‘Rock On 2’ highlight of the week

Besides the musical drama ‘Rock On 2’, there’s Ang Lee’s war drama ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’

A still from ‘Rock On 2’
A still from ‘Rock On 2’

New Delhi: Musical drama Rock On 2, directed by Shujaat Saudagar and starring Farhan Akhtar, Arjun Rampal, Shraddha Kapoor, Shashank Arora and Prachi Desai, tries too hard to move you, says Gulf News. The second instalment of the 2008 hit seems terribly contrived and insipid and isn’t backed by a solid script. The magic and charm that were evident in the original film, which chronicled the reunion of a college band, are missing in its sequel. As far as performances go, everyone does their bit but are let down by a confused storyline. Read more

Masala.com is more impressed, mentioning that the film retains the essence of the original, and submits to Bollywood clichés only occasionally. Akhtar, Rampal, Kohli, Desai and Arora pack in decent performances, but Kapoor is hardly convincing in portraying her character’s grave tragedy. Read more

Dongri Ka Raja, starring Ronit Roy and Ashmit Patel and directed by Hadi Abrar, has more holes than a bullet-ridden corpse, says Scroll.in. Uncharismatic leads, unlimited clichés and irrelevant plot twists spell death for this Mumbai gangster movie. The kindest thing that can be said about the film is that it tries to pay a tribute to this fascinating but over-exploited genre while simultaneously trying to say something new about crime and the city. The endeavour might have worked if the writer and director had not sat down with a kill list of gangster film tropes. Read more

Punjabi animation movie Chaar Sahibzaade 2: Rise of Banda Singh Bahadur, directed by Harry Baweja, works in patches, says Hindustan Times. The writers must be credited for keeping the heat up throughout the crucial battle sequences, but they take a good 45 minutes to get there. The build-up, in large parts, states the obvious. The voiceover artists have done their job but the same can’t be said about the animators. Lack of funds can be blamed for the film’s TV-like feel. Read more

For Hollywood fans, Ang Lee’s war drama Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, starring Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund and Vin Diesel, comes to India this week. The Guardian calls it a misfiring folly, an adaptation of Ben Fountain’s acclaimed novel flattened by ill-fitting experimentation with new technology. The key here is immersion as well as 3D. The film utilizes an increased frame rate of 120 frames per second. But the irony is that the novelty of the technique ultimately makes the film feel like even more of a construct. The intimacy of certain scenes feels invaded, and it’s a struggle to feel emotional involvement within the flashy technique. Read more

Lee’s war story homecoming strives to elevate its emotions, but its technical flourishes go too far, says consequenceofsound.net. There’s a place for intense focus on emotions when a film is ripe with reasons to tear up, but Lee fails to let those emotions do the talking. Read more

Mexican thriller Desierto, directed by Jonás Cuarón and starring Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, is not a good movie, but it’s an interesting pop-cultural footnote, says The Atlantic. While Cuarón extracts some genuinely visceral shocks from this take on The Most Dangerous Game, the film is more of an angry, well-intentioned idea than a significant piece of art. Whatever larger impact Desierto could have had is dulled by the story’s simplicity. The violence is bloody, but it erupts so quickly and continues so incessantly that there’s rarely a sense of real tension. Read more

Variety magazine is more impressed, mentioning that the brutal and merciless chase thriller makes no apologies for its political one-sidedness and visceral extremity. Cuaron’s movie may be an exaggerated nightmare vision of murderous xenophobia run amok, but the catharsis in this tale of survival and payback is undeniably real. The director’s mastery of his terrain is as nimble as his sense of composition. And the picture’s visceral kick is enhanced by its soundscape. Read more

Marathi film Vazandar, directed by Sachin Kundalkar and starring Sai Tamhankar, Priya Bapat and Siddharth Chandekar, is a light-hearted and feel-good fare, says indianfilmhistory.com. The idea is to make an entertaining film on a relevant subject which will resonate with a lot of women. And the director is fairly successful in that. Bapat and Tamhankar hold the movie together with their performances. Read more

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Hindi movies Ishq Junoon and Ye Hai Lollipop, Tamil romantic actioner Achcham Yenbadhu Madamaiyada, fantasy comedy Meen Kuzhambum Mann Paanaiyum and Gujarati films Grand Hali and Kaik Karne Yaar.

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