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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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

Transformers: The Last Knight

Director Michael Bay is back with a long and incomprehensible 5th installment of the Transformers series in the form of Transformers: The Last Knight. This time the story is about Autobots and humans trying to stop a sorceress named Quintessa, who wants to restore Cybertron by destroying planet Earth.

The story starts some 1600 years back in history where the Transformers help King Arthur and his army to restore order on earth. Coming back to the present, Optimus Prime is captured and hypnotized by Quintessa to retrieve the ‘Staff’, a powerful weapon, from Earth. Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) is helping the Transformers in need in his huge junkyard. One day a dying transformer gives him a talisman which is supposed to help him stop the Decepticons from destroying Earth. Vivian Wembley(Laura Haddock) who is a history professor at Oxford, is the last descendant of King Arthur and is the only person who can activate the ‘Staff’. 

Phew! That’s a lot to process!

A lot of time is wasted on unnecessary things in the first half of the film. It won’t be wrong to say that the actual story picks up in the second half only. Also at many places, the comic dialogues do not really make you laugh. 

Many things are happening at the same time and sometimes it gets difficult to understand what’s really going on. Many new characters are added to the story with nothing much to contribute.

Sir Anthony Hopkins is also part of the film but is never used to his full potential. This film gives you the big explosive action sequences but lacks the fast pace edge of the seat thrill. Though, the fight sequence at the end looks epic with some great visual effects. 

Overall, Transformers: The Last Knight is only for the die-hard fans of the series and for those who like VFX-heavy action.

Rating: ๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’‹

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Genre: Action, Sci-Fi

Directed by: Michael Bay

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel, Laura Haddock, Isabela Moner, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Peter Cullen, Gemma Chan

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