6 YouTube channels you should try out

According to Stasita, every day around 4 million people use YouTube. All these people have some sort of attachment to YouTube. In fact, they have something that gives them meaning. Either through entertainment or through information sharing.

Everyone has YouTube channels that they like. Some are common among people like PewDiePie and The Infographics Show. On the contrary, some are a bit uncommon. We’ll find out some YouTube channels that are a bit uncommon among general people but are worth a shot.

So, let’s jump into the list.

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

This is a German YouTube channel and design studio. How good is this channel? I’ll give you two reasons.

Firstly, this channel has a passion for sharing knowledge. Also, they do it for free. Above all, the most notable thing about this channel is its unique design and storytelling perspective. In fact, Kurzgesagt wants to raise awareness among people through videos.

The videos cover areas like science, biology, history, space, technology, and philosophy. Furthermore, you can learn a lot about these usually boring topics in a fun way with Kurzgesagt. Many are a fan of these videos because of the animations. Many are a fan because of the way they share knowledge. I believe that if you start watching a video from this channel, you won’t be able to stop anytime soon.

Button Poetry

Many of you might think why this channel is here. This is supposed to be an uncommon list of channels. Well, in fact this is a bit uncommon. Even I found this channel at the end of last year.

Now, do you love poetry? Do poems levitate your mood? Then I guess this is the best channel for you. Here you will find videos of excellent recitation of awesome poetry. Some, of these creations, might make you question about some common things. For instance, what is love? Moreover, you will see hundreds of stories touching your heart through the amazingness of poetry.

Even if you are not a poetry lover, you can try some of these out. Believe me, you will surely get a relaxing time.

Lessons from the Screenplay

Do you like films? Well, almost everyone likes movies. The real question is, do you like to think about movies? If yes, then this channel is the perfect place for you. Here you will get explanations about movies through exploring a character.

Roaming around YouTube you might have seen a lot of movie reviews, but this channel is a bit different. Michel, the owner of this channel pays his homage to films while reviewing those. Here you will be able to know more about scripts. You will find out why and how these movie scripts are so good at storytelling. Eventually, you will come across techniques that turn good writings to great.

So, whether you are a writer or a film enthusiast or a knowledge seeker, you can give this a shot.

I’m Cyborg but It’s Ok

Do you think you have a nice choice in movies? Do people praise your music taste? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, you should try out this channel. Awesome movie clips portrayed with great music will give you a soothing feeling indeed.

The Dreamers (2003) with Future Islands

I have found many beautiful songs through this channel. From French new waves films to modern day films, many great films are covered by this channel. Also, somehow the creator finds the perfect music to run with the movie clip. Recently the channel faced a copyright ban, but it seems that it has been sorted out now. Therefore, the creator repeatedly states that he or she doesn’t monetize the videos. That these creations are simply ‘Fan Arts’.

Yes Theory

What do you fear most? What are you going to do about it? These two questions are from the latest video of Yes Theory. In fact, These two questions made me pause the video and think.

I found Yes Theory in December 2018 from a mentor of mine. Then I was going through some difficult time and this channel helped me a lot. Yes Theory believes in saying Yes. They share positivity through seeking discomfort. In fact, their tagline is Seek Discomfort. 4 people in 2015 met and became friends over the idea of getting out of the comfort zone. Soon they started their YouTube channel. Eventually, now they have over three million subscribers in YouTube.

Photographer Balazs Benke gave away this picture to Yes Fam for free use.

In the meantime, they made a fan group of 78,000 members in Facebook named Yes Fam. Here everyone is working towards seeking discomfort. There are also subgroups in this huge community. People who are interested in Music, Painting, Literature and other stuff, help out each other in these subgroups. Moreover, these Yes Fam members sometimes meet up physically and make the bond even stronger by creating a yes circle.

Yes Theory Circles

You can click into any video from this channel and you’ll have a smile on your face at the end of the video. You’ll be filled with optimism to see what people can accomplish by working together. What we can do by getting out of the comfort zone.

Antik Mahmud

There are many Bangladeshi YouTube channels out there. But it’s pretty hard to find a decent one.

Now, do you like cartoons? Or humorous videos? Well, Antik Mahmud brings these together in his cartoon vlogs. Furthermore, the contents are pretty decent. You will get a peek into the life of a university student. How someone around that age perceives society and its surroundings.

Check out this outstanding humorous video of him.

Takeaway

Some of these channels might be common to many people but these are still unknown to many. There are other channels like Screen prism, Wisecrack, The Worst Taste, Crash Course etc. that should be in your watchlist. Do check these out whenever you have time.

Also, can you suggest some channels too?

Aquaman: A strong comeback for the DCEU

When we sat down to watch Aquaman, right after its release in STAR Cineplex, little did we know that Jason Momoa in an orange suit would deliver such a glorious chapter in the DCEU.

After Justice League and the countless behind the scenes drama that constantly mar the DCEU, fans can be excused for being a little sceptical about its next instalments. But let us assure you, Aquaman is not your average DC flick. It is perhaps the first decent DC movie in years. For fans of Jason Momoa, the actor, you’re in for a treat.

The Premise

Aquaman: A strong comeback for the DCEU 5
Nicole Kidman as Queen Atalanta

Aquaman starts out being straightforward. No drama, no twist, jumping straight into the story. The childhood of Arthur Curry and the conflict between Atlantis and the surface world. The immortal story of a journey of a king to claim his rightful place. Aquaman delivers all of it in a skillful method. Aquaman is surprisingly true to its comic origins. Yet, so very original that it brings a fresh flavor to the entire comic book movie genre.

Technical aspects

Aquaman: A strong comeback for the DCEU 6
Amber Herd plays Queen Mera

Director James Wan can be lauded for his mastery with the camera in the dynamic action shots. 2 and a half hours of explosive action, chase scenes and underwater world exploration did not deliver a single moment of boredom.

The massive world of Atlantis that was built for the movie is absolutely praiseworthy. A fresh perspective to world building was much needed for fans of pop culture.

The 3D experience of Aquaman’s underwater world in STAR Cineplex was one of a kind.

The Verdict

Aquaman: A strong comeback for the DCEU 7

A DC film that in our humble opinion, delivered. Finally.

Aquaman was more than just a comic book movie. It was a Sci-Fi adventure, a treasure hunting mystery, a journey of a king, the mythical tale of becoming of a hero. James Wan’s visual masterpiece passes every test with flying colours.

With a 4 out 5 rating from us, Aquaman breathes life into the DC movie universe. And crafts the path for a better class of DC movies in the future.

Aquaman is playing in Star Cineplex as we speak. Click the button below to secure your seat in the next show.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: A movie worth the wait

6 years ago, Disney gave us a movie that appealed to audiences of all ages. For kids, it was just another exciting animated world to dive into. For adults, the movie was a nostalgic trip to arcade games. The real charm, however, was the immense amount of imagination and creativity in the movie.  They were able to truly immerse its audience in the bizarre setting of the movie – gaming arcades. With its sequel Ralph Breaks The Internet, Disney has done the same thing again. But this time, with the internet.

A movie more for adults than for kids

Ralph breaks the internet-Is it worth the wait

Ralph Breaks the Internet is full of pop culture references. The name itself is a reference to Kim Kardashian’s viral Instagram caption “#BreakTheInternet” in 2014. From references to Bob Ross paintings (which you may recognize from the memes) to stormtroopers to Jasmine straight up asking Vanellope if she has daddy issues, the movie is jam-packed with pop culture references that kids will probably not fully understand. There was even a pop-up advert that crowds Ralph when he arrives at eBay, saying “desperate housewives in your area are dying to meet you”. Clearly, Disney understands perfectly well that a movie which explores the Internet as its own world would appeal way more to young adults. So, it’s really no wonder that the movie caters so well to young adults. Not just with non-kid-friendly jokes here and there, but with cameos too – from Eeyore to C3PO to Stan Lee.

Girls can drive – and be the best at it!

Ralph breaks the internet-Is it worth the wait

Ralph Breaks the Internet breaks many stereotypes through its characters. The most revolutionary one is Shank. She is the most badass racer in the most dangerous online racing game. While Vanellope was also a female racer since the first movie, Shank being female was even more groundbreaking. The game she is in is much more aggressive and masculine compared to Sugar Crush- a comparatively childish and feminine game. On top of this, Yesss, who is the head algorithm of one of the biggest video sharing sites online, is also female. A Disney animated motion picture featuring such strong characters who are at the top of the ladder in their respective fields is sure to change the perception of women in the boys who watch this movie. Moreover, since racing is a particularly male-dominated field, this is sure to be a kick in the face for anyone who still thinks along the lines of “girls can’t drive/race”.

Princesses, redefined

Ralph breaks the internet-Is it worth the wait

Another way that Disney addresses gender roles is through the inclusion of Disney princesses. Disney has a terrible reputation of portraying their princesses as damsels in distress. The scene where Vanellope meets the princesses addresses exactly that. It shows that Disney is self-aware that they have been imposing traditional gender roles in their works. More importantly, it spells out what is wrong with the trope. What’s even better is that Disney takes this self-awareness one step further by actualizing how strong and independent its princesses really are. While this itself is certainly not enough to make up for the “damsel in distress” trope that Disney itself has put out for so long, it certainly makes a stand for the characters who we perceive to be weak and dependent on males just for their feminine traits.

The verdict

Ralph breaks the internet-Is it worth the wait

For the first hour, the movie is certainly interesting in the way it presents the world of the internet to us. The movie manages to engross its audience in its imagination as well as it did in with the setting of the first movie. It certainly portrays the internet as realistically as possible. In terms of entertainment, the movie excels. But unlike the first instalment, it let us down in terms of emotions. We ended up with a somewhat predictable movie with the character arcs falling flat and feeling a little forced. But other than this, the movie was definitely enjoyable and had a fascinatingly intricate setting. If you’re looking for something light to entertain you for two hours, head over to STAR Cineplex to watch the movie and Ralph Breaks the Internet will not disappoint you. 

Get your tickets here.

Avengers: Endgame trailer breakdown

Marvelites are having a pretty great week. A great Captain Marvel trailer dropped on Monday. Let me tell you, she looked mighty fine. Nintendo announced the return of the long-dormant Ultimate Alliance game franchise at The Game Awards on Thursday. A new Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer is supposed to arrive very soon. And as if to slap a whole cake on top of a cherry, the Russo brothers practically shadow dropped the new Avengers: Endgame trailer on Friday. The trailer reveals very little. But when has that stopped us from going through these a dozen times and look for clues? Let’s jump in.

Here’s the trailer, just in case you do indeed live under a rock.

Tony Stark is stranded in space

Marvel MVP Tony Stark isn’t off to a good start here. He is marooned aboard the Benatar, the Guardians ship. With food and Oxygen rapidly running out, earth’s greatest defender is desolate and helpless. We see him turning his helmet on to record a farewell message to Pepper Potts. The lighting is somber because who can bid a sad goodbye in harsh fluorescence? Him mentioning the end being part of the journey is sure to tug some heartstrings. He is also wearing a similar shirt from the first Iron Man when he was imprisoned by the Ten Rings. A great visual callback to his initial plight in a no-win scenario.

Avengers: Endgame trailer breakdown

Tony’s rescue is a hotly contested topic. We can only but speculate. Does Pepper Potts don the Rescue armor from the comics herself and go after her man? Will Captain Marvel pick him up during her return journey to earth following Fury’s SOS? Does Thor open a Bifrost with his Stormbreaker weapon and save him? Alas, we might have to wait till April for the answer. Or at least until the next trailer.

But what is Nebula’s story?

We also see Nebula hanging about the ship reminiscing and being all sad. There’s another very curious frame in the trailer where she gently caresses someone’s shoulder sitting in the ship. That is very out of character for her. Is she saying goodbye to Tony before leaving the Benatar? Or that is a completely different character at another point in the movie? Marvel has been really deceptive about these in the past. So rule nothing out.

Point Break is pissed

Thor Odinson proved last April that he is the mightiest of the Avengers. Maybe that is why it pains him the most that he could not stop the Decimation. Yes, that is what the head honchos at MCU decided to call the Thanos Snap. This revelation arrives thanks to Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War: The Cosmic Quest Volume Two: Aftermath by Brandon T. Snider. Man, the name of this book needed a Snap as well to cut it down to half.

Anyways, back to Thor. Just look at him. This man right here is ready to get out on that stage and shred Thanos in a rap battle.

The Thanos-crow

The only character who is happily content in the trailer is Thanos. And why wouldn’t he be? He brought balance to the universe, in his own twisted way. Moreiver, as a great comic throwback, we see his armor strung like a scarecrow. He doesn’t need that anymore, because his job is done. In the comics though, Thanos is retreating in disgrace more than gloating over a hard-won victory. But a nice touch nonetheless.

Is Shuri alive?

This is a very important question. The fate of another character hangs in the balance because of her. Last time we saw Shuri, she managed to salvage most of Vision’s data before getting knocked unconscious. If she survived the Decimation, she could be paramount to bring at least one of the Avengers back. Interestingly though, the trailer reveals a scene where she is put under the “missing” tag along with some of the dusted heroes.

That could mean she was slain along with her brother. Or she might be alive but not working with the remaining Avengers yet. I mean, it was them who brought war and death to her home. Does she have her own agenda now? Time will tell.

Hawkeye…or Ronin?

We finally get a glimpse of Clint Barton after his absence in Infinity War in this trailer. Only…he isn’t Hawkeye anymore. He is in the shoes of another comic book character called Ronin. There are some other characters like Echo who operated under this cover identity. But Clint’s stint was more prominent in the comics.

The reason he wasn’t active during Infinity War because of his plea deal with the government. He had a family to protect and care for. Something tells me in his thousand yards long stare here that they might not have survived. Hence, his blatant disregard to government contract.

For reference, here’s the comic book version of Ronin.

Ant-Man is out of the Quantum Realm

This might be the biggest revelation of the trailer. Last time we saw Scott Lang, he was journeying into the Quantum Realm with the help of the Pym family. In a tragic sequence of events, Scott got stuck there after the Pym collective turned to ash. How he got out may end up being the single saving grace for the Avengers family, and the world.

Now Scott was using his trusted friend Luis’ van for the Quantum Realm incident. It might be possible that Luis survived the Snap and came back to rescue Scott through the radio. Or Scott could have gained powers due to excess exposure to the Quantum Realm ala Janet Van Dyne. But that’s unlikely because it didn’t help Janet herself.

Time travel is a safe money bet. Right as he’s venturing into the Quantum Realm, Scott is told by Janet van Dyne: “Don’t get sucked into a time vortex.” That seems to be a pretty on-the-nose warning but also one clear enough for a dope like Scott to eventually realize might be the key to him escaping his predicament. We’ll see.

Speaking of time travel

As the leaked set photos suggested earlier, time travel is definitely playing a big role in Avengers: Endgame. We see a hint of that in the trailer as well when we see Captain America in his winter soldier suit.

Avengers endgame trailer breakdown

We don’t know what’s cooking, but Cap certainly isn’t donning this particular old suit for no reason.

So, that’s it, folks. There is a long five-month wait before we close out on the first decade of MCU. It’s actually a good thing the trailer left out crucial plot points. This lets us converse and speculate about our heroes’ struggle to save a universe torn apart. After all, as the name reveal tells us, it’s about undoing the tragedy that has left them…disassembled.

Why you should be excited to watch Bohemian Rhapsody

In the 1970s and ’80s, Queen was one of the biggest bands in the world. The British rockers routinely sold out stadiums across the globe. Led by the Zanzibar-born Freddie Mercury, the band was eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hollywood has been working on making a movie about the band for years, and that dream is finally becoming a reality. Called Bohemian Rhapsody – named after one of the group’s most famous songs – it’s set to be released on October 31st. We’re already dusting off our old album covers and re-watching concert videos on YouTube with bated breath and eager excitement. Here’s a couple of reasons why you should too.

Emmy-winning Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury

Fans of Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek, the star of the popular “Mr. Robot” on the USA Network, are anxious to see how the shy and restrained thespian transforms himself into a 1970s-era rock star. But if the trailers are any indication, he is well on his way for an Oscar nod. Freddie Mercury was so much more than a wonderful singer-songwriter. He was an enigma, a complete one-off, where his charisma matched his talent and then some.

Casting an actor to embody such a force is by no means an easy task. And to be frank, nobody can ever quite do the man justice. But in Rami Malek, it’s fair to say that we’ve given it as good a shot as we could hope for. Malek seems to have nailed the mannerisms, the style and even the walk of the famed star. And we can’t wait to fully experience the man’s acting chops in Bohemian Rhapsody.

Malek does all the classic Freddies

There’s Live Aid Freddie. There’s leather catsuit Freddie. There is even harlequin leotard Freddie. Red leather trouser Freddie. Fur coat Freddie. Be-crowned Freddie. White jumpsuit Freddie with angel wings. It’s astonishing how many of these costumes are indelibly burned into the memory. And safe to say Malek dons them all with glaring style. Do we actually need another reason to be all over this film?

Behind the scenes drama

Bohemian Rhapsody had been in development since the start of the decade, going through the myriad stages of development hell. British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen was first roped in to play Mercury. After numerous disputes over what the biopic would cover, Cohen had left the project in July 2013. Many articles published over those months have stated that Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor wanted to keep the film free from Mercury’s scandalous life events, very specifically his AIDS diagnosis and battle.

In November 2016, Bryan Singer was hired to direct the project. Rami Malek was cast and the film was given the nudge it required by 20th Century Fox and New Regency. However, the film would still see struggles ahead. In December last year, Bryan Singer was fired from the project due to his absences (with one-third of filming yet to be completed). After that, Dexter Fletcher took over the helm. It seemed like there was no end in sight.

However, surprisingly enough, principal photography was wrapped up in January this year. All that’s left to do is wait. Not surprisingly, there has been a significant amount of backlash about the production’s deliberate choice to sanitize Mercury’s salacious life. Safe to say the off-screen drama during this film’s development has been nothing short of crazy. And we can’t wait to finally see if the final product will actually elevate from all this. Fingers crossed!

The greatest hits

Although aptly named, Bohemian Rhapsody is not only about the eponymous song. It’ll tell the story of the band’s 15-year journey from their formation up to their performance at Live Aid in 1985. So excuse us if we are a bit too excited to christen our eyes with some of the best Queen songs on the big screen. “Under Pressure”, a song that came from an impromptu jam session between David Bowie and the band. “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You”, the unrelenting kings of sports anthems. “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, Mercury’s tribute to Elvis Presley. “Fat Bottomed Girls”, the true father of Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda. And what about “The Show Must Go On”, May’s heartbreaking tribute to his frontman, who was getting weaker and weaker because of his battle with HIV/AIDS?

This list goes on. We can’t wait to see how the overlords of this project decide to put the classics in just the right moments in the film. We are prepared for a nostalgia overload.

Ultimately, films are all about the notion of storytelling, and with Bohemian Rhapsody we simply have a fantastic story. The band was, and still are huge, one of the most successful ever. And their frontman was a fascinating character, a true enigma, and a quite breathtaking talent. We want to understand him and know more about what drove him, and the dynamics within the quarter. No matter your opinions on their music, it is hard not to be intrigued. For that reason, sign us up.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: are our expectations of teenagers too low? What to watch instead?

Netflix recently released its teen romance film, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. It quickly took its audience (read: young girls) by storm. A major reason for its success is definitely the male lead’s good looks; the movie has also received praise for charming characters and a lovable plot line. However, a question lingers, if a movie about two teenagers faking a relationship and then falling in love (big surprise) makes a good movie, how low are our expectations from films about teenagers?

The absolutely ridiculous plotlines

teenagers, to all the boys i've loved before

Our teenage pasts may always return to haunt us. But I bet that none of you were ever stupid enough to try any of the following methods:

1. Keep an archive of secret love letters with the one plan of keeping them unsent, but with the correct address and a stamped envelope for each of them.
2. Write one of those letters to your older sister’s (then) boyfriend.
3. Accidentally send a love letter to someone. Then try to convince them that you do not like them by avoiding them and faking a relationship with someone else.
4. Have a huge misunderstanding with your (fake) girlfriend because she doesn’t let you talk at all (for the sake of having a plot). One wonders how easily the situation could have been resolved by texted explanation.

Even if I ignore these absurdities, the entire plot can be predicted after the first 10 minutes by a 5th grader.  Depicting teenagers as vapid idiots for the sake of lazy storytelling seems like a strange choice considering the intended audience are teenagers.

The plastic complex characters

teenagers, to all the boys i've loved before

Movies exist in which the teenagers are treated as multidimensional human beings with a wider emotional range than a teaspoon. Take Me, Earl and the Dying Girl serves as examples of such storytelling. There are movies where teenagers act like species so dumb that no other generation can grasp them, like Mean Girls. And then there are movies like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, which desperately try to build an emotionally complex teenager by forcing it upon them through ridiculous backgrounds.

In this movie, both leads are without a parent; this gives the girl severe abandonment issues causing her to avoid telling her fake dating guy that she likes him back for real. Embedding insincere complexities feel like an insult to teenagers because the writers, who created the edgy backstory overlooked how characters can rationally develop and change with context. This reflects a thought process which is the equivalent of telling your teenage daughter “I trust you, I just don’t trust the rest of the world!” The writer seems to underestimate teenagers’ intelligence, and your mom clearly doesn’t trust you.

Aren’t all teen movies like this?

teenagers, to all the boys i've loved before

The short answer to this would be, yes, most movies about teenagers make the same assumptions about the demographic. This also the reason most movies about teenagers are also bad movies. By no means am I asserting that all teenagers are infallible intellectuals. Rather, the mistakes one makes as a teenager are the kind that alters their perspective of the world. Usually, the mistakes are not objectively and obviously moronic choices. It is an age when they develop their own sense of the world. Therefore, any movie for this audience should reflect the shifts in maturity and personality that teens experience.

Movies that get it right

An example of this being done right is Juno. The lovable and quirky protagonist has sex, just like 48% of teens in American high schools. She learns to make hard decisions that reflect her personal growth over the course of the pregnancy. Another fantastic teen rom-com movie is the grossly under-the-radar Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Unlike Juno, this movie doesn’t grapple with the subject of maturing in your teens. It only focuses on an adorable love story, where both lead characters are intelligent and quirky. The movie is succesfully relatable and, more importantly, a good story.

Movies such as Scott Pilgrim vs the World, The Breakfast Club, Submarine, Call Me By Your Name, and Perks of Being a Wallflower, are additional evidence that it is possible to write, produce, and direct stories about teenagers in a non-disdainful manner.  I am sure the list is long of teen movies that misunderstand young people and feel written by condescending adults.

My main objection with To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, is not just the subpar story. My main objection is if we think this is acceptable and a ‘good’ movie, we encourage flawed storylines and set the bar too low.

10 movies you need to watch in Fall 2018

As the summer winds down, it’s time to look forward to the fall. The fall is a special time for movies: there are a few blockbusters here and there, but studios are also getting busy with Oscar-worthy releases. These movies range from standard tent poles and thrillers to horror flicks and biopics. And who can forget superhero movies?

These are our picks for the movies to watch in fall 2018. 2018 has been a great year so far for movies and judging by this slate, that’s not going to change either.

The Predator (September 14th)

Directed by Shane Black, this is the fourth installment in the Predator franchise. The film takes place between Predator 2 (1990) and Predators (2010), following a team of ex-soldiers and scientists who face off against a new breed of Predators, armed with genetic upgrades stolen from other deadly species. Boyd Holbrook (Narcos) leads the team as Quinn McKenna, an ex-Army Ranger who is already aware of the Predators but finds it difficult to convince anyone of their existence. Olivia Munn, Keegan Michael-Key and Yvonne Strahovski also co-star.

Venom (October 5th)

A spin-off of the new Spider-man movies, Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dark Knight Rises) stars as Eddie Brock, a journalist who becomes bonded to a dangerous symbiotic monster that gives him extraordinary powers. Michelle Williams, Riz Ahmed, Jenny Slate, and Woody Harrelson also star. The spin-off has minimal links to Tom Holland’s Spider-man and will be the first of a series of villain-centric movies, with others such as Morbius and Kraven the Hunter set to follow in the near future.

Bad Times at the El Royale (October 12th)

Grew Goddard (Daredevil Season One) takes the helm of this mystery drama set in 1960s California. The titular hotel, El Royale, lies across the state lines of both Nevada and California, in Lake Tahoe. Seven strangers come together in the hotel on a fateful night, struggling with redemption before things go horribly wrong. Chris Hemsworth leads a stellar cast that features Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm and Nick Offerman.

First Man (October 12th)

Directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land), First Man tells the story of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and the legendary Apollo 11 space mission. The cast also features Claire Foy (The Crown), Ciaran Hinds and Christopher Abbott. This film is the second collaboration between Chazelle and Gosling, after 2016’s La La Land, and is also the first Chazelle film not to be music based.

Serenity (October 19th)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbrOMrjhyvI

Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey is a fishing boat captain leads a peaceful life, operating a touring business around the serene shores of Plymouth Island. His peace is disrupted, however, when his ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway) returns, asking him to save her and her son from her husband. Karen asks Baker to lure the man into a fishing expedition and killing him in the middle of the sea. Directed by Steven Knight, the film reunites McConaughey and Hathaway after Instellar (2014) and also features Diane Lane (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice).

Bohemian Rhapsody (November 2nd)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz5qOxttDkw

Directed by Bryan Singer, this biopic chronicles the life and adventures of the legendary Queen frontman Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). The movie covers the formation of Queen and moves up to the famous Live Aid performance in 1985, six years before Mercury’s death. The movie was in development for eight years and plagued by creative disputes, which included exits from notable figures such as previous lead Sacha Baron Cohen and director Dexter Fletcher. Fletcher was later brought back to complete the film after Singer’s dismissal in December 2017 for unprofessional conduct.

Outlaw King (November 9th)

A historical drama that features medieval era guerilla warfare, centered around Scottish King Robert the Bruce’s (Chris Pine) attempts to counter and repel a much larger English occupying force in Scotland. This film is also somewhat of a sequel to Braveheart, as Robert the Bruce starts his campaign after the execution of William Wallace. The film will be released in select theaters as well as Netflix. Aaron Taylor Johnson (Kick-Ass, Godzilla) and Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth) also star.

Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald (November 16th)

Series veteran David Yates helms the second entry in the Fantastic Beast franchise. Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) enlists his former student Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to stop Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp), after the latter escapes prison and threatens to unleash terrors upon an unsuspecting populace. The cast also features the likes of Zoe Kravitz, Ezra Miller, and Dan Fogler. J.K Rowling also returns to pen the screenplay.

Creed II (November 21st)

Trained by Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), boxing prodigy and light heavyweight champion Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) goes up against the son of Ivan Drago — the Russian fighter who killed his father in the ring years earlier. Steven Caple Jr. takes the helms of the franchise, following the illustrious footsteps of Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station, Creed, Black Panther). Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok, Westworld) and Dolph Lungren (Rocky IV, The Expendables) also costar.

Aquaman (December 21st)

The next Worlds of DC, formerly DCEU feature is a make-or-break film for Warner Bros. Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) must battle Orm (Patrick Wilson) in order to claim the throne of Atlantis as its rightful heir. Meera (Amber Heard) assists him in this quest. James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring series, Insidious, Furious 7) is directing DCEU’s third solo film. The cast also features Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lungren, and Willem Dafoe.

Which movies are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.

Netflix’s Ghoul: guilt, tyranny and the monsters among men

Quietly released on 24th August, Ghoul is a sharply directed, enigmatically paced political allegory of a TV show, with a dash of supernatural spices thrown in for good measure.

The little ads and marketing you may have seen for the miniseries suggests the reverse is true, as does the director himself. “Dystopian future is something I’ve always enjoyed seeing in fiction,” Patrick Graham said, explaining how the idea of Ghoul came to be. “So we thought it would be a nice backdrop to this oppressive, claustrophobic story to have this fascist state behind it all. But really the main bulk of the story came first, and the atmosphere we wanted to create came after.”

The evil that men do

Ghoul unfolds in a dystopian India, suffering from sectarian conflicts and fascist state policies. Nida Rahim (Radhika Apte) chooses the state over her own minority roots and hands over her dissenting father to the state for reconditioning camps. Sometime later, she is assigned to Meghdoot 31, a remote interrogation facility to draw a confession out of Ali Saeed, a feared terrorist. Amidst tensions within and between the military staff and the prisoners, it soon becomes clear that there are other, far more sinister forces in play.

The allegory, while daring and thought provoking, is anything but subtle. The persecuted minority, which includes intellectuals and priests, all bear Muslim names. Graham, however, does a great job in creating an oppressive, paranoid atmosphere. The limited number of locations also helped heighten the intensity. Originally intended to be a film, the three-part acts were shot on location over one month, for fourteen hours a day, in a smelly, ‘damp setting with no sunlight’.

Produced through a unique collaboration between Ivanhoe, Blumhouse and Phantom Productions, it also features some serendipity in the form of the lead actress, Radhika Apte. This is her third Netflix feature in 2018, following Lust Stories and Sacred Games. “I’m very excited,” Apte commented on the coincidence. “I’m loving the attention, but it wasn’t by design.”

What turns good men cruel

Sacred Games and Ghoul are different affairs, and rightfully so. While the former is a big budget blockbuster production, this is a more intimate story that succeeds more due to the competent cast and tight storytelling. Apte does a fine job as the morally conflicted daughter who comes to see both herself and the state in a new light as the story progresses.

Manav Kaul plays Colonel Sunil Dacunha, the decorated war hero in charge of Meghdoot 31. It’s a more introspective role compared to Apte’s Rahim. Dacunha has long surrendered his conscience to the orders of the state. His guilt, however, remains submerged and potent. It’s this guilt, as well as the guilt of the rest of Meghdoot’s staff, that becomes fertile ground for the forces of chaos and terror to play with in the series’ third act, along with ideas of sedition and mutiny being played out both within the prisoners and the facility staff.

Demons in disguise

The supernatural aspects of the series, while novel, are a little underdeveloped and easy to counteract. Graham uses elements from Arabic folklore to great effect, but the horror of the story draws more from the Orwellian aspects of the setting. Graham was also conscious about limiting the use of jump scares. “Anybody can have a cat jump in through the window or have a bird hit a window pane. Jump scares are not the most challenging aspect of making horror.”

The main antagonist turns the table on the military staff, preying on insecurities and flaws such as collateral damage and broken marriages before eating their flesh to steal their identities. “I am nothing like them, Ahmed, and nor do I want to be,” is a key line that says volumes about Ghoul’s views on who the true monsters are. This is underscored to great dramatic effect in the film’s climax, with a line that reminded me, oddly enough, of Geralt of Rivia from The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt.

As a limited series, Ghoul also reminds me of The Thing, Alien and Pitch Black, as well as survival horror games such as Dead Space and F.E.A.R. The political elements borrow liberally from classics such as Fahrenheit 451, 1984 and A Clockwork Orange.

The Verdict

While it’s a good horror production, one can’t help but feel it could have benefited from a longer narrative that allowed more room for both the political and supernatural elements to breathe. Thankfully, the ending leaves room for a Season Two. “Yeah, anybody who watches it can very much realize that isn’t the end of the story,” Graham acquiesced when pressed on the series’ future.

Whatever lies in the future for Ghoul, Radhika Apte is optimistic about the future of Indian content on Netflix. “Sacred Games’ success has really made everybody believe that this is one of the biggest and best things that could happen right now.”

Originally published on Medium and UpThrust on August 26, 2018.

Nathan Fillion plays Nathan Drake in an Uncharted short film

The Uncharted series is a franchise exclusive to the PlayStation system, achieving total lifetime sales of over 21 million copies. The game combines seamless transition from game-play to Hollywood level Action movie set pieces and cinematics. Nathan Fillion semed to . Fans got their wish when on 16th July when Fillion and Director Allan Ungar (Gridlocked) made a fan movie and have released the project on the internet.

The film stars Nathan Fillion as Nathan Drake such as Steven Lang as Victor Sullivan, Mircea Monroe as Elena Fisher and Geno Segers as the antagonist. The movie follows the trio as they try to find the lost treasure of Flor De La Mar.

This fan-made movie is independent of the currently still at development Uncharted movie being made at Sony. The official project remained in production hell going through numerous rewrites. Director David Russell (The Fighter, American Hustle) was tasked with directing the movie and joining him was Mark Wahlberg as Nathan Drake, but due to creative differences David Russell departed the project along with his proposed cast. As of the latest news, Tom Holland (Spiderman: Homecoming, Avengers Infinity War) is currently set to star as Nathan Drake with the movie getting a complete overhaul focusing on Nathan’s younger years.

Whether the movie comes out or not remains to be seen but fans can be happy that a fan made movie is made staring their ideal cast for Nathan Drake and there is hope that this movie follows the example of Deadpool where something similar happened with Ryan Reynolds playing the Merc with a Mouth in a fan made project and due to the positive response the movie was given the green light to be made .

Only time will tell whether the official movie production can change its fortunes.

Sacred Games: a dark triumph of noir storytelling

Sacred Games makes its grim ambition abundantly clear from the get go.

A dog falls to its death, hitting the ground with a thud, its white coat marred with faint patches of red. A woman is murdered in cold blood by a self-professed gangster god, half naked, his modesty barely covered by the hem of his panjabi. Many others soon fall to a hail of bullets.

Sacred Games is Netflix’s first Indian series. Adapted from an acclaimed 900-page doorstopper by Vikram Chandra, the eight-episode first season is equal parts gripping and thrilling. Directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, it’s also socially charged, finely balancing sharp commentary within the dual narratives.

Saif Ali Khan plays Sartaj Singh, a jaded cop trying to uphold his father’s integrity in a police force that has no use for such lofty ideals. In a depressingly mediocre ten-year career, Sartaj has failed to bag anything other than small time thugs. His fate changes, however, when he receives an anonymous call about the whereabouts of Ganesh Gaitonde, a legendary crime lord who has been missing for 16 years. Ganesh Gaitonde is played with weathered, dangerous calmness by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The kingpin starts a chain reaction of events that are set to shake the foundations of the Mumbai underworld to the core.

Like most Kashyap features, this is solid, pulpy noir, featuring staples such as damsels in distress and rampant corruption. Mumbai is also portrayed as a complex, multi-layered character in its own right. Sacred Games is unabashedly Indian, with many references to the local religious divides smartly woven into the winding narrative. The writers (Varun Grover, Smita Singh and Vasant Nath) have done a decent job in constructing a universal revenge-fueled narrative that will appeal to viewers worldwide.

Saif Ali Khan’s straight laced, tortured Singh is a decent protagonist, but he is the straight man to Nawazuddin, the undisputed star of the story. His antihero gangster story unfolds in a way that reminiscent of not only Gangs of Wasseypur and Godfather, but also lesser known indie features such as Only God Forgives.

The supporting cast is also well-rounded. RAW agent Anjali Mathur (Radhika Apte) plays a memorable role later in the season. Sartaj’s right hand man Katekar (Jitendra Joshi) is an underrated delight along his wife Shalini (Neha Shitole). The couple take turns playing comic relief and emotional support to Sartaj’s straight man. The cinematography does well in portraying the journey of Bombay to Mumbai, featuring authentic outdoor locales in lieu of stock beauty shots. The soundtrack, mellow and haunting, fits well with the anguish and bitterness of Sartaj and Ganesh. The score is also fused with traffic and other Mumbai noises in a visceral mix.

Of course, Sacred Games is not without its flaws. The characters’ common sense is often sacrificed at the altar of plot expediency. Noir stories, though initially thrilling, can get repetitive if they stick to the beaten path. Nawazuddin’s Ganesh, for instance, feels like a spiritual successor to his Faizal from Wasseypur. The show’s narrative is also driven by a ticking clock device, a trope liberally used in earlier thrillers such as 24.

Like all foreign Netflix productions, Sacred Games is also available in multiple dubs. However, it’s best viewed in Hindi with subtitles. The Hindi is authentic, as expected, but what makes the language essential hearing is the liberal peppering of Marathi by the various characters.

In the context of Indian content landscape, Sacred Games has the potential to be a game-changer. The majority of Indian TV content focuses on family drama and reality TV, mostly targeted at an older generation. There is a dearth of engaging mature content that speaks about relevant issues that cater to multiple demographics. There have been previous attempts of producing big-budget limited series starring Bollywood stars such as Amitabh Bacchan and Anil Kapoor. However, Netflix’s name value and subscriber base may be a key difference maker.

Can it be the Narcos of India? It certainly has the quality and star power to pull it off. At any rate, the cliffhanger leaves room for a solid, if not stronger second season, along with similar Indian TV shows waiting in the wings.