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: imdb.com

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.

June 5, 2019

Chernobyl - TV Mini Series (5/5)

Image Source: HBO

Chernobyl - Man-made Tragedy

Chernobyl is HBO's mini-series based on the story of 1986 Nuclear Plant Disaster which occurred in Pripyat, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Soviet Union). It tells the stories of the people who caused the disaster, scientists and politicians who manage the entire operation of evacuation and also enquiries to know the root cause of this man made one of the deadliest disasters in the history. This series mini-series covers all details and action of events from all aspects which starts from plant operator witnessing the explosion, efforts of firefighters to stop the fire, volunteers & team of miners digging a tunnel, people who exposed to radiation and evacuation of the entire area at such big scale.

The series is chilling, keeps you on the edge and scares you to your guts when you watch each event which was beautifully performed by all the actors. Superb direction especially by sequencing the event back and forth, especially the way investigation and rescue operation have been shown. the cinematography and background music makes it more than a real. The one thing uniquely stands out is the performance of Jared Harris who played Nuclear Scientist Valery Legasov and Stellan Skarsgard who played Boris Shcherbina, a soviet union's politician responsible for cleanup the disaster.

Superbly made and a perfect show, it's indeed a much watch series.

March 25, 2019

Delhi Crime - TV Series (5/5)

Delhi Crime - Just another day in the Police Force

Delhi Crime is based on the 2012 Delhi infamous "Nirbhaya" gang rape case that took place in the neighbourhood of South Delhi. The series follows the story in the aftermath of the gang rape, where DCP - Vartika Chaturvedi (Shefali Shah) is tasked to investigate the crime and catch all rapists.
The series starts with PCR van picks up two victims of Gang Rape on the sideway of Munirka Flyover and further shows how investigation begins to unfold to catch criminals with no records and limited clues.

The series focused on the conditions our police force works by putting the tireless amount of duty hours in extremely poor condition with the limited budget and unlimited amount of pressure of media, politicians and public at large. "Delhi Crime" takes us inside the mind and life of police officers who are quick to be blamed for any crimes happens around us.

It was superbly written and directed by Richie Mehta who carefully takes us through the investigation process as realistically as possible. You will feel you are part of the investigation and not even a single frame will make you feel you are watching any drama. Shefali Shah rules here with her natural portrayal of the role of DCP where she posses a strong personality with a bit of sensitivity side as a loving mother as well. This is indeed her best performance ever and you can't imagine anyone else replacing her for this role. Rasika Dugal, Adil Hussain and Rajesh Telang are other gems here who just blends in with their characters. Special kudos to casting and each performer even the ones who have done small roles in the side are marvellous.

I just binged watched entire season as you can't stop it once you start watching. It shows different aspects of society where we comfortably comment on police force without knowing how they live and yet perform their duty to protect us. This is by far the best Indian TV Series I have seen without even a single flaw.