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Note: If you have any specific information that you would like to add or want my assistance in creating a film's page or any other contribution, just ping me (contact page).
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These are the top Hindi films of 2019 (in random order).
Check out my blog at nair tejas dot com. Thanks.
These are the flop Malayalam films of 2019 (in random order).
Check out my blog at https://nairtejas.wordpress.com/. Thanks.
This is a list of all Malayalam films that are currently in development hell i.e. those whose production has been stalled for the longest time due to one or the other reason. Some of the most common reasons are studio and production issues, casting, story rewriting, and legal hurdles.
PS - If you have a tip about any of these films, let me know. Thanks.
These are the average Malayalam films of 2019 (in random order). For other lists, check - Best films - https://www.imdb.com/list/ls043925292/
Check out my blog at nair tejas dot com. Thanks.
These are the flop Hindi films of 2020 (in random order).
Check out my blog at https://www.nairtejas.com/ for more. Thanks.
These are the most average Bollywood films of 2019 (in random order).
Check out my website at nair tejas dot com. Thanks.
Note: If you have any specific information that you would like to add or want my assistance in creating a film's page or any other contribution, just ping me (contact page).
Follow me at my blog at nair tejas dot com.
Because a lot of times we need the perspective of multiple people to come to a meaningful conclusion, I have started this new list of the top films in Mollywood that came out in 2019. You can also browse my other lists here: http://www.imdb.com/user/ur34967775/lists.
The films are updated every week or two and are ranked on the basis of their aggregate score, which is a mean value of all the ratings given by the critics. Because not all films are reviewed by every critic, a title is added into this list only if it has been reviewed by four or more people/publications (including me). So, in essence, all Malayalam films releasing between January 2019 and December 2019 will be considered by these six critics + me.
Appreciate your constructive thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you and enjoy! For more such analyses, visit my blog - https://www.nairtejas.com/.
Last updated: 13 January 2020.
Past Honorees: Ambili, Kakshi: Amminippilla, And the Oscar Goes To..., Luca, June, Lucifer, Athiran, Satyam Paranja Viswasikkuvo, Praana, Oru Yamandan Premakadha, Vijay Superum Pournamiyum, Vaarikkuzhiyile Kolapathakam, 9, Madhuraraja, Allu Ramendran, Argentina Fans Kaattoorkadavu.
Half-yearly rankings: 15 Best Malayalam Movies of 2019 So Far
Note: Only films with at least 4 critics' ratings (out of 7) for each of them are selected.
Aakashaganga II (2019)
One-Line Review: Aakashaganga II (1 Star)
It's heart-rending to see good talent like Sreenath Bhasi to be toyed around by director Vinayan who has clearly lost chis charm now he is resorting to adding unnecessary and non-landing humour in a clearshot horror film like Aakashaganga II (The Spirit of the Sky 2) that is a strong contender to be one of the worst written Malayalam films of 2019. TN.
Ghost Stories (2019)
One-Line Review: Ghost Stories (3 Stars)
I really wanted to like the four stories of Ghost Stories because of their peculiarity but the moment I began liking them - mostly because of some solid performances by the actors and some fantastic production value - the directors changed their tracks and all the endings left me like 'what?'. TN.
Good Newwz (2019)
One-Line Review: Good Newws (7 Stars)
Good Newwz is the type of solid family entertainer that tickles your bone in every other scene, thanks to the ensemble cast's terrific performances, while also sampling a topic that would have been otherwise difficult to write about and film on. TN.
Aise hi (2019)
Molecule Review: Aise Hee (7 Stars)
Aise Hee (Just Like That) took me back to my memory lane without having asked for it. In Kislay's narrative drama about a woman's aspiration to live her life in her own terms lies also the powerful dynamics involved in a nuclear family setting. Who else do you think does this central character fight against and for even as she grieves the death of her husband and begins a life of solitude? The film has montages of old pictures (possibly real) of the actors and looking at those is enough for you to understand where Kislay is coming from and what he is trying to do to you. It's a terrific film and one that must be watched to be felt. TN.
(Watched and reviewed at a private screening through MAMI's Year Round Programme in Mumbai.)
One-Line Review: Chhichhore (8 Stars)
Nitesh Tiwari's Chhichhore (Loafers), although looks and is like old wine in a new bottle, is like a breath of fresh air in Hindi cinema not because it makes you laugh and takes you back to the good old college days but because it has been written with the social responsibility of teaching today's generation that life goes on. TN.
Aadya Rathri (2019)
One-Line Review: Aadya Rathri (5 Stars)
Jibu Jacob's ambitious comic caper Aadya Rathri (First Night) about a marriage broker who is against romance manages to stay afloat with a bunch of jokes, but in the grand scheme of things, falls flat because of sexism and glorification of revival of old traditions when it comes to matrimony despite Biju Menon's superior performance and his mercuric yet typecast role. TN.
Molecule Review: Subharathri (6 Stars)
Siddique shines in this emotionally captivating film that celebrates altruism, where he plays a man retired from all responsibilities and who is now getting ready to take the Haj pilgrimage alone. The intensity of the writing, especially in the first half, where we, the viewers, are given a bird's eye view of how and what this central character thinks is what makes Subharathri (Good Night) a pleasant and soothing art to consume. I can't contain the merriment I felt when I was watching it with my family. It's a startling film, one that sneaks up on you and refuses to budge. Writer-director Vyasan KP is surely a guy we should watch out for for this drama couldn't have been better. But if I could mention why I zapped four stars, it has to be due to the poor marriage between the halves, one where Dileep's character enters like a sore thumb. TN.
Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu (2019)
One-Line Review: Irupathiyonnam Noottandu (3 Stars)
I don't know what the aspiration would have been of the makers to make Irupathiyonnam Noottandu (21st Century), a perfectly aimless film that will be shown to students in the future on the subject of 'how and why to not make films'. TN.
Molecule Review: Mamangam (3 Stars)
It's difficult to describe my feelings about Mamangam (an 18th century battle fair) in a few lines because on paper it felt like such a great opportunity to retell the history with ample resources but to see the stressful sequences where no one is comfortable, it just is a disappointment. How else would you describe scenes that stick out and not gel well with each other, an overlong screenplay that has plenty scenes that could be trimmed to make the shindig more exciting, and an unenthusiastic cast that were not directed well? The powerful score, the intricate plot, and little things involving a kid as a warrior piqued my interest but other than that, I found Mamangam to be a lost opportunity. Better to give it a try when it premieres online. TN.
Dream Girl (2019)
One-Line Review: Dream Girl (6 Stars)
Dream Girl takes a formulaic approach at storytelling (of a man forced to use his feminine voice for employment) climaxing as a comedy of errors that is borderline sexist and discriminating at one point and liberal and pathbreaking at others, I was confused where the interests of director Raaj Shaandilyaa lay, but the one thing that I'm sure is about the comedy that he and his writers manage to generate. TN.
Love Action Drama (2019)
Capsule Review: Love Action Drama (1 Star)
Men, who have been denied love by a woman, usually resort to sending nasty messages while being drunk. Or burning their pictures and flushing the ash down the drain in a fit of anger, again influenced by alcohol. Or publicly posting their private pictures or messages online. Director Dhyan Sreenivasan, on the other hand, seems to have made a film about it, his sexist opinions about a romantic relationship. His debut directorial, Love Action Drama, for people who were not warned by his aimless writing in Thomas Sebastian's Goodalochana (2017), is like an extended version of those small Tik Tok videos we see these days in social media featuring teenage boys and girls. There's no rhythm, no story, and absolutely no linearity or flow in this film with a descriptive title that goes on to advocate and glorify toxic masculinity, something that we as a society have been trying to eradicate. At the centre of this mockery is Nivin Pauly's character, miserable now after his girlfriend said no to him for marriage, who falls in love with Nayanthara's character. He blames her for everything that goes wrong between them, which, in factuality, are his faults. But more than that, what's surprising to me as a viewer is that how conveniently Sreenivasan makes her character fall in love with him, an alcoholic, childish, jobless person who hates women. I usually like to see different angles of a topic, but Love Action Drama, the maiden production of Aju Varghese, is just plain bad, tepid, and inarguably the worst Malayalam film of 2019. Don't watch it. TN.
The Zoya Factor (2019)
One-Line Review: The Zoya Factor (3 Stars)
The Zoya Factor has a small list of positives, one of which is that it samples the superstitious beliefs that (Indian) cricketers have, and it is interesting to see how deep it is in the core, but then the lacklustre, cliched plot aggravated by Sonam Kapoor's buffoon-like performance (and only saved by Dulquer Salmaan) takes all the fun out of the film making you cringe with despair. TN.
Kettiyollaanu Ente Maalakha (2019)
Capsule Review: Kettiyollaanu Ente Maalakha (7 Stars)
I was so enchanted to see Asif Ali enact the role of Sleevachan, a good-natured 35-year-old man with zero knowledge on how to deal with matters of sex and marital life, with such diligence and changing gradation that it was difficult for me to praise the importance, timeliness, and social relevance of this romantic drama. But I will make an attempt because Nissam Basheer would want me to as he has concocted a delicious recipe out of a sensitive topic. Marital rape and the indifference surrounding it in the state of Kerala and elsewhere in India has been handled with such deft in Kettiyollaanu Ente Maalakha (English: My Wife is My Angel) that it needs to be seen by everyone who is affected by it. Which is every human being, slightly limited only by their age. When Sleevachan is forced to marry someone not as a partner for himself but as someone who would take care of his old mother, he does not even look at his prospective wife when he goes to meet her and her family. The indifferent self-centered nature of this man is admired by that person (Veena Nandhakumar) who later becomes his wife, and so starts a conversationless tale of marital discord unknown to the people outside of the four walls of their yet-adorned bedroom. The anxiety and discomfort displayed by Ali and the voiceless concern shown by Nandhakumar (who might still need some acting classes) both enrapture you as you become a part of this Christian family where sisters-in-law have a say at everything and brothers-in-law are silent spectators and only care about the food. Everyone is nonchalant about what's going on and that's the way it is because sex is still taboo in India and no one talks about or teaches one about the things that one should do with their partner after marriage. Never breaking the obscenity line and only adding humour to the mix, writer Aji Peter Thankam only improves his social drama by making it more important as the plot goes deeper into the lives of Sleevachan and his pretty wife. There is so much to process in Kettiyallaanu Ente Maalakha, I would like to recommend it twice. Once with your partner and the second time with your whole family. It's totally worth it. TN.
One-Line Review: Pattabhiraman (5 Stars)
A surprise serving of novelty from the Thamarakkulam-Jayaram combo after years, Pattabhiraman (English: given Tamil-origin name) touches upon the important topic of food security in restaurants and food factories and uses a delectable container (of a scrupulous health inspector with an aspiration to crack down on all illegal food joints) to make its point but then in the final 40 minutes takes such a virulent turn it goes back to the slipshod territory that everyone one in Malayalam cinema has said goodbye to long back except Kannan Thamarakkulam and Jayaram. Brownie points for pairing Jayaram with an age-appropriate actress like Sheel Abraham. TN.
Capsule Review: Vikruthy (7 Stars)
Sampling the subject of online shaming (that was previously touched upon in Ashraf Hamza's Thamaasha), this poignant drama with a powerhouse performance by Suraj Venjaramoodu, Vikruthy (English: Prank) offers a commentary on how things can be when tasteless memes or trolling campaigns are started against people who have no idea about any of these things. It could be your security person who hasn't heard of Facebook or a daily wage worker who decided to take a nap on a reserved train berth. But more than the theme, Emcy Joseph's ordinary characters are what makes Vikruthy a pleasant experience, giving us enough to laugh and think about. While Soubin Shahir sleepwalked through the drama, Sudhi Koppa, Vincy Aloshious, and Irshad drive the vehicle forward with ample doses of 'naadan drama and comedy' which has defined Malayalam cinema in 2019. There's a lot of authenticity in how the film has been made. Though it could have struck gold had it shown the victor to be a careless guy who did what he does both for the fun without being apologetic. To borrow a line from a fellow Redditor, the final act by Venjaramoodu made me believe that he was really dumb. I would even go ahead and say that his performances in this drama and in Android Kunjappan (2019) can both be counted among the best of 2019. There's no doubt. Not even about how much this film works and makes you think and cry. It's a sweet little film and a definite contender for one of this 2019's best. TN.
Tutti giù (2012)
One-Line Review: Tutti giu (5 Stars)
Tutti giu (English: Everyone Down) is an average drama where the lives of three individuals - a zealous skateboarder, a taciturn graffiti artist, and a skiing champion - cross even as all of them are fighting their own battles, with the director putting the focus on teen parties, and how sports can have adverse effects on people and their health. TN.
(Watched at a private screening at the Consulate General of Italy in Mumbai.)
Capsule Review: Helen (7 Stars)
Helen (given name) made me tear up not because of the survival element - which is a rarity in Malayalam cinema, I should add - but because of standout performances by Lal and Anna Ben who play a father-daughter duo with so much delicacy and warmth it drives the thriller forward without being hammy. It is when Ben's character gets stuck in a cold storage unit one day that things take a turn in the plot as the director uses the event to highlight a series of issues currently plaguing the country: police apathy and their morality lens, caste discrimination, and work stress. It is rather delicious to find these topics scattered as garnishing in a film that is by and large about survival. How Ben manages to enact her challenging role is definitely an attracting element here but what I would like to move your attention to is the range of Lal and how effortlessly he plays the role of a father figure with ultimate finesse it reminded me of my own. Helen has been made well with slight issues in screenplay in the first half and a little bit of convenience storytelling but overall it comes around and will make you feel emotional towards the end. There's no way you'll feel disappointed. TN.
One-Line Review: Margamkali (3 Stars)
An outrageous romance plot with its fair share of problems (sexism being one of them), comedy drama Margamkali (English: a Christian dance form involving women forming a circle; fooling around in circles) loses all its marbles sometime before the second half even as it carries the weight of some inventive sub arcs. TN.
Capsule Review: Android Kunjappan 5.25 (8 Stars)
While asking all the difficult questions associated with man's attempt at using artificial intelligence to simplify life, Android Kunjappan version 5.25, a superbly made entertainer that keeps on giving despite its long running time, takes a friendly, chill approach and drives a much more important point home. About human connections, their dynamics, and the possibility of technology replacing them. I was literally gobsmacked a few times watching this humorous, socially relevant film that could not have been released at a more proper time, often wondering what length the makers might have gone to craft it. Whether it is the electric performances (it is not fair to focus only Suraj Venjaramoodu as each one of the cast strike gold here), the characterisation of a whole village, and the dialog writing, this debut feature Ratheesh Poduval is bound to receive cult status sooner than its contemporaries will have it, especially at this juncture in Malayalam cinema where great, groundbreaking films are coming out every other Friday with no stop in sight. Android Kunjappan version 5.25 is fresh, genuinely heartwarming, and magnificently crafted. There is absolutely no doubt it will make you smile and wonder days after you have seen it. TN.
Edakkad Battalion 06 (2019)
One-Line Review: Edakkad Battalion 06 (4 Stars)
By the time I confirmed for myself whether the film is about a patriot (Tovino Thomas) who is ready to give his life for his country's defense or the resilient drug menace that is currently hampering interiors of the Indian state of Kerala, the end credits of Edakkad Battalion 06 began to roll after ending its drama with a cliched epilogue and footage from the real-life events. TN.
One-Line Review: Lilli (4 Stars)
Lilli (English: given Malayalam name), an extremely uncomfortable Malayalam crime drama to watch, isn't everybody's cup of tea, and add to that the lukewarm performances (including that of lead lady Samyuktha Menon), ineffective non-linear screenplay, and just some lazy writing and it ends up as a below average watch that is not sure what it wants to convey exactly. TN.
Jeem Boom Bhaa (2019)
One-Line Review: Jeem Boom Bhaa (2 Stars)
There is no reason for Jeem Boom Bhaa (phrase from a Malayalam comic song; slang for marijuana), an unfunny comedy film that goes on aimlessly, to exist even if you consider the tacky characters played with utter stupidity or the unsolved whodunit that are two of its only likable elements. TN.
One-Line Review: Jallikattu (8 Stars)
I don't know how to begin describing Jallikattu (English: a traditional game involving violent bulls), a visceral and technically brilliant take on barbarism where an entire village goes on the prowl to hunt a bull that went rogue from a three-man slaughtershed hours before it was about to be served to 30 guests at an engagement party and wreaks havoc before being confronted by the insidious, brutal effect that humans have on those below it in the food chain that has been told in the most unique way possible with a soundtrack containing haunting a capella howls, masterful long shots of people moving as hunters, and the good old cocky version of the Malayalam language, so I will instead use a single word: grandiose. TN.
Alert: Jallikattu has multiple scenes involving animal slaughter and therefore may not be suitable for those who identify as vegetarians or vegans.
Capsule Review: Drive (3 Stars)
Drive begins like a wannabe Dhoom (2004) and ends like a dumber version of Dhoom 3 (2013). But without the imaginative prowess that these more popular Bollywood heist films at least had as director Tarun Mansukhani comes out of his cave after ten years to create a slipshod action drama based on street racing and gold heists with cardboard characters. For a Netflix production, it has a nauseating setup, terrible CGI, and most importantly, substandard cars - all of which take the fun out of watching the movie in just the first ten minutes. I mean it's grotesque to see all the usual tropes in the first few minutes of a film which is aggravated by poor performance by its cast; it almost feels like a poorly directed telefilm of the early 2000s. For a film whose x-factor is cars Drive has stupid-looking versions of Maruti Swift, Hyundai Verna, and Tata Nano in the spotlight. Well, I can hand it to the makers for not internationalizing it (till the first half) but I would expect at least some help from Dilip Chhabria. Even the gold bars - which are the central plot element that the characters are vying for here - look like cardboard versions that schoolkids make for annual project competition. There's a lot of thing wrong with Drive and they are all so awfully unaesthetic and out-of-place watching it becomes a form of self-hurting. I do not recommend it at all even if you are a fan of the lead actors who do nothing but disappoint with their unpolished dialogue delivery. It almost felt like I was watching Sushant Singh Rajput and Jacqueline Fernandez read out their lines with zero rehearsal or direction from Mansukhani. Easily the most ambitious failure of 2019. TN.
One-Line Review: Premasoothram (5 Stars)
Premasoothram (Love Trick) has an atypical story for a romance film where a guy madly in love with a girl since fifth grade resorts to various inconsequential tricks suggested by a magical realism element to woo her that is bound to make you laugh along with unnecessary elements of vindictiveness albeit through wicked characters that I liked, all of which will make you feel good about the idea of love and take you back to your own school/college days and if you are a youth make you want to fall in love too, but it still is overlong and occasionally outrageous and boring. TN.