‘Dear Zindagi’, ‘Arrival’ among interesting movie options this week

Besides Gauri Shinde’s ‘Dear Zindagi’ and Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Arrival’, there’s Henry Joost’s thriller ‘Nerve’ and Tamil romantic comedy ‘Kavalai Vendam’


Shah Rukh Khan (left) and Alia Bhatt in a still from ‘Dear Zindagi’
Shah Rukh Khan (left) and Alia Bhatt in a still from ‘Dear Zindagi’

New Delhi: Director Gauri Shinde’s comedy drama Dear Zindagi, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Alia Bhatt, is an emotional joyride which won’t harm when watched once, says India Today. Shinde, whose English Vinglish was a landmark film and did not leave you without a smile or tear, seems oddly laidback. The film scores a few brownie points on the emotional front, the light-hearted dialogues and scenes are high points but they too stop working after a while. At near-2.5 hours, Dear Zindagi feels too stretched. Read more

The Indian Express is less impressed, with what comes off as a film which could have done with less preciousness, and more plot. What could have been a solid drama with emotional heft turns into a kitchen sink talkathon, where all the characters are given lines which are meant to be deep, but come off mostly banal and obvious. Read more

Crime thriller Moh Maya Money, starring Neha Dhupia, Ranvir Shorey and Vidushi Mehra and directed by Munish Bhardwaj, is a taut thriller with a timely note ban twist, says The Quint. What makes for interesting viewing is the way the film pushes its desperate characters to test their boundaries—and wickedly nudges them off the edge. Marketed as a thriller about the pitfalls of lust and greed, Moh Maya Money gets predictable after the interval. While Resul Pookutty’s sound design shines through, a tightly edited film would have worked better. Read more

Koimoi.com adds that the film hits the right nerve with its twisted characters and its apt setting of Delhi. But a predictable second half and climax pull things down. Post interval, as the film’s plot starts diluting, poorly shot sequences take up the screen. Some highly melodramatic moments at the end make you really question the film’s ultimate motives. Read more

For Hollywood fans, American science fiction drama Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker, comes to India this week. Vox.com calls it one of the best movies of the year, a moving, gripping film with startling twists and imagery, deserving serious treatment as a work of art. For a movie with so many complicated ideas, it doesn’t waste any more time on exposition than is absolutely necessary. Arrival is serious and smartly crafted, shifting around like a Rubik’s cube in the hand of a savant, nothing quite making sense until all the pieces suddenly come together. Read more

Screenrant.com is not nearly as impressed, emphasizing that Arrival’s efforts to create a warmer emotional throughline to go along with its intellectual subject matter have trouble hitting the mark; yet the blend of sci-fi and human drama is quite cohesive. When all is said and done though, Arrival is another Denis Villeneuve film both worthy of admiration and much of the awards buzz that it has generated, in addition to being one of the better mainstream sci-fi movies released in recent memory. Read more

Director Henry Joost’s thriller Nerve, starring Emma Roberts, Dave Franco and Juliette Lewis, is a bright, brisk and enjoyably silly film which filters a one-crazy-night scenario through a state-of-the-web address, says A.V Club. From time to time, the effect is of watching a movie through a social media scrim. The film could have gone further with these tics; it’s not nearly as committed to its gimmick. But Joost and Schulman give their combination whirlwind romance and techno-thriller an (eye-) candy shell. Nerve is a pure product, but it’s sleekly appealing to that end. Read more

A comic book vision of how the Internet has become a gladiatorial arena of voyeurism, the movie, like the game it’s about, is hard to stop watching, even when you know it’s playing you, says Variety magazine. To be clear, this isn’t a film to take seriously, yet its fast lunge at topicality—the way it uses the contest at its center as a lightning-rod metaphor for how young adults interact in digital age—is part of what’s fun about it. Read more

In the south, Tamil romantic comedy Kavalai Vendam, directed by Deekay and starring Jiiva and Kajal Aggarwal, injects humour into every scene to make it fun but doesn’t quite pull it off, says The Times of India. The lead characters come across simply as silly individuals, so we neither care for their romance nor their misfortunes. Towards the end, bizarrely, Deekay does away with the playful tone and gets all mushy. We are supposed to get teary-eyed, but the sentimentality strikes a jarring note. Read more

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Hindi romantic horror film Saansein-The Last Breath, Tamil film Kannula Kaasa Kattappa, Telugu movie Jayammu Nishcayammu Raa, Malayalam film 10 Kalpanakal and Gujarati film Gujju Rocks.

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