New Delhi: Abhinay Deo’s action thriller Force 2, starring John Abraham and Sonakshi Sinha, is not quite India’s answer to the Mission: Impossible films, but at least on the thrills front, it’s halfway there, says Scroll.in. Deo does not repeat the mistakes committed by local versions of the Bond-Bourne movies, leaping swiftly from one fight-and-chase sequence to the next and hardly ever stopping the action. Except for an item number that is woven into the story, the two leads do not halt their hunt to pose amid the Budapest countryside. Nor is there any chest-thumping moment aimed at making audiences feel guilty over consuming popcorn and cola, while unnamed Indian spies die miserable deaths in non-vegetarian countries. Read more
The Indian Express is less impressed by how the film forces us to stay far too much in the been-here-seen-that territory. That’s the problem when you try doing a Bond-Bourne combo full of bristling cops and smart spies and twisted villains, and sexy Mata Hari types, but you end up papering over the thrills and spills by Bollywood-style swelling background music, and a female lead with a gun who can’t pull it. Read more
For Hollywood fans, fantasy film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spin-off of the Harry Potter series, directed by David Yates and starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston and Dan Fogler, comes to India this week. The first in an ambitious five-film pentaptych does double-duty as yet another imagination-tickling fantasy adventure and a deeply troubled commentary on tolerance, fear and bigotry in the world today, says Variety magazine. With all its ties to Harry Potter arcana, Fantastic Beasts has clearly been designed for the most devoted of Rowling’s fans, and though it may prove confusing to newcomers, the faithful will appreciate the fact the film never talks down to its audience. Read more
New York Daily News is even more impressed, saying that the film packs in both fancy phony special effects and genuine heart to really cast a spell. There is too much going on sometimes but Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter films, is in his element with this mix of wand-waving and rollicking adventure, keeping the overstuffed story zipping along for the most part and throwing in all the eye-popping wonders that $180 million can buy. Read more
Director Farren Blackburn’s thriller Shut In, starring Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Charlie Heaton and Jacob Tremblay, spends much of its first half assembling elements that do, at least, inspire curiosity about just how they’ll combine to create havoc, says A.V Club. The shocking surprise is easy to guess long beforehand, though some will mistakenly dismiss the possibility as too ludicrous to countenance. Watts gives her all to this overheated nonsense, but is powerless to make emotional sense of what turns out to be the story’s twisted central relationship, and ends up being just another fiercely maternal damsel in distress. Read more
The New York Times agrees neither director Blackburn nor screenwriter Christina Hodson could have believed that this bromidic nonsense would generate chills. Careening camera angles and squeak-creak-crackle sound effects don’t substitute for actual tension, and high-end cinematography doesn’t replace imagination. Read more
Marathi film Kaul-A Calling, directed by Aadish Keluskar and starring Rohit Kokate, Deepak Parab and Makrand Kajrekar, is bold, deep and unconventional but, most importantly, engaging, says indianfilmhistory.com. What sets this film apart is that it doesn’t do any thinking for the audience. The director considers them capable of forming their own interpretations and taking home their own unique experiences. The more adventurous among the masses should certainly not miss this one. Read more
Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Anubhav Sinha’s Hindi romantic drama Tum Bin 2, Tamil romantic comedy Kadavul Irukaan Kumaru, Telugu thriller Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada, Malayalam comedy Kattappanayile Rithwik Roshan and Kannada romantic comedy Nataraja Service.