Daddy’s Home 2

Just two years after the average Daddy’s Home released, this Christmas we have its sequel hitting the theatres. Is it really worth watching? Let’s find out.

Daddy’s Home starred Will Farrell who played Brad, and Mark Wahlberg who played Dusty, both of whom reprised their roles in Daddy’s Home the sequel. Daddy’s Home 2 introduces two grand โ€˜daddiesโ€™ to spice things up. Enter Mel Gibson and John Lithgow, visiting the newly-blended families for Christmas.

While the first film gave more focus on the duo of Brad & Dusty, This time the other characters too get equal importance and screen presence. Watching the first film can help you familiarise with the characters and few story references in this sequel. Surprisingly, John Cena gets more than a special appearance this time. 

The first film used up all the gags out of the premise of Brad and Dustyโ€™s rivalry over the care of their step and biological children, respectively, and there nothing new to tell in the sequel. We find many familiar scenes like Brad almost dying because of electric shock, from the first movie. Nevertheless, there are enough jokes to crack you up.

The duration of this movie is around 93 minutes, but feels much longer. Few of the scenes were unnecessarily stretched out, Especially, the scene before the ending which was too  childish.

Overall, Daddyโ€™s Home 2 is a stupid and forgettable comedy. It is worse than the first film, but can be seen as a family entertainer. So if you’ve got nothing better to do this Christmas, you could give it a watch.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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Genre: Comedy, Drama

Directed by: Sean Anders

Starring: Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, John Cena, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson

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Wonder

Wonder, based on the 2012 best-selling novel by RJ Palacio of the same name, tells a story of a boy named August, nicknamed Auggie, who was born with a condition that causes facial deformities. Even after going through 27 surgeries he still looks noticeably different from other kids his age. After years of home-schooling, Auggie is sent to attend a regular school. And the different kind of problems he has to face and how he fights back, forms the crux of the story.

Wonder is blessed with stunning performances by its great cast which consists of Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Danielle Russell and others.

All the characters are very well developed. Instead of only focusing on the central character, the story shows the point of view of other characters too. This really helps the viewer to connect with the film. Every moment of emotion fits like a puzzle with each viewpoint and that convincingly flows in every scene.

Co-writer and Director Stephen Chbosky never allows the story to go over dramatic and successfully manages to keep it real and believable. The movie rightly delivers the message of kindness, forgiveness and the importance of self-love, which makes it a wholesome family entertainer.

Overall, Wonder is a simple and warm emotional drama with a lot of heart. It is a gem of a movie which is rare to find in today’s age of superhero and blockbuster films.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 1/2

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Genre: Drama, Family

Directed by: Stephen Chbosky

Screenplay by: Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, Stephen Chbosky

Based on: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Starring: Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay, Mandy Patinkin, Daveed Diggs

Murder On The Orient Express (2017)

Murder On The Orient Express is based on Agatha Christie’s 1934 classic novel of the same name, which has been earlier adapted into a film and a couple of tv shows too. So whats different this time? Let’s find out.

World’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot(played by Kenneth Branagh), is trying to take a vacation while traveling on a packed luxury train from Istanbul to England. But unfortunately, even here he is interrupted by a murder of a fellow passenger. Now everyone on the train is a suspect and Poirot has to find the killer. The passengers are from different countries, having different careers but are somehow connected with each other. That was a small hint which should excite you to go and watch this film.

The ensemble cast comprises an enjoyable mix of actors Johnny Depp, Olivia Colman, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench, Willem Dafoe, Penรฉlope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley. Kenneth Branagh delivers a performance that overpowers everything else.

The film starts as any typical detective film but ends on a different tone. The film mostly involves verbal discussions so pay good attention to the dialogues to understand the details and to follow the unfolding of the mystery.

The cinematography is grand and beautiful. It is not a fast-paced thriller, but a medium paced mystery-suspense drama. The film fails to create the sense of urgency and tension which murder mysteries are supposed to offer.

If you are a fan of murder mysteries, you should definitely give this film a try.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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Genre: Drama, Mystery, Suspense

Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Based on: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Penรฉlope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley

Cinematography: Haris Zambarloukos

Thank You For Your Service

We have seen many movies where American soldiers fight heroically for their country and win wars. But what happens when these soldiers come back home after facing the horrors of war? Thank You For Your Service, produced by DreamWorks and Reliance Entertainment, tries to address this issue in a hard-hitting way.

Based on the 2013 non-fiction book of the same name by David Finkel, Thank You For Your Service is the story of 3 American soldiers who are back home from Iraq. The trio suffer from PTSD i.e Post Trauma and Stress Disorder and attempt to gel in with civilian life which forms the crux of the story.

Miles Teller gives an evocative performance. Beulah Koale is all natural and makes you feel empathetic for him. Also, Joe Cole in a brief role is heartbreaking and effective. Debutant director Jason Hall, who wrote American Sniper,  manages to keep the story real but couldn’t bring the outrage that was supposed to be the core idea.

The treatment of the film is kept very real without using any theatrics. The dialogues are relatable, and most of the film is covered via inter-personal conversations.

Thank You For Your Service is an emotional drama with passionate performances from all the actors. This film is not for entertainment but will surely leave you unsettled.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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Genre: Drama, Biography

Directed & Written by: Jason Hall

Starring: Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Joe Cole, Amy Schumer, Beulah Koale, Scott Haze

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

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

Stranger Things (Season 1)

Stranger Things is a sci-fi, horror web series created by the Duffer Brothers. The story revolves around the disappearance of a young boy and the struggle of his mother, his brother, a police chief, and his friends in order to get him back.

Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana in the 1980s, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) gets disappeared after he encounters a supernatural creature. His traumatized mother Joyce(Winona Ryder) along with Jim Hopper(David Harbour), who is the police chief, start searching for him. The investigation slowly uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments and terrifying supernatural forces. The most interesting characters are Will’s three best friends Mike(Finn Wolfhard), Lucas(Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin(Gaten Matarazzo) who fearlessly try to find Will with the help of Eleven(Millie Bobby Brown), a young girl with psychokinetic abilities.

The show grips you from the first scene itself. As the story is based in the 80’s, we don’t see much of high tech gadgets and labs. Still, it is a pretty good sci-fi story. Not too much of VFX used, which makes it more real and believable.

Stranger Things is one of the best Netflix shows till date. It is a great blend of sci-fi, thriller, horror and drama. It is just perfect. You have to binge watch the series to satisfy your curiosity.

Rating – ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹ & 1/2

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Genre: Science fiction, Horror, Supernatural, Period drama

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