The Lion King (AP)
The Lion King (AP)

Friday Film Wrap: ‘The Lion King’ big release of the week

  • 'The Lion King' is Disney’s latest effort in its quest to remake many of its animated classics. What is new is this film’s striking CGI animation style
  • Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet

New Delhi: With no big local releases, Hollywood gets to dominate movie theatres this week.

Family Of Thakurganj directed by Manoj K. Jha starring Jimmy Sheirgill and Mahie Gill has nothing new to say about the dynamics of gangster clans, police corruption and lawlessness in Uttar Pradesh, so it tries to delay the inevitable, says Scroll. The 127-minute crime drama initially unfolds as a series of vignettes about two brothers and the rogues’ gallery that rules the Thakurganj town. The plot kicks in very late, and a bit too late to rescue the movie from utter predictability and sameness.

Some films are plain hard to define and this one is one of them, says Filmfare. One fails to understand the motive behind making such a film. One has seen directors like Guy Ritchie, Anurag Kashyap or Ram Gopal Varma successfully using humour to balance the violence in their films. They have been able to do so because of a coherent screenplay, which is sorely lacking here. As a result, the film enters a downward spiral from which it's unable to make its escape.

Comedy drama Jhootha Kahin Ka directed by Smeep Kang starring Rishi Kapoor, Jimmy Sheirgill, Lillete Dubey, Sunny Singh and Omkar Kapoor gets trapped in its own web of lies, says Scroll. The runtime of 133 minutes is far too long to sustain the farce, and most of the comedy is delivered at full volume. There are moments when Rishi Kapoor’s voice seems to be coming from the next seat rather than the screen and Manoj Joshi appears to be on the verge of a heart attack with all the excitement.

For the Hollywood fans, there is American musical The Lion King directed by Jon Favreau featuring the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Alfre Woodard. In India, the voice cast includes Shah Rukh Khan, Aryan Khan, Ashish Vidyarthi and Shreyas Talpade (Hindi), Siddharth, Arvind Swami and P.Ravishankar (Tamil) and Nani and Jagapathi Babu (Telugu).

The Lion King is Disney’s latest effort in its quest to remake many of its animated classics, says The New York Post. What is new is this film’s striking CGI animation style. Director Favreau again deploys the same photo-realistic process used in his 2016 hit The Jungle Book and the results are astonishing. And maybe the visuals alone are enough to justify the remake. Because although this version is some 30 minutes longer than its predecessor, anyone looking for new story twists or, say, an inspiring backstory for the antelope that gets eaten will probably leave disappointed.

Whatever its category, the immediate and overwhelming impression is so life-like that you expect David Attenborough to start narrating at any moment, says Empire magazine. The big problem with this photo-realism, however, is that animal mouths are not designed for words, and their faces do not express human emotion. What we gain in realism we lose in expression, even in their limpid eyes; it’s distinctly jarring when these cats speak, and even more when they break into song.

Tamil action thriller Kadaram Kondan directed by Rajesh Selva starring Vikram and Akshara Haasan has action scenes that make it a visceral experience, even though Selva’s filmmaking falls short on flair, says The Times Of India. As long as we get a chase or a shootout, the film feels thrilling enough. It is only in the quieter moments, like the initial scenes that set up the story, that get us restless.

Tamil thriller Unarvu starring Suman directed by Subbu is high on melodrama with tiring preachy dialogues which test one’s patience, says The Times Of India. It belongs to the list of those low-budget forgettable films made with good intention, but ending up as an exhausting piece of work due to ineffective execution.

Telugu action thriller iSmart Shankar starring Ram Pothineni and Nidhhi Agerwal directed by Puri Jagannadh is the loudest Telugu film of the year, says Film Companion. But amidst this ear-splitting chaos, drummed up largely by Mani Sharma’s music and Pothineni’s performance, lies a story that could have been made into a fine science-fiction comedy.

Marathi film Smile Please directed by Vikram Phadnis starring Mukta Barve and Lalit Prabhakar, although imperfect, can still be recommended primarily for the subject and performances, says Pune Mirror. Phadnis has an eye for visual composition which makes the film look rich, though artificially so.

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Tamil thriller Aadai, Kannada films Sinnga, Aadi Lakshmi Puraana and Dichki Design, Malayalam movies Sachin-The Movie, Shibu, Janamaithri and A for Apple, Punjabi drama Ardaas Karaan, Punjabi romantic comedy Jugni Yaaran Di, Bengali drama Sesher Golpo and Gujarati comedy drama Chasani-Mithash Zindagi Ni.

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