Out This Week: 14 September 2017

This week: A whole bunch of releases, but the only ones we can really recommend are from Bollywood.

The many releases of this week cover enough genres to keep most movie-goers interested. Here are my thoughts on the new movies to help you choose.

American Assassin

Directed by: Michael Cuesta
With: Dylan O’Brian, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan and Taylor Kitsch
What is it about? Twenty three-year-old Mitch lost his parents to a tragic car accident at the age of fourteen, and his girlfriend to a terrorist attack just as they were engaged. Seeking revenge, he is enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy as a black ops recruit. Kennedy then assigns Cold War veteran Stan Hurley to train Mitch. Together they will later on investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on military and civilian targets. The discovery of a pattern in the violence leads them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative intent on starting a world war in the Middle East.
Heads Up: These super-spy Bourne type movies seem to be release too frequently. American Assassin is just another of those. There is nothing about the cast, crew, premise or trailer that makes me want to sit up and pay attention. Watch it if you like token average action movies.

The Trip to Spain

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom
With: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon
What is it about? Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on a six-part episodic road trip through Spain, sampling the restaurants, eateries, and sights along the way.
Heads Up: Now this is an intriguing option. The movie should especially make for a good after-work weekday viewing. The usually entertaining Coogan wining and dining his way around Spain makes for a fascinating premise. Don’t expect a conventional dramatic narrative though. Also, I recommend you skip the popcorn or nachos and go for something less regular: like a crepe, maybe?

Victoria and Abdul

Directed by: Stephen Frears
With: Judi Dench, Olivia Williams and Michael Gambon
What is it about? Queen Victoria strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young Indian clerk named Abdul Karim
Heads Up: Judi Dench playing a monarch! But this isn’t a serious drama – it is a romantic comedy about an unusual friendship. A good date movie for those that are a few decades into their relationship. For the youth, probably not much to appeal to them here.

The Limehouse Golem

Directed by: Juan Carlos Medina
With: Olivia Cooke, Bill Nighy, Eddie Marsan
What is it about? A series of murders has shaken the community to the point where people believe that only a legendary creature from dark times – the mythical so-called Golem – must be responsible.
Heads Up: A slasher-horror mystery set among the cobble-stone streets of old London, and with good reviews too. This would be the pick of the English-language releases of the week, if it was not for the fact that it is already out on Home Video. Even so, if you can spare the cost (in time and money), this may be well worth your time.


Directed by: Hansal Mehta
With: Kangana Ranaut, Catherine Dyer and Jeff Rose
What is it about? A Gujarati housekeeping lady in the US allows ambition to get the better of her & gets involved in a world of crime. Simran is a racy, fun film with Kangana Ranaut playing the titular role.
Heads Up: A lot of controversy about the movie, many headlines about the lead actress, but what matters is now here to be seen and judged. Hansal Mehta has made some strong movies in the recent past (Shahid, Aligarh), and the trailer promises Simran to be another winner from the director. Kangana Ranaut has been extremely watchable in most of her work since her resurgence (Queen, Tanu Weds Manu, Tanu Weds Manu Returns). This is my pick of the week.

Lucknow Central

Directed by: Ranjit Tiwari
With: Farhan Akhtar, Diana Penty, Gippy Grewal, Rajesh Sharma and Deepak Dobiyal
What is it about? The story is set in the backdrop of a jail, with music at its core. Walls might muffle them but cages only reverberate them louder. Situated deep in the heartland of India, within the by-lanes of Lucknow is story of a man who had something to say. Or should we say sing.
Heads Up: Farhan Akhtar is a much better actor than he is a director; and he tends to pick projects that are not run-of-the-mill Bollywood fare. Lucknow Central is another “Farhan Akhtar movie” that fits his mold. Further more, even though the movie is about a band, Akhtar is (thankfully) not singing! Watch it if you like this new mid-space Hindi movies that aren’t entirely indie nor are pure commerical, but a good bit of both.

About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.