Tag Archives: Utkarsh Ambudkar

Free Guy (2021) Review

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Free Guy

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence & offensive language
Cast:
Ryan Reynolds as Guy
Jodie Comer as Millie Rusk/Molotov Girl
Lil Rel Howery as Buddy
Utkarsh Ambudkar as Mouser
Joe Keery as Walter “Keys” McKeys
Taika Waititi as Antwan
Director: Shawn Levy

When a bank teller (Ryan Reynolds) discovers he’s actually a background player in an open-world video game, he decides to become the hero of his own story — one that he can rewrite himself. In a world where there’s no limits, he’s determined to save the day his way before it’s too late, and maybe find a little romance with the coder who conceived him.

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After long last, Free Guy finally releases. Going into it, there were a few things that had me put me off about it. First of all, it does look like the most Ryan Reynolds movie ever, even though I like him. Second of all, it is about video games, and most portrayals of video games from big budget studios aren’t all that great, which had me more concerned than the actual movie adaptations of video games. Then there was the fact that the trailers were shown so much at the cinema, not only in the past months, but also last year when the movie was originally meant to be released before it was delayed, to an annoying degree. So by the time it got to August, I wasn’t exactly anticipating the movie, with the exception of the exit of its trailers from the cinema. However, I ended up deciding to watch Free Guy after I heard that it’s good from people who have seen it, and it surprised me. It’s not great by any means but it was better than I thought it would be.

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The marketing team for this movie didn’t give Free Guy the best of trailers, but at least did a good job at hiding most of the best moments and cameos. Even as someone who was forced to watch the trailers an endless number of times, I was surprised with where the movie goes. Going in blind if possible would be a great choice. I found myself enjoying the story, as well as where it was all going. I will say that after the various twists and turns in the first half, things become rather straightforward in the second half. It’s a little disappointing because it feels like it doesn’t fulfil the potential that we didn’t know it had going into it. There are multiple themes about creative freedom, originality and corporate greed, but it even gets existential at times. The first film that comes to mind is of course The Truman Show, not that Free Guy comes anywhere near close to it. Instead, it plays things a bit too safe by the end, instead delivering a standard message about acceptance. It isn’t bad but just a little disappointing. The movie has genuine heartfelt moments with these characters, and I was surprised at how much effort was put into them. Now for the elephant in the room: it is a movie about video games. As a gamer, a big budget movie depicting video games is already a concern. As far as depictions of games and gamer culture go however, it’s not the worst. It actually does feel like some of the people involved at least somewhat know about gaming, possibly even played one. There is some pandering to a degree but not at the level as say Ready Player One. Some Ips are thrown into the movie, however they are intended more as brief Easter Eggs and it doesn’t feel like the movie is overly relying on the audience loving them. The humour may be hit or miss, if only because it is mainly catered to gamers. However I think some non gamers can still find the movie funny, and I enjoyed it. There are some cameos in the movie, and I’m not going to read any of them out or what most of the cameos consist of because I know that it would more than likely scare off a lot of people from actually watching the movie. Most of the prominent cameos are people known for gaming, that’s as far as I’ll go. I do understand why they were included in the movie, and honestly I didn’t dislike them as much as I thought I would. Although it will feel jarring every time it would cut to them, and while I get it is supposed to be meta, it feels out of place. The worst instants are in the third act, where I really could’ve done without them showing up. With that said, there are a couple of non-gaming cameos which I really liked.

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The cast are all good in their parts. Ryan Reynolds plays his usual self as most could’ve figured from the trailer, even though this time its as a NPC (non player character) in a video game world. As someone who likes him as an actor, I did feel like he could’ve just fallen into doing the same old schtick but he works quite well. He is genuinely funny, you care about his character, and he has some great moments. Reynolds was a surprisingly great pick for the role. The standout among the entire cast though was Jodie Comer, who gives so much to this movie and probably elevates. In this movie we see her in two roles, as a character named Millie in the real world, and as Molotov Girl, Millie’s avatar within the game world. She is amazing in both parts, and there is some great chemistry between her and Reynolds. Joe Keery was quite good in his part, even though he was overshadowed by the main leads, and Lil Rel Howery is entertaining as a security guard and friend of Guy. Taika Waititi effectively plays the unhinged villain as the developer of the game that much of the movie takes place inside. Taika is certainly very energetic, but aside from doing what you would expect from him, as an antagonist he is very one dimensional. It’s just as well that Waititi goes over the top. because otherwise the character would’ve been completely forgettable.

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Shawn Levy is the director of the movie, I mostly know him as the director of the Night of the Museum movies. However I think this is the best work he’s done as a director. First of all I really like how this video game world is portrayed, as a world taking a lot from the open world from Grand Theft Auto knockoff, it is portrayed very well. Not only that but the visual effects works and fitting considering the setting for most of the movie. The action is also really entertaining and energetic.

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Free Guy was way better than it had any right to be. I know that not everyone is going to like it, but it was genuinely a nice surprise for me. I was entertained by the story and characters, the action was enjoyable, I generally found the movie funny, and the cast were good, especially Reynolds and Comer. For what it’s worth, as someone who had low expectations going in, I think it’s worth a chance at least.

Blindspotting (2018) Review

Time: 95 Minutes
Cast:
Daveed Diggs as Collin Hoskins
Rafael Casal as Miles
Janina Gavankar as Val
Jasmine Cephas Jones as Ashley
Ethan Embry as Officer Molina
Tisha Campbell-Martin as Mama Liz
Utkarsh Ambudkar as Rin
Wayne Knight as Patrick
Director: Carlos López Estrada

Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning in his Oakland, Calif., neighborhood. His bond with his volatile best friend (Rafael Casal) soon gets tested when Collin sees a police officer shoot a suspect in the back during a chase through the streets.

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Blindspotting was a film that was slowly getting attention recently. Not many people have seen it and it hasn’t really been getting any awards attention, but those who have seen it gave it a lot of acclaim and considered it to be one of the best films of 2018. Naturally I had to check it out and I’m definitely with the group of people who love it, Blindspotting is one of the best films of 2018 and must be seen as soon as possible.

The script was written by lead actors Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal in the mid 2000s, and knowing that fact while watching just elevated both the story and the lead performances significantly as the story feels really personal, and it definitely comes across on screen as well. This screenplay is fantastically written. Now this movie has some prevalent themes and topics like race and policy brutality and despite the heavy subject matter, I think it handles everything really well, as it feels like a movie on its own as well as sending some strong messages and says what it wants to say. There is some great comedy in the movie sprinkled throughout, especially during some of the conversations between the two leads, and its very fitting and makes it a genuinely entertaining movie to watch. On top of that, the characters all feel real and genuine and not just one dimensional vessels for ideas and symbolism or anything like that. At the same time the movie really hits hard with the heavy scenes when it needs to and it gets its messages across really effectively. The ending of this movie is particularly great. On paper it sounds really silly but the way it was directed, written, acted and overall executed was so incredibly powerful and worked extremely well. Definitely one of the stand out movie endings from 2018.

Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are fantastic in the lead roles. Both actors are childhood friends in real life and that definitely translated to the on screen chemistry. All their interactions from them hanging out and talking about random things to having full on intense arguments feel completely genuine and real. A stand out scene is a particular argument later in the movie between the two of them.

This is director Carlos López Estrada’s first feature film and this is a really great directorial debut. Oakland really feels like a big presence here, with the cinematography, environment and music all adding a lot to it all. In terms of some stand out directed scenes, there are also some nightmarish scenes where lead character Collin is haunted by from him seeing a killing by a cop early in the movie, and the film did a great job at portraying the paranoia, fear and anxiety that he feels. I’m looking forward to seeing more of his directing work.

Blindspotting is one of the best films of 2018. It’s a great directorial debut, written excellently and is all around a very personal and intimate story. The performances by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal are some of the best of the year and deserve more acclaim than they have been receiving. Blindspotting is not a movie to be missed.