Independence Day Resurgence English

Over the past few months we have seen Hollywood films take on Bollywood releases and emerge as bigger money spinners at the box office. Coming to this week, we see a rather cluttered weekend with five Bollywood releases and one Hollywood release in the form of INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. But will the film which is a sequel to the 1996 film INDEPENDENCE DAY live up to its predecessor, will the film that has been in the making for two decades manage to surpass the first is the question.

The film starts off from 20 years after the alien invasion that we witnessed in the 1996 Roland Emmerich sci-fi film, INDEPENDENCE DAY, with Dr. Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) who is still dealing with the repercussions of the invasion. From here, the film begins to introduce new characters, Lieutanant Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth) and Dylan Hiller (Jesse Usher) aka Will Smith's son who is a Captain at the Earth Space Defence (ESD), and David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) who has now taken on a more vital role as being one of the survivors from the original invasion. Together this motley crew are faced with an even bigger threat with the vanquished aliens returning to lay waste to planet earth. In fact the members of the ESD have now become the planet's last line of defence, which along with the help of other world leaders and the United Nations have managed to make great strides in technology that has been developed after researching the debris from the original invasion. But as the fate of the entire human race hangs in balance, will this crew manage to pull off yet another nail biting win or will the renewed onslaught by the aliens prove overpowering is what the rest of the film is about.

Back in 1996 when INDEPENDENCE DAY released, it fast became one of the best visual experiences on the big screen with a plethora of explosions and cutting edge CGI (for that time) literally wowing the audience. Another factor that worked for the original was Will Smith and his off handed attitude that despite coming off as an Elvis impersonator managed to keep the proceedings light yet gripping even when faced with dire consequences. Cut to two decades later, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE certainly has been developed on a much bigger scale, with bigger budgets, more advanced visual technology and a more receptive audience, the film comes across as a worthy successor that despite having its pitfalls does manage to capture the essence of the first film. Speaking of pitfalls, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE does have its share of drawbacks with a major one being, the lack of ability for the viewer to relate to and connect with the onscreen characters. While in the first film the viewer instantaneously connected to and developed a rapport with the characters, this one gives the viewer a feeling of being a mere spectator on a large battle field.

As for the performances, Liam Hemsworth being the main protagonist, who reprises the title role that could have been compared to Will Smith's from the first, does a good job. However, he falls massively short of being convincing as the film's main saviour. Jesse Usher as Dylan Hiller, Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith)'s step son is underwhelming. The lad who survived the original invasion, should have been more inspiring especially since he along with Hemsworth are literally the only saviours. On the other hand, the conversations of Nicolas Wright as Floyd Rosenberg and Deobia Oparei, who essays the character of Dikembe Umbutu, bring in much needed comic relief that not just lightens up what could have been a never ending series of destructive assaults, but also brightens up the film.

Coming to the visual effects that are aplenty unlike the first film, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE comes across as a more refined venture, obviously owing to the huge developments made in CGI and general VFX in past 20 years. In fact, the film looks pretty slick and stylish developed on a grand scale with no expense being spared to heighten its visual appeal. For those of you who enjoy some serious CGI, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE features some adrenaline pumping aerial dog fight sequences that are easily comparable to the ones seen in the STAR WARS series. However, despite the visuals and over the top wanton destruction, the lack of witnessing collateral damage does put a dampener on the magnitude of loss faced in terms of lives lost.

Overall, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE that can be said to be a good successor to the original comes across as a visual treat that could have been much better had the film not been rushed. In fact, while the first half of the film plays out well, establishing each new character and recapping what happened in the previous film, the second half comes across as being highly rushed, seeming as though the director Roland Emmerich was hard pressed to wrap the film within the two hour time frame.

On the whole, INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE is a visual spectacle and is a must watch on the big screen.

Udta Punjab

Of late, Bollywood has been witnessing a diverse genre of films that are making its way to the silver screen. After having witnessed the comical HOUSEFULL 3 and the mysterious whodunit TE3N, this week sees the release of UDTA PUNJAB, a film about the rampant drugs abuse problem in Punjab. Will UDTA PUNJAB get translated into 'flying' returns for its makers at the box-office or will it face gloom, let's analyse.

UDTA PUNJAB starts off with a scene at the India-Pakistan border wherein a Pakistani man throws a mysterious drug packet onto the Indian side. This is followed by a 'rocking' introduction of the rockstar Tommy 'Gabru' Singh (Shahid Kapoor) and a glimpse into his 'addictive' lifestyle. One day, Tommy Singh gets fired by his producers for delaying their recordings. If that wasn't enough, Tommy Singh also gets arrested by the Punjab police amidst his birthday party, on grounds of drug abuse. When he gets released from jail, despite the jitters, he somehow manages to gear up to perform before an eagerly awaiting audience. Just before the performance, he does something extremely awkward that irks a handful of audience, who, then, run after him for his blood. On the other hand, Pinky Kumari aka Mary Jane (Alia Bhatt) migrates from Uttar Pradesh to Punjab. Her background reveals that, she was an exceptional hockey player, who, because of lack of financial support, landed up becoming a labourer. And since then, she is trying to find her place under the sun in Punjab. One day, when she finds a 3 kg drug packet, she tries to sell it off to make a fast buck. While doing so, for reasons best known to her, she dumps the whole 3 kg of drugs into a well, thus invoking the wrath of the drug peddlers, for whom, the entire packet meant heavenly profits. Angered by her action, the peddlers not just land up raping the helpless Pinky Kumari, but also keep her as captive with them. Repeated attempts to run away from their clutches, yields no results for Pinky. The third angle to the story is that of Dr. Preet Sahani (Kareena Kapoor Khan), under whom Balli Singh, the younger brother of Inspector Sartaj Singh (Diljit Dosanjh) is getting treated for being a victim of drug overdose. Amidst the course of Balli's treatment, Sartaj Singh analyses and realises the harm that these banned substances cause to people. He, then, joins Preet Sahani in her crusade against drugs and exposing the drug mafias.

Does the once-rockstar Tommy 'Gabru' Singh regain his lost identity, does Pinky Kumari become successful in escaping from the clutches of the dreaded drug peddlers, what happens when Tommy Singh and Pinky Kumari cross each other's path, and does Dr.Preet Sahani and Inspector Sartaj Singh succeed in their crusade of exposing the drug mafias of Punjab, is what forms the rest of the film.

First things first - UDTA PUNJAB is a dark and serious film. Also the film's screenplay (Sudip Sharma, Abhishek Chaubey) jumps through multiple stories at the same time making it complicated. Abhishek Chaubey, who gave a glimpse of his supreme directorial abilities with his previous films like ISHQIYA and DEDH ISHQIYA faces a challenge to narrate the dark story of UDTA PUNJAB and does manage to do so. As the film progresses however, it does seem to slip in parts, especially in the second half. In an attempt to narrate multiple parallel stories, Abhishek Chaubey struggles to keep it engaging in the latter half of the film.

As for the performances, it is the biggest of USP of UDTA PUNJAB. One has to give it to the actors to take up such challenging parts which are completely out of their comfort zone. Shahid Kapoor and his never-before-attempted 'rockstar' look had created a huge buzz, curiosity and excitement amongst his fans. He manages to pull off his role well while bringing in much needed humour in this otherwise serious film. He is strongly supported by the talented Satish Kaushik in the film. Alia Bhatt, on the other hand, goes totally de-glam for her role. She for sure has tried her best to portray a Bihari character in the film and does complete justice to her part. Kareena Kapoor Khan is good in her part. UDTA PUNJAB also sees the presence of Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh, who makes an impressive debut in Bollywood. If UDTA PUNJAB is a mere glimpse of what he is capable of, then Diljit is definitely a name to watch out for in Bollywood. Rest of the actors help the film move forward.

The film does have its share of decent music (Amit Trivedi) with a couple of hummable tracks like 'Chitta Ve' and 'Ikk Kudi', though one feels that a stronger music album could have helped the film. On the other hand, the film's background score (Benedict Taylor, Naren Chandavarkar) is impressive and helps the film's narrative.

The film's dialogues (Sudip Sharma) are mainly in Punjabi and audiences who don't speak the language may find a bit of disconnect. While the film's cinematography (Rajeev Ravi) is average, the film's editing (Meghna Sen) could have been tighter which could have helped the film by leaps and bounds. One surely feels the length of the film is the villain.

On the whole, UDTA PUNJAB is a dark and serious film that does not offer the traditional entertainment that audiences seek from Bollywood movies. At the same time, it is bold and brave in parts with strong performances by all actors.

Finding Dory English

Back in 2003, the Disney - Pixar film FINDING NEMO hit screens and was welcomed with open arms by kids and parents alike. The film which told the tale of a father-son relationship that touched emotional chords among the audience was well received. Now years on, we see the release of the film FINDING DORY which is a sequel of sorts to the 2003 film. But will the film live up to its predecessor is the question. Pixar Animation Studios that has been credited for films like TOY STORY, THE INCREDIBLES, BRAVE, WALL E, UP and a host of others has become known for developing films that cater not just to the kids but also to adults. Replete with entertaining visuals, well-hidden Easter eggs and social messages, each of their films have worked wonders at the box-office. With the latest release FINDING DORY, Pixar attempts to recreate the magic of its previous films at the box office. But will this new venture helmed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane live up to expectation is what we analyse.

FINDING DORY starts off following the story of Dory a little blue fish in a vast ocean who suffers from short term memory loss. Faced with the challenges of life in the open seas surrounded by pitfalls everywhere, Dory has an uphill task of surviving the harsh realities. But, Dory's parents, Jenny and Charlie make it their life goal to educate and help Dory memorise whatever they can. However, fate has different plans for them, separating Dory from her parents; the little fish is swept out to the open ocean far from the protective care of her parents. There, lost among the multitude, Dory struggles to find her bearings, unable to remember where she came from and where she has to go. In her travels Dory meets Marlin and Nemo, the clown fish father and son duo, who accompany her on all her expeditions while constantly keeping a watchful eye on her. Years, after meeting the clown fish, Dory has passing visions of a lifelong past, which brings back memories of her parents. Making up her mind to find them, Dory sets off across the ocean with Marlin and Nemo, but gets separated as they progress. From here on begins Marlin and Nemo's hunt to find Dory, while Dory herself searches for her parents.

Pixar has been known for making sequels that more than live up to the original, save for a few (MONSTERS UNIVERSITY and CARS 2) that didn't quite make the cut. With FINDING DORY, Pixar seems to have regained their footing, making a film that lives up to the original. While the ocean has always been fascinating to children, Pixar has managed to bring life to the multitude of creatures that call this blue domain their home. In fact the makers have developed a brilliant work of art with life like animation, detailed underwater creature and emotionally charged moments sprinkled with rib tickling gags.

Coming to the characters, Pixar has done well with the old ones as well as with the new characters that have been introduced. Giving each of them a memorable yet funny background, the makers of the film have managed to make each character relatable, funny and enjoyable. Besides this, unlike in CARS 2 where the viewer became unattached to the main story line, in FINDING DORY the viewer actually cares for Dory's journey. Bringing in a nostalgic feeling from the previous film, the makers have also added segments that tug the emotional chords while at the same time dishing out some valuable life lessons. The voice cast of the film comprising of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Kaitlin Olson, Hayden Rolence, Ty Burrell and others have done an equally good job of giving life to the animated characters.

On the whole, FINDING DORY does not disappoint. With funny moments that hit their mark, strong emotional currents, valuable social lessons packaged in an entertaining visually stunning film, it does manage to live up to the expectation as the FINDING NEMO sequel. All in all, FINDING DORY is a spectacular visual treat from Pixar. Highly recommend!

The Conjuring 2 English

Back in 2013, we saw the release of the horror flick THE CONJURING. Now 3 years on, we finally see the sequel to what can easily be said was one of the best horror films of recent times. Titled THE CONJURING 2, the film once again promises to be a scare fest not meant for the weak hearted. But usually sequels do have a tough time living up to the originals, so the question of the hour is, will THE CONJURING 2 live up to expectations and hype or will it flounder.

The film stars off with the paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren investigating a gruesome murder in Amityville. While investigating the case under the pretence that the murderer was possessed by an evil spirit, Lorraine is led to the basement of the deserted house by the spirit of a young boy. There she discovers a frightening apparition that is clad like a catholic nun. Later despite returning home, Lorraine is haunted by constant dreams of the demon, while her husband Ed also experiences a series of nightmares. Unable to sleep, Ed decides on painting his tormentor on canvas to gain relief. However, to Lorraine's dismay, Ed's dreams have been plagued by the same demon. Simultaneously, while Ed and Lorraine are having problems of their own, across the seas in Enfield, England, a family of five, four kids and their mother, start experiencing disturbing paranormal activity in their house. At this point, the family is approached by Father Gordon who approaches Ed and Lorraine asking them to look into the happenings in Enfield, before the church involves itself in it. Following this, the couple sets off to England to help the single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits. But will the ghostbusting couple emerge victorious or will the forces of evil prevail is what forms the rest of the film.

Right from the start, the viewer is taken on a thrilling ride that plays on visuals and background score that keeps you on the edge. Despite the paranormal investigators and their team not really being a danger, director James Wan does a brilliant job of eliciting fear in the minds of the viewers. In fact the film doesn't waste a minute in bringing on the scare fest that lasts right through the film. Though unlike the first, THE CONJURING 2 features a few new twists in the plot, it still manages to retain its essence from the first. The first half of the film sets up the story of the Hodgson family sketching out each character as they get introduced, while simultaneously taking the story forward building up towards the climax. However, post the interval, the film's pace does slow down a little. Here, the editor could have done a better job in cutting down unwanted / extended sequences that tend to become a drag. But, again Wan does a marvellous job with the visuals that might give the viewer a sense of deja vu, but still manages to send a chill through the spine.

Coming to the performances, Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren and Vera Farmiga as Lorraine Warren, the paranormal investigators, do a good job of portraying the pain and strain that investigating hauntings take on not just their souls but also on their human spirit. Madison Wolfe as Janet Hodgson is spot on with her portrayal of an 11 year old girl who is possessed; in fact she manages to bring out the pain and trauma that an individual goes through under such circumstances. However, Bonnie Aarons as the demonic nun takes the cake with her scary look that does not fail to chill you to the bone each time she appears on screen. Another aspect of the film that lends a supporting hand to the visuals is the background score of the film composed by Joseph Bishara that heightens the overall haunting effect of what is seen.

On the whole, THE CONJURING 2 is one of the best horror films to come out and a very worthy sequel to the first part. The film with its chills and thrills definitely makes it a worthy big screen experience. Must watch!

Do Lafzon Ki Kahani

From battling it out on battlefield to sacrificing true love, Bollywood has left behind a legacy of love stories that inspire and touch you. Promising to be yet another romantic saga, DO LAFZON KI KAHANI is said to be a tale of a man who is head over heels in love with a blind woman and would go to any lengths to keep her happy. But will this film manage to impress the audiences… lets analyze.

Former martial arts expert Sooraj (Randeep Hooda) lives a tough life, doing odd jobs but a haunting nightmare doesn't allow him to live peacefully. As he continues to live his monotonous way of life, he meets the lively but blind Jenny Mathias (Kajal Aggarwal) and her innocence woos Sooraj who dreams of starting life afresh. As love blooms between the two, Sooraj decides to resume his life as a boxer which he had once left behind due to a past that lead him to jail sentence. Sooraj has a dark past that goes back three years ago when he, the renowned boxer Storm, loses a match to save the life of a cancer patient only to realize that he has been tricked into it. This unleashes the beast in him as he turns into a recovery agent who blatantly uses force against the defaulters. However, Sooraj witnesses one of his victims committing suicide that also leads to a road accident of a passing by car and due to this guilt and trauma not only does he surrender but later, he resumes a simple way of life. But dreaming of earning a new livelihood with Jenny, he decides to give life yet another chance. However, as fate would have it, Sooraj discovers that Jenny's lost eyesight is the consequence of the road accident that he witnesses when his victim commits suicide by jumping off a building and now Sooraj has only one aim in life, to give Jenny her eyesight back. He is ready to go to any lengths for it, even if it means losing a match and losing his life too.

Starting with the fact that the script (Girish Dhamija) of the film is highly clichéd and predictable, DO LAFZON KI KAHANI fails to hold your attention. Besides the fact that the screenplay of the film is weak, the pace of the film is extremely slow as the love story develops throughout the first half of the film. The writing is extremely poor and lacks creativity with jarring loopholes in the script. Also, considering the predictability, the climax of the film seems extremely stretched. Deepak Tijori fails completely as a director here. Despite having talented actor like Randeep Hooda at his disposal, Tijori seems directionless as he struggles to take this love story to its predictable end. His sensibilities seem to be still stuck in the 90s cinema.

As far as the performances are concerned, there has been a drastic drop in the performance of Randeep Hooda as Sooraj, when compared to his previous film SARBJIT. The actor looks highly disinterested and struggles through his part. Randeep however needs to be applauded for all the work that he seems to have put in for the fight sequences in the film. He surely has worked on his body, look and action really well. Kajal Aggarwal, who has by far given girl next door performances, too seems lost with her half baked role. While love stories have often managed to touch hearts, this one lacks soul and the characters fail to establish any connection with the audience.

Editing by Ballu Saluja does nothing to save the fate of the film. In fact, there are several sequences that not only seem to be random but also break the flow of the film. Music given by Babli Haque, Amaal Mallik, Ankit Tiwari and Arjuna Harjai is probably the only saving grace with songs like 'Jeena Marna' and 'Kuch To Hai' setting the tone right for the film. However, the placement of the songs in the script seems haphazard. Cinematography by Mohana Krishna is decent. However, a special mention to the action team of the film, which has done a brilliant job in choreographing some fabulous MMA sequences in the film.

On the whole DO LAFZON KI KAHANI has a weak script coupled with poor direction. At the box office it will fail to impress.

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