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: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 1/2

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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

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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: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 1/2

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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 GarcΓ­a

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: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 1/2

It (2017)


Based on Stephen King’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. It’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 that’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. It’s funny, warm, touching and frightening. You’ll be craving for a sequel.

It floats. You’ll float too.

Rating: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 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 SkarsgΓ₯rd, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor

Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung

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 – πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 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 Apes’ 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: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹πŸ’‹ & 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

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: πŸ’‹πŸ’‹

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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