The Outsider (Gaijin), starring Jared Leto, is the latest addition to those Netflix Originals that was slammed by most of the critics and yet turned out to be an enjoyable watch for me. This Netflix Original tries to experiment with the less talk and more acting type of storytelling which is not often seen in the genre of crime thrillers. For an out and out Jared Leto movie, The Outsider is more than 70% Japanese.
The movie follows the story of an American soldier imprisoned in post-war Japan who enters the Japanese Mob Family, Yakuza after befriending one of them while in prison. The support cast of Tadanobu Asano, Kippei Shîna and Shioli Kutsuna are amazing throughout but no gaze goes past the intensity of Nick Lowell, portrayed by Jared Leto. The intensity and honestly he brings to his character is beyond words. The story telling style and the exhaustive usage of Japanese in the movie makes it difficult to convert ‘The Outsider’ into a fast paced thriller that it could have been.
The way the movie ended was a bit anticlimactic and was open ended, probably with the intention of bringing out a part 2. I would go with the title ‘The Insider’ for part two though. I would recommend this movie to anybody who is a fan of Jared Leto and likes slow-burn crime drama’s. Do not expect any classic dialogues as the dialogues itself are few and far between.
Collateral (2018), is a new four part limited mini-series that was made by BBC and presented to the rest of the world as a Netflix Original. We were thoroughly intrigued by the trailer which promised a lot with the stellar cast. The 4 episodes of this mini series occur over four consecutive days. They have tried to address too many issues in this short mini series, which in my opinion might have muddles the waters a bit. Carey Mulligan as DI Kip Gillespe, Jeany Spark as Major Sandrine Shaw, John Simm as MP David Mars and Nicola Walker (one of my favorite mini screen actors) as a gay clergy were stellar in their roles.
The series has bits about the pains of a homecoming soldier, the desperation of the refugees fleeing from their terror riddled home countries, drug abuse amongst young mothers, LGBT acceptance amongst the English clergy, rank abusing Army superiors and the immigration stance that has ravaged all developed nations. They have bitten off more than can chew and it becomes glaringly obvious when you watch the characters struggle with their problems.
To summarize, I would say its a decent watch which promised a lot more than it eventually delivered. Too many issues and too little a screen time (and yet there were a few boring fleeting moments in between) might have acted against in making this an exceptional watch. Its a nice enough watch but nothing earth shattering.
How I came to realize that TMobile is the cheapest and best Cell Phone Carrier in the USA, that provides the biggest bang for your bucks.
My monthly Cell Phone bill has taken quite a steep downward turn after I switched to TMobile One Plan. I am on one of the best plans available and I pay less than 20$ a month (30$ if I use more than 2GB of LTE). The plan is not grandfathered as of 2018/March/06. The following are what I receive:
- Unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data
- Unlimited Talk & Text
- Free Netflix Standard Subscription
- Scam ID
- T-Mobile Tuesday Benefits
- Other benefits I am unaware of around in flight wifi and international roaming.
If you have following, you can follow my hack and get your monthly payments down to ridiculously low amounts:
- Good Credit Score
- 08 – 10 Lines. (Trusted family/friends who will pay you back timely)
- A little bit of patience
How to get on this amazing plan:
1. Get the T Mobile One Family Plan. The Plan costs are 130$ for first 2 lines. 25$ per line for 6 lines after that. 30$ for last 2 lines. All taxes are included so no surprise charges.
- With 8 Lines the cost per line = (130 + (25*6)) / 8 = 35$ per line
- With 10 Lines the cost per line = (130 + (25*6) + (30*2)) / 10 = 34$ per line
2. TMobile has auto pay discount of 5$ off per line up to 40$. You must log into their site and enable auto pay.
- With 8 Lines the cost per line = 35$ – 5$ = 30$
- With 10 Lines the cost per line = 34$ – (40/10) $ = 30$
3. Once this is done, log into account settings and enable Kickback on every line. So, if any line does not use 2GB of data in the current billing cycle, they will get 10$ off in the next cycle.
- Cost per line = 30$ – 10$ = 20$
4. Call the customer care (They hardly have wait times and they are amazing and helpful folks) and check if there are any extra costs per line. There will at least be 1 extra feature on at least one line. Ask them to disable everything that will cost you extra bucks. You are now set.
Few things to Note:
1. There will be Initial set up costs.
2. Kickback will start only from Month 02.
3. The coverage isn’t that great if you travel into wilderness a lot. No complains in cities. Their recent bandwidth purchase gives me hope that the coverage is getting better.
4. T Mobile Tuesday – Freebies, Coupons, Fuel Discounts, Free Movie Rentals etc easily add up to over 20$ a month. But I do not use all of them and maybe get 10$ of benefit a month.
5. Corporate discount doesn’t work on this plan (I tried. Else I would have had an extra 20% off).
6. They also occasionally have Buy One – Get One free offers on the most amazing phones (but that is a blog for another day)
7. They provide free signal boosters if your residence does not have enough T-Mobile bandwidth.
I have been using T Mobile for over 3 years now ( 6 Months on prepaid, 2 years on Simple One Now-Grandfathered Plan and the rest with TMobile One). I have had no complains and highly recommend this cell phone carrier.
Netflix does it again! A much needed breathe of fresh air as far as Hindi movies are concerned. After getting used to the faster than average pace of English series these days, I had given up on Hindi movies when Netflix recommended this gem to me.
The plot starts with character introduction of 2 bank employees, each with a mediocre salary and a dream to own a house in the expensive Mumbai. They run into each other quite by chance and enter a business deal where they pretend to be married so that they can qualify for a housing scheme. They jump head first into this dream considering themselves practical till they realize that their hearts have a different plan. Add to this weird deal two different religions, a little bit of confusion, traditional parents, original and lovely music and a crazy boss lady.
It has the right combination of humor and drama. The story is very well written and the characters are extremely relatable. Perhaps what stands out is the impeccable comic sense even amidst all the drama.
Vicky Kaushal : Resembles a young Hiten Tejwani and delivers an amazing performance and is the star of this movie. For a change, he is an eye candy who can act.
Angira Dhar and Alankrita Sahai are fresh faces who play their role convincingly. They are both beautiful and confident and bring us a smile with their lovely performances.
Ratna Pathak Shah, Supriya Pathak and Raghuvir Yadav: I do not know why such powerful stars were part of this movie but their performance is simply delightful which shouldn’t really surprise anyone.
To summarize – it is a lovely movie that makes you smile long after it is done. (Am writing this review after a day and am still smiling). Go, turn on Netflix and watch this original today.
Netflix has pretty much everything about the future sorted out and ready for us to witness. Mute follows the story of Leo Beiler (Alexander Skarsgård) who is a mute bartender who goes in search for his missing girlfriend (Nadiraah- played by Seyneb Saleh) and Skarsgård is probably the only good thing about the whole movie. The story is set 40 years into the future in Berlin, which is filled with immigrants where all cultures collide. I had read somewhere that the film took the makers 10 odd years to complete and the end product did leave you with a lot of questions and ‘meh’ moments.
Paul Rudd , too put in a pretty good shift as one of the two cocky American surgeons who makes quick bucks by sewing up mob henchmen who get injured in ‘the line of duty’. The first few minutes were intriguing and as the story evolved I was left wondering what the end game was. The plot is predictable, dialogues uninteresting and the premises an odd juxtaposition of retro cars, contemporary technologies in a modern/old city !
I did want to like this movie but truth be told, it never ever lived up to the expectation and barring the stellar performance put in by Skarsgård , I might not have survived the 2 hour ordeal.
The important things first, there is nothing special about this Netflix Original and there is no way this movie is going to be discussed over lunch the next day. The movie is predictable through and through (aren’t most of the horror flicks so ?) and it ends up being a good time pass watch.
The Ritual , begins with 4 friends reuniting 6 months after the tragic death of their friend , Robert. It was Robert’s idea to go trekking in Northern Sweden to explore the Scandinavian wilderness. Luke (Rafe Spall), the main protagonist, had witnessed the murder of his friend and was carrying the guilt throughout with him, while the other friends although not visibly, carried an animosity towards Luke over the incident.
The movie is quite gripping over the first hour or so but then slowly fizzles out towards the end. The performances of the lead quartet definitely works in favor of the movie when compared to the other over-the-top, underwhelming performances put up by regular medium budget horror movies. The setting for the film was perfect with the great Swedish wilderness quite stunning in itself with every frame. It’s a photographers dream but the person within the photographer would struggle to shrug off the eeriness.
On the whole, this is a pretty decent one time match. Its not a match to Dark or Stranger Things but would score well above the recent Jigsaw and Rings.
Altered Carbon: Author’s Rating: 4.5/5
Our time on this earth ends due to the limitations of our human bodies? What if human consciousness could be transferred from body to body thus making us essentially immortal? And if this is indeed possible, then would the richest amongst us be nothing less than the New Gods? And what happens when ennui hits these new gods with human minds\bodies and too much time on their hands? This interesting concept is explored in delicious detail in this new Netflix Series.
History is written from the perspective of the winners and survivors. A freedom fighter(of sorts) with special skills is woken up after 250 years to be branded a terrorist from the past. He is offered a chance at freedom with full pardon and a lot of money if he could but explain an intriguing and perplexing death of an immortal. In this new world, he has no rights and is the exclusive property of the person whose death he is trying to solve. A cop and a few low lives also take an interest in him for reasons explained throughout the series.
In this age on immortals, what is the extent to which one would go for love? And does one love the soul or the body that the soul is in? Can a love be so strong that it transcends centuries and bodies with a blood trail so huge and wide?
Beautiful acting by the cast. Definitely binge worthy and there is a twist in every episode and all characters and sub stories come together beautifully at the end. Joel Kinnaman did a great job and is now an actor whose career I would be following starting today. Having been a fan of Will Yun Lee since Elektra, it was a pleasant surprise to see him in this as I had not noticed him in the Cast before starting the binge.
Note: The series has a lot of nudity- full frontal and otherwise, but the lovely physiques of the actors involved and the amazing direction adds to the main story without taking anything away and makes every scene look like art.
I was probably very late to the party when I had started watching Parks and Recreation . A failed attempt at ‘The Office’ and ‘Arrested Development’ meant that I had almost lost faith on there being another binge-worthy sitcom among the modern day contenders. It was without much of an expectation that I started watching Parks and Rec and the low expectations probably went a long way in me ending up liking the series.
Parks and Rec is centered around the very ambitious Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) who is a Deputy Director at The Parks and Recreation in a small town, Pawnee, Indiana and her colleagues. The series stars at a very slow pace with the introduction to characters taking its own sweet time. Leslie, is a hard-working, passionate, self-driven lady who wants to help everyone around her. Nick Offerman plays the government hating, privacy loving, steak loving, ‘hard-working’ head of the Parks and Rec department , Ron Swanson who also happens to be the boss off Leslie. He carries his contempt for human company and modernism throughout the series and that makes him a special character. Aubrey Plaza plays April Ludgate who is a socially awkward, brilliant, yet lazy intern and Chris Pratt (the reason I started watching the series in the first place) plays Andy Dwyer the lovable, dumb, fun loving wannabe rockstar of the ‘Mouserat’ band – some of the scenes involving him made me literally fall on the floor laughing. Aziz Ansari plays the tech-savvy, ‘stylish’ and hip Tom Haverford who feels and knows he is meant for big things but would never work for it. The epitome of coolness Donna Meagle played by Retta and Jerry Gergich (Jim O’Heir) the simpleton and the guy on whom the rest of his office picks on all the time for very little fault of his forms the rest of the Parks and Rec department. The wonderful and beautiful Rashida Jones who plays Ann Perkins the best friend of Leslie and probably the lynchpin surrounding whom the whole series waltz around forms a wonderful partnership with Amy her troops. Adam Scott and Rob Lowe comes in at a later stage to add more fun to the whole series.
There is this massive list of guest super-stars including Paul Rudd, JK Simmons, Sam Elliot, Senator John McCain, Heidi Klum, John Ham, Michelle Obama, Ginuwine, Andy Samberg, Chris Bosh, Kristen Bell and my favorite Joe Biden, if the previous para did not intrigue you enough.
It’s on the cuteness and fun scale that the show scores over many of its challengers. When ‘The Office’ borderlines awkward, Parks and Rec scores due to its genuineness. Its all about how Leslie is hell bent on bringing happiness for the people in her life, even if it means that at times she takes the decisions for them or she quashes their decisions for them. Every character is a sea apart for one another in the way they view life and go about with their life but then they all gel so well together as one cohesive unit that makes the Parks and Rec a jamboree of happiness and fun. There are some filler episodes in between that can be expected even in the best of the sit-coms (except Friends of course!) but I thoroughly enjoyed binge watching the fun team of Parks and Recreation and would definitely recommend it to everyone (especially since its now available in Netflix) who wants to just sit back and relax after a tough day at work.
If Netflix ever were a Football Club, they would easily annihilate every single one of their opponents and would owe that all to their ridiculously good scouting network. The gems they unearth and produce around the globe is truly awe inspiring. It was only logical that I followed up Bright with Dark. 😉 Dark , for me, is the best ever mystery series to deal with time warp and the paranormal/supernatural. It obviously has to be if you end up binge-watching a series till 6 in the morning. Yet, the Season conclusion left me with more questions than answers (I hate it when the makers do that). We would have probably paused a hundred times in between all that to discuss and digest what we had just seen. Blink and you miss something significant.
The series begins with the Einstein quote ‘The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion’ and from then its all an illusion. The story surrounds the disappearance of young kids (too many of them these days – The Five , Broadchurch, Stranger Things. et all ) from a German town Winden and a young father commits suicide leaving his son Jonas Kahnwald with no answers. Ulrich Nielsen, the cop father of the young boy Mikel who goes missing, Charlotte Doppler the police chief & Hannah Kahnwald, the wife of the ‘young father’ form the crux of the story which spans over 3 periods – 2019, 1986 and 1953. This is pretty much all that I could give in summary without going into any of the spoilers and this is where i leave it.
Everything from the direction, cinematography, locations, BGM, story and characters are all top notch. The makers Baran bo Odar, and Jantje Friese takes you along on a ride that you wish never ended and at the same time gave you at least some of the answers to the million questions that formed in your head while watching the series. To summarize, it’s a masterpiece from Germany and if you can look beyond the obvious flaws of a some of the dialogues that were lost in translation, while dubbing and the ridiculously irritating open-ended season conclusion, you are in for a thrilling experience.
4.5/5 from my side. The 0.5 deduction was for making us wait for a season to get some of the answers.
Will Smith & Joel Edgerton star in this modern day adaptation of a world where Orcs, Elves, Humans and fairies all live together. Each fighting their own demons and at the same time despising the other kinds to extreme ends. To add to the mix, there is a bit of magic and a possibility of a big bad monster as well. Netflix must keep on experimenting and spending money and resources on stuff like these. The makers did a better job with Bright when compared to Suicide Squad and it was certainly on par with End of Watch.
Will Smith stars as LAPD Officer Daryl Ward , who is back in duty after being shot by an Orc while his partner and first ever Orc to be part of the LAPD force Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) was with him. Like almost all other mystical worlds this story too surrounds a prophesy where a rogue Elf (Leilah) who is part of the Inferni, tries to get her hands on three magic wands that would resurrect the dark lord. There are references to a war fought 2000 years ago where the Elves and Humans fought side by side against the Dark Lord who had the Orcs on his side (that sort of explains why the different races hate each other). Without going too much into the story, the movie is about the two officers and their fight to protect an Elf – Tikka (Lucy Fry) and the wand (the power of which is infinite) she wields which the Inferni and the rest of the evil world wants. The wand however can be wielded only by the Bright – those who would not be burned to ash upon holding the wand.
The movie scores well on comedy, action and theme. There are a few confusing elements which I think would probably be explained in the future parts of the franchise (one can always hope). Will Smith as always is super with his comic timing and some of the dialogues although thrown in during intense scenes would have you in splits of laughter. Reminded me of the good old days of MIB and Wild Wild West. I think the critics who had slammed this movie prior to its release got it wrong big time. Its not without its fair share of flaws but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to all Netflix fans (I think that should be a thing already) and the fans of mystical fiction.
3.5/5 from me.