- 600 Points
GK posted a review for Black Widow (2021) in Movies
Black Widow is an adequate return to the movies for Marvel. It’s perhaps one of the more serious and dialogue-heavy entries of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Rachel Weisz bear a convincing enough dynamic and carry a straightforward spy narrative with decent emotional depth. Per the Marvel norm, the action delivers plentiful fast-paced thrills and the film isn’t short of comedic relief, often poking fun at old Marvel character tropes and allowing David Harbor to get absolutely lost in his role; he’s rather delightful and I hope to see more of him in later media. The villains are pretty forgettable, though, and I felt the relationship between the four main characters was a tad lacking. The first 15 minutes set an interesting and almost artful standard that hooked me immediately but it pretty much goes the formulaic comic book movie route after that point and it’s…good; I got to fully understand Natasha and receive some closure on her story, though I can’t help but note the missed opportunities. I think more flashbacks like the prologue would’ve helped cement an even stronger chemistry amongst the leads. We mostly just get a general idea of how they’re associated and then it’s your typical Marvel fare but it’s the performances overall that kept me invested. Black Widow may be far from top tier MCU but it’s a solid showcase that great acting can exist in superhero media, which is a notion that has long been doubted and dismissed.
- Acting, Story
- Direction, Visuals
GK posted a review for F9 The Fast Saga (2021) in Movies
Gloriously ludicrous and stridently melodramatic, F9 is fuelled by its own goofy energy, delivering comically grandiose chase sequences and shameless fan service all in the name of giving audiences an uncomplicated good time. Over the years, the Fast And Furious films have transformed from modest car-centric action flicks into full-blown supersized spy thrillers that could compete with Mission: Impossible, never losing their sense of humour along the way. And director Justin Lin, taking the reins for the first time since 2013’s Fast & Furious 6, handily balances the agonisingly sombre proclamations about family with the outlandish action set pieces, although this latest instalment suffers from the inevitable diminishing returns inherent when a franchise constantly tries to top itself.After months of postponed event films, F9 should be a welcome sight for both viewers and exhibitors. Opening May 19 in South Korea and May 21 in China, this Universal release unspools in US theatres on June 25, landing in the UK a few weeks later. Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, who got their own spinoff film with 2019’s Hobbs & Shaw, aren’t part of F9, but franchise regulars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, among others, are joined by newcomer John Cena, who plays the crew’s latest nemesis. Dom (Diesel) and Letty (Rodriguez) are trying to lead a quiet life with his young son Little Brian when they’re once again tasked with saving the world. Alongside team members Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel), they must track down a dangerous weapons programme known as Project Aries before it falls into the wrong hands. But to Dom’s surprise, this means he’ll be squaring off against Jakob (Cena), his estranged brother, an assassin working for some nefarious individuals. To criticise the Fast And Furious pictures for being preposterous is probably foolish: if anything, the recent sequels have happily embraced Dom & his crew’s logic-defying antics. (In fact, F9 includes a self-mocking joke in which Roman marvels at the increasingly daunting vehicles and vessels they’ve battled, including that hulking submarine in The Fate Of The Furious.) Lin, who cowrote the screenplay, has no intention of slowing things down now, laughing in the face of physics and common sense as cars swing through the air as if they were Spider-Man or zoom through a landmine-strewn field so fast that the detonators can’t go off in time.
- Acting, Story, Visuals
GK posted a review for The Little Things (2021) in Movies
The recent thriller w/a trifecta of Oscar winning actors; Denzel Washington, Rami Malek & Jared Leto. Washington was a big LA detective but after a deadly mishap during a multiple murder investigation he was cached to a Northern California town to eke out his days as a deputy. In a chance coincidence, he returns back to his stomping grounds (on an errand to pick up a piece of evidence for an unrelated case) where he’s gets a full view of a press conference being run by Malek, in the spot he once held, detailing a new killing (w/similar circumstances to his own unsolved). At first derisive to the way his older partners show deference to Washington, Malek brings him in to consult w/Washington none to happy to go back to dot his ‘I’s & cross his ‘T’s as it were. Leto becomes the focus of the investigation (the murder victim had an appointment for a fridge repairman which Leto being one in the area) since the clues start to point towards him hard. Leto however seems to be straddling the fence as to whether he’s the doer or just a guy who likes to mess w/the police which puts an ever increasing tightening vice on capturing the killer (a missing woman adds to the pressure). According to something I saw on the Double Toasted video review for this movie (one person in the chat room said the script was written in the late 90’s) this film feels retro (films like this aren’t really made anymore) which makes sense since the movie Seven (released in 1995) was the pinnacle of this type of thriller, you'd figure every studio beat the bushes to find their own version of the same success. Falling into the dark European thrillers which have become the rage in the last few years (The Girl w/the Dragon Tattoo trilogy & the misbegotten The Snowman is another), this film works in the low key register it finds itself w/an ambiguous ending which doesn’t tie everything into a neat bow. Kudos to writer/director John Lee Hancock (who wrote A Perfect World for Clint Eastwood back in ’93) who knows he’s mining for small nuggets of goodness rather than a mother lode. Co-starring Chris Bauer (from The Wire), Natalie Morales, Terry Kinney (who worked w/Washington in The Devil in a Blue Dress) all as fellow detectives w/Glenn Morshower as Washington’s boss & Frederick Koehler (who I remember as the son on Kate & Allie) as an initial suspect for the crimes.
- Direction, Story, Visuals
GK posted a review for Coolie No. 1 (2020) in Movies
Twelve years ago, on this very same Christmas day, the Hindi remake of a superhit Tamil film hit the screens and made history. Cinema consumption and valuation was never the same again. That movie was Aamir Khan’s Ghajini, a remake of the Tamil film of the same name. Although both versions of the film were directed by AR Murugadoss, the Hindi version, especially the climax that was co-written by Aamir himself, is widely considered to be the better film. Murugadoss was able to iron out the kinks in the original and deliver a more finished product in Hindi. So, it is but natural to expect that David Dhawan, who made the original Coolie No 1, again a remake of a Tamil film (Chinna Maapillai), way back in 1995, would have used the 25 years that passed to do the same with the 2020 reboot. However, as Paresh Rawal’s Jeffrey Rozario in Coolie No 1 (2020) would have said, “Heaven on the docks man, the banality in the writing is quite the shocks man.” The premise is the same. The names are almost the same. Heck, even the dialogues are the same. Coolie No 1 has not a single bone of originality that helps it stand apart from the original. Barring the sculpted physiques of the leads, a few kissing scenes, a location change or two, and a change of cast, there is not even an attempt at reinvention in this Coolie No 1. As Jeffrey Rozario would have said, “Heaven on the docks man, 25 years were you living under the rocks man?” To be fair, this Coolie No 1 does start off promisingly. An animation montage sequence shows the origins of Varun’s Raju Coolie and how one of the most famous cinematic coolies, the one with armband No 786 took care of him initially. But soon thereafter, this iota of originality is traded for a scene-by-scene remake of a film that wasn’t groundbreaking in the first place. The original was a perfect product of its times with a hero who knew how to sell illogical comic capers. It is not like this time around people would be looking for logic in a David Dhawan film. But, a reboot should at least be altered in tune with the times. You see, I have no qualms in believing two grown women, and their father are easily tricked into believing Raju Coolie and Kunwar Raj Pratap Singh (again, Varun) are two different people. I have no problem buying the premise. But, in the age of smartphones, social media, and with a visibly upmarket setting, a few gags could have come from these additions. As Jeffrey Rozario would have said, “Heaven on the docks man, where are the new jokes man?” Although the writing suffers from a heavy sense of deja vu, the performances manage to liven up the proceedings, albeit in spurts. Actors like Rawal, Javed Jaaferi, Johnny Lever, and Rajpal Yadav start off with the disadvantage of reenacting iconic comic sequences but do their best to add much-needed spunk. Unfortunately, the women in this film, Sara Ali Khan and Shikha Talsania, are offered very little to do. This might not be the best of years for Sara, who began strongly in 2019 with Kedarnath and Simbaa. In Coolie No 1, she is made to oscillate between two modes — a) turn up the chutzpah in refurbished song sequences, and b) put up a lips-pursed face of innocence irrespective of what is happening around her. In a year with some powerful writing of female characters, it is a shame that we have such unnecessary stereotypes and a few more tone-deaf gags that should have been left in the 20th century. As Jeffrey Rozario would have said, “Heaven on the docks man, women aren’t just there to prance around in short frocks, man.” It is safe to assume there is an entire generation who haven’t watched Govinda do what he does best — entertain with abandon — in the original Coolie No 1. Considering this is the second such remake attempted by the Dhawans after Judwaa, it is clear the elder Dhawan is reworking tried-and-tested formulas to cement his son's stardom. Varun does everything and more that his father made Salman, Akshay and Govinda do in his superhit films. He doesn’t bat an eyelid before doing a god-knows-why-it-exists train stunt that will soon be perfect fodder for memes. In fact, it is a disservice to the talent of Varun that he is often burdened with comparisons to superstars like Salman or Govinda. Perhaps he should say 'no' to his father at times. Coolie No 1 goes to show that stepping into the shoes of a unique superstar like Govinda might just not be Varun's cup of tea… yet. As Jeffrey Rozario would have said, “Heaven on the docks man, Govinda is an entertainer nonpareil, and thanks for coming
- Acting, Story
- Direction, Visuals