New Delhi: As is tradition, the first week of the year is bereft of any big Indian film releases. Hollywood does try to make up for it though. American science fiction film Bumblebee directed by Travis Knight starring Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena and Jorge Lendeborg Jr.comes to India this week. An impassioned ode to both the toys and their era, this, at last, is the Transformers movie we’ve been waiting for, says Empire magazine. Knight has served up a gleeful romp with wit, warmth and a whole lot of heart. It’s taken six movies to get here, but we finally have a Transformers film that’s more than meets the eye.
Then there is musical fantasy Mary Poppins Returns directed by Rob Marshall starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer. Blunt, all drollness and dazzle, adds needed spice to the movie’s heaping spoonfuls of sugar, says Rolling Stone. It’s no surprise that Mary Poppins Returns, an industrial-strength sugarplum, doesn’t live up to the 1964 original; but when it cuts through the glucose overload and takes off into the wild blue of its own unique and extraordinary talents, Mary Poppins Returns shows it has the power to leave you deliriously happy.
Clint Eastwood’s The Mule is a very strange drug trip, says The New York Times. Working from Nick Schenk’s script, Eastwood fills in the portrait of his mule with creative license, characteristic dry humor and a looseness that seems almost completely untethered from the world of murderous cartels. There’s also some political editorializing and a flirtation with Eastwoodian autocritique. The character’s apparent immortality and lack of curiosity about his gig feel bracingly promising, suggesting that the movie is shaping into a scathing, relevant portrait of American greed. It never gets there. Instead, the story shifts and lumbers toward redemption that the protagonist doesn’t earn and that sentimentalizes a movie that is never especially good and often teasingly offensive but also fitfully entertaining and willfully perverse.
The non-Hindi local releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Indo-Australian production Salt Bridge directed by Abhijit Deonath starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Chelsie Preston Crayford, Telugu drama Ajay Passayyadu, Kannada drama Aduva Gombe, Marathi dramas Sohalla and Bhai-Vykati Ki Valli, Bengali drama Bijoya and Bengali detective film Goyendra Tatar.