Gerald’s Game

This year we saw two adaptations of Stephen Kings novels, The Dark Tower and It, the former was failed to attract audiences and the latter became a box office hit. Unlike most Stephen King film adaptations, the new Netflix movie Geraldโ€™s Game doesnโ€™t announce itself as being based on a Stephen King novel until you reach the end credits of the film. And it works because this story is so different than the other King’s novels.

Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) are a married couple who are hoping to spice up their sex life by indulging in a dirty weekend away in the countryside. Gerald plans to handcuff Jessie to satisfy his sexual fantasy about which Jessie has no idea. But things go horribly wrong and Gerald has a heart attack while Jessie remains in cuffs. Will she survive or not? Head to Netflix and find out yourself.

One of the best things about this movie is its smallness. Almost the entire film takes place in a single room. It is a mixture of multiple genres and themes like horror, psychological, thriller, feminism, survival, childhood trauma, supernatural, etc. That’s the beauty of this film. The actors have done a fine job especially Carla Gugino. She keeps it real and believable.

Director Mike Flanagan, who has made critically acclaimed horror hits, Hush and Ouija: Origin of Evil, uses smart pacing and well-crafted storytelling to make this film engaging. In one of the scenes where a past memory is shown using a surreal solar eclipse filter, looks cinematically awesome and gives a tonality to the film.

Overall, Gerald’s Game is more than just a survival tale which you should check out to experience a new kind of storytelling.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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Directed by: Mike Flanagan

Written by: Jeff Howard, Mike Flanagan

Based on: Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Henry Thomas, Chiara Aurelia

Cinematography: Michael Fimognari

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Blade Runner 2049

Last year Denis Villeneuve won us over with his slow-paced, brainy sci-fi film ‘Arrival’, which was critically acclaimed and also worked at the box office. This year he is back with his next film which is a sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic sci-fi film Blade Runner.

Blade Runner 2049 takes the original story forward with a leap of 30 years. โ€œKโ€, played by Ryan Gosling, is a detective working for the LAPD and hunts down replicants, who are bioengineered humans created as a labor force. ‘K’ comes across a surprising discovery buried near the home of a target and the investigation leads him to a startling revelation about the world and himself. We won’t tell you more about the story because the real joy is in discovering it yourself.

The story is engaging and has lots of things to discover and explore. The cinematography, production design and architecture is marvelous and it brings you right into the world of Blade Runner. Director Denis Villeneuve successfully keeps the essence of the first film and also adds his own creative touches.

Harrison Ford reprises his role of Rick Deckard, who connects the stories of the two films. We also have Jared Leto playing the role of Wallace, who is the creator of new age replicants and wants to eradicate all the old ones.

The duration of the film is over 2 and a half hours, which doesn’t really concern for the experience it gives. This film is for the viewers who are comfortable with slow-paced suspenseful sci-fi films. It’s not a blockbuster type action-packed film. The fans of the older Blade Runner film will surely enjoy it. 

(Note: It would be helpful to watch the first film to understand the few details, the characters and the feel of the film)

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Screenplay by: Hampton Fancher, Michael Green

Story by: Hampton Fancher

Starring:  Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista

Cinematography: Roger Deakins

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

After the success of the first film, director Matthew Vaughn is back with the next installment Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

The movie starts with an exciting action sequence where Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton, is attacked by men of an underworld organization called The Golden Circle. The Kingsman are under attack and seek help from another sister organization called ‘The Statesman’. What does the Golden Circle want and what is their evil plan? For that, you need to watch the movie.

Other than the original trio of Colin Firth, Taron Egerton and Mark Strong, we have new actors like Channing Tatum, Pedro Pascal and few Oscar-winning actors Julianne Moore, Jeff Bridges & Halle Berry. But unfortunately the story doesn’t allow to show their acting prowess. We also have Sir Elton John giving more than just a guest appearance.

This time we have a lady villain in the form of Julianne Moore, playing the character of Poppy Adams, who is a big drugs supplier. But the villain’s character is dry and boring. 

What is an even bigger let down is the story. It is too simple and has nothing new to offer. The dangers do not evoke much panic. The makers have focused more on style, clothing, gadgets and less on storytelling.

The positives about the film is that the action sequences are superbly choreographed and are truly enjoyable. The background score compliments them as well. The comic scenes and one-liners make you chuckle every now and again.

Overall, Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a fun movie packed with explosions, chases and visual spectacle. Watch it with few expectations and lots of popcorn.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 1/2

It (2017)


Based on Stephen Kingโ€™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. Itโ€™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 thatโ€™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. Itโ€™s funny, warm, touching and frightening. You’ll be craving for a sequel.

It floats. Youโ€™ll float too.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 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 Skarsgรฅrd, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor

Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung

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: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹


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 – ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 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

โ€‹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, Theronโ€™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 Theronโ€™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: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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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