log.nikhil.io

The Rhythm Section (2020) · IMDb · C+

Am a sucker for a good revenge story. This one was very slow and kinda haphazard. But I didn’t think it was bad enough to deserve this:

The film received negative reviews from critics and was a box-office bomb, having the worst wide opening weekend of all-time, the biggest drop in theaters, and is projected to lose Paramount $40 million.

Wikipedia (emphasis mine)

Good grief Basel! Blake Lively put in one of those “triumphant” performances 👏💯🏅

The Outsider (2020) · IMDb · B-

Jason Bateman directed the first few episodes of this show and appears to be on a roll (saw this right after the third season of Ozark.) It was a 10-episode miniseries that was 5 episodes too long. Everything about the antagonist was either laughable or inconsistent. Cynthia Erivo was magnificent as the wicked-smaht and quirky Holly Gibney whose savant-superpowers remained largely unused by the plot.

Vivarium (2019) · IMDb · B+

An entertaining, unsettling, dissatisfying Lovecraftian allegory for suburban life and child-rearing (esp the teenage years.) Dragged on for a bit: I imagine it would’ve worked great as a Black Mirror episode. Jonathan Aris and Senan Jennings were supremely creepy and magnificent and perfectly cast for their roles 🙌

Tanhaji - The Unsung Warrior (2020) · IMDb · C+

Another jingoistic saffron shitshow a la “Padmaavat1. Quite the visual spectacle: like walking through a racist and revisionist Amar Chitra Katha. Saif Ali Khan’s Uday Bhan is the only interesting character. Of noble Rajput blood, he succumbs to eating crocodile meat, sexual assault (of chaste Hindu women who need protection), comical levels of bloodlust, a fuckton of kohl, and villainous-looking sartorial choices.

Because that’s what hanging out with evil Muslim foreigners will do to you 🤷‍♂️

Prof. Ruchika Sharma’s take on its historicity is worth reading for these things called ‘facts’ your WhatsApp relatives won’t appreciate. ProTip ✨: Please don’t make the mistake of suggesting that the “India” depicted in the movie did not exist until independence, three centuries later #swaraj

Arundhati (2009) · IMDb · C

“Hey Sonu, we’re gonna need you to do some PCP before you show up to the set. Certainly before the dubbing. Go for that Nandi bro.”

Sayaji Shinde as Anwar was the MVP. Ode to The Exorcist and The Ring.

The Foreigner (2017) · IMDb · C

Ireland. Liam. Mick. Belfast. Mary. IRA. Patrick. Belfast. Liam Hennessy. Sean. Sinn Féin. “You should try a real whiskey. Two Jamesons, Single Malt.” Belfast. Belfast.

Also Jackie Chan. But watch for Orla Brady 🇮🇪

21 Bridges (2019) · IMDb · C+

About as predictable as it gets. Chadwick Boseman is excellent.

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019) · IMDb · A

Saw with PLG. Plan on doing things around the house to the soundtrack. When they hand him his second Oscar, DiCaprio should just stare at the glitterati, play the trailer scene, and walk away 💯 🙏 🙌

There Will Be Blood (2007) · IMDb · A+

Finally saw this with PLG. Daniel Day-Lewis’ best performance IMO. Astounding, really.

Mr. Day-Lewis’s outsize performance, with its footnote references to Huston and strange, contorted Kabuki-like grimaces, occasionally breaks the skin of the film’s surface like a dangerous undertow. The actor seems to have invaded Plainview’s every atom, filling an otherwise empty vessel with so much rage and purpose you wait for him to blow. It’s a thrilling performance, among the greatest I’ve seen, purposefully alienating and brilliantly located at the juncture between cinematic realism and theatrical spectacle.

– Manohla Dargis “An American Primitive, Forged in a Crucible of Blood and Oil

Paul Dano is great as an ageless vampire-pastor 😑 The excellent soundtrack was written by Jonny Greenwood (!) and features works by Arvo Pärt and Brahms.

Bad Genius (2017) · IMDb · A-

Slow start but gets pretty exciting towards the end. I couldn’t wait for Lynn to rid herself of her parasitic friends (especially the cloying Grace, played to perfection by Eisaya Hosuwan.) Cheating on standardized tests is big business in India and China. The Atlantic has a relatively recent article on the phenomenon.

The usual commentary on class and meritocracy. Lots of love for Boston University.

The Irishman (2019) · IMDb · A

The last 15 minutes are the best depiction of old age, loneliness, and isolation I’ve ever seen committed to film. Two masters at their very best.

I love all the memes about its length but (a) the pacing was brilliant and (b) I am someone who grew up watching 200-minute family-values extravaganzas and can take it. Still.

Need to read up more on the de-aging process they used in the film.

Midsommar (2019) · IMDb · B+

Moody and plenty gruesome. Got tired of the commune’s many ‘rituals’. Florence Pugh is 💯, as is the creepy-ass soundtrack. Learned about senicide. First half is a bit of a slow burn like “Hereditary”.

Game Over (2019) · IMDb · B+

Entertaining, very nicely done, two-hour long desi “Black Mirror” episode1. Taapsee Pannu was 💯. You will want to hug Vinodhini Vaidynathan’s character. Saw with Deepu and we wondered what makes Tamil directors so good at this genre.

  1. “Presented” by Anurag Kashyap. Not sure what that means. ↩︎

Article 15 (2019) · IMDb · A-

A wafer-thin afterthought of a plot undergirds an important and harrowing commentary on the history, pervasiveness, and evil of the caste system in India.

Excellent cinematography and performances by Ayushmann Khurrana, Kumud Mishra as Jatav, and Sushil Pandey as Nihal Singh.

Baghban (2003) · IMDb · F

Jaspreet Singh on the awful abandonment fantasy beloved by desi parents (starts around 1:10.) Here’s the entire shitshow of a movie.

Yakeen maan-na, Baghban dekhne se pehle mujhe idea bhi nahin aaya tha ki maa-baap ko nikaala bhi jaa sakta hai.

Manmarziyaan (2018) · IMDb · B+

Watched with Paaji. Third Anurag Kashyap and Amit Trivedi film. Superb. Maybe a little too drawn out at times (gotta fit in all 14 tracks of that sweet Trivedi score) and was dismayingly Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam-predictable towards the end.

Gray Waala Shade” (with the accompanying opening scenes) is a magnificent song12.

  1. Yes, yes, “Daryaa” too. ↩︎

  2. Kashyap saw Poonam and Priyanka Shah on this viral Bharatnatyam video before asking them to be part of the movie. ↩︎

Hellboy (2019) (2019) · IMDb · D

Why?

This travesty should make it very clear that Guillermo del Toro loves and paints his monsters better than anyone else in the business.

Aziz Ansari: Right Now (2019) · IMDb · B+

Reminded me of Dave Chappelle’s intimate and heartfelt Bird Revelation. Spike Jonze directed this one. You won’t be missed, RAAAAAAAANDY.

Romeo Akbar Walter (2019) · IMDb · C

Completely predictable plot and twists, ridiculous ending, cookiecutter songs (features the laziest, dullest, ‘You composed it the day before it was due didn’t you?’ qawwali I’ve ever heard.)

Fantastic cinematography. Sikander Kher is great. Got a lot of digital errands done whilst watching it, so there’s that.

Chernobyl (2019) · IMDb · A+

On Post-Truth

What is the cost of lies? It’s not that we’ll mistake them for the truth. The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all. What can we do then? What else is left but to abandon even the hope of truth and content ourselves instead with stories? In these stories, it doesn’t matter who the heroes are.

But it is still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid. That is how an RBMK reactor core explodes. Lies.

To be a scientist is to be naive. We are so focused on our search for truth, we fail to consider how few actually want us to find it. But it is always there, whether we see it or not, whether we choose to or not. The truth doesn’t care about our needs or wants. It doesn’t care about our governments, our ideologies, our religions. It will lie in wait for all time. And this, at last, is the gift of Chernobyl.

Where I once would fear the cost of truth, now I only ask: What is the cost of lies?

And: What would happen were you to ingest a grain-sized piece of the Reactor No. 4’s core today:

If you ate this fuel chip, not much of it would likely dissolve in your gut; the matrix is UO2, and U(IV) Oxide is poorly soluble even in the acid environment of the gut. But let’s say it did dissolve completely and got metabolized. You’d be committing yourself to about 20 mSv (2 rem) from Cs-137, and probably a similar dose from Sr-90. Basically, if you were a radiation worker in the USA, your annual dose limit of 5 rem would be met. In many countries and facilities, you would exceed annual allowances.

Killing Eve - Season 1 (2018) · IMDb · A

My new favorite show. Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are 💯💯💯. The best soundtrack to a TV show I’ve heard in years (Hannibal being my absolute favorite.) Via KC.

Us (2019) · IMDb · A

Excellent stuff again from Jordan Peele. Thought the first half was about slavery and lost identity. Wisecrack has a great video on the movie’s various interpretations.

Holmes & Watson (2018) · IMDb · F

Watched because “Sherlock Holmes.” An awful, unnecessary, ghastly shitshow.

A Vigilante (2018) · IMDb · B+

The first two-thirds are brilliant. As for Olivia Wilde and her riveting performance:

[. . .] it’s still good to see a cunning and capable actress rise above her usual projects, such as stupid fodder like Tron or Cowboys and Aliens, or labels like “Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity of 2010.”

After Enough and five Death Wish movies, the revenge genre is not without its recurring clichés, many of which get defrosted and microwaved again in A Vigilante. The point, if there is one, is that “heinous criminal felonies are acceptable if they are justified by a woman driven beyond the limits of reason.” As one battered wife says, “Every graveyard is full of people who didn’t make it.” The same is true of old movies gathering dust in Hollywood film vaults.

– Rex Reed, Olivia Wilde Goes Full Charles Bronson in the Brutal Revenge Thriller ‘A Vigilante’

Destroyer (2018) · IMDb · B+

A bit tedious. Nicole Kidman is 💯