Film Review: Mili (2022)

Mili is a nursing graduate and planning to work abroad. She works part-time at a restaurant. One night immediately after checking out, she is asked to help the staff in loading some stuff in the restaurant’s freezer. The manager assumes that Mili left and he locks the freezer and leaves her there.

Mili is a survival thriller with a very interesting plot. The writing for such stories requires more care because the survival attempt has to stretch to the length and justify that whatever the film is depicting is making any sense. Unfortunately, Mili’s potential story meets with poor screenwriting and direction.

Mili is a Malayalam remake of the 2-time National Award-winning film Helen which was directed by Mathukutty Xavier. Helen met with critical acclaim and the same director remade Mili for Hindi audience. I cannot judge Helen because I haven’t watched so I really cannot explain why Mili’s aesthetics didn’t meet finesse.

This is a two-hour film which is quite long for survival. The films can be that long or more if someone is attempting to survive the war but if the story is that you are stuck in a freezer, the makers really need more than a masterpiece to justify that screentime. And here is the problem, the actual story of the film began after spending 40 minutes on Mili, her complicated relationship, her chain-smoking father, and her tough work under an irritating manager. Fine, I understand that things need to build up to feel settled with the character and the surroundings, not 40 minutes, maybe 15 minutes.

So one hour of survival is all that is left after wasting 40 minutes and I must say that the whole survival sequence was really good. Janhvi Kapoor as Mili surprised me. It was not mindblowing but an impressive display of the physical balance of survival. The psychological element was there and Janhvi set the tone well.

Mili misses a gripping intensity that was heavily needed in the cold horror stay. Despite being A.R.Rahman‘s music, the background score had nothing special to offer and kept playing in the survival sequences. And then some weird mistakes. When the freezer was finally opened and found Mili, why were all the people standing and looking at Mili’s father hugging her? Why didn’t they rush her out of the cold even if she was assumed dead? Why was the ambulance not called when her location was traced to be in the mall? Why didn’t Mili’s father shout her name in the mall? Especially when he heard a noise when Mili was hitting the tray on the pipe. Not even when the tray fell down.

Mili’s only pluses are the story and Janhvi’s performance. Would have been a fabulous film if the technicalities would have been on par with the story’s strength.

RATING: 3/10



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Film Review: Doctor G (2022)

STORY

Dr. Uday Gupta lives in Bhopal and is done with MBBS. He wants to become an orthopaedician but the particular course is unavailable in the city. So he chooses gynecology. And while working in a department full of female staff, he is surrendered in a series of awkwardness.


REVIEW

Doctor G presents to the audience a fresh plot, never depicted before. Ayushmann Khurrana in the leading role spices the aesthetics and increases the expectations. But Bollywood’s major issue for several years or maybe decades has been the predictability of screenwriting. We are fully aware of how this film will proceed and conclude. Doctor G is no mystery to the expectations. And if you have noticed, Ayushmann Khurrana films have set the bar for being funny in the first half and then addressing the actual subject in the other.

I totally get it that the story about one male doctor in a room full of female staff demands to be a comedy. But the turnaround in the second half was so sensitive that I felt, what if Doctor G was centered around serious content with dark humor. Even some of the jokes were silly. A comic segment about a husband unbeknownst to impregnate his wife at the precise body part is way too senseless for being funny of all sorts.

Another unnecessary push was the love angle. Although, it carried some sentimental weight about an asking-for-trouble affair with a woman who is engaged, but that time could have been covered in the core of the film.

Doctor G focused on entertainment more than depicting how a male gynecologist has to make a place in the department. Because Dr. Uday’s heart was not there and was still reading an Orthopedics book. The rescue attempt to save Kavya was his heroic effort but had nothing to do with his profession. Assumingly that would have been anyone’s effort if the staff was not attending the wedding.


CLOSING REMARKS

Ayushmann’s presence stuck with the usual performance he is known for. Doctor G needed quality screenwriting that would do justice to a welcoming plot. But I must praise the writers for forwarding two interesting issues that are critical and needs awareness.

One is Dr. Uday’s cousin Dr. Ashok, a surgeon who went into an extra-marital affair with his underage high-school student and impregnated her. The other is Dr. Uday’s mother Shobha, who wants a partner to speak to and get in relation with.

The latter’s writing was really dramatized well. And Sheeba Chaddha‘s performance as Shobha was actually the best part of the film. Just look at her mannerism in a scene when she asks her son to take her pictures. Shefali Shah in such an important role was not utilized to the maximum.

Doctor G is medically a professional situation that missed the opportunity to treat the audience with an accurate prescription.

RATING: 4/10



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TV Review: Wednesday

STORY

Wednesday Addams punishes the boys in the school who bullies her brother Pugsley Addams. As a consequence, she is expelled. The concerned parents admit her to the Nevermore Academy, a school for the monstrous outcasts where they studied but were accused of a crime scene. Incidentally, the event recirculates with Wednesday’s admission when a creature begins to take lives and she uses her psychic instincts to solve the mystery.


ORIGINS

The Addams Family was neither a novel nor did it start as an amination show but the gag cartoons that were published in The New Yorker from 1938 until the 1950s. All the characters were unnamed until the 1964 television show ‘The Addams Family‘.


PRODUCTION

Wednesday hampers a toolbox that was decorated for Tim Burton to utilize when his turn comes to work on the project. The Addams Family and Tim Burton crossed paths but never joined hands which was a sad chapter just like Leo Messi was not lifting the World Cup before it finally happened.

Back in 1991, when Tim Burton was focused on directing Batman Returns, he was approached to work on The Addams Family. He passed on the project due to scheduling conflicts and The Addams Family and its sequel were produced establishing cult status with the audience.

20 years later, Tim Burton was planning to write and direct The Addams Family film, perhaps a reboot, but got canceled due to creative differences with the producers. Then Miles Millar and Alfred Gough acquired the rights, wrote the pilot, and forwarded it to Burton. He became interested and joined them.

It took thirty years for Tim Burton to work and complete a project that looks to me to be the most fitting project he ever happened to work on before. It was a love story that was waiting for its romantic moment to bring the two together.

When the strings are pulled rightly, there is every chance of playing the right notes. Producers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough are well known for creating ‘Smallville‘. Tim Burton has the reputation for many excellent Gothic fantasies. And then his decades-old collaboration with the musician Danny Elfman, the musical notes that ideally fit in Tim Burton films.


CASTING

Wednesday. (L to R) Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Adams, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, Luis Guzmán as Gomez Addams, Issac Ordonez as Pugsley Addams in Wednesday. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

With Tim Burton on the director chair, I would have loved to see Morticia and Gomez Addams played by Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia and more particularly Luis Guzmán as Gomez were quite interesting choices. I felt that spark was missing between the two which was quite a thing between Raul Julia and Angelica Huston in those two films. But here, Catherine and Luis looked pretty odd together.

Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester was an imposing choice. Christopher Lloyd‘s Uncle Fester was character-driven and someone on whom the story was centered around. In a quite different setting, this Uncle Fester was more jolly and exciting. I want to see more appearances in the next season. It was a pleasure to watch Christina Ricci in the show who was Wednesday Addams in the films.

My kudos to whoever decided to give the titular role to Jenna Ortega. This has to be the best-ever casting of Wednesday Addams to date. Let me tell you how I think that Jenna did this role better than Christina.

Christina’s Wednesday lacked the body language of a melancholic personality that defines Wednesday. Plus, the writing of her character in the film didn’t guarantee any growth. Wednesday being the center stage of the plot and a tv series of eight episodes at stretch, Jenna had enough time to grow as Wednesday and answer all our questions that were related to her character that was visibly missing in the films.


WHY WEDNESDAY? WHY NOT ADDAMS FAMILY?

I will continue my point about Jenna’s Wednesday because this leads to a whole new level of storytelling. The films heavily focused on couples as well as Uncle Fester but not children. When my generation watched these films back in the 1990s, we had this feeling about the girl that her side of the story didn’t make rounds and that had a lot of potential to grow due to her sadistic personality. I felt the writers of the films missed the chance.

But this chance was smartly grabbed by Millar and Gough with the creme of the plot centralizing the hows and whys of Wednesday’s character. And this is why her parents were almost out of the frame.

The makers installed the character of Enid Sinclair who struggles to befriend Wednesday and there develops a strange bond between a cheerful roommate and a morosely black soul. The makers also built a rigid mother-daughter relationship. The screenwriting of the show also restricted the fan-favorite Uncle Fester’s character to a very brief appearance. Convincing the audience to stick with Wednesday without Fester is a win.


DANCE

Of course, I have to mention that iconic dance in my assessment. A dance that was actually shot with Goo Goo Muck by the gothic rock legends ‘The Cramps‘ playing in the background but the TikTokers perfectly remixed the dance video with Lady Gaga‘s Bloody Mary and is now called a TikTok Remix of Wednesday Dance. Jenna choreographed the dance herself and the most astonishing fact about the dance is that the dance steps pulled the right strings of Wednesday Addam’s cold-blooded personality. The dance visibly reflected her oddness.

In one of her tweets, Jenna confirmed that gothic rock legends Siouxie Sioux and Lene Lovich, actor Denis Lavant, first Wednesday actress Lisa Loring, and the dance number from Sweet Charity called The Rich Man’s Frug by Bob Fosse were the inspirations behind this dance.


CLOSING REMARKS

I felt that the finale lost control of the pace and hurriedly strove to a conclusion. But in any case, there is a lot to happen in the future seasons. I really want to watch Grandmama and Cousin Itt.

I have read that Wednesday and Enid may develop a romance in the next season. This is totally out of a syllabus stunt. A girl like Wednesday who lacks emotions and has zero-match with the completely opposite Enid, goes 360 and they become lovers, is not so Wednesday we know of.

Whatever happened to something called friendship? Why cannot the writers try to bring both of them in a bond where they find common grounds to somehow live through. Befriending has been a struggle so far so better to focus on friendship.

Wednesday is highly recommended to the fans of Goth culture and The Addams Family. The films and this show cannot be compared at all. They have different vibes and aesthetics on which different stories have been presented to us.

Wednesday has a lot of adventures or misadventures to excite us. I hope to see a Stranger Things kind of excellent follow-up of the show.



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Comic Book Review: Black Adam – World War III

In the 52 limited series that occurred between 2006 and 2007, Black Adam lost his closest members of the family when his brother-in-law Osiris and his wife Isis were killed. The tragedy was so devastating that Black Adam put the blame on everyone and began to kill the human race and fight against superheroes. To stop the madness, countless superheroes of the Justice Society of America and the Justice League along with Teen Titans, and Doom Patrol assemble to take on Black Adam.

World War III is a four-issue limited series that gives the readers a clear thought about how powerful the ruler of Kahndaq is and what it means to be an antihero in the storyline. Again, the story inclines towards the emotional side of Black Adam that gives the impression of the superheroes fighting for the wrong cause whereas the case is different.

I am very impressed with the writing of this story. Keith Champagne wrote the first two issues, and John Ostrander wrote the final two. Ostrander is a comic book veteran and is well-known for writing a DC crossover series – Legends, introducing to us a bad-ass woman who heads A.R.G.U.S.Amanda Waller, and creating a very popular identity and alter-ego for Barbara GordonOracle.

A different artist was involved in each issue for penciling and inking. But that didn’t drop the reading enthusiasm or my mood of looking at the graphics at all. The whole story is shaped with a hard-hitting vision that emphasizes the wrath and the fury of Black Adam through those drawings. Especially when all the superheroes are about to attack Black Adam.

Martian Manhunter commentates in most of the segments and gives the readers a fair share of recognizing how powerful his appearance can be. He repeatedly proved in the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) that the Justice League is incomplete without him. And here, where Black Adam knocked most of the superheroes, Martian Manhunter gave him the toughest time.

Black Adam film is not based on World War III events and you do not need to read this book before watching the film if you still haven’t watched it. This book is recommended to those who really want to understand how powerful is Black Adam. 

The storyline of ‘Black Adam – The Dark Age‘ happens immediately after this.


FREE DOWNLOADS 

https://getcomics.info/dc/world-war-iii-1-4/ 


SUPPORTING VIDEO

If anyone wishes to go deeper into the pages of this storyline, you can watch this video for a broader explanation.


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Film Review: Black Adam (2022)

STORY

After sleeping for five thousand years, Teth Adam returns as the savior of his nation Kahndaq from the crime syndicate called ‘Intergang‘.

When his wrath on the cruelty results in casualties, Amanda Waller alarms Hawkman to look after the matter before the consequences turn worse. Hawkman assembles the Justice Society (JSA) and therefore begins a clash of antiheroism between the rights and wrongs occurring in Kahndaq.

Black Adam is finally released after years of speculation and theorizing the certainties of how to connect the dots with this film to the entire DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Being one of the most awaited films from Warner Bros. and DC Comics, Dwayne Johnson left no space to hype his most promising project to date.


COMICS

Not off-topic but the Black Adam film tries to stay in touch with comic roots but not accurately. But it is necessary to speak about a few points that I observed in the film.

Isn’t Black Adam a JSA member?

Yes, it is true that Black Adam was not a part of JSA. He became a JSA member pretty late. If I am not wrong, he wasn’t a part of JSA in the golden, silver, and bronze ages. He became JSA in 2001, even after heroes like Black Canary, Stargirl, and Hawkgirl.

Justice Society of America

Justice Society of America is the first-ever team of superheroes that was introduced in the history of comic books. Editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox came up with this idea and introduced it in the third issue of the All-Star Comics back in 1940, during the great war.

The founding members of that JSA were easily the super-strongest force of superheroes ever assembled for decades. They were Hawkman and Doctor Fate (as dramatized in the film) along with Hourman, The Spectre, Alan Scott‘s Green Lantern, Jay Garrick‘s The Flash, The Atom, and The Sandman.

Al Fonzie

It is amusing to see that Atom Smasher was the nephew of the original Atom Smasher played by our beloved Fonzie, Henry Winkler in a cameo. Henry’s character Al Pratt is The Atom and as mentioned before, one of JSA’s founding members. Worth observing is that Doctor Fate and The Atom are old and hence represent the golden generation of JSA.

The Hunkels

While Cyclone requests an entry permit at the gate, a few of you may happen to notice the screen outside the gate showing up her data. Yes, she indeed is the relative, the granddaughter of Abigail Hunkel a.k.a, Red Tornado. This also means that Red Tornado was also part of the golden team of JSA.

The screen also indicates that Cyclone is a very intelligent student. In comics, she is a student of Harvard University and has a slightly different but still mindblowing score of 4.0 GPA and 1300 SAT.

Character Alteration

The freedom fighter in the film Adrianna Tomaz is a disappointing character alteration. In comics, she actually is Black Adam’s wife Isis and she has a major role in Black Adam’s life as she dies and Black Adam in fury begins to kill the entire human race in the World War III storyline.

Intergang

Kahndaq in the present day is oppressed and occupied by the international mercenaries called ‘Intergang‘. Now, what is Intergang?

Intergang in comics is a crime syndicate that was run by the Mannheims (Boss and his son Ugly) and the Edges (Vincent and his son Morgan). The organization was armed with advanced technology supplied by the New Gods of the planet Apokolips. Yes, Darkseid was the benefactor who was using the organization to disinter the anti-life equation.

Possibility

Now understand the scenario; by the end of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Darkseid’s quest for the anti-life equation continues. Superman flies away. Perhaps Amanda Waller approached him after Suicide Squad‘s project Starro, Peacemaker‘s project Butterfly, and meeting Shazam to reach Kahndaq after the Justice Society failed Amanda. Black Adam’s crusade against the Intergang will run until the news reaches one of Darkseid’s elite.

Here, I am really hoping that Darkseid is not the benefactor of the Intergang just like in comics. Because if DCEU shows his planet supplying arms and technologies to them then how come Darkseid is unable to trace down where the planet earth is? That will be the biggest plothole ever.


PLUSES

The CGI and action sequences are impressive. I loved the fighting between Black Adam and Hawkman/Doctor Fate. Aldis Hodge as Hawkman and Pierce Brosnan as Fate were the best performers in the film. They were heavily suited to the roles and did justice.

The costumes in the film were close to perfection. Even if comic books had a little different idea, it was equally exciting observing the heroes in these costumes.

The mid-credit scene of Superman’s arrival to face Black Adam definitely is exhilarating and the audience expects more from here. Honestly, if I was in Amanda’s position, I would rather send Shazam to Black Adam, not Superman.


MINUSES

Black Adam held a lot of importance for an ever-collapsing DCEU to boost financial expectations, and critical acclaim, and make the film acceptable to the audience. But once again, neither critics accepted nor the audience in majority held the film in supreme compliment like they usually do for Marvel releases.

At a budget of over $200 million, the film has done a global business of only $389.2 million until 13th December which is a sheer disappointment, I assume not even break-in. Wakanda Forever, which was released three weeks after Black Adam has grossed $769 million at a budget of $250 million.

So what went wrong with Black Adam? Was the film overhyped? Is Black Adam that bad? YES.

Only 125 Minutes?

Black Adam lacks a standard screen time under which Black Adam and the Justice Society deserved a lot of minutes to develop the screenplay and the characters.

Black Adam was more of a typical science-fiction action-thriller than a superhero film. In the screen capacity of only two hours, the film had a lot to do to settle the audience with the politics of Kahndaq, the origins of Teth Adam, JSA’s own introduction, and the antagonist of the film. Thus, the writing of the film repeatedly faltered and strongly reminded me of Josstice League.

I think Warner Bros. still haven’t learned from their mistakes or maybe Black Adam is the final film of Walter Hamada‘s troubling era as president and we shall witness improvement under the new presidency of David Zaslav since Warner Bros. and Discovery have merged.

With the given plot, Black Adam was no less than a three-hour film. Due to the extremely short length of the film, the makers failed to dramatize a lot about Teth Adam’s backstory and ran most of that part in the narration.

The worst underdevelopment of the story is the Justice Society. Hawkman introduced and narrated their backstories and assembled them within three minutes. Within three minutes! The screenplay has a plane to catch and also to catch the train to compete with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) like that. The same formula Warner Bros. stick with in the past when Justice League and Suicide Squad were introduced and assembled within a few minutes.

Forced Humor

And then the worst of the kind of the writing element in such a dark and tragic chapter of Teth Adam and the entire plot, needless and unnecessary humor stretched to more than a limit.

The application of jokes on such a serious plot clearly looked intentional by the makers. The jokes were fitting nowhere and not making any sense at all. Let me share with you some ‘fUnNy’ moments for your ha-has. When Adrianna successfully establishes communication between Black Adam and the Justice Society, Atom Smasher is eating a bucket of chicken.

Black Adam breaking the walls to enter the other room instead of using the door looks senseless. Were there no doors five thousand years back? If that happened in the comics is the other thing, just like Batman disappearing in a blink. The character of Karim was annoying and close to being unreal.


Plotholes

Speaking of unrealistic, the writing of this film is very incoherent and full of dumb plotholes. Teth Adam exposes himself to the city and besides a few scores of witnesses in shock, people are generally busy in their usual routine.

A bigger dumb plothole is that Intergang guys are still checking cars at the checkpoint. No one in the intergang is alarmed about Black Adam’s return, it is the boy Amon who indicates them to witness him. No social media or news media breaks the news about something supernatural that has shown up in the city. Why didn’t Fate take the crown of Sabbac from Amon’s bag?

JSA not knowing Teth Adam in the first place and believe it to be a myth looks displaced. Many JSA members have been on different planets for thousands and maybe millions of years. How come they do not understand how to put up a fight against Teth Adam?

Why didn’t Hawkman assemble a team of veterans who were more experienced than the rookies, Cyclone and Atom Smasher? Cyclone and Atom Smasher were like some rookie dance extras who were promoted by their managers due to a lack of manpower. This was the best chance to introduce Gardner Fox’s most iconic JSA team to fight against Black Adam. Only Hawkman and Doctor Fate appeared.

Below-par Direction

Black Adam heavily suffers from a below-par direction. There is not a single shot that builds in the audience with some excellent cinematic impact.

There is one shot where Black Adam’s son dies. Instead of investing one solid screen minute in Dwayne as the father of the dead son, the director flew him away with rage.

Amon’s uninspiring speech in such a low voice pitch to unite Kahndaq people to fight, skating to mom and leading the band of Kahndaq people furiously marching the street was so cheesy, so cringy, and so mainstream Bollywood. Another irritation is the unstoppable background score and which is too unimpressive. It kept playing on our ears and torturing us.


CLOSING REMARKS

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam reminds me of Dwayne Johnson but not Black Adam. His acting is very restricted and doesn’t bother to test his limits. There is so much tragedy in his story but Dwayne’s performance is nowhere flexible.

The story had potential but badly lacked direction. Black Adam is like a Bollywood film with a gigantic budget. It is a visual spectacle and popcorn-grabbing entertainer. But for the superhero genre, Black Adam is just another disappointment in the DC Extended Universe.

RATINGS: 4/10


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Film Review: Beast (2022)

STORY

Dr. Nate Daniels is a father of two daughters and is recently widowed. The eldest daughter reasons him for her death as she developed cancer immediately after her parent’s separation.

In order to emotionally reconnect with his daughters, Dr. Nate Daniels takes them on vacation to Africa where their mother grew up. Their family friend and wildlife biologist, Martin Battles, assists them in this wildlife journey.

But one shocking day, an injured lion that survived being the victim of the poachers, attacks them and thus begins their attempt at survival of a lifetime.


REVIEW

Beast is an action-thriller that was shot in South Africa and completed in ten weeks. The film’s biggest attraction is British superstar Idris Elba who plays Dr. Nate Daniels.

For the audience who are interested in watching a film based on wildlife survival, fiction or non-fiction, they basically are cognizant of the expectations from the screenwriting. If any of us watch such a film where the main characters are stuck in a compromised situation, we know that they will survive and overcome the unthinkable.

So where does the film stands in captivating the interest of the audience? I will give my fair share of developing zeal to invest my 90 minutes in a film that had Idris Elba fighting a lion.


PLUSES

The writing of this film in the first half convincingly develops the plot. And when the horror lodges to their heavy shock, the writing becomes exuberant.

The audience will build adrenaline when the family starts believing that something is terribly wrong. The element of intensity in this film is outstanding.

A flash of technical brilliance is a must to give a thrill to the audience. Beast offers to its audience excellent sound, an impactful music score by Steven Price, and an incredible design of dead bodies and injuries, followed by superb physical and especially facial performances by all four main characters, particularly the daughters. All these pluses are blended in some fabulous one-shot scenes, a quality of presentation that I wasn’t really expecting.


MINUSES

I feel the whole aesthetics of Beast from such an astounding first half loses that brink of establishing an equally promising continuity.

The pace of the film drops, the screenwriting of survival yet again enters into that Jurassic Park territory, things become obvious, and no further surprises are left to endure.

And some portions of the writing raise question marks throughout the film. How come the lion does not attack Martin Battles before running toward the family? Where were the alligators at night when Dr. Nate Daniels walks in the pond? Seriously, that is the time when the gators are active or perhaps hyperactive. Dr. Nate Daniels catching a snake looked pretty off, and so was the lion surviving the car explosion.


CLOSING REMARKS

Where the pluses level on minuses, here I am observing a bigger concern throughout the film – the case of an injured lion. The pride is obviously hurt but more than that, the lion escaped being hunted by the poachers.

From that arc, from that angle, the lion was actually trying to survive by killing not even humans but animals too. Because the lion lost faith in everything when it was attacked. The lion senses every single nature installed on earth as its enemy and the only way to survive is by killing the others so that the lion lives without any chance of threat.

It is a tragic case for an animal. Despite being the villain of the story, the lion wasn’t really a villain. The humans started this. Had the film not dramatized that opening sequence, the lion would have always been understood as evil.

RATINGS: 7/10



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Film Review: Sherdil (2022)

In a remote village in Uttar Pradesh, the wild animals of the jungle nearby eat the crops and starve the poor villagers. Running out of sources with the poverty line meeting its peak, the sarpanch (leader) of the village Gangaram (Pankaj Tripathi) decides to sacrifice himself in the mouth of the tiger that will aid his family and villagers get compensation through a government scheme. Shocking isn’t it?

Sherdil is actually based on some actual incidents that occurred in 2017 when the police officials accused some elders of the village of setting themselves as bait for tigers to claim compensation and help their families survive. The film depicts that the government acquires the land for wildlife preservation that halts entry for the villagers who had access in the past.

This development is new to me and it is quite tragic that poverty can be so cruel to mankind in some parts of the world. Is the government responsible for this? Wildlife preservation is also necessary. But what about the villagers whose life depended on wildlife and cropping the fertile land?

It is good to notice that Bollywood is ready for producing films based on wildlife. Vidya Balan starrer Sherni was released last year and Sherdil this year. Stories like these are what the audience is willing to spend their quality time on. What attracts more about Sherdil is that Pankaj Tripathi in the lead displayed a sensational performance of a highly innocent village sarpanch. Pankaj’s monologue in the court and his encounter with the tiger is his top acting features.

Besides a fabulous Pankaj Tripathi, Sayani Gupta surprised me with an impressive supporting role. Neeraj Kabi as the poacher Jim Ahmad had the most interesting dialogues in the film to listen to. Dialogues as well as cinematography were excellent.

Yes, there were minuses. It is impossible to have a perfect film without any objections. One major problem is the length of the film. With content so limited, this film is easily an 80 to maximum 90-minute drama but is actually two hours long. The film is awfully stretched in Gangaram searching for a tiger and convincing everyone that he has to take his life for good. Plus, needless songs are picturized on the lush scenery of the jungle.

With such an impressive story and casting well supported by other technicalities, Sherdil still lacks a ‘WOW’ factor. There is something about Sherdil that makes me think that this still cannot be counted as one of the best films of the year. Maybe the pace of the film and the last fifteen minutes are the reasons.

Sherdil is a wildlife drama with a very important message. Pankaj Tripathi fans should not miss this film.

RATINGS = 6.5/10

 

Comic Book Review: My Friend Dahmer (2012)

INTRODUCTION AND ORIGINS

My Friend Dahmer‘ is a graphic novel based on one of America’s notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer. The book was written by John ‘Derf’ Backderf and published under Abrams ComicArts. As the name indicates, Derf had personally known Dahmer and through this book, he recollects and highlights some eye-openers about the old times spent at Eastview Junior High and Revere High School where they were classmates.

The writing of ‘My Friend Dahmer’ took a few rounds. Derf wrote this back in 1995. It was an 8-page comic strip that was published two years later in the 18th issue of the Zero Zero series of Fantagraphics books. Derf decided to rewrite it full-length and then self-published a 24-page comic. After the death of Dahmer, Derf had made extensive research through other classmates, journals, news, and interviews that stretched to twenty years. When Derf was prepared to shape his fact-finding and exploration into a book of around 200 pages, Abrams Books published it in 2012.

The book is not just a graphic novel but also Derf’s personal memoir and to some extent critically a psychological case study about Dahmer’s personal life. By reading it, it may look as if Dahmer is backed by the author and shows sympathy but Derf actually points out what were the causes that unfortunately misled Dahmer to the path where he never turned his back and looked behind once he walked away.


DAHMER IN DIFFERENT MEDIUMS

For those who have finished watching Dahmer on Netflix starring Evan Peters, reading this book is totally a different experience. The show was dramatized from Dahmer’s narrative and thus, focused on his crimes, his motives, and his victims. Whereas the book helps the readers understand Dahmer’s school life that Derf and other friends observed. The book covers a lot of incidents that reflect Dahmer’s isolation, loneliness, silence, disturbance, and difficulties.


ZERO HUMAN CONCERN

‘My Friend Dahmer’ abandons the hatred and the outcries over Dahmer’s horrific crimes and in very smart writing, the author successfully complains; where were people when Dahmer needed them? The people include his parents, Lionel and Joyce. Where were the adults who could have guided him instead of shutting him down?

Where was the decency when his classmates bullied him? Why none of his friends at school helped him? He was let down by everyone.

The book confirms and the author indirectly admits that he himself along with his friends made a joke out of him instead of helping him. Derf does admit that he wanted to help Dahmer but couldn’t.

In a way, it is kind of a double standard that Derf somehow blames others but he also belonged to the same kind who didn’t shoulder him.


SCARY BOOK?

The readers are believed to have considered their reading experience of ‘My Friend Dahmer’ to be haunting. Maybe my mental capacity is strong enough to not feel it haunting or scary but I think readers who are not hypersensitive or too soft can read this. Maybe, the reader gets disturbed over looking at the pictures of dead animals especially when Dahmer madly chops a tiny fish or when you look at a mutilated dog carcass. But I reason the book to be less haunting because the book doesn’t illustrate those horrific crimes that Dahmer committed after leaving the school. And my first understanding about the book was that picturing his crimes in broad detailing will be the case but not at all.


ILLUSTRATION

I will especially praise the artwork of the book. Pencilling the black and white drawings reminds me of good old mini comic strips of the old newspapers that used to start someone’s morning with a cup of coffee. With a kind of subject and a dark tone the story settles in, I think this was a perfect idea to keep the presentation this way.

Every picture showing Dahmer mimicking the slurred speech of someone with Cerebral Palsy was so accurately drawn giving the reader an impression that Derf closely observed Dahmer’s mimicking because he acted that way most of the time. It looked like an exaggeration, maybe Derf showed us this strange character of Dahmer that he had no other choice of humor to fun around with ‘friends’ but to stick with the only comical act he got recognition around.

But Derf deserves the praise for establishing a reading impact. After many pictures of that mimicry, the readers come to know that he was actually mimicking his own mother. It was a sad revelation when Dahmer’s mother permanently leaves the house and isolates him when Dahmer’s depression alarms.


A Social Guide to Understand the Cornered People

‘My Friend Dahmer’ is a valuable source of understanding a disturbing teenager. If a student, teacher, or principal of an educational institution reads this book, will surely consider backing or assisting such kids in their lives before they turn into Dahmer.

I will recommend reading ‘My Friend Dahmer’ which has around 270 pages because besides five parts, a preface, a prologue, and an epilogue, that book also contains extra detailing about the making of this book and an explanation about a few important pages and some bonus materials.


CLOSING REMARKS

One valid question that breaks after reading this non-fiction book is, who was responsible for making Dahmer a monster? It is not a mystery but a curiosity. He was not an orphan nor did he lack the necessities of life. He wasn’t poor or belonged to some lower-class background.

His father was a chemist and the family lived in some mid-century modern home standing at nearly 2200 square feet back in 1968.

After watching the Netflix show and then reading this book, I think Dahmer was a society-reject who was canceled by almost everyone for his being visibly odd or awkward. In most cases, people like to generally hang around with those who are jolly, funny, friendly, and very extroverted. And Dahmer carries none of the traits.

No one was interested to understand Dahmer’s problems, not even his own parents because they were busy arguing, abusing, blaming, and fighting with each other. No teacher considered being his psychologist. Backderf and other friends used his mimicking and earned some money. He was cornered by everyone and therefore, the human contact distancing from him broke him and ignited him. An anger that will have scary consequences and will bring fear to society. The madness that he committed is unexplainable but this is how the fever starts, the pain instills. His silence became cancer, he moved on to the path that would turn him into evil. People around him failed him.


READING SOURCE

You can read ‘My Friend Dahmer’ online from here. 

https://readcomiconline.li/Comic/My-Friend-Dahmer/Full?id=56176&readType=1


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TV Review: Dahmer (2022)

Netflix‘s Dahmer is a psychological crime drama based on the true story of the serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer is a limited series of ten episodes that focuses on his crimes, his motives, his victims, and the impact on American society and community, both white and black.

I will say that Dahmer is truly a courageous project pulled by Netflix as the creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan along with the team of writers and directors brought the best outcome of the entire showcasing of the bloody psycho show.

The two words to praise the show’s content and intent will be; disgusting and disturbing. Do I need to explain why I used these two words? I don’t think so. But I must admit that at the halfway mark, I really felt that Dahmer being immensely horrible was tested to limits.

And full marks to Evan Peters who pulled a performance to make you hate him and curse him, I mean Dahmer. The reason I am clarifying this is because on the TV Time app, I observed to my surprise that many voters were criticizing other voters to vote for Evan Peters. Whereas the vote was for the actor, of course not for Dahmer. People really must not be that foolish I swear.

Now the objective of this show was successfully achieved from all aspects. Dahmer’s origins, his childhood, his bullying in school, the parents fighting, the birth of killing instincts, the sexual disorder, the obsession with killing, the show covered everything. And that is the beauty of television that is difficult to achieve in a motion picture.

Dahmer’s parents are worth observation. Dahmer’s mental disturbance was the result of his parent’s fights and divorce. His father was more at fault for exposing him to dead animals on the streets. After Dahmer was arrested, the father realized way too late and he confessed to him in court that he got the same feelings as him. So this torch of madness passed from father to son.

There is a generous need of distinguishing the podium of the significance of the central character. Because the makers here didn’t glorify the serial killer. More than Dahmer being a Milwaukee Cannibal, the show focused on the mental areas of disturbance that caused Dahmer to hurt people.

After Dahmer’s sentencing, the show had two more episodes and perhaps the audience at that point begins to think why further. The reason is that ‘impact’. The writers and makers wanted to show the impact his trial made in America. And it was no joke. The system was rightfully questioned. The law and order, the police, and safety issues were put into question. When Dahmer was committing those brutal crimes, no cop was interested to check him. To my utter surprise, he escaped from getting caught every time before his arrest.

And this is where the sociopolitical agenda strikes the right chords; the injustice with the African-Americans! Superbly dramatizes the double standards of how the Black community was heavily ignored when they complained. Police escorting the 14-year-old kid back to Dahmer’s residence was just insane. The episodes on Tony, Glenda, and Dahmer’s parents were necessary fills.

The ninth and the second-last episode breaks the audience with zero optimism for four reasons. The cops getting awards? Arresting Sandra for breaking a camera? The cops making threatening calls to the victim’s family! And Jeff establishing fanhood!

The world is so sick that people can get inspiration from his killings, become his fans, send him letters, and request his autograph. How will psychopaths like Dahmer not be encouraged? White supremacy is another tragic angle. Three young white boys taking pictures in front of that building with a killing pose? This is the precise problem that needs to be addressed. No wonder how many Dahmers are there in America and other countries.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/DAHMER-Monster-Still-4-Netflix-Publicity-H-2022.jpg?w=1296

Dahmer shows honesty in historical accuracy and distances from sensationalizing. From the technical aspects of filmmaking, the direction is impressive, especially the episodes directed by Jennifer Lynch. The music score of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is gloomy. Besides Evan Peters’ unforgettably sublime performance, Niecy Nash as Glenda and Richard Jenkins as Dahmer’s father were excellent. The latter’s emotional breakdowns were accurate.

Dahmer makes the audience cold like dead meat smoldering with complaints that no one will listen to. It is a sad case that makes you sick and humiliated that there are people like Dahmer who are just one step away to finish you in the worst possible way and destroy your family.

RATINGS = 8.6/10

 


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Film Review: Darlings (2022)

Badrunnisa (Alia Bhatt) and Hamza Shaikh (Vijay Varma) are young lovers. On one of their dates, Hamza surprises her that he is getting the job and will marry her soon. After three years of marriage, Hamza is addicted to drinking which makes him a wife-beater.

Darlings is one of those millions of brown society marital stories where the couples try their best to stretch the bond in the early years of marriage and also believe that once their munna (baby) arrives in this world, he or she will become the blessing and the fights will decrease. And the couples will spend quality time. Alas, the alcohol is strong enough to intoxicate and destroy the marriage.

I am not sure whose idea was it but I opine that Darlings has missed their chance to address a highly sensitive social, domestic, and marital concern – domestic abuse. Instead of utilizing the plot and using the best source of Aliya, Vijay, and Shefali, and nailing a staunch reality into a significant family drama, the makers chose to make Darlings a dramedy.

Most of the methods of cinematic appeal for Darlings is senseless and clueless. The continuity of the screenplay raises a lot of hows and whys. Unimpressive direction proves that the debutant director Jasmeet K Reen is a complete novice.


MINUSES

Let me write you a few of my bullet disagreements:

1. UNDEVELOPED PROCEEDINGS

In scene 1, Hamza breaks the news to Badru about his job and marriage, and hugs. In scene 2, three years later, Hamza beats Badru for a bad dinner. I get it, the makers wanted to send a chill in the audience with this shocking development but where is the impact?

The audience missed three years of unwanted marital decline that caused the downfall of the marriage. Hence, the development of the central characters, their chemistry, and the entire fallout of marital respect that fluctuates between love and rage is absent which makes the proceedings flat. For this factor, I understand that television dramas play a vital role but the films can still highlight a few minutes of my objection above and justify the screenplay.

2. DRAMEDY???

A subject so crucial and sensitive is taken too lightly and irresponsibly that compromises realism. After the death of the child, how can there ever possibly be comedy at all? All the sequences with the police and police station were utter nonsense. The art of lying in Indian films is the fakest of all fakes that I have never understood. And Darlings maintains the tradition of the characters lying to the other and the latter buying it.

3. WHERE IS THE DOMESTIC ABUSE???

A film based on domestic abuse doesn’t have enough much intensity to dramatize the marital violence besides that shocking scene where Hamza lets Badru fall resulting in a miscarriage. On a few occasions, when Hamza is about to beat Badru, the scene shifts towards the salon where the salon lady routinely hears the screaming. Why not dramatize violence and make the audience cold? When Hamza breaks Badru’s finger with a high-heel sandal, the scene doesn’t show the hit but we listen to the cracking sound.

4. PLOTHOLES

In almost every couple of scenes, there is a plothole. Darlings is a directional disaster where most of the scenes raise questions and make no sense. How come not a single neighbor wakes up or shows up spectating Hamza throwing Badru out of the house late at night? How come the hospital didn’t report to the police the domestic violence that resulted in miscarriage. Section 312 in the Indian Penal Code imprisons such for a minimum of three years, and perhaps with a fine also. Why do the mother and daughter plan to torture Hamza for killing the child instead of making a police case against him as they were intending to do earlier until Badru gave him a chance? Why is Zulfi speaking in sign language and making the mother and daughter guess where Hamza is when the police squad is not with them? Again, how come no one spectates in the society that not one but three people are trying to throw Hamza from the terrace?


PLUSES

If there are pluses, that lies only in the performances. Let me brief you on those:

1. ALIA BHATT

The central casting is Darlings’ positive frame. Alia Bhatt’s performance shuts every possible disagreement that she cannot perform. Those who encourage boycotting films because Alia features are fooling themselves. Her existence and presence in the film are one of the major reasons why at 29, she can run the business of her films on her own despite Bollywood being a typical male-oriented film industry. Her emotional fallouts and dramatizing pain and disappointment are always spot on.

2. SHEFALI SHAH

A versatile actress like Shefali knows what true dedication is portraying an important character. Even in her comic stance, Shefali as Badru’s mother makes you forget for a moment that some of her scenes were funny but her funny performance converted into awkwardness while applying method acting. Out of nowhere, she tells the story of a frog and a scorpion. Asks Hamza to keep hitting his head on the wall. But she goes to another parallel when Hamza hits her or when she confesses.

3. VIJAY VARMA

The biggest responsibility of the antagonist is to create hatred for himself/herself and Vijay as Hamza does that. His physical presence is a piece of genuinely bad news for both mother and daughter. And his mental breakdown gives you a precise idea about a violent husband. It was an excellent performance.


CLOSING REMARKS

Darlings surprisingly has met immense respect from the critics and the audience. They all are entitled to their opinion. I firmly believe that Darlings has missed the chance of portraying realism about domestic abuse with a distinction that held a lot of promises due to its quality casting.

RATINGS = 4/10


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