Race 3

By God (Bhagvan/Allah/Jesus – or anyone else you may believe in) RACE as fast as you can in the opposite direction of the ticket counter.

Imagine…you go to a restaurant once and get served Paneer Butter Masala, the second time you go you get served Kadhai Paneer. With your expectations as high as they should be by this time on your third visit you are served a plate of rotten stinky onions. Yup, that’s exactly what happened to me here. After watching Race and Race 2, both of which were some of my most favorite thrillers, Race 3 was so anticlimactically bad that I am never going to trust another Race sequel blindly. And yes, there will be another sequel as announced by Salam Khan in the closing scene. Please just don’t let him be part of it!

The Race series is known for its plot twists, style, polish, glamour and class. Enter Salman Khan! The plot twists are still there but some of them more obvious than the sun rising from the East. Style, polish, glamour and class all gone to the dogs. All that’s left is Salman Khan cleaning the floor with his homegrown dance moves, dialogues that are cringeworthy, and his front-seat-whistle-inducing antiques.

Race is supposed to be an out and out thriller but since Salman took over he had to add his forced humor to the mix. The Bhojpuri dialect totally robbed the last graces off the plot and made this one a big dud!

I almost slipped off my plush movie theatre chair when the song “I found love” came on. Was this satirical content as part of the plot? The five words skirting my tongue the whole time were “Is this $#!+ for realz?!” … I found love … I found love in you … Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez super awkwardly posing on rocks and lifting their booties to twist their legs…I can’t get it out of my head!

Costumes likely didn’t cost much. Jacqueline’s designer ordered a bunch of monochrome bedsheets from Amazon, tore them up in different places and hung them on her. Salman and Bobby were rolling in some desert shirtless last I woke up to check how much longer until I can go home.

Overall, this movie served as a solid dose of diphenhydramine (main ingredient of sleeping pills) for me. I slept through about 30% off it and suffered through the remaining 70%. (1/10)

 

 

 

race 3

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Raazi

After a six week hiatus & figuring out why I have more <randomstringofletters>@outlook.com blog followers than Donald Trump has typos in his tweets I am back!

I may have been slacking with writing reviews but rest assured I was on the top of my game watching movies! Let me start with the best:

Raazi, a beautiful play on word, signifying a young girls’ willingness to marry an unknown man, join an unknown family, call a rival country her new ‘home’ and her willingness to put all on the line to become a spy for her motherland. A deep bow of respect for real life Sehmat whose heart beat for more than just her own wellbeing.

Alia Bhatt is putting nepotism claims to rest with yet another talent-filled portrayal of the protagonist. What a nice contrast to pelvic thrusting, half-clad, dunked in a pot of make up heroins! Mind you, this wasn’t an easy character to play. It was equal parts grief and determination, confidence and sub-ordinance, hope and despair, courage and fear. Yet she brought each of these to life without flinching an eye.

Vicky Kaushal was a true surprise. How handsomely he slipped into a Pakistani army man’s, a son’s, a brother’s and a husband’s character. Ouuff! It’s not the first time I am asking and also not the last: “Where do they make men like these anymore??” Accomplished yet humble, not sappily romantic yet loving and caring in ways that don’t need words…

The direction was powerful, subtle and had just the perfect amount of patriotism, pride and clever.

Bonus: If Dilbaro doesn’t get you crying at “Babul ki Duayein Leti Ja” levels go get your eyes or your heart checked! (10/10)

raazi

 

The 15:17 to Paris

Maybe Clint Eastwood is just trying to burn through his money in his Golden years now. There is no other rhyme or reason why he would choose to make a movie like this. The 15:17 to Paris is based on the true story of three American soldiers that prevented a terrorist attack on a train from Amsterdam to Paris. By no means am I diminishing their heroic feat but what could have been told in a 10 minute YouTube clip turned into a 1 hour 36 min ordeal that was entirely unnecessary. The story starts with the childhood of these three boys in elaborate detail which has absolutely nothing to do with the incidence on the train, goes into how they all join the army, shows them awkwardly traveling through Europe with the last 15 minutes actually showing the incident on the train.

Bad acting, awkward dialogues and a script not worth the paper it’s written on. (1/10)

1517

Tiger Zinda Hai

Tiger kabh marega? … was the thought looming over my mind as I was exiting the movie theatre at 1am in the morning. I can understand why the audience erupts into whistles and cries (the happy kind) when Salman Khan takes over the screen – shirtless – and out of nowhere procures a kalashnikov to singe-handedly finish the whole Syrian army troupe on the scene. But somewhere deep inside, where I lock up my brain before I embark to watch a Salman Khan movie, my logic is rebelling and letting out suppressed cries of pain. I know movies are meant for entertainment yada yada but after being spoiled with quality action thrillers like Baby and Airlift this Tiger business doesn’t measure up more than a meek meow.

For the first time ever I felt Katrina did a half-decent job. Guess why? She didn’t need to speak much. She was fully consumed by fierce-fully slaying Syrian goons. Quite the power packed sight.

Now if you have to – like me – see every movie whether it’s worth it or not by all means drive yourself over to the next theatre but if this is not a vice for you stay at home and spend the time doing something wiser. (3/10)

TZA

Ittefaq

One ticket – Two stories

This mystery thriller is a remake of the 1969 movie starring Rajesh Khanna and Nanda. I haven’t seen the original but this is an entertaining watch with a good storyline that has reveals lined up as the movie progresses. Most of it takes place inside the apartment of Maya, a bored housewife indulging in an affair that adds interesting twists to the plot.

Akshaye Khanna’s acting chops are to watch out for. He’s found his genre and I hope to see him doing more of what he does so well.

Abhay Chopra tried to please too many audiences at once and introduced humor that simply has no place in a thriller. Do one thing and do it well, sir!

Good one time watch but no sit-at-the-edge-of-your-seat experience. (7/10)

ittefaq

Kahaani 2

I wish I had re-watched Kahaani before seeing its sequel to better understand what has shaped Durga Rani Singh into the person she is in this movie. All throughout this thriller I was left a bit irritated at the choices she is making without clearly understanding where she’s coming from. Inder, her ex-husband, also makes conflicting choices that need to be unraveled in the end in a rather anti-climatic manner.

Recently, there have been a multitude of movies on the topic of child molestation (Mom, Maatr, etc.) with this one being a less ‘obvious’ one, yet one that should not be shoved under the carpet.

Both Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal acted like veterans do. It’s still hard to understand why Arjun Rampal didn’t get more opportunity in Bollywood. He acts and looks far better than many a superstar of the masses. (6/10)

kahaani

 

Mom

Sridevi had her second come back with a bang. An actress of her caliber deserves strong stories like English Vinglish and now Mom. She is looking as ravishing as a 53 old can possibly look and the way she gets under the skin of her character really carries the movie on her two dainty shoulders.

A well made thriller except I am not sure it was necessary to bring in a stepmother – stepdaughter twist into it. It served more as a distraction to me rather than an enhancement to the story. Also, there was no need to alter Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s appearance so much since it wasn’t required for his character to come across any more authentic.

When you a make a movie that’s otherwise pretty flawless small things, such as unnecessary humor between Sridevi and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, is not required. All it did was interfere with the severity of the matter at hand.

All-round stellar acting by everyone and a story that is not at all unimaginable in today’s India. (9/10)

mom