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Neel Sethi in a still from ‘The Jungle Book’
Neel Sethi in a still from ‘The Jungle Book’

Much-awaited Jungle Book releases this week

The Jungle Book, a reimagining of the classic Disney cartoon, satisfies both the eyes and the emotions

New Delhi: A week before its release in the US, Disney’s classic fantasy adventure film The Jungle Book comes to India in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions. It is directed by Jon Favreau, features Neel Sethi and voices like Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Scarlett Johansson. Forbes calls it a towering visual achievement, nailing the sheer believe-your-eyes vibe completely. There are moments where the camera goes to incredible places and gives us impossible perspectives but there is just enough restraint to achieve the idea that what we’re watching is “real". But the film mostly applies the formula of interchanging a dark or dramatic scene with a light or comedic scene and the overall feeling is more lackadaisical than a conventional action movie. Read more here

The Wrap agrees the visual trickery in this reimagining of the classic Disney cartoon satisfies both the eyes and the emotions. Director Favreau and a team of effects wizards plunge us into an artificial world so engrossing that the seams never show; and even more impressive is the film’s use of its craft not merely to dazzle us but also to further its dramatic agenda. Read more here

American comedy drama Demolition, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, and Chris Cooper, might just be this year’s poster child for disaffected faux-indie insincerity, says The Film Stage. An entity without a purpose with the actors putting in valiant effort that amounts to thrashing against a torrent of non-meaning, the movie doesn’t pass before your eyes—it goes clear through your head. Read more here

Indie Wire agrees the film is frivolous and bland, and its attempted cathartic payoff inauthentic and unearned. Gyllenhaal gives a committed turn but that is lost in the overcooked melodrama. Read more here

Naseeruddin Shah’s Hindi/English film, The Blueberry Hunt, directed by Anup Kurian prefers to remain hazy and tepid in a pointless world of its own, says The Hindu. The narrative is too random and holds little interest; and most characters apart from Shah have nothing to do other than just be present onscreen. Read more here

The Statesman calls it a poorly scripted film which was intended to be a thriller but ends up being a dampener. The narration meanders at a leisurely pace and apart from Shah, the protagonist, mostly half-baked characters are included deliberately to add a mysterious element to the story that in the long run is anyway hard to believe. Read more here

Pawan Kalyan’s Telugu action film Sardar Gabbar Singh, directed by K.S. Ravindra, also releases in Hindi but the dubbed version is an assault to the senses, says Scroll.in. Every action-heavy moment is intended to project the southern superstar’s unmatched appeal but whether this will work for audiences who are not clued into the ecology of images that surround him is debatable. Moreover, Kalyan, who is a real-life politician, appears to be in campaign mode throughout. Read more here

Marathi drama Reti, directed by Suhas Bhosale and starring Kishor Kadam, Chinmay Mandlekar and Shashank Shende, fails to make a mark due to a lacklustre screenplay and careless handling of the subject, says Pune Mirror. There is much melodrama in dialogues, several predictably choreographed action sequences, and songs at improbable moments. This takes away the advantage of the unusual premise of dealing with the sand mafia, and makes it run of the mill. Read more here

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Hindi films Love Games and Club Dancer, Kannada action comedy Jai Maruthi 800, Malayalam film Jacobinte Swargarajyam, Punjabi thriller Bathinda Express and Marathi film And Jara Hatke.

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