Sudani from Nigeria

The titular character in Sudani from Nigeria, is a young African lad who flees from the clutches of poverty and civil war and lands in Kerala to play football for one the local clubs. The club is managed by Majid (Soubin Shahir) who himself is living in misery, but like Sudani finds his hope and solace in football. When an injury forces Sudani out of action requiring medical attention and care, the responsibility falls on the shoulders of Majid along with his near and dear ones. What follows is a heart-warming tale of humanity which, as wonderfully depicted in the film defies all boundaries and language barriers. The film is driven by the most endearing and delightful set of characters and the unconditional bond that they share with each other. All actors excel in their respective roles, but it is Soubin who stands out. This brilliant actor who was till now being typecast as the hero’s sidekick providing comic relief, proves his versatility with a nuanced and layered performance. You rarely come across stories that are so simple and real yet leave a long-lasting impression. To put it shortly, this is a little gem with a lot of heart.

Rating – 4.5/5



Set in a near-future Berlin, Mute is a neo-noir detective thriller about a speechless man who hits the dirty streets in search of his missing girlfriend and in that quest, is forced to engage with the city’s criminal underbelly. Although the film has an interesting backdrop and is visually brilliant, it is marred by strictly amateurish writing. Our main protagonist is not just visually but also technically challenged, and it is interesting to see how he ironically must rely on technology to solve the underlying mystery. However, such moments are limited and sadly the rest of the film is just not compelling enough. It is a shame that director Duncan Jones, who masterfully helmed one of my all time favourite sci-fi films – Moon, comes up with a half-baked script and chooses style over substance. Alexander Skarsgard is a decent actor and gives an earnest performance as the main lead. But the best part of the film by far is Paul Rudd , who in an uncharacteristic role outshines the rest of the cast and proves how multi-faceted an actor he is.

In the end, Mute is a strictly average fare and like its name has nothing much to say.

Rating – 2/5

Game Night

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a highly competitive gaming couple for whom winning against friends during their weekly game nights is a matter of great achievement.

However, when Max’s egotistic brother hosts the latest game night and raises the stakes by orchestrating a mock kidnapping mystery, things don’t go according to plan and the couple along with the rest of their gang gets embroiled in a seemingly far more dangerous affair. What follows is a hilarious roller-coaster ride filled with umpteen laugh-out-loud moments and enough twists and turns that keeps you invested and entertained throughout. The film is smartly written and hence the gags rarely seem forced upon or out of place. It also has an ensemble cast in fine form. Bateman is a master of straight-faced comedy and he is totally at home. I was pleasantly surprised with McAdams and her comic timing. But it is Jesse Plemons who steals the show as the couple’s creepy neighbour who is hell-bent on being a part of their fun and frolic sessions.

Game Night is a delightful little concoction of thrill and comedy, and probably one of the most entertaining films of recent years.

Rating – 4/5

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A distraught but iron-willed mother questions the competence of the local police who failed to solve her daughter’s brutal murder by putting her message across three billboards outside the town of Ebbing, Missouri. Martin Mc Donagh’s latest is a masterfully written and supremely acted genre-defining gem of a film that is hilarious and heart-wrenching at the same time. Despite being a slow-burn, the movie keeps you invested through its captivating and beautifully layered characters, and sheer unpredictability.

Frances McDormand gives a performance par excellence and it’ll be a shame if she doesn’t win an Oscar. Sam Rockwell is one of my favourite actors and is an absolute joy to watch. Both he and McDormand get the best lines in the film and they bloody nail it every single time. The ever-dependable Woody Harrelson holds his own, despite having a shorter role in comparison.

The ending of the film is deeply satisfying and cathartic, but you might want to give it a second thought to realize the same. The film like its ending, doesn’t just need to be merely watched, it needs to be savoured. I was overwhelmed to say the least.

Rating – 5/5


In Breathe, an 8-part miniseries from Amazon Prime, R Madhavan becomes the ‘grim reaper’ for organ donors and starts knocking them off one-by-one so that his ailing son climbs up the recipient list.  The only roadblock in his way is an eccentric cop played by Amit Sadh, who lost his daughter due to his own negligence and is unable to overcome the guilt. The story is largely predictable, and the writing a tad inconsistent. Yet, the series is quite gripping and keeps you invested till the end, majorly due to the strong performances from its lead cast. This is probably the most challenging role played by Madhavan till date and he does a commendable job, despite looking a tad out of place in the initial few episodes. Amit Sadh is an extremely under-rated actor and he is in fine form, although his character appears to be a tad too dumb, until the finale. However, his interactions with his sub-ordinate, a delightful character played by Hrishikesh Joshi, give us some of best scenes of the series.

Despite its flaws, Breathe brings a breath of fresh air to the rapidly decaying state of Indian television and surely deserves a watch.

Rating – 3/5

The Shape of Water

Guillermo Del Toro’s latest venture, The Shape of Water, is a visually brilliant but exhausting film. Elisa played by Sally Hawkins, who is a janitor at a secret research lab, forms an unlikely bond with an amphibious creature which is being held captive at the lab and about to be dissected. Elisa is mute, hence unable to find true companionship as nobody can look past her disability. When she converses with the amphibian through gestures and music, she understands that it could be the only one who accepts her for who she is. Hence, she decides to save the creature from the clutches of the film’s antagonist, a ruthless Micheal Shannon who heads security at the lab. Portraying a mute character effectively is a task cut out for even the best of actors, but Sally Hawkins shines like a diamond. She emotes with aplomb through her eyes and body language and gives an Oscar worthy performance. The film loses steam in the 2nd half and a few sub-plots tend to drag, resulting in a few yawns. Overall, it is a decent watch but doesn’t quite deserve the hype that it is getting.
Rating – 2.5/5

Love Per Square Foot

Mumbai is a city of dreams and the sole dream of our two main protagonists in Love Per Square Foot is to own their own flat. Sanjay played by Vicky Kaushal and Karina played by newcomer Angira Dhar belong to different cultures, have different faiths, work in the same office but on different floors, but get acquainted with each other due to one common factor as mentioned above. Paying no heed to the potential consequences, they decide to apply for a joint housing scheme by pretending to be a married couple. Predictably, their super-ordinate goal brings them close to each other and love happens, and a novel premise is relegated to the background. The 2nd half of the film is tedious and showcases the usual complications that arise due to an inter-cultural/religious union. However, what keeps you interested are the performances. The lead pair is competitive, but it is the supporting cast that takes the cake. Ratna Pathak is excellent as Karina’s mother and it is her banter with Sanjay’s parents played by effortlessly Supriya Pathak and Ragubhir Yadav that provides us the best moments of the film. Watch it with no expectations and you could be pleasantly surprised.

Rating – 3/5

The Ritual

The Ritual starts with four musketeers taking a hike in Sweden to pay tribute to a fifth musketeer who died a few months back, partly due to a cowardly act by one of the four who is also our main protagonist.

I am a huge fan of survival horror films and The Ritual provides a near perfect setting for the same. The friends traverse off the beaten track in search of a quicker route and get stranded in a dense and eerie forest with not just harsh weather but a far more ominous presence for company.Although the movie is largely predictable, it is still quiet riveting because of some masterful cinematography and sound effects which constantly maintains the atmospheric tension. This is complemented with some earnest performances from the entire cast, especially the lead played by Rafe Spall.It is also an allegory on how fear holds you captive and to survive the outer demon, one must first conquer his inner demons.Despite the lack of novelty, The Ritual is an enjoyable watch and is one of the better horror films available on Netflix.

Rating – 3/5



Life is quite a gripping sci-fi thriller that does seem inspired by the Alien franchise, however is markedly distinct in its treatment. Its a much more realistic take on the consequences of messing with an alien life form, in this case the subject is a living cell discovered on Mars.

The film is visually brilliant and has strong performances from its star cast, comprising of big names such as Jake Gylenhall and Ryan Reynolds. It isn’t devoid of the usual survival movie cliches, hence characters do tend to take stupid decisions and logic is thrown out of the window in a couple of scenes. However, it still has enough tension and suspense to keep you hooked till the end and the ending too takes you by surprise.  Definitely worth a watch as it is one of the better survival films out there.

Rating – 3.5/5


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