New Delhi: It’s a fairly exciting week at the movies with two big-ticket Bollywood films competing with a major Hollywood offering.
Romantic drama The Zoya Factor starring Dulquer Salmaan and Sonam Kapoor directed by Abhishek Sharma is an uneven page-to-screen exercise, says NDTV. The film's first half is breezy and mirth-filled enough to prevent its many missteps from coming in the way of an entertaining hour or so. But post-interval, it is quite another story. The pockmarks that riddle the screenplay (Neha Sharma, Pradhuman Singh and Anuja Chauhan) become all too obvious and drag the film down. Not that there aren't any redeeming qualities here — the craftsmanship on show is near-perfect and the film's feel-good factor isn't entirely insubstantial.
Scroll calls it a movie that mashes together romance, cricket and advertising in the hope that at least one of the themes will stick. As it happens, at least two pay some form of dividend. The old-fashioned Mills and Boon-style romance has its moments despite the mismatched leads. The irreverent approach towards a sport that has become a quasi-religion in India is both a departure and a relief. The advertising portions are poorly handled, and apart from providing an excuse to plug brands throughout the narrative, tell us little about the crass commercialisation of cricket.
Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas directed by Sunny Deol starring Karan Deol and Sahher Bambba aspires to be an innocent love story but the chemistry between the lead pair isn’t exactly crackling to create any memorable moments, says The Times Of India. It’s evident that director Deol wanted to make a pure, simple love story. However, with a meatier story and better etched out characters, this one could’ve soared.
Political action film Prassthanam directed by Deva Katta starring Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Manisha Koirala and Chunky Pandey attempts to recapture the glory of the original 2010 Telugu film, but this bid for power is best left to struggle in silence, says Gulf News. It’s frustrating to watch a film, knowing the potential it holds, but bad execution and a regressive storyline lead the train to derail even before it leaves the station.
American action thriller Rambo: Last Blood directed by Adrian Grunberg starring Sylvester Stallone comes to India this week. The Hollywood Reporter says this was presumably a chance to have a thematic reckoning with the iconic character, the way that John Wayne had the good instincts to do with his final film, The Shootist. Instead, the screenplay, co-written by Stallone and Matthew Cirulnick, feels utterly tossed-off and generic, more resembling the pilot for a Rambo television series than a proper sendoff.
Rambo’s cartoonish action feats may have been riveting in the Reagan years, says Indie Wire but these days, they’re just a tiresome slog. Yet nearly 40 years after the comparatively bloodless first installment, the grunting warrior still can’t catch a break, this time taking on hardened Mexican sex traffickers across the border. If only Last Blood had more to say about that beyond the jingoistic mishmash of dime-store sentimentality and half-hearted vengeance it shrugs into existence, bidding farewell to an action icon in the same grotesque terms that made him so problematic in the first place.
Tamil action drama Oththa Seruppu Size 7 directed by and starring R. Parthiepan is a unique murder-mystery that has enough twists and turns to hold its own against any other film in the genre, says The Hindu. It keeps you guessing till the very end — and is aesthetically shot and enacted.
Tamil comedy thriller Super Duper directed by Arun Karthik starring Dhruva, Indhuja Ravichandran and Shah Ra has some flashy visuals but fails in its storytelling, says The Times Of India. The plotting is also weak and predictable, especially if you have seen some of the black comedies that have been made in Tamil cinema in the last four or five years. Even the twists lack punch. The film just coasts along from one scene to the next without really getting us involved.
Malayalam fantasy Oolu directed by Shaji N Karun starring Shane Nigam, Indrans, Kani Kusruti and Esther Anil gets entangled in the creation of fantasy and neither protagonist’s story seems to come together, says The Indian Express. Although the idea is compelling, its execution in the film lacks conviction.
Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Tamil action thriller Kaappaan, Telugu films Nenu Naa Nagarjuna, Valmiki and Pandugadi Photo Studio, Marathi comedy drama Khichik, Punjabi romantic comedy Nikka Zaildar 3, Bengali movies Manab Zameen, Buddhu Bhutum and Patra Chai.