Movie Review: The Lion King

 

Cute, adorable, innocent, astonishing multiplied innumerable times is what would best describe Baby Simba as he makes his appearance on the screen in ‘The Lion King’. As if that overload of cuteness is not enough, Simba makes you want to have him in your arms as he tosses around in his mom Sarabi’s arms. Dad Mufasa is as majestic as his son is cute. The ideal copybook lion! Mufasa is handsome to the core with a magnificent mane and a classic roar that would bring life to a halt.

Mufasa is a great dad and Simba quite a brat! The equation between the father and son is great. The twosome makes such an adorable duo. Alas! Villains and cheats abound in the animal kingdom too. Simba’s Uncle Scar and his sidekicks, the pack of hyenas, are a testimony to this. There are old faithfuls who would go miles to help out their friends in times of catastrophe. Zazu, the hornbill, is one friend the likes of whom everyone would like to have. Nala and Sarabi turn out to be soul mates extraordinaire to Simba and Mufasa. Their love and affection are boundless!

The jungle is a hostile place, especially for little lion cubs. Predators are lurking everywhere, behind the bushes and rocks, on top of trees, and sometimes in your own midst. Adventurous youngsters like Simba and Nala can prove to be quite a handful to their parents.

The adventure through the African wilderness is a marvellous experience and quite intimidating. The laugh of the hyenas could knock the daylights out of you. Thanks to the great animation and special effects, watching ‘The Lion King’ is one armchair journey you shouldn’t miss. Waste no time! Head to the nearest movie hall, put on those 3D/4D glasses and make the best of the next two hours.

 

 

 

 

 

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Movie Review – Uri: The Surgical Strike

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Poster courtesy: santabanta.com

Uri: The Surgical Strike is an action-packed thriller based on the 2016 attack on an Indian military camp in Uri, Kashmir by Pakistani militants and the subsequent surgical strikes by Indian armed forces on suspected military camps in PoK. The debut film of Aditya Dhar who has also scripted the film stands out for the stellar acting by its cast and also the special effects. Unheard of actor Vicky Kaushal shines as Major Vihaan Singh Shergill. So well has he portrayed the role that he could easily pass of as a real-life army major. Major Vihaan Singh Shergill, the lead character in the film, does not let some serious personal problems come in the way of carrying out his responsibilities. An Alzheimer-stricken widowed mother and later the death of his brother-in-law and fellow army man Major Karan Kashyap in the Uri attack does not come in the way of his “josh” or zest. A take away from this film is the phrase “How’s the josh?” which is often being used these days to boost a dipping morale or fire up individuals. The two actresses in the film Yami Gautam and Kirti Kulhari look good in their roles. One cannot imagine a glam girl like Yami in the role of a RAW agent. Kirti Kulhari looks smart as an IAF officer who in the film has lost her husband in an attack and wants to seize any opportunity to serve her country. She realises her dream when she gets to serve as a helicopter pilot in the surgical strike. There are hints of romance in the film here and there. But whatever romance the director tries to infuse in a scene at the culmination of the film between the RAW agent and Major Shergill looks too pedestrian. The scene might as well have not been there.

The movie not only showcases the might of our armed forces and their never-say-die attitude but most importantly displays their ability to rise up from the ashes. I would give it four stars out of five. It is definitely a must-watch!

Movie Review: Borg Vs McEnroe

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Picture courtesy: thesun.co.uk.com

I have never seen Bjorn Borg in action (on television). When television sets came to our homes way back in the early 1980s, the legendary Swedish tennis star had called it quits. The iconic Borg-McEnroe rivalry was too short-lived. And I didn’t get to see much of McEnroe either. I must have got to see just a couple of matches between him and Jimmy Connors. As a kid, I enjoyed McEnroe throw tantrums at the linesmen and umpires and hear the subsequent boos from the crowd especially at Wimbledon. The “Superbrat” was an entertainer both with his racquet and also his mouth.

Coming back to his rivalry with Borg, we all knew that Borg was the ice-cool Swede and McEnroe, the badly behaved guy.

In spite of the recently released Borg-McEnroe movie not having garnered good reviews, I wanted to watch the flick in the hope of catching some of the original match footage and of course McEnroe’s tantrums.

Although, I did get to see wee bits of the match footage and the famous McEnroe temper, what struck me most was the way Borg was portrayed. While on the court, the great Swede (portrayed by Sverrir Gudnason) was cool and composed, off the court and inside the four walls of his home he seemed to be anything but cool. The Swedish superstar was a bundle of nerves and in fact a mental wreck. His coach Lennart Bergelin had the most unenviable job of not only handling his ward’s game but also his extremely low morale. On the other hand, although McEnroe (portrayed by Shia LaBeouf)  was spitting tantrums on the court, off court he came across as one cool dude. Off course, unlike Borg, he didn’t have anything to lose. Borg had a huge reputation at stake and four straight Wimbledon titles under his belt. He so badly wanted a fifth one but McEnroe couldn’t wait to foil his bid. The thought of losing the Wimbledon final to McEnroe gave Borg sleepless nights and made him sweat in fear. Was Borg really that kind of a mental wreck or the movie exaggerated it all? Was the low morale the reason of his exit from tennis at the early age of 26? In the movie, Borg’s ice-cool image definitely takes a beating and it is McEnroe who comes out tops in spite of the famous five set loss to Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon final.

While I wouldn’t say the movie is a must watch it definitely makes you soak in the golden era of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, two of the game’s greatest players. And there are quite a few entertaining moments. I loved the one when during a Wimbledon semifinal game with Jimmy Connors, McEnroe lets go a barrage of tirades at the linesmen and a visibly disturbed Connors walks to the net and asks McEnroe to shut up (Ha ha ha). Connors is believed to have once told him, “My son behaves better than you”!

 

Movie Review: Murder On The Orient Express

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Picture sourced from the movie site.

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder On The Orient Express” lives up to the reputation of her famous work. Like the book, elements of crime, drama and suspense will have you glued to your seat. The story is set in the Calais-bound Orient Express.  The train is unusually crowded for a winter day. It is snowing everywhere. Among the passengers is detective extraordinaire  Hercule Poirot who was lucky to make it into the train as all the seats were occupied. If he made it into the train it was because of his acquaintance with Bouc, the train’s director who also happens to be travelling in it. Things take a turn when Samuel Rathchett, a passenger in the train is found murdered. Bouc entrusts the case to Poirot. As the movie progresses each and every passenger turns out to be a suspect. The end of the story is as incredible as the plot. You will never be able to guess who the murderer is.  Only Poirot’s genius helps solve the mystery.

As I had read the book many years back and had forgotten the story, watching the movie turned out to be an all-the-more exhilarating experience.

Kenneth Branagh shines as Hercule Poirot. I wonder how he managed the combat scenes. Michelle Pfeiffer has perfectly portrayed Caroline Hubbard. Despite his brief experience as Samuel Ratchett, Johnny Depp makes a lasting impression as the character he has portrayed.

The interiors of the Orient Express accentuated by the muted lights complete the great movie experience. The settings are perfect for a murder mystery. Watch this flick on a lazy holiday afternoon or late evening and don’t forget to take in a tub of popcorn.

 

Review: M.S. Dhoni – The Untold Story

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Poster and still courtesy: http://www.ilubilu.com/ms-dhoni-the-untold-story-posters.html

 

Among the many movies that I have watched, this must be the one with the longest title. And with 3 hours running time, one of the lengthiest ones too.

The biopic on the charismatic Indian cricketer brings out hitherto unknown aspects of his life. Not many know that his is more or less a rags-to-riches story. It is for this reason, the movie is sure to inspire many youngsters who hail from modest backgrounds to pursue a game which many think is a rich man’s preserve.

The movie also drives in a strong message to Indian parents to allow their children to pursue their passions. Undoubtedly, there is more to life than just academics. It is criminal to waste one’s talents.

Dhoni’s climb up the ladder has been anything but rosy. This is best portrayed in his stint as a ticket collector in the railways. The international cricketer in the making went through quite a few phases of uncertainty bad enough to break a man. Resilience, will power and a good circle of friends came to his rescue.

Sections on the cricketer’s relationships complete with the signature Bollywood flavour add to the romantic element in the movie. The actresses portraying Pallavi Jha, his first girlfriend, and Sakshi, his wife, are stunners.

The editing of the movie has been done very skilfully. Match footage moves fast which is not a bad idea considering that the focus is on the cricketer’s meteoric rise from his lower middle-class moorings to the star he is today

The choice of cast is very apt. Sushant Singh Rajput as Dhoni has perfected the art of playing a cricketer, this being the second time, the last one being in “Kai Po Che!” The same applies to the make-up artistes. It is not easy to make a 30-year-old actor look like a 15-year-old high schooler (in the portions related to the cricketer’s school days).

A movie worth watching for both the young and the old.

Movie Review: Bajrangi Bhaijaan

A little Pakistani girl with an angelic face gets separated from her mother while on a pilgrimage to India. She is spotted, fed and fostered by the hero, a small-time pahelwan (wrestler) and die-hard Hanuman aka Bajrangbali bhakth (devotee of Bajrangbali). Because of his devotion to Bajrangbali, he is fondly called as Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Getting family details from the little girl is tough as she is speech-impaired. How would Bajrangi Bhaijaan know that she is from Pakistan? And how would he unite her with her parents with little or no information? Bajrangi Bhaijaan and his fiancée Rasika have a tough job on hand.

Bajrangi Bhaijaan is a must watch. It is entertaining, colourful and an armchair journey through beautiful Kashmiri locales. The emerald green mountains are a visual treat and make you want to go there. The buses in the region are quirky and are ornate with colourful pop-art. Kareena’s endless array of oxidised earrings enliven her Manish-Malhotra-designed salwar suits. I am expecting a ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ collection of earrings and salwar suits to adorn market shelves soon.

And there is more! A disheveled dude provides some comic moments on the Indo-Pak border as Bajrangi Bhaijaan attempts to cross the barbed wire fences without a passport and visa! Then there is Nawazuddin Siddiqui who has essayed the role of a clever Pakistani journalist Chand Nawab with gusto. Even if he has done only a cameo role, Om Puri is simply outstanding as a Maulvi. You’ll just love the scene where he is riding the scooter with his two ‘begums’  🙂   Jai Bajrangbali!