RRR: heart-pounding action that surpasses all of its contemporary American counterparts

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RRR: It’s the eye of the CGI tiger!

From India, an epic worthy of your attention.

RRR (2022)

After two hours of being beaten, two unwillingly opposed revolutionaries, pitted against each other by their British overlords, join forces for a last-minute battle against a common enemy. Forget a few minor, sometimes ridiculous shortcomings, and you’ll find the kind of heart-pounding action that surpasses any of its contemporary American counterparts. A young mother assumes that the two coins thrown to her by Governor Buxton (Ray Stevenson) and his wife (Alison Doody) are in thanks for the song her daughter Malii just sang, not for the sale price. The girl’s abduction sets up two opposing forces: Raju (Ram Charan), an almost indestructible cop in the pay of the British army, and Bheem (NT Rama Rao Jr.), Malii’s surrogate brother. who was already on his trail. On the outskirts of Delhi, thousands of people are gathering to demand that their leader be freed. Only one voice rises in dissent, but it’s enough to send Raju on the hunt. Likewise, despite having hundreds of characters in the frame to choose from, director SS Rajamouli has an uncanny knack for picking out the one face that needs our attention.

Bheem is no match for a rampaging cartoon tiger, but a British soldier whipping him on a faulty motorbike is another story. There’s even a lavish musical number against hate that proves that Raju and Bheem can dance as hard as they fight. (Take that, Tom Cruise!) Yet try as Rajamouli might, the action shooter that opens the film is impossible to top. The film’s only major flaw is a menagerie of CG wildlife that fails to convince. The titular group of R represents Rise, Roar and Revolt, and after all these years of bombarding us with costumed stiff-lipped benefactors and Johnny on the spot, it’s a treat to see the Brits getting the fucking stick end. 2022. SM ★★★★ (Now streaming on Netflix)

1UP (2022)

She dropped out of college after successfully selling her first video game. now, with 40 looming on the horizon, she still hasn’t figured things out, Coach Parker says. The character is played by Ruby Rose, who in her thirties has moved away from the potentially lucrative role of TV’s Batwoman and the security it provided. (Make that limp: Rose blamed the departure on an on-set injury, while producers cited “workplace behavior complaints.”) For my part, I was thrilled to hear about the split. It meant there would be no wading through another bunch of comics to follow the career of someone whose work I admire. The only uniforms 1UP are the jerseys worn by the young team of high school players looking to turn pro. Esports has become such a global phenomenon that one can now earn a college degree in multiplayer electronic games. Vivian (Paris Berelc) and Sloane (Hari Nef) are part of the team, but much like in an Orthodox synagogue, girls and boys are seated apart. Add to that a macho team captain (Taylor Zakhar Perez) who believes the only reason two girls made the team was their genitals, and Vivian’s goals become twofold: a college scholarship and creating of an all-female team to kick beta-male ass. Parker is recruited as the team’s coach after the girls show up at his door asking for help. (She is also a single mother, and the sight of her young son Ace (Robert Levey II) watching Daffy Duck and the dinosaur in the wrong aspect ratio warranted a call to the CPS.) This is Perfect for the electronic game set, but the biggest dropper has nothing to do with the competition. Vivian’s (Aviva Mongillo) roommate’s sole purpose here is to advance a running gag about distributing hallucinogenic drugs; when she finally tricks Vivian and Sloane into ingesting some acid cookies, they both imagine the same identical Mario Brother popping out of a drawer and walking around the room. (My experience with LSD may be limited to a pleasant trip in the early 70s, but even I know synchronized psilocybin doesn’t exist.) The team eventually makes it to the finals, with results Predictable: The only thing less engaging than playing video games is watching people play video games. 2022. SM ★ (Streaming on Amazon Prime.)

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