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No Dorai: A mess that fails to deliver on its promise

Star Cineplex’s first venture into film production, “No Dorai”- a film based on the story of a local Bangladeshi girl from Cox’s Bazar and her passion for surfing, has been the talk of the town recently.

Read more: Dare to Surf: The first ever Bangladeshi movie on surfing

Ever since the poster of a young surfer girl, in a red saree whose fierceness meets the ones in her eyes, was released, moviegoers have been eagerly waiting to go and watch what promised to be a milestone for Bangladeshi cinema. As it premiered on November 28th in Star Cineplex, it offered the local audience a glimpse into what it could have been. Had it not messed up so badly.

What works

Directed by Taneem Rahman Angshu, the film has the elements that make it an exuberant celebration of the ups and downs in Ayesha’s (Sunerah) life. You see the passion in her eyes as she shows commendable surfing skills and the helplessness in her eyes when she asks her father for help after getting married. Sunehra’s portrayal of the character is admirable.

The cinematography of the film is magnificent. Cinematographer Suman Sarker has memorialized the sheer beauty of Cox’s Bazaar, wrapped them in bows and delivered this beautiful ‘gift’ of such brilliant cinematography.

No Dorai: A mess that fails to deliver on its promise

Be it the spell-bounding drone shots of the beach, the placement of the actors on screen in a particular landscape or using various angles to portray the scenes, he has envisioned it right and created a magic like trance on screen.

Despite being a movie in local Chittagonian dialect throughout, Ayesha’s vulnerability portrayed with heartbreaking precision is something we all understand and feel sorry for. The acting chops of Sariful Razz and the actor portraying Ayesha’s brother were also commendable.

What does not

The two and a half hours of beautiful cinematic shots offer little story besides what we already know from the trailers and the title tracks. The lack of subtitles in a movie made entirely in the local dialect does not help its case either.

All in all, sitting through the entire runtime of No Dorai requires quite the hard work.

No Dorai: A mess that fails to deliver on its promise

As fans enter the theatre expecting a film that highlights surfing, a struggling story and most importantly, women’s emancipation, they will find many of these elements missing. Despite great performances by Sunerah, her character often is overshadowed by the multiple other aspects of the movie revolving around Sohel’s (Sariful Razz) story.

The involvement of the foreign cast seemed distracting, especially because they did not blend in as well as the other characters. Ensuring more screen-time for Ayesha’s character and story would have made a more valid point for the plot of the movie.

Verdict

With a story that becomes somewhat predictable after a while and a plot that does not resonate the message of women empowerment as strongly as it promised in the poster and trailer, No Dorai fails to deliver on its promise.

Brilliant cinematography, beautiful choice of musical scores and unforgettable acting from the casts involved fails to uplift a movie brought down by lazy and sub-par story writing. With a rating of 2/5 from us, in the end, No Dorai is just another Bangladeshi film with a potential wasted.

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

“My life isn’t a tragedy it’s a fucking comedy!”  – Arthur Fleck 

Love him or hate him, but Joaquin Phoenix is Gotham’s new Clown Prince of Crime!

Todd Phillip’s reimagining of the iconic comic book villain is a disturbing look into human psychology. One that will leave you feeling increasingly unsettled as the story unfolds.

Read more: How to destroy your cinematic universe

The Plot

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

Set in 1981, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill failed stand-up comedian who turns to a life of crime and chaos in Gotham City. 

Other characters who play a significant role in Arthur’s descent into madness are eccentric talk show host Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), Penny Fleck (Frances Conroy) Arthur’s Mother who is both mentally and physically ill and Sophie Dumond (Zazie Beets) Arthur’s love interest.

Joker isn’t your typical action-packed popcorn flick. But a cinematic journey that gives us a chilling insight into the Joker’s origins while still paying homage to the Batman mythology.

A unique take on Joker

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

While Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was a representation of anarchy and social unrest, Phoenix’s interpretation of the role deals with themes of alienation, depression and personality identity and a character that audiences can sympathize with on a more realistic level.  

While we’ve generally come to understand the Joker from the Batman movies as a psychotic, mass-murdering criminal with complete disregard to human life, Phoenix adds another layer of depth to the character, revitalizing the Joker as a symbol of discrimination and a reflection of the daily oppression we struggle within society.   

The verdict

Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix gets the last laugh!

The film itself is a refreshing break from the star-studded CGI superhero movies we’ve generally been accustomed to in recent years and DC has done justice by introducing a story that is entertaining but at the same time pragmatic and grounded. 

All things considered, Joker is not for the faint-hearted.

It’s a fascinating character biopic and a gripping tale on a character we’ve all known more or less since childhood. It doesn’t have the jaw-dropping moments of Infinity War or Justice League. But Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-worthy performance alone enough satisfies your appetite by keeping you at the edge of your seat from start to finish. 

Joker is now running in Star Cineplex and Blockbuster Cinemas.

Bohemian Rhapsody: Rami Malek steals the show in electric Freddie Mercury biopic

Capturing the life of Freddie Mercury on celluloid is a daunting task. And yet, Bohemian Rhapsody takes on this task with enough ease. And an electric Rami Malek channels the timeless Freddie with all his vigour and flamboyance in what could be one of his greatest acting performances of all time.

Bohemian Rhapsody portrays the life of Freddie Mercury and the journey of his band Queen, from its inception to its rise to Rock ‘n Roll stardom. In a limited time frame of Freddie Mercury working as a baggage handler at Heathrow to Queen’s Live Aid concert in 1985, the biopic throws in the struggles of Freddie’s personal life, his isolation, his confused sexuality and his contraction of AIDS. Often failing to focus on a single aspect to lead the movie on.

A complex movie

Bohemian Rhapsody: Rami Malek steals the show in Freddie's biopic

The primary conflict in making a biopic about Freddie is that it demands a lot on one of the greatest bands of all time, Queen. When the journey of Queen is, quite frankly, devoid of dramatic bumps. From small college gigs to rocking the stage on world tours, Queen’s stardom was shot to the sky within only a few years of time. Queen’s theatrics used to lie more in their extravagant performances on stage rather than behind the scenes drama.

But the Queen frontman Freddie’s life was the opposite. From his insecure teenage years as a Persian-Indian immigrant in the UK to his long struggle with his sexual identity, Freddie’s life was marred by drama. And one must find oneself in deep waters trying to cram all of his life into a single standard runtime Hollywood biopic.

Brilliant Rami Malek!

Bohemian Rhapsody: Rami Malek steals the show in Freddie's biopic

Bohemian Rhapsody plays it safe with its script. It doesn’t take risks, unlike the man upon whose life the movie is based on. However, if not for Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody would have been a rather bland attempt at capturing the versatile life of an iconic star.

Rami Malek absolutely steals the show. Bohemian Rhapsody was all about him. And he nails the role of the iconic rockstar down to the last detail. From his walk, his extravagant style, his singing, Rami does it all with a fine touch of expertise. It is as if Freddie himself were alive on the screen. Rami’s expert portrayal of Freddie is what makes Bohemian Rhapsody so very enjoyable.

Goosebumps!

Bohemian Rhapsody: Rami Malek steals the show in Freddie's biopic

What else makes Bohemian Rhapsody a beautiful movie-going experience is its music. It features almost all of the greatest Queen classics. We witness the birth of the iconic track, Bohemian Rhapsody itself. Tap our feet with the classic beats of We Will Rock You. And left in goosebumps as Rami and the team performs the entire Live Aid Concert of 1985 with an electric energy on the screen. Bohemian Rhapsody is, if nothing else, the finest example of a Rock ‘n Roll movie that never falls short on content.

The verdict

Bohemian Rhapsody isn’t the greatest biopic of all time. But the energy that Rami channels into his portrayal of Freddie Mercury is sure to touch you as an audience and a Queen fan.

A solid 4/5, Bohemian Rhapsody is a stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their flamboyant frontman, Freddie Mercury.

Even if you’re not a fan, Bohemian Rhapsody will leave you awestruck with its terrific cast and rocking music. Book your tickets from STAR Cineplex if you don’t want to miss an electric experience. We can promise you that you won’t regret watching this movie in the theatres.