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

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 – ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 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 Apesโ€™ 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: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 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 characterโ€™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 โ€˜friendly neighbourhood Spider-Manโ€™. 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: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 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

Cars 3

Itโ€™s been more than ten years since the first Cars movie was released, which was a sweet and sensitive racing comedy film. The sequel, Cars 2 turned out to be a soulless and disappointing with no real sense of purpose. Cars 3, fortunately, delivers a good story and gets the series back on track.

Lightning McQueen, voiced by Owen Wilson, is enjoying his time as the racing legend. His life changes when Jackson Storm, voiced by Armie Hammer, an arrogant and ridiculously fast young racer, defeats him in a race. This continues until the last race of the season where McQueen crashes and goes into rehab.

Now, Storm is the new champ. Everyone thinks McQueen is old and it’s time for him to retire. But he doesn’t give up and decides to reinvent himself to become the champion again. In this journey, McQueen meets Cruz, voiced by Cristela Alonzo, his trainer who never believed in herself as a racer. She is an important character in the story which will surprise you at the end.

The animation looks more realistic than before. The racing sequences are entertaining too. It is a touching and motivational tale which will connect with all. It’s not only about McQueen trying to win a race but something more than that. The movie has some funny scenes which will bring out laughter.

Overall, Cars 3 is an enjoyable ride for both kids and adults alike. It is the best movie of the series and definitely a one-time watch.

Rating – ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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Genre: Animation, Comedy

Directed by: Brian Fee

Starring: Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Lea DeLaria

Music by: Randy Newman

Cinematography: Jeremy Lasky, Newton Thomas Sigel

Edited by: Stephen Schaffer

The Mummy (2017)

The Mummy is a reboot of The Mummy franchise and the first installment in the Dark Universe film series. This time we have a woman mummy in the form of the evil Egyptian Princess Ahmanet, who is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert.

The story starts with Nick Morton(Tom Cruise) who accidentally reawakens the Mummy of Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) and immediately gets cursed. A young archeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), and the scientist Doctor Jekyll(Russell Crowe) come to Nick’s rescue. They are part of Prodigium, a secret society dedicated to hunting supernatural threats.

The story does excite you to some extent initially. But it doesn’t live up to the expectation when it reaches to the end. The character of Nick lacks purpose and isn’t properly fleshed out. His love for Jenny is never built up and lacks conviction. The character of Princess Ahmanet is very well designed but never used up to its full potential. The same goes with Doctor Jeykyll.

Sofia Boutella is compelling and immensely watchable. Russell Crowe manages to entertain too. But Tom Cruise fails to make an impression. It is probably one of the worst movies of his career.

The production design is impressive in many places and the visual effects are decent. But, the action sequences donโ€™t do justice to it. The climax is far too simple with nothing exciting to offer.

Overall, The Mummy is a bad mixture of comedy, action and horror. It is a one time watch for movie freaks for its visuals and nothing more.

Rating – ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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Genre: Action, Horror

Directed by: Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance,Marwan Kenzari, Russell Crowe

Wonder Woman

After delivering multiple disappointing superhero films, DC & Warner Brothers have made a terrific comeback with Wonder Woman.  This is a superhero origin story that digs into Diana’s transformation from a naive warrior to an inspiring hero.

Diana, played by Gal Gadot, is the princess of the Amazons, who are living peacefully on a hidden island. Their sole purpose is to defeat the god of war, Ares, and bring peace to the world. One day a British spy Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine crashes on the island while escaping from the German forces in the First World War. Trevor tells Diana of the โ€˜war to end all warsโ€™ and she decides to go with him and end the war.

Diana’s innocence and no knowledge of the human world brings out humor without using any cliched one-liners. Diana experiences falling in love for the first time and the romantic moments between Diana and Trevor are emotional and heart warming. Gal Gadot fits the bill perfectly as Wonder Woman. She pulls off the fight sequences with ease and style. Chris Pine plays an important supporting role and does justice to his character. 

The cinematography on the film is stunning. Also, the background score is memorable, especially during Diana’s fighting sequences which stays with you past the movie. The climax war scenes look incredible with great visual effects.

Overall, Wonder Woman is an emotional and inspirational tale of a woman superhero. It will engage and entertain you for sure.

Rating – ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹
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Genre: Action, Superhero

Directed by: Patty Jenkins

Starring:  Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen, Elena Anaya

Music: Rupert Gregson-Williams

Cinematography: Matthew Jensen