The Founder [2017]

The Founder [2017]

After watching bs[in my opinion, at least] like Passengers and xXx : The Return of Xander Cage, this film released, and the fact that it had something, nay, a lot, to do with McDonald’s attracted us all to the film. So, how does the film perform?

The Founder, first up, is based on the real-life story of how Ray Kroc came to acquire McDonald’s, and his history with the McDonald brothers, who were the founders. The story begins with Ray Kroc, who was then a travelling salesman, trying to sell milkshake makers and failing hard. He has a supportive wife Ethel and has saved up enough money to live a reasonably comfortable life, but Ray is not one to settle for small pleasures; he wants to achieve great success in life.

One day, Ray gets an unusually large order[6 milkshake makers] from a far-off diner. This is pleasantly surprising for Ray, considering he struggles to sell even one a day, and even that after much haggling. When he visits the diner, he’s in for more surprises. He is impressed, to say the least, with the fast service, good quality of food and the family-oriented atmosphere there; something that was sorely missing in all the other diners he’d been to. This was Ray Kroc’s first brush with McDonald’s. He takes so much of an interest in the McDonald’s diner after checking out the premises, that he signs on the dotted line to work under the McDonald brothers as someone who would expand the diner, without a second thought to any of the conditions and stipulations on the contract. I don’t want to reveal any more of the story for fear it might spoil the sense of discovery one feels when they watch or read something for the first time.

Image result for the founder

The plot is nothing short of brilliant; the adaptation of this real-life events to screen is fluid, and not a thing is amiss.Of course, there might be some creative liberties taken by the makers, but the plot progression of the film itself is spot-on. At no point does the film feel like it’s slowing down or such. The 1950s setting has also been recreated really well. As far as acting is concerned, Michael Keaton playing the lead role of Ray Kroc, is on point and is easily the best part of the film, with Nic Offerman[as Dick McDonald] and John Carroll Lynch[as Mac McDonald] playing strong supporting roles in the film. Laura Dern as Ethel, Ray’s wife, does well too, however her role is too short to make a significant impact.

This is the best film I’ve seen since the mind-screw that was The Chaser. So, as you’d expect. I strongly recommend The Founder to anyone who likes movies based on historic events or real-life incidents.

RATING : 9.5/10

PROS :
– solid acting, especially from Michael Keaton
– amazing plot
– good pacing

PASSENGERS [2016]

PASSENGERS [2016]

I watched this film about a week ago with my friends in 3D, so let’s talk about it now. So, is this Chris Pratt-Jennifer Lawrence starrer any good?

The movie starts off with a contingent of about 5,000 people in stasis, going off to a new planet named Homestead II in a starship named Avalon; a journey which lasts for 120 years. Along the journey, Avalon collides with a large asteroid that happens to be in its path. The resulting impact fries some important conections in one of the passengers’ hibernation pods. As a result, Jim Preston, a mechanical engineer, wakes up from his stasis, and gets out into the huge starship. As he wanders around, he makes contact with just the ship’s bartender Arthur, who is really an android.

Of course, he is surprised to discover that he is the only one awake in this journey, and finds out after asking some questions that the journey is still 89 years from completion. This really puts him in a binder, as for all he knows, he’s just going to die in the ship, alone for ever. After trying every thing he could to get into stasis again and failing, he is pushed to the brink of suicide. But then, he notices the beautiful Aurora Lane in one of the hibernation pods, and grows to like her more and more after reading her writings. Now, a new quandary strikes him; does he bring Aurora out of stasis for some company and love, or does he let her be?

This is how the film begins, and revealing any more might spoil the story, such as it is. Because even though the concept looks good on paper, it isn’t all that great on screen, because of the events that keep transpiring. It is really slow, and I found myself dropping off on multiple occasions. It actually felt sort of like the space version of Titanic to me at a certain point, and not in a good way. Nothing much happens for a substantial period of time in the film, which really sucks because the acting is pretty solid. Chris Pratt as the unfortunate Jim Preston is brilliant in most every way. Jennifer Lawrence as Aurora Lane looks great and does well in her role as the writer, and so does Michael Sheen as the android bartender Arthur. Laurence Fishburne has a cameo role[sort of] towards the later part of the film, and he does great as well. The CGI is undoubtedly one of the strengths of Passengers. The starship Avalon has been amazingly well-rendered, and the infinite space looks nothing short of gorgeous from the interiors of the ship.

Overall, I myself wouldn’t really recommend this film to you unless you are a true-blue fan of the lead actors.

RATING : 6.3/10

PROS :
– CGI is great
– solid acting

CONS :
– weak story
– way too many unnecessary events prolonging the film
– ending isn’t all that satisfying

 

AJIN [SEASON 2]

AJIN [SEASON 2]

The second season of Ajin finished airing just about ten days ago. Those of you who haven’t yet caught up on the anime after the season one cliffhanger, get ready to jump on the hype train! [Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t seen S1]

So the first season ended with Nagai Kei and his new companion Nakano Kou making a break and escaping the clutches of Tosaki and Shimomura. And in the meantime, Satou has issued an ultimatum to the Japanese government to include provisions for ajin to be treated as normal human beings, and to stop using them as guinea pigs for experimentation. The alternative being that Satou and his fellow ajin go after 15 officials who are the main culprits regarding this matter. The second season picks up from there, with Satou beginning to make good on his promise. On the other end, Nagai and Nakano want to stop Satou from executing his master plan, but they are severely lacking on manpower. Nagai comes up with the idea of pairing up with one of the main officials in secret so that this issue ceases to remain an issue anymore. And guess who that is… Tosaki himself!

Image result for ajin satou

                                                                  Way too OP…

The story is pretty fast paced, as it was in the first season. And it doesn’t waste time in pleasantries of any sort. The action keeps moving from Satou’s perspective to that of Nagai and Tosaki, and these switches have been handled well, so that the viewer is not distracted in the least. And as it was in the previous season, the action scenes are amazing; especially the ones where Satou goes berserk in killing people, they are truly badass moments in the show. The characters have been further developed, and some backstory for Tosaki and Shimomura comes in too. Nagai and Co. are great, no doubt about that. But my favorite character would be Satou, as is only to be expected. The guy says so many awesome things in his trademark nonchalant style; the writers did a fantastic job with this particular role. It’s as if he is the anime version of Vaas from FarCry 3. And just in case you don’t know this guy, let’s just say he is still the best villain I’ve seen in a game yet.

The only real issue with Ajin is the same as it was with the first season; the frame rates. I know that the production crew decided to do it the hard way and make it a 3D animated show, and I laud them for it. The actions are remarkably human-like, as a result. But more than occasionally, you’re left trying to see if you can differentiate one frame from another during some of the quieter moments of the show. Other than that, the show is pretty slick.

In conclusion, I would personally recommend Ajin to anyone who watches anime, and have done it on numerous occasions already. If for nothing else, just for the amazingly haunting background score that plays at the beginning and end of each episode…

RATING : 9/10

PROS :
– good plot pacing
– action scenes are even cooler
– amazing background score
– Satou-san OP
– improved 3DCG

CONS :
– frame rate is still a bit unsatisfactory

 

 

 

 

 

The Chaser(2008)

The Chaser(2008)

I have said it before, and I will say it again; Korean films are a blast to watch. Not because they are entertaining or fun; no one who has seen movies like Memories of Murder or Oldboy will say anything contrary to my statement. No, they are a blast because they are really intense pieces of art, which will make you question everything and assume not a single thing. Or maybe it’s just my awesome choice at picking out the cream of the Korean offerings, but anyways. Let’s get into The Chaser now, without further ado.

The film begins with the former Task Force detective-turned-pimp sending out one of his girls for business, if you know what I mean. But the guy is also getting paranoid about his state of affairs, as two of his call girls have quite probably just escaped without giving him any information of their whereabouts. He wants to tighten up his protocol to ensure these incidents do not repeat in the future. Unluckily, the girl who the pimp has just sent out, is also on her way to meet him. I don’t think I will be able to tell you readers any more about the plot, as some key details might be spoilt for those of you who wish to see the film. But I can assure you of one thing; it is pretty twisted and messed-up on a different level.

                                                                           The chase is on!

This is a different kind of film from the normal, as we already know the antagonist at the outset itself. Something I haven’t often seen in the suspense thriller genre. The screenplay ought to be tight, which is a requirement for this type of film, and thankfully the film delivers on that front. Also, this is quite possibly the Korean film with the fastest pacing I’ve seen yet. And the acting is spot-on, I must say. All the characters are fully fleshed out, from the pimp to the antagonist to the call girl and her kid daughter, to the police.  It is as if they are living in their roles. That might seem a bit cliche, but that is god’s honest truth. And the story is based on some real-life events, which honestly does throw up some red flags about the existence of hope in this world. This is some really depressing shit.

Overall, I’d say this: if you have watched a few Korean film, chances are you’ve watched this already. If you haven’t, guess what; it’s time for you to do yourself a favor already. And those of you who don’t[or haven’t yet] watched Korean suspense thrillers yet, this is a great way to initiate yourself into it.

RATING : 9.7/10

PROS :
– top-notch acting
– insane pacing
– pretty dark and disturbing

CONS :
– may be too dark for some

 

GINTAMA [SEASON 6]

GINTAMA [SEASON 6]

The sixth season of this long-running show of hilarity : that is what we’ll be reviewing in this post. Or is it? Read on to find out more.

The anime begins with Gintoki taking off away from his Odd Jobs mates Shinpachi and Kagura, and returns with a hangover. But seems like he’s had a bit too much of drink this time round, because he’s greeted by his two friends as a customer to Odd Jobs, rather than its head. And the  even bigger surprise is that the head is not Gintoki, but Kintoki, a naturally straight-haired guy, with golden hair to boot, to contrast with Gintoki’s silver. And so we know now that the show we’re watching is actually Kintama. Too bad for you, suckers! Anyway, this is how the new season starts off, with Gintoki put in quite a spot, and no one recognizing him for what he is.

                                                  Whoops, this is from a new show Mantama…

The new season is only 13 episodes long, which sucks for all Gintama fans, but whatever is there, is awesome indeed. This time around Gintama has three story arcs and one standalone episode making up the contents. But contrary to the usual, this season all the arcs are much more serious in tone than before. But not to worry; where there is Gintoki&Co., there is always an enormous potential for hilarious, out-of-the-world screw-ups, whether metaphorical or literal. And also, one of the arcs does give us some more insight about Shinpachi and Otae’s past lives.

And now for my mandatory recommendation to readers of this post to watch Gintama, as I’ve been doing since I’ve started watching the goddamn show. Watch it already!

RATING : 9.3/10

PROS :
– some backstory on Shinpachi and Otae
– more serious story arcs

CONS :
– only 13 episodes, damn…

 

GINTAMA [SEASON 5]

GINTAMA [SEASON 5]

The fourth season of Gintama picks up after the crazy incidents of its previous season, with a gap of an year between the two seasons. So, how does it hold up in comparison to the previous insanity?

The anime starts off with Shinpachi returning to the Odd Jobs “office”, if you could call it that, after the gap of an year, since the show was on hiatus for that long. But on returning, Shinpachi finds out that all is not as it seems. Gintoki seems to have turned into a Dragon Ball Z character rip-off, and Kagura has grown way too much in the span of an year. Otae-chan is married to Gorilla Kondo-san, of all people. This convinces Shinpachi that something has gone seriously wrong with the world in the span of just an year. The surprises don’t stop here; as is only to be expected from Gintama, craziness follows soon enough, like maybe within a minute of the opening song itself.

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                                                          What the hell…are you kidding me?

Actually, you know what? Every review of the newer Gintama season feels the same to me, because the show does do similar things with explosively hilarious effects every single time. But not only that, the anime does tug at your heartstrings on many occasions, when you really feel for those poor sods. They really do know how to make the viewer feel. Far as the characters themselves are concerned, Tama has now grown into a more important supporting character, ever since the story arc in S3. And Otose gets a whole new story arc for herself which explores her background and why she  is supposed to be one of the four unofficial heads of Edo, so to speak. So basically, some more character development in the show.

Anyways, whoever enjoyed the show and stuck with it for four whole seasons, would find it only sensible to watch this hilarious and chaotic show through its 5th season too. Way too much fun to pass up for me.

RATING : 9.2/10

PROS :
– more character development
– much more emotional than S4

PEAKY BLINDERS [SEASON 3]

PEAKY BLINDERS [SEASON 3]

The third season of Peaky Blinders picks up about two years after season 2’s thrilling climax. Let’s check it out now [Note : Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the second season of Peaky Blinders].

After the successful coup on Derby Day to take over Sabatini’s racetrack gambling business and the killing of Major Campbell[along with Tommy’s all-too-close an encounter with death], we jump forward in time by about two years. Grace returned at the end of the second season, and the first episode begins with Thomas Shelby getting married to her. During the reception, a Russian refugee comes to the Shelbys and gives them a code for a money-exchange meeting between Tommy and an unknown other. Also, Tommy has entered into a deal with Father John Hughes and Co., not something Tommy wanted to be a part of, but something he can’t really help in his current situation. With the tensions between the Soviet and the British factions within the country increasing, Tommy is forced into a conspiracy  in which he has to plan and play both the sides to get out safe and sound. Can he and his Peaky Blinders gang survive this?

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                                                            One of the cool scenes…

Far as the setting and atmosphere are concerned, no worries about the creators messing them up; they do a clean job of conveying the conditions of the times perfectly, and the early-mid 1920s have been recreated well. But this was only expected from a team which has been consistent over two previous seasons. Also the pacing of the story has only increased, which is all to the better. Acting is top-notch as always. Some new characters have entered into the Peaky Blinders saga now. Chief among these are Paddy Considine playing Father John Hughes, and Gaite Jansen as Princess Tatiana Petrovna; both being nothing short of amazing. Just see for yourself, as revealing any details about their roles might spoil some of the sense of discovery to the viewers.

If you’ve watched and enjoyed the previous two seasons of Peaky Blinders, then there should be little stopping you from getting into the third installment as well. Great stuff as usual.

RATING : 8.6/10

PROS :
– even better pacing
– amazing new characters