting more. Tom Hiddleston is up to his usual charming mischief as Loki but hands over scene-stealing duties to newcomer Tessa Thompson. She proves to be an essential addition, with a spirited performance as the feisty Valkyrie. Two veteran actors who fit right into the proceedings while clearly having a blast are Jeff Goldblum and Cate Blanchett. The latter’s Hela particularly stands out with a delightfully devious role as Marvel’s first female villain onscreen.

Considering that Marvel’s next big film is ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ which will undoubtedly feature an unprecedented number of superheroes sharing screen space and time, the plot here does feel somewhat rushed as the wheels are in motion for the next big entry. The stakes are far from low, but the film’s overall impact on the MCU is debatable. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that this feels like a zany comic book brought to life. It’s an insanely fun ride from start to finish – one that you’d want to hop right back on for another round; not unlike a Led Zeppelin track on loop. Clearly, third time is a charm for Thor as ‘Ragnarok’ is the best film on the Asgardian till date, and another entry from Marvel you simply cannot miss!

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/english/movie-reviews/thor-ragnarok/movie-review/61250037.cms

Ribbon Movie Review

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CAST: Kalki Koechlin, Sumeet Vyas, Hitesh Malhan
DIRECTION: Rakhee Sandilya
GENRE: Drama
DURATION: 1 hour 46 minutes

A LAUDABLE EFFORT ON UNPLANNED PARENTHOOD

STORY: Architect Karan Mehra (Sumeet Vyas) learns from his panic-stricken wife Sahana (Kalki Koechlin) that he is going to be a father soon, something neither of them were prepared for.

REVIEW: In an urban setting, with a young and independent couple at its centre, the baby naturally becomes the subject of conflict —Sahana was just a whisk away from her dream promotion and Karan was engrossed in his professional endeavours.

Just like any director’s actor, both Sumeet and Kalki have dedicated substantial amount of time in rehearsing their scenes — the long, laden-with-dialogues shots would have been a complete downer otherwise.

Kalki’s portrayal of a cranky, muddled mother-to-be arouses empathy and could have very well proved to be cathartic for a few, but just when you start to establish a connect with the characters, especially Kalki’s, you are distanced from them with an annoying and totally uncalled for lapse of time. Not just once, but on four different (and crucial) occasions. The pair’s struggle to come to terms with this new addition to their lives is pretty evident but what happens to that inner chaos later has not been explained in the movie.

Sumeet Vyas, as the distraught husband of a vexed woman, is convincing and far more believable than Kalki’s portrayal of a very vain, conceited Sahana and the swift changes of heart she bestows on us. A seasoned actress like Kalki Koechlin cannot stoop below mediocrity and she doesn’t, but only in parts. Saving grace, other than Vyas, is of course the naivety of the child artiste.

Without delving much into details, Ribbon could have resonated with today’s ambition-seeking youngsters, had the director (Rakhee Sandilya) and writers stuck to one primary plot and not introduced a sub-plot in the second half. Despite the element of realism in the film, both the episodes do not seem to reach a conclusion. And lack both in depth and province. The second half is dragged beyond imagination and the end is a bit abrupt and disappointing, given the build-up.

All in all, Ribbon starts off with one storyline and ends with another, but fails to capture the gamut of both. Rakhee Sandilya has started a conversation on a less-spoken human emotion, very humanely. If only she had taken one route and explored it to its optimum level.

In-depth Analysis

Our overall critic’s rating is not an average of the sub scores below.

Direction 2.5/5
Dialogues 3.5/5
Screenplay 2.5/5
Music 2.5/5

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/movie-reviews/ribbon/movie-review/61375406.cms

Jia Aur Jia Movie Review

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CAST: Richa Chadha, Kalki Koechlin, Arslan Goni
DIRECTIONHoward Rosemeyer
GENRE: Drama
DURATION: 1 hour 30 minutes

STORY: The road trip drama unfolds the lives of two women, who have nothing in common except for their name (Jia). They also won’t tell the other what exactly they are going through in life.

REVIEW: Most road trip movies make you feel bad about your boring and ordinary existence. They are ugly reminders of what you’ve been missing all this while and how life passes you by while you are busy paying bills and compromising on your likes, dislikes, even self esteem to be able to make a living.

Jia Aur Jia, a female road trip movie, sadly has a reverse effect on you. It so random and badly made that no matter how mundane and unadventurous your life may be, you will still feel good about it.

Much to your surprise, a film that intends to break stereotypes, reinstates them. An overtly happy person must have a tragic future, the sad person must survive and two girls on an unplanned vacation must sing, ‘Girls just wanna have fun’.

You don’t connect with either of the characters or their supposed bonding. If the friendship wasn’t bizarre enough, there’s a brief love story that’s weirder. A random drunk dude in Sweden of mixed heritage (Arslan) bumps into these women and makes one of them go weak in the knees by spouting gems like, “Main ameer hoon, main kuch nahi karta.”

Even terminal illness comes across as a joke eventually and that’s when you give up decoding this film, which hopes to teach you how to live. While Kalki still manages to evoke emotions, Richa seems shockingly out of place.

Nonetheless, it’s not about the actors, this one lacks humour, heart and a story. Watch Kangana and Lisa Haydon in Queen instead.

Source : https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/movie-reviews/jia-aur-jia/movie-review/61246722.cms