Wondering what to watch this weekend? Don't fret, we have you covered. Here's a list of top ten new releases that are hitting the screens, big and small, this week. With this comprehensive list in hand, there's litle standing between you and a good time.
Malaikottai Vaaliban (UAE cinemas):
This Malayalam-language fantasy epic, with subtitles in English and Arabic, is strictly for Mohanlal fans. Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, this action adventure relies heavily on Mohanlal’s star-power to pull it to the finish line. At the outset, we are told that the titular character, played by the iconic actor, is an indestructible warrior of all seasons. He’s uncontested when it comes to arm-to-arm combats and his might is put to test after he meets the bodacious dancer, Rangapattina Rangarani, played efficiently by Dubai-based Marathi actress Sonalee Kulkarni. Comedian Danish Sait plays the evil incarnate Chamathakan. Be warned, the pace is languid and meditative in the first half, lacking the urgency and pulsating energy often seen in his earlier works like ‘Jallikattu’. But if you are a Mohanlal adorer, then this fantasy adventure chronicling Vaaliban’s conquests is mildly enjoyable. The sumptuous cinematography by Madhu Neelakandan and the music by Prashant Pillai elevates this middling film.
Love it or loathe it, there’s no ignoring Ranbir Kapoor’s mammoth blockbuster ‘Animal’, directed by the controversial director Sandeep Reddy Vanga of ‘Kabir Singh’ fame. When it released it in the cinemas late last year, a large section of critics and movie lovers ripped the film for glorifying toxic male characters. Kapoor plays the scandalous lead who had a troubled childhood with a strict father (Anil Kapoor) withholding love from his son. Naturally, Kapoor’s character grows up with serious daddy issues and grows up with an inflated sense of playing the protective son towards his tough dad. While the film moves at a fast pace, there’s no denying that this film boasts a generous sprinkling of problematic scenes. But there’s no denying the splendid performances from its principal cast. Kapoor is in fine form along with actors like Rashmika Mandanna, Kapoor, and Tripti Dimri.
Sam Bahudur (Zee5 Global):
Directed by the accomplished filmmaker, Meghna Gulzar, this biopic on the remarkable life and times of India’s first field marshal is a fine film. Actor Vicky Kaushal, who plays the titular role of Sam Bahadur, does complete justice to his role. Kaushal, known off-screen for his amicable persona, transforms himself as this fierce leader known for his strategic brilliance on the military field. If you are in the mood for an inspirational and compelling film, make sure to give this Hindi-language film a shot.
Oppenheimer (UAE cinemas):
This awards juggernaut, which snagged a whopping 13 Oscar nods at this year’s Academy Awards, is back in the UAE cinemas to remind its fans about its explosive appeal and lure that minority who are yet to see the biopic spectacle play out on the big screens. After its original July 2023 release, this Christopher Nolan film has been brought back after its phenomenal domination in the Oscar nominations. This movie is a biopic on Robert J Oppenheimer, credited as the ‘father of the atom bomb’, and is a look into the troubled genius’ mind. It’s a cinematic incendiary of our times powered by some brilliant acting by an on-point Cillian Murphy and a compelling storyline. The movie also raises questions on the moral/ethical dilemma faced by the remarkable theoretical physicist after he was tasked with developing nuclear weapons to alter the course of World War II.
Expats (Amazon Prime Video):
Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman is in good form in Lulu Wang’s Hong Kong-set web series. Adapted from Janice Y.K. Lee’s novel about three American women based in Hong Kong struggling to move on after a tragedy makes for a compelling watch. The six-episode limited series is highly binge-worthy and explores complex themes of sexism, classism, and the struggle for closure after an unspeakable event with a deft hand. Be warned, the pace isn’t frantic and is unhurried, but the characters will stay long with you.
Rewind (UAE cinemas):
Starring Ding Dong Dantes and Marian Rivera, this love story is about a troubled couple who are desperate to un-do all their vicious fights and trials. Dantes plays John whose life gets overturned when his domestic quarrel with his wife takes a tragic and nasty turn. Their child is desperate to see his warring parents unite, but life doesn’t guarantee happy and neat endings or so John discovers. Watch this film if you are in the mood for an emotionally-charged family drama that talks about how life or love can’t be taken for granted.
The team behind ‘Narcos’ is back with another addictive series. This time, the makers including Narcos writer Doug Miro and director Andres Baiz shine the spotlight on Griselda Blanco, the bold and provocative Colombian drug lord. Starring Sofia Vergara of ‘Modern Family’ fame, you will see a different side to the actress in his six-episode miniseries. She isn’t acing comedy here, but elevating this well-written drama to a superlative standard. Be warned. Several creative liberties have been taken to make Griselda’s nefarious life more palatable, but it doesn’t rob you of enjoying the series thoroughly. It’s Sofia Vergara’s show all the way and she’s just sensational in this one.
Miller’s Girl (UAE cinemas):
Written and directed by Jade Halley Bartlett, this psychological thriller is about the inappropriate attraction between a student and her teacher. Actress Jenna Ortega plays Cairo Sweet, a wealthy, privileged, precocious, and pouty teen. She’s a bit of a tease and her married professor Jonathan (Martin Freeman) who’s going through a low phase as a writer finds his pupil irresistible. It’s an interesting study on ambition and attraction.
Karmma Calling (Disney Hotstar +)
Are you in the mood for a pulpy and glossy series about the uber-wealthy set that scheme for a living? Raveena Tandon plays the wealthy and well-connected wife of a billionaire, Indrani Kothari, but her carefully-sculpted dynasty is in danger when a mysterious young woman named Karmma (Namrata Sheth) penetrates her posh household. Indrani is dead sure that this new outlier is bad news and that her family is in peril since her buffed son is smitten by the newcomer. This Ruchi Narain-directed series is unapologetically campy and loud, but it’s a great series to watch if you are on the treadmill and want to forget about time. The cat and mouse game between Karmma and Indrani and their bid to outsmart/outwit each other is fun in the beginning.
Mother, May I (UAE cinemas):
Directed by Vaanicelli, this horror film is a tale of a young woman Anya (Holland Roden) who begins behaving like her fiancee’s recently-deceased mother and Emmet (Kylie Gallner) has no choice but to confront his deepest and dark traumas to help his lover. The nightmarish possession takes a toll on both and the big question remains if the loved-up couple would survive this traumatic episode.