New Delhi: The run-up to Baahubali 2: The Conclusion brings with it a bunch of interesting releases.
Sonakshi Sinha-starrer Noor, directed by Sunhil Sippy is an upscale Page 3 with the same cock-eyed view of journalism, says Scroll.in. The source novel Karachi, You’re Killing Me! made the city a vivid backdrop for its lead character’s adventures. While in this case, Mumbai looks far more interesting than it has in recent movies, it is barely convincing as an inspiration for Noor, let alone as a city worthy of intense reportage. Even as the plot slides into pure silliness, Sonakshi Sinha gets stronger. She tries too hard to be a ditz, flopping about and pulling faces, but it’s only after Noor stops behaving like a girl that Sinha becomes convincing.
Gulf News is more impressed, calling the film enjoyable, feel-good and relatable. The characters are flawed but fabulous and there’s no unnecessary melodrama in the first half. After interval though, the film unravels and the grasp that Sippy had earlier displayed on his subjects and his plot comes off slightly unhinged.
Raveena Tandon-starrer Maatr, directed by Ashtar Sayed, is a case of good intentions marred by thoughtless execution, says The Indian Express. The roll-out of Maatr is as formulaic as they come, and sometimes that can be okay too, but a rape-and-revenge thriller needs to be deeply sensitive and alert to lift the sordidness of the material. Maatr fails on this score from the first frame on, with its improbable plot-points, and the crassness which seeps through.
Aparna Sen’s English-language film Sonata, featuring her along with Shabana Azmi and Lillete Dubey, which is a chamber piece, drags a bit through its narrative, with several pauses and unfinished dialogues, but leaves scope for afterthoughts and twists, where Sen doesn’t disappoint, says The Quint. Sonata takes feminism and makes it feminine, and quite effortlessly so. The beauty of the film lies in the fact that not only are its characters fiercely independent as women, but they’re realistically vulnerable too.
For Hollywood fans, American war drama The Zookeeper’s Wife, directed by Niki Caro and starring Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh, Michael McElhatton and Daniel Brühl, comes to India this week. Variety magazine says the movie contents itself deliver that overly correct handsomeness of certain period pieces, where hot-blooded events of our not-so-distant past are presented as meticulous taxidermy specimens. In service of her most demanding movie yet, Caro pays considerable attention to the film’s costumes, sets, and emotion-swelling score—not to mention all those unfortunate accents—but somehow never fully re-animates these remarkable events. There’s no nice way to put it in this case, but The Zookeeper’s Wife has the unfortunate failing of rendering its human drama less interesting than what happens to the animals—and for a subject as damaging to our species as the Holocaust, that’s no small shortcoming.
Erotic thriller Unforgettable, directed by Denise Di Novi and starring Katherine Heigl, Rosario Dawson and Geoff Stults, is a sure-handed nail-biter about a nice fellow, the woman he’s about to marry, and the woman he divorced, says The Roll Daily News. But the two women—fiancée Dawson and former wife Heigl—don’t exactly like each other. For her first film as a director, Di Novi has chosen a road that leaves behind the treacle and opts for the tension. In fact, things go from boiling-over tension to out-and-out violence and the film begins and ends with overused clichés.
3D computer-animated adventure comedy Smurfs: The Lost Village, directed by Kelly Asbury and starring the voices of Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer and Danny Pudi, is a microwave meal of a kid’s film, consisting of tired tropes and bland platitudes, says Empire magazine. The movie is pervaded by a feeling of staleness: even if this wasn’t the third Smurfs movie from Sony in seven years, it would feel uninspired, with a first-base plot and nondescript animation. The pop-anthem-heavy soundtrack, too, suggests that the team behind this is more interested in coming off as down with the kids than crafting a compelling story.
Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Hindi movies Ajab Singh Ki Gajab Kahani and Ek Thi Rani Aisi Bhi, Malayalam movie Rakshadhikari Baiju Oppu, Kannada romantic drama Raaga, Marathi films Manjha and Shivya and Punjabi films Kawela and Big Daddy-World’s Best Father.