On the Rocks (2020) movie review

Where to watch: Streaming on Apple TV+

On The Rocks movie trailer

Rating: 3/5

Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Cast: Rashida Jones, Bill Murray, Marlon Wayans, Jessica Henwick, Jenny Slate

On the Rocks is the story of Laura (played by Rashida Jones) and her father, Felix (played by Bill Murray). Laura feels her marriage is on the rocks. She is barely able to hold her life together. She has to manage two kids, while trying to write a book with no help from her husband Dean (played by Marlon Wayans). Dean is super busy with a business he has just started. On top of everything, she suspects Dean is having an affair. She tries to rationalise the situation – “What if Dean’s just busy and I’m stuck in a rut? That’s it?”

Laura is clearly stuck in a rut. While sitting down to work on her book, we see her rearranging her desk for the nth time and then staring out of the window because of writers block. In desperation, she turns to her father for help. In part because Felix, a man about town, may know a thing or two about other men about town. Felix’s solution is to spy on Dean and so, father and daughter follow Dean all over Manhattan and a Mexican resort.

Rashida Jones plays the part of the overworked mother and suspicious wife very well. Bill Murray is classic Bill Murray, delivering comedic dialogues with a deadpan face. Directed by Sofia Coppola, On the Rocks is a lightweight movie for someone like her with established filmmaking capabilities (Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette) and family pedigree. One would have expected something better from Coppola. Nevertheless, On the Rocks is a light-hearted watch.

Teheran series review – Season 1 (2020)

Streaming on Apple TV+

Tehran series trailer

Rating: 4/5

Time: 8 episodes of approximately 47-48 minutes each

Cast: Niv Sultan, Shaun Toub, Navid Negahban, Liraz Charhi

Tehran is created by the same writer (Moshe Zonder) as the famous Israeli spy series, Fauda. As such, it follows the tradition of Israeli spy thrillers – fast-moving story line with plenty of twists and turns, full of action and gadgets, and some good, old-fashioned spy work.

Tamar Rabinyan (played by Niv Sultan) is a Mossad agent who enters Tehran disguised as an air stewardess. The circumstances of her entry into Iran is the stuff of great spy thrillers. She speaks fluent Farsi because her Jewish family is originally from Iran. In fact, her aunt still lives in Tehran but has since converted to Islam. Tamar’s mission is to disable an Iranian nuclear reactor. Her plans are foiled by an agent from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Faraz Kamali (played by Shaun Toub). Stuck in enemy country, Tamar seeks help from a group of Iranian dissidents who are in secret rebellion against the Iranian regime.

Filmed in Athens, with foot-tapping music by Mark Eliyahu, Tehran is an entertaining watch. Farsi- and Hebrew-speaking actors lend an air of authenticity to the series.

About Tehran – Season 2

Apple TV+ has confirmed the second season of Tehran. While the release date has not yet been confirmed, it is expected that season 2 of the Israeli spy thriller will drop in September 2021. Glen Close has signed on to the second season of the web series. She will be playing the role of a British citizen living in Tehran.

Greyhound movie review (2020)

Streaming on Apple TV+

Rating: 4/5

Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Cast: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Elisabeth Shue

Greyhound is a thrilling World War II movie set in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1942. The hero of our story is Captain Ernest Krause (played by Tom Hanks) who is tasked with the mission of leading an international convoy of 37 ships on a mission across the Atlantic Ocean to deliver supplies to the Allied Forces fighting Hitler’s army in Europe. The North Atlantic waters are treacherous with German U-boats on the prowl. But Captain Krause carries on the US Navy tradition of “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

Inspired by true events, Greyhound is based on the Battle of the Atlantic – the longest military campaign in history lasting five years from 1939 to Germany’s defeat in 1945. The UK and other Allied Forces depended on the Americans for soldiers and supplies to survive the war. But these supplies from North America had to cross the Atlantic and were often targets of German warships and submarines.

Events in the movie unfold in rapid succession. Hardly has Captain Krause’s ship, the Greyhound, sunk a German U-boat, than another makes its appearance. The special effects are great with sweeping aerial shots of the ship convoy, as well as clearer shots of the choppy and turbulent waters and menacing U-boats circling the Allied convoy. Greyhound is well worth the watch, especially with Tom Hanks’ faultless acting.

Those Who Wish Me Dead movie review (2021)

Streaming on Apple TV; rent it on bookmyshow.com

Those Who Wish Me Dead movie trailer

Rating: 1/5

Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Cast: Angelina Jolie, Nicholas Hoult, Aidan Gillen, Medina Senghore, Finn Little, Jake Weber

Angelina Jolie-starrer Those Who Wish Me Dead starts out promising to be an engrossing action thriller. But somewhere along the way it loses its charm. Insipid dialogues, weak story and uninspiring performance by the lead actress makes the movie predictable.

In fact, the real heroine of Those Who Wish Me Dead seems to be Allison (played by Medina Senghore). Six months pregnant, she manages to seriously hurt two bad guys before riding off on a horse searching for her husband!

There are big holes in the movie’s story. It starts with the murder of the District Attorney and his family by two henchmen Patrick and Jack (played by Nicholas Hoult and Aidan Gillen). On hearing the news the DA’s forensic accountant, Owen (played by Jake Weber), realises that he is probably next because of his investigation of a corruption case. We are never told the details of this case. Owen scribbles it down for his son, Connor (played by Finn Little). But we never get to know what was written. Without knowing why Patrick and Jack are out on a killing spree (they manage to track down and murder Owen and spend a major part of the movie looking for Connor), it is very hard for the viewer to empathise with the victims or the story unfolding on the screen.

Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie plays a smokejumper – a firefighter who parachutes into the site of a wildfire to fight it. Now, given this and Angelina Jolie’s background as action heroine, you would expect at least one scene where we get to see the actress perform a stunt or at least a couple of smokejumpers in action. You will be disappointed.

There is a mysterious storm brewing in the middle of the movie that seems to be developing into something major but by the next couple of scenes, the storm is nowhere to be seen.

The movie shares the same script writer as Without Remorse, so it is not surprising that the dialogues are uninspiring. (Read our review of Without Remorse). The dialogues are insipid and do nothing to add value to the characters or move the story forward. (sample – campfire scene with Hannah and Connor).

Those Who Wish Me Dead has a stellar cast and the potential of a good action movie but fails to deliver.

Palmer movie review (2021)

Streaming on Apple TV+

Rating: 4/5

Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Cast: Justing Timberlake, Juno Temple, Alisha Wainwright, Ryder Allen, June Squibb

Palmer will tug at your heartstrings. It is a beautiful story about redemption, second chances, and acceptance of oneself. Incarcerated for 12 years, Eddie Palmer (played superbly by Justin Timberlake) returns home, hopeful about turning his life around. This is not easy as the community has not forgotten his misdeeds and they make sure that he doesn’t either. He finds it hard to land a job with a prison record. He stays with his no-nonsense grandmother Vivian (played by June Squibb) and occasional guest, Sam (Ryder Allen).

Sam lives next door with his drug addict mother Shelly (played by Juno Temple) Whenever his mother disappears for a few days, the six-year-old comes to live with Vivian and Palmer. Comfortable in his own skin, Sam pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a boy. He loves his Barbies and when Palmer tells him, “You know you’re a boy, right? Boys don’t play with dolls”, Sam’s matter-of-fact response is “Well I’m a boy and I do.”

When Vivian passes away, Palmer finds he has to look after Sam – get him to school, feed him and everything else a parent is supposed to do. An unlikely bond forms between them and Palmer finds what he has been looking for all his life – a purpose.

Godzilla vs Kong movie review (2021)

Streaming on Apple TV; Rent it on bookmyshow.com

Rating: 3.5/5

Time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Alexander Skarsgard, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Julian Dennison, Kaylee Hottle

The monsters are back! The last time Godzilla and King Kong duelled with each other was in 1962 in the Japanese production, King Kong vs Godzilla. Since then, computer special effects have come a long way to provide a visually appealing and realistic war between the two Titans. Godzilla vs Kong’s action sequences and visual effects do not disappoint.

Godzilla vs Kong picks up from where Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) left off. There can only be one Titan ruling the world and since Godzilla has defeated the other monsters, there is only Kong left for him to subdue. This makes for an epic battle between the two because as scientist, Dr Ilene Andrews (played by Rebecca Hall) puts it “Kong bows to no none”. So, she protects him inside a giant dome on Skull Island. However, Apex Cybernetics is the evil corporation with an agenda of its own. It needs Kong to lead them to an ancient power source within the core of the earth, called Hollow Earth. And so, begins Kong’s journey to the centre of the earth and the home of his ancestors. Will Godzilla disrupt this journey? Who wins the battle of the monsters?

Millie Bobby Brown reprises her role as Madison Russell, the daughter of two Monarch scientists who were responsible for waking up the sleeping Titans in the prequel. She is ably supported by her friend, Josh (played by Julian Dennison) and Apex whistleblower, Bernie Hayes (played by Brian Tyree Henry). These two provide much-needed comic relief in a serious film. The other bright spot is Jia (played by Kaylee Hottle) a six-year old, deaf girl who is able to communicate with Kong through sign language.