Film wrap: ‘xXx: return of Xander Cage’ set for an unchallenged box-office run

Director Shaad Ali’s romantic drama ‘Ok Jaanu’, starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor, is the other notable Bollywood release this week


Deepika Padukone (right) makes her Hollywood debut with ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’.
Deepika Padukone (right) makes her Hollywood debut with ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’.

New Delhi: While India awaits the early release of Deepika Padukone’s Hollywood debut, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, co-starring Vin Diesel that arrives in theatres on Saturday, there is much else to catch at the movies this week.

Director Shaad Ali’s romantic drama Ok Jaanu starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor is a sweet love story, but of the saccharine kind, says Gulf News. While it’s disappointing to see a man of Mani Ratnam’s calibre pen a story that loses its plot as it keeps presenting the same thing over and over again in slightly different settings, Kapur and Kapoor are nothing like the ardent lovers from Aashiqui 2 despite portraying their parts well. This one may easily be reserved for the television premiere. Read more

The film is an easy, breezy watch with no major crisis or depth, says masala.com. The lead pair does justice to its lazy written characters but the film neither manages to convince you of the couple’s fear of marriage nor does it showcase real career problems. You can predict the climax well in advance but hardly see any logic or reasoning in their change of hearts. Read more

Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Shweta Tripathi-starrer Haraamkhor directed by Shlok Sharma does not deliver to the extent its lead actors do, says Firstpost.com. The occasional shaky handheld camerawork is bothersome and the jumpy narrative makes you wonder why the filmmaker needs you to apply so much guesswork. Though the scenes are repetitive, Sharma does succeed in walking the edge between intensity and airiness and transporting the audience into this simple and confined world. As the uneasiness builds, you brace yourself for an explosive end. Unfortunately, when it does come, there is a sense that everything that preceded it was designed to lead up to it and, as grisly as it is, like everything before, this scene too does not move you. Read more

For the Hollywood fans, American crime drama Live by Night directed by Ben Affleck and featuring him in the lead along with Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Messina and Sienna Miller comes to India this week. Based on a 2012 novel by Dennis Lehane, the film is sharply written and crafted, lavishly photographed, impeccably acted, with lots of twists and turns — yet for all that, it somehow lacks zing, says Variety magazine. It’s like seeing the ghost of a terrific movie: all the pieces are in place, yet as you’re watching it, there doesn’t seem to be quite enough there. Affleck the actor is subtly undercut, in this case, by Affleck the behind-the-camera shaper of his own image. A different filmmaker might have encouraged him to go to more ominously unexpected places. There’s a lot of surface energy to the pileup of incidents but there’s still something cautious and staid about the material. Read more

The New York Times is even less impressed, calling it a messy, unfocused movie about ambition, lost ideals, corrupt men and a thief whose idea of life on his own terms means pulling the trigger. Affleck handles the busy narrative without finding its hook, but his biggest problem is that he grabs the center and doesn’t let go, partly, it seems, because he’s invested in being a movie star. Read more

In the south, Tamil action drama Bairavaa directed by Bharathan starring Vijay and Keerthy Suresh is a typical commercial entertainer without spice, says The Hindu. The film is what happens when someone tosses in a bunch of must-have mass-movie ingredients into a mixie and forgets to add spice and seasoning. The production values are non-existent, the action scenes U-certificate worthy and the punchlines unmemorable. Read more

Telugu action drama Khaidi No. 150 directed by V. V. Vinayak starring Chiranjeevi and Kajal Agarwal has its heart in the right place, the action and drama bits are fine but one can’t really be sure if it all comes together as a film, says The Times Of India. Megastar Chiranjeevi is back for sure, although we can’t quite say he’s back with a bang. Read more

Telugu epic historical action film Gautamiputra Satakarni directed by Krish starring Nandamuri Balakrishna and Shriya Saran is a good pick for its novel subject with the narrative driven effortlessly by Balakrishna’s gift of gab, says The Indian Express. But for a war film, the battle scenes are crammed only with a few elements and poorly executed. In a rush to show Satakarni’s conquests in the country, there are many chinks that are left wide open in the script. However, the quick long shots of locations and the grand visual effects can be appreciated for their realistic portrayal. Read more

Tamil comedy thriller Koditta Idangalai Nirappuga and Punjabi film Sarvann haven’t inspired any reviews yet.

More From Livemint