X-Men: Dark Phoenix
Director: Simon Kinberg
Producers: 20th Century Fox, Bad Hat Harry productions, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, The Donners’ Company
Cast: Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Evan Peters, Michael Fassbender, Jessica Chastain, Nicholas Hoult, Alexandra Shipp, Tye Sheridan, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Simon Kinberg’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix is based on X-Men comic #129 I’ve been told. Not an ardent comic-lover, the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) however holds an unparalleled appeal. While the films have been known to often take many narrative liberties with the comic storyline, they are totally enjoyable independently too. So like most fans, the latest installment in the X-Men series was being much-looked forward to, irrespective of whether the comics have been read or not! Having said that and with fans still reeling in the shadows of the last MCU release Avengers: Endgame, does X-Men: Dark Phoenix help fill that void left behind by the last of the Avengers installment and offer some solace? Read on to find out…
What X-Men: Dark Phoenix is all about: It’s 1992, and Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) is ready to go to any length to maintain the peace brokered between the mutants and the humans, even if that means putting a mutant life at risk to save a human one! So, when a team of astronauts needs to be rescued from space, the X-Men are sent on a mission to save them. In the bargain, Jean Grey aka Phoenix (Sophie Turner) risks her life and ends up absorbing the impact of some kind of cosmic solar flare that was threatening to destroy the entire spaceship. However, much to everyone’s surprise, what should’ve killed her, only ends up making her stronger, enhancing all her powers far beyond her control. And there starts the problem!
The mysterious cosmic force has somehow weakened her emotional defenses that Charles had altered and set up to keep her away from the pain of losing her parents as a kid. But a confused Jean is out to seek the truth, and unable to harness her powers, she ends up causing immense damage, including killing an important X-Men member… Yes, that’s right. But we are not telling who it is?
Anyway so that accidental killing triggers a series of untoward events. So, while an alien race led by Vuk (Jessica Chastain) seeks to lure Jean to the dark side with the plans of using her mega-powers to wipe out mankind and further their own kind, the lost-in-her-power mutant also has Eric Lehnsherr aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Hank McCoy aka Beast (Nicholas Hoult) baying for her blood. Meanwhile, Charles and the X-Men team including Scott Summers aka Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) are trying to bring back Phoenix from the dark side and set the wrongs right.
Yay: Sophie Turner manages to bring in a deep intensity to her character and topped with bearings of trauma and confusion, the Game of Throne actress aces her part. Sophie’s Phoenix and her struggle with power as she turns to the Dark keep you engaged emotionally. Jessica Chastain as Vuk conveys a cold menacing evil that make her a formidable enemy and you watch in anticipation each time she comes on screen.
The rest of the cast including Jennifer Lawrence as Raven aka Mystique, and Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe aka Storm were really impressive. Raven pointing out to Charles that the X-Men should be renamed X-Women gets a whistle. We do wish there was more of the charming Evan Peters as Quicksilver though! Michael Fassbender easily proves that he owns the role of Magneto once again. There’s an amazing carry-forward quality to his equation with Charles that we love.
The film is fast-paced and the action sequences are an absolute delight for the fans, especially the ones involving the Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The film scores full points there as you get a good fill of the X-Men action that we’d wanted! The film keeps you on the edge-of-the-seat, slackening in very few spots. The CGI is top-notch and the dialogues and narrative is entertaining enough.
Nay: The heavy and often uncalled for emotional graph is not satiating enough for the character to get a film really and we wish there was more backstory to the alien race than just the amazing fights. The film seemed easy-breezy almost as if simplified for the benefit of the theatre-going audience! A mistake undermining the MCU fan’s grasp for complex layers of characters there. Also somehow X-Men can never really be complete without Wolverine even for an itsy-bitsy cameo and a show of hands can prove that!
CineBlitz Verdict: While not the best in the X-Men series, it does score in the top five we’d say. The film is not to be missed by the X-Men fans. Just don’t go in expecting a layer-rich complex story and you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy the action, which there’s lots of. There’s nothing new there, but it gets the adrenaline pumping and keeps you hooked! So go watch it!
Mission Mangal review: A ‘Bollywoodized’ movie on India’s most inspirational achievement in space
When you’re watching a film based on your country’s biggest achievement in space, you want to believe everything that you see on screen. I believed some parts but those which I couldn’t, made it a forgettable space movie.
After watching the trailer of Mission Mangal, it was quite clear that the film is going to be a Bollywood movie full of dialogue-baazi. And the movie was much like what was expected. It begins in 2010 at ISRO with Tara Shinde (Vidya Balan) messing up the launch of a GSLV rocket nicknamed ‘Fat Boy’. Her boss Rakesh Dhawan (Akshay Kumar) takes the responsibility for the failure and is transferred to India’s Mars Orbiter Mission which might never see the light of the day. Tara convinces Rakesh to take up this challenge and that it is possible to go to Mars according to her ‘Puri theory’.
As the story progresses, we’re introduced to more such home science theories that give ‘Eureka moments’ to each scientist working on the mission. The opening credits mention R. Balki (Cheeni Kum, Shamitabh, Paa) as the writer & creative director of the film. So, you automatically expect to see something marvelous. Only an ad-filmmaker can fit in so much information about a stellar space achievement in two hours – you’d expect that. But nothing much of that sorts happen here. It maybe based on India’s greatest achievement in space, but Mission Mangal is still a Bollywood movie that tries hard to dumb down the intelligence.
Mission Mangal Trailer:
There’s less space, science and more home science and personal stories of the scientists – to make you care for the characters. But that helps only a little. An entire first half goes into setting up the whole thing. You go into interval anticipating that they will get to the point now. They do, but in a haphazard manner with a song and dance as the scientists giving a makeover to the Mars department. Also dealing with the problems in their personal lives as they crack the Mars mission.
It is difficult to make science and intelligence look interesting. It’s fine to break it down in simpler language with the help of analogies of cricket and daily life to make the audience understand. But the simplification is overdone in Mission Mangal.
This is Balki’s second film after Padman where he is telling a story of real-life visionaries and trying to reach out to a wider audience, majority of them being the masses. Massy dramatization is not new to the Indian audience and we love it. Director Rajkumar Hirani’s (Munnabhai MBBS, 3 Idiots, PK) filmography is a prime example of that.
What hurts Mission Mangal is that the achievements of the ISRO scientists have been reduced to just the ideas that popped in from a sailing ship on a cushion cover, frying puris, recycling plastic, and the great Indian hack of rebooting a system to make it work. Maybe, all or most of it could have happened during the mission. But unfortunately, it wasn’t shown smartly enough on screen for one to be convinced.
Arjun Patiala Review: Diljit Dosanjh – Kriti Sanon’s comedy tickles the funny bone, but only in parts
Arjun Patiala Review: Diljit Dosanjh’s bromance with Varun Sharma wins more hearts than his romance with Kriti Sanon
Cast: Diljit Dosanjh (Arjun Patiala), Varun Sharma (Onidda Singh), Kriti Sanon (Ritu Randhawa), Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub (Sakool), Pankaj Tripathi, Seema Pahwa (MLA Prapti Makkar), Ronit Roy (Amarjeet Gill)
Director: Rohit Jugraj Chauhan
Producers: Dinesh Vijjan (Maddock Films) Bhushan Kumar (T-Series)
The makers of Arjun Patiala have been unabashed about admitting that their film is a spoof on all things filmy. They even had their promos highlight a checklist of all the kitsch formulas they’ve added in their film, that every Bollywood movie usually boasts of, including an item song. With the makers cracking jokes on their kind of cinema and their own film, Arjun Patiala claims to be a fun outing. So does the Diljit Dosanjh – Kriti Sanon and Varun Sharma starrer turn out to be one? Read on to find out:
What Arjun Patiala is all about:
Arjun Patiala is a cop on a mission. He is also the fictional hero of a story being narrated to a prospective Bollywood producer by his writer-director. Arjun’s mission is to fulfill his mentor DSP Amarjeet Gill’s dream of making his district crime-free. The super-goofy Onidda Singh is his loyal constable and together they make a plan to cleanse their district Ferozepur (in Punjab) of all criminals by getting them to fight and kill each other.
Besides, the mission, Arjun is equally passionate about his drinks and also has a weakness for women, though he is very clear that he respects women a lot. “Maa behen ki izzat karni chahiye, unki izzat ki maa behen nahin,” he sermonises two local goons who are caught eve-teasing. (Yes, eye roll moment here!) He soon falls in love with Ritu Randhawa who is an ambitious TV reporter for a local channel. Righteous in her approach, she is against Arjun’s way of getting rid of criminals and ultimately decides to expose him. Also involved in the happenings are MLA Prapti and the dozen goons whom Arjun gets killed. One of the goons is Sakool, who has his own style of operating. There’s also Sunny Leone who comes in for a cameo and an item song with the hero and his side-kick. How Arjun Patiala finally accomplishes his mission without losing his lady-love is the story? And if the story will become a hit if made into a film is the real question?
The light-hearted entertainer is funny in several parts in the first half. Diljit is cute and exudes a charming innocence which wins audience hearts. Varun Sharma is a riot! Their easy-going bromance is fun to watch and together they pull off even the silliest of dialogues with laughter. Kriti plays her pretty card to the max and is a delight to watch. Her expressions are a strength here and try to make up for the otherwise drab lines. However, a weak story fails her as it does the others too. Her chemistry is adorable with Diljit, though we think the bromance scores more than the romance. Ronit Roy aces it effortlessly too. Overall, performance-wise the film’s a hoot. But it’s the other aspects that spoil it for us to be frank!
The music could’ve been a few notches higher and even Sunny Leone’s item number is easily forgettable and best forgotten! The situational comedy and dialogues work in some parts, but that is largely due to the actors and not much credit can be given to the writers here. The film is a family entertainer and clean comedy is a relief though just too childish in parts.
The forced songs could’ve been totally avoided. The second half is a huge let-down. Right from the family and a rather weird grandfather – a victim of bad prosthetics make-up – to the entire storyline, it’s a graph taking a sudden dip. It’s so silly that you can’t wait for the film to wrap up and the climax is equally bungled up. The entire showing off ropes as in a badly made film, isn’t really funny anymore as the makers have used it already in the trailers. In the film it fails to make an impact. Also the entire scene of a drunk Diljit talking to a dead Varun is over-the-top!
The film does have its humorous moments. The actors are worth a watch, but unsupported by a strong story or lines that pack a punch their performances fail to reach the level where they’d be called amazing! Varun Sharma is so effortlessly funny and with Diljit his energies bounce off really well. Watch it for the bromance!
Judgementall Hai Kya Review: Rajkummar Rao’s quirky thriller is sinfully dark, edgy and twisted!
Judgementall Hai Kya Review: Good performances, Prakash Kovelamudi’s brilliant direction and Kanika Dhillon’s crisp dialogues make this taut thriller a must-watch
Whodunnits are a tricky affair in cinema. It’s not often that one sees a filmmaker ace in serving a deliciously whipped thriller that’ll keep you guessing and engaged right till the end. This breed of filmmakers is rarer still in Bollywood. Today the challenge in the genre also lies in battling the constant threat and fear of the ending being leaked, revealed or unraveled, not in the climax scene on the big screen, but via the chats and messages on the phone screens that travel faster than the word-of-mouth! However, master filmmakers figured out an aeon ago that the true victory lies in making a film that would draw an audience even if they know how it ends (you know the journey being as much fun as the joy of reaching the destination). That obviously explains the repeat value of the greats in the genre. Closer home, Prakash Kovelamudi has ventured into Bollywood tapping this very genre with his whodunnit Judgementall Hai Kya. So, does this Ekta Kapoor-produced thriller starring Rajkummar Rao pass the litmus test? Read on to find out:
What Judgementall Hai Kya is all about:
After witnessing her parents’ accidental deaths as a child, Bobby (Kangana Ranaut) grows up to be a complex and layered adult suffering from acute psychosis. In fact, she is required to take regular medication to keep it in check. A professional dubbing artist, she tends to internalise and obsess over the female characters she dubs for to such an extent that she starts believing that she is really them and starts seeing herself in their situations.
But that’s not all. Wanting to be them, she finds an easy way out by getting herself clicked in those avatars or getting herself photoshopped in others. She also has another quirk! She loves origami, which she only does using newspaper cuttings of cases of rape, domestic violence or abuse. She even does a brief stint in an asylum readily after attacking a senior colleague who tries to make a sexual advance. She is also somewhat wary of men and looks at them suspiciously. And through it all, bearing her idiosyncrasies is her boyfriend Varun (Hussain Dalal). On her return from the mental asylum, a young married couple Keshav and Rima (Rajkummar Rao and Amyra Dastur) move in as her tenants. A death follows and Bobby is convinced that Keshav is the killer. But is he really? Or is it her psychosis taking an ugly grip over her reality and distorting facts? There starts the mystery.
One of the initial disclaimers at the start of the film mentioned that no animals were harmed in the making. And also that the cockroach in the film is shown using the CGI effect. Well, the cockroach bit had us intrigued. And from that moment on, the film has been one taut thriller keeping us on the edge-of-our-seat right till the end. To begin with, we are blown over by the fantastic performances of the lead actors. Rajkummar Rao in a slightly more macho zone is super-impressive and his chemistry with Amyra is sizzling hot. He is a delight on screen and proves that he can fit any role with ease and to perfection. Amrita Puri (Bobby’s cousin sister) has also done well.
The surprise package and one of the best things about the film is Hussain Dalal who plays the ‘out-of-love-luck’ boyfriend hilariously well. At one point, he and Bobby are shown grocery-shopping and discussing potatoes where she tells him to be as adjustable as the vegetable. Be like aloo, he is told. His equation with Bobby is just too funny and he’s also got the best share of the dialogues. Also there’s the scene when he complains to the cops (Satish Kaushik and Brajesh Kala) about an unused condom lying in his pocket for over two years. He just shines through his scenes. The two actors – Satisk and Brajesh – are comical and add to the zing. Jimmy Shergill once again charms effortlessly!
The actors apart, the two real stars of the film – the brilliant direction (Prakash Kovelamudi) and the cracker dialogues (Kanika Dhillon). The dark psychological thriller is helmed to near-perfection and not a single dialogue that won’t get a reaction. Take a bow there Kanika Dhillon, we’d give an extra star just for her writing. Every dialogue and its delivery hits home. The stark nature of Bobby’s mental illness and the intensity is balanced subtly with humour, twists and delicious turns. The director knew exactly what he was doing and the deft handling of sensitive issues shows his grip on the craft. The references to Ramayana present an interesting take too.
The sound design, lights and the music enhance the story and are used effectively. The renditions of the hit song Tauba tauba kya hoga are timed perfectly and used really well through the film.
Well, frankly there isn’t much we’d want to see changed. But there are some parts in the first half that seemed a bit stretched and then towards the climax some parts seemed just too rushed. Some part also got a bit confusing. That spoilt the fun by a few degrees.
One of the best imports from the South is undoubtedly director Prakash Kovelamudi. He’s aced the genre as a master storyteller and the suspense holds strong right till the end. The elements of humour, drama, mystery and Bobby’s world – all blend into each other seamlessly. If 2018 had Andhadhun, 2019 has Judgementall Hai Kya. The quirkiness of the narrative interlaced with dark humour and gritty moments is a refreshing change and it resonates throughout the film. The madness of the characters is well-portrayed. Rajkummar Rao is a treat to watch on screen. The twists and turns are unpredictable and keep you hooked right till the end. Overall, it’s one crazy fun-ride with a cat-and-mouse-chase you wouldn’t want to miss. This sinfully dark and twisted fare is gripping and gets our thumbs up!
Chiranjeevi on Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy: This story has all kind of emotions suitable to a commercial film!
Vivek Oberoi is making a film on the successful Balakot attack led by the Indian Air Force!
Manisha Koirala and Sanjay Dutt come together after a decade for Prasthanam
Scoop! Anushka Sharma cast opposite Hrithik Roshan in remake of Satte Pe Satta!
Ananya Panday shares her acting experience: ”I just love taking instructions from my directors”
Deepika Padukone is loving this period of creative fertility!
Angel Has Fallen: Nick Nolte brings a sense of frayed dignity to Clay Banning’s character
Is Salman Khan and Alia Bhatt starrer Inshallah similar to Pretty Woman?
Sonam Kapoor is a lucky mascot for father Anil Kapoor
MC Sher Siddhant Chaturvedi had a fanboy moment after meeting Allu Arjun
Hema Malini surprises fans this Janmashtmi, sings two Krishna albums
Monali Thakur launches Pani Pani Re, a cover version of iconic song from Maachis!
Jacqueline Fernandez has always raised the hotness quotient with chartbuster songs – here’s proof!
The greatest starcast of Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy graced the teaser launch event with their presence
Tamannaah and Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Bole Chudiyan: Watch behind the scenes of a song sequence!
- Latest6 months ago
Radhika Madan breaks a norm with Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota – here’s how
- Movie Reviews7 months ago
Gully Boy movie review: Ranveer Singh – Alia Bhatt’s film is mindblowing, reveals audience at the Berlin Fim Festival
- Exclusives2 months ago
Cricketer Harbhajan Singh launches his YouTube channel Turbanator, ahead of the India-Pakistan World Cup match
- Music7 months ago
Gully Boy song Apna Time Aayega: Ranveer Singh’s infectious energy and rap is HARD – watch video
- Latest7 months ago
Shah Rukh Khan’s Don: The Final Chapter will be the last film in the hit franchise – read exclusive details
- Latest Updates8 months ago
URI: The Surgical Strike movie review – Vicky Kaushal and Yami Gautam’s film is promising and heartwarming
- Music7 months ago
Total Dhamaal song Mungda: Sonakshi Sinha and Ajay Devgn dazzle in this upbeat version of Helen’s iconic number
- Latest3 months ago
Shahid Kapoor was NOT the first choice for Kabir Singh!