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The Great Wall Is A Great Mess: Movie Review

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Starring: Matt Damon,Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe

Directed by: Zhang Yimou

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In the mood for some Chinese feud?

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Avoid this film. It will put you off Jackie Chan  and  chow-mein . Such an awful  film can only be the result of  either criminal carelessness or  overweening ambitions.Said to be the most expensive film to have ever been shot in China , this work of mythological mayhem weaves a grisly yarn across the Great Wall Of China about soldiers from a civilization from the past battling  a blizzard of green monsters on the other end of the wall.

Yipes!

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The creepy film has repeated shots of men and women in uniform being lowered down the wall to combat the monsters.They get crunched, battered , bludgeoned in 3D.

And  this is entertainment??!! I guess every generation gets the cinema that turns it on. We live in bloodthirsty times. The other day a young man lay bleeding to death on a road inKarnataka while passersby gawked and shot the accident victim’s pain on their phones.

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If you dig that kind of pain porn,then some such voyeuristic adventure awaits you in The Great Wall, a grand spectacle of a mess with actors speaking their lines with effusive energy, as though they had just discovered that the Ming Dynasty was actually helmed by Jackie Chan.

The battle scenes are ridiculously over-the-top, shot with the aplomb of student filmmakers trying to impress David Lean . Repeated scenes of human-gobbling monsters resemble the old-school  version of on-screen horror.There is  just so much of this pukey razzle-dazzle that you can take before running out of the theatre.

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Director Zhang Yimou shoots the film in Gothic colours. Dark horrific hues and blood-thirst colours assail our senses from every nook and corner of this frightfully overcrowded bombastic horror-battle . Epic in design, the execution of the spectacle is so uneven and self-defeating it is like watching a multi-storeyed prism fall apart under the weight of its own gravity.

The performances range from the ridiculous to the strange.Since I couldn’t recognize most of the Chinese actors I presume they are all stalwarts of stagey self-expression. They wear their armours and smirks as though to valour-born.

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Little do they know.In their midst is our own Jason Bourne,aka Matt Damon who looks as war-borne as Kapil Sharma  would were he to play Bhagat Singh.What is Damon doing in a film so steeped in an ambiguous enigmatic ethos?  Is he in it for glory or money? Strangely Damon doesn’t even get a decent space in this big-screen spectacle. In almost every frame he is accompanied by Pedro Pascal. The two play foreign mercenaries.We can see them asJai and Veeru from Sholay battling a gaggle of Gabbars from across an artificially erected wall.Somewhere in the excruciating exotic excursion into the land of the  grisly  the very talented Willem Dafoe joins Damon and Pascal. The Three Musketeers tilting at windmills….

There is not one moment in The Great Wall that even remotely echoes greatness. This is Chinese propaganda masquerading as a monster-horror flick. Offensively over-the-top and enough to put us off the ‘Made In China’ label forever.

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If you are in the mood for Chinese feud try Kung Fu Yoga instead.At least Jackie Chan doesn’t take himself seriously.

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Aamir Khan’s Sister Plays Shah Rukh’s Mother In Pathaan

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Aamir Khan’s Sister Plays Shah Rukh’s Mother

Ever  since Pathaan released on Wednesday, audiences  have been  curious to know who  is the woman who plays Shah Rukh Khan’s adoptive mother in Afghanistan. The stately lady  with  royal looks is none  other than the late producer  Tahir Hussain’s daughter and  Aamir Khan’s elder  sister Nikhat Khan.

 Nikhat has been  closely  associated with the  film industry  and has helped her father in the production of his  films like Dulha Bikta Hai and  Tum Mere  Ho.

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Nikhat has  acted earlier in the Akshay Kumar starrer Mission Mangal ,  Ajay Devgan’s Tanhaji and  in Sandh Ki Aankh(as a Maharani).

For Pathaan, it was Shah Rukh Khan who suggested Nikhat Khan should play his foster-mother in  Afghanistan who names him ‘Pathaan’. It proved to be  an inspired  piece of casting, as  audience have  loved Nikhat  Khan’s cameo.

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It is  heartwarming that  all three Khan superstars  are  associated with Pathaan in one  way  or the other.

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Anurag Kashyap’s New Film Is About Love Jihad

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Love Jihad, whatever  that means, is  the theme  of  Anurag Kashyap’s new film Almost Pyaar  With D  J Mohabbat.

Debutant Karan  Mehta plays a Muslim boy  in an intense relationship with  Alaya F who plays  a Hindu  girl.Kashyap has spared the  audience none of the ugliness that  such a relationship generates  among  social-media  bouncers, the self-styled  guardian of morality .

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In the hardhitting powerful and pertinent film  a  bigot is heard commenting snidely, “These people first talk about Mohabbat. Then  they talk about Mohammed.”

Happily and  surprisingly,  the Central Board Of Film Certification gave the  film a ‘UA’ certificate  with no  cuts: a  rare non-‘A’ film of Kashyap.

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So far  Kashyap and his  team have kept the Love Jihad part  of  the plot  out of all media interaction.

But the  cat is  now  out of the bag.

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu to Star Alongside Varun Dhawan in Prime Video’s Indian Original Series , Samantha Speaks

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Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Samantha Ruth Prabhu will be starring alongside Varun Dhawan in the Indian installment of the Citadel universe, the global-event series from Prime Video and the Russo Brothers’ AGBO. The untitled Citadel series based out of India is being helmed by renowned creator duo Raj & DK (Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK), who are the showrunners and directors.

 The local installment is written by Sita R. Menon, along with Raj & DK. The streaming service also confirmed that the production is currently underway in Mumbai. After this, the unit will head  to North India and then onwards to international locales like Serbia and South Africa.

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  Richard Madden (Bodyguard) and Priyanka Chopra Jonas will star in the first-to-launch series within the Citadel universe, which comes from the Russo Brothers’ AGBO along with David Weil (Hunters) and is set to premiere in 2023. Alongside Madden and Chopra Jonas, the first-to-launch Citadel series will also feature Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games saga). Additional local-language Citadel productions are also in the works, including an Italian Original series starring Matilda De Angelis (The Undoing).

  Speaking on  her participation in  The Citadel  franchise for  the  first time,Samantha says, “When Prime Video and Raj & DK approached me with this project, I decided to take it up in a heartbeat! After working with this team on The Family Man, it is homecoming for me.The Citadel universe, the interconnected storylines between the productions across the globe, and most importantly, the script of the Indian installment really excited me.”

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   Samantha  says she is  looking forward  to working with Varun Dhawan  .  “I am thrilled to be a part of this brilliant universe conceptualised by the Russo Brothers. I am also looking forward to be working with Varun for the first time, on this project. He is someone who is full of life and cheer when you’re around him.”

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Bollywood’s Achche Din Have Come

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 Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar

All you doomsday  prophets, the  booms-day  profits  are here.  Pathaan  has  opened the floodgates again for Bollywood’s  bumper  bonanza at the  boxoffice.And now there is  only the achche din ahead  for  Hindi  cinema.

In the  next   two months there are  three sureshot  blockbusters coming up, beginning with Shehzada.  An astute devilishly impish  adaptation  of  Allu Arjun’s  2020 Telugu   blockbuster  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo.The super-popular Kartik  Aaryan gives  his own  spin to the  character. This  performance will take   Kartik to the  next level of stardom. Kartik’s version of  Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo is  radically different  from  its Telugu  version. Shehzada  takes  the core idea of  the Telugu original  and turns it into a  something  completely different. Kartik’s  co-star in Shehzada  is  Kriti  Sanon with whom he earlier shared superhit space in Lukka Chuppi.

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 Then there  is Luv Ranjan’s ravishing rom-com   Tu Jhoothi Main Makkaar. The director’s   male viewpoint on the chaos  of love relationships  crests to a comic  high in his latest. Ranjan  for  the first time, collaborates with Ranbir Kapoor for the  first time  collaborates with Shraddha  Kapoor  who badly needs a hit.This film should do the  trick. The winsome  lead pair tries  to do one  another  in a  game of Luv This is Luv Ranjan’s Hum…Aapke Hain Con. Ranjan  has in the past used  the romcom  space to  entertain his audience  to the hilt, he  says this  time the stakes are different. It is  not something we’ve seen before.

 Finally  it is   Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani.  Karan  Johar’s first directorial in six years(not counting the one segment each  in Ghost Stories and  Lust Stories). This time he has assembled a dream star-cast  of Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Ranveer Singh and  the  boxoffice darling(s) Alia Bhatt.  But trust me, this one is  not about assembling stars  into a complacent plot. The writing in this  zany Romeo & Juliet is so crisp  and engrossing, the experience  is  likely to be   the visual version of a multi-flavour icrecream cone. Colour, choler and karma collide in this tragic-comic love story . Let the  box office dhamaka  begin  from the house  of Dharma.

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