Ghostbusters Answer the Call English

Ghosts, ghouls, paranormal activity and the unknown has always captured human fascination and fear, but at the same time has been the driving force behind the question of life after death. It has been this one question that has sent more than a fair share of people in pursuit of the ethereal, however, despite numerous eyewitnesses, grainy photographs and warbled tape recordings, a concrete physical proof of the ether realm has evaded us. This week, we see the release of a film that deals with the topic of ghosts, but unlike the typical horror outing, this one caters more to your funny side. Yes we are indeed talking about GHOSTBUSTERS. A reboot of the original film that released back in 1984, GHOSTBUSTERS promises a thrilling, chilling yet rib tickling ride. But will a reboot featuring an all new cast with cameos by original film's actors work is the question.

GHOSTBUSTERS starts off following the story of Dr. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) who dreams of acquiring tenure status at the Columbia University. However, her dreams of tenure come under threat when she learns that her one time friend and co-author Dr. Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) released a book on paranormal that they wrote, without her permission. Fearing that the book which deals with the paranormal will affect her tenure application, Erin sets out to confront Yates and makes her withdraw the book. But when Abby and Erin come face to face, a series of confusing events and an abrupt introduction of Dr. Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), lead Erin on a ghost hunting expedition with Abby and Jillian. The expedition proves to be a success with the trio being able to find an ectoplasmic human representation of a once living being, but unfortunately the said apparition escapes their clutches. However, a video of the encounter with Erin ranting about ghosts being real makes its way to the web, which not just ends Erin's tenure but also gets her fired. In the meanwhile, MTA worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) witnesses a ghost in the subway lines when she goes to investigate an apparent suicide victim who had ventured onto the tracks. Shaken by the apparition, Leslie contacts the trio of Erin, Abbey and Jillian, who in turn manage to test their new proton containment laser that Jillian built. Though sightings of ghosts steadily rise, the efforts of the group are constantly sidelined as being fake by the media. Despite these setbacks, the group continues to develop their ghost containment system and advertises themselves as Ghostbusters. They Ghostbusters also hire a dumb, blonde secretary Kevin (Chris Hemsworth) who has no idea of what his job profile is or what is that of his employers. Simultaneously, Rowan North (Neil Casey) an occultist who has been shunned for most of his life is using devices developed on the lines of Abbey and Erin's book to summon the undead. Will Rowan who plans on leading the army of undead manage to overpower the Ghostbusters, will the people finally acknowledge the legitimacy of the Ghostbusters and will they actually manage to stop a cataclysmic event in the heart of the city is what makes up the rest of the film.

Coming to the film itself, first things first, the makers of GHOSTBUSTERS and the production house have attempted to reboot a film that has since achieved cult status among its fan following. Coupled with this is the fact that being a reboot of a comedy film, entails telling the same jokes to the audience a second time round and expecting a laugh riot. Despite obstacles like this, director Paul Feig decided to forge ahead and recast the original members, only this time as an all-female team. Though the thought is interesting and the lead female cast is very powerful, the slow pace of the film in the first half makes it difficult to enjoy the film as the director takes his own sweet time to come to the actual plot. The film could have been much better had the script packed a punch in it but it sadly takes out the thrills and the scary chills from the original and replaces it with smoother more eye appealing CGI that does little to instill any sort of fear. Besides this, there are plenty of plot holes that keep cropping up, like for instance, the team of Ghostbusters is unable to rent an old fire station to be their headquarters but are able to find the money to procure and develop nuclear devices that can trap ectoplasmic representations. If that wasn't all, at one point in the film, the team is unable to do much but just trap and confine a ghost, however later on with the help of more or less the same gadgetry they are able to render ghost incapacitated. Another sore point in the film are the continuity errors, though minute are still pretty noticeable.

As for the performances, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig as Drs. Abbey Yates and Erin Gilbert respectively apparently are one time best of friends who drift apart as differences between them on a coauthored book grow. However despite, the two settling their differences they simply do not come across as friends, at best their attempts to hash off depending on the others actions makes for a comic watch. McCarthy's dialogues seem to be monotonous and flat, the only high notes hit are when she is possessed and/ or shouting. The delivery of the jokes lacks punch, with the whole essence going amiss due to a misplaced vocal annotation. Kate McKinnon as the eccentric Dr. Jillian Holtzmann is funny but confusing. There is just too much happening with her constantly while she tries her level best to be assimilated into the group. Though her over the top histrionics and complete disregard for personal safety is a bit concerning, it does bring the much required comic relief to the film. Leslie Jones as the stereotypical loudmouthed 'Hell-Yeah' street smart woman is funny but seems like a forced character into the team. Neil Casey as the underappreciated Rowan North does not come across as menacing at all instead his character comes across as being a marionette whose strings are pulled by an unseen hand. The star cast of the original 1984 film also makes special appearances in the film.

Being a film that deals with ghosts and ectoplasmic humanoid representations GHOSTBUSTERS obviously should boast of some pretty cutting edge visual effects. The CGI of the film is good and is synced well with the 3D effect. However, the makers have used the visual representation of the ghosts with respect to the CGI in the 1984 film. That being said, the heavy duty CGI and VFX in the climax is impressive.

On the whole, GHOSTBUSTERS is a simple horror-comedy which makes for a light entertainer which has its moments of fun. If you are a fan of the original, you might just enjoy this popcorn entertainer too.
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Kabali Tamil

There is one sun, there is one moon and there is only one Rajnikanth. This one sentence sums up the 'Rajini mania' that's prevalent all over the world. With two of his last films (LINGAA and KOCHADAIIYAAN) not faring well at the box-office, all the eyes are indeed set on this week's release KABALI, that stars everyone's favourite 'thalaiva' Rajinikanth. Will KABALI be able to set the box-office on fire or will it backfire like its 'predecessors', let's analyze.

KABALI starts off in the scenic location of Malaysia, where everyone's favourite don Kabaleeswaram aka Kabali (Rajnikanth) is released from jail. Kabali was grievously wronged years ago and had to spend his jail term for the murder that he did not commit. The very moment he comes out of jail, he realises that the world has become a different place to live in. During his tenure in the jail, there arose a notorious gang named '43', which left no illegal activities untouched. When Kabali gets to know about this gang, he 'self-initiates' a meeting with the gang's top-notch members, so that they can forward the message of his release to their boss, who happens to be the extremely dreadful Tony Lee Yang (Winston Chao). While Kabali gets a heroic welcome from everyone after his release, he also gets invited to be a part of many social causes. One such social cause happens to be his very own 'FLF' (Free Life Foundation), where the 'upcoming notorious' youngsters are reformed. During the 'graduation ceremony' of their latest batch, the students get into a question-answer session with Kabali. It's during this session; Kabali tells the reason behind him becoming a gangster and also recounts all the incidents that connect his dreaded past to his peaceful present. When he plans to start the 'second innings' of his life, he gets the shocking news about his wife Roopa (Radhika Apte) being still alive. This shocks him tremendously because he had spent the whole 25 years in jail thinking that Roopa was dead, after she was killed by the villains. If that wasn't enough, Kabali also gets to know that he has a daughter named Yogi (Dhansika) who has been working as a contract killer. But, what Kabali does not know is the fact that his own daughter had been given the task of bumping him off by the villains. Will Kabali's daughter kill her own father for the sake of money, does Kabali ever meet his dearest wife Roopa and does Kabali become successful in eliminating his rival gang '43' in the end… is what forms the rest of the story.

The film's script (written by Pa. Ranjith) is something that may not be as tangible to a non-Rajinikanth fan. There are scenes in the film that may defy human imagination and logic, but, then, with Rajinikanth at the helm of things, logic and rationalism be damned! Having said that, the script also does not fully provide Rajinikanth's onscreen antics, something that he is known for over the years.

The film's director Pa. Ranjith (whose last film MADRAS was a blockbuster) needs to be applauded for having made a film that shows Rajinikanth playing his age. Even though Pa. Ranjith does not do anything way different from what we have seen before in the past Rajinikanth films, still he manages to keep the film engaging for the audience. The flip side is that, even though there are 'Rajini-isms' that the film boasts of and rests on, KABALI leaves a huge vacuum devoid of Rajinikanth's histrionics, something that his hardcore masala fans will miss. Additionally, the film also starts lagging at many places (especially during the second half). Add to that is the film's slow pace and irregular narration, which takes the steam out of the film. It will just not be wrong to say that it's only the screen-presence and the inimitable charisma of Rajinikanth that rises up to save the film on many occasions.

As for the performances, it's obvious that the film rides solely and exclusively on the shoulders of Rajinikanth, who pulls out all stops to ensure that the viewers are treated to a 'paisa vasool' performance. Offering him rock solid support is Radhika Apte (who predominantly features as a 'pregnant lady' in most of the flashback scenes). One cannot take away the fact that she does complete justice to her character in the film. Do not miss her emotional scene where she meets Rajinikanth after a long time. This scene is definitely bound to give you goose bumps. Winston Chao, on the other hand, is pretty average as the villain. His character neither gets translated into a dreaded villain, nor does his screen presence send chills down the spine, something that is hugely required from a villain in a Rajinikanth film. The rest of the characters (Dinesh Ravi, Kishore, Kalaiyarasan, John Vijay) do their bit to help the film move forward.

Barring the title track, the film's music (Santhosh Narayanan) is a just above average fare. The film's background score is decent and moves along with the pace of the film. The film's cinematography (G. Murali) is decent. The film's editing (Praveen K.L) is pretty average.

On the whole, KABALI is an archetypal Rajinikanth film that will surely be lapped up by his hardcore fans. Rajinikanth does his best to carry the film on his able shoulders but the audiences will be left wanting for more.
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Star Trek Beyond English

Back in 1966, we saw the first of its kind space adventure series hit the small screen with the arrival of Star Trek. Created by Gene Roddenberry, the franchise soon acquired a cult status with fans across the globe. Despite spins off and divergent stories over the years, Star Trek has retained its essence of being a tale of space exploration. Now years on, we see the release of STAR TREK BEYOND which is the sequel to the 2013 release STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS.

Much like the series that spoke of different adventures in space, STAR TREK BEYOND too is one episode from the journal of Captain Kirk and the crew of The Enterprise. The story begins with The Enterprise being two and a half years into its five year mission, when the ship arrives at Starbase Yorktown to replenish dwindling supplies while the crew takes shore leave. Finding his duties as Captain growing monotonous, James T. Kirk applies for a promotion to Vice Admiral. Meanwhile, Commander Spock and Nyota Uhura deal with the end of their relationship; Hikaru Sulu reunites with his partner and daughter; and Montgomery Scott struggles to keep the ship operational. Meanwhile an escape pod drifts out of a nearby nebula and the sole occupant, Kalara, claims her ship is stranded and damaged. The Enterprise is dispatched, but when it arrives at a planet on the far side of the nebula, it's crippled by a swarm of ships and boarded by drone soldiers led by Krall, an alien warlord. Krall attempts to retrieve an alien artefact - supposedly part of a long-lost weapon - from the Enterprise's storage, but Kirk gets the artefact first. In the ensuing battle, the Enterprise is badly damaged and as the crew evacuates, most of their escape pods are captured by the drone ships. With the crew as hostages, Krall looks to convince Captain Kirk to hand over the artefact, only to realise that it was within his grasp all the while. Now armed with the weapon, Krall sets course for Starbase Yorktown with the sole objective to capture it and fight the Federation.

Picking off after the previous film, STAR TREK BEYOND features Captain Kirk back at the helm of the USS Enterprise with his trusted friend and lieutenant Spock by his side. Much like the earlier film this one too is a space adventure of mammoth proportions, while the first half of the film sets up the premise for the story detailing each of the characters' lives from where we last saw them, it boasts of some inspiring visuals. However, along with the visual treat and action there is a lot of banter between the characters. Though at times this constant jabbering drags, it does take the story forward explaining the reasoning behind the crew's next move. Here a special mention goes out to director Justin Lin who keeps the proceedings crisp and snappy. In fact each time the viewer feels dragged down by the banter there is always an adrenaline pumping sequence that comes just after, making for a ride with well interspaced highs and lows. As Simon Pegg along with Dough Jung has developed the screenplay for STAR TREK BEYOND, there is the comic element that you expect from Pegg both the in film, but these are few and far between.

Coming to the cast of the film, Chris Pine as Captain James T. Kirk is his usual self, keeping in form with what we saw in the previous film, similarly Zachary Quinto as Commander Spock, Karl Urban as Doctor 'Bones' McCoy, Simon Pegg as Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott and Zoe Saldana as Lieutenant Uhura are as expected. Each of the cast members bring in their own essence to their respective characters while still managing to retain the feel and mannerisms that we have seen in the series. Idris Elba has time and again proved his mettle at playing deep brooding characters who have a sense of doom around them, and once again as Krall Elba has done well. However, though his character does instil a sense of dread, the overall fear and menace seems diminished. With a backstory like his, Elba's character should have featured a little more menace considering that all he has ever known was war and pain.

Talking about the visual effects of the film, STAR TREK BEYOND features some really good action sequences with high voltage explosions and crashes. Unlike the previous film that feature all too many lens flares that kind of spoiled the show, this one uses the same technique but in a much more eye pleasing manner. The development of the uncharted nebula system and an alien planet that quite resembles earth, along with the happenings on screen keep the viewer gripped. With a fast paced story (save for the few times in the first half where there is more talking) STAR TREK BEYOND is brisk.

On the whole, STAR TREK BEYOND has both heart and action coupled with the aura that continues from the previous films, which makes it an entertaining film and definitely worth a watch.
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Lights Out English

Over the years, there has been a small yet steady and visible growth in the number of horror films hitting screens. In fact the genre of horror movies has fast developed an ardent following among the discerning viewers. Now in a long list of horror films, we see the release of yet another one in the form of LIGHTS OUT. But in an age when films like THE CONJURING have captured the audience's imagination indulging into their deepest fears, will a film like LIGHTS OUT work is the question.

Based on a short film by the same name that released in 2014, LIGHTS OUT is the story of Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) whose little bother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) experiences the same events that once tested her sanity. Rebecca works to unlock the truth behind the terror, which brings her face to face with an entity that has an attachment to their mother Sophie (Maria Bello). The short film that was adjudged as the winner of a short horror film contest was picked by James Wan to be developed into a full length feature directed by David F. Sandberg. Like the short film, the plot deals with a novel concept of a ghost that can be seen and is active only in the dark.

The film starts off with Rebecca leading an idyllic life that is abruptly interrupted with a call from her step brother's school informing her that Martin had fallen asleep for the third time in a week at school. When Rebecca arrives at the school she is met by a representative from the Child Protection Services who questions her about her mother's mental stability and her own ability to be a responsible guardian for Martin. After leaving the school with Martin, Rebecca heads back to her mother's house only to learn that her childhood tormentor, a ghost named Diana is back and this time is after Martin. Though Rebecca decides on taking Martin with her, the CPS forces her to let Martin live with their mother and unknowingly Diana as well. In the interim, Diana who once was an inmate with Sophia at a mental institution suffered from a rare skin disease that made her skin hyper sensitive to light. Wanting her friend Sophia back, Diana goes on a rampage to ensure that Sophia continues to suffer from depression and remains her friend. Will Rebecca and Martin escape from Diana's claws and will the brother and sister manage to save their mother from depression is what forms the rest of the film.

Unfortunately like most horror stories, LIGHTS OUT too follows the tread bare path to scare the audience, with emerging ghouls from around the corner, that indescribable element in the corner of our eye and a mentally unstable family member… this film covers it all. Though the concept may be a novel one, the overall execution of the film leaves a lot to be desired. Replete with horror clichés, the film does manage to scare in parts, however the overall menace that should permeate across the film is evident only in a few areas. Yes dealing with a ghost that has to play within set parameters (only in the dark) do pose its own set of problems, the viewer does feel at times it could have been better. Director David F. Sandberg does a good job bringing out the scares ever now and then, but somehow his short film seemed to stand out more than this full length feature. As for the visual effects in the film, though limited in a film like LIGHTS OUT where the ghost is usually seen as just a silhouette, they are very well done.

Coming to the performances in the film, Maria Bello as Sophie, the mother on edge suffering from acute depression while trying her level best to put up a brave front and hold things together is spot on with her portrayal. Teresa Palmer as Rebecca does a good job in her role as the older sister trying to protect her brother and save her mother at the same time. However, the scene stealer is Gabriel Bateman as Martin who does a commendable job as the scared kid whose nights have been haunted by his mother's ethereal friend. In fact it is thanks to fear that Bateman manages to convey that the audience actually develop a rapport with the family members. But on the other hand Alexander DiPersia as Bret, Rebecca's boyfriend seems totally lost, and ends up being just an extra on hand when help is needed.

On the whole, with good editing, and trademark James Wan techniques of building up anxiety and good usage of light, the film definitely does manage to raise the hair on your neck when needed. Entertaining, scary in parts and funny at times, LIGHTS OUT makes for a decent one time watch.
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Bollywood has seen many films that have been based on the theme of common man's fight against rampant corruption. Testimonies to this stand bright in the form of films like NAYAK, A WEDNESDAY, RANG DE BASANTI and others. This week's release is the hard hitting MADAARI that stars Irrfan Khan in the lead role. Will it be able to 'juggle' its way to the Box-Office collections, let's analyze.

The film starts off with the kidnapping of Home Minister Prashant Goswami's (Tushar Dalvi) only son Rohan Goswami (Vishesh Bansal) by Nirmal Kumar (Irrfan Khan). The kidnapping does not happen in a day's time. It's only after Nirmal 'studies' all the activities and movements of his 'target' Rohan, does he manage to kidnap him after drugging his food. Needless to say, this kidnapping shakes not just the Home Minister Prashant Goswami and his wife, but also his cabinet ministers. Being a high profile case, the razor sharp Nachiket Verma (Jimmy Sheirgill) gets chosen for the job of bringing back Prashant Goswami's son. And when the kidnapper Nirmal calls up Prashant Goswami, the latter who was expecting a ransom in the form of some money, gets shell shocked to hear Nirmal's strange demand. Amidst all this, Nachiket Verma and his team manage to track down Nirmal and his whereabouts. At the same time, Nirmal calls Prashant Goswami and demands him to have an open discussion before the general public, something that Prashant Goswami agrees to. But, this time round, Nachiket Verma instructs his team to shoot Nirmal the very moment they see him. Does Nirmal keep his promise and fearlessly meet Prashant Goswami in front of everyone, does Nirmal really keep the child Rohan safe in his 'custody', and why exactly is Nirmal doing all this, is what forms the rest of the story.

While MADAARI's trailers gave an impression about the film being high on drama and adrenaline rush galore, the film turns out to be (almost) the opposite. While the film's story (Shailja Kejriwal) is very average, its screenplay (Ritesh Shah) is unconvincing and very convenient, with lot of cinematic liberties taken to push the story forward. The subject of corruption in the system is not anything new however the treatment could've made a lot of difference. The film's script however fails to bring that novelty factor.

The film's director Nishikant Kamat (who had directed the action packed Rocky Handsome earlier this year) does a very average job with MADAARI. Given the fact that, hard hitting films happen to be Nishikant Kamat's homeground, the audiences' huge expectation that he would bring something new with MADAARI, sadly remains unmet. While the film's first half is average with no edge-of-the-seat thrills, the film loses its remaining charm in its stretched second half. Its only the film's last 15-20 minutes that actually have a gripping effect on the viewers.

Given the fact that Nishikant Kamat had a powerful performer like Irrfan Khan in the film, he could have easily turned MADAARI into a miraculously outstanding film. What also work against the film are the 'over-the-top' and intangible situations that Nishikant Kamat shows in the film. Examples to this are in the form of scenes like despite Irrfan Khan's wife going and settling abroad for unknown reasons, still, she lands up supporting him and his cause. Secondly, despite Irrfan Khan kidnapping the only son of the Home Minister (no less), he very conveniently 'summons' the Home Minister and other 'defaulters' in his house in a simple chawl, while the top security forces standing right outside are helpless.

Speaking about Irrfan Khan, amidst everyone, he is the only actor who stands out in the film. The film (needless to say) rides solely on the shoulders of this powerhouse performer, who, yet again, churns out a decent (but, not splendid) performance with MADAARI. Despite being the kidnapper, his emotional bond with the kidnapped child (read 'Stockholm Syndrome') is very endearing. What the audience will sorely miss in his performance are those hard hitting one liners (both, witty and sarcastic) for which he is best known. Trailing Irrfan Khan on a close second is Jimmy Sheirgill, who, yet again, does a decent and commendable job with his character in the film. A special mention goes to the talented child artist Vishesh Bansal, who holds his own despite Irrfan Khan being his co-star. The other actors do a decent job.

Despite the presence of a catchy track in the form of 'Dama Dama Dam', the film has totally no scope for music (Vishal Bhardwaj, Sunny-Inder Bawra). On the other hand, the film's background score (Sameer Phaterpekar) is decent and moves in tandem with the film's story.

The film's cinematography (Avinash Arun) is poor. Even the stock footage that has been used in the film is of extremely poor quality. The film's editing (Aarif Shaikh) could have been a lot better.

On the whole MADAARI comes across as a thriller which holds your attention only in parts. It lacks consistency and punch and will therefore appeal to a limited set of audience. At the box office, its business prospects will be limited.
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