Sacred Games season 2 is an absolute binger that lives up to the hype

Netflix’s most anticipated series Sacred Games is back with its most anticipated season. And we have been on the edge of our seats with curiosity and excitement since it first announced the date of release. The best part of it? No character let us down this time as well.

Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui are in top form, setting the standards high for more. The thrilling, intriguing and hooking nature of this series with the perfect combination of dark humour and dialogue that are too real to be. 

The plot

As the makers follow the storytelling style of the previous season and narrate the story in a non-linear fashion, the twists and turns give it a massive thrilling touch. The story transverses from one time period to another – a sort of juxtaposition of the lead characters – Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) – and their storylines. As Nawazuddin himself turns orator for his story in flashback, Saif unfolds key points of what danger is Mumbai in and amidst it, also deals with his complicated personal life. 

Gaitonde, who was last seen breaking a jail, is now seen somewhere in the seas. He has nothing on his mind but revenge. Nawazuddin reprises his role as the notorious gangster, but not in Bombay or Mumbai, Gaitonde is now setting up his business overseas in Mombasa, Kenya. But things are changed – Gaitonde, who called himself Bhagwan, is now coming to terms with his own fall. His empire is in deep waters and he is away from the city he loves, Bombay.

Simultaneously, Saif Ali Khan as Sartaj is looking for the mission puzzle pieces. Delivering a restrained performance with just the right amount of intensity and ease, Saif as Sartaj keeps you hooked. It might be his duty as a cop to investigate and solve the intricate process, but as a viewer, you cannot help but start looking for clues yourself as the story progresses. Pankaj Tripathi as Guruji and Kalki Koechlin as Abelman deliver a stellar performance as expected.

The verdict

Sometime during the show, a prominent character says, “Nucleus se hi nikle the, nucleus mei hi waapis jaayege” and that, can be an apt and short description of the season. Crime, corruption, and communalism – the three facets of Sacred Games have been dealt with sensitively. The elemental and mental chaos, both, have been truly portrayed with finesse. Anything more about the plot will be a giveaway, but it would suffice to say that the show is a ticking bomb, one that you need to invest your time and attention to.

With the show being both mysterious and thrilling, it doesn’t yet lose sight of its commentary, plot and story. As with the first season, it leaves you with questions and things to think about for the next season.

Season 2 of Sacred Games gets a 5/5 from us easily.

Definitely keep this season on your watch list this vacation because it’s worth the time.

Money Heist Season 3: Back with a Bang!

It’s time to get our red jumpsuits and Dali masks back on because Netflix’s acclaimed Spanish Crime Drama ‘La Casa De Papel’ or Money Heist is back with its 3rd season.  Season 3 finally dropped on Netflix on Friday, July 19 to the surprise and joy of fans worldwide. And what a comeback the Professor and his crew have made! The latest season is centred on an even more audacious heist with much higher stakes. Here is our review on the latest season of Money Heist.

P.S – Minor Spoilers/Plot-point for episode 1 & 2 of the 3rd season

The Plot

The series builds off from the end of the first two seasons which saw the Professor and his gang with city named aliases robs almost 2.5 billion Euro from the royal mint of Spain and making their escape from the Spanish government and police.

Them being some of the world’s most wanted criminals, the group along with the professor split up to different parts of the world, to live out the rest of their lives with their loot.

But tragedy struck when Rio, the master hacker among the group, is caught and subsequently tortured by the Spanish government. So Tokyo is tasked with finding the professor and the rest of the crew to devise a plan to get Rio back. And they plan to do it with their latest heist i.e. the gold deposit of the bank of Spain. 

Read more: TV shows you shouldn’t have watched but did anyway

New characters and old faces

The latest season has introduced several new characters on both sides. Bogotá, Marseille and Palermo have replaced the deceased Moscow, Oslo and Berlin as the newest members. Characters of Mónica Gaztambide and Raquel Murillo have formally joined the group, taking up the aliases Stockholm and Lisbon respectively.  

Coronel Luis Tamayo and Alicia Sierra are the new antagonists tasked with taking down the professor and his group. We also get recurring characters such as inspector Ángel Rubio, Arturo Román, Coronel Prieto in on the action as well as the deceased members of the professor’s group through flashbacks, especially that of Berlin’s. 

Opinion

The first two seasons of Money Heist was a huge international success. Prior to season 3’s release, it was Netflix’s most-watched non-English series and even won an Emmy. So to say that expectation for the 3rd season was high is an understatement. And season 3 did not disappoint.

The plot was dynamic and enthralling with great pacing, the visuals and soundtracks for the entire season were topnotch and the signature chess-like plotting and manoeuvering from both sides was a treat to watch. Like the robbery it portrays, the series itself is fast, intricate and perfectly executed. By the end, the show finishes off on a classic fake-out and cliffhanger that will leave you desperately waiting for season 4.

A solid 4/5 from us, the 3rd season of Money Heist is a must-watch for fans of the show.

For anyone who’s contemplating watching the show, this is the best time.    

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

Only a few works can be compared to the new release of Netflix titled as Love, Death, and Robots. It was expected that a series produced by David Fincher and created by Tim Miller would be pretty good. But no one expected that it would be this amazing.

This anthology series has crossed boundaries among genres like Comedy, Animation, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction etc.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

If you are still wondering whether to try out this gift or not, then here is your spoiler-free review.

Different people seek different things in a series. Some, care for the story while some carefully scrutinize the animation. We’ll cover it from different angles.

Ratings

There are people who think the series quality is solely tied to its ratings. If you’re one of those people, then here are some of the fresh ratings for you.

IMDB: 9.1/10 –

There is a high chance that you might not take this rating seriously. This much distrust is legit I believe. So, let’s move onto the next rating.

Rotten Tomatoes: Average Tomatometer: 75% –

Although it is a bit early to rely on the Rotten Tomatoes ratings still 75% on the average Tomatometer is pretty decent. Moreover, 94% of the users have rated it over 3.5 out of 5.

Metacritic: 8.6/10 –

Based on 61 ratings Metacritic gave it an 8.6 out of 10. Only two critic reviews have landed till now. Of these two one is positive, and one is mixed.

Heaven of Horror: 4/5 –

Heaven of horror covers horror, thriller and sci-fi movies & TV shows. They are more like an expert in reviewing the creations of these genres. So, when they give it a 4/5, you should consider watching it.

Animation is outstanding

Each of the 18 shorts from this series has its signature animation style. While watching the first episode you will discover yourself watching gameplay. On the episode titled as Beyond the Aquila Rift it is easy to get confused. In fact, the super realistic animation of this episode will easily bewilder you.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

In one subreddit post, one animator cleared out the mystery behind this hyper-realistic animation. Everything on this episode is motion captured. All the body and facial motions were first captured form the actors and then transformed into CGI. In fact, the performers had to wear helmets and other gears that could capture their motions.

Besides this episode, there are other notable animations in other episodes. On the third episode, the animation is more like comics strips. Remember the animation from Into the Spiderverse? Well, here you will see something close to that. In other words, frame rates are manipulated to show speed in this episode.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

Like me, many people have agreed on the fact that the best animation of this season was on the episode ‘The Secret War’.

Moreover, there will be times when you won’t be able to differentiate between motion captured animation and VFX. Even the hand-drawn episodes are pretty stunning. In truth, no matter which episode you start watching, it is inevitable that you’ll be in for a surprise.

Story quality varies a bit

The creators have rounded up some great flash fictions. These stories have explored the sci-fi as well as supernatural genre. In some episodes, characters are well built in spite of the short duration. Even though the stories are sci-fi, you will be able to relate to the characters.

John Scalzi, Joe Lansdale, Ken Liu, Claudine Griggs, and Alastair Reynolds. These names belong to some of the most prominent writers all around the world. These writers were the source of some of the best episodes of this series.

John Scalzi is the former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Joe R. Lansdale has won the British Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, and several other awards. Ken Liu has won in the World Fantasy Awards. Alastair Reynolds is a former space scientist who has now published over sixty short Sci-fi stories.

Love, Death, and Robots: A more perfect anthology never existed

The adapted screenplays from the flash fictions of these writers have generated something really ‘Cool’. Furthermore, many episodes have given tribute to other great movies and tv shows. With one episode you will find the resemblance of 127 Hours. Similarly, In one episode you’ll find easter eggs from Dr. Manhattan. Also, the name of Rear Window (1954) has come up in the discussions. Many have reviewed that this season is a mini version of Black Mirror, but we think this goes more with The Animatrix

In fact, the episodes are well organized throughout the season. If one episode gives you dread, the next one will lighten up the mood with absurd humor.

Ranking the best episodes

Just like any other Tv shows this too had great and average episodes. Here are our ratings for 5 of the best episodes out of 18 shorts.

  • Beyond the Aquila Rift – 9.7/10
  • Good Hunting – 9.4/10
  • The Witness – 9.3/10
  • The Secret War – 9.1/10
  • When the Yogurt Took Over – 9/10

Verdict

In short ‘Love, Death, and Robots’ is an out of the world experience, thanks to its awesome storyline and animation.

David Fincher and Tim Miller’s latest masterpiece easily gets 4/5 from us.

If you are still confused about watching it, please don’t be. Take a leap of faith and experience what both modern technology and creative mind have accomplished by working together.

Russian Doll: The Perfect Weekend Binge

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A cynical person is compelled to relive a certain day in repeat, over and over again and stuck in a time loop.

Of course, you have. Because this is the exact same premise for a whole host of movies and TV series episodes. For example, Groundhog Day, Source Code, Edge of tomorrow and even recent Black Mirror event, Bandersnatch to a certain degree.

So can the same plot, that’s been done so many times over be any good or entertaining? In the case of Netflix’s new comedy-drama “Russian Doll” very much so.

Produced and co-written by Amy Poehler of “Parks and Recreations”, Russian Doll, as the show itself describes itself, “a long story involving multiple deaths.”

Minor Spoilers for the 1st and 2nd episode.

It starts off with Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne), a cynical New Yorker who is seen at her 36th birthday party thrown by two of her closest friend at their apartment.

Nadia happens to be a chain-smoking, alcoholic, video game programmer with a self-destructive nature and pretty bleak outlook on life. After an accident involving a local deli cat, Nadia is run over by a speeding taxi and is killed on the spot on the night of her birthday.

Russian Doll a bingeworthy netflix show

But surprising enough she’s transported back to the where the episode started off. At birthday party her friend threw for her, giving her the worst case of Déjà vu. Although writing it off as her imagination and side-effects of the narcotics she took at the party, she realized that the loop she’s in is very real after she ends up dying a few more times. Nadia is left to figure out how to free herself from this never-ending loop or if it’s even possible to free herself at all.

What makes it binge-worthy

Even with the worn out plot, Russian Doll has a lot going for it in term of making it one the most binge-worthy shows out there. For one, with having just eight episodes and a runtime less than 4 hours, it hits the sweet spot in terms of keeping the audience glued to their screens as the show keeps peeling off its different layers.

On the topic of different layers, the show is very smart right down to its characters. Dark humor and how it portrays it and handles heavy subject matter and even the theory of relativity at one point. The title of the show itself is a reference to depression and mental health which gets more prominent as the story progresses.

Russian Doll a bingeworthy netflix show.

The protagonist Nadia Vulvokov is a great reason to watch Russian doll in itself. The deaths were comically hilarious and some hilariously dark but the drama of the show was very genuine and heartfelt. Being funny, brash, cynical, and hedonistic from the beginning to the revelation of her troubled back-story and characters growth, she is the life of the show. Although the show can get a bit confusing and disjointed at times, everything comes together beautifully by the end of the final episode.

Verdict

Overall, Russian Doll is a solid show to watch with enough twists and turns and character development to keep the audience hooked. Although its overused plotline might turn away some initially, you could do much worse than giving it’s a shot and hopefully love it by the end.

That ’70s Show: The criminally underrated sitcom you need to binge.

“Hello, Wisconsin!”

If those words do not ring any bell to you, chances are you have never watched “That ’70s Show”. For those who are unfamiliar with this sitcom, here is a piece of television history for you. That ’70s Show is an American period sitcom that aired between 1998 and 2006. It ran for 200 episodes, spanning 8 seasons.

If you are a patsy for comedy, now might not be the best of times for you.

The Big Bang Theory is closing its curtain with its twelfth and final season this year. Modern Family will return for its final season in 2020. And I know you have already binged Friends a bazillion times (for some people, HIMYM applies as well). In case you feel void of a great sitcom in your life, here is a cue for you. Go watch That ’70s Show. You will be hooked. By hooked I mean you will not rest easy until you finish all of the 8 seasons. Oh, you are not convinced yet? Fine, let me take the lead then.

The resurgence of retroelements in pop culture is an indication that audiences, mostly millennials are obsessed with nostalgia. We love living in the past. This is why you will fall in love with That ’70s Show. It is set in the bell-bottom era of th mid-’70s, chronicles the lives of 6 high schoolers and interprets the cultural aspects of that period that few shows ever could. Keep in mind that this is a show about living in the ’70s and it was produced in the ’90s.

The plot

Without further ado, let’s delve into the cast and settings. The pilot episode opens in a basement of a middle-class house. 6 teenagers are orchestrating their plan to steal beer cans from Eric Forman’s dad. They are all in Eric’s house so Eric is coerced to go upstairs and scavenge the cans for them. We just met our lead cast of the show and most of them are very recognizable actors. Eric (Topher Grace) is a boy desperate to become a man, oftentimes get lectured by his funnily rude dad. Eric has a love interest, named Donna (Laura Prepon) who is not your typical retro chick. Her independent and strong nature is a hint of the burgeoning gender equality of that era.

Jacky and Kelso are an ever quarrelling couple played by real-life sweethearts Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Jacky does not fit into the group yet sticks with them whereas Kelso is a stupid good looking guy whose greatest challenge in life is to break up with Jacky. Hyde (Danny Masterson) is a nihilist and rebel. He is easily my most favorite character in this show. His Zeppelin t-shirts and love for good old rock and roll makes me like him even more. And last but not least, we have Fez (Wilmer Valderrama), a foreign exchange student who is still recovering from cultural shock. Fez is the heart of this series and he will do anything to steal your girl.

What makes this show an underrated gem

One of the prime focus of this show is the chemistry between Eric and Donna. Their “More than friends but not really in love” affair is something to die for. Kelso-Jackie, the other two lovebirds put on quite a show as well. Ashton Kutcher does a phenomenal job playing Michael Kelso. Mila Kunis who was 14 while filming the pilot, is equally impressive. That ’70s show hilariously showcases the practice of smoking pot which gained notoriety in the ’70s. 4 teens lock themselves up in a basement, smoke pot and trash talk until their shenanigans get hindered by Eric’s dad. One of the most memorable scenes of this show, I can vouch for that.

I have met with mixed responses when I argued this is a gem of a show and quite underrated. Some people disagreed. The reason some people may not enjoy the jokes and sentiments of this show is because not all of us can relate to the references that entwines the music, norms and relationships of that time. Nevertheless, it rests with a special place in my fandomverse.

You will love the theme song. Rock, disco and pop reigns throughout the show. The soundtracks are unmissable, do check ‘em out!

Komola rocket: the floating montage of misery, lust and greed

Komola Rocket, the Bangladeshi drama film entirely shot in a vintage steamer, has landed on Netflix earlier this year. As a ferry vessel enthusiast, the film was a long overdue one for me. Here’s my two cents about this 112 minute feature film that have made its way to international film festivals and earned accolades as well.

The brilliant minds behind

Based on short stories (‘Moulik’ and ‘Cyprus’) by esteemed writer Shahaduzzaman, Komola Rocket is the debut directorial venture of Noor Imran Mithu. Mithu previously worked with Mostofa Sarwar Farooki as an assistant director and was the lead actor in ‘Pipra Bidya’. Mithun merged two stories of his favourite writer and turned it into a script for Komola rocket. As interesting as it may sound, the film was shot in a century-old steamer and locations range from Sadarghat to the river beds of Khulna.

The plot

(SPOILERS AHEAD)

Komola rocket: the floating montage of misery, lust and greed 3

Rocket, a very old steamer where queen Elizabeth once onboarded (not kidding), starts its journey from Sadarghat towards Khulna. With a crazy mix of passengers, rocket moves toward Meghna river. We see a packed vessel where every passenger has a story worth listening.

From circus freaks to corrupt business magnate, the stark contrast in social class is the heart of Komola rocket.

Atik, an idiosyncratic man is going to Khulna on a hideout to spare himself from an arson conspiracy. He meets a dysfunctional family he would rather not involve with. The family consists a couple with a child and a young woman. Atik, ever so edgy, also stumbles upon a weirdo called Mofizul. Camouflaging as a poet and kabiraj, Mofizul runs a prostitution ring in the steamer. Atik is bewildered when Mofizul mistakes him for a client, but he gets used to his fawning.

Komola rocket: the floating montage of misery, lust and greed 7

We see a narcissist young girl who secretly mates with her boyfriend, not knowing Atik is right beside her room. Atik seems uninterested. His only concern is to withdraw insurance money for fire attack at his factory. It is clearly implied that Atik is the mastermind behind this sabotage. Fatefully enough, a distraught man named Monsur also onboarded rocket with a corpse. His wife was burnt alive at a factory fire tragedy and he’s going to bury her at their native village. Monsur meets Atik, not knowing he’s the owner of the very factory where his wife died.

The subtle messages

Komola rocket: the floating montage of misery, lust and greed 4

There are other supporting characters who appear once in a while, aptly reflecting our social conscience.

Unemployment, cheating husband, rotting dead bodies- Komola rocket explores it all.

In the final act of the film, the steamer gets stuck in a ridge and it stands still in the middle of the river. Food supplies in the rocket shrinks soon. people from VIP cabin to freeloaders- all stand in line with a hungry stomach to eat overpriced dinner. The movie ends on a depressing note. We don’t see where the characters end up; we only see their misery, lust and greed.

What works and what doesn’t

Komola rocket: the floating montage of misery, lust and greed 2

Komola rocket sees Tauqir Ahmed and Mosharraf Karim sharing the silver screen for the second time. Atik and Mofizul are played by Tauqir and Mosharraf respectively. Samia Syed, a Lux-Channel I superstar contestant appears as the narcissistic girl. Other acting credits include Joyraaj, Sheoti, Dominic Gomez etc. One thing I have to highlight about this film is the pristine cinematography. There are several drone shots of the rocket which I significantly liked. Noor Imran Mithu gets a pass for his first direction. If I have to nitpick anything about Komola rocket, then it should be the dialogue. I think the dialogues could have been a bit relevant and matured with the context. Overall, Komola rocket should be on your watchlist as one of the few decent Bengali language movies out there.

Check out other Bangladeshi films streaming on Netflix. ‘Television’ and ‘Pipra bidya’ are some of the popular titles you will currently find on this website.