‘Phillauri’, ‘Anaarkali of Aarah’ top films of the week

Apart from ‘Phillauri’ and ‘Anaarkali of Aarah’, watch out for ‘Life’ this week


A still from ‘Phillauri’.
A still from ‘Phillauri’.

New Delhi: A bunch of releases make it an exciting week at the movies.

Anushka Sharma-starrer Phillauri, directed by Anshai Lal, needs to be watched only if you’re a fan of the actor, says Gulf News. Director Lal prefers to narrate his story at a languid pace and that can be frustrating for the viewers. The computer graphics are notable, barring the climax which feels overdone. It’s the predictability of the story that lets this film down. You know what’s coming long before it plays out and that makes it tedious and soul-destroying. Read more

Khaleej Times calls it a light-hearted film that has its hilarious moments but moves at a slow pace. The story moves predictably and you often wish it were more tightly edited. Read more

Swara Bhaskar-starrer Anaarkali of Aarah, directed by Avinash Das, is a full-bodied, crackling film which is powered by a full-bodied, crackling performance from its leading lady, says The Indian Express. It’s tough to make a movie which uses lines and situations involving crudity and not turn vulgar. Nowhere does the treatment in Anaarkali makes you cringe, and that’s a real achievement. The film manages to hit many marks. Bhaskar gets a lead role worthy of her. Das is a new director to watch out for. And more than anything else, it is a ladies-oriented film. Read more

Swara Bhaskar in a still from ‘Anaarkali of Aarah’
Swara Bhaskar in a still from ‘Anaarkali of Aarah’

Even with its fair share of flaws, Anaarkali forces us to re-think our sense of entitlement and makes its point about consent, loud and clear, says The Quint. The performances help keep the narrative together with the songs bringing alive the rustic charm of unvarnished small town India. Debutant director Das is a brave new voice with a refreshing take on women and their sexuality. Read more

For Hollywood fans, American science fiction horror film Life, directed by Daniel Espinosa and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds, comes to India this week. Not an especially philosophical movie, Life is weakest when the screenplay pretends to be making protocol-questioning decisions in the heat of the moment, says Variety magazine. Fans of Deadpool writer duo Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick may be disappointed to find precious few genre-savvy wisecracks in the finished. Frankly, Life could have used a few more cathartic laughs, although it’s a relief that the entire movie isn’t as self-aware or sarcastic as the writers’ reputation-making Zombieland. While that high-attitude approach may have been the right fit for an undead spoof, Life benefits from a certain seriousness of tone—one that director Espinosa sustains even when the characters’ choices start to get silly. Read more

Comedy drama A Dog’s Purpose, directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, Juliet Rylance and John Ortiz, does not answer important questions raised by the narrative, says A.V Club, but has much more mundane concerns on its mind. Dramatic conflicts—of which there must be some, or else you might as well stay home and watch Animal Planet—are sketched in the broadest strokes, and the dialogue in all of them is comically devoid of subtext. It seems like the dog’s purpose is to provide gentle, forgettable entertainment for moviegoers who lament that “they” don’t make “nice” movies anymore, apparently. For the rest of the audience, it’s more like a 100-minute nap. Read more

In the south, Tamil comedy Kadugu, directed by Vijay Milton and starring Bharath, Rajakumaran and Bharath Seeni, clearly conveys that filmmaking is not about grand sets, big names and mammoth budgets, but the ability of a director to sketch realistic characters and establish a strong emotional connect with the audiences, says sify.com. Despite some over-the-top dialogues and lip-sync issues, the film benefits from solid characterization. Read more

Malayalam comedy thriller Honey Bee 2: Celebrations, directed by Lal Jr. and starring Asif Ali, Bhavana and Baburaj, provides a few giggles here and there but is not an entirely fun ride, says englishmanoramaonline.com. The second half is a steep fall where a narrow story thread is stretched beyond its elasticity and we reach a hazy situation from which return to glory seems difficult. Read more

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Tamil films Dhayam, 465 and Vaigai Express, Telugu movies Lover Boy and Katamarayudu, Malayalam film Take Off, Kannada action film Raajakumara, Marathi film Manus Ek Mati and Bengali movie Mandobasar Galpo.

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