Annabelle, why you be so creepy?

annabelle creation

She strikes again! The creepy doll that is a potent scare fest material for the sleepless nights that you might have had after watching her in the previous films, is back!! And this time, she is just a treat for anyone who is a horror genre fan. Annabelle: Creation, the latest addition to the Conjuring Universe (yeah it is a thing now!) that tells the story of the doll’s origin, possession and transit through the years, has all the essential elements of sending chills down your spine. There are jump scares, there are throwbacks, there is atmospheric eeriness and yes there are long long close up shots of that doll. Oh and before I forget, there are mid and post credit scenes. Yeah well now every movie wants us to go through those endless credits. (Fun game idea in the end– Aha! Did you see what I did there?!)

So, there are a lot of jump scares in the first half. If you are more of a lightweight around horror movies, then you would be crapping your pants throughout. However, the second half has more weight. It has the backstory, the plot has some character development especially between the two main girls and yes it finally reveals the origins of the doll that has been haunting you for a long time now. The atmospherics of the movie leverage the period set up to the fullest and brings about the same impact as The Conjuring movies. In addition to that, the movie uses two things quite aptly- sound design and cinematography. The music adds layers to the effectiveness and is close to what solid background did for The Shining. When the movie is not jump scaring you, it is playing with you through shadows, imagery and camera angles. And that is all that is needed to make it a good watch.

This is a definite valuable addition to the universe that James Wan is aiming to create (like I said; everybody wants to be Marvel; CASH GRABBERS!). It is everything that the first Annabelle wasn’t. And even though it works as an enjoyable standalone movie, it connects aspects of other entries in the series quite well. It leads to the events of the first Annabelle movie, Valak (the demon from Conjuring 2) makes a special appearance and teases the upcoming spin off- Nun and we get to see the actual Raggedy Ann doll that the Annabelle series is based on. (#TriviaTime The real Annabelle doll that resides in a glass chamber at Ed and Lorraine Warren’s museum is not the porcelain doll that the movie features but a Rag Doll. Look at this innocent looking doll and then think of all the creepy stories around it. Just look at it!!!)

Image result for annabelle doll

Now those are all good things but there is an essential problem with this formulaic approach too. The problem, which has greater impact if you are a horror movie fan, is that you almost know what is going to happen in most of the scenes. The crippled is going to be the most affected, the demon is going to vomit some black goo and possess, there are going to 3-4 girls who will just be there to scream (shriek), etc. etc. but that in no way takes away from how entertaining Annabelle: Creation is. All in all, the movie is a must watch for anyone who enjoys classic scary horror movies that keep you at the edge of your seats. If you are looking for subtle imagery, a thick storyline, immense character development then this might disappoint you. It is not as good as the first Conjuring but comes real close. I have to give a shout out to the director of this one- David Sandberg, who also directed Lights Out, for an amazing job done.

Hits- Jump Scares, Direction, Sound Score, Cinematography
Misses- Formulaic, change in the doll’s appearance from the earlier movies (which might only be a thing for an ardent follower)

Oh yeah, the fun game- so in any movie which is heavy on VFX and special effects- get your friends to locate Indian names in the crew list. It is fun and makes you wonder why these talented people are not working for Indian studios that suck at special effects.

Because MOM is always right!

Image result for MOM sridevi

I know this might be a little late but considering there is still a lot of buzz around the movie and after all it’s about MAA, why not! So let’s see- what do we have here?! Take a yesteryear star looking for a comeback after every 3-4 years, some talent from the neighbor country, a buffed up dude to play the chichora launda, a nerve wracking background score and yes a tragedy which would instill all levels of heroism in an otherwise meek mother figure- rape in this case. Once you have all this, blend it into the most predictable and stereotypical screenplay and BAM! you have a movie like MOM.

But then wait. That’s not the end of it. There is a reason why films like this work at some level. Because it has the universal mother-offspring connect, because it shakes you up a little everytime you see something tragic onscreen and at some level you are still keen to see those yesteryear stars performing their hearts out in a film which is basically hanging on their shoulders. It still has impact and that is exactly what Mom is able to do.

Sridevi does not miss a beat. She is on point with her portrayal of a mother who is trying to build a connect with her stepdaughter, who later in the story goes through the turmoil of being blamed for the tragedy and who shines as the woman driven only by the sheer angst of avenging her daughter. Two things that you should just let go are Sridevi’s dialogue delivery and the necessary failure of the ‘system’ in such movies. Adding brilliantly to the star cast is Nawazuddin and Akshaye Khanna (who in my opinion is really a missed opportunity for Bollywood, oh damn that man has some serious acting chops!) The Pakistani actors playing the daughter (Sajal Ali) and husband (Adnan Siddiqui) are capable actors and will not let the energy drop down.

There are some interesting plot developments where you will be slightly pleased and then there are many which are as predictable as what you are having for lunch (Yes, you are having exactly what the maid packed for you so don’t be all cool and think oh we will order something. That is not going to take you far!). But overall the movie does not dip your interest or lose you anywhere- which is enough, right? And if you are watching it with your mommy dear then obviously you will feel that eventual streak of love for her. So at that moment, just HUG HER!

Hits- Sridevi, Nawaz, Akshaye
Misses- Predictable Plot, Too convenient a resolution, Bad special hill station special effects

(Picture Credits- Wikicommons)

Dear Mr. Jagga Jasoos, are you happy with what you did there?

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“OMG It is so long!” While those words might be the most flattering in some situations, they are definitely not as pleasant in all. Trust a person who has just been through the imaginative playing of the comic book written by Anurag Basu (and many others who are not credited but have influenced his work- TinTin anyone?!). If that description does not work for you, the movie Jagga Jasoos can literally be taglined as Barfi on steroids! You know while making this film, apparently there were so many points in time when Ranbir Kapoor just wanted to quit because it was too much time and energy that went in the process. You will not only empathise with him but will also feel the same at many junctures. India’s first (debatable) musical, Jagga Jasoos is made with good intentions for sure but experiencing this movie will feel like a love affair where the lover keeps telling you they love you dearly but that translates into nothing, nada, jackshit! Lip service can only take you so far.

Ranbir Kapoor is good. But isn’t he a good actor? But isn’t he also playing the same guy again and again in different scenarios? But still isn’t he good? He is. He is definitely the best thing about the movie; there is no doubt about that. Saswata Chatterjee, the man who played the bad guy in Kahani (remember the train scene?), plays the father- the centre point of the story and does such an amazing job. But that’s it. That’s all. If you have to have to take other aspects into consideration, then you might like the musical component of the movie initially and might enjoy watching the scenery at some points. But very soon, you will start searching for a storyline. And after a lot of searching, you will find a wafer-thin plot with a (social) message here and there. Last one hour of the almost three hours long movie was just another level of ridiculousness. In a South Delhi girl’s words- Anything was happening only!

Except for Ullu ka Pathha and Galti se Mistake, there is no song that stays with you. But yes the choreography by Shiamak is quite a feast to watch. And once you are finally done with everything in the film, there is a hint at a sequel. Seriously?! Please don’t even consider it. I might get hated for this one because this movie is definitely the one that is capable of dividing the families into halves fighting pro and against but those were my thoughts just after watching the movie. I expected at least a smile to cover my face through most of the movie and Jagga did not even do that for me. Maybe it’s the length of the movie, maybe it is those over saturated colors, or maybe it is that ridiculousness I talk about in the name of keeping it fantastical. It’s the overall package which is not likely to work.

Are you wondering why I didn’t even mention Katrina Kaif? Haha! Wonder about it, AGAIN!

Hits- Ranbir Kapoor, Some camera work, Father-son chemistry
Misses- Length, Banality, Plot, Lack of smile inducing charm

(Picture Credit: Wikicommons)

 

Mere pyaare Ayushman

Image result for meri pyaari bindu

I watched several movies in these past few weeks. Movies, in my head, are these therapeutic mediums that come to your rescue in the darkest times. Whether you are happy or heartbroken, movies are there to give you the much needed catharsis. And somehow that is what I expected Meri Pyaari Bindu to do for me. I always thought this would be a movie of moments- sweet, emotional, cherishable. But as the movie starting rolling, a flickering NO starting flashing in different corners. Essentially (yes, I use that a lot) it boiled down to three things- Ayushman’s subtle performance, a new favourite in ‘Maana ki hum yaar nahin’ (maybe because of current mood) and Parineeti’s makeover (read weight loss). The third one being the most prominent.

The movie wasn’t bad and it might be liked by some but it did not seal the deal for me. Not at least in the first watch. And the super apparent post production dubbing by actors did not help. It was like hearing an audio recording over a video that was playing. Even if the story wasn’t the most layered, I was ready to give in to the charm of the film but it never rose up to the occasion. Bindu was supposedly this super quirky, strong headed, whimsical girl who knew her way around the world. She got everything super easy because she was street smart and also because she had a loyal loyal friend in Abhimanyu. But then what happened? She got into the music scene with much ease but then broke down with one miss? She broke 2 engagements before falling for the male lead but then broke it with him too because she was not in the best phases of her life. Fair. But umm..2 years and you not only found another man, you decided to marry him without giving a second try for a person who loved you since he saw you two decades ago. I did not buy into it. Especially when the issue was never their equation.

But the old classics infused some energy into the film which was a refreshing break from very average album otherwise. Parineeti sang and she sang good but acting- Aenn! (it was a phonetic expression- try it. Aenn! Like a buzzer, Aenn!). But But But Ayushman Khurrana. He was a real gem when compared to everything around the movie. He was so nuanced, sincere and so present. Watch this movie for him.

Pluses- Ayushman Khuranna, One song at the end, How the movie is shot, Old melodies
Minuses- Parineeti and equally the film makers- get over the weight loss, Wafer thin story line, Doesn’t have moments

 

(Picture credits- Yash Raj Movies)

So excited about being ‘Trapped’

Have you heard of this movie Trapped releasing tomorrow? If not, let me tell you. This might be the most underplayed and un-marketed movie in the recent times but is very promising. By the looks of it (trailer), Trapped, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, appears to be about a man who is locked in. Where? His own house. Is he kidnapped? No. Is this under some extraordinary circumstances- does not appear so. Just a very regular day where he is leaving in a hurry to pick someone up; someone who he has decorated the house with a ‘WELCOME’ sign for.

Trapped_Poater

But in an unfortunate turn of events, he is trapped in his own house with no resources to fall back on. Just imagine that scenario- an innocent setting with so much to take from you if it gets this peculiar. 

It does not seem to have any other characters physically present in the movie except for the super ignorant security guard that Raj Kumar Rao- the superbly brilliant actor- keeps calling out for.

The movie is set in a high res apartment building and takeson the isolation and survival of this man throughout. So simple but impactful. The film had its world premiere at the Mumbai Film Festival on October 26, 2016 where it was praised and received a standing ovation. After releasing on March 17, 2017, it would be made available on Netflix. Yay!

Do check out the trailer for the movie and catch it at a theatre near you tomorrow onwards. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

 

Let’s start with the ‘King’- Kong: Skull Island

This is an opinion piece on Kong: Skull Island

For the longest time now, people have been telling me to write about the entertainment pieces that I watch (which are a lot!). Now, going back in time and talking about titles I have watched in the past might not be the best-suited route for this and maybe in the future posts, I will delve deeper into retrospective opinions- but first let me take a selfie! Ha! No, let me start with the latest flick I watched (just yesterday). Kong: Skull Island.

Well, let me make it clear in the beginning that I strongly believe that there are several genres of movies and they should only be judged based on that; and by that logic- Kong wasn’t half bad! What do you expect from a monster movie of 2017, which is trying to revive/rebuild a franchise based on a mythical character entertaining audiences since 1933? An ensemble, good build up, CGI worth appreciating and some random characters who would be killed at several points in the movie. And you know who they are from the very start. Also, enough with making the casts multi-ethnic! Too obvious Hollywood, too obvious! Although I wonder how Tom Hiddleston’s character (who is a ‘tracker’ who tracks, for lack of a better world, Jackshit!) survives without a scratch on his body or on that muscle tee that he flaunts his biceps in throughout the movie! Well there is a reason why they are called heroes, I guess. #LifeGoals

You are introduced to Kong early on in the movie and you are not disappointed; quite frankly, I did not care for why these guys would land up on this island- you just want them to land, get trapped and then run for their lives; and that THEY DO. What was amazing was the casting of Brie Larson. Really? After an Oscar, you take up a role which had 5 dialogues in total! But, I digress. Let’s talk again about how Kong is this amazing anti-hero monster that everyone loves (including a tribal colony on the island with means to paint themselves in yellow and blue) and who the main characters actually try to save on his own island by the end of the movie. He is a monster who is a caretaker, who is (the) king, who eats octopus-like creatures and who for no rhyme or reason has a thing for the main female character. As for the creatures, there are just so many on that island- and the amazing thing is that only one of each variety is ever introduced in the movie. Budget constraints much! But are we really concerned by that? No. The highlights of the movie are when Kong smashes helicopters, breaks jaws of the skull-crawlers (another lethal creature on the island- final showdown worthy!), gets burnt completely to reappear to save the day etc. etc. The CGI moments basically.

Throughout the movie, I only wished that the amount of expressions or emotions on Kong’s face was complemented equally by all actors in the movie. Mind you, it has some amazing actors like Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, so on and so forth. It seems like the CGI talent was better at imitating emotions than actual human beings. But again, what are you expecting from a monster flick! The effects, scale and camerawork; and they all work but the editing doesn’t. Was the editor half-paid or just rushed through the second half of the movie? Chopped it up left, right and center. There was literally a scene where three characters were lying on the ground almost about to die and next we see an aerial shot of all of them posing like the Avengers.

In a nutshell, don’t miss it if you are into this universe or monster movies in general. Especially try watching it in IMAX if it is accessible to you. And just one more tip, go in with NOT many expectations but a LOT OF popcorn and cola because it is kinda sorta fun!

P.S. I have kept it short- first post no! Let’s see what later posts have in store. Well, whatever I write but figure of speech yo!

P.P.S. Do stick around for the post-credits scene. Why did I write that so much later in the post, you ask? Because it bloody well prepares you for the wait- it is ACTUALLY a post-credits scene. Like after all of them. Who does that?!

Image source: Comingsoon.net