Marcus’s Viewings (Updated) | SATYAMSHOT

Random thoughts on Kalki.

Its too long a film, with very incoherent storytelling and narrative, poor acting by Prabhas with simply bad dialogues. Despite stellar star-cast the character developments are nonexistent. VFX and visuals are also inconsistent and overall comes out as a B-grade Hollywood sci-fi/fantasy movie.

Its like Brahmastra in many ways – given all the titbits borrowed from various Hollywood movies. There are added mythological twists where characters from Mahabharata are brought back under the pretext of immortality or reincarnation or whatever.

Overall i liked it more than Brahmastra (perhaps due to the indian mythological references). But Nag Ashwin needs to learn basics of screenplay and story writing, specially in this genre.

On the box office, once the opening hype subsides i am not sure how it will sustain. It very high budget, so a fate like Brahmastra cant be ruled out despite a big opening day.

Bachchan had fun making it. Deepika is wasted. A bunch of star cameos dont add much either. Kamal Hassan doesnt have much to do either. Saswata makes most of it here after the gigantic Bachchan.

Only surprise to me was that Disha Patani did not wear a skimpy bikini in the sea beach song! Haha

Rating – 6/10 [Brahmastra was 5/10 from me looking back].

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marcus review on twitter :

Finally, watched Article 370. Loved it! Not as much as I liked Uri, but it was a way better theater viewing experience for me than my recent Dune 2 or Laapataa Ladies viewings. They made this with just 20 cr production budget. Bravo!

Aditya Dhar wrote and directed Uri, and found a huge follower in me. Since then, I was disappointed that he was not directing (and was stuck in attempts to raise enough funds for his dream sci-fi epic). In the meantime, he founded his production company; wrote and produced Article 370 – a worthy follow-up of Uri in many ways. He also has written 2 more small-budget films for his production house, which are lined up for release and then he his directing Ranveer in his next espionage thriller directorial from the middle of this year. Good going!

Coming to Article 370, it relies heavily on the two female leads. Yami Gautam is the surprise package here – looks good and is more than tolerable with her acting chops. Quite a revelation! Best thing she has done in her life is perhaps to marry Dhar, and the duo is quite dynamic (first a supporting act in Uri and now a more substantial Article 370 for her).

The film is perhaps a one-sided story of the current govt’s act of abrogating Article 370, mainly told from the perspective of it being abused for everyone in the indefinitely long status quo of special provision and thwarting all peace efforts; apart from being a major security issue in the conflicted state. It is quite unabashed in its stance (not a bad thing since they take a clear pov and does not make a confusing effort in order to please everyone).

The first half was impressive enough; but the second half is even better. Tackles the implementation of the act in quite an effective way cinematically.

The writing has signature Dhar stamp on it. How is it possible that he wont make a film that refers to Pulwama heavily and is about taking down the main handler? That way, it is a cool follow-up of Uri; but in an unexpected political action thriller of a film. We can leave the likes of idiot Anand and dancing Roshan to make a film on the air strikes (subtly hinted here). Dhar takes a more grounded and local take on that incident.

Aditya Dhar is definitely a guy to watch out for. He is symbolic of the restless dynamic new blood that a stale industry like Bollywood needs so much.

And he has deservedly delivered the first Blockbuster of 2024. Keep going!

Rating – A solid 7.5/10. Will definitely watch it again before it goes out of theaters. V glad that it is going well at the box office.

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Watched Laapata Ladies. The first half was quite enjoyable with some sweet (not caustic) jibes at our society, mostly regarding gender discrimination. The story flows with good acting, done uniformly by all the unknown leads and supporting actors.

The second half is a bit long(needed to be cut by 15-20 mins) and gets tiring when the jibes are replaced by gyaan.

Kiran and Aamir had good intent here, but the execution is lacking beyond some extent. The second half needed to be a lot more engaging. The screenplay overall needed a lot more of work.

The rural cinematography is fine and enjoyable. Background music and songs are also nice and effective within the narrative.

But Aamir needs a reinvention now. This is a story set in 2001 (the hand-made posters of KNPH and Dhadkan make me chuckle). And it shud have been made at least 10-12 years back. Then perhaps public would have been more interested to watch it in theaters.

I said during LSC that Aamir is facing a crisis with serious brand erosion. The trailer and the movie was highlighted with Aamir’s worst acting in decades. And now mediocrity in Laapataa Ladies or Pritam Pyare will not be the way back to resurgence. The warning bells are clear- SZP has to be really brilliant to even evoke public interest.

Anyways, Laapataa Ladies is an outright box office embarrassment and should have been released directly in Netflix. If Aamir wanted this to work, then he had to convince Kiran to cast him in the supporting role of the policeman (Ravi Kishen is also very good here but lacks face value). Casting Aamir may have made this an earner at box office.

But i think it will get some traction when it comes out in Netflix (and that wont be too long for sure!).

Laapataa Ladies gets 6.5/10 (extra 0.5 for its good intentions!)

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Watched Dune 2. It was as I expected – not bad, but nothing great either. Denise is an over-rated director (mainly because of lack of good directorial talent in his generation) and the critics are hyperventilating on Dune 2.

I will any-day take the first film over this, although a lot more happens in this one. Denise is a moody slow-burn director with a penchant for visuals rather than on narrative. I really don’t get the comparisons with Nolan. Nolan is superior to him in every department of film-making, except perhaps cinematography, where they may be equal. Oppenheimer was a way superior film. And Hans Zimmer is really a phenomenon!
rating is 6/10
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Also rewatched Dune 1 in IMAX format (had missed watching it in big screen when it released during Covid). It was not as impressive as it was on first viewing. Hoping that Dune 2 turns out to be a lot better!

My ratings on revisiting them:

Dune – 6.5/10

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I caught up with Oppenheimer once again in theater last week after its re-release (after 7 months).

Loved it as much as before. Must say this is Nolan playing to the gallery – not just to his cult following. In the form of a biopic shrouded with physics and the Manhattan Project, he basically explores universal emotions like guilt, and other basic human nature (apart from political treachery and drama) in a widely palatable way.

This may not be his best film, but definitely up there among the top 3 or 5. The encore in the ongoing award season is very well-deserved. Expecting quite few wins at BAFTA and Oscars now – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (RDJ), Best Soundtrack, Best Cinematography and Best Editing Awards without a doubt.

Overall, its nicely done & a well-made film.
Oppenheimer – 8.5/10