March 5, 2020

Thappad (5/5)

Thappad: Slap on your belief

Thappad is an intense family drama directed by Anubhav Sinha. It's a movie about a perfect family of Amrita (Tapsee Punnu) and Vikram (Pavail Gulati) where Amrita is a modern and ideal housewife who takes care of her house and Vikram is ambitious professionals who want to grow in career.
The movie starts with the usual daily chores life which is quite common in any family and where Vikram is preparing himself to win a promotion to move to London. The movie start with an untoward incidence that happens in a party where Vikram slaps Amrita on rage in front of everyone over a scuffle with his office colleague. That one slap changes Amrita's perspective about her life and unfolds how that slap jolted her but people around her were okay with it. The slap shook her to the core and her ideas about relationship and self-belief and she decided to divorce Vikram for it.

Thappad is not a film about a wife teaching her husband not to take her for granted. It’s about a woman's self-discovery, realizing what is fair, how women are expected to adapt to new normal and accept the casual insensitivity towards them. While watching Thappad you will be quite involved in Amrita’s story and you can so relate with it and feel so uncomfortable about this ugly fact which is shown in the movie. Thappad also busts all our myths that well to do family, or educated / professional class, women who are in power are immune to these issues.

It’s full credit to Anubhav Sinha who perfectly told this story with beautifully crafted characters like Vikram & Amrita Parents, their friends, and siblings, feminist lawyer, housemaid, all perfectly played by the amazing casts. It is a very well written movie and I would say well balanced as it doesn't dramatise the slap or show family drama but focusses on the real issues which we subtly ignore in our society. Thappad has amazing casts and each one does justice to their characters however the great credit goes to Taapsee Pannu who carried the role so beautifully without any flaws.

This one a must-watch for every Indian especially "Men" to have self-realization on how we don't even know how we ignore some minute things in our life around which can create a big impact. The great movies life these usually inspire you, make you think to change the things around, however, this one made me questions my belief system. 

February 4, 2020

2020: AnksReview's 92nd Annual Academy (OSCAR) Awards Prediction

Again, it's that time of the year and we are nearly a week away from 92nd Academy Awards Night where movies of the world are being recognised and celebrated. 2019 is the year filled with amazing movies and that's what made it very tough to choose among the best of the lot in almost all the categories.

Every year when I put my predictions I tend to bend towards putting those names which will be usually picked up by Oscar Jury based either on past trends or get influenced by the social or political narrative. So this year I decided to put a WINNER as per my personal choice for that category followed by an alternate choice which may take the Oscar based on a typical way jury decides the winner. So here is the prediction for 2020 Oscar Award:

1. Best Picture
Image result for parasite scene
Parasite - {WINNER}
1917 - {Alternate Choice} or Joker (deserves but quite a long shot as per the tradition of The Academy Award)
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This was really difficult to choose and I have to decide here between my heart and my mind. Before I decided on anything "Joker" is just a class apart, but quite a long shot to win the Best Picture especially when the academy likes to be politically correct and give it to a movie made on a comic character. There is a good possibility that "1917" will win Best Picture but I am going with my heart and choosing "Parasite" as Best Picture of 2019. Parasite is by far more than a perfect movie and it's a high time Oscar breaks its tradition and gives Best Picture to a movie made in Foreign language, otherwise friends it's "1917".  

2. Best Director
Image result for sam mendes 1917 behind the scenes
Sam Mendes – 1917 - {WINNER}
Bong Joon-ho – Parasite - {Alternate Choice}
  • Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
  • Todd Phillips – Joker
  • Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

This will squarely go to Sam Mendes, just for the fact the way he shot 1917 with ultimate perfection. I also have a hunch that Bong Joon-ho will take this for "Parasite".

3. Best Actor
Image result for joaquin phoenix joker
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker - {WINNER}
  • Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Adam Driver – Marriage Story
  • Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes

This is the only category where I have any second thought that this trophy will go to anyone but Joaquin Phoenix for Joker.

4. Best Actress
Image result for renee zellweger judy
Renée Zellweger – Judy - {WINNER}
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story - {Alternate Choice}
  • Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
  • Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
  • Charlize Theron – Bombshell

It's a tough call here and I believe Renee and Scarlett both equally deserve this one, I have selected Renne because she was the backbone of the movie Judy and superb in playing the character. 

5. Best Supporting Actor
Related image
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - {WINNER}
Joe Pesci – The Irishman - {Alternate Choice}
  • Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
  • Al Pacino – The Irishman

This one was the most difficult to predict when you have all equally top performers in one category. I literally watched all these movies again to decide on this award and I decided on Brad Pitt based on what uniqueness each actor brought to characters they played respective movies. My second choice will be Joe Pesci just out of respect for him who came back to the movies after quite a long break.

6. Best Supporting Actress
Image result for laura dern marriage story
Laura Dern – Marriage Story - {WINNER}
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit - {Alternate Choice}
  • Jennifer Lopez - Hustlers
  • Florence Pugh – Little Women
  • Margaret Qualley - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Laura Dern role was small but significant in Marriage Story and I am sure she will bag this one. Scarlett Johansson may have shot here with her unique role in Jojo Rabbit.

7. Best International Feature Film
Image result for parasite scene
Parasite (South Korea) in Korean - {WINNER}
  • Corpus Christi (Poland) in Polish
  • Honeyland (North Macedonia) in Turkish and Macedonian
  • Les Misérables (France) in French
  • Pain and Glory (Spain) in Spanish

I may not be surprised if Parasite wins Best Picture in the Main category, so it will definitely win this one.

8. Best Original Screenplay

Image result for parasite original screenplay

Parasite – {WINNER}
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - {Alternate Choice}
  • Knives Out
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917

Mind says Once Upon...... but I will go with heard here and "Parasite" it is with the crazy yet perfect story.

9. Best Adapted Screenplay
Image result for little women adapted screenplay

Little Women - {WINNER}
Joker - {Alternate Choice}
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • The Two Popes

Simple, unique, beautiful and a great story about a family makes it stand out. This movie may not have shot at other categories because of great nomination but certainly deserves screenplay award the way the story is being presented. We may have an alternate winner from Joker as Tod Phillips crafts an amazing story from a famous character of a comic book that is being shown in several movies. 

10. Best Animated Feature Film
Image result for i lost my body

I Lost My Body - {WINNER}
Toy Story 4 - {Alternate Chouce}
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
  • Klaus
  • Missing Link

The popular choice will go for Toy Story 4 here, however, the creative and screenplay of "I Lost My Body" is class apart.

11. Best Original Score
Image result for joker original score
Joker - {WINNER}

  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story
  • 1917
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The dark, deep, sad and dramatic background score of Joker makes it a delightful watch. It's a sure shot winner for this one.

12. Best Original Song
Image result for (i'm gonna) love me again rocketman

"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" from Rocketman - {WINNER}
  • "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" from Toy Story 4
  • "I'm Standing with You" from Breakthrough
  • "Into the Unknown" from Frozen II
  • "Stand Up" from Harriet

I usually do not do prediction in this category, I am doing it as I heard all the songs and this one indeed best among all.

13. Best Sound Editing
1917 - {WINNER}
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • Joker
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

14. Best Sound Mixing
1917 - {WINNER}
  • Ad Astra
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • Joker
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

15. Best Production Design
Image result for once upon a time in hollywood production design

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood - {WINNER}
1917 - {Alternate Choice}

  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Parasite

Amazing nominations here and each frame in Once Upon..... show the beauty and creativity of setup design reflecting retro era of Hollywood. The second choice is 1917 for sure the way setup the entire war scene with the finer details.  

16. Best Cinematography
Image result for 1917 cinematography

1917 – {WINNER}
Joker - {Alternate Choice}
  • The Irishman
  • The Lighthouse
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Hands down it's 1917 the way entire movie covered as it's taken through the same shot/frame and yet captured the entire war action with the outstanding backdrop. My alternate choice here is definitely Joker which depicted the Darkness of Gotham City and all the action.

17. Best Film Editing
Image result for parasite best editing

Parasite - {WINNER}

  • Ford v Ferrari
  • The Irishman
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker

18. Best Visual Effects
Related image

Avengers: Endgame - {WINNER}
  • The Irishman
  • The Lion King
  • 1917
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Avengers Endgame was way above everyone with larger than life special effect and action.

So, this is my final prediction to the biggest award night of movies, let me know your views and comment about the same.

* All images used in this post have been taken from random google image search are copyright to their respective owners.

January 7, 2020

AnksReview - Top 10 Hollywood Movies of 2019

I thank everyone for their responses and highest views of my blog on 2019 Top 10 Hindi films and now it's time to list out my Top 10 Hollywood Films of 2019. I am sure there are plenty of good movies beyond this list and once Oscar nomination comes out we will have more movies that can be put on the watch list. I have made this list based on nearly 100s of movies released in 2019, I might have seen this year so please excuse me if I missed any great ones. The list below is in order of its ranking and one special mention of Korean movie "Parasite" which is beyond ranking and deserves special mention over here.

1. Joker

Joker is a movie based on the famous character of DC Comics written and directed by Todd Phillips where the lead role played by Joaquin Phoenix. The movie deep dives into the building of Joker's personality by delving into it's past. I have seen this movie around 6 times now and each time I watch it, I find beauty and perfection in every frame. I am sure this movie will be the front runner in Oscar for Best Film and Best Acting and indeed this is the best movie of 2019 from all the aspects.

January 2, 2020

AnksReview - Top 10 Hindi Film of 2019

A Happy New Year to everyone and now It's time for me again to come up Top 10 Hindi movies of the year 2019 which made the mark by its contents, story-telling method, acting performance, and overall movie watching experience.

The list is prepared and put in order of Rank and was selected based on the overall experience of movie watching, story, screenplay, direction, and entertainment quotient as well.

1. Gullyboy

Gully Boy is a story about a struggling poor young guy from Mumbai's slum who is trying to make end meet and get into the world of a street rapper. The movie shows how to pursue your dreams is more important than anything and passion & hard work pays off. The movie is another feather in the crown for Zoya Akhtar who always delivered wonderful movies and kudos to all actors especially Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, and Vijay Raaz. This one is indeed the best movie of 2019 from all aspects.

2. Super 30

Super 30 is a biographical movie directed by Vikas Behl based on the life of Anand Kumar from Patna who started an IIT entrance test coaching class for 30 poor students free of cost. The movie is about his own struggle and how with all adversaries he become one of the most successful teachers who delivered a 100% result all the time. The movie was a come back for Hrithik Roshan with his flawless acting and the way he immersed himself in the character of Anand Kumar.

3. Article 15

Article 15 is a story about social issues such as cast discrimination that our country has been facing since a long time.  It's a very well crafted story with superb direction by Anubhav Sinha set up in the backdrop of a village of UP. Ayushmann Khurana played an IPS officer who hails from metro town with utmost sincerity. This is a dark movie about the reality of our society.

4. Uri: The Surgical Strike
Very rare we see a movie of army and war events without being too emotional and melodramatic and Uri: The Surgical Strike is such a movie where movie making is amazing, real and keeps you on the edge even when you know what will happen next. This is a very well made movie with high-class action and not to miss an awesome performance by Vicky Kaushal who carried this movie in his shoulder.

5. Bala
Bala is a movie about a boy from Kanpur who gets into the problem of baldness at a young age and which makes him insecure among people as he relates all his problems of life on baldness. The movie is funny to the core and carries a soul that keeps it special. This is another one of Ayyushmann's movie in the list of Top 10 and you will realise no one else can pull this role the way Ayyushmann did it backed with the superb direction of Amar Kaushik and acting performance by Bhumi Pednekar and Yami Gautam.

6. Soni

Soni is a Netflix film directed by Ivan Ayr. based on crime drama focussing on Delhi Police and Women Safety issues in the backdrop of all Gang Rapes cases in the capital. The movie goes deep into how women are treated in social as well as at work with discrimination and being objectified on a daily basis. This is a dark movie that will shake your conscious by showcasing the ugly reality of our society. 

7. Section 375

Section 375 is a courtroom drama directed by Ajay Bahl and based on a rape case where a film crew member is allegedly raped by the director of the film. The movie is well researched and provides a legal angle on how such cases are being dealt with in a real manner starting from the police investigation, public outrage, #MeToo campaign, consent and legal perspective about the same. The strength of the movie is its treatment with the subject and great performance by Akshaye Khanna and Richa Chadda.

8. Sonchiriya

Sonchiriya is a film directed by Abhishek Chaubey set in ravines of river Chambal valley. It tells the tale of dacoits in 1975, who termed themselves Baaghis, the rebels and how a gang who feel cursed by one killing incident in the village. The movie has amazing shots and sequels which stays with you even after you watch the movie. It has an ace performance by every cast and the one which stands out is Manoj Bajpayee, Ranveer Shorey, Sushant Singh Rajput, Bhumi Pednekar and Ashutosh Rana. 

9. Mission Mangal

Mission Mangal is a movie based on the event of India Mission to Mars and how our space scientist with all red-tapism, limited resources makes it to Mars. The movie is a good tribute to scientists though as per me it has trivialised the subject by putting unnecessary humor and references which made me kind of undecided to put it on the list however it makes it here because of its entertainment quotient and comparison with other movies released in 2019.

10. Badla

Badla is a well-crafted mystery thriller directed by Sujoy Ghosh and a remake of the Spanish movie "The Invisible Guest". The movie is about an accident and a mystery related to it and how it unfolds as the movie progress as it throws various twist and turns as well as possibilities. The movie is a scene by scene copy of a Spanish movie however the direction and performance make it entertaining, that's the reason it is at no. 10.

October 6, 2019

Joker (5/5)

Image Source:

Joker: An Unhappy Clown

Joker is an American Psychological thriller film directed by Todd Phillips based on the famous villain character "Joker" from DC Comics portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix. The story set up in the 1980s in the fictional city of DC Comic - Gotham City where they show the life of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix).

Arthur is a mentally ill and failed stand-up comedian who lives his struggling life with his mother and takes a job like acting like a clown for kids. Arthur's mediocre life is shown in the backdrop of Gotham City where resentment among people is rising against the elite & rich ones. The movie shows how an ordinary man in the street like Arthur is being mistreated daily and what kind of psychological trauma & beating he is facing in a society that leads to an incidence in the subway train where he kills three rich brats employed by Wayne Enterprise to protect himself. The murder of three by clown becomes viral and the entire city's underprivileged ones create that as a political movement by everyone wearing a clown mask to show their resentment towards the establishment. In the background of this political turmoil, Arthur discovers about his mother and her past with Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen), an owner of Wayne Enterprise who is also running for Mayor of Gotham City. The movie is about Arthur personal discover about his life which turns him into killers and shows his outrage towards an unforgiving society which escalates when he kills famous television personality Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro) on Live TV.

I can only say one thing about this movie and that is "Wow, what a masterpiece !". It's quite brave for Todd Phillips to explore Joker character, I mean just to think about making a movie on the story of a villain who always overpowered its character in all the previous superhero movies. It's well written and I could not think of any other narrative of character like "Joker" as he has put in this story. The movie is well framed with amazing screenplay and great backdrop with chaos kind of setup of Gotham City. The film direction is flawless and with noticeable background score which blends with storyline & bold performance of Joaquin Phoenix.

This movie is quite delightful to watch just by sheer and more than the perfect acting performance by Joaquin Phoenix. Joaquin's portrayal of such a complicated character from the first frame to the last frame of the movie keeps you on the edge and makes you feel for the person about what could have gone into his mind to turn it this way. He has taken care of all the small notches like- his expressive laughing condition even when he is in distress, his limped skinny body when he thinks, his imagination of being on the limelight, his dance moves and all will simply delight you.

No doubt with movies like Her, The Masters, Walk the Line Joaquin has proved his acting mettle, but the Joker is going to take him at different levels, with the class of actors like Danny Day-Lewis and probably he will get his first Oscar as Best Actor.

Must watch it if you are in for good cinema. It's simply perfect.

June 20, 2019

When They See Us - TV Series (5/5)

Image Source: When They See Us

When They See Us - Blindfold Judiciary

When they see us is Netflix's Original Mini-Series which is based on the true story of which is based on 1989 New York City's Central Park Joggers Rape case and lives of families of the five male suspects who were prosecuted in 1990 on rape charges.

The story starts with five teenagers kids who just go out on trolls at Central Park were other black kids were creating a ruckus to people in the park. They got randomly picked by the NYPD cops and at the same night, other units of cops discover a jogger brutally rape & stranded in one part of the cops. The cops got into pressure to capture rapist and with a biased judgement of Linda Fairstein (Felicity Huffman), a Head of Sex Crime. 

The first two episodes of series are all about how cops manipulate all five kids against each other and record their confessions to prosecute them for rape charges. During the trial, Elizabeth Lederer (Vera Farmiga) proved them guilty and they all get sent to Jails. Episode three and four show the story when four of them comes out after serving their terms and find it difficult to live in mainstream society with the tag of convicted sexual offenders.

In 2001 a serial rapist & murderer Matias Reyes who has been convicted for other crimes confess about 1989 Jogger Case which leads to an investigation and through DNA and Blood Samples it was found out that he raped the jogger in Central Park alone. The court vacates the conviction of five teenagers and they file suit against the city which they win final settlement amounting of $42 Million in 2012 which was biggest ever such settlement in New York State.

It's amazingly written, well-directed series which engages you at it's every moment. You can feel the pain of each accused offenders and their family with a superb performance by each actors. It's one of the most controversial case of USA which highlights corruptions, racism in NYPD & State Judicial system which was portrayed in quite a realistic manner. A Must Watch !!!

June 17, 2019

Leila - TV Series (2/5)

Image Source: Netflix

Leila - Too many causes and all are lost

Leila is Netflix TV Series from India directed by Deepa Mehta based on a novel written by Prayaag Akbar. Leila is dystopian drama based in the year of 2047, a story where environment resource is scarce and there is a huge divide in society created by fictional nation Aryavratta which is ruled by Dr. Joshi (Sanjay Suri). The nation is divided between communities separated by huge walls and segregated based on caste where clean air and water is luxury limited to very few.

The story revolves around Shalini (Huma Qureshi) who lost her daughter "Leila" and being imprisoned for purification because she was married to Rizwan Chaudhary (Rahul Khanna), a Muslim man. In Aryavratta, anyone who marriages outside caste/religion considered as sin and been sent for shuddhikaran (purification) which is as good as a prison. Shalini struggles in purification camps and finally run away to find the whereabouts her daughter. She is then captured by Guard Bhanu (Siddharth) who becomes her supervisor for labour works in the city. Shalini start working in one of the engineers of Aryavratta's SkyDome and learns that there are revolutionaries who are trying to assassin Dr. Joshi as his SkyDome project will kill the ghetto where all poor and low castes live. Siddharth promises to find Leila for Shalini and ask her to help him to assassinate Dr. Joshi.

The series is bit patchy and confuses you what's the point directors want to make. The narrative is lost between being dystopian drama, scarcity of resource, the emergence of high caste Hinduism, a love of a mother and a revolution in making. It's a very bad attempt and one can see how director and writer trying hard to establish political undertone by hiding behind the mother-daughter story. The direction is average and the plot doesn't convince you or take you to the era what this series trying to portray.

It's quite a lame and average watch which you can easily afford to miss. If they really want to make dystopian drama, take a cue from Black Mirror and be honest with the story and stick to it without any hidden agenda to defame any religion or political ideology.