We recommend: The best new movies and TV series
Wonka: One of the most anticipated reboots of the year is this a prequel to Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. The fantastic Timothée Chalamet embodies the role of young Willy Wonka—and charts his journey to becoming the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolatier—whose adult version is played by Johnny Depp in the 2005 film. The film is directed by writer-director of the Paddington films—Paul King and has a sweet ensemble to boast—Calah Lane, Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins and Olivia Colman and last, but not the least Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa.
Reviews are mixed. The Guardian writes: “[T]his pre-Wonka is an absolute Christmas treat; it’s spectacular, imaginative, sweet-natured and funny.” OTOH BBC Culture did not like it very much: “Relentlessly wacky and over-the-top, everything in it is too contrived to care about.” Our take: We are definitely ready to take this magical trip down the memory lane. Watch it in your nearest theatres!
Joram: Manoj Bajpayee plays the role of a migrant labourer from Jharkhand in Mumbai in this movie. Dasru (Manoj Bajpayee), used to be a tribal leader in Jharkhand fighting the appropriation of lands by iron-ore companies, but now is currently working at construction sites. He comes home to find his wife murdered, and is immediately on the run, along with his three-month-old daughter, trying to survive people chasing him for his life.
Reviews are good. The Guardian praises this movie for its sharp eye on realism, and calls it a “gritty thriller”. Scroll says, “the survival thriller combines with the man-with-a-past drama and the political critique film with mixed results.” Our take: This movie promises to be an intense thriller, and we can’t wait to see Manoj Bajpayee’s performance. ‘Joram’ released in the theatres yesterday.
Silent Night: Here’s an interesting one. This is a wordless—practically zero dialogue from the main character—film directed by a veteran director from Hong Kong John Woo—who is best known for his action thrillers. He is making a Hollywood comeback after 20 years with this revenge thriller that starts when Brian (Joel Kinnaman) sees his young child being killed by a stray bullet and executes his plan on Christmas Day—hence the name of the movie.
Reviews are great. New York Times calls it “suspenseful and cathartic” and has high praises for the director: “Woo’s pictures have always operated on the “pure cinema” principle. Simply put, he prefers showing to telling.” Variety also has a high praise: “‘Silent Night’ gives audiences reason to get excited about the Hong Kong innovator once again, ranking as one of the few bloody Christmas counterprogrammers since “Die Hard” that feels worthy of repeat viewing down the road.” Catch the film in the theatres.
Leave the World Behind: Based on a 2020 novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam, ‘Leave the World Behind’ is a thrilling story about the apocalypse. The film is set in a slow Long Island town, away from the rest of the world. Amanda (Julia Roberts) and Clay (Ethan Hawke)—along with their two children—have rented a vacation home for the weekend to get away from busy lives in NYC. This vacation house is owned by a Black family—G.H. (Mahershala Ali) and his savvy daughter Ruth—who ask to stay at the house when the whole world grapples with the apocalypse-like situation, bringing racial tensions to the fore.
The film has raving reviews. Vox calls it “slick and stylish” and adds: “What makes it so scary is that no one knows exactly what it involves.” Associated Press writes: “The acting is first rate and it needs to be—this is a drama of manners and secrets, and each sigh or glance reveals so much… It’s best to click play on your remote knowing that the movie is more a satire than a true action-survival movie.” The film is on Netflix.
The Archies: The long awaited Indian version of the ‘Archie’ comics directed by Zoya Akhtar has also dropped this weekend. The film is far more notoriously known for launching Bollywood’s star kids Agastya Nanda as Archie (Amitabh Bachchan’s grandson), Khushi Kapoor as Betty (Sridevi’s daughter) and Suhana Khan as Veronica (SRK’s daughter). Amidst their love triangle the film focuses on the Anglo-Indian community living in a retro Riverdale which is turning into a battleground for corporate land clearing. The trio—plus Reggie Mantle (Vedang Raina), Jughead Jones (Mihir Ahuja), Ethel Muggs (Aditi Saigal) and Dilton Doiley (Yuvraj Menda)—try to save their town.
Reviews are lukewarm for this one. Indian Express writes: “[O]verall, the writing isn’t perky enough. The kids are all right. The film is a bland bauble.” The Quint simply concludes: “The Archies is a simple story made for a simple watch.” Our take: Nepotism may be the first word when describing the movie, but we sure hope to see deserved talent. And we like Zoya Akhtar. The film dropped on Netflix on Thursday.
Kadak Singh: Starring Pankaj Tripathi, this film is about AK Srivastav after he is diagnosed with retrograde amnesia. As he tries to remember his past, he is told many different stories from the people around him, making him unsure about his identity. What follows is a thriller as Srivastav uncovers his past amidst a trail of betrayal, lies and mystery.
Reviews are okay. Hindustan Times is in awe of Pankaj Tripathi and overall says: “‘Kadak Singh’ is a feel-good film that stays as raw and real as possible without creating needless drama around everything.” Film Companion counters: “The concept is far more alluring than the actual execution.” Our take. We are simple folks, if we see a movie starring Pankaj Tripathi, we will watch it. You can stream the film on ZEE5.
Christmas As Usual: In case you’re looking for a Christmas rom-com to watch, Kanan Gill has got you covered. In this Norwegian movie, based on a true story, we follow Thea Evjen, a Norwegian who is in a relationship with Jashan, an Indian expat. They have recently gotten engaged, but Jashan has never met Thea’s family nor are they informed about the engagement. The film delves into the clash of cultures, and whether Thea and Jashan are able to get together.
Reviews are underwhelming. OTT Play says: “It’s predictable and not even very funny despite Kanan Gill being on the cast. It’s not bad though, so, should you have some time to kill and aren’t looking to exercise your grey matter, give this one a dekko.” Decider gives it a “SKIP”. Our take: We are curious about how Kanan Gill is in a Norwegian movie of all places, and that’s why we’ll be watching this.
Fresh off the big screen…
Dhak Dhak: The most unusual biker gang—which includes Biker Nani (Ratna Pathak Shah), travel blogger Sky (Fatima Sana Shaikh), a housewife Uzma (Dia Mirza) and a runaway bride Manjari (Sanjana Sanghi) have come to into our homes now… Well, at least the movie about them has. You can watch them ride to Khardung La Pass—only on Netflix.