• Venom: Let There Be Carnage

    Venom: Let There Be Carnage

    ★★½

    Venom 2 is a somewhat enjoyable, super campy outing that almost feels like an extended cut of the first film. The first act doesn't have anything substantial happening, and when we get to the second, there's way too much going on. The pacing is all over the place, only broken by a few interesting scenes, such as the one where Venom attends a rave party. The humor hasn't improved drastically as yet, and the main baddie - Carnage (and his…

  • Last Night in Soho

    Last Night in Soho

    Edgar Wright's Last Night in Soho is a visually striking but narratively shallow piece of cinema. The film's aesthetics are undoubtedly on point - be it the color grading, the peppy '60s soundtrack, the artwork, costumes, and all else. It also builds up the main characters of Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) and Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy) pretty intriguingly in the first act. While it's a two-woman show alright, it's Anya who especially puts on a stellar performance. Wright expounds Sandie's disdain for…

  • Churuli

    Churuli

    ★★★½

    One thing's for sure - Lijo Jose Pellissery isn't the kind of filmmaker interested in spoon-feeding the audience. His films are doused in metaphors and allegories, and Churuli is no different. Would you call it a thinking viewer's film? Nope. Because there is a deliberate attempt for the proceedings to stop making sense beyond a point. It all harks back to the mythical plot that the film opens with — the story of a monk who's misled into an unending…

  • Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham

    Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham

    ★★½

    An absurd comedy with more misses than hits, Nivin Pauly's Kanakam Kaamini Kalaham fails to carry its initial momentum all the way through. The obvious hat-tips to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel aside, writer-director Ratheesh Poduval's film tries to be too many things but not quite getting anything right. It also frequently divulges into total randomness in the name of absurdity fetching neutral results. Some scenes, especially in the latter half, lack any sense…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★½

    In what feels like an excellent send-off for Daniel Craig's humanized personification of James Bond, No Time to Die is not just a solid sequel to Spectre (and some of its odd plot arcs) but also an actioner that's incredibly good to look back at. While Casino Royale and Skyfall remain my favorites with Craig's 007, No Time to Die has plenty going for it. It writes Bond as a highly vulnerable human being with everything to lose, adding a…

  • Escape from Pretoria

    Escape from Pretoria

    ★★★

    You can't deny the fact that Escape from Pretoria is a neat little jailbreak thriller, but it could have been so much more had more light been thrown on the film's lead characters. These guys occupy key roles in ANC's history. The impact of their escape could have had a much greater payoff if writer-director Francis Annan had given us more character development. That's what makes good thrillers great: giving audiences reasons to care for the protagonists to succeed, even…

  • Finch

    Finch

    ★★★

    Finch, the newest Tom Hanks flick, is set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with harmful UV radiation. Early on, it becomes obvious that the film will be a one-man-one-robot-one-dog show. While science only explains the plot's backdrop, the screenplay focuses more on the heart-warming, emotional connection between human, animal, and robot. We've seen bits and pieces of this in other films such as I Am Legend, Cast Away, Wall-E and more. Still, Miguel Sapochnik's 1h 55m film carries enough tenderness…

  • Doctor

    Doctor

    ★★★

    One thing writer-director Nelson Dilipkumar's good at is infusing wry humor into conventionally serious situations. In Doctor, he sticks to his core strengths, plotting a bunch of misfits who come together to battle a kidnapping situation. Another director would have milked the family angle so much to extract more sentiment, but Nelson chooses to make us laugh instead. While SK's deadpan act works, given how the character is etched, the supporting cast totally nails it. Led by Yogi Babu and…

  • Jai Bhim

    Jai Bhim

    ★★★½

    It's always nice to see a star like Suriya move away from a typical masala flick for Diwali and come up with a hard-hitting courtroom drama based on actual events. In the film, he is more of a tool that helps enact justice for the oppressed victims. There's no showy entry, songs that praise him to the skies, or stock heroines who exist only to admire him. Instead, the film focuses more on the tribal characters played by Manikandan and…

  • Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin

    Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin

    ★★

    It is rather strange to call this a Paranormal Activity film as very little falls in line with what we've come to expect from the franchise - one with declining payoffs. Many sequel makers tried pushing it in different directions, but it could never reach the highs of the first three. Next of Kin feels like just another cult-based found-footage film (with occasional cinematic shots, out of nowhere) that is predictable and filled with poorly staged jumpscares (except one or…

  • Army of Thieves

    Army of Thieves

    ★★½

    With a fairly predictable plot and one-dimensional characters, Army of Thieves (Army, it definitely isn't!) proves to be an easy heist flick to watch; one that feels 20-25 minutes too long. The Ludwig Dieter origin story is everything you'd expect it to be: this works both in favor of and against the film. The cast, barring the lead duo of Matthias Schweighöfer and Nathalie Emmanuel, is a disappointing blend of misses (than hits). Also, the essential part of a heist…

  • The Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in Korea

    The Raincoat Killer: Chasing a Predator in Korea

    ★★★½

    Having seen a good number of serial killer thrillers from South Korea (including Memories of Murder, The Chaser, I Saw The Devil, The Chase) and almost everything featured in the true crime section of Netflix, I thought I was wholly prepared for this one. The killer (Yoo Young-Chul) is probably one of the most vicious and ruthless beasts you'll ever hear about. While the documentary focuses mainly on the compelling manhunt, it also attempts to humanize the crime divisions of…