Benedict Cumberbatch in a still from ‘Doctor Strange’
Benedict Cumberbatch in a still from ‘Doctor Strange’

Hollywood’s ‘Doctor Strange’, ‘Trolls’ fill in for Bollywood

Besides the Benedict Cumberbatch starrer 'Doctor Strange' and animated musical comedy 'Trolls', Hollywood's other offering is 'Mr. Church'

New Delhi: The massive Diwali weekend has left viewers with no significant Bollywood offering this Friday and few options even otherwise.

For Hollywood fans, American superhero film Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams, comes to India this week. The Guardian calls it a brain-melting tale that reinvigorates the genre. Visually distinctive, classily cast and mostly coherent, this latest picture from the Marvel stable is that rarest of beasts, a comic-book movie that fully justifies its reliance on CGI effects. Read more

Variety magazine adds that the new project shares the same look, feel and fancy corporate sheen as the rest of Marvel’s rapidly expanding the Avengers portfolio, but it also boasts an underlying originality and freshness missing from the increasingly cookie-cutter comic-book realm of late. Generally speaking, there’s less room for directors to experiment when introducing new heroes, and yet Doctor Strange’s tangential standing within the Marvel canon allows a welcome degree of freedom, while the supernatural dimension of his gifts permits filmmaker Scott Derrickson to bend the rules a bit more than his peers. Read more

3D computer-animated musical comedy Trolls, directed by Mike Mitchell, featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel and Russell Brand, may seem a sticky-sweet concoction based on a paper-thin premise, says A.V Club but scales it quickly and admirably by defying conventions, adding both new and familiar musical numbers, and hiding a valuable, Zen-like message in plain sight. Trolls winds up transforming from a prospective toy commercial to a spiritual lesson about being content with what you already have. Children will walk out not only in love with the songs and the characters, but hopefully having absorbed a valuable lesson about materialism and possibly even addiction. Read more

USA Today mentions that there’s more sugar and style to Trolls than substance but you’d be hard-pressed to keep from smiling throughout the trippy dance sequences and clever banter in this feel-good confection. The sweetness can be a bit much at times but you can’t fight the overwhelming sense of fun and lightness, one that little children will especially adore. Read more

Director Bruce Beresford’s drama Mr. Church, starring Eddie Murphy, Britt Robertson and Xavier Samuel features an unending supply of descriptive (and banal) voice-over narration, says A.V Club. When it’s not offering perceptive retrospective insights, the narration works overtime to tell the audience how reflective and moving the events of the film are. But though he’s been hired to make a movie that takes dead aim at the heart, director Beresford has a lot of trouble actually dramatizing much of anything. The offhand quality would work better in a film that depicts this material in scenes, not mawkishly written sentences. Read more

Variety magazine adds that the film comes across as stale dramatic gruel, affording headliner Murphy minimal opportunity to flash his once-brilliant charisma, though its cozy sentimentality may help the film stir up decent theatrical attention. Written by Susan McMartin, the story’s everything-repeats structure is similarly designed to tug on one’s heartstrings. But like devouring a tub of ice cream in one sitting, consuming so much phony, retrograde schmaltz proves a stomach-churning endeavour. Read more

In the south, Telugu romantic comedy Naruda Donoruda, starring Sumanth and Pallavi Subhash and directed by Mallik Ram, a remake of 2012 sleeper hit Vicky Donor, fails to live up to the legacy, says Chitramala. The first half has some entertaining moments but the second disappoints completely. The writing isn’t up to the mark and the performances are unconvincing. Read more

Several releases this week haven’t elicited any reviews yet. These include Hindi comedy drama 2016 The End, directed by Jaideep Chopra and starring Divyendu Sharma, Kiku Sharda and Harshad Chopra, Telugu action film Lover Boy, Telugu drama Pilla Rakshasi, Malayalam comedy Swarna Kaduva, Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra’s Marathi production Ventilator, directed by Rajesh Mapuskar and starring filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker in a pivotal role, and Marathi sports film Surr Sapatta, directed by Mangesh Kanthale.

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