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A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews


Some of the most interesting audiovisual experiments that are happening around the world are being channelized through the medium of short films. A very unique short film that recently caught my attention is Unskin, written and directed by British filmmaker Elcid Asaei at Crimson Black Productions. What makes the film unique is how it seamlessly blends the world of narrative cinema with contemporary dance. A thought-provoking and visually striking story set in an alternative London, Unskin has been described by Elcid as “’A Christmas Carol’ meets ‘The Dark Knight’ in the ‘Twilight Zone’”.  

Unskin revolves around a disenfranchised man named Roger Piper. Piper is a quiet yet rebellious agent of positive change in the dysfunctional setting. He unleashes an alien-like alter-ego named ‘UNSKIN’ who stalks the landscape and abducts alienated and morally corrupt mortals, leading them through a metamorphosis that sheds their artificial masks and transcends them from division to unity.

A still from Elcid Asaei's Unskin
In order to create the unique dance premise of this film, Elcid collaborated with independent choreographer Konstantina Skalionta, who trained at the Central School of Ballet and London Contemporary Dance School. In the words of Konstantina: “My specialisation in performances based on the human condition and the parallels I recognized in the screenplay for UNSKIN drew me strongly to the project”.

Unskin has a diverse case and crew of emerging British, European and Global filmmaking talent. In thw words of Elcid: “The story has a spiritual element at its heart, yet was also inspired by contemporary debates around environmental, social, race, and gender identity in increasingly divisive times. The key aim for the project was to create an eloquent and entertaining film that explored and made sense of these issues.”

A Still from Unskin
This timely thriller, with its interesting setting, defies expectations and ambition for a short film and offers audiences a mysterious and surreal story that is visually bold, entertaining, and original. Apart from its cinematic brilliance, the short film also succeeds in exposing the dark side of humanity, reminding us that the negative thoughts and emotions are the root cause of all our troubles. Also, to be able to achieve so much in just 15 minutes is nothing short of remarkable.

For more information on UNSKIN, and to watch the eye-catching teaser, visit the film’s website and IMDB page. For social media, visit the Facebook fan page and Instagramfeed.  



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Golden Globe winner and Emmy Award nominee Robin Wright returns as President of the United States in the award-winning, landmark series House of Cards.  Wright is joined by Academy Award® nominees Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear as well as Cody Fern this season alongside Emmy Award nominee Michael Kelly, Jayne Atkinson, Academy Award® nominee Patricia Clarkson, Emmy Award Nominee Constance Zimmer, Derek Cecil, Campbell Scott and Boris McGiver.  


Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese continue as showrunners for season six, and they serve as executive producers along with Robin Wright, David Fincher, Joshua Donen, Dana Brunetti, Eric Roth, Michael Dobbs and Andrew Davies. Created for television by Beau Willimon. House of Cards is produced by Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in associated with Media Rights Capital for Netflix.

House of Cards: Season 6 | Official Trailer
House of Cards: Season 6 | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix - YouTube

Previous Post: LuvKush Ramlila 2018

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A well known Bollywood villain and TV star Puneet Issar is all set to play his most favorite and challenging role of 'Raavan’ for the world’s biggest Luvkush Ramlila this year, which is taking a head start from tomorrow.
The actor who was witnessed in Bigg Boss season 8 and appreciated for his 'Duriyodhan' role in Mahabharata TV show has already played the character of Raavan for shows Raavan Ki Ramayan and many others. He will now excite us with his soulful performance in LuvKush Ramlila. His roles are always fun to watch and got a huge amount of applause whether it's Duriyodhan or Parshuram in TV shows. The actor with the Calibur of playing such harsh roles is coming up with its favorite character. According to Puneet, Ravana is his dearest character and he's very determined for this role. Though, he is always been appreciated for such kind of malicious role in the entertainment industry.

About his role in this year's LuvKush Ramlila, he added, "Ashok Aggarwal Ji (Chairman of Luvkush Ramlila) use to see my performance since last three years, he wanted me to be the part of his Ramlila, so finally this year I will be performing for the same. And I am sure this year Ramlila will spread its magic in a bigger way. Ramlila is a big platform, and I am entirely dedicated to my role. Basically, it’s a feather to my cap and I dedicate my whole life for it."
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A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Tanmay Shukla

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews


The film opens with a cheering crowd. We follow a man from behind who sets the stage on fire upon his entry. The tight field-of-view exaggerates every slight camera motion to track the movements of Jackson Maine, who goes into a trance like state while singing with an acoustic guitar. This creative decision lends a certain intimacy to the film from the very beginning. We hear his deep, raspy voice, but we are not among the crowd, we see the crowd like he does. The energy flowing through his body and the spirited passion in his eyes is literally breathtaking to witness so close.

After the show, Jackson goes to a bar to fix himself a drink. Noodles (played by Dave Chappelle) is happy and excited to meet the famous singer and also because Ally, his friend, is about to perform a song. Jackson can't take his eyes off her. He follows Ally to the backstage. He meets his fans. There is a childlike curiosity in his eyes which is why he is so grounded, it feels. When he is requested by a woman to play a song, he asks, “What should I play?” She replies: “I don't care what you play, just look at my eyes while you're playing it.”

Jackson and Ally hit it off straightaway. Both are mesmerized by each other's singing talents. “They like the way I sound, but they don't like the way I look," says Ally who doesn't believe in herself, yet. Jackson traces with his fingers the outline of her nose bathed in red neon that she think is "too big." It's a short slow motion extreme close-up and feels outrageously romantic.

Sometime later, they are outside a grocery store—laughing, singing and talking, honestly. This scene sets up everything that is to come. Ally is a gifted singer-songwriter. They connect with each other like they are soulmates.

When Jackson and Ally sing "Shallow" together for the first time, they feel like a pair made in heaven. After a couple of successful shows Ally is approached by Rez (Rafi Gavron) who is a music producer. She accepts the offer and he also becomes her manager.

Ally learns dance steps to perform along with her singing. She is famous and gets invited to perform at SNL.  Rez tells her, “Don't forget to use the dance steps. Change your hair color to Platinum.” The country singer is slow turning into a pop icon.

Jackson clearly sees the path Ally is following. He has more experience and he tries to communicate what he has learned from his journey. They are standing together on the terrace. Behind them is Alley's gigantic poster on a billboard. She looks stunning, almost too perfect. Jackson says that she needs to be "real and honest" and it shouldn't matter what everyone else thinks. He adds, “4 days become 4 years, you start to like where you are.” And concludes, “If you don't dig deep in your f***ing soul, you won't have legs. Be soulful, passionate and tell them what you really want to say.” The conflict between following your inner voice as an artist and following the voice of the media and fans becomes obvious.

We know Ally and Jackson because we are close to them. We see them fail, learn, excel and fail again. As one succeeds, the other struggles.  When we are so close, the inner turmoil becomes apparent as it subjugates the glory and glitter of the wider whole. This microscope view yields us finer details—when it's good it's great, when it's bad, it gets ugly too.

Bradley Cooper is sensational as country singer Jackson Maine. The shoot of the film finished in 42 days but it took Bradley three years of preparation to play Jackson Maine, including one and a half years of vocal training. Lady Gaga told Cooper that it depended on him the "honesty" he can get out of her performance as an actress, and she will help him to sing live together. The actor Lady Gaga and the singer Bradley Cooper have elevated A Star is Born from a good movie to an exhilarating one. Perhaps a great one!

Jackson Maine is a complex character. He is a talented singer and guitarist, but he also suffers from bouts of alcoholism and drug addiction. He is weak and irresponsible too. He has an elder brother in Bobby, played without any fuss by Sam Elliott. Their professional relation is strong but their personal relation is strained by the past. Bradley Cooper plays Jackson with the same sincerity and honesty that reflects in the amazing onstage performances as a musician and the dysfunctional private life of the character. He accomplishes this not by letting go of himself which would have led to over dramatization, but by giving a low-key, understated performance thus allowing Ally to occupy the centre stage in the second half of the film. His performance organically conflates with the ebbs and flows of the film at large.

Ally transitions from an ordinary (with potential for extraordinary) working woman to a successful singer-songwriter. Lady Gaga stamps her authority not only by her reigning vocals but through the actress present within. She surprises no one when she is singing. She does when she is not. When she is a nobody and even when she is anything but a nobody. The battle is not with the talented singer and perfect performer; it is personal, with the insecure and flawed woman that she is. To sum it up, she owns the movie and rightly so. Lady Gaga explores her range as an actress and more often than not, she succeeds, emphatically. Ally sought validation and approval after she became a celebrity, like when Noodles says that she "looks like a star" changes her mood.

In A Star is Born, more than the plot, it is the rhythm that actually engages and captivates. Cinematography, storytelling, soundtrack all contribute to this but it is the editing of Jay Cassidy (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) who deserves most credit. The frequent juxtaposition of contrasting audio-visuals directs our attention and makes apparent the observations that director is attempting to put forth. This is done while keeping up with the plot and not at the cost of pace.

The screenplay and dialogues are worthy of appreciation too. Eric Roth (won the academy award for the screenplay of Forrest Gump) co-wrote the screenplay with Bradley Cooper. There is a confrontational scene which takes place in the bathroom. Ally is in the tub, relaxing. Jackson is drunk. He says, "I have failed you. You are embarrassing. You are ugly. You are too worried about everyone else." In another, Ally asks her father, "How many times did you sit there while I wrote a song?" Jackson reveals to his elder brother, "Fan came out of the ceiling when I attempted suicide. Dad didn't notice because he was too drunk. I was shy of 13."


Matthew Libatique (The Fountain, Black Swan), the cinematographer, uses the tight perspective of close ups cleverly to serve the exigencies of the screenplay while still allowing enough room for aesthetically pleasing compositions. Wide shots are sparingly used in comparison but they are immaculately framed. The overall look imbues A Star is Born with a sense of inseparability of conflicting ideas like honesty and ambition, rise to fame which leads to friction but in some transient moments of harmony the coalition that emerges is overwhelming.

A Star is Born is a film less about the admirable and inspiring journey of two singers and more about the developments in their own personal lives that they choose to share with each other, unaware, that one loved more, and one needed more. It is less about the melodies they are gifted with, but the malady that accompanies their gifts. The silence that permeates the spaces between their tunes, separating them, resonates louder, strikes harder than the music that brought two empty souls together. There is unarguably a case for the pursuit of romance drawing its fascination from idealistic projections, but the path out of immediate sight is not without the hurdles and burdens of real life. Jackson and Ally take enough away to somewhat redeem themselves in my eyes but the director leaves the answer for subjective discretion to decide, in hindsight, the worth of their pursuit. The reflection, however, is indeed worth it.

After the film finished, I felt the same way Jackson felt for Ally. I don't have anything more to say. I just wanted to have another look.

Rating: 8/10

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A Star is Born - Original Trailer (YouTube)
A STAR IS BORN - Official Trailer 1 - YouTube

Previous Post: Yo Spike start the movie G!

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A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews
A Still from ZEE5 Orginal 'Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story of Sunny Leone' Season 2
Following the success of the 1st season of Karenjit Kaur- The Untold Story of Sunny Leone, season 2 of the biopic series based on the life of the porn-star turned-actress Sunny Leone premiered on ZEE5 on September 18th. Karenjit Kaur – The Untold Story of Sunny Leone is directed by Aditya Datt and co-stars Raj Arjun, Karamvir Lamba, Bijay Jasjit Anand, Grusha Kapoor and Marc Buckner. While the first season of series had 10 episodes of about 20 minutes each, season 2 has 6 episodes of about 25 minutes each.


The first season of Karenjit Kaur,offered an introduction to the life and world of India’s Most Googled celebrity, starting from her early days as a middle-class Punjabi girl Karenjit Kaur Vohra living in Canada, to her transformation into the irresistible diva, Sunny Leone who made the entire world go crazy about her. However, the second season is more about exploring her relationships, in particular, the difficult bond she shares with her mother, and therefore the emotions and feelings touch us more deeply this time around. Now, the first season of the show featured some of the best acting we have seen from Sunny Leone ever since she started her stint in Bollywood. But her acting in the second season is even better as we see her effortlessly going through an entire gamut of emotions. The wedding sequence is perhaps the high point of season 2. For the uninitiated, Sunny Leone had both Sikh as well as a Jewish wedding with her husband Daniel Webber and so the same is meticulously recreated in the series as well.
Grusha Kapoor in Karenjit Kaur
If the first season’s biggest surprise was Bijay Jasjit Anand’s brilliant performance as Sunny’s stoic father, the season sees Grusha Kapoor shine in the role of Sunny’s troubled mother. The chemistry between Sunny and Grusha is one of the most beautiful aspects of season 2. In Some of the scenes that the two share are bound to stir our deepest emotions. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the show is how Sunny’s life is seen in the context of the political developments taking place in the world around her. The second season begins with Bush getting elected as the President of the US and so a lot of the American people are actually counting on him to take a strong stand against pornography. As we remember that the first season had ended with Sunny finally revealing her big secret to her family and so at the beginning of the second season we see how Sunny’s mom, actually is rooting for Bush to win the elections in the hope that his win would put an end to her daughter’s career in the world of adult entertainment. But everything changes, thanks to a twist of fate as Sunny and her mother once again find themselves at crossroads.
Bijay Jasjit Anand and Sunny Leone in Karenjit Kaur 
The story arc of season 2 of the show is full of ebbs and flows but nothing really looks unnatural or forced, as the story flows organically with some key characters undergoing some necessary changes that allow them to overcome their earlier limitations. From the viewer’s point of view, this makes way for some interesting plot developments which keep the options open for a possible third season.

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 "Bumblebee" Trailer: Every Adventure Has A Beginning

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A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature




On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Pamela Adlon, Stephen Schneider, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Jason Drucker, Kenneth Choi, Ricardo Hoyos, Abby Quinn, Rachel Crow and Grace Dzienny.

Director: Travis Knight



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Bumblebee - Official Trailer
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A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature



Celebrity Astrologer Pandit Pawan Kaushik is out to revolutionize what we think of astrology! The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies has for years been exploited with many apparent astrologers in the garb of Pandits doing poojas and yagyas. Pandit Pawan Kaushik, on the contrary, relies heavily on the five elements of nature, earth, fire, water, wind, space and gives astrology a scientific approach.

Pandit Pawan Kaushik recently celebrated his birthday at JW Marriot Juhu where Bollywood celebs, family members and guest came to wish him happy birthday. Rajpal Yadav and Pankaj Berry came specially from shoot. Other guest who came for this event were Surendra pal, Sunil Pal, Nikita Rawal, Aarti Nagpal, Vipul Shah, Saajan Agarwal, Atul Patel, Kishan Kumar, Leena Kapoor, Nasir Khan, Yogesh Lakhani of Bright Outdoor, Manish Srivastava, Narshi Vasani and Manjari Mishra from Mubu TV.

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