Authors Posts by Balaji Thangapandian

Balaji Thangapandian


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– Balaji Thangapandian (BT) | Film Theorist

Micheal Bay has long been associated with military services. He is one of the very few first American filmmakers to use real seal for his blockbuster film ‘ The Rock (1997)’.  He has top level contacts with CIA, marines, Global Response Services (GRS), seal. That’s how he has been able to make compelling war films.

The film 13 hours is based on the real incident happened in Benghazi, Libya on 11th of September 2012, and the book 13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff. Unlike Micheal Bay’s films, for 13 hours he didn’t cast stars as the film is a real heroic tale and he roped in actors with great talent but relatively unknown.

13 hours is the time period, how long GRS personnel fought with terrorists, who attacked an American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi and killed the American ambassador. The film is a realistic portrayal of heroic deeds of American soldiers who fought hard, sacrificed their lives for saving others. Michael Bay got the following real personnel, who were involved in the attack for making the film:
– Kristian ” Tanto ” Paronto | Former Marine
– John “Tig” Tiegan | Former Marine
– Mark “Oz” Geist | Former Marine
– Joost Janssen | Former Navy Seal/ GRS operator)
– Harry Humphries | Former Navy Seal/ Military advisor.
They all felt compelled and got involved in the making so that the film gets made realistically.

‘ We all know the story of Benghazi. I saw the news like everyone else here. And, what is interesting when I read the book called 13 Hours, there is an amazing heroic story that happened. The movie is tragic, but it is supposed to inspire you because what you see is a classic nightmare story, and when you have a nightmare, you hope you have the heroes like these to rescue from nightmare. I have been very fortunate since my second movie with Sean Connery ‘ The Rock ‘. I was the first director to have a real seal team in a movie. And, I became friends with lot of seals over the years. I worked with military extensively for 20 years, and the first to use weapons systems, and I have close ties with men and women of military. And, its really an outstanding group of people. One of the things this movie focuses on is ‘Selflessness’. Firemen, policemen, military are the first responders who put their lives ahead of their families to save you and keep you safe. That’s an extraordinary thing, and that’s what this movie honors.’, said Michael Bay, at a premiere.

‘None of you have to go, we are the only help they have.’


13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Micheal Bay

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– Balaji Thangapandian (Film Theorist)

Why does the world’s first mutant, Apocalypse want to destroy everything humans ever built? Whom do you support? Team Defend or Team Destroy?

Team Defend: Mutants
Team Destroy: Apocalypse (Perceived god)
Team Defend
Team Destroy

‘Apocalypse was born millennia ago. And, he brought civilization to mankind. But, in turn believed he was god. Each mutant he inhabits, he takes their powers. So, he has acquired a thousands of years of multiple powers. He wakes up in 1983, to a world, that to him is one giant corrupt civilization. To have a brilliant actor like Oscar Issac embodied the villan brings a powerful complexity of the character. X Men: Apocalypse is by far the largest X Men movie, the powers of villan are much greater, and the stakes are much higher.’, says the director, Bryan Singer.

Apocalypse wants to keep the world in an order (its presumed to be good for human kind, however it is not explicitly told). When, the order is not obliged, he chooses destruction. When his biological body degrades, he transfers his consciousness to another sound mutant, inherits their strengths and prevails. He is betrayed and the process of transference is disrupted. He survives and woken up by some, only to destroy the changed world. There is also an interesting integration of origins of Wolverine.

We all agree of the fact that the world is quite corrupted with us(humans). And, it needs to be cleansed. However, the question remains at what cost? Do the world has to be completely destroyed? I leave it your conscience as to which team do you choose (Team Destroy or Team Defend) for the greater good of the world.


Tag: X Men: Apocalypse, Bryan Singer, Oscar Issac, Jennifer Lawrence

-Balaji Thangapandian(Film Theorist)

‘It’s sort of weird being honored for the worst day of life.’ – Billy Lynn

The visionary filmmaker Ang Lee is back with the emotional war drama made using revolutionary technology. Plot revolves around a young war hero brought back to America on a war tour from Iraq for the thanksgiving day. Reportedly, such events are conducted to win general public’s support for the war and its associated spends.
Ang Lee

Ang Lee has shot the film in 120 fps (Frames Per Second), which provides crystal clear real eye viewing experience (The best camera in the world is human eye, cinema viewing experience is evolving towards it) whereas, the industry standard is mere 24 fps. Peter Jackson was sort of first to actually shoot in 48 fps for his film ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, although the output was spectacular and glitter free, it was immediately denied for reasons unclear, and the so called ‘cinematic – revolution’ was halted.

James Cameron was the first filmmaker who expressed his support for shooting in high frame rates (HFR), ‘If watching a 3D movie is like looking through a window, then [with this] we’ve taken the glass out of the window and we’re staring at reality.’, said Cameron in 2011. It appears that Ang Lee has managed to utilise the HFR in a compelling way. The war footage sequence in Iraq of the film was screened at National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) trade show, and the attendees appeared to be completely impressed.

Viewpoints of 120 fps/HFR by the participants of NAB show:

The Verge’s Bryan Bishop:
‘While still in its early stages, the footage screened certainly delivered on the promise of flicker-free, pristine 3D. As technologies like IMAX Laser have upped the ante on brightness used in theaters, 3D presentation has certainly improved dramatically in recent years. But Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk took things a striking step further. The image was impeccably bright, the frame rate resulting in utter clarity throughout the entire frame. It truly was more like looking through an impossibly-clean window than watching a screen, with the 3D producing no eye strain whatsoever. Given the lack of blur, it was possible to discern normally imperceptible details that simply wouldn’t be visible in other movies: from the way a shell casing pirouetted after being ejected from a machine gun, to the tiny puffs of dust in the distance when a bullet found its mark.’

‘Despite those extraordinary aspects of the image, however, the “soap opera effect” was still there. From the opening shot onward, the footage seemed like it could have been pulled from some fantastic and futuristic camcorder (or a television with motion smoothing cranked up), the change threatening to pull me out of the story even while the added detail was luring me in.’

The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Christopher Lawrence:
‘In a nutshell, the higher the frame rate, the closer an image looks to real life. During Saturday’s demonstration, the depth of field was staggering, almost as though the back of the screen had opened up. Actors often seemed to emerge from the screen, hologram style. Co-star Vin Diesel never looked more lifelike.’

The Hollywood Reporter’s Carolyn Giardina:
‘Although a few viewers complained that the results looked too much like video — the same complaint that greeted Peter Jackson’s Hobbitmovies when Jackson went beyond the Hollywood standard of 24 frames per second to present those movies at 48 fps — most of the reactions to Lee’s footage were overwhelmingly positive, with viewers tossing out words like “awesome” and “unbelievable.”

‘The clip cut back and forth between the war scenes, which used the high frame rates for a realistic, some would say hyper-real, way to put the viewer in chilling combat situations, showing the horror of war in the closeups of the soldiers. Scenes from the halftime show had a different look, with all the lights and the star-like flashes in the stadium. Lee is said to be varying the frame rates throughout the film for creative purposes. In the film, Destiny’s Child performs during the halftime show, though in the clip, only the backs of the performers’ heads were shown from a distance.’

I’m always curious about advancement in cinematic technologies. While the utilisation and initial acceptance of 120 fps/HFR is encouraging, exhibitors need to be persuaded so as to equip and project Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn in 3D, 4K at 120 fps in theatres, otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to view what Lee intended us to watch. The film opens on 8th/11th Nov’16 so that the release coincides with veteran’s day.

Official Trailer:

Three-time Academy Award® winner Ang Lee brings his extraordinary vision to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, based on the widely-acclaimed, bestselling novel. The film is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions. The film also stars Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, with Vin Diesel, and Steve Martin. Lee used new technology, shooting at an ultra-high frame rate for the first time in film history, to create an immersive digital experience helping him dramatize war in a way never seen before. Lee directed and produced the film, from a screenplay by Jean-Christophe Castelli and based on the novel by Ben Fountain. Marc Platt, Rhodri Thomas, and Stephen Cornwell are also producers.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Ang Lee, Joe Alwyn, HFR, 120 FPS, Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Garrett Hedlund, Steve Martin, Sony Pictures


– Balaji Thangapandian (Film Theorist)

Hardcore Henry is the first ever action POV [ Point Of View ] feature indie film. The film is completely shot from the protagonist’s perspective using customized Go Pro cameras and rigs. In effect, when you watch the film, you become the protagonist.
Go Pro 3 Hero Camera
Customised Rig

You do, what the character does, for instance, you fight, kiss, jump, kill, live as the character does on the screen. Incidentally, I had conceived of using the similar approach, completely using Go Pro camera for my second concept film a year back, which was metaphysical in nature. I couldn’t proceed due to some constraints. However, I’m glad that its been conceptualised and executed well. I’m not saying that, I was the sole filmmaker to think of it, many could have thought of, its all about coincidence. Who gets to execute their concepts first, sort of succeed in filmmaking, others might get caught in the process of conceiving.
Behind the scene of usage of Go Pro camera and rig.

In order to accomplish the visual effect of putting the audiences in the lead’s shoes, two Go Pro 3 cameras were used, and a customised rig to position the cameras (3 axis gimbal mount). Multiple prototypes were made and cameras were broken during the process, which was inevitable, when something never done before was tried.
Behind the scene


The director, Ilya Naishuller, crowd funded $250,000 for the film, using the platform IndieGoGo (platform for raising funds for entrepreneurs with inventive ideas). Prior to the feature, he had made short using same POV technique, which received phenomenal response, and incentivized  the director to make a feature. The money raised was mostly used for CGI and post production, and bringing in top minds in augmenting the film. The film was exhibited in Toronto International film festival in 2015. The success made STX entertainment acquiring the film for $10 million.

Is Hardcore Henry, the world’s first Point of View (POV)/first person perspective the future of action filmmaking? It appears so!


Hardcore Henry is a modern, action Sci-Fi story about HENRY, a newly resurrected cyborg who must save his wife/creator ESTELLE (Haley Bennet) from the clutches of a psychotic tyrant with telekinetic powers, AKAN (Danila Kozlovsky), and his army of mercenaries.  Fighting alongside Henry is JIMMY (Sharlto Copley), who is Henry’s only hope to make it through the day. Hardcore takes place over the course of one day, in Moscow, Russia and it’s all shot in the same style as BAD MOTHERFUCKER (short).

Official Trailer:


Tag: Hardcore Henry, Sharlto Copley, Ilya Naishuller, Point Of View (POV)

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– Balaji Thangapandian (Film Theorist)

The concluding chapter of the mutant character, Wolverine has officially entered into production. The film is tentatively titled as ‘Wolverine 3’. Hugh Jackman reprises the role again.

We can’t even imagine of anyone except Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, surprisingly, he wasn’t the first choice, he was only a last minute replacement for another leading actor for Bryan Singer’s first installment of X-Men in 2000.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

The 47 year old actor proved his mettle, and permanently holds the role of mutant. The current rage of superheros doesn’t seem to recede for the next four or five years as the studios have pipeline of films in production until 2020. Therefore, Wolverine 3 is well timed. James Mangold, who helmed Wolverine (2013) is directing the concluding chapter as well.

The producer Simon Kinberg, confirmed at the press conference of X Men: Apocalypse that filming of Wolverine 3 had officially begun. ‘It’s a very radical, bold, different Wolverine than you’ve ever seen in any of these movies. I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say about that. I will agree with you that Patrick Stewart was rumored to be a part of that film. It takes place in the future, and as you and others have reported, it is an R-rated movie. It’s violent, it’s kind of like a western in its tone. It’s just a very cool, different film.’, said, Simon Kinberg.

What we infer is that Wolverine 3, is going to be more violent and darker than ever before, an ‘ R ‘ rated concluding installment of the franchise.

The film is slated for release on 3rd of March, 2017.

Tag: Wolverine 3, Wolverine , Hugh Jackman, Simon Kinberg, James Mangold.

-Balaji Thangapandian | Film Theorist

On completing his dream project ‘Silence’, Martin Scorsese would be helming his long anticipated ‘Irishman’. And, more importantly, would be bringing his associates Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci on the silver screen again after decades.
Martin Scorsese

The Irishman is based on the Charles Brandt book I Heard You Paint Houses which is the deathbed story from mob hitman Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran about the disappearance and death of Jimmy Hoffa. Steve Zailian adapted the book for the screen.
Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci

The film is based on the true story of Frank Sheeran, a WWII veteran, who led lives of both a high ranking official for the labour Union, and also dabbled with organised crimes. He was rumoured as the much – sought after hitman associated with assassinations of President Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa.

The production house, Paramount is yet to strike a deal for international sales rights as the budget proposed is $100 million. And, the contracting with the actors is in progress. If all gets materialised,we would see the filming of Irishman proceeding further.

Tag: The Irishman, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Paramount pictures

-Balaji Thangapandian| Film Theorist

Captain America: Civil War is a visual feast by Russo brothers and crew. Let’s explore, why its a must watch in IMAX.

Captain America: Civil War” will be the first film shot with IMAX’s new 2D digital cameras, Variety has learned.

Roughly 15 minutes of the film, including what co-director Joe Russo describes as one sequence “with some incredible scale to it,” will be shot with the cameras.

“We like being on the cutting edge of technology, and we like to enhance storytelling with technology in a way that pushes the narrative forward creatively,” said Russo. “When you’re working on a Marvel film, there’s a sense of showmanship that goes along with the movies, and no exhibitor exploits that better than Imax.”

Team Cap IMAX poster
Team Cap IMAX poster

Russo and his brother Anthony are well schooled in the Marvel universe, having previously directed “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” They are teaming once again on the sequel and are set to helm two upcoming “Avengers” sequels.
Team IronMan IMAX poster

The new cameras have emerged through a co-development partnership between the wide screen company and Arri, the German motion picture supply giant. Imax currently has a 3D digital camera and 2D film camera, but is manufacturing the new technology in recognition of the fact that more and more films are shot digitally.

Moreover, many 3D productions, such as “Gravity,” are shot in 2D and converted to 3D in post-production. That’s what the Russos plan to do in the case of “Captain America: Civil War.”

Imax has been very selective about allowing filmmakers to use its cameras, limiting their use to a few A-list names such as Zack Snyder (“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”), Brad Bird (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”), Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar”) and J.J. Abrams (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”).

‘The demand for our cameras has never been stronger,” said Greg Foster, CEO of Imax Entertainment. “But we’ve had a supply/demand issue. In a very calculated way we held back the supply, and that’s increased demand in a way that we haven’t been able to satisfy.’

Captain America: Civil War will be the first film to use the new high resolution IMAX ALEXA digital camera.  Exclusive to IMAX Theatres the 17min ‘airport battle scene’ of Captain America: Civil War will expand vertically from an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 to 1.9:1 (meaning the image height will increase from approx. 13m to 17m) and combine with the significant increase in resolution to further immerse audiences in the action.

Directors Joe & Anthony Russo – ‘That sequence we figured deserved that scope, that scale of frame… We also have a lot of characters who fly in that sequence — there’s a lot of vertical movement in that sequence — and so the added dimension of that IMAX frame really helps us sell the action on that axis

IMAX Featurette:
The most visceral, involved audience experience that a film can offer. The 17-minute action sequence shot on the ALEXA IMAX camera will vertically expand to show 26% more image, exclusively in IMAX. Hear Chris Evans, the Russo brothers, and more explain why IMAX is the only way to go

Tag: Captain America Civil War, Russo Brothers, IMAX, Iron Man,  Alexa IMAX

Source: IMAX/ Cinema Blend

BT | Film Theorist

Matt Damon had reprised the character Jason Bourne after almost 10 years. He had been part of several other major films, such as Interstellar, The Martian. He was just 29 years old, when he took up ‘ The Bourne Identity’, he turned 45, on taking up Jason Bourne again for the fourth time.
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in the knuckle fight scene.

‘For the first Bourne movie I was 29 and I thought that was hard work getting into shape.Now I’m 45 and it’s just brutal. We shot this bare-knuckle fighting scene on my 45th birthday and it was a lot of work to get there.I was on a very strict diet and spent a lot of time in the gym just making myself miserable. So maybe for the next one Jason Bourne will be fat and happy and old!’, said, Matt Damon.

The actor further revealed that they had been waiting for an idea as intriguing as the previous installments of the franchise (Bourne Supremacy and Bourne Ultimatum) for the last 10 years. Audiences had entrusted the director (Paul Greengrass) and the actor to make a promising comeback. The success of Jason Bourne, had led them to venture into various other successful films as well. Eventually, something substantial had come up, and thus the film was made.
Jason Bourne Poster

‘It’s been one of those things that we wanted to do for a long time because we love the character.For both Paul and me it’s been a huge part of our careers and the success of those movies has allowed us to do a lot of other stuff.Just walking down the street people will come up to both of us independently and constantly ask if there is going to be another another one, and that’s really the reason we did it – that people wanted to see it.We both made movies that people didn’t want to go and see and it’s not something to be taken for granted.It’s a tough thing to earn an audience’s trust and so we didn’t just rush into it, we waited for 10 years or so and got a good story, and hopefully we’ve done something that people will want to see.’, said Matt Damon in a interview to BBC World.

Its interesting in knowing why and how the 45 years old actor Matt Damon, reprised the character Jason Bourne.

The other important cast includes,Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander and Vincent Cassel.

Jason Bourne is back on 29th of July 2016.

Official Trailer:

Tag: Jason Bourne, Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass,  Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander,  Vincent Cassel.

We all vividly remember what happened in 1996, parts of our world were completely devastated by locusts, which move between planets, consumer their natural resources, and then move on to other planet and exhaust them.This vicious cycle of exhaustion of organic resources by aliens continue forever. They arrived in July of 1996 on earth, and unleashed their offensive powers on us. Few intelligent and brave men and women fought against the tyranny and gained our Independence back for the entire human race on 4th of July 1996.

In the next 20 years, we had been recovering from the collateral damage happened during the war, all the nations, religions, ethnicities, forgot their differences, got united and collectively contributed for the resurrection of our planet earth. In the meantime, our enemies had also took time to well prepare in order to strike us again with their advanced deadly measures.

In the meantime, on earth, humans had undergone following major events, initiatives, countermeasures, and preparing for the contingencies of aliens attacks.

1998 | Formation of ESD:
Earth Space Defense Program (ESD) as an anticipatory measure to monitor, prevent, and defend future attacks from aliens was created.

1999 | Hybrid alien fighter plane:
With the recovered weaponry of aliens, ESD managed to build a hybrid variant of alien fighter plane, infused with both human and alien technologies.

2000 | Permanent memorial to war of 96:
Las Vegas was one of the major cities, which was completely wiped out during the invasion of aliens. It was declared as the permanent memorial to commemorate the war victims.
War Memorial Las Vegas

2002 | Congo ground War:
As in any war, there is always a fraction of resistance that prevail. Similarly, aliens were not absolutely eliminated, a proportion of some still exist in the African Congo. And, ESD has been expressing support in defensive measures, but they have been declined by domestic governments for reasons unknown. The aliens are still active in that region.
African Congo Aliens War

2003 | Alien weaponry adopted:
ESD and US government had successfully adopted the alien weaponry on large scale in their defence programs.

2005 | Alien prison rumors:
It was widely speculated that aliens captured during war of 96 were held captives under a top-secret prison at Area 51. Several experiments were carried out so as to understand their organic body built up.
Alien Prison Area 51

2007 | World mourns CoL. Hiller:
The hero of the war of 96, CoL. Hiller was unfortunately killed during the test piloting of the prototype alien hybrid fighter built by ESD. Some unknown mechanical failures were attributed to the accident and untimely death of colonel. The entire world mourned.
CoL. Hiller Killed

2009 | Moon base operational:
ESD director, David unveiled the moon base, from the earth station headquartered at Beijing. The purpose of the base was to monitor and defend potential alien threats.
Moon Base

2011 | Consumer tech advances:
ESD director, David delivered a speech at Tedx, on the development of breakthrough consumer products inspired by alien technologies.
Tedx consumer conference

2013 | President Lanford elected:
First woman in history to command the oval office was elected.

2014 | Next generation hybrid fighter:
H-8 Global defender hybrid fighter was launched with unprecedented speed, maneuverability and offensive capabilities.

2016 | President’s day:
The president Lanford, honored the remarkable leadership and accomplishments of former president Whitemore, unveiled his portrait, and declared as President’s day.


2016 | 20 years of global unity:
Humans across the world, like never before were united, and prevailed in harmony and peace, not until the aliens attacked again.


20 years after the war of 1996, both humans and aliens have resurged to prove their mettle, and take control of earth again. At the moment, what we know for certain is that, we humans will not vanish without a fight, as we did the last time, and we are more resilient now!

The pioneer of global scale disaster films Roland Emmerich has reprised as director, and the following as well in their earlier respective roles:
Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson
Bill Pullman as President Whitemore
Vivica A Fox as Jasmine
Brent Spiner as Dr. Brakish Okun
Judd Hirsh as Julius Levinson

The top billed cast is Liam Hemsworth as Jake Morrison, William Fichtner as General Adams, and Malika Monroe as Patricia Whitemore.

Independence Day: Resurgence is scheduled to hit theatres on 24th June’16.

Authored by: BT, Film Theorist

Official Trailer:

The article is related to: Independence Day: Resurgence, Roland Emmerich, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, ID4

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Last week, James Cameron had confirmed at CinemaCon (A convention for filmmakers, producers and exhibitors) that he was making four sequels for Avatar, with Avatar 2 aimed at release for Christmas 2018, and subsequent sequels in 2020, 2022, and 2023.

Do we know how does he intend to produce them all? Its going to be 8 hours of sequels, shot at a stretch. Perplexed?, don’t worry read further.

‘It’s not back-to-back. It’s really all one big production. It’s more the way you would shoot a miniseries. So we’ll be shooting across all [the films] simultaneously. So Monday I might be doing a scene from Movie Four, and Tuesday I’m doing a scene from Movie One. We’re working across, essentially, eight hours of story. It’s going to be a big challenge to keep it all fixed in our minds, exactly where we are, across that story arc at any given point. It’s going to be probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’m sure the actors will be challenged by that as well. It’s like, ‘No, no, no, no, this person hasn’t died yet, so you’re still in this phase of your life.’ It’s a saga. It’s like doing all three ‘Godfather‘ films at the same time.’, says James Cameron.

‘My original plan was to release them a year apart, but we’re opening that up. If for no other reason than that I don’t want to land on the same date as one of the ‘Star Wars’ sequels. That wouldn’t be fair to them. [Laughs] No, that’s just good business. I don’t want to go head-to-head with ‘Star Wars.’ That would be stupid. And hopefully they won’t want to go head-to-head with us.’, adds James Cameron.

What it means for fans is that Avatar has become a saga!

James Cameron’s audacious goal of making all the four sequels of Avatar, simultaneously has eventually begun!


Compiled by: BT, Film Theorist.

Tag: Avatar, James Cameron, Avatar Sequels, Avatar 2, Avatar 3, Avatar 4, Avatar 5, Fox Studios, 20th Century Fox


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- Balaji Thangapandian | BT Jason Bourne remains invincible and unprecedented, with perfect back stories relating to all the events of his past. The revenge...