Kadaisi Vivasayi movie review: Vijay Sethupathi film is a nuanced plea to know our roots

Manikandan’s films always operate on two levels. There’s a seemingly straightforward story and then, there’s the fine print. For example, Kaaka Muttai was about the permeating effects of globalisation and consumerism in our society. Even for people who miss the subtext, the film holds well as a charming comedy about two kids who lived in a slum and dreamt of having pizza. His films are examples of the middle ground Tamil filmmakers have carved in the mainstream — where social relevance and entertainment are significant equals.

Continue reading “Kadaisi Vivasayi movie review: Vijay Sethupathi film is a nuanced plea to know our roots”

Watchman Review: GV Prakash surprises in a film that doesn’t try to

Middling films are always the toughest to write about. You can’t go all out with blazing guns because, well, it isn’t that kind of a film. It also isn’t the kind of film that you can shower praises on. No, Watchman is the kind of film that makes you feel vaguely happy about its snappy runtime. The kind which holds the viewer up at the gate — neither letting them completely in nor leaving them stranded on the streets.

Continue reading “Watchman Review: GV Prakash surprises in a film that doesn’t try to”

Silukkuvarpatti Singam Review: Another ‘fun’ film that isn’t fun

There are several tags that Kollywood uses to classify its films. The most exasperating of the lot has to be, ‘a fun, family entertainer’; especially when most of the films that come with this tag are neither fun, nor entertaining. Vishnu Vishal’s Silukkuvarpatti Singam is the latest to join this illustrious list of comedies that attempt to operate on the Sundar C formula from his Ullathai Allitha days — some mindless attempts at humour with a chaotic climax. This template has been refurbished so many times that Sundar C himself should considering putting it to rest (given it still brings us films like Kalakalappu 2). And yet, we continue to get films with different characters that revolve around the same-old structure. Continue reading “Silukkuvarpatti Singam Review: Another ‘fun’ film that isn’t fun”

Pariyerum Perumal review: A hard-hitting examination of our social constructs

Pariyerum Perumal translates to the Lord on a horse. The name conjures a majestic image in the head, doesn’t it? Our hero (Kathir) on the other hand, is the exact opposite of that visual. He is just a normal guy, however, born into a lower caste. This determined several things about Pariyan’s life. For example, it meant that he and his village men couldn’t use a waterhole. There are men who want to stay for a fight, but Pariyan leaves with his dog, Karuppi. He has his first day of college the next day and there’s no room for a fight. The conversation between the men who want to fight and the men who don’t, set the tone for the entire film. “What do they have that we don’t,” bellows one guy, in a fit of anger. “Namma vayalum varapum la iruku. Namma kita verum vaayum vayirum thana iruku,” comes the answer. “When will this change?”; “When my father and your father stops to till their lands for income!” Continue reading “Pariyerum Perumal review: A hard-hitting examination of our social constructs”

Kolamaavu Kokila movie review: Nayanthara hits it out of the park with this one

I have to admit that I was rooting badly for Kolamaavu Kokila. It was for several reasons. First, when have we had a woman drug peddler for a protagonist? Second, the film is headlined by Nayanthara, who is truly living up to her Lady Superstar status. While there is much to complain about the roles that our heroines get in commercial films, we have an actor who is slowly proving that women-centric films could be profitable as well. Nayanthara did it with Aramm, and now, she is poised for another win with Kolamaavu Kokila. Continue reading “Kolamaavu Kokila movie review: Nayanthara hits it out of the park with this one”

Mohini movie review: Save your money, skip this one

There was one moment where I thoroughly enjoyed Mohini. Unfortunately, it came after the film ended. As we were watching the end credits, someone walked in and asked ‘Oh, idhu pei padama?’ (Is this a horror film?) and the few of us who were still in the theatre burst out laughing. It was a rare moment where a common emotion unanimously linked the audience. I was dearly praying that Mohini had at least one such moment that saved the film. But we weren’t lucky. Not even a ridiculously beautiful Trisha can save this film. Continue reading “Mohini movie review: Save your money, skip this one”

Junga movie review: A gangster satire that digresses more than it entertains

Junga starts on a confident note. The eponymous hero played by Vijay Sethupathi is all set to be killed in a police encoutner. On the way, Junga tries to set the policemen against each other, making easy conversation. The intrigued policemen wonder how he is nonchalant about his impending death and ask him his story. What more of a cue does Junga need to plunge into a flashback? Thus, begins the story of Junga, the stingy don. Continue reading “Junga movie review: A gangster satire that digresses more than it entertains”

Sema movie review: This GV Prakash film has nothing new to offer

Every Tamil commercial film has a set of elements that have now become requisites. First, we need to have a hero, who is a bit of everything. From being a shy person to magically becoming a charmer overnight, our hero can do anything he wants. The film should have a friend (inevitably played by a comedian) who doesn’t have a life for himself. The main objective of this friend is to be funny and listen to the woes of the hero. Next, we need a ‘loose ponnu’ heroine with absolutely no agency. Her job is to look pretty, find insane reasons to fall in love with the hero. I almost forgot, the heroine has another important role to play: smile coyly at the hero and dance with him. A relatively newer addition, thanks to Saranya Ponvannan, now our heroes have a funny, good-natured, innocent mother as well. She gets a few gags too. Depending on the genre of the commercial film, the prominence of these elements differ. An action flick will have more of the hero doing whatever he wants (forget logic) and less of the heroine who will walk in to provide ‘cute moments’. Throw in some romance, a few funny jokes, an action sequence or two if necessary and somehow we are convinced we have a film in hand. Continue reading “Sema movie review: This GV Prakash film has nothing new to offer”

Balloon movie review: This Jai and Anjali starrer is a mosaic of horror moments from yore

To be fair, the opening credits of Balloon does start with a list of movies the film is ‘inspired’ from. But I felt a faint trace of involuntary outrage as a scene from ‘It’ is almost recreated and this is even before the name of the film appears. It felt like a warning — a signal to lower our expectations as the movie progresses. Balloon’s story or scares aren’t novel but the laughs are. The humour and the one-liners are the saving grace in this film that is a predictable mish-mash of some memorable horror moments from the past. Continue reading “Balloon movie review: This Jai and Anjali starrer is a mosaic of horror moments from yore”

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