Marcus visits (updated) | SATYAMSHOT

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Finally seen Article 370. I loved! Not as much as I liked Uri, but for me it was a much better movie viewing experience than my recent outings of Dune 2 or Laapataa Ladies. They did this with just 20 cr production budget. Bravo!

Aditya Dhar wrote and directed Uri and found a huge fan following in me. Since then, I was disappointed that he wasn't directing (and was stuck trying to raise enough funds for his dream sci-fi epic). Meanwhile, he founded his production company; He wrote and produced Article 370, a valuable continuation of Uri in many ways. He has also written two more small-budget films for his production company, which are scheduled for release and will then direct Ranveer in his next spy thriller starting mid-year. Good course!

Arriving to Article 370, relies heavily on the two female leads. Yami Gautam is the surprise package here: she looks good and is more than tolerable with her acting skills. Quite a revelation! Perhaps the best thing she's ever done is marry Dhar, and the duo is quite dynamic (first a supporting act in Uri and now a more substantial Article 370 for her).

The film is perhaps a one-sided history of the current government's act of repealing Article 370, told primarily from the perspective that it is abused for everyone in the indefinitely long status quo of special provisions and thwarting all peace efforts; in addition to being a major security problem in the conflict state. They are quite brazen in their stance (not a bad thing since they have a clear point of view and don't make a confusing effort to please everyone).

The first half was pretty impressive; but the second half is even better. It addresses the implementation of the act in a quite cinematically effective way.

The deed has the seal of Dhar signature. How can he not make a film that refers a lot to Pulwama and is about taking down the main in charge? In that way, it's a good follow-up to Uri; but in an unexpected suspense and political action film. We can leave people like idiot Anand and dancer Roshan to make a film about air strikes (subtly hinted at here). Dhar takes a more local and grounded view of that incident.

Aditya Dhar is definitely a guy to watch out for. He is a symbol of the new, dynamic and restless blood that a stagnant industry like Bollywood so badly needs.

And it has deservedly delivered the first Blockbuster of 2024. Keep going!

Rating: a solid 7.5/10. I will definitely watch it again before it leaves theaters. I'm glad it's doing well at the box office.

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Noticed Ladies Laapata. The first half was quite enjoyable with some sweet (not caustic) mockery of our society, mainly regarding gender discrimination. The story flows with good acting, delivered evenly by all the unknown leads and supporting actors.

The second half is a bit long (needs to be shortened by 15-20 minutes) and becomes tiring when the teasing is replaced by gyaan.

Kiran and Aamir had good intentions here, but the execution is lacking to some extent. The second part had to be much more interesting. The script in general needed a lot more work.

The rural cinematography is fine and pleasant. The background music and songs are also enjoyable and effective within the narrative.

But Aamir needs a reinvention now. This is a story set in 2001 (KNPH and Dhadkan's handmade posters make me laugh). And it should have been done at least 10 or 12 years ago. So perhaps audiences would have been more interested in seeing it in theaters.

I said during the LSC that Aamir is facing a crisis with serious brand erosion. The trailer and the film stood out with Aamir's worst performance in decades. And now mediocrity in Laapataa Ladies or Pritam Pyare will not be the way back to resurgence. The warning signs are clear: SZP has to be really brilliant to even spark public interest.

Anyway, Laapataa Ladies is an absolute box office embarrassment and should have been released directly on Netflix. If Aamir wanted this to work, then he had to convince Kiran to cast him in the supporting role of the cop (Ravi Kishen is also very good here, but lacks face value). Aamir's casting may have made this a box office winner.

But I think it will gain some traction when it comes out on Netflix (and it sure won't be long!).

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Noticed Dune 2. It was as she expected: not bad, but not fantastic either. Denise is an overrated director (mainly due to the lack of good directing talent in her generation) and critics are hyperventilating about Dune 2.

I'll take the first movie about this any day, although there's a lot more going on in this one. Denise is a temperamental, slow-moving director with a penchant for the visual rather than the narrative. She really doesn't understand the comparisons to Nolan. Nolan is his superior in every department of filmmaking, except perhaps cinematography, where they can be equals. Oppenheimer was a far superior film. And Hans Zimmer is truly a phenomenon!
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Also seen again Dune 1 in IMAX format (I had missed seeing it on the big screen when it was released during Covid). It wasn't as impressive as it was the first time. We hope Dune 2 turns out much better!

My evaluations upon revisiting them:

Dune – 6.5/10

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I caught up with oppenheimer once again in theaters last week after its re-release (after 7 months).

I loved it as much as before. I have to say, this is Nolan playing for the gallery, not just his cult following. In the form of a biopic wrapped in physics and the Manhattan Project, it basically explores universal emotions like guilt and other basic human natures (aside from political betrayal and drama) in a widely acceptable way.

This may not be his best movie, but it's definitely in the top 3 or 5. The encore in the current awards season is well deserved. Quite a few wins are expected at the BAFTAs and the Oscars now: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (RDJ), Best Score, Best Cinematography and Best Editing, without a doubt.

Overall, it is very well made and a well made film.
Oppenheimer – 8.5/10

This entry was posted on March 16, 2024 at 1:00 pm and is filed under Continuation, Notes, reviews, the good stuff with tags marcus. You can follow any responses to this entry via the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a reply. Pinging is currently not allowed.