It (2017)


Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, It takes us to the town of Derry, where children keep disappearing for many years and no one knows how.
The story follows the lives of a bunch of school kids, who call themselves ‘the Losers’. Bill, played by Jaeden Lieberher, cannot stop thinking about his younger brother Georgie, who also disappeared six months back. There is a mysterious otherworldly presence that seems to be haunting the town, and is responsible for the children’s disappearance. It’s up to Bill and his friends to figure out what the hell is going on and stop it. Do not read too much about the film before watching it. The less you know, the more you will enjoy it.

The feel of the movie is similar to Netflix’s Stranger Things where the kids in the 80’s are trying to find the supernatural happenings in their neighborhood, but minus the sci-fi elements. The movie has drama, comedy, and horror elements, all in right amounts. Unlike most horror films, It is a drama first and that’s refreshing.

The ensemble of the child actors is amazing and each character has a memorable quirk. Individual stories are nicely fleshed out and everyone delivers a strong performance. The character of the clown, played by Bill Skargard, is scary and menacing to watch.

Director Andy Muschietti does a fabulous job in only his second feature film after the average supernatural horror, Mama. He expertly balances the intensity of the scares at every step leading to the finale.

IT is one of the best horror movies of this year. It’s funny, warm, touching and frightening. You’ll be craving for a sequel.

It floats. You’ll float too.

Rating: 💋💋💋 & 1/2

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Directed by: Andy Muschietti

Screenplay by: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman

Based on: It by Stephen King

Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor

Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung

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Death Note (2017)

death note netflix

Hollywood is slowly moving towards adaptation of some of the famous and classic Japanese anime stories. This year, Ghost in the Shell was a good attempt but ‘Death Note’ by Netflix is certainly not.

The film follows the story of a young high school student from Seattle named Light Turner, who finds a mysterious notebook known as “Death Note”. He meets the terrifying demonic death god Ryuk who teaches him how to use the notebook and tells him that the book is capable of causing the death of anyone the user writes in the book. Light decides to use the book for good intentions only to be found being pursued by an intelligent and skilled detective known as L, who longs to capture Turner for his actions.

The motivation for using the death note is totally different. It feels little silly in this version of Death Note. The thrill of investigation is lost. It is more fast paced and stylized than the original. Also, the writers have tried to fit in the whole story in this single movie. Because of that, the detailing has gone for a toss.

The characters aren’t properly fleshed out. The character of L is made more emotional and human with a little back story which was interesting. The original characterization of L was more weird and intriguing. The original character of Light is more matured and intellectual. His motivation was more justified because of this thinking and his vision of justice. The God of Death Ryuk looks scary and real than the animated one in the Japanese original film.

The director Adam Wingard simply sought to make an action film with a bit of romance thrown in. But in the process forgot that Death Note was never about action. It was about Light and his fight to impose his vision on to the world.

Those who haven’t seen the original Japanese film may like this film because of the concept. But for others who have seen the original two films may find it disappointing.

Rating: 💋💋


Directed by: Adam Wingard

Screenplay by: Charles Parlapanides, Vlas Parlapanides, Jeremy Slater

Based on: Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba, Takeshi Obata

Starring: Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley, Shea Whigham, Paul Nakauchi, Jason Liles, Willem Dafoe

Annabelle: Creation

After the success of the spine-chilling horror-flick, The Conjuring, a sort of franchise was created which consisted of a series of nail-biting experiences with, Annabelle, The Conjuring 2, and now the prequel, Annabelle: Creation.

This film takes us back to the origin of the spooky doll and how it was possessed by an evil spirit. Mr & Mrs. Cullins are lonely for many years after the death of their daughter. To bring some happiness in their lives they welcome a Nun and some orphanage girls to stay with them. Slowly these girls start experiencing the evil residing in the house.

The story mostly focusses on Linda(Lulu Wilson) and Janice (Talitha Bateman). They are BFFs and you can feel their deep bond. It was a good setup but it wasn’t effectively used in the film.

The story offers some decent early jump scares. But eventually, the story becomes very obvious and predictable. The movie has many illogical loopholes with no attention to the causal-affect relationship of the events that proceed in the film. Lots of cliche horror elements are used like an old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, creaky doors, a forbidden room and an old well.

The story lacks depth and the investigative touch which The Conjuring had managed to achieve and it is still the best film in the franchise. Director David Sandberg, who made the acclaimed horror film ‘Lights Out’, uses nearly every trick in the book to make the film scary. While some scenes are scary enough to make you close your eyes, but weak writing brings the film down.

Overall, Annabelle Creation promises to give some seriously scary moments and nothing much else.

Rating – 💋💋 & 1/2

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Directed by: David F. Sandberg

Produced by: Peter Safran, James Wan

Written by: Gary Dauberman

Starring: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto

Music: Benjamin Wallfisch

Cinematography: Maxime Alexandre

Atomic Blonde

​The trailer of Atomic Blonde gave a feeling that the film would be an incredibly cool, cold war thriller with insane action sequences. Unfortunately, the film is a letdown.

Lorraine, played by Charlize Theron, is an MI6 agent sent on a mission to Berlin to recover a stolen list of undercover secret agents. But with the Cold War coming to an end, Russian KGB also wants the list so they can control the post-conflict future. Lorraine is accompanied by David, played by James McAvoy, who is the MI6 station chief in Berlin.

The overall look of the film is highly stylized with lots of neon colors and graffiti-style titling filling up the frame. The action scenes are very real and brutal. There is a long single shot fight sequence which is bloody and messy without any theatrics. Charlize would certainly give a tough competition to James Bond and Jason Bourne.

Charlize Theron plays her part with ease and perfection. A talent like her is wasted in this film. Talking about fashion, Theron’s outfits are the scene-stealers, which include spiky heels of all lengths & heights, coats fitted and cut to perfection.

The narrative lacks energy and the movie feels very dry being a spy action-thriller film. The makers have tried to make the story complicated which feels unnecessary. Keeping the plot a little simpler would have helped the film. Also, there is a lesbian sub plot which exists for no reason but to titillate the viewers and then give Theron’s character someone to root for.

You don’t really feel the urgency which the story tries to convey throughout. The twists and turns in the story show up only in the second half which saves the film from being a total flop.

Overall, Atomic Blonde is a bland cocktail of action, style, and fashion which many won’t find entertaining. Watch it only for Charlize Theron.

Rating: 💋💋

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Genre: Action, Thriller

Directed by: David Leitch

Based on: The Coldest City by Antony Johnston, Sam Hart

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan is known for skillfully weaving a complex story structure in most of his movies. And he’s done just the same for Dunkirk.

Written and Directed by Nolan, Dunkirk is a story of relentless efforts to rescue 4,00,000 British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk, who are surrounded by Germans from all sides and the only way out is by sea.

The story is told through 3 different characters, who are at 3 different locations, at 3 different time frames. To top it off, each of the incidents are shown from 3 different perspectives – air, land, and sea! That’s Nolan for you.

Dunkirk has an ensemble cast of good actors like Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy and debutante Harry Styles (Of One Direction Fame), who has also done a commendable job.

Nolan smartly uses fast intercuts constantly between the stories of soldiers, the RAF pilots, and a civilian on his boat chugging towards Dunkirk. This makes the film intense and very engaging.

The action sequences feel real and takes you directly into the war. You become a part of this survival story and can feel the hopelessness of the characters. The movie is all visuals and less dialogues. The cinematography gives the film a gloomy and surreal feel, which no other war movie has achieved. As always the background score by Hans Zimmer is amazing and it brilliantly adds to the tension and depth of the story.

The characters are not much explored emotionally with no backstories shown. But, Nolan has used each and every trick from his bag to pull off this film and you easily ignore these small things. Christopher Nolan shows off his craft and proves that he is one of the finest directors of this century.

Dunkirk is an intensely dramatic, immersive and moving film. You definitely do not want to miss what could be the best movie of 2017.

Rating – 💋💋💋💋 & 1/2

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Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy, Barry Keoghan, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Cinematography:  Hoyte van Hoytema

Edited by: Lee Smith

Music: Hans Zimmer

War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes is the third installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise by Twentieth Century Fox. Picking up a few years after the harrowing events of the previous film, this film puts us right into the conflict between the smart Apes and the destructive humans fighting to reclaim their supremacy.

Caesar, played by Andy Serkis, has to lead his people to safety as a group of unidentified soldiers plan to attack the Apes’ stronghold, and the evil Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson, who leads the soldiers has hidden plans of his own.

The story is really not about the war between apes and human beings. It’s about Ceaser’s internal journey and the conflict of not becoming like Koba, who was the negative character in the previous film. The character of Ceaser is maturely evolved across the franchise. The focus is more on Apes and the story is told from their perspective. Apart from the existing characters like Maurice and Rocket, a new character is introduced Bad Ape, which is played by Steve Zahn. The arrival of Bad Ape brings a little humor to this dark and emotional film.

After watching the previous two films of the franchise, it is normal to expect an epic battle sequence at the end. But it doesn’t happen that way. The film also feels slow and little lengthy at few times in the second half.

The motion capturing done for creating the apes is so outstanding that you never feel that it’s the CGI. The apes look very real like a human being. The cinematography is remarkable and gives an epic feel to the story. The background score does justice to the crucial emotional moments throughout the film.

Overall, War for the Planet of the Apes is a great ending to the trilogy. It is an emotional, thought-provoking and brilliantly crafted film. Hail, Caesar!

Rating: 💋💋💋 & 1/2

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Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Starring:  Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Sara Canning, Ty Olsson, Terry Notary, Devyn Dalton, Aleks Paunovic, Alessandro Juliani, Amiah Miller, Chad Rook, Karin Konoval, Gabriel Chavarria

Music: Michael Giacchino

Cinematography: Michael Seresin

Spiderman Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a reboot and also the character’s first solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The story picks up after the events of Captain America: Civil War in which Tom Holland made his debut as the new Spiderman.

After his short mission with the Avengers, Peter is back at home and has to face challenges like any other teenager: school, exams, and girls. To make matters worse, Tony Stark flatly refuses to involve him in any more superhero stuff, and wants him to just remain the ‘friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man’. But Peter cannot stay quite when he sees something wrong happening around him and goes off fighting criminals on his own. This is Peter Parker’s journey to prove to himself, that he is ready for the big, bad world.

When compared to previous Spiderman movies, this one is more on the fun side and less on the sad personal emotions. The Spiderman’s new high-tech suit is very much like Iron Man and you can see glimpses of Tony Stark in the new Peter Parker. Well, a student always tries to be like his mentor.

Tom Holland has done a good job and looks promising. Michael Keaton was a great choice for the character of Vulture. But he would have made a great villain if had been shown fiercer and brutal. Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role of Tony Stark and is like a cool mentor to the young Peter Parker.

The humor is good and enjoyable. The action sequences look realistic with less use of VFX. It’s a break from the VFX-heavy action seen in many superhero movies nowadays.

Keeping the flaws aside, Spiderman Homecoming is a refreshing teenage superhero movie. It is small in terms of scale but big on entertainment.

Rating: 💋💋💋 & 1/2

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Genre: Action, Superhero, Comedy

Directed by: Jon Watts

Starring:  Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.

Cinematography: Salvatore Totino