Deadpool 2 Review

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin
Director: David Leitch

At a time when superhero films are all about saving the world and universe from madmen and their clan, Deadpool 2 comes as a sweet relief as it focuses on saving one child from himself with Deadpool’s distinct ‘merc with a mouth’ manner. Sassier, funnier, grosser and more coherent with its plotline, the sequel of 2016 blockbuster hit is everything fans were expecting and more. Featuring Wade Wilson unloading both sarcasm and pop-culture references at any given moment, a bombastic introduction to the stern and mechanical Cable, a kid with issues and deaths – lots of deaths, Deadpool 2 has it all.

The film begins with a boom (literally) and ends with an X-Force, which is how far one can go without giving out many details on the story. Frankly, this is one plot you can’t expect spoilers from but just experience the genius of Ryan Reynolds in this cinematic version of Deadpool. The film is packed with innuendo, which are thrown at the audience at every given moment without a care if they would register or not. It’s like a joke-machine firing joke every time you feel the story is taking a dark turn. The predecessor thrived as an A-rated satire of the studio, with most of the humor coming at the expense of its own mega-franchise, X-Men. This time the seat has been taken (or shared) by Avengers, (made funnier when you consider Josh Brolin starred in both). You can’t help but laugh with a sense of familiarity with which the makers have included the puns and lines of an altogether different mini-verse in a bigger umbrella of MCU.

Directed by ‘One of the Two Guys Who Killed John Wick’s Dog,’ the first 20 minutes of the film feature a good amount of gruesome but spectacular bloodbath as both Wick films combined. But that is just the beginning. The film ups its ante with some pretty disgusting visuals and some very interesting cameos, both by A-list Hollywood stars to popular characters from the comics. And we thought the studio doesn’t have money to ‘entertain one more X-Man’.

Hiding behind constant self-critiquing- from pointing out budget restrains to ‘bad-writing’ and ‘CGI fights’ Deadpool acknowledges everything even before you have the chance to say it in your mind. Thus, giving a glimpse of sarcastic and intelligent filmmaking, often found missing in the VFX-crammed superhero universe. The film has a lot of puckish puns that could’ve headed towards being borderline racist, but clever writing saves the day and makes you laugh at yourself for completing the joke.

Unlike Deadpool, Deadpool 2 has a streamlined narrative and a mission for the mercenary. The only thing splashed on the walls here are his puns and lot of blood. A funnier, jazzier and grimmer version set in a 2-D format, Deadpool 2 deserves a watch for its sass and loony toons treatment of the story where the ‘ wheelbarrow full of Stage 4 cancer’ is the R-Rated masked Bugs Bunny-esque mercenary in his natural element.

Oh and wait for the mid-credit sequences. They’ll crack you up.

Rating: 3.5/5

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Hope Aur Hum Movie Review

Director: Sudip Bandhyopadhay
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Kulkarni, Naveen Kasturia, Aamir Bashir, Kabir Sajid
In ad filmmaker Sudip Bandhyopadhay’s Hope Aur Hum, three parallel narratives flow side by side. Seeped in nostalgia, the film has many moments- some striking, some memorable and some fleeting- in a story told through three generations of the Srivastava family.

At the centre of this story is an old man Nagesh Srivastava (Naseeruddin Shah), who is attached with his old school photocopy machine. He has named it Mr. Soennecken after Friedrich Soennecken, the famous German office products supplier. And at a time when everyone is technology obsessed, Nagesh finds solace and refers to the work of Mr. Soennecken as art. He is still stuck in the era when he first brought the machine home and all his neighbours had lined up outside to get just one glimpse of it. His son Neeraj (Aamir Bashir), who is under constant pressure to get that due promotion at work, understands his father’s attachment but to his wife Aditi (Sonali Kulkarni), the room where the machine is kept can be used to provide their kids a more comfortable living and separate rooms. She keeps practicality over both emotions and nostalgia.

The two grandkids – a teenage Tanu (Vidhi Vaghani) and a cricket lover and enthusiastic commentator Anu (Kabir Sajid)- are perhaps the only members of the family who understand what Mr. Soennecken means to their grandfather. They feel for him and feel with him. Nagesh’s younger son Nitin (Naveen Kasturia) arrives from Dubai for a surprise visit and brings home a play station for Anu, mobile for Tanu, watch for Aditi and the latest model of a photocopy machine. He loses his phone upon arrival but “destiny” has something else in store for him. Meanwhile, Anu visits his maternal grandmother’s home with his father.

Three important events- Nagesh’s dying Mr. Soennecken and arrival of a new model, Nitin’s phone getting lost and Anu’s visit to his maternal grandmother- change the course of the story and brings forth several facts of human emotions.

Nagesh comes from a time when even machines, gadgets and appliances, had a place of their own in people’s life. When his grandson retorts saying the machine is old and needs to retire now, Nagesh tells him, “ye machine bekaar nahi hai, yaadgaar hai.” Whether it was someone’s first car, first watch, first television or even the first photocopy machine – it meant more than just an electronic device. To them, letting it go means to let go a part of oneself. But, in his mind, Nagesh knows that whether it’s a human or a machine – it has to work because there’s always someone younger or advanced waiting to take its position. Shah is in his top form and delivers a wistful performance throughout. He speaks lines that have depth and delivers them with an impact that not many can boast of.

Nitin, from the second generation, has his life revolving around his phone which he loses upon his arrival in India. But who knew a lost phone can help find him love! His story relies more on chance encounters and destiny, but you wish to see more of it and more of Kasturia too. He is a talent to reckon with but doesn’t get enough screen time and enough shades to portray.

The third narrative, also the most prominent one, is that of the youngest generation – Anu. To let go of irrational fear and free oneself from the guilt of what would have happened or what could have happened is as tough for him as it is for his grandfather to let go off that old machine. Despite being a child actor, Sajid hooks you. His innocent yet enthusiastic commentary makes you smile and his fear and guilt make you worry.

While actors do their part well, the film in its entirety doesn’t seem well enough. The obvious connections between humans and machines is a strong base but that doesn’t come out the way it should have. The film tries to be a poem but the lines are not strong enough and the plot doesn’t convert to prose in totality. The metaphors relating to life and transition are in plenty but only some leave an impact. It also feels that the film is not worthy of the ending we are served with, but of something better.

Hope Aur Hum is a well-intentioned film. It has its heart in the right place and manages to seep you in its own nostalgia and think of things beyond the film. But there’s something that doesn’t quite make it through. The message of this family drama stays with you but the film, unfortunately, might not.

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Omerta Review

Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Keval Arora, Rajesh Tailang, Blake Allan
Director: Hansal Mehta
In his new film Omerta, director Hansal Mehta seeks to dive into the mind of a cold-blooded terrorist, the real-life Omar Saeed Sheikh, played superbly by Rajkummar Rao. As the story unravels, we see how a highly-educated, British-bred Pakistani gets radicalized into becoming an icy murderous agent, currently serving life imprisonment in a Karachi prison for the killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.

Omar, who was accused of having connections with Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 bombings, was one of three men released after the Indian Airlines Kandahar hijacking by the Taliban in 1999. Mehta, as you can see, has a fascinating subject at hand – a young man who becomes such an Islamic fundamentalist that he drops out of the London School of Economics and leaves his comfortable home in England to train in a terror camp in Afghanistan where he is shaped into a diabolical terrorist.

What the director is interested in is the ticking of an insidious mind. We see how Omar meticulously plans the kidnapping of the four foreigners in New Delhi, casually striking up conversations, hanging out and winning their confidence. Mehta painstakingly builds up a portrait with details – like the glass of milk Omar drinks unselfconsciously while others lug beer, or the way he switches in a split-second from the friend playing chess, to a steely-eyed assassin. The film explores this again in the way he wins over Daniel Pearl, luring him as a helpful ‘contact’. One of the film’s most stomach-churning scenes is the one in which the journalist is killed. Mehta shoots this so skillfully, the violence here is both invisible and yet all-pervasive.

The screenplay jumps back and forth in time, going back to a young Omar, disturbed by the war crimes committed against Bosnian Muslims, and how he convinces his reluctant father that he must go serve his “brothers and sisters”. Omerta pieces together the protagonist’s story like a clever jigsaw puzzle, but it’s also true that we are never fully sucked into his life. There are portions that drag despite the 6-minute run time because Omar’s motives don’t feel convincingly explored and the backstory involving his father is weak.

What works is the director’s chemistry with his leading man. Mehta reunites with Rajkummar Rao after their work together in Shahid and Aligarh. It’s expected of Rajkummar to sink his teeth into and slip under the skin of any character, and he does that with this deliciously meaty role. The inconsistent accent notwithstanding, the actor plays a sociopath with an iciness that will stay with you – watch that smile as he’s taken away in handcuffs, or the way his eyes bore into his victims.

I’m going with three out of five for Omerta. You might see it as the other side of the same coin that is Shahid. The making of a man deeply affected by similar incidents, but one who chooses a different path.

Rating: 3 / 5

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