Stranger Things (Season 2)

Ever since Duffer brothers announced the release date for the second season of Stranger Things, fans have been eagerly waiting for the Halloween weekend to come. The trailer too promised a darker and stranger sequel. So does it fulfill its promise? Let’s find out.

Almost a year after Will was rescued from the Demogorgan, he starts experiencing nightmares which connect him to an evil force from the ‘Upside Down’ world. At the same time, some strange things start happening in the town of Hawkins. Are these things connected? What does the evil force wants?

The writing and story structuring is almost perfect across the entire season. The story gets divided into multiple branches where different characters are solving different problems. At the end, all the strings come together seamlessly and connect the dots perfectly. You can also see the changes and the maturity in the characters as the story reaches the end.

The first two episodes are little slow which just connect the viewers to the first season and sets up the curiosity to binge race the entire season. Season 2 is bigger and better than the first season. Few new characters are introduced which are only supporting. The old characters truly drive the show with their superb acting. The essence of the story and the characters are maintained. Season 2 lives up to the expectations and even goes beyond. 

To summarize, Stranger Things still remains one of the best shows currently on Netflix and better than any other over-hyped shows out in the world. Like always, the ending will make you well up and wait eagerly for season 3.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 1/2

_______________________

Genre: Science fiction, Horror, Supernatural

Created by: The Duffer Brothers

Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Matthew Modine, Noah Schnapp, Joe Keery, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, Paul Reiser

Music by: Kyle Dixon, Michael Stein

Advertisements

Geostorm

The story of Geastorm is set in the near future where global warming has reached its peak resulting in alarming climate changes. To tackle this situation all Nations come together and construct a worldwide network of satellites that can control the climate and keep any storm at bay. But this system starts malfunctioning after few years and can only be repaired by its creator Jake Lawson, played by Gerard Butler.

Geostorm also stars other actors like Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish and Ed Harris, who play important roles in the film. It is directed and co-written by Dean Devlin, who was the writer and producer of Independence Day and the 1998 Godzilla remake.

In the lines of The Day After Tomorrow & 2012, Geostorm is a cliched disaster film which tries to be different & slick. Though the concept is interesting it fails to make an impact because of the poor acting, hollow screenplay and average VFX disaster scenes.

The positives are that the movie is fast-paced with the right amount of humor at the right places, which doesn’t really give you time to think about any flaws. The film never goes overboard with emotions or action sequences. The length of the film is under 2 hours which works in its favor.

If you are looking for an entertaining film to watch this weekend, give Geostorm a try. Keep logic aside and you will be entertained. 

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 1/2

______________________

Directed by: Dean Devlim

Written by: Dean Devlin, Paul Guyot

Starring: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie Cornish, Alexandra Maria Lara, Richard Schiff, Robert Sheehan, Daniel Wu, Eugenio Derbez, Ed Harris, Andy Garcรญa

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’‹

_____________________________________

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

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’‹

_________________________

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

_______________________________

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