So you wanna watch something…
The Batman: The Robert Pattinson reboot is finally out—and the reviews are in! There is no origin story in this do-over. The movie kicks off with Batman already dishing out vigilante justice—only to be confronted by The Riddler (Paul Dano). Throw in Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), the Penguin (Colin Farrell), loyal butler Alfred (Andy Serkis) and an epic car chase involving the snazzy Batmobile—and you have the makings of a blockbuster.
Hollywood Reporter calls it an “intricately plotted detective story” that is rendered as a “soulful nocturne of corruption and chaos”—with plenty of thrills but very few laughs. Variety says the movie is “darker than ‘The Dark Knight’, deadlier than ‘No Time to Die’ and longer than ‘Dune’”—praising it as “a meaty, full-course crime saga that blends elements of the classic gangster film with cutting-edge commentary about challenges facing the modern world.” Releases in theatres today.
Jhund: A new Amitabh Bachhan movie is a bit of hit-or-miss. This one is based on the inspirational real-life story of Vijay Barse who founded Slum Soccer which uses sport to help slum kids. And the storyline is predictable: a retired professor mentors a team of poor children and turns them into stars—teaching them life lessons along the way. But the mood and narrative style is “a hybrid of fictionalised reality, realistic storytelling, a deeply observational mode and a documentary-like flavour.” So don’t be expecting another ‘Chak De’.
The reviews are mixed—though all praise its portrayal of the Dalit children and their milieu. Indian Express says it is “an overlong meander, its sporadically alive moments doused in the most generic beats of the sports-as-upliftment movie.” Quint, OTOH, loved it: “Earthy and unpretentious; it has the unforced, unhurried reality of a documentary and the emotional power of great drama.” Releases in theatres today.
Business Proposal: Can you get enough K-romance? This series is based on a hit web novel and webtoon—and follows the romance between an office employee and her company’s CEO. The problem: She’s pretending to be her friend (quelle surprise!). Sounds terribly predictable, but Forbes insists, “The charm of Business Proposal is that it presents classic love comic tropes—including the ‘blind date gone terribly wrong’ scene—with fresh style and humor.” Hmm, we suspect this one is strictly for fans of the genre. The first two episodes are already out on Netflix.
Jugaadistan: This second original Indian series from Lionsgate Play looks at the gritty side of college life. So this is no KJo-style candy pop campus. The director Akarsh Khurana says: “Like the darker side of our college years, and Delhi like we don't see often. We delve into an array of issues—college politics, student dynamics, side incomes—all of which are significant in how people's lives are shaped in their formative years.” There are no reviews but it sounds very promising. Drops today on LionsgatePlay.
A list of good reads
- BBC Wildlife has a lovely essay on why children fall in love with fictional animals.
- Slate spent money on a Stem player to listen to Kanye West’s latest album—so you never, ever have to. Nope, it’s no good.
- Vox dropped the first episode of a fascinating six-part podcast series on the five human senses. The first is on hearing.
- In the midst of all this noise about living on Mars, Moon etc, The Conversation makes a very good point: We will first have to figure out how to have sex in space. How are we going to manage that?
- Scroll has a first person piece on protesting in Goa against the invasion of Ukraine.
- Also in Scroll: Why is there no Lucknow in the name of the new IPL team Supergiants? And what does that absence tell us?
- The Beatles have long been an obsession for male Boomers. The Guardian looks at the female scholars, musicians and podcasters who are changing that.
- Vanity Fair offers a brilliant take on how Twitter has become the way we understand significant events of our time—and our timeline at these moments follows a very clear script. It will be all too familiar if you’re busy doomscrolling the invasion.
- Variety explores why Hollywood movies are becoming insanely long.
- New Yorker has a thought-provoking piece on a New York City court case that attempts to establish the right of a zoo elephant to be free. It raises a lot of interesting questions about who or what is a ‘person’.
- Also in the New Yorker: A very good but older piece we stumbled upon on the internet: ‘The Skeletons at the Lake’ which looks at the baffling questions surrounding the human remains found at Roopkund in the Himalayas.
- For you inner nerd: National Geographic takes a deep dive in animal blood—which come in all sorts of colours.