New Delhi: It’s yet another packed week at the movies.
Saif Ali Khan-starrer Chef, directed by Raja Krishna Menon, may not contain much fresh-off-the-oven food for takeaway thought, but the film does radiate enough warmth, intelligence and energy to make for a worthwhile cinematic repast, says NDTV Movies. This is an elegantly mounted film that stresses the importance of the human touch that makes all the difference between a truly mouth-watering meal and a passable one while it underscores how second chances, when tapped right, can turn things around. It does both without resorting to heavy-handed means. Chef delivers its wares with gentle flair and without self-consciously calling attention to its methods.
The Indian Express is not as impressed, calling it a good-looking film, with good-looking people. There are some interesting flavours here, but Chef feels derivative, and doesn’t come together as a fully satisfactory dish. And that’s got to do with the uneven, stodgy writing. The smoothness that should have been part of a first-rate spread is evident only in some parts: the others are awkward and stilted and contrived, and that impacts the entire film.
Comedy drama Tu Hai Mera Sunday, starring Barun Sobti and Shahana Goswami and directed by Milind Dhaimade, is a small film with an enormous heart which brings Mumbai to life and hooks you one scene at a time, says The Quint. Writer-director Dhaimade is in complete command over the story and its execution, showing a fine grip over the craft of storytelling. It’s a buddy film, a rom-com and an emotional drama all wrapped in one, and all of it plays out smoothly without stepping on one another.
For Hollywood fans, American neo-noir science fiction film Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to Blade Runner (1982), starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, comes to India this week. With its visual wizardry and ethically ambiguous tale, Blade Runner is a hard act to follow, says news.com.au. Especially after so long, any sequel was going to have to really justify its existence. Blade Runner 2049 does. It may come in at over two-and-a half hours but it’s well-paced and manages to earn its long run time. There’s not a single superfluous shot as you sit there, drinking it in, staring in awe at every magnificent visual and aural detail. The plot itself is fairly straightforward and that’s probably to its benefit, allowing the visuals and Gosling’s brilliantly restrained performance to shine.
There is also 3D computer-animated action comedy martial arts film The Lego Ninjago Movie, directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan and starring the voices of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson and Olivia Munn. Rather than a satire of a generic hero narrative, or even a specific branded one, Ninjago is a confounding hybrid, says vulture.com: a vague mash-up of martial arts, giant monster, and mecha genres, set in an even vaguer Asian-fusion metropolis with the additional layer of obfuscation in the form of the Legos themselves. The seven-deep staff of writers try to paper over this with the kind of internet-y humour Phil Lord and Chris Miller used to jettison the original film to popular adoration. But there’s no there there, and the film never seems to know what it’s playing with, besides the idea of movies in general.
Tamil romantic thriller Solo, directed by Bejoy Nambiar and starring Dulquer Salmaan, is a quartet of stories that has its moments, but not enough to conceal its flaws, says Film Companion. There’s always something—either conceptually or in the eclectic soundtrack that shows things were thought through, that the failures aren’t those of intent but of execution. Primarily, the film is another casualty of making a bilingual. The supporting cast looks off. The tone is all over the place. And the stories look like they belong neither here nor there.
Several releases this week haven’t elicited any reviews yet. These include Hindi movies Muavza: Zameen Ka Paisa, 2016 The End and Call For Fun; Kannada films Huliraya, Kidi, April’Na Himabindu and Vaira; Marathi films Halal and Aadesh- Power of Law; and Punjabi film Bailras.