Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017)

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Movie Review

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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Movie Review

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is a 2017 Indian epic fantasy action film directed by S. S. Rajamouli. It is a pretty good, very entertaining conclusion to this franchise.

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This is my word!

My word is my law!

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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Movie Review

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Now I really liked the first film and this one is not quite as good as its predecessor. It is again a very good blockbuster, but I thought the first one was more entertaining and tonally diverse. This film has its tonal differences, but whenever they threw in comedy and intrigue, they did that to much lesser results. Some of the dialogue was ridiculous.

Baahubali is again a standout character as is Devasena who was much better in the first half than later on. Most of the acting is very good, but some of it felt weak. The story is serviceable. Some of the plot lines were silly and too sappy, but some were actually quite interesting.

But Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is better watched as a spectacle than for storytelling purposes. At least it has solid characters, quite memorable personalities and it is moving and sweet at times and never as cold as this type of film could have easily been.

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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Movie Review

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The visuals here are absolutely fantastic. Indian cinema truly has grown in these last couple of years and they now can make blockbusters as impactful as their American counterparts. And actually I would say that in terms of epic scale, fun and world building, they are much better than most American blockbusters.

The scale truly is epic and this world is huge and so well explored. The film has a lot of highly memorable imagery and tremendous set pieces. It looks colorful, wonderful to watch and above all exceedingly fun and exciting. The special effects truly are amazing as most of the film looked so polished that I could not see the CGI in there. The costumes and the interiors looked superb as well.

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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Movie Review

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The pacing of course could have been better as the film is once again very long and messy. It isn’t boring as it is very entertaining, but it could have been shorter in some areas. The romance was unfortunately lacking this time around, but the soundtrack is mostly pretty solid, if far from great. I found the action very silly at times, but as entertaining as US superhero flicks. Some of the action scenes are just such a lot of fun that I could not resist but to enjoy them.

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion is not quite as good as its predecessor with a somewhat weak storyline, but the film is visually dazzling to behold with great costumes, interiors and phenomenal set pieces and special effects. Colorful and exciting, it is also exhilarating, though silly in its action and it thus succeeds as a pretty good conclusion to this story. But above all else, both of these films are very enjoyable as they are incredibly epic in scope and world building and in that aspect are much better than most American blockbusters.

My Rating – 4

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The World of Apu (1959)

The World of Apu Movie Review

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The World of Apu Movie Review

The World of Apu is a 1959 Bengali drama film directed by Satyajit Ray. It is a pretty solid conclusion to this trilogy.

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What do you know about love?

You’ve never been within ten yards of a girl!

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The World of Apu Movie Review

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I actually really liked this final entry. It isn’t on par with ‘Pather Panchali’ but it’s definitely much better than ‘Aparajito’. That is because it is much more interesting in its plot. Where previously it was standard, this one is actually quite memorable and not all that cliched.

To me the film lacks focus and that could have easily been fixed with shorter running time and quicker pace. A lot of stuff goes on here and the most inspired and interesting plot points are in the second half with the first half being uninteresting, at least to me.

The film is well directed by Ray, but not greatly directed. Again the pacing is ridiculously slow and the movie is frequently quite boring. The dialogue is solid and the acting is pretty strong, but the character development needed to have been stronger to pull off its more character-driven, simpler and emotional dramatic approach.

The World of Apu actually features a very interesting second half. I loved the exploration of India and those scenes were amazing, but the scenes with Apu’s son are great. I found his eventually successful marriage problematic as it sends a somewhat problematic message for Indians and his wife needed more screen time, but the ending itself is undeniably beautiful in the father-son reunion.

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The World of Apu Movie Review

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The film is actually much more cinematic than both of its predecessors and in that area it trumps them by large and finally becomes big screen worthy. I loved the scenery of India and its various landscapes are gorgeous to watch. The score is good, but the cinematography is strikingly terrific and definitely the artistic height of the entire picture.

The World of Apu is a pretty good conclusion to this trilogy with a flawed, less interesting and slow first half, but pretty memorable, frequently wonderful second half with such a beautiful ending. It is much better than its predecessor thanks to a much more interesting plot plus the film is unexpectedly cinematic with terrific cinematography providing us many gorgeous shots of the country.

My Rating – 4

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Aparajito (1956)

Aparajito Movie Review

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Aparajito Movie Review

Aparajito is a 1956 Bengali film directed by Satyajit Ray. It is a weaker film than its much more memorable predecessor.

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Why don’t you answer me… Apu!

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Aparajito Movie Review

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As a sequel, Aparajito succeeds as it follows Apu’s further story and this time around it is about his college years and young life. The only thing I absolutely loved here is his relationship with his mother. She behaves badly toward him and resents him the decision to go to college and that is very believable and sadly real as it is incredibly sad for parents to see their children grow up and leave them. I loved that aspect.

However, everything else is really uninspired and the movie almost feels like a biopic which is obviously because it contains autobiographical elements from the director himself. Now I do realize that this approach must have been new and original back in 1956, but today it is utterly forgettable.

It movies like such an ordinary biopic and at such a once again excruciatingly slow pace that it ends up being another total bore. But whereas ‘Pather Panchali’ had that sense of importance and learning of foreign culture to it, this one applies to every single country and is thus not as urgent.

The acting is pretty good, but the characterization is once again weak. I liked the mother and she is well developed, but Apu is again forgettable and entirely bland. The others serve little purpose to the story so they are not worth mentioning at all.

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Aparajito Movie Review

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Aparajito is technically weaker than the original film. It is well made, do not get me wrong, but it is just far from fantastic and is just passable. The cinematography is okay, but certainly far from great. The acting is good, but the direction should have been better and the pacing is bad. It is so slow, uninvolving and the film did not need two hours for this story. Certainly it has its very interesting moments, but it mostly bored me.

Aparajito is weaker than its predecessor because it doesn’t feel as important. The relationship between mother and son is excellent and some of their scenes are truly touching, but the film is almost too universal in its story and too much like a biopic. It is slow, uninvolving and typical in terms of storytelling.

My Rating – 3.5

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Pather Panchali (1955)

Pather Panchali Movie Review

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Pather Panchali Movie Review

Pather Panchali is a Bengali drama film directed by Satyajit Ray. It is regularly cited as one of the best films of all time. In my opinion, it is quite good, but far from great.

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Can’t an old woman have wishes too?

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Pather Panchali Movie Review

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The film basically depicts the harsh village life of one Bengali poor family during the 1910s. So the movie is definitely an important viewing for those unfamiliar with Third World suffering. I was familiar, but I certainly needed a reminder and the movie did that job really well. It succeeds as a very strong, moving drama that should prove relatable to anyone living in poor conditions or in a small village.

The characterization is solid, but definitely not great. That is fine as the film relied on storytelling and atmosphere more, but I still wanted more memorable characters. Harihar should have received more screen time, Sarbajaya is memorable as well as Durga but Apu is entirely underutilized and forgettable as the protagonist. Indir as this very old aunt is the highlight as her suffering is the most heartbreaking in the movie.

Pather Panchali is technically effective. Satyajit Ray’s direction is definitely superb, especially for a first-time director. It is confident and he showed evident talent for storytelling and social commentary. The same goes for the acting. These are for the most part amateur actors but you don’t see that as everybody did a really good job in their roles which is commendable. They also seemed like real people.

It is also gorgeously shot and scored. I loved its cinematography and the imagery of their village, the dilapidated houses as well as the forest was excellent and it transported you to its time period and setting remarkably well. The score is also fittingly Indian and classical in its tone with the use of more instruments than one which added some variety to the whole experience.

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Pather Panchali Movie Review

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Pather Panchali is in my opinion overly slow and that is its biggest detractor. Some of the final scenes tended to veer too much into melodrama, but overall the emotional connection was there and the film succeeded in terms of plot and characterization. But it is just too slow, especially in some of its middle parts and those dragged the entire film unfortunately. It needed more drama and momentum.

Pather Panchali is overly slow, especially in its middle parts, and thus it is not fantastic in my opinion. But still it is a moving, important look at Indian poverty with some quite heartbreaking moments, very good acting, confident direction and particularly effective cinematography and score which transport you to its time period and setting remarkably well.

My Rating – 4

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Monsoon Wedding (2001)

Monsoon Wedding Movie Review…………………………………………………

Monsoon Wedding Movie Review

Monsoon Wedding is a 2001 Indian film directed by Mira Nair. It is a pretty good, but still flawed movie that could have been much better.

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These are my children,

and I will protect them from myself even if I have to

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Monsoon Wedding Movie Review…………………………………………………

We follow an Indian wedding in New Delhi and all its traditions as the cousins from all around the world come to attend it. I liked that the film realistically portrayed one Indian wedding and everything that comes with it. It was well executed and the film works as a strong, sometimes even emotional drama. There are some discussions and conversations that are so good here.

However, what I didn’t like is the film’s lack of focus. Having in mind that it has such a large number of characters in it, I guess I should forgive them for that. But still I wished for a clearer and more focused narrative. For example, the sexual abuse that happened in this family came out of nowhere and although it does have its tragic effect, it was still thoroughly underutilized and needed much more screen time just for itself.

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Monsoon Wedding Movie Review…………………………………………………

As for the characters, they are mostly really well developed for the short time that they received. I loved the parents, they are the most memorable and well realized of the bunch and the scenes between the two were very strong. Of course everything surrounding the marriage with the daughter was also well executed. But everything with the wedding planner was frustrating to me as he is such an annoying, pointless character and I disliked that part quite a bit.

Monsoon Wedding isn’t an Indian film, but it is a coproduction between different countries and that is evident in its execution and tone. The film is certainly very Indian in the wedding scenes and especially in the music as it utilized on their traditional music and dances, but it is quite American in its characterization and especially in the dialogue which contains more curse words than you would expect from India and its erotic sequences and talk about sex and abuse.

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Monsoon Wedding Movie Review…………………………………………………

It is very well directed by Mira Nair and is so well acted. The acting is strong across the board with each and every performance being satisfactory. The script is also pretty strong and I liked that it dealt with a lot of different things such as arranged marriage, the costs of a traditional marriage, the future of the children as well as sexual abuse. The film works as a pretty solid and sophisticated examination of its subject matter and I guess that it is immensely relatable to Indians in particular. But it still feels universal enough in its themes and emotion that everyone from all around the world should enjoy it like I did. Some scenes were even touching and romantic. Overall, I really liked Monsoon Wedding, but I just wished that it was less convoluted, more focused and it would have been much better. Some scenes were also too laidback owing to its slow pace.

Monsoon Wedding executes its subject matter really well with a strong script filled with many interesting themes. The performances are very good across the board and most of the characters are well realized. The film definitely lacks focus and is filled with too many characters and subplots, but it mostly managed to make use of them all with some scenes being quite emotional and powerful and the overall film being very dramatic and ultimately satisfactory.

My Rating – 4

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Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)

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Baahubali: The Beginning Movie Review

Baahubali: The Beginning is a 2015 Indian historical fantasy action film directed by S. S. Rajamouli and starring Prabhas. It is one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time and it truly is such a fun, charming experience.

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Maahishmati, breathe peacefully.

My son has come! Baahubali has returned!

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The story itself is quite fascinating and although it is a typical story seen countless times, it is still infused with trademark Indian qualities which make it fresh and unique. I really found the first act a bit too difficult to comprehend as the action and the overall storyline wasn’t properly explained. But it got better in the second and third act and the plot became much more engaging and much better realized.

The characters are all solid, but could and definitely should have been better developed. The protagonist is too typical, but I really found Avanthika to be such a great and likable character who is also such a strong female character. And all of the women here are so well realized which was a surprise as they were better developed and certainly more interesting than their male counterparts.

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As is the case with Indian films, this one also has a distinct style which is achieved by a lot of singing and very big tonal shifts that happen quite often. And while that can be distracting and it does take its time to get there and for you to get used to it, I still liked it in the end as it provided many new flavors to this story.

First, let’s talk about the war and action aspects of the story. Yes, the end battle is most certainly extended beyond any reasonable running time, but it is still epic and so entertaining. The action sequences are phenomenal in Baahubali as they are not only well choreographed, but also at times inventive and immensely engaging. Every fight sequence is great here with the sword fights being so well executed. And the camera movements are great, letting you see everything properly. That definitely helps the movie a lot.

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Next up is the romance. I loved it! Yes, I found that aspect to be the best here which was really unexpected for me. It is simply magical and the whole movie is like that, but the romance at the center of the story is so well done that you wish that there were more of it. The highlight for me was the moment where he exposes her feminine side in a scene that is undoubtedly the best and most memorable one in the entire film. That sequence is accompanied by a song that isn’t annoying for once, it is visually astounding, even poetic and above all very erotic, but wonderfully so as it isn’t overly sexual, but sensual and energetic and done just right.

But the musical elements unfortunately did not work for me as I found the music annoying and not accompanying the scenery or the time period properly as it was too modern and too fast. But the songs are just very annoying and not one of them is particularly memorable or distinguishing itself from the rest of the pack. The musical aspect was the weakest one here.

Baahubali: The Beginning is technically astonishing. The visual effects are just amazing and the kind of effects that I adore. It always looks bright and colorful and it’s always polished and looks great. The scenery is mesmerizing with many breathtaking shots that just never seized to amaze me. The waterfalls, the caves, the nature, the clothes and everything here is so bright and detailed and just beautiful to look at. The score is also really good and the tone is in the end quite solid for an Indian film.

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The dialogue could have been better, but the direction is great and the pacing is excellent with the appropriate amount of running time as the movie is truly epic in scope and possesses terrific world-building. It is emotional at times, but not as much as I expected it to be. But the imagination is evident and I just loved this world. The humor is also there and although the movie can be at times too silly with its ridiculous action scenarios, it was still incredibly entertaining and just so effervescent from start to finish. And it is also memorable and authentic and so epic that it eventually trumps its still very good successor.

Baahubali: The Beginning has weaker musical elements, the characterization could have been better and is at times too silly, but it has absolutely amazing mix of superbly executed and entertaining action and wonderful romance with a couple of truly poetic scenes. It is also unforgettable, authentic, so imaginative and filled with terrific special effects, mesmerizing imagery, beautiful score and it is just so engaging and so charming from beginning to end.

My Rating – 4

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