Several commenters on my reaction to the trailer of Allu Arjun’s new film DJ told me I should watch Arya 2 and Arya.
I didn’t LOVE Raabta as much as Margaret of Don’t Call It Bollywood did, but it was a welcome couple hours of escape for me this weekend. We have a family member that has just been put into hospice, and this movie took me away to beautiful Budapest for a bit. Several shirtless scenes of Sushant also helped very much, the first in the very first minute of the film.
As Margaret said, it’s Magadheera, but totally different. If you want an action film, go see Magadheera. But Raabta is a timepass romance with some angst.
I can’t review Wonder Woman like any old film. It shouldn’t be so momentous that a woman director has directed for the first time a superhero film, that cracked $100 million opening weekend. But it is. Patty Jenkins had directed an Oscar winning independent film, Monster, that cost $8 million, had garnered the Directors Guild Award for the TV Series The Killing — and yet…. the headlines said it was a “gamble” to let her helm a superhero film. It is maddening. When young male directors are given huge action or superhero films after smaller indie films, it’s not called a gamble. The Mary Sue called out this double standard misogyny.
I can’t separate my review of the film from what it has felt like to read about other women’s reaction seeing the film. It’s everything to see a woman centered superhero film, directed by a woman. And then there are the pictures of the little girls who dressed up to see the film, or got to meet their heroine. Gah!
I was a young girl when the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman TV show aired in the US. I watched it every week!
It is everything for these girls now to have both a female lead for Star Wars and now Wonder Woman.
So, how was the film? It was good. Very good. I don’t know if I can call it great merely as a film — but at this point, it’s not merely a film, it’s a cultural phenomenon. I can’t separate all my feelings out. I will tell you that Gal Godot was excellent as Wonder Woman. When she was cast, people said her accent would be horrible — you know what? I thought it was perfect. It made her seem that much more “other” — that she had been raised on this isolated island away from the world.
Chris Pine was fantastic. It was huge that someone who had headed up his own franchise, Star Trek, was willing to play the sidekick to a female Superhero. This is what Chris Pine said back in 2015 when he was cast as Steve Trevor:
“What excites me most is to work in a movie with a superhero woman. With a woman in the lead role. I am teamed with this intelligent, beautiful and strong woman to defeat the villains and save humanity.”
He had a nice comedic touch in early scenes with Gal Godot, and there was great chemistry between them, too, especially in a nice scene where he teaches her to dance. Let me just tell you also, another nice thing about a woman director — we learn just how much male nudity you can have in a PG-13 film! He’s not a damsel in distress, but he’s always the one to say, “No, Diana, you can’t do that.” And then he turns around and she’s already done it. Like the incredible No Man’s Land scene.
I really enjoyed the early part of the film, where we see little girl Diana watching her aunt, General Antiope train the Amazon warriors. And how cool is it that Robin Wright, Princess Buttercup herself is this badass warrior! Connie Nielsen was also perfectly cast as Diana’s mother.
I really enjoyed the film right up till near the end. It was a solid film. The battle on the Amazon Isle was great. But nothing was so visually stunning that it took my breath away.
Where the film was a bit lacking for me was the villain reveal and the way the film ended. I won’t go into spoilers exactly why. My main issues, though were with the villain’s motivation. As my son said, “The themes got a bit muddy there at the end.” Still, this was a film that was about something and not just watching superheroes crash into buildings. Diana believes in the inherent goodness of humanity, and then learns the world is more complex than she thought. Someone’s sacrifice restores her faith in humanity.
There is actually Oscar talk about Wonder Woman. This is big. And I’m not just talking about technical VFX awards. Anne Thompson of Indie Wire wrote today that she could see a supporting nod for Chris Pine and a best actress nod for Gal Godot. Wouldn’t that be something to see?
I have been going back and forth on my rating between four and four and a half stars. It’s not a perfect film, but it felt so damn good. Gal Godot is the perfect Wonder Woman — And for those little girls!
Rarandoi Veduka Chudham (Come, Let’s Watch the Spectacle) is an enjoyable family drama starring Naga Chaitanya and Rakul Preet Singh. This I believe is their first film together, and the first time I’ve seen Rakul in a film.
This film is put out by Naga Chaitanya’s family banner, and he did well in the film, but frankly, I enjoyed his 2016 films Premam and Sahasam Swasaga Saagipo much more. The first half of this film is slow, but it’s saved by the last hour or so of the film when the conflict comes to a head.
I also enjoyed seeing Jagapathi Babu again as Naga’s father. He was Mahesh Babu’s father in Srimanthadu.
Margaret of DontCallItBollywood and I have been friends for a couple of years, and I was the one that got her to start watching Malayalam films. There’s only one theater in Chicago that plays them, and we meet in the middle there to watch them together when we can. It’s a 45 minute drive for both us — but for Dulquer, it’s worth it! I’ve started doing regular reviews on the Bollyfools Youtube channel, and this is my first joint video review with Margaret. We filmed it quickly in the lobby of the theater, so I apologize in advance for all the background noise.
I loved this charming sweet film! Ayushmann Khurrana and Parineeta Chopra were both great in this best friends to lovers romance. First time director Akshay Roy did a fantastic job, and I can’t wait to see more films by him. I loved how he gave a wink and a nod to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, and even directly referenced Natalie Portman in Garden State.
While there were some parts I liked, this movie made me crazy for what it might have been. With the director Mohit Suri and the hits he’s had with Ek Villalin and Aishiqui 2 plus a book by Chehat Bhagat, you’d think this would be great, but it just didn’t work for me at ALL. The more I thought about it, the more infuriated I got. I happened to see the same showing as Kathy Gibson, who REALLY hated it.
I went to see Sarkar 3 without seeing the first two films in the series beforehand. Margaret of Don’tCallItBollywood clued me in to the backstory from the previous films, which are heavily influenced by The Godfather films. I went to Sarkar 3 because I wanted to see Amit Sadh in this kind of role. I loved him in Sultan, and he was fantastic in Running Shaadi earlier this year. Here’s the video review I did for Bollyfools:
Kartik of BollyFools was seeing the IMAX showing right after mine so he asked if I would do a short video review after seeing the very first showtime of Bahubali 2 in the US. Salim of BollyFools then edited it down to this video they posted on the BollyFools Youtube channel. Thanks for the opportunity!
With a sequel, especially one this anticipated, there is that fear that it just cannot live up to the first movie, or the hype. I am here to tell you, after having just spent $40 to see the very first IMAX show of the day, that it satisfies. It completely satisfies. Rajamouli has done it again!! It was absolutely glorious to see it on the huge IMAX screen. Totally worth the money to me. Kartik from Bollyfools Youtube Channel interviewed me moments after I came out of the screening:
Everyone has spent two long years wondering #WKKB – Why Kattappa Killed Bahubali. The first film left us with possibly the biggest mystery cliffhanger of all time. I’m not going to spoiler the movie for you. You need to experience it all for yourself.
I just loved how the movie circled back to the beginning in lots of ways — thematically and visually. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.
I loved being in a first day crowd that was whistling and yelling for the big entrances. Prabhas is AMAZING! One thing I really loved about the film is that it had some wonderful moments of humor. After I saw Bahubali the Beginning, I sought out Prabhas’s other films, and in his rom coms especially he has such a mischievous sense of humor and play in his wooing. And Rajamouli let him show that side. Kattappa as matchmaker is just a delight.
Rana as Bhalladeva turns SO evil. Shockingly so in some parts. Great performance as the villain, and the final epic battle between Shivuvu and Bhalla at the end of the film is everything you could hope for in a mano a mano fight. Really thrilling.
Anushka Shetty really shines as the proud warrior princess. She does have flaws — I liked that she wasn’t just a perfect doll. Unfortunately, Tamannah is only really seen in the final battle sequence. This movie is more about the love story of Shivuvu’s parents.
There are great battle scenes, too, but much of the movie, which almost till the end takes place in the time of Bahubali the elder, is about the family drama. What leads to Bahubali’s death? Why did Bhalla chain Devasena in the courtyard? Who put that arrow in Sivagami’s back? All the answers are very satisfying. You can guess where the story is mostly going to go, just from the first film, but there are still some surprises along the way. Pride goest before a fall, is all I’ll say.
Someone asked me if I like this better than the first film, and I can’t really answer that. Because you can’t get back that feeling of wonderment the first time you saw the imagination and visuals of Bahubali. Now you expect Rajamouli to blow you away. There was one love song that literally went into a flight of fantasy that had me saying “Wow” out loud.
The score is particularly effective in heightening moments of tension and drama. I don’t know that the soundtrack songs are quite as catchy earworms that the first film songs were. But especially the beautiful harmonies of the female voices singing together in this one are growing on me:
I saw Bahubali the Beginning four times in the theater alone. I don’t know how many times I’ll see this one, but I know I’m taking all three of my sons to see it for Mother’s Day. I’ve told them this is what I want for my present — for us to see it together. That will make the second Indian film they’ve ever seen, but the first in a theater. I loved that at my 2:30 shows there were parents who had taken their kids out of school early to see the show. I told one little boy that someone must love him very much.
There are scenes and tableaus from this film that will always stay with me, but one in particular is Prabhas sleeping with his head in Sivagami’s lap. Since I don’t speak Telugu, I didn’t realize some of the songs lyrics talk about that. This film does have a romance and brother rivalry, but at the core it’s about the relationship of a son with his mother.
This is such a great film! I left ecstatic and wishing I could see it all again right away. There’s revenge that’s sweet, and redemption, too.
Bravo S. S. Rajamouli! Bravo Prabhas and the rest of the cast! You’ve done it again!