#Joker a review

After an horrible flight delay and a Sunday down with sore throat, fever and sinusitis pain, was aching to get back to action.

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A solid recommendation from sonny prompted me to get well on a fast track and booked Monday night tickets with bro.

The movie is not about a comic book character in a conventional sense, do not expect superhero stuff here. Instead this is perhaps the most chillingly real portrayal of a man suffering from mental health issues.

Arthur Fleck suffers from a neurological condition, prone to sudden bursts of laughter. He lives in a rundown apartment with his ailing mom. Arthur’s mom keeps writing letters to the town’s politician Thomas Wayne, requesting help for herself and her son.

Arthur’s condition gets him jobs of a stand in clown outside departmental stores. He is bullied, abused, beaten up all the while laughing uncontrollably due to his condition. He carries a card that describes his disorder which he can show to people who may be offended by his laughs.

#JoaqinPhoenix scares you by the sheer transformation, both physical and mental, and bringing alive the #Joker on the screen. The movie has generated controversy world over on the depiction of mental health, probably because #Joker brings out the various issues that delve in each and every human being. As a quote in the movie goes – The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t.

This is the struggle of #Joker, who constantly tries to be a part of the society, a society that is biased, prejudiced towards people like him and continue to ridicule, manipulate (Arthur’s colleague Randall), detest and adopt a patronising attitude (lack of government support, social services).

When Arthur reads one of his mom’s letter which reveals that he is the son of Thomas Wayne (Bruce Wayne – Batman is a child), he pines for acknowledgment but gets ridiculed again.

Is #Joker really the son of Thomas Wayne and brother of Bruce Wayne – check out what happens when the Arthur aka #Joker realizes that while he lived his life in self pity, his life was not a tragedy but a f#₹%@ comedy !

I need to see it again, an incredible feat by #ToddPhilips but may not be palatable to all.

7 stars all the way !

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Howdy Modi !

Howdy Modi ? Howdy indeed !

Heard the speech of #PMModi on Youtube after receiving an whatsapp msg on it from a dear friend yesterday morning. An absolutely gobsmacking performance, seen for the first time by an Indian leader on American soil, at least in my lifetime.

He trumped #Trump in his own backyard.

The speech will go in to history as a textbook case study of how to corner your counterpart without patronising him and yet make him feel obliged to deliver what you want.

Knowing very well, that millions of indians will be glued to the idiotbox, he dealt a deathblow to the congress party by coming out with blazing guns on #article370 – a confidence rarely seen in an Indian leader before, perhaps the exception being Indira Gandhi.

Despite being criticized in quite a few international forums ( read biased media ) on the restrictions imposed in #Kashmir, the PM bravely declared that it was an almost unanimous decision by both houses of the parliament – this conveyed an hidden and yet a loud message to Trump that even the opposition was with him on 370.

His comment and phrase “incremental change” being followed by his predecessor’s will ring for long in the ears of the congressmen. At the same time, the emphasis on giving a “farewell” to such approach and bringing in permanent changes will also ring loud among the audience, reminding them again of article 370.

Using the widely televised platform to thank Trump for solid support and stand on fight against terrorism, he unilaterally demolished Pakistan’s all efforts to bring Kashmir in international courts.

Trump, being the shrewd businessman that he is, knew that Imran cannot get him votes in America but Modi can. He willingly played into the hands of Modi. Modi gifted him an standing ovation too 😅 ! Trump must have felt that an “Apprentice” was recruiting him and probably insecure too that this immigrant/asian leader has the key to the numbers of his survival game at the chair.

Modi revealed that he is a decision maker but also a risk taker, again by delivering a slap to congress that he takes challenges head on and does not procrastinate on them.

Pakistan probably has become a social pariah among the international community post #HowdyModi !

A big thanks to the PM #NarendraModi in boosting India’s image and also the negotiating power worldwide.

A stupendous blockbuster indeed, what is now required is to deliver on the multitude of issues that we have at home whether it is the infrastructure, civic amenities, farmer suicides, quadrilateral project completion, alternate energy fuels, carbon footprint, reservation on the basis of economic criteria, revamping the complete school education system, judiciary reforms, Inflation/Fiscal deficit and last but not the least UNIFORM CIVIL CODE.

Chhichhore – Review

A very apt movie for today’s genx who are short on patience and give up easily. It really disturbed me, when in Mumbai, a young boy and a girl committed suicide near the place where I stay. The reasons made known later were unbelievable and made us wonder why..

#NiteshTiwari touches the issue here to make a point that being termed as losers or feeling like one, is just one of the phase of life. #Chhichhore starts on a #3Idiots style hostel prank and the first half is focused on building the characters. Hostel H4 inmates are termed as losers. Their names will stay with you post the movie, and you will remember them as Acid, Sexa, Mummy, Bevda and Anni and Maya, the lead protagonists.

The complete movie is in a flashback, when Anni and Maya’s son attempts suicide and is critical. Anni decides to narrate the story of losers to his son, on hospital bed. The moral of the story being failure is not the end of the world.

The characters after sometime seem caricaturish, except for Sexa [Varun Sharma] and Derek [Tahir Raj Bhasin]. #ShraddhaKapoor continues to score.. #PratiekBabbar has a small role but has the required screen presence and the charisma, only if he got the right roles.

Definitely a good watch, with the social message etc., but cannot be compared to #3Idiots or #Dangal.

 

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IT Chapter 2 – Review

In the 90s I had seen a movie called “The Lawnmower Man” starring #PierceBrosnan. The movie was way ahead of its time. And so is #StephenKing. From The Shining to Cujo to #ITChapter2 – he has time and again proven his legendary writing skills.
 
He appears at the beginning of the movie and also in a cameo as an antique dealer, a mandatory cameo as in all King movies.
 
#IT is a three hour long movie, a bit of a stretch but the book was 1200 pages long too :), so we need to hand it to the director.
 
#GaryDauberman’s screenplay, CGI and photography is awesome. The fact that I opted for 4Dx made it all the more fun. It’s a 4Dx must watch.
 
Pennywise, the evil clown is back in Derry, Maine.
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The kids from 1989 have grown up and except for Mike, who stayed back at Derry everyone has left the town. Together they were known as the loser’s club, with each having an traumatic history of their childhood. They are each other’s support and bond well.
 
However Pennywise is back, and Mike makes calls to all his friends to put an end to Pennywise. Does Mike tell the complete truth ? Are the friends ready to face their worst fears ?
 
The cast is perfect but it is #BillSkarsgard, whom you miss on screen as Pennywise the evil clown, his acting combined with some prosthetics and CGI is flawless. Best in IMAX / 4Dx.
 
This is one clown, you wouldn’t want to clown around with !

Once upon a time in Hollywood – Review

The Master Filmmaker is back !

With Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino, had already established himself. However it was “Natural Born Killers”, an Oliver Stone film, with story and original screenplay by Quentin, which made me his fan. That movie still remains among my top must see list.

He takes his love story with Hollywood a step further with this movie, with two of the most handsome top list stars, Brad Pitt and that chameleon of an actor #LeonardoDiCaprio.

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Ricky Dalton [Leo] a TV star realizes that times are changing and new actors are replacing him. He has a double or a stuntman on his payroll, Brad Pitt. Both of them lookout for each other. Ricky is scared and is low on confidence and high on alcohol. But Cliff Booth [Brad P] is made of sterner stuff and keeps an eye on his master and pal.

The director weaves this story around real life incidents in hollywood during the late sixties, the so called end of golden age, and more with the cult of Charles Manson who murdered a heavily pregnant Sharon Tate. You need to read on Manson if you want to know more of this incident.

Leonardo – is amazing, whether it’s his breaking down in front of an child actor or acting as a villain. Check out his solo outburst, talking to himself and cursing self for forgetting dialogues. I probably may end up watching this movie twice for him.

But Brad Pitt is solid too – a very understated performance to Leo’s zany one. They both need to come together more often. Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate is awesome too – using her dove eyes to express wonder on watching herself on screen.

However the director is the ultimate hero here – check out the scene when Brad gives lift to one of Charles’s crazy ranchers and visit’s the Spahn Movie Ranch. Those aware of the Manson story will relate to the scene – it gives you the chill.. something is about to happen. You literally pray that Cliff [Brad] gets out of there alive, who gave the lift to the hippy girl to check on the owner of the ranch where he has shot movies before.

The Climax is awesome – typical Quentin style – the audience were cheering. Here the director has some fun with facts. Among the flaws though I was disappointed that the director took a dig at Bruce Lee and Steve McQueen..

An absolute must watch !

 

 

 

Batla House – A moviegoer’s review

One of the major letdown in the movie is, when you get engrossed and all disturbed at the way the things were handled, the director shows a disclaimer that the production team does not prescribe to anyone’s side and are presenting this semi-fictionalized and yet a gripping true event as is.

While the intention is probably to steer clear of being accused of being against a community, the movie still potrays ACP Sanjeev Yadav as a hero, which he is. He is an 9 times winner of President’s gallantry medals.

John Abraham perhaps essays the best performance till date, looks like Hulk and is intense. Rest all are ok. The movie rides on his able shoulders and he carries it with aplomb.

Batla House was a huge controversy and cannot be summarized in a 2 hour movie, may require a web series.

The movie raises many questions –

Why are the interfering politicians allowed to go scot free? Why are leaders like Amar Singh, Digvijay Singh and Kejriwal above the law and are not made to answer the questions they raised – as shown in the movie from real life news.

Why are the Maulvi’s allowed to use loudspeakers and pass messages on Delhi Police – are the speakers not only for religious purpose ?

How many such medal winners will have to go through PSTD, despite giving the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty. ?

How do we ensure that the wheat is separated from the chaff while ensuring justice – so that no innocents become scapegoats.

For those who followed the BATLA HOUSE controversy, the questions remain unanswered, but worth a watch.. could have been more detailed, for the monologue by ACP Sanjeev at the end, the movie gets a three star.

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Super 30 – Review

A late review of an already rocking movie at the box office.

This is a true story of a man, who as an impoverished young man could not pursue his dreams though he was accepted by Cambridge based on an mathematical articles submitted by him but could not take it up due to financial condition.

What follows is story of perseverance, dogged determination to help the downtrodden students achieve their dreams despite attacks from the coaching classes mafia.

Education is indeed a big business in India. There is a city called KOTA, which thrives only on coaching classes for IIT-JEE. Families at times shift their to be with their child who intends to appear for IIT. Their lesser brilliant siblings too shift to be with families, it is so important for everyone in the family.

#HrithikRoshan is undoubtedly one of the most gifted actors in Indian cinema and this movie is a proof of the same. After Koi Mil Gaya, he gets to show his acting chops, the other movies in between were masala entertainers banking on his greek god looks.

Vikas Bahl, despite the #metoo controversy, redeems his graph post Shandaar.

#BasantiNoDance seems trivial on TV but on it grows on you on screen, bringing forward the wide chasm between castes, classes and the rich and the poor.

A must family watch!

 

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The Great Hack

A social media user’s profile, his status updates, opinions, likes, comments, inputs to different quizzes, games etc, is collected for data mining purposes.

Based on the above, a psychological profile is developed, his political leanings are determined and his social media is bombarded with fake news, manipulative video feeds that can bring about a change in the user’s preferences.

#TheGreatHack, reveals what #CambridgeAnalytica was about – using data sets or digital traces that “you” leave on whatsapp, FB, Google, Instagram and other apps – for data mining purpose.

#Brexit, #Trump Elections, Trinidad and Tobago elections are examples of CA’s interference. The scary part of the investigations is the fact that CA was interested in promoting far-right wing parties across the world – a desperate desire it seems bring in chaos and then mould the world with help from the lies they spread.

As one british legislator in the documentary terms the tactic as “weapons grade communication technique” to persuade, influence people for gains of their clients !

How you ask ? Well the digital traces or likes, comments etc etc that you leave on the social media are now also termed as your bloodstream that runs into the internet which can be injected with “parasites” or fake/manipulative information.

Cambridge Analytica has shut down but remember there are many more such firms who do the same. Beware !

A must watch !

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Article 15 – Review

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Maharashtra has always been touted as the number one industrial state in the country.

During 2005, due to the demise of a dear one, I decided on a road trip in Diwali to take my father away from Mumbai and spend some time at a hill station called Chikhaldhara (700 kms). Sonny was an infant than, so took a driver along. It would also help me to scribble some notes. We took an overnight halt at Shegaon, a pilgrimage center.

We started again early morning, but lost our way (no gps than). Going through tribal villages, what we observed was abject poverty, we could not believe that this was our own state – number one in India.

And yet when we took an halt for a cup of tea at a rundown shop, and some milk for our son, the shopkeeper flat refused to take money for the milk, saying it would be a sin as it was for a child. Humbled beyond our words, we bought some biscuits that he had.

That man is the essence of India, the state that he is in, is because of the blind, greedy and lethargic bureaucracy and politics. We reached our destination eventually.

However this movie is about the majority of India which is rural india, and feudal mindset is more prevalent in the states of uttar pradesh and bihar.

The movie is based on the true story of two sisters who were gangraped and hanged from a tree in Badayun district, Uttar Pradesh. If I am not wrong similar incidents were reported in Ghaghar, Sambhal in the same year.

Two girls insist on being paid 3 rupees more with a contractor and threaten to leave and work for another. They do so on not being paid and are followed by more. They along with their younger sister are chased by goons. The younger one runs away into a jungle through a swamp.

#AyushmannKhurrana is Ayan Ranjan, an newbie urban IPS officer. Having returned from abroad, he is not so sure of this “India” he is looking at, and lets us know of his thoughts through whatsapp chats with his girlfriend whose answers seem as its his conscience. Khurrana is on a roll with a performance that is easily his best till date. Manoj Pahwa as the corrupt police Brahmdutt is excellent and a surprise too as usually he is typecast as a comedian.

#SayaniGupta is a chameleon. One of the better actors around for sure. #ZeeshanAyub as a Dalit naxal is good too.

The movie may remind you of Mississipi Burning – a cult movie today. Do not miss the Bob Dylan song in the beginning – How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?.. Blowi’n in the wind.

It is the cinematography that immerses you in rural india and also into sewage. Literally scares you about this other face of India, where you may work along side one another but cannot eat from the same plate.

This is the “balance” or “santulan” which needs to be maintained among different castes and religion else there would be chaos – advises Brahmdutt to Ayan.

Unfortunately our elected reps continue to exactly do that, maintain this distorted balance and rule us.

Annabelle comes home – Review

Have always been a fan of horror genre, though not much of the slasher stuff.

James Wan is back with his anthology of the Conjuring series. Gary Dauberman directs this jump and scare visual treat with an excellent sound design.

The warren couple bring the malevolent doll named Annabelle home, to be locked away in a chapel glass made locker. The doll has the ability to invoke evil spirits. Their daughter has a babysitter. When the warrens are away, the babysitter’s pal let’s curiosity take over and it causes mayhem. How the daughter, semi trained by observing the parents along with the babysitter tackle the ghosts forms the plot.

Worth a watch for strictly horror fans.

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