Following on from my previous movie summaries, this is my April 2023 review. Overall, I watched 22 new movies this month, taking the total for the year to 98!
I headed to the cinema to see the latest “gun-fu” John Wick entry. Starring Keanu Reeves as the infamous assassin, he's again fighting to survive as the bounty on his head is increased. The cinematography is stunning, with rich colours and thumbing scenes. However, the first half becomes a little repetitive, with the escape in Japan especially so. This stuntman-lead series comes to a conclusion with a movie that has a runtime an hour longer than the original movie and it suffers from it a little. Some inventive scenes push the boundaries of the genre, with the top-down single-take being a standout. This is the strongest entry since the first movie and might be a fitting conclusion.
I started the month off with a few Indian “Bollywood” movies.
A fictitious story about two legendary revolutionaries and their journey away from home before they started fighting for their country in the 1920s.
An Action Hero
Youth Icon. Superstar. Action Hero. At the age of just 30, Maanav was at the peak of his career when he got caught up in an accident while filming.
An unusual event creates lightning which in turn gives superhuman abilities to an ambitious tailor, who now must protect his home village from evil plans.
First up was RRR which is a three-hour epic that has received a lot of buzz recently. This was available on Netflix but strangely not with the original audio, so I was forced to watch a dubbed version. I watched a non-English variant, as to keep some authenticity to the original. The action is incredible, with amazing set pieces and over-the-top sequences. You follow two people on opposite sides of a revolution, how their stories cross paths and their fate intertwines, leading to them being more in common than initially thought. It's bright and fun, with big action, but it also has some very dark moments and difficult themes. The final third makes you reassess everything that has come before, with reveals and even more outrageous action.
An Action Hero follows a Bollywood star who flees to the UK after the death following an altercation. He's followed by people who want him dead and he must use the skills he learned as an action-hero actor to evade those in pursuit. It's a fun out-of-their-depth movie, with inventive set pieces in non-glamourous parts of England. There are a lot of murky moral issues throughout but shows the depths people will go through to maintain their freedom.
Minnal Murali is a modern superhero movie that focuses on two people who unexpectedly gain powers and how that affects them personally and what they choose to do with them. Of course, there is a villain, but it's more complicated than your usual modern Hollywood affair. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the English-based superhero movies that have dominated the market over the last twenty years.
Best of the Month
After becoming the prime suspect in multiple murders, Fletch strives to prove his innocence while also searching for a stolen art collection.
Motivations are suspect and expectations are turned into chaos, as a con artist takes on Manhattan billionaires.
Two youngsters reeling from bad breakups who connect over an eventful day in South London.
Riders of Justice
A man returns home to care for his daughter when his wife dies in a tragic train accident. However, a survivor of the wreck surfaces and claims foul play.
Jon Hamm stars as Fletch in Confess, Fletch, a surprisingly fun detective movie. A remake based on a book from the 1970s, this follows an aloof former detective who becomes the chief suspect in a murder and a plot to find his girlfriend's family's stolen artwork. I loved the whole vibe, the quips and the confidence in how he nonchalantly escapes his police tail with arrogance but in a playful way. The characters and story are very clever and the screenplay moves briskly.
Sharper is a multi-layered movie with intertwined stories, characters and motivations. The introduction seems like a lovely rom-com until things fall apart. The heart of the movie is about con people, their cold hearts and motives and it's done in a fun way, with intrigue and a satisfying conclusion.
Rye Lane follows the blossoming new friendship of two charming Londoners. After overhearing a young man crying, a woman offers her enthusiastic support. They talk and walk around London, each providing comfort to the other's problems. It reminds me of Before Sunset, but with a modern and youthful inner-city edge. There are wonderful characters, fun capers and charming conversations wrapped with a distinctive filming style and locations.
Riders of Justice is a Danish movie starring the ever-dependable Mads Mikkelsen. After his wife dies in a train accident, a bunch of oddballs show up to explain how the death wasn't an accident. They form an unlikely friendship and through grief and arrogance plan a mission to carry out their own justice. This is a dark and violent movie about how revenge and can be all consuming, but it has such a fun tone that reminded me of Tarantino movies.