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Neerja, Spotlight engaging biopic films of this week

Two zombie flicks, Hollywood's 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' and Tamil 'Miruthan', not up to the mark

Sonam Kapoor in a still from ‘Neerja’.<br />
Sonam Kapoor in a still from ‘Neerja’.

NEW DELHI : New Delhi: Sonam Kapoor-starrer Neerja is a biopic directed by Ram Madhvani on flight attendant Neerja Bhanot, who saved several lives on a flight hijacked in 1986. Gulf News calls it an engaging tale of extraordinary bravery and honour. Madhvani deserves credit for not over-dramatizing things to extract empathy. Apart from the one flaw of not delving into the terrorists’ psyche adequately, the performances are superlative, especially Shabana Azmi, who plays Bhanot’s mother. Read more here agrees it’s a compelling watch and a story that deserves to be told. Every moment is crucial and Madhvani doesn’t let go off the viewer’s attention for even a minute. While Azmi is a stellar act, Kapoor’s casting is rather unfortunate. She looks sincere but misses the beat several times, reducing Neerja’s heroism into a lesson in bad acting. Read more here

Romantic comedy Direct Ishq, starring Rajneesh Duggal and Nidhi Subbaiah and directed by Rajiv S. Ruia, makes for tedious viewing with its predictable screenplay and mediocre performances, says NDTV Movies. The director seems to lack focus and has tried to borrow from many stereotypical small town-esque films ending up with a complete eyesore of a movie. Read more here

Romantic film Loveshhuda, featuring Girish Kumar and Navneet Kaur Dhillon and directed by Vaibhav Misra, is old wine in a new bottle with a terrible aftertaste, says Bollywood Life. The plot drags predictably and several sequences make no sense. The reviewer suggests you don’t watch this one unless you really have to. Read more here

For Hollywood fans, Oscar-nominated Spotlight, a biographical drama on The Boston Globe’s investigative unit, comes to India this week. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and John Slattery and is directed by Tom McCarthy. Rolling Stone says the steadily riveting and quietly devastating take on investigative journalism is the best film about reporting since All the President’s Men. The script is richly detailed and the actors could not be better or more fully committed. Read more here

The New York Times calls it a gripping detective story and a superlative newsroom drama, a solid procedural that tries to confront evil without sensationalism. Celebrating a specific professional accomplishment and beautifully capturing the professional ethos of journalism, McCarthy and his superb cast generate plenty of suspense and keep the audience engaged even though the outcome of the story is known. Read more here

The Mint review agrees it’s one of the best recent films about journalism.

British-American action comedy horror film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, starring Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston and Bella Heathcote and directed by Burr Steers, is tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt audiences, says Variety magazine. The camera does not move over scenes of zombie mayhem in a masterly manner, the tonal progressions are rapid and the film comes off as awkward and unsatisfying. Read more here

The Guardian calls it “a laborious single-joke movie” that ends up feeling unearned, charmless and pointless. The Pride and Prejudice spoof seems more anti-fan-fiction that’s laughing at Jane Austen instead of with her. Read more here

In the south, Tamil action horror film Miruthan, directed by Shakti Soundar Rajan and starring Jayam Ravi and Lakshmi Menon, is a zombie flick that engages in the first half but drags in the second, says Filmi Beat. The performances are convincing but the technicalities are far from brilliant. Read more here

Marathi drama Mr. & Mrs. Sadachari, starring Vaibhav Tatwawdi and Prarthana Behere and directed by Ashish Wagh is a remake of a south Indian film that doesn’t work at a fundamental level for Marathi audiences, says Pune Mirror. The first half goes nowhere, the characters and plot hold no surprises and the otherwise reliable lead pair can’t do much to make things better. Read more here

Several releases this week haven’t received any reviews yet. These include Hindi romantic films Ishq Forever and Rhythm; Tamil films Navarasa Thilagam and Sethupathi; Telugu movies Malupu and Krishnashtmi; director Khais Millen’s Malayalam film Akashvani; Kannada romantic film U the End A; Marathi film Ek Hoti Rani, starring Aniket Vishvasrao, Meenal Ghorpade and Uday Tikekar and directed by Prasad Tarkar; and Bengali film Dark Chocolate based on the Sheena Bohra murder case, directed by Agnidev Chatterjee and starring Mahima Chaudhry and Riya Sen.

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